Dec 24

Mental illness

The American left has descended into full-blown mental illness about Trump being sort of Russian intelligence asset.

Looking back, I can’t believe I ever avidly read Sarah Kendzior or trusted her on anything — she’s no better than the wackiest HAARP/chemtrails conspiracy theorist out there now.

Not that it’s just Kendzior, of course. It’s much if not most of the Left. Never thought in my lifetime I’d see the resurgence of McCarthyism, especially from the side from which it has been renascent this time around. So very bizarre.

The Left’s story is now basically that the entire election was determined by Russia and that they are somehow effectively mind-controlling Trump and perhaps other people in government.

Sure, sounds likely.

My title for this piece was “mental illness” and I do think conspiracy theories count as a low-grade form of it — so in this case I was not exaggerating.

Dec 24

Old hats

The thinkers I most enjoy reading are ones whose ideas are so unorthodox and divergent that I can’t even decide on a basis of evaluation to determine the rectitude or future applicability of their ideas.

Haraway makes me think of ideas I’d never considered, which is something so few people ever do.

I don’t even care if most of the ideas are wrong, because even incorrect ideas can lead to worthy thought paths.

I’m not a right-thinking individual because there is no easier way to be ever wrong than to be always right.

Dec 24

Ton of BS

From what I can tell, Hamilton is just as much kitschy, louche bullshit as a WWE Smackdown or a monster truck rally, but one that appeals to the bizarre biases and manias of the approved cultural elites rather than the less educated.

And yes, I’ve been to a WWE event and a monster truck rally — I grew up really redneck, remember?

Hamilton is also just less likely to impress me I think because I have at least the same if not more verbal cleverness as Lin-Manuel Miranda, but am far less social and am far too inveterately indolent to ever achieve anything like that. It all just seems like cheap parlor tricks to me because I pen that sort of crap in my sleep.

As my partner knows, I literally make up songs extemporaneously much like the ones in Hamilton and sing them to her aloud, often to things that she says (so I respond flawlessly in my own poesy to words she throws to me).

Anyway, I am neither attempting to raise the status of a WWE Smackdown nor lower the status of Hamilton, but to point out that Hamilton has more schmaltz and cliche than a 1980s rock radio station, and only seems clever if you ignore history, sense and the desire for a good rhyme scheme.

(Note that I actually have not seen all of Hamilton, but have watched as much as I can tolerate on YouTube and various other sites.)

There was a time in my life when I cared more about being socially approved by the sort of people who like something like Hamilton, but now I’d rather go to the monster truck rally any day. More excitement and engagement with the world, less unnecessary hagiography.

Dec 23

Boom goes the two-point hollow-pit implosion

All ya’ll Democrats pissing your pants about Trump’s wish to update the nuclear arsenal appear to have already forgotten Obama was already doing the same thing.

Despite the lofty rhetoric, President Obama has launched what the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability calls the “Trillion Dollar Trainwreck.” That is the title of a new report on Obama’s massive plan to modernize the U.S. nuclear-weapons arsenal, to be released next Monday.

I don’t ask for humans to have self-consistent thinking. This appears to be impossible. But I do at least have the hope that some of them will recall what happened but a few months before.

Apparently this is just too much to ask.

Dec 23

The problem with economics

This piece without realizing it sums up the problem with economics as practiced today.

Is there a disemployment effect from a higher minimum wage?

One thing philosophy teaches is that to receive an answer that makes any sort of sense, one must first inquire in the appropriate direction. The question above cannot just be answered with a blizzard of empirical data disconnected from sociological considerations. It just cannot. You can discuss the slope of demand curves until you’re blue in the face but it won’t help you understand the most important aspects of the minimum wage, which is: what sort of society do we wish to live in and what societal effects of a minimum wage demonstrate recursivity as to the relevant social mores and structures that collectively benefit the polity as a whole?

Economics has long had as its goal to remove the human, to deny that is a sociological science — and as a result you end up with atrocities on reason like the analysis to which I linked.

It’s a pitiful showing by someone — and an entire profession — with more formal education then actual wisdom, more dogma than data, and more de facto wishful thinking than Professor Pangloss.

All essentially to support ideologically some rich people who’d be happy to burn them with all the rest if they became inconvenient.

Dec 22

It’s weird

It’s weird when you click on something and you are prepared to be disappointed but then it actually turns out to be great.

Like this.

  1. My: LibreOffice users want a “personal” UI, with different options capable of adapting to the user’s personal habits, and not a single UI without options.
  2. User Friendly: of course, any UI should be as user friendly as possible, but LibreOffice users have clearly asked for a “modular” UI, where they can set their own level of user friendliness, and not a single UI without options.
  3. Flexible: the increasing number of LibreOffice users deploying the software on different hardware platforms (for instance, a desktop and a laptop), each one with different characteristics and screen size and resolution, have asked for a UI that can be tweaked to leverage the screen real estate, and not a single UI without options.

Heretics! Sinners!

The user is not allowed to have any options. You will be reported to the Stasi immediately!

It’s completely unexpected for any organization to rebel against the removal of customizability and user control. It’s completely contrary to our authoritarian times, but wonderful to see.

Dec 22

SM

I am one of these.

Just plays to my strengths. My brain naturally works this way; I’m good at knowing what terms to search for and looking through the returned data for what’s relevant even if to most people it looks very unpromising.

Many times in my life people have spent hours, days and weeks looking for something that I find in 30 seconds or less. For this reason, my partner asks me to search for things all the time. For a friend of mine once, I found the name of a rare book in less than a minute he’d been seeking out for years off and on.

I often say, “If I can’t find it, it doesn’t exist.”

Search skills matter in the world of today and I got ’em.

Ask me to do a math problem, though, and you’re screwed….

Dec 21

Freed up

That all free trade agreements are axiomatically a good thing is just as much as a religious belief as transubstantiation or the healing power of crystals.

Dec 21

Hellocast

“A place there is below, from Beelzebub

As far receding as the tomb extends,

Which not by sight is known, but by the sound

Of a small rivulet, that there descendeth

Through chasm within the stone, which it has gnawed

With course that winds about and slightly falls.

The Guide and I into that hidden road

Now entered, to return to the bright world;

And without care of having any rest

We mounted up, he first and I the second,

Till I beheld through a round aperture

Some of the beauteous things that Heaven doth bear;

Thence we came forth to rebehold the stars.”

That’s Dante and Virgil escaping from Hell. I’d forgotten how plum purty it was until I read it and a lot more again today.