Nov 25


How do people fall for this?

I know that I am contrarian and incredulous as all hell, but just…what?

It’s brave of her to write about it. But my response would’ve been to laugh and hang up the phone. The IRS just doesn’t operate that way.

Nov 25

Welcome to the world

Hello, academics, and welcome to the world that non-academics have been enduring for 15 or so years now.

Not that non-academic job applications ask those specific questions, but along the same lines.

I’ve seen questions like these on job applications, with the responses I wished I’d sent:

Describe why you are a better fit than other candidates?

I don’t know the other fucking candidates. How the hell would I know? Isn’t that your job to figure out?

What makes you excited to work at (insert company here)?

It’s mainly the paycheck. And, you know, the paycheck.

And more. So many more. I’ve abandoned job applications because they wanted me to answer 10-15 essay-length questions.

The trials and tribulations that academics are put through generally lag behind the rest of the world 10-20 years, so it’s been interesting how as the crucible of modern hiring practices reach academia only then do you hear about it in the press (because these days only those who’ve gone to Ivies really are allowed to be in the mainstream press).

So welcome to the rest of the world, guys and gals! It’s not fun but we’re all in it together it turns out.

Nov 25

Semper Adelis

Why do journalists get assigned to cover topics they know absolutely nothing about?

That Adele’s album was not streamed has nothing to do with why it is or is not on the top of the charts at Pirate Bay. Not streaming it was never likely to drive that many people to pirate it. This is a false dichotomy anyway (or a double-false dichotomy), and is verging into the territory of “not even wrong.”

First, Adele is not interesting to most of the users of sites like The Pirate Bay. That site and file-sharing sites in general are dominated by 90% fairly misogynist men. Adele is a woman — and a woman who sings emotion-laden songs — so therefore icky.

In other words, her album was never as likely to be pirated as others more interesting to that demographic.

Second, Pirate Bay only shows information from trackers. Nearly all clients these days use DHT, which would not show up on Pirate Bay or any other site. Tracking it by going to Pirate Bay and looking at their charts is like sampling how many fish are in the Pacific Ocean by looking in your bathtub.

Hey, journalistic organizations, I know a lot about a lot of things. Send me money and I’ll make you less stupid.

Nov 24

Tom Petty knew

The reason large-scale resettlement in Europe is a mistake is not that Syrian refugees are dangerous. Rather, it is a mistake because large-scale resettlement will require an equally large-scale commitment of resources that European governments, and European voters, are unwilling to make.

And soon will be completely unable to make, with climate change, declining populations of productive members of society and automation leading to homegrown crises, a decreasing tax base and lowered incomes, respectively.

But that destabilization might be the whole point.

Angela Merkel sure isn’t agreeing to accept a million Syrians for humanitarian reasons and for the good of her country; politicians of her ilk just do not think that way, stupid-ass liberal fairy tales aside.

Hint for the dim: it’s part of the ongoing neoliberal project of eviscerating the welfare state, and for the annihilation of the state talis qualis both as an ideal and an actuality.

Nov 24

Circle of fable

What comes around once, comes around again.

Admittedly, it is funny — but it’s been going around on BBSes since the 1980s. I suspect it passed around university labs before that in the 1970s.

I first saw a variant of it around 1986, for reference….

Nov 24

Ben Carson

Ben Carson is a good illustration of how extremely intelligent people are often even more clueless and more worthless in areas outside their expertise than the hoi polloi, as they overestimate their competence and knowledge greatly.

I call this “engineeritis” because it is most common in fields like engineering and physics, but is present in every arena where overly-intelligent people cluster.

Nov 24


I think the only way I’d vote for Clinton is if the changed her name to Chillary Clinton, collaborated with Taylor Swift and started dropping some really hot EDM singles.

Better and more constructive than what she’s going to give the world: more war, more right-wing fear and safety-net slashing, more avoiding dealing with climate change.

Come on Chillary, get in the studio. Give the world something worth a damn.

Nov 23

More research

Someone needs to do way more research.

  1. The first IBM PC was released in 1981, not 1983.
  2. Windows 95 was not (originally) bundled with Internet Explorer.
  3. USB was not a replacement for SCSI. It was a replacement for serial and other slow buses. It later evolved.
  4. There were really no consumer PCs with built-in or pre-installed NICs in 1995, as back then a NIC was $200+. And he calls them “Ethernet jacks” for some reason, which is something totally different.
  5. The article shows a PSone, released in 2000, not 1995.
  6. The PlayStation didn’t pioneer disc-based gaming. I think the Sega CD and several others had been out for a few years by that point. Certainly it helped to popularize it more but “pioneer” is completely wrong.

I am sure there are many, many other inaccuracies but those are the ones I noticed right away.

If you’re going to get some clueless fucking millennial intern to research your tech history, make sure they actually do the research.

Or just get someone who lived it. That’ll be easier.