Nov 10

Elected

When I aver that elections don’t matter much, here’s what I am thinking about.

‘‘For humanity it’s a matter of life or death … we will not make all human beings extinct, as a few people with the right sort of resources may put themselves in the right parts of the world and survive. But I think it’s extremely unlikely that we wouldn’t have mass death at 4 degrees.

‘‘If you have got a population of 9 billion by 2050 and you hit 4 degrees, 5 degrees or 6 degrees, you might have half a billion people surviving.’’

Most people seem not to realize that they don’t need to watch an apocalyptic movie to get a dose of eschatology – no, they are already living in a slow-motion cataclysm right now.

Human rights, drones, contraception, abstinence education and marijuana legalization will not matter one fucking bit when you are a refugee huddled in a canvas tent in the Yukon Province (as that’s the only place any crops will grow), starving and pestilent.

So, vote for Romney or for Obama. Vote for Santa Fucking Claus. It doesn’t matter. We will not do anything about global climate change, and it’s likely already too late anyway.

I was telling my partner that I am glad I am the age that I am right now. I got to have a good life. A very good life, really. Things won’t start getting really bad until I am old.

For those under 20 or so, and for the children being born right now? Life is likely to become a Road Warrior meets The Road living nightmare.

Nov 08

Dabbling

I’ve always dabbled in nearly everything. Probably always will.

In high school, both parents of a close friend of mine were doctors. The father, who was a cardiologist, would leave his cardiology journals around the house.

So I’d read them, not for any particular reason, but because they were interesting and I was bored. I read these journals for about a year. At first, I understood maybe half of what was in them. Then maybe 75%. After a year, I understood maybe 90% of what was in each issue.

Like I said, no reason. It was just knowledge and available and I thought it was interesting.

One day while I was around, my friend’s father came home from work and started talking to his wife about some new procedure that he was trying at work.

I’d been reading about this procedure for nearly a year – its implications and drawbacks – and was familiar with it.

So I said, “That new aortic stenosis procedure does seem promising, but sans development of better minimally invasive techniques, the risk of endocarditis might be too high and push mortality back to right where it would be due to follow-on infection.”

Ha. Never have I seen jaws drop so quickly.

Now I don’t know jack shit about cardiology. Reading a hundred cardiology journals does not a cardiologist make.

I just thought it’d be funny to make a cardiologist think I was moonlighting at some hospital Doogie Howser-style.

And it was. It very much was.

But I do like having broad knowledge, even if it’s not that deep. It’s much harder to get snookered that way.

And it usually means I can fool an expert for a few hours in quite a few fields, which also can be fun.

Nov 07

Progress

For the first time in history, a state has an all-female congressional delegation.

New Hampshire now has two female senators, two female representatives, and even a female governor — yet the world hasn’t ended.

Nov 07

What pro

The below is what pro-level software can do for your raw photo files. This was with Adobe Lightroom 4.2 and Photoshop CS6.

I didn’t even do that much processing. All was done in the name of making the final image look as much like reality as possible, rather than the commercial photographer’s goal of making the photo resemble reality as little as possible.

The shot on the left is before processing through Lightroom and Photoshop. The one on the right (click for larger) is post-processing. A much better, and truer image. I know – I was there. Image was shot on a Canon T4i with a 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM lens at 1/80 sec at f/5.6, ISO 800, 400mm, hand-held (braced).

image

Final image:

fish I don’t think the yellow/orange is quite right, but I don’t feel like messing with it any longer. My monitor is not properly calibrated anyway, and I doubt anyone reading this has a monitor that is, either.

Nov 07

Richly stating it

The most interesting thing that happened in the election this year was that Puerto Rico voted to become a state.

I don’t know enough about the political process of statehood to say what this means. I believe a bill has to be introduced in Congress asking to be admitted to the union. The Republicans are likely to block/prevent this as Puerto Rico would be a Democrat state very reliably.

Still, this is the first time that Puerto Rico has voted affirmative for statehood and we very well could have a 51st state soon.

And if you can’t read Spanish, figure it out. Heh.

Nov 07

Won by

Obama won, surprising absolutely fucking no one except our idiotic press. I knew it’d be over by 11PM EST, and it was.

Shock. I must be some kind of magician.

Now it’s four more years of a corporate shill not quite as gleeful about oppression and killing as his cartoonishly-sociopathic former rival.

Con-fucking-gratulations.

Nov 06

The press is lying to you

The press is still telling you that it is a toss-up race between Obama and Romney.

The press is, as usual, completely lying to you.

Statistically, Romney stands very little chance. For him to win, absolutely everything would have to go his way, and absolutely everything would have to go against Obama.

That is of course extremely unlikely.

I don’t personally give a fuck who wins, as it matters very little in the medium or long run (and not even that much in the short run).

Nov 06

Writing matters

Nate Silver is a good example of the importance of writing well.

Silver is not a genius forecaster; his projections merely match that of other unbiased models. However, he writes much more clearly than other forecasters and statisticians.

I see parallels with my own life.

I’ve worked in IT for a long time now, and I am pretty good at it. However, I doubt I am in the top 10% of technical skill, and perhaps not even in the top 20%.

What I am, though, is a good writer. I write accurately and quickly and am capable of explaining very difficult technical concepts in terms that non-techies can understand (or at least have the illusion that they do).

I may not be in the top 20% of techs, but in the tech world I’d wager I’m in the top 1/10 of one percent of writing ability.

That has helped me immensely over the years, and is probably responsible for most of my advancement – that and interviewing well, which I suspect is a related skill.

The ability to craft a good sentence is a transferable skill. Unlike many skills, it helps you in every field. You might be able to succeed without it, but with it you do much better than you otherwise would even if you lack top-tier skills.

Nov 06

Richer than sensible

If I were very rich, I’d hire a “no person.” That is, I’d hire someone specifically so that they’d find all the ways I am wrong about something.

That would be their specific job, to always be my devil’s advocate so I don’t lose perspective and become a complete assclown as most rich people seem to become.

Most of the rich seem to want to surround themselves with those who act as useless parrots of their views and desires. I want someone who will tell me, “That is the stupidest thing I have ever heard and you should be ashamed for breathing.”

Someone who tells me I am right all the time is completely useless. Hell, I think I am right most of the time. I don’t need anyone to tell me that.

Advertising for that job would be rather interesting. Interviewing would be as well.

I’d hire the first person who told me I was conducting the interview like a damn idiot.

Nov 05

Evil is evil

This is a pretty good article that states why I cannot and will not vote for Obama.

In fact, during the transition itself, Bush’s Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson offered a deal to Barney Frank, to force banks to write down mortgages and stem foreclosures if Barney would speed up the release of TARP money. Paulson demanded, as a condition of the deal, that Obama sign off on it. Barney said fine, but to his surprise, the incoming president vetoed the deal. Yup, you heard that right — the Bush administration was willing to write down mortgages in response to Democratic pressure, but it was Obama who said no, we want a foreclosure crisis. And with Neil Barofsky’s book ”Bailout,” we see why. Tim Geithner said, in private meetings, that the foreclosure mitigation programs were not meant to mitigate foreclosures, but to spread out pain for the banks, the famous “foam the runway” comment. This central lie is key to the entire Obama economic strategy. It is not that Obama was stymied by Congress, or was up against a system, or faced a massive crisis, which led to the shape of the economy we see today. Rather, Obama had a handshake deal to help the middle class offered to him by Paulson, and Obama said no. He was not constrained by anything but his own policy instincts. And the reflation of corporate profits and financial assets and death of the middle class were the predictable results.

I do live in a swing state. But I’m tired of choosing the lesser of two evils. In the end, you are still choosing evil.

I just can’t do that any more.

Politics and our system are so worthless and meaningless that I don’t even feel like writing about it any longer. I will not be voting for Obama – that is all I know.