Jan 08

Late

I agree with this; don’t waste my time. I don’t have much of it. No one does.

Like one of the commenters, I have walked out of the lobby of a building after they wasted over an hour of my time as I sat there waiting for the interviewer.

Wasting my time? Probably not a good place to work. Done.

Jan 08

Meat me here

No one will believe it now, but I’d venture by 2060 nearly all the meat consumed will be lab-grown.

There will be a tiny market for “pasture grown” gourmet meat, about like the market now for truffles or similar. But almost everyone will eat the far cheaper and actually-available grown meat.

Jan 07

Being wrong

It’s odd to realize something about yourself that you hadn’t really thought about much.

I was reading this Making Light comment about not ever being allowed to be wrong. I realized this dynamic defined my family and my relationship to it in a lot of ways.

With my dad and to a lesser extent with my grandfather, if you didn’t do it perfectly the first time, you might as well not even try. And that meant you were a failure at it and must be forevermore, of course.

The thing is, my process of learning something is the exact opposite of that. When I do something the first time I am usually absolutely, laughably terrible at it. I’ve had teachers and instructors describe me on many thing as the “worst I’ve ever seen” or as “completely untrainable” after they experienced my first few attempts.

That’s at first. But I learn quickly. Really quickly. And with usually less practice than is required for other people. Usually, after a little while I am better at the thing I am attempting than everyone else, with less time invested.

But at first, observing me with any other beginner side by side, you’d assume I have some sort of major disability.

So not being allowed to ever do something wrong in my family really hindered me, and makes me reluctant to this day to do something new in front of anyone else.

That’s why in general if I can’t teach it to myself, I don’t learn it at all.

The only exceptions are math which I believe I do have some sort of actual deficit* in, and dancing as I am wholly uncoordinated and tend to do things like fall down/up stair as my feet are never in sync. No amount of practice or conceptual understanding will or can make me better at those two things, alas.

But everything else, I seem to be the worst one (by far) at something when I first attempt it, so bad that many people have told me that I’m hopelessly terrible at it and should stop trying.

Then I kick their ass at it handily a few months later.

*I’ve practiced math over the years for I’d estimate 10,000-12,000 hours and still can’t do middle-school-level algebra problems reliably, and it’s not because “no one has shown me the right way.” I’ve been shown every way. It doesn’t matter. My brain is just not wired that way. Math is also extremely uninteresting to me as well, so no great loss there.

Jan 05

No site, no service

I’ve been doing research for a major personal project that Rose and I will be embarking on at some point soon, and I’ve been amazed again by how few small businesses have websites or even a Facebook page.

Now, a Facebook page is useless to me* and many others, but having no web presence at all? Why would you do that?

That’s like Fedex taking away all its trucks and planes and equipping its delivery people with horse carts and steamboats.

I know why most small businesses fail, I think. It’s because most people are idiots and ergo most small businesses are run by idiots.

*On my computer, Facebook is blocked altogether, so Facebook and anything tainted by it does not load at all.

Jan 04

Pie Right

The leader of a pirate group has been sentenced to five years in prison.

Meanwhile, the penalties for manslaughter in most states are lower.

“The California sentencing schedule for manslaughter requires the judge to sentence a defendant to 36 months in prison unless mitigating or aggravating circumstances are present. With mitigating circumstances the sentenced is reduced to 24 months and for aggravating circumstances it is increased to 48 months.”

That corporations – and in my view completely evil ones at that – have complete control of our legislative system should be beyond the doubt of any sane person.

Jan 02

I

It is a bit annoying something that you’ve been shouting from the rooftops for years (and thinking about for decades) is finally taken up by someone with “credentials,” only then is it taken seriously.

Not that I have anything against credentials. They are more valuable and useful than not, and as social signals are even more valuable (though far more counterproductive used in that way). Principally, they serve to sort out the complete crackpots at probably a bit better than the rate of chance. And that is valuable.

I don’t have the stamina nor the interest in pursuing any sort of degree, as the things I can learn from books I can learn much more quickly if I just read them myself and don’t pay $1,200 and a quarter or semester of time for something I can spend 25 hours and $0 learning.

What’s that, most people can’t do that?

Good thing I am not most people, then.

Well in the end it doesn’t bother me that much that I’ll never get credit for the ideas that I had well before the academics who will get the discovery thereof attributed to them, as I have made my mark (and will continue to do so) in the Real School of the market, where it doesn’t matter what credentials you have – all that matters is your P&L.

And at that I have a fucking PhD.

If this post sounds a tad bitter, I am really not. The ideas aren’t that revolutionary (in fact they are obvious), I just had them and took them seriously before I saw anyone else do so. No one stole them from me – like most discoveries, they were in the air. The difference is that I sniffed the air sooner, and in fact when I first started writing about these ideas contra accepted economics, my contentions were considered laughable. Now they are becoming mainstream.

Jan 01

Shoddy scholarship

I’ll be glad when this shoddy article quits being cited, about how men and women just can’t be friends.

Fucking Christ, only cloistered academic geeks can credibly produce and cite bullshit like this as they spend so little time in the real world.

Every other normal person in the world ever has had a female or male friend to which they aren’t attracted – and so what if you are attracted? Does that make the person any less of a friend somehow?

Attraction doesn’t mean action, and it doesn’t even mean the desire for action.

At least one commenter utterly destroys the article.

The SciAm summary hugely misrepresents the published data.

For instance: "The results suggest large gender differences in how men and women experience opposite-sex friendships. Men were much more attracted to their female friends than vice versa."

Um, no. On a nine point self-reported scale men and women on average rated their attraction between 3.9 and 4.9. Though men were very slightly more attracted. Similarly:

"[M]ales on the younger end of the spectrum were four times more likely than females to report romantic attraction as a benefit of opposite-sex friendships, whereas those on the older end of the spectrum were ten times more likely to do the same."

Uh, yes. Because merely 10 percent of middle-aged men and 1 percent of middle-aged women listed "the possibility of romance" as a benefit of same sex friendship, the men were technically 10 times more likely. But the real headline (which I find much more surprising) is that 90 percent of middle aged men and 99 percent of middle aged women did NOT find "possibility of romance" to be a benefit of friendship. So treat this article with some caution.

It’s amazing how results can be twisted to fit the societal narrative, even when it makes no sense at all or flatly contradicts them.

A more valid interpretation of the results would be, “Most normal men and women can be just friends, and do so all the time.”

Jan 01

Once there was a Hushpuppy

I highly recommend Beasts of the Southern Wild.

It’s a rare film that takes the perspective of a child and treats it as a serious and valid viewpoint. Children after all are not automatons and many of them are smarter and more observant than most of the adults around them (I certainly was).

And it’s an even rarer film – even now – when that child whose viewpoint is adopted is not a boy.

Quvenzhané Wallis as Hushpuppy is amazing and fierce and yet vulnerable and precocious in a realistic way in the film. She really dominates the screen much as Elle Fanning did in Super 8.

And the film itself blends elements of magical realism with harsh reality in a way I’ve not seen before.

We live in times just as mythical and myth-filled as any. I don’t know if that’s the lesson the work was trying to impart, but that’s what I took from it. Very much worth watching.