Yearly Archives: 2019

August 20th, 2019

In Philosophy

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A bisexual does not change sexuality when they go from a man to a woman, or vice versa

Interesting:

As news of the couple’s breakup churned through the news cycle, so did photos of Cyrus kissing another woman, Kaitlynn Carter. Straight people on social media were critical of their spending time together, saying that it seems wrong to go on a vacation and flaunt it in an ex’s face immediately after breaking up, and that Cyrus was being “slutty” and “inconsiderate.” On the other hand, queer women came out in droves to celebrate having Cyrus “back,” glad that she ...

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August 20th, 2019

In Philosophy

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The goal of an oligarch is to rival the power of the state

I saw this on Tumblr:

If you have $10 million then you can buy everything in life that you might find pleasant. You can own 3 houses and a bunch of cool cars and you can send all of your children to good private schools. If you want more than $10 million, then you are no longer seeking money, you are seeking power. $20 million, $100 million, $1 billion — the extra money doesn’t let you get nicer things for you ...

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August 20th, 2019

In Business

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Why does Google always fail at social networks?

This is a pleasant summary of failed social networks. It does not touch on the subject that interests me most, which is why this space consolidated. But it does offer some interesting tidbits. In my novel How The Young Anna Barnev Established Her Career As A Graphic Designer I spend some time making fun of Google+, and I’m pleased this description of its failure so nearly matches mine:

Google’s next stab was a dreary jumble of boxes evoking a digital fulfillment ...

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August 20th, 2019

In Business

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The fall of Tumblr

Occasionally I find intelligent comments on LinkedIn:

Source

August 19th, 2019

In Philosophy

4 Comments

If you want to go dancing in New York City, consider Silvana

First I’ll recount the events, then I’ll offer an opinion about what they mean.

——————————-

My friend K, from Germany, had her birthday on Saturday. She was turning 40 and she, with help from friends, planned several events for the day.

Several of K’s friends flew over from Germany to join us, and our dear friend Sonya, with complete secrecy, flew in from Michigan, and then surprised K, and K ended up crying she was so happy to see Sonya.

I ...

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August 14th, 2019

In Philosophy

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Good government means expert have the power to put their expertise to use

Interesting:

As you flick through the New European, you eventually leave Brexit behind for something that would have been unthinkable before 2016: the “Eurofile” section, a weekly paean to Europe and its glories. Another section makes for an equally odd sight in a British newspaper: pages of articles by academics, under the heading “Expertise”.

Expertise matters to remainists. They don’t merely admire it – that admiration is an important part of how they define themselves. “A lot of remainers are proud to ...

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August 13th, 2019

In Business

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Woman looking at horizon, a new cliche for book covers?

“A woman stares at a distant horizon, viewer only sees her from behind.” I saw this at Barnes and Noble tonight. There are trends in book covers, as in all things. I actually like most of these book covers. I don’t think this is a terrible motif, but seeing these 6 books together made me think this particular idea is being overused.

Source

August 12th, 2019

In Technology

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How Homakov hacked Github

Apparently I never linked to this? I was impressed with this. A few minor hacks that Github already knew about, and had looked at, and had decided they weren’t important. But Homakov found a way to link them together into a serious attack.

Source

August 8th, 2019

In Business

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The struggle to moderate Hacker News

Interesting:

“From our perspective, the big surprise is how little control we actually have. We have to play our cards very carefully and very wisely, or even that control will sort of evaporate,” Gackle said. “There’s often a strong wish to solve these contentious problems by changing the software, and, to the extent that we’ve tried things like that, we haven’t found it to work. What does seem to work better is personal interaction, over and over and over again, with ...

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August 8th, 2019

In Technology

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Please don’t touch the keyboard

Come on. This technique can be improved.

Source

August 6th, 2019

In Philosophy

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The classical HN analysis: axiomatically derived from premises that seem intuitively true but are empirically false

This sums it up:

tptacek :

I worry that this is the classical HN analysis: axiomatically derived from premises that seem intuitively true but are empirically false.

Actually true of much of the tech world, a deep and abiding distrust of experience; an unwillingness to confront those moments when lived reality contradicts theory, a willingness to take the side of theory and insist that reality must be wrong.

Source

August 4th, 2019

In Philosophy

8 Comments

Why does he want to throw his reputation away?

You have to be inhumanly insensitive to try to minimize these murders by comparing them to things such as the flu. We assign moral weight to murder, we don’t assign moral weight to the flu. If I have to explain why, then there is something wrong with you.

Source

August 1st, 2019

In Philosophy

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Your shame will destroy this planet

Greta Thunberg is awesome and I wish more people were just like her. But personal shame can not save the planet from destruction. Feeling shame will not stop the coal companies from poisoning the air and water. There is no reason why people should feel embarrassed about the fact that they have a biological body that needs to consume resources so as to enjoy life. Limiting the damage done by corporations requires anger, courage and careful thought, but never any ...

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July 31st, 2019

In Philosophy

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Malmab, the Defense Ministry’s secretive security department, is destroying or hiding documents about the Nakba

Interesting

Four years ago, historian Tamar Novick was jolted by a document she found in the file of Yosef Waschitz, from the Arab Department of the left-wing Mapam Party, in the Yad Yaari archive at Givat Haviva. The document, which seemed to describe events that took place during the 1948 war, began:

“Safsaf [former Palestinian village near Safed] – 52 men were caught, tied them to one another, dug a pit and shot them. 10 were still twitching. Women came, begged for ...

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July 30th, 2019

In Business

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None of my neighbors watch porn

I live on 98th street in Manhattan and I’m lucky enough to have a rooftop terrace. I’ve put a picnic table there and I often sit there and drink coffee, late at night (I also have many parties there ). Maybe it is the warm weather, but my neighbors have had their drapes up lately. I can look across 98th street and see televisions or computer screens in perhaps 20 apartments. And another 5 apartments in the building immediately west ...

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July 29th, 2019

In Business

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The decline of the middle class during the 1960s and 1970s

This was written in 1982:

People who came of age in the forties and fifties enjoyed the good fortune of having their expectations shaped during the worst of times and their achievements realized during the best of times—an unbeatable match. And for young professionals, starting a family on a low budget was not a wrenching experience. “When you’re moving up, even the bottom doesn’t look so bad,” says Herbert Gans. For their children, it is just the reverse. “It’s not downward ...

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July 29th, 2019

In Philosophy

1 Comment

Many of my Stackoverflow questions have been marked as duplicates even though they were not

I’ve written before about troubles on Stackoverflow

This is interesting:

That was when something became crystal clear: my coworkers hadn’t become monsters, they were still the kind and caring people I thought they were. The monster in this case is not one person, it was created when lots of people, even with great intentions, publicly disagreed with you at the same time. Even kind feedback can come off as caustic and mean when there is a mob of people behind it. No ...

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July 29th, 2019

In Philosophy

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The Trump administration is racist

I’ve realized I’ve never said this before on this blog, and I want to be on the record for saying what is extremely obvious to anyone who can see. This has nothing to do with immigration:

We should all be afraid, because the government is increasingly seizing USA citizens and holding them without charges, for the sole purpose of spreading terror and intimidating the public. This is a government that wants to normalize authoritarian practices with vulnerable groups so that eventually ...

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July 29th, 2019

In Business

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Inflation in the USA has been low, the increase in asset prices is not a form of inflation because you don’t lose the money you spend

I was engaged in a very disappointing conversation on Hacker News, where most people don’t seem to understand even basic economic facts.

Inflation is low, so the Fed should consider cutting rates. Lower rates means lower unemployment, which should eventually lead to higher wages. As a model for what the Fed rate should be, assume that it should always be 0% plus whatever amount is needed to limit inflation. Since inflation has been low and stable, the rate should remain ...

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July 28th, 2019

In Philosophy

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The subjectivity of Margaret Mead’s love life surely gave her objectivity when examining the foreign

While ending her second marriage and starting an affair with a new man she writes detailed letters to the woman she is in love with explaining her theories of anthropology. Mead was apparently lucky to be in the orbit of Fanz Boas, who put together a scene that sounds like the exemplar of the metaphor “hot house” :

A living room in Grantwood, N.J., has a good claim to being the birthplace, in the late 1920s and early 1930s, of ...

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July 25th, 2019

In Philosophy

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Many of the great prehistoric monuments were built at the same time, including in Greece

Everything about this is amazing:

Although the current archaeological investigations on Dhaskalio have been going on for the past four years, it’s only more detailed examination of the resultant data over the past 12 months that has revealed the true scale of the complex, and the transport logistics and construction work associated with it.

But the remarkable nature of the site does fit into a much more widely dispersed series of monumental construction traditions from western Europe and the Middle East.

Intriguingly, it ...

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July 25th, 2019

In Philosophy

1 Comment

Americans increasingly hate each other

I’ve previously mentioned that my mom has resigned from the Environmental Commission. See Blanche Krubner resigns from the Jackson Township Environmental Commission. She served for 46 years, from 1973 to 2019.

It was difficult for her to resign. She has many happy memories of working with good people to keep central New Jersey a safe and happy place to live. She protected the drinking water, so we can drink from the faucet without having to worry about pollutants.

In the ...

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July 25th, 2019

In Philosophy

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Some natural predator must have died out because the ticks in New Jersey are out of control

I grew up in New Jersey in the 1970s and 1980s. Myself and my younger brother played outside, every evening after school, and all day on weekends. On Saturday mornings we would disappear into the woods and play games there till it was dark. When I was 10 years old it was common for us to gather up our friends and initiate a game like Capture The Flag. We were in the woods for 12 hours straight. If we heard ...

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July 25th, 2019

In Philosophy

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Robert McNamara tracked every statistic he could, except the happiness of the Vietnamese people

When I wrote When companies make a fetish of being data driven they reward a passive aggressive style I made the point that leaders often gather up huge amounts of information, but they focus on the wrong type of information. For instance:

Google seems like an example of how a “data driven” company can go off the rails. I’m not sure what their meetings are like, but I know that in interviews the management at Google talks about their focus on ...

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July 25th, 2019

In Philosophy

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Dating advice: Your life will be enriched in countless ways if you host parties

This is a good question, and I think the correct answer is “Don’t waste time on dating apps”:

Your general advice about the pursuit of love always resonates: Build a life alone that you love; hold onto your belief that love exists even when it makes you feel vulnerable and uncool; if you meet someone you think you like but they’re tepid or not fully invested, go ahead and tell them to fuck off. I now read this and think, ...

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July 25th, 2019

In Philosophy

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You can’t nice your way out of getting trolled

This is good:

Source

July 25th, 2019

In Philosophy

No Comments

Predators typically cannot put into words what their real motivation is, as they do not know it

I’m sad to say that during my life I’ve had at least two encounters with different kinds of predators, one male and one female. Every time I asked them what they really wanted, they had a different reason. I think they invent reasons, on the spot, when someone asks. Their real motivation is a non-rational thing that is difficult to put into words. The Greeks have the word “alogos” which can be translated “inexpressible” and which covers predators. Maybe they ...

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July 25th, 2019

In Book Review

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Lisa Taddeo, sexual desire, three women

Interesting:

Lisa Taddeo

I started by going to San Francisco. I went to a couple of places that felt like they might be the nucleus of sex. I went to the “porn castle” in San Francisco, which is now defunct, but it was this wild place. I was profiling a young woman who was having sex with men while being filmed and directed by her girlfriend. I was really intrigued by how it must feel to watch your partner have sex with ...

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July 24th, 2019

In Philosophy

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Do you get Coldplay? Like, really get Coldplay?

This is the opening scene of my novel, How The Young Anna Barnev Established Her Career As A Graphic Designer

—————

Spring of 2010

When they were sixteen years old, Mera traveled down to Atlanta to spend a week visiting her friend Anna. Greeting each other at the door, they both experienced the mild shock of seeing one another after many months apart. Mera could see that Anna had done something about her uneven eyebrows, while Anna could see that Mera was now ...

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July 24th, 2019

In Philosophy

1 Comment

This woman murdered her husband, and she got away with it

I passed through Madrid, New Mexico in the year 2008. There was one main bar. If you went to that bar, most nights, an older woman came in. She was probably in her 50s or 60s. She was a regular who had been coming in for awhile. She might have also been an alcoholic. That was not unique there — that is a small town in the middle of nowhere and the people there drink heavily.

Once she had a ...

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July 24th, 2019

In Business

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The great, unwritten poems that took a backseat to polished floors

I think of this often, the civilization that could have been, had gender relations been different:

Unlike the male artists, who moved through life as if unfettered time to themselves were a birthright, the days and life trajectories of the handful of female artists featured in the book were often limited by the expectations and duties of home and care. George Sand always worked late at night, a practice that started when she was a teenager and needed to take care ...

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July 22nd, 2019

In Business

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David Sifry failed

With the Web, it was common that the inventor of an idea failed to be the one who commercialized it. The team behind Friendster failed to build the social network that took over the world. Overture invented the idea of selling keywords for searches, but only Google turned it into a successful business. And apparently David Sifry was an early pioneer of looking for spikes in sharing:

Addendum: #David Sifry, creator of the Technorati.com, has created the Technorati Interesting Newcomers List, ...

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July 22nd, 2019

In Philosophy

1 Comment

Appreciating the wisdom of Clay Shirky’s comments regarding the early Web and how it would end

When the Web first emerged in the mid 1990s, people were astonished at the reality that their existed a “long tail” full of more revenue potential than the “fat body”. Amazon proved this early on. At the time, a large Barnes and Noble might sell 130,000 unique items, but Amazon was getting the majority of its revenue from the millions of items that were not among its 130,000 best selling items.

When we speak of what made the early Web ...

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July 22nd, 2019

In Business

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If you are going to talk to a group, you need to rehearse your speech many times

This is advice that I’ve always followed. It’s why I’m very good at talking to large groups. Interesting:

I hope I’ve convinced you at this point that it’s not about the slides, it’s about the words you speak. My number one piece of advice to people doing presentations is “Write a script.” Know exactly what you’re going to say before you start. Improvisation is insanely hard. People spend their whole lives studying the art of improvisation, and even then usually only ...

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July 22nd, 2019

In Business

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When talking to a group, move them to some goal, nothing else matters

Interesting:

Nancy Darling’s advice on giving a presentation is the best thing I’ve ever read on the topic. Here are her five steps to pulling together a good presentation:

Choose a goal;

Find a storyline that will help the group reach that goal;

Develop a series of activities or a method of presentation that allows you to develop your storyline. Don’t let your media determine your storyline!

Remember that your role is to facilitate the group reaching its shared goal. This is your primary responsibility!

Remember ...

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July 22nd, 2019

In Business

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People in business often use the word passion when anger would be better advice

This is good, but I would change one word:

Passion – if you haven’t got it, kill your talk: you’re going to be mediocre. If you find the material tedious, imagine how monstrously dull it will be for your audience. Don’t settle for a subject you should be passionate about; you need to have real passion that the audience can pick up on. Software testing is the kind of thing that everyone ought to care about in the same way that ...

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July 22nd, 2019

In Philosophy

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This miserable way is taken by sorry souls of those who lived without disgrace and without praise

Interesting:

In Dante’s Inferno, the moral cowards are not granted admission to Hell; they are consigned to the vestibule, where they are doomed to follow a rushing banner that is blown about by the wind. When Dante asks his guide, Virgil, who they are, he explains:

This miserable way is taken by sorry souls of those who lived without disgrace and without praise.

They now commingle with the coward angels, the company of those who were not rebels nor faithful to their God, ...

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July 22nd, 2019

In Philosophy

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Censorship in Iran

Interesting:

Censorship comes along with traces of governments ALWAYS!

In many contries allover the world, governments tend to block their citizens to access some certain domains/ips across the internet. Some say “It’s there to keep culture and moral healthy!”. They block pornographies and so. Even in US we can find certain domains which are blocked and cannot be accessed like those which contain CP or wild anti-humanism contents.

But in Iran (and most other countries) that’s not the case!

They block many things. We ...

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July 22nd, 2019

In Book Review

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Book review: His Majesty’s Dragon

I just got done reading His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik.

This is a novel about the Napoleonic Wars, but with England and France also fighting it out with dragons, in the most steampunk way you can imagine.

The most fun part of this novel is the recreation of Evelina and Jane Austen manners and etiquette. Here is a scene that shows the best aspects of the novel. The background is that Will was a ship Captain and much admired, but ...

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July 21st, 2019

In Philosophy

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There must be a universe where we made it work right

I often think like this about the romances in my life, the permutations, the which would have been better. Interesting:

In one universe, we wake up next to each other every day for 50 years. In another, we don’t know heartbreak or the ripping pain from crying all night. We call each other every night, and you send me flowers. I see you in everything except real life but we’re content. This may be my favorite universe. In the fourth universe, the miles between ...

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July 21st, 2019

In Philosophy

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Anaxagoras realized that the moon was a rock, not a God, and the public banished him

Interesting:

Anaxagoras also wrestled with the origins and formation of the moon, a mystery that still challenges scientists today. The philosopher proposed that the moon was a big rock which the early Earth had flung into space. This concept anticipated a scenario for the moon’s origin that physicist George Darwin, son of Charles Darwin, would propose 23 centuries later. Known as the fission hypothesis, Darwin’s idea was that the moon began as a chunk of Earth and was hurled into space ...

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July 18th, 2019

In Technology

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Ethereum is dangerous and Pact offers a much better blockchain smart contract language

What strikes me is how carefully they’ve thought about the problems with Ethereum, and other blockchain technologies. They deliberately make sure that Pact is NOT Turing complete, so they can avoid some of the hacks that took place with Ethereum. They emphasize a declarative style. And yet they also make it so the contracts can be fairly upgraded.

This is from the article:

However, the added versatility offered by Solidity smart contracts comes at a great cost in safety and complexity, jeopardizing ...

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July 18th, 2019

In Philosophy

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You know you’re getting older when…

You know you’re getting older when you can remember what it was like to have thoughtful, intelligent Republican friends. No member of the younger generation can relate to the experience.

Source

July 18th, 2019

In Philosophy

No Comments

An unusually stupid political metaphor

Jesse Watters of Fox News cheated on his wife, via an affair with a 25 year old associate producer, which was eventually discovered by the wife. Last year they finalized the divorce.

Yesterday he went on Fox News and said we should love America the way we love our wife:

“If you love something, you don’t radically transform it,” he told Fox Friend Steve Doocy. “Like your wife. She doesn’t make you love ballet. She doesn’t make you grow your ...

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July 16th, 2019

In Philosophy

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DNA tests prove his father was not his father, and his grandfather was not his grandfather

As DNA becomes more common, people are finding big surprises about who their real parents were. In this case, a researcher finds out that his mom had a brief affair with a neighbor, who turned out to be his real dad, and his mom’s nominal father was not, in fact, her father. That is a lot of lying about parentage in just 2 generations.

Identifying my biological father was a key first step in overcoming my sense of being untethered. ...

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July 16th, 2019

In Philosophy

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The worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world

Trump is correct. AOC and others come from a country where the current government is “a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world”.

Source

July 12th, 2019

In Philosophy

No Comments

The centrists versus the progressives

Interesting:

As Ocasio-Cortez notes, Pelosi’s attacks aren’t taking place in a bubble; they’re taking place in a media environment where the rightwing have put a target on the Squad’s back. On Tuesday night, for example, Fox host Tucker Carlson launched a racist attack against Omar that could arguably be seen as an incitement to violence against the congresswoman. “[Omar] has undisguised contempt for the United States and for its people,” Carlson told his 3 million viewers. “That should worry you, and ...

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July 12th, 2019

In Philosophy

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This is what a confident woman looks like

Interesting:

While a man who has never, knowingly uttered a modest statement about his vanishingly small talents squats in the White House, Rapinoe’s victory utterance triggered howls of protest from Donald Trump’s supporters. “Obnoxious”; “rude”; “egotistical”. On it went. The you-go-girl end of American positive thinking was never, actually, intended to unleash the female ego in this way but rather to act as a piece of marketing designed to remind people – women in this case – that there are no ...

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July 12th, 2019

In Philosophy

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The prisons we chose to live inside are based on fantasies we promote even when they hurt us

Interesting:

The main thing that changed between 2004 and 2019 is that a lot of hidden pain became unignorable.

In What Do We Need Men For?, Carroll writes that since her encounter with Trump in 1995 or 1996, “I’ve never had sex with anybody ever again.” Mr. Right, Right Now came out in 2004, nearly a decade later.

Read in this light, Mr. Right, Right Now is not only exhausting, it is heartbreaking. All this effort, all this labor, all this single-minded focus ...

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July 11th, 2019

In Philosophy

No Comments

How does an author know when they are done with a series?

Interesting:

Eva Chen In your two series, [To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and The Summer I Turned Pretty,] who do you think are the most underrated characters?

Jenny Han Oh, whoa! No one’s ever asked me that!

Eva Chen I am a good interviewer.

Jenny Han It’s hard to say, because I feel like all the characters are very appreciated, and everyone has their own favorites.

Eva Chen Okay, so let’s go the other way. If you had to play favorites —

Jenny Han So my personal favorite characters? From ...

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July 5th, 2019

In Philosophy

No Comments

Learn another language

I am trying to learn Polish, so I resonate with this:

Aside from the stupidity of this view, which seems to assume that all international travel and immigration to and from the UK will cease as soon as the Brexit drawbridge goes up, there is also the fact that having another language is never useless. As a Welsh speaker I have encountered a fair amount of linguistic ignorance: people saying that Welsh is pointless because it is a minority language that ...

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July 4th, 2019

In Business

No Comments

The worst project manager ever

Let’s start by talking about terrible project managers. I was working at a web design agency in 2006 and the project manager was not very intelligent, though he was a spiffy dresser. Stylish shoes. If I looked down at his feet I almost always felt envy. He traveled in Europe, and acquired a collection of fantastic dress shoes from various fashion capitols. But he was a bad manager. His disorganization would come across in conversations like this:

THEM: Hey, uh, you ...

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July 4th, 2019

In Technology

No Comments

The right way to do Agile

The best implementation of Agile that I’ve seen was when I was at ShermansTravel.com and Mark Herschberg was CTO. The system went like this:

Herschberg reckoned that each developer could get 5 hours of real work done each day (the rest of the day got eaten up by email, conversations, research, and other incidentals). We had a crew of 5 programmers, so we had 125 hours a week of real programming. The sprints were 2 weeks long, so we had 250 ...

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July 4th, 2019

In Philosophy

No Comments

Moderation on Hacker News

On a thread about Thomas Jefferson, my comment got flagged by “dang” who is the moderator. I was trying to remind people that Jefferson was a rapist.

I was responding to this fellow, who felt we were too critical of historical figures:

As a side note, his home town, Charlottesville, canceled the holiday celebrating Thomas Jefferson’s birthday[0][1]. It seems to me that our society is too focused on condemning historical persons for their flaws than celebrating them for their noteworthy deeds.

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2019/jul/2/charlottesville-drops-thomas-jeffersons-birthday-h/

https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2019/07/03/as-trump-predicted-charlottesville-cancels-thomas-jeffersons-birthday/

...

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July 4th, 2019

In Philosophy

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Neanderthals were smart, used glue to build good tools

Interesting:

The beeswax compounds, along with diterpenes from a scraper and a flake from Grotta di Sant’Agostino, showed signs that the resin had been heated. The Sant’Agostino samples contained compounds derived from methanol, which is usually given off by heated wood. That’s a perfect fit with what we know about working with resin. It tends to dry and harden when it’s exposed to air, so the Neanderthals at Grotta del Fossellone and Grotta di Sant’Agostino would have needed to heat it ...

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July 3rd, 2019

In Philosophy

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Watching Euphoria

Trying to fall asleep, I decided I’d try to watch Euphoria, a new show on HBO. There are 3 episodes so far, and I watched them all. The first episode is not great, it feels like its from the 1990s but trying to pretend it is current. I wasn’t won over till the 3rd episode, when the show starts to live up to its own idea about itself. The acting deserves applause:

Hunter Schafer as Jules Vaughn is really outstanding.

Barbie ...

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July 1st, 2019

In Business

1 Comment

Kelly O’Donnel: flat, non-hierarchical organizations do not work

Thesis: Every time an organization claims to be flat and non-hierarchical, it is actually hierarchical, but the chain of command is invisible and based on the personal charisma of particular people, or sometimes based on their ability to bully and manipulate others. An organization without a formal structure will have an informal structure made up of various cliques. Is this better? Formally hierarchical structures can be frustrating, but they are transparent about who actually holds power, which is an important ...

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June 30th, 2019

In Philosophy

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An ugly claim by Fram that he would not be misracing a black person by calling them the n-word, only being racist

I often wonder why these kinds of people become so self-destructive. I suspect that this is a mild kind of burnout. When you find yourself defending the use of the n-word, it’s time to take a break and maybe find a new hobby.

Much of that blame fell, perhaps predictably, on a woman and a transgender editor. In 2017, a fledgling Wikipedian accused Fram of monitoring her activity on the site to such an extent that felt like harassment. The editor, ...

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June 29th, 2019

In Philosophy

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When Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez met Greta Thunberg: ‘Hope is contagious’

More interviews like this please:

AOC From there I learned that hope is not something that you have. Hope is something that you create, with your actions. Hope is something you have to manifest into the world, and once one person has hope, it can be contagious. Other people start acting in a way that has more hope.

I remember the first day I was school-striking outside the Swedish parliament, I felt so alone. But I was hopeful GT Yeah. I know ...

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June 29th, 2019

In Philosophy

No Comments

Um, err, uh, I guess this isn’t a terrible review?

I love Kathryn Bertoni to pieces. She was an editor on my last book. She completely re-wrote entire scenes of the book. She is more like a co-author than an editor. And she just wrote a review of the book on Amazon.com. And she, uh, gave it 4 stars instead of 5? So let’s give her points for honesty, right? Here is what she wrote:

I am one of the credited editors of this, Lawrence’s second, book. It was a privilege ...

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June 29th, 2019

In Business

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The accelerating decline of the USA

I sometimes think that a lot of focus is given to Silicon Valley so the public won’t notice how much the USA has declined:

In the early 2000s, the telecom equipment market began to recover from the recession. Lucent’s new strategy, as Mottl put it, was to seek “margin” by offshoring production to China, continuing layoffs of American workers and hiring abroad. At first, it was the simpler parts of the telecom equipment, the boxes and assembly, but soon contract manufacturers ...

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June 29th, 2019

In Philosophy

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Reasons to learn Arabic

I don’t know Arabic, but I love reading how different languages handle things. This jumps out at me:

3. The writing system

The Arabic writing system is exotic looking but easy to learn, which is a rare combination. The language uses a straightforward alphabet, but because letters change their shape depending on what their neighbors are it is quite impenetrable to the uninitiated.

For exmaple, here are some “words” consisting of a single letter repeated three times:

ككك تتت ععع ممم

6. The Feminine Plural Formal ...

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June 28th, 2019

In Philosophy

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British politics was ruined by the democratic election of party leadership

Kenneth Clarke clearly understands politics in a deep way. He is philosophical. If were to claim he read Edmund Burke and Jeremy Bentham and reached his own conclusions, I’d believe him. I love this article:

Regarding the promises made by Johnson and Hunt in the Conservative leadership election, Clarke said both Labour and the Tories had been pushed towards more fringe views than those of their MPs after altered rules involving party members electing leaders.

He said: “Both parties were doomed, in ...

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June 27th, 2019

In Business

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Blurred lines. Ambiguous commands. Awkward social engineering.

I wrote about the general topic in Ambiguity is the mood coming from California Modern business culture seems to love blurred lines. Awkward social encounters tend to work out for those at the top, not those at the bottom. Here is a specific instance:

A few days after I hung out at babe.net’s offices, the staff went out to drink together to toast departing team members; Rivlin, the CEO, had decided to shutter the U.S version of The Tab, in order ...

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June 25th, 2019

In Philosophy

2 Comments

How I recovered from Lyme Disease: I fasted for two weeks, no food, just water

I was bit by a tick and I got sick. No doctor could figure out what was wrong. I tested negative for Lyme. I took antibiotics (Biaxin, aka clarithromycin) and 3 months later I was fine. I stopped taking antibiotics. Within 2 months I was sick again. I took Biaxin for 6 months. I felt great. I stopped antibiotics. Within 2 months I was sick again. I took Biaxin for a year. I felt great. I stopped taking antibiotics. ...

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June 25th, 2019

In Philosophy

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The rightward shift in left parties since the 1960s

All the Western nations have been shifting to the right since the mid 1960s. I plan to write more about this later. I’ll post this as an example, in this case, the rightward shift among the Labour party in Britain.

The former Labour leader Hugh Gaitskell failed in his attempt to implement Crosland’s message by abolishing Clause IV of the Labour Party’s constitution, which pledged it to the common ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange. But Gaitskell’s ...

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June 24th, 2019

In Business

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Ambiguity is the mood coming from California, especially Silicon Valley

Blurred lines. Ambiguous commands. Awkward social engineering.

Modern startup culture is, to a small degree, being defined in a number of dynamic centers, such as Stockholm and Berlin and New York City and Austin. But the current culture of startups, and the jargon around them, is disproportionately being influenced by the culture of California, especially Silicon Valley. A number of influential books have come out of California business culture, and certainly all the main innovations of VC finance.

One thing that strikes ...

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June 24th, 2019

In Business

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Technology is the new inescapable geography

It is possibly a bad look for me to link to someone who is praising me, but in this comment is a truth that has nothing to do with me: that technology has become the new inescapable geography. The implication is the business leaders of the future can ignore tech only about as much Caesar or Napoleon or Rommel could ignore geography. Tech is the battlefield that future businesses will fight on, it can not be treated as a minor ...

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June 24th, 2019

In Philosophy

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We should emphasize the obvious: Boris Johnson will be the worst Prime Minister in history

Out of fear that there is someone, somewhere, who doesn’t yet understand this, we should emphasize that Boris Johnson will be a disaster for the United Kingdom. Interesting and worrisome:

There is room for debate about whether he is a scoundrel or mere rogue, but not much about his moral bankruptcy, rooted in a contempt for truth. Nonetheless, even before the Conservative national membership cheers him in as our prime minister – denied the option of Nigel Farage, whom some polls ...

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June 21st, 2019

In Philosophy

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British politics has gotten itself into an unusually bad spot

What’s happening in Britain is unusual, and we should note how unusual it is. The Fixed Term law suggests that the Tories can sack Theresa May and appoint her successor, without asking the public to weigh in. 150,000 Tory members, mostly older and wealthy, will choose the next Prime Minister. I’m unclear why the Queen would agree to this. Are they even asking the Queen?

The Tory members mostly support Boris Johnson, who will clearly be the most incompetent Prime ...

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June 18th, 2019

In Philosophy

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Climate change has been under discussion for a century

Interesting:

Anthropogenic climate change is usually portrayed as a recent discovery, with a genealogy that extends no further backwards than Charles Keeling sampling atmospheric gases from his station near the summit of Mauna Loa in the 1960s, or, at the very most, Svante Arrhenius’s legendary 1896 paper on carbon emissions and the planetary greenhouse. In fact, the deleterious climatic consequences of economic growth, especially the influence of deforestation and plantation agriculture on atmospheric moisture levels, were widely noted, and often exaggerated, ...

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June 17th, 2019

In Philosophy

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The Grace Hopper division of Fullstack Academy helps create some amazing programmers

Last year I joined a team that was building software for Avis Rental Car. We already had a team, at an external company, that was working on the backend API. I needed to build a team that could work on the frontend code for Android and iPhone phones. So I hired one of the best known frontend programmers in New York City. He met with us a few times, chatted about the project, went home, made a start on the ...

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June 17th, 2019

In Technology

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A real life problem with our Docker use that cost us 3 days of lost work

Sadly, no one saw this because I originally posted it as an update to “Docker protects a programming paradigm that we should get rid of” but just now, on Hacker News, steve_taylor wrote:

docker-compose up -d

What’s not easy about that?

My response? This is the sales pitch for Docker:

docker-compose up -d

But this Slack conversation is the reality (we lost 3 days before we were able to fix the issue, a complex interplay of the Docker cache and the way the Dockerfile ...

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June 15th, 2019

In Business

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I was completely wrong about the continuance of innovation in the tech sector

Back in 2010 I wrote “Excessive praise marks corporate peaks” and I was taking aim at Facebook. I wrote:

Circa 1991/1992 there were articles about how Japan was taking over the world and nothing could ever compete with them because they were relentless. But the early 90s marked the beginning of global retreat for many Japanese companies (with a few exceptions, like Toyota).

In the late 90s nothing could stop Microsoft, yet the late 90s marked the beginning of the era ...

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June 15th, 2019

In Philosophy

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An interview with Kelly O’Donnel, theater director

(This interview also appears in the book How The Young Anna Barnev Established Her Career As A Graphic Designer)

Kelly O’Donnel is one of the co-founders of the Flux Theater Ensemble in New York City.

The following interview was conducted on January 18th, 2019.

Krubner: I’ve done a lot of these interviews, as part of a larger project, and I’m so excited to talk to you. I’ll start off with some personal questions, because even though I’ve sort of known you a ...

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June 15th, 2019

In Technology

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How does your frontend know the id of a document if you’re using an async architecture? Rely on UUIDs.

Building an async system is more complicated than building a sequential system, but it can offer competitive advantages. For instance, you can build mobile apps that work offline, and later sync their data with your system, and this ability to function to work offline can enable uses that your competitors don’t have. This is what allowed Handshake CRM to thrive, even though they started after the CRM market had seemingly consolidated down to a handful of winners. Given the dominance ...

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June 15th, 2019

In Technology

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Caches are cheap, build a lot of them for the frontend

There was a stretch, maybe from 2005 to 2015, which will be remembered as the era of simple Ajax uses. The era started when Sam Stephenson released the Prototype library, but it really got going once jQuery was released. It was an era of Javascript fetching data via Ajax, and relying on the backend code to decide what data is sent in response to each request.

That era is evolving into something different. Frontends are now complicated enough that the ...

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June 15th, 2019

In Philosophy

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Life in San Francisco in 2019

This is part of the history of our era:

Source

June 15th, 2019

In Technology

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Why are software developers confused by Kafka and immutable logs?

Simplicity. Why is it so hard to keep things simple? There are many concepts that we use in software which arise from common sense which we then encumber with needless complexity. Why?

For instance, logs. It’s great to have a record of things. If you’ve built some software that gathers information, it is often very useful to know the order in which information arrived in your system. That is, it is insightful to know the history of events that built ...

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June 14th, 2019

In Philosophy

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A mother regrets her career choices

an excerpt from How The Young Anna Barnev Established Her Career As A Graphic Designer:

——————————-

On the lucky side of things, Anna now had several commercial design gigs: an ice cream store that wanted a font that looked frosty, a financial startup that wanted a logo that looked reliable to the point of stolid, opening credit fonts for a documentary about the spirituality of an aboriginal group of Guatemala.

On the less lucky side of things, each of these gigs paid poorly, ...

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June 11th, 2019

In Business

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Will Machine Learning and AI improve advertising’s ability to target people?

Despite much talk about Machine Learning and AI improving advertising results, what I’m seeing is getting worse and worse. Despite billions invested, the ads shown to me are much less relevant than that ads that I saw on the Web 10 years ago.

Check out this disaster on Vox:

or how about this at Goodreads:

I hired 3 developers from Fullstack Academy. They were all great, so I went and checked out the website, curious about the curriculum. And now, every website ...

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June 11th, 2019

In Philosophy

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In a bad situation, where do young people find advice?

I wonder how common this is, where people find themselves in bad situations, and don’t have a local friend to ask, so they turn to an online community for support and advice?

Source

June 10th, 2019

In Philosophy

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Is television harmful to us?

Are children spending too much time on their phones? One response I hear is “The same concerns were raised about television, but we all grew up watching television, and we turned out just fine.”

But is that true? Did we turn out just fine? Let’s say the children born around 1960 were the first children to ever be raised with television, this cohort went on to become:

1.) the first generation in USA history to see lower real male wages than previous ...

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June 10th, 2019

In Philosophy

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Social norms and cell phones

Interesting:

A small part of the celebration was focussed on the younger ice hockey teams, including the Finnish under-18 women’s team, who came third in their world champsionship this year. Each player’s name and number was called out, and one by one the girls walked out onto the stage, to applause from the audience.

I kid you not, more than half, and maybe as many as three quarters, of the girls were *on their phones* as they walked on stage, and stayed on them for the entire ...

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June 10th, 2019

In Philosophy

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The new authoritarians: a blend of Orwell and Huxley, cruelty and entertainment

This is true:

We are living with a new kind of regime that didn’t exist in Orwell’s time. It combines hard nationalism—the diversion of frustration and cynicism into xenophobia and hatred—with soft distraction and confusion: a blend of Orwell and Huxley, cruelty and entertainment. The state of mind that the Party enforces through terror in 1984, where truth becomes so unstable that it ceases to exist, we now induce in ourselves. Totalitarian propaganda unifies control over all information, until reality is ...

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June 7th, 2019

In Philosophy

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Bringing up your own pain endlessly is emotionally fraught work

The recent revival of progressive movements, after 50 years of dormancy, have also revived the reality of the progressive movement having fractures. The one that I knew nothing about, until this last year, was the fracture within the LGBQT community; in particular, the conflict between lesbians and transexuals. This is a subject I’m still learning about.

Interesting:

honestly we need to stop engaging in good faith with people who have no respect for the suffering that lesbians have historically gone through/are ...

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June 7th, 2019

In Philosophy

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Why are women still pleading for their humanity?

Interesting:

Why are women still pleading for their humanity over everything tbh. Saying women will die if we outlaw abortions doesnt matter to the men in charge because that’s not their priority. They literally see women as incubators doing their duty, as subhuman or different and less important than men, etc. How are you going to appeal to humanity when they dont see you as fully human and deserving of the same autonomy and rights? How are you going to appeal ...

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June 7th, 2019

In Business

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The idealism that defined the early Silicon Valley is now dead

From the 1930s to the 1990s, Silicon Valley generated a lot of slogans that suggested a certain kind of idealism that inspired hopes of a better future. Think of early Hewlett Packard, and the phrase “management by walking around.” There was an emphasis on informality, there was a doubtfulness about bureaucracy, there was the belief that a company could do the right thing and also be profitable. All of that now seems to have died.

Interesting:

Stapleton is a marketing manager ...

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June 6th, 2019

In Business

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Facebook versus Tumblr

So true:

Source

June 6th, 2019

In Philosophy

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The end of the union of conservatives and libertarians

I once ran a libertarian blog, but I am happy to see a split between libertarians and conservatives, because not having religious and moral conservatives speak up in defense of their values leaves too much of the culture exposed to the idea that consumption in the marketplace is a moral choice equal to any other.

As I said at the top of this piece, the debates over libertarians and conservatives, Sohrab Ahmari and David French, are really about a very ...

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June 6th, 2019

In Philosophy

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USA journalism failed to describe the rise in violence in Central America

At one point in my life I followed news in Central America closely. And at one time, this used to be easy, because there was more mainstream coverage of it. When Reagan was President, there was a lot of focus on the Sandanistas, which incidentally meant there were a lot of journalists in Central America, writing about it.

Apparently, things have gotten bad in Guatemala and El Salvador in recent years. I knew nothing of this, till this year. Now ...

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June 6th, 2019

In Philosophy

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Taking care of one’s parents

I’m taking care of my mom. My grandparents are from Eastern Europe, but my parents were born in the USA. We are Americanized, in most ways. Still, I am taking care of my mom.

Here is an immigrant take on the subject:

My husband and I never really discussed the fact that I’d be supporting my parents. It was just a given. I never hid anything. I was open about the fact that my parents had no money. They speak ...

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June 6th, 2019

In Philosophy

1 Comment

Nils Meyer: there are advantages to containers, but fairly easy to get wrong

Here is a comment that Nils Meyer on LinkedIn, in response to something I said. I can agree that I would see some use to Docker/Kubernetes in a non-virtual world, the irony is that I’ve only seen Docker/Kubernetes used in virtual setups.

I would agree that using packer and treating the VM like a container (or rather a pod in Kubernetes Parlance) is the easier approach. It’s also somewhat bizarre that a tarball of multiple tarballs and shell scripts concatenated ...

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June 5th, 2019

In Philosophy

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Rainbow Rowell didn’t set out to write YA

Interesting:

But such nebulous (and, frankly, elitist) labels are not useful in explaining Rowell’s appeal. Her voice is welcoming and inclusive; she’s primarily interested in interpersonal relationships, but she’s also strongly influenced by genre writing and fan fiction, and has been vocal in her admiration for YA mega-franchises like the Harry Potter and Twilight books — both of which had a pronounced influence on Carry On.

Rowell’s success is indicative of the changes mainstream young adult fiction has undergone in the past ...

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June 3rd, 2019

In Uncategorized

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Why not have more non-white female security guards?

There is truth in this:

though Karine Jean-Pierre had both the reaction time and the situation-defusing skills of the Dora Milaje, she NEVER should have had to put herself in that situation.

and:

I’m all for Karine Okoye Jean-Pierre but the first emotion I felt was terror. That nut job got too close too fast and security didn’t do shit for a long ass time.

and:

I love me some Karrine Jean-Pierre. She does not think of herself; she steps up to protect her sister ...

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June 3rd, 2019

In Philosophy

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Socrates says that Trump is unhappy

A reminder:

First, he describes how a tyrannical man develops from a democratic household. The democratic man is torn between tyrannical passions and oligarchic discipline, and ends up in the middle ground: valuing all desires, both good and bad. The tyrant will be tempted in the same way as the democrat, but without an upbringing in discipline or moderation to restrain him. Therefore, his most base desires and wildest passions overwhelm him, and he becomes driven by lust, using force and ...

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June 2nd, 2019

In Philosophy

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Pretty Much Screwed, by Jenna McCarthy

I just got done reading “Pretty Much Screwed” a novel by Jenna McCarthy, a novel set in Florida during the period 2010 to 2015. It is interesting to read this novel right after I read Eliza Kennedy’s novel “I Take You” (read my review of I Take You). The central characters could hardly be more different. Lily Wilder, from I Take You, is sexually adventurous and full of controversial opinions. By contrast, Charlotte Crawford, the main character of Pretty Much ...

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June 1st, 2019

In Philosophy

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I Take You, by Eliza Kennedy

I recently read “I Take You” by Eliza Kennedy. There are many strengths to this novel. Sadly, there are also some real weaknesses.

(I also recently reviewed Jenna McCarthy’s book, Pretty Much Screwed, which makes for an interesting contrast.)

In my own writing, I lean heavily on dialogue, so I liked that aspect of the book. Many novels use dialogue as a bit of garnish on top of the real meal, but this book uses dialogue as the main course. And ...

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June 1st, 2019

In Philosophy

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Blanche Krubner resigns from the Jackson Township Environmental Commission

You might recall some of the drama of my mom’s reappointment in 2009, which I’ve linked to before. When the Republicans gained power, they were anxious to push my mom out:

The issue surrounding Krubner came to the attention of the public several weeks ago when Reina did not reappoint the longtime Jackson resident and former teacher to the environmental commission or to the Planning Board.

The mayor said at the time, “Like all other towns, things have to change, and we ...

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May 30th, 2019

In Technology

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The collision of capital and idealism over a technology

This is a good article, but is it appropriate to say that a technology is simply going through some growing pains when the technology is 25 years old? Doesn’t the long history suggest the problem here is a complex one, with a long history of its own? Python was a dying language until Google decided to make large investments in it. Now it is the main language for Data Science. This is a language that started off with a certain ...

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May 30th, 2019

In Philosophy

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Drama inside a fandom

Interesting:

Then the girl with the Destiel shirt was being villainized all over the place. I felt bad for this poor girl (little did I know I’d soon take her place). She has something she likes. It got noticed. Lots of people feel the same way. [Just to be clear, I neither ‘ship’ Destiel or Wincest nor am I homophobic - it seems you are one of those three in this fandom]. She got called all kinds of ...

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May 30th, 2019

In Technology

5 Comments

Billions were wasted on Hadoop startups, and the same will eventually be true of Docker

The hype over Hadoop has died away and many of the investments now seem to have been terrible investments:

MapR Technologies Inc., one of the troika of unicorn startups that emerged from the early days of the big-data movement, may cut up to 122 jobs and shut down its Santa Clara, California headquarters if it can’t secure additional funding.

The company, which raised a total of $280 million in financing since it was founded in 2009 and whose market capitalization once ...

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May 29th, 2019

In Philosophy

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Is it bad to be a serial killer?

Remarkable how comfortable some people are referencing the love of Villanelle as an aspirational relationship goal, without regard to her profession.

Source

May 29th, 2019

In Technology

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Could client side Java make a comeback?

Interesting:

Gluon has always been very active in the Java Mobile Enterprise area. One of the big benefits of Java on the mobile and embedded client, is the fact that 12 million Java developers can use their skills to create mobile and embedded applications. In the past, the runtime for mobile platforms always lagged behind the runtime for desktop.

When we announced GluonVM, we said we would aim to bring Java on mobile at the same level as Java on desktop. We ...

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May 29th, 2019

In Business

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Why are video game companies so awful?

This would be a bizzare exception in most industries, but the video game industry seems rife with abuse. Very concerning:

Bundschu estimated he had three drinks, adding that he remembers everything that happened. (“I want to be clear—I remember this so clearly. I wasn’t so drunk that my memory is impaired or anything.”) Barrera moved to the end of the table, Bundschu says, and then asked who wanted to go to the dance floor. Bundschu volunteered, and then, he says, things ...

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May 27th, 2019

In Philosophy

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Moby did not apologize

Moby wrote a book and said he dated Natalie Portman when she was 18 and he was 33. She then responded and said no way, he was just an older creepy dude and she was polite to him. Now he has “apologized” but he does not actually retract the claim that they dated:

Source

May 27th, 2019

In Philosophy

1 Comment

The winners of globalization will now fight it out in the political sphere

Interesting:

First it was the left, now it’s the turn of the right to fade from the French political landscape. We have a new faultline: one that separates “progressives” from “populists”. This realignment is no accident, but the result of the political world catching up with real changes in society. The traditional left-right divide is giving way to one that reflects a fundamental class conflict that will define the west in the 21st century: the working classes whose livelihoods have been ...

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May 27th, 2019

In Business

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Computer says automobile is stolen, innocent people arrested

We continue to pay a high price for our increased reliance on broken software:

In 2017, Magalie Sterlin also rented a car from Hertz and found guns drawn on her at a checkpoint. The cops told her that the car she was driving had been reported stolen, which was news to Sterlin because she had rented it. She got arrested and was held for half a day. In her police report Sterlin told officers “she did not return the vehicle despite the ...

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May 25th, 2019

In Philosophy

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Single women are happier

It takes a lot of religion to keep people from seeing this:

We may have suspected it already, but now the science backs it up: unmarried and childless women are the happiest subgroup in the population. And they are more likely to live longer than their married and child-rearing peers, according to a leading expert in happiness.

Speaking at the Hay festival on Saturday, Paul Dolan, a professor of behavioural science at the London School of Economics, said the latest evidence showed ...

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May 24th, 2019

In Philosophy

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Anna Barnev, examples for the book cover, design by Leah McCloskey

My new book is out! Check out “How The Young Anna Barnev Established Her Career As A Graphic Designer“.

In chronological order, starting in January of 2019, these were the designs that Leah McCloskey came up, to try to capture the spirit of the Anna Barnev story.

Here was the first batch, which she sent to me on January 14th, 2019:

Of these, I liked the hand drawn version of Anna, because she looks confident, and I thought it was important to have ...

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May 23rd, 2019

In Business

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If a company is serious about security, then who in the company is serious about security?

[Originally from a longer essay]

Let’s talk about EquiFax. They were hacked and data regarding 145 million people was leaked. When the CEO was hauled before Congress to explain himself, he emanated a nonchalance that offended people. John Oliver had a nice take down:

After this disaster was well known to the public, EquiFax hired ReliaQuest to manage their server security. I have friends who work at ReliaQuest, and I know it is a great company full of great people. If ...

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May 19th, 2019

In Philosophy

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Whatever happened to This Chick Digs Chicks?

I previously linked to a blog on Tumblr called this-chick-digs-chicks. The woman behind that blog wrote a lot on the subject of an appropriate relationship between transexuals and lesbians. Others called her a terf, but she made good points about the need to have a movement of those whose lifetime experience was that of being a woman. Almost everything I’ve read on the subject I learned either from her or from the stuff she linked to.

But now it looks ...

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May 16th, 2019

In Philosophy

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YouTube is the ultimate reality TV

Somehow modern reality TV reminds me a bit of the explosion fake religious leaders that happened during the English Civil War. In 1649 the English people were acting without precedent — there had never been a political revolution in which peasants rose up and executed a king. The public could only understand it in religious terms, surely this cataclysm must mean that the Second Coming was near? And then more and more people began coming forward who claimed to be ...

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May 15th, 2019

In Philosophy

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Nicholas Sparks helps oversee a homophobic school

Given the kind of emotionally manipulative and retrograde fiction that he writes, this isn’t a huge surprise:

And now for a bit of news as predictable as his novels: Per an extensive report from The Daily Beast, prolific heteronormative romance bro Nicholas Sparks- who also co-founded and runs the Epiphany School of Global Studies in North Carolina – is currently embroiled in a legal battle for an alleged pattern of discriminatory behavior that took place in his school. If you feel ...

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May 14th, 2019

In Philosophy

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No longer the best and the brightest

It’s often said that Gordon Liddy was a symptom. He was not the illness himself. He was a minor character. But the fact that he was tolerated at all teaches us something about the kinds of people who were attracted to President Nixon.

Likewise:

Louise Linton, Baroness of the United States Treasury and Hermés scarf owner, was recently profiled by Los Angeles Magazine. You might ask: Why is the Treasury secretary’s wife being profiled by a magazine for retired sit-com stars? ...

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May 14th, 2019

In Philosophy

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Jeff Franklin accussed of misogyny and creating a toxic work environment

Interesting:

THR obtained a copy of the sworn declaration, intended to support Behar’s attempt to have Franklin’s lawsuit thrown out. It reveals that Warner Bros. first received a complaint about the Full House creator back in 2016, well before the allegations against Weinstein were made public. The studio launched an investigation into “Franklin’s handling of pregnancy-related requests for time off for doctor appointments as well as concerns about equal treatment for male and female writers for the show.” Though Franklin received ...

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May 14th, 2019

In Philosophy

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Peaceful and safe

Interesting:

Source

May 13th, 2019

In Philosophy

No Comments

What does it mean for a young person to become an adult in 2019?

There is truth here:

Source

May 13th, 2019

In Philosophy

No Comments

Why doesn’t lasciviousness hurt Trump?

For any other President, this photo would have ended their Presidency:

It is gross to see a married man flirting with a younger woman so openly. But this photo did not hurt Trump, and likewise, when he was caught on tape bragging about assaulting women, it did not hurt him. I am curious why he is so utterly insulated. There is roughly 40% of the country that is willing to follow him no matter what. There is absolutely nothing he can ...

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May 13th, 2019

In Philosophy

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The lust to blame on Tumblr

A lot of modern politics is being shaped by little moments such as this:

“oh man, remember how john green has a This Machine Kills Fascists sticker on his laptop despite never in his life even thinking about doing anything subversive ”

I’m so over the dumb shit with this cursed dead-end site. He and his brother provide free educational videos contradicting white-washed/cis male-washed history and science. He has always listened to reasonable critique on his work and apologized for anything he ...

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May 12th, 2019

In Philosophy

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they aren’t your fictional ships and they aren’t you representation quota

Well said:

Source

May 12th, 2019

In Philosophy

2 Comments

Why is Meghan McCain famous?

Meghan McCain is the daughter of John McCain, the great war hero. One thing that bothers me, intensely, is when someone tries to claim someone else’s greatness as their own. I’m curious what has Meghan McCain done that justifies her national reputation? Being the daughter of John McCain is not, itself, a qualification.

This is interesting:

McCain’s response to this polite, reasonable, question was to go on an outraged and borderline incomprehensible tirade in which, in between splutters, she continued ...

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May 11th, 2019

In Philosophy

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Trump is bad at golf

Amazing that this is so important, and yet it is:

Well, this story isn’t in the book but it’s wild. While Trump was meeting with Kim Jong Un in Singapore, a club championship was held at Trump International, the course Trump built near Mar-a-Lago in Florida. So later on, Trump’s back on the course there with the Secret Service and the SWAT team guys and all that stuff. And he sees Ted Virtue, who was involved in the financing of the ...

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May 1st, 2019

In Philosophy

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Battle Of Winterfell

I just watched this while falling asleep last night. While I agree that the battle could have been shorter, I also feel that every single episode of Game Of Thrones could be shorter. I’m constantly stunned about the amount of extra footage that any competent film editor would normally remove, but which somehow makes it into this show. Is this done to pad the time? Is the goal to stretch the show out as long as possible, because it is ...

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April 29th, 2019

In Philosophy

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High heels

Interesting:

Brennan circles around the shoes from all angles, and her brief chapters add up to a kaleidoscopic view of feminine public existence, both wide-ranging and thoughtful. She describes the high heel shoes she wore for her own job at the United Nations, and she describes falling down stairs in the course of doing her job while wearing them. There’s another short chapter about the tall tale that expensive high heels don’t hurt, only cheap ones do, so if you’re in ...

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April 19th, 2019

In Philosophy

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She has some lovers along the way

A comment from a friend regarding some fiction I wrote. This is the nicest thing that anyone has ever said about my writing. I can’t even imagine a comment that would make me happier than this one:

That’s about it. Really, Lawrence, I think it is very strong. There is a lot of humor and a lot of great discussion about art and the building of a career outside the “mainstream” process. I love how her various lovers ...

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April 19th, 2019

In Philosophy

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Why explain dialogue?

From my friend Kat:

First, just an overall note about what irritates me in terms of some writers’ dialogue – it bothers me when writers write a scene with a certain tone and then also explain that tone through exposition. So, for example a character says something sarcastically and then the author explains that they said it sarcastically

I feel exactly the same way. Every one else who reads my novels gives me the opposite advice, and I thought perhaps I was ...

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April 18th, 2019

In Philosophy

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Men gawking at the gym

This is from the year 2005:

At first, I couldn’t figure out why there were so many old geezers on the Stairmasters, or why everyone else in the gym was clustered down at the other end. About a minute into my workout, it became obvious. The fitness center is directly opposite the swimming pool, separated by a pane of glass. Olympic synchronized swimmers on one side, old geezers on the other.

As far as they were concerned, it was like being at ...

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April 18th, 2019

In Philosophy

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The rise of sincerity as a progressive answer to the alt-right

Interesting:

Wholesome circa 1998 was the ’50s. Wholesome was father knows best. Wholesome was a mother vacuuming in pearls and high heels.

And for most of the ’90s and the ’00s, “wholesome” and “pure” were nearly synonymous with sexual chastity, with wholesome family values and evangelical Christian purity. Girls would put on purity rings at purity balls, which were a “wholesome event” for fathers “bringing up daughters to live in purity and in truth.” Daughters would pledge to remain virgins until marriage, ...

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April 18th, 2019

In Technology

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When you accidentally put your database on a public subnet in AWS

This feels like a very easy mistake to make:

Here’s an example where you can get into trouble. Digging through some infra code, reviewing with a new devops hire, we were going through everything with a fine toothed comb. We found that the RDS instance was being deployed in PUBLIC subnet, instead of private.

Alerted to the problem, we first checked to see whether it was accessible from the internet at large. It wasn’t, because we had not exposed a public facing ...

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April 16th, 2019

In Technology

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Anna Kucirkova: the history of computer programming languages

This article misses all of the Lisps, and focuses mostly on Algol languages, but it does a nice overview of that branch of computer history, and how that branch gave us the syntax of modern popular languages like Javascript.

1883: That’s right, the first programming language was born in 1883. The algorithm for the Analytical Engine was created by Ada Lovelace for Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine to compute Bernoulli numbers. This is widely considered to be the first computer programming ...

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April 16th, 2019

In Technology

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The cult of complexity

Interesting:

Writing the same dull CRUD application over and over is boring. But what if you could figure out a way to get all the simple CRUD applications to talk to one another? That’s a nice and juicy puzzle. This perhaps explains the complexity fetish I see in so many “Enterprise” architectures and applications. Some of it is accidental complexity, accrued from years of piecing together parts that were never meant to work with one another. But I don’t think accidental ...

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April 16th, 2019

In Technology

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Serverless architecture uses servers, requires work, and is a stupid name

For all of you who continue to close your eyes and refuse to look at reality, here is another post pointing out the work involved with “simple” setups:

Also:

A task definition defines the actual container you want to run. The problem I ran into immediately here is that this thing is insanely complicated. Lots of the options here are very straightforward, like specifying the docker image and memory limits, but I also had to define a networking model and a variety ...

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April 16th, 2019

In Philosophy

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The rising importance of fanfiction

Interesting:

The Archive of Our Own has had a fundamental role in altering the way we think about fanfiction

That empowered attitude arising among fans who built and used AO3 would coincide with a sea change in the way we think about fanfiction.

The creation of the AO3 in 2009 happened parallel to the rise of social media. This was a highly significant coincidence for fandom. AO3 was formed as an independent, fully non-corporatized community just when the internet was dividing into venture ...

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April 16th, 2019

In Business

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The irony of Tumblr banning porn

The first startup that I founded ran from 2002 to 2008 and it was focused on weblog software. I spent that time writing code and adding features because I thought we would win by adding features. Towards the end of my time at that startup, in 2007 and 2008, Tumblr emerged. Tumblr boasted a lack of features, which is to say, they were proud of their simplicity. I was irritated to realize that this could be a winning move.

Over ...

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April 16th, 2019

In Philosophy

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Another fanfic doing well

Almost any story about fanfiction doing well makes me happy. Although, I wonder why the stories tend to lead to bland movies? Is that because of the young demographic?

In 2013, a 25-year-old named Anna Todd self-published her work of serialized fan fiction on Wattpad. It blew up almost instantaneously and reached over one billion reads. After became a success largely for its steamy scenes, which drew comparisons to Fifty Shades of Grey—and because its male lead, Hardin Scott, was stylized ...

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April 15th, 2019

In Philosophy

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Women are tough

Here is an odd article from the Russian press. It seems to be saying that Western feminism is wrong because women are actually very tough:

There’s a railroad in Siberia that my grandmother and other Soviet women built. Married twice and twice divorced, she was always so busy at work that she didn’t have time for her own children. At the age of 17, her daughter, my mother, moved from a small city in the north and went to Russia’s ...

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April 14th, 2019

In Philosophy

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There was this logo on a red bus, saying our money should remain in the UK — that’s why I voted for Remain

This is a priceless story:

The day after the Brexit referendum in 2016, I went to Romford. I was keen to talk to people in one of the highest Leave-voting constituencies.

In a pub on South Street, I chatted to an elderly lady who was sitting at a table next to her two sons. Both had voted for Leave. She had voted Remain. Why? I asked her.

“There was this logo on a red bus, saying our money should remain in the UK. ...

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April 14th, 2019

In Business

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The recurring cycle of online communities now catches up to Facebook

All online communities die, but Facebook’s slow obsolescence seems entirely self-inflicted. They could go back to have a simple Wall, which is all that people actually want. But that would mean accepting less money for advertisements. Apparently that is not an option? Remarkable that they will chase the money straight up to the moment they are doomed.

Interesting:

Instagram is designed to be used as it is actually used: as a posturing tool.

On Facebook you could share a moment with friends. ...

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April 14th, 2019

In Philosophy

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Brienne and Daenerys

I love this:

Source

April 14th, 2019

In Philosophy

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The difference between conspiracy theories and conspiracism is the first tries to explain an event, whereas the second simply invents events

Suppose you believe in an evil force, such as Satan or Communism of aliens from another planet. You believe this evil force wants to take over the planet and destroy the entire human race. And you believe that I am loyal to this evil force. Is there any reason why you should then respect my right to vote? If my side wins the election, is there any reason you should feel the election was valid?

Promoting conspiracies about the rising ...

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April 14th, 2019

In Philosophy

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What if we kiss in your Paris apartment after I stab you in the stomach?

I admit, I really like this show. I don’t allow myself much time to watch television shows, but I will make time to watch this one.

Source

April 14th, 2019

In Philosophy

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The cat named Brexit

Very good:

Some have responded with humour. Nathalie Loiseau, France’s Europe minister, said recently that if she had one, she would call her cat Brexit: “It wakes me up miaowing because it wants to go out. When I open the door, its sits there, undecided. Then it looks daggers at me when I put it out.”

Source

April 14th, 2019

In Philosophy

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Why can’t all books be like this, I started thinking midway through, just 280 pages of pure human relationship?

Interesting:

Even if we can’t picture them, the characters are wildly, freakishly attuned to every sensation they experience, surveilling their emotional and physical reactions and analyzing the gestures and comments of everyone they encounter.

In fact, there is so little external physical description that when it comes along it functions as a mental speed bump, drawing attention to the artifice. The spell of the book is broken, temporarily, as if Rooney has remembered to insert some description of rain “silver as loose ...

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April 14th, 2019

In Philosophy

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Bad writing in Game of Thrones

Funny and true:

There are sentences we hear in our lives that stick with us and grow deep, strong roots in our souls. We remember these idioms because they are poetic and resonant, disturbing and brilliant. They become mantras, guiding lights. We seek these phrases in times of joy or need. I myself hold onto one of these sentences: a beautiful sequence of words that has rattled around my brain since 2015 when “Mother’s Mercy,” the season five finale of Game ...

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April 14th, 2019

In Philosophy

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Curse words in Scientific American?

The world is getting more and more informal, but I’m still surprised that Scientific American allowed this use of “fucked”:

Beyond that, the historiography of science in the 60s and 70s centered on distinctions between the “internal” history of science, or the internal logic of scientific ideas and their disembodied development over time, and the “external” history of science, or the grubby social and institutional contexts in which serene natural philosophers built on the work of their predecessors. What fucked Kuhn ...

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April 11th, 2019

In Philosophy

3 Comments

Abuse on Wikipedia

Interesting:

In countries where it is more dangerous for L.G.B.T. individuals to be open about their identities, harassment on Wikipedia can be particularly virulent. Once, an administrator on a Wikipedia page blocked an editor simply because that person’s username suggested that the editor could be gay, said Rachel Wexelbaum, a Wikipedian who works to improve L.G.B.T. content on the website. Eventually, she said, Wikimedia’s Trust and Safety Team got involved, and the administrator was blocked for those actions.

In some spaces, the ...

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April 6th, 2019

In Philosophy

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Abusive people know they are abusive

Back in 2001 I had a friend who needed to hear this, and I told her, many times, but she did not listen to me. She kept writing long letters to the guy who abused her, hoping he would understand what he had done. My feeling is he always understood, he did not need anything explained.

Source

April 5th, 2019

In Business

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Can anarchism be commodified?

As the big tech firms increasingly consolidate their hold on the Web, they are increasingly trying to clean it up and make it look presentable. For instance, many of my favorite LGBQ writers on Tumblr have recently been banned, presumably because they occasionally post photos of a sexual nature.

Google is having a problem with YouTube. Too many of their content creators are creating stuff that advertisers don’t like. So Google is now promoting conventional work from television. And the ...

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April 4th, 2019

In Philosophy

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The sexualization of Brexit

Apparently this is a real quote? If so, I’m horrified.

As far back as last year, Boris Johnson was casting himself as the man “to put some lead in the collective pencil”.

Whatever happened to Britain? For centuries it was regarded as one of the sanest places on Earth. It will be a long time before anyone regards it that way again.

All of this makes me sick:

Happily, not one of them feels miscast in this hypersexualised action hero role. “How ...

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April 3rd, 2019

In Technology

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Stream remote file via Aleph to AWS S3?

Interesting:

What I’ve got to do is to get a file stream from a remote HTTP server and then upload that stream into AWS S3.

I query a URL with http/get, parse Content-Length header to know the file size and pass that into AWS PutObjectRequest as follows:

(aws/put-object aws {:bucket-name bucket :key key ...
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April 1st, 2019

In Philosophy

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The big shift in USA politics

I’m glad this is happening, but I wonder why this is happening now? My parents were heartbroken when the nation began to shift to the right after 1968, and I’ve been waiting my whole life to see something like this:

Source

March 30th, 2019

In Philosophy

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For the generation born in the 1960s, the American dream has undeniably vanished

Interesting:

The declining prospects of America’s working class are widely discussed and hotly debated these days, from the anthems of Bruce Springsteen to the “deaths of despair” research of Princeton economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton.

A recent paper from the Opportunity & Inclusive Growth Institute explores this downhill trend for less-educated men and women by comparing life outcomes of two cohorts born 20 years apart. It shows that for the more recent generation, the American dream has undeniably vanished.

“The Lost Ones: ...

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March 29th, 2019

In Philosophy

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It’s astonishing that a Democratic backbencher could get this much attention and get so famous at the beginning of her first term

So true:

The Washington Post’s Phillip Bump analyzed Fox News segments between January 1 and February 15 of this year, comparing the number of segments mentioning AOC to those focusing on at least one of the Democratic 2020 presidential candidates. It turns out she got more coverage on Fox than any candidate save one, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who is also a right-wing boogeyman. Ocasio-Cortez got significantly more Fox News coverage than fellow democratic socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders.

It’s astonishing that a Democratic ...

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March 28th, 2019

In Philosophy

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Groups is the thing that all social networks need

If there is anything that would cause danah boyd to “Just say no” it is probably collapsing contexts. And that is something that Google+ got right:

Google plus had circles

… so unlike with twitter I didn’t have to spam everyone to reach those two followers who’d actually care about that topic.

Example: I could add Norwegians I knew to my “Norwegians” circle so I could share links to Norwegian pages only to people I knew could read Norwegian.

Facebook has this as groups, ...

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March 27th, 2019

In Philosophy

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No p-value can reveal the plausibility, presence, truth, or importance of an association or effect

I don’t understand why this started, 100 years ago, why it lasted as long as it did, or why right now it is coming to an end. I’m pleased to see this nonsense end, but I’m very curious why it happened at all. I suppose this was an expression of some aspect of the class war during the 20th Century, the rising importance of a certain group of professionals?

Scientists should stop using the term ‘statistically significant’ in their research, ...

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March 24th, 2019

In Philosophy

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A new “fandom is broken” article and the ensuing avalanche of responses is only the latest iteration of a familiar cycle

Two comparisons occur to me:

1.) to the extent that fanfic suggests the amateurs who can undermine the power of the professionals, there is an echo here for the criticisms that journalists made, over and over again, when the blogosphere existed, during the period from 1999 to 2008. That conversation when the blogosphere was destroyed by Facebook and Twitter.

2.) to the extent that gender is a factor in the hysteria of the reaction against fanfic, there is some overlap between ...

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March 24th, 2019

In Philosophy

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South Korea has gone crazy because 552 refugees

So very disappointing:

It is easy to be disappointed at this response coming from a liberal administration, one that was born out of the heroic monthslong protests that resulted in the impeachment and removal of the deeply corrupt and authoritarian President Park Geun-hye. Yet polling reveals the dispiriting reason why the Moon administration is at least partially pandering to anti-refugee sentiments: The issue potentially poses the greatest threat to the administration’s stability yet, as it strikes at the foundation of its ...

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March 24th, 2019

In Philosophy

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Does reality exist?

The problem in this paragraph is the use of “we”:

Morris, who calls his philosophy “investigative realism,” writes, “I feel very strongly that, even though the world is unutterably insane, there is this idea—perhaps a hope—that we can reach outside of the insanity and find truth, find the world, find ourselves.” Kuhn, for all his faults, goaded Morris into writing a brilliant work of investigative realism. For that, if for nothing else, he, and we, should thank Kuhn.

If we replace ...

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March 23rd, 2019

In Philosophy

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The ongoing Young Adult wars are about power—about who has traditionally wielded power in publishing, and how that balance is shifting

The subject that is very much at the forefront of my mind nowadays:

The YA book world has gone through a few high-profile controversies in the past few months involving authors who pulled their books shortly before publication after a group of angry bloggers accused them of racism. Each cancellation sparked a slew of hot takes, but this New Yorker piece from Katy Waldman is by far the most nuanced and careful one I’ve seen:

The ongoing Y.A. wars are about power—about ...

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March 23rd, 2019

In Business

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Creating Personas for User Experience Research — these need to be very specific

I really like this video (created by friends of mine). It makes clear that you have to be very detailed when you talk about a persona that you want to design a product for. The goal is to create empathy, within your company, for this persona.

Source

March 23rd, 2019

In Philosophy

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These people are bent out of shape by their hidden selves

I’ll have to track down whatever her best book was and read it:

These people are bent out of shape by their hidden selves. There is something of another contemporary, Henry Green, in Johnson’s invigorating harshness. As Elsie passes on her way to school, Parsons ‘gave her a sidelong glance, sniffing up the hairs in his nose. Sidey little runt, he thought.’ Elsie, abruptly adolescent, is in love with her art teacher, Miss Chavasse, who is having complicated thoughts about her ...

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March 20th, 2019

In Philosophy

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Parents unthinking use of social media

Parents who embarrass their kids is a phenomena as old as time, but doing so on social media means a larger audience, and the possibility the incidents will remain public forever. Parents should really think twice about this.

There, for anyone to see on her public Facebook account, were all of the embarrassing moments from my childhood: The letter I wrote to the tooth fairy when I was five years old, pictures of me crying when I was a toddler, and ...

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March 20th, 2019

In Philosophy

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Almost readable Greek

As sometimes with the Russian alphabet (and for similar reasons) I can sometimes almost read a Greek word, and it always surprises me. Here is an alphabet that is clearly different from Latin, yet so tantalizingly close to Latin that I can almost read it.

Source

March 20th, 2019

In Technology

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When will Apple get its act together regarding iPhone development?

Anyone who has developed for both Apple and Android is aware that the process tends to be easier on Android. But why is this? Apple has a vast pool of money, so they could invest some of it to make iPhone/iPad development easier. And this is a well known path for achieving software dominance. One of the things that allowed Microsoft to win, back in the 1990s, was their focus on building tools that made it easy for developers to ...

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March 15th, 2019

In Philosophy

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Misogynist morons misogynize Captain Marvel

Interesting:

In February, as Captain Marvel’s first pre-release screenings were held for press, the movie became the subject of several negative user reviews posted to the review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes by people who hadn’t even seen it, blasting Larson’s performance and trashing the movie itself. Although, to call their assessments “reviews” is generous, as they primarily complained about Larson for being sexist against men, expressing anger that seemed to stem from Larson being vocal about the lack of diversity in ...

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March 15th, 2019

In Technology

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What is the biggest open problem in NLP?

Interesting:

Natural language understanding

I think the biggest open problems are all related to natural language understanding. [...] we should develop systems that read and understand text the way a person does, by forming a representation of the world of the text, with the agents, objects, settings, and the relationships, goals, desires, and beliefs of the agents, and everything else that humans create to understand a piece of text. Until we can do that, all of our progress is in improving ...

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March 15th, 2019

In Technology

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biLSTMs will solve all of your NLP problems

Interesting:

Using pre-trained models

We have several different English language pre-trained biLMs available for use. Each model is specified with two separate files, a JSON formatted “options” file with hyperparameters and a hdf5 formatted file with the model weights. Links to the pre-trained models are available here.

There are three ways to integrate ELMo representations into a downstream task, depending on your use case.

Compute representations on the fly from raw text using character input. This is the most general method and will handle ...

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March 15th, 2019

In Technology

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ELMO representations are deep, contextual and character based NLP

Interesting:

ELMo is a deep contextualized word representation that models both (1) complex characteristics of word use (e.g., syntax and semantics), and (2) how these uses vary across linguistic contexts (i.e., to model polysemy). These word vectors are learned functions of the internal states of a deep bidirectional language model (biLM), which is pre-trained on a large text corpus. They can be easily added to existing models and significantly improve the state of the art across a broad range of challenging ...

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March 15th, 2019

In Philosophy

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Senator Martha McSally talks about her sexual assault in the military

Interesting:

Sen. Martha McSally, the first female Air Force fighter pilot to fly in combat, said Wednesday that she was sexually assaulted by a superior officer, and later, when she tried to talk about it to military officials, she “felt like the system was raping me all over again.”

The Arizona Republican, a 26-year military veteran, made the disclosure at a Senate hearing on the military’s efforts to prevent sexual assaults and improve the response when they occur. Lawmakers also heard from ...

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March 15th, 2019

In Philosophy

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While describing their “unruly” intellectual style, Israeli scientists often employed an emotional “language of fire” in contrast with German cold cognition

Interesting:

Cultural misunderstandings like this are growing as campuses internationalize. In recent interviews with scientists at Harvard, M.I.T., Boston University and other institutions, I found that respondents embrace diversity in their workplaces but also raise concerns about puzzling behaviors of their international students. They say that cultural diversity in research settings is crucial but point out that some international students are “too obedient” or “hard working yet lacking in originality.” Without training in cultural sensitivity, they are often surprised and occasionally ...

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March 15th, 2019

In Philosophy

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The most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible

Interesting:

“The most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible, ”Albert Einstein famously once said. These days, however, it is far from being a matter of consensus that the universe is comprehensible, or even that it is unique. Fundamental physics is facing a crisis, related to two popular concepts that are frequently invoked, summarized tellingly by the buzzwords “multiverse” and “uglyverse.”

…With the advent of the multiverse, this has changed: As unlikely as a coincidence may appear, in the ...

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March 15th, 2019

In Philosophy

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What makes for a heartthrob?

Interesting:

When Beverly Hills 90210 first aired in 1990, producers miscalculated. They thought Brandon Walsh was going to be our heartthrob. It was an easy mistake to make: Jason Priestley had eyes like the sea, capped with a gossamer mane you just wanted to reach up and push back. The problem wasn’t Priestley. It was Brandon.

Brandon Walsh plays basketball and might have to be home early to study for his trig final. He had a paper route back in Minnesota, where ...

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March 15th, 2019

In Philosophy

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Strict churches are strong?

Interesting:

Jennifer, a young mother and member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in northern Virginia, is honest about the challenges of being Mormon in America today. “It’s not an easy gig,” she says. It’s not just the expectation that you will adhere to strict religious standards when it comes to dating and sex. Or the 10 percent tithing requirement. The prohibition on caffeine or alcohol. It’s the time, she says. “My husband and I teach Sunday school ...

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March 12th, 2019

In Business

5 Comments

Why are large companies so difficult to rescue (regarding bad internal technology)

I worry there is a lot of glib, superficial rhetoric coming out of Silicon Valley about the importance of being agile in one’s development processes. There are too many assumptions being made about the ease of introducing agile techniques, and which problems are solved by agile techniques. This essay is my attempt to offer a corrective.

Over the last 20 years I was the technical co-founder at three startups, two of which grew to modest size and then were sold ...

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March 5th, 2019

In Technology

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An overview of different approaches to NLP word embeddings

It’s interesting that the simple approaches do fairly well:

Smooth Inverse Frequency

Taking the average of the word embeddings in a sentence tends to give too much weight to words that are quite irrelevant, semantically speaking. Smooth Inverse Frequency tries to solve this problem in two ways:

Weighting: like our tf-idf baseline above, SIF takes the weighted average of the word embeddings in the sentence. Every word embedding is weighted by a/(a + p(w)), where a is a parameter that is typically set ...

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March 3rd, 2019

In Technology

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Matrix math in Clojure

This is a really great series of articles:

Source

March 3rd, 2019

In Philosophy

No Comments

The second shift that women work

Interesting:

Source

March 3rd, 2019

In Philosophy

No Comments

A safe space is exclusive

Interesting:

unpopular opinion: safe spaces have to exclude some people to be safe spaces because otherwise those the people in that space need to hide from can literally just enter at any time. An all inclusive liberal “safe space” isn’t safe at all

Source

March 3rd, 2019

In Business

No Comments

The decline of the USA standard of living

Interesting:

Source

March 3rd, 2019

In Business

No Comments

Do MBAs help business?

Interesting:

We found no statistically significant alphas — despite testing every possible school with a reasonable sample size. MBA programs simply do not produce CEOs who are better at running companies, if performance is measured by stock price return.

We ran similar regressions controlling for industry and found that — even after controlling for industry — elite MBAs did not produce positive statistically significant alpha. Elite MBAs did perform relatively well as CEOs in healthcare and consumer staples, but relatively poorly in ...

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February 28th, 2019

In Philosophy

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Gendered on-ramps are important to get women into software development

A year ago I wrote “Why are women being pushed away from the tech industry?” Women made up 35% of all software developers in 1990, but are only 26% of all software developers now. Women are getting pushed out of the tech industry. There are lots of articles explaining why, and I link to some of them in that earlier essay.

But why did women’s participation in software development peak at the end of the 1980s? I know at least ...

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February 26th, 2019

In Business

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What is the difference between talent and cultural similarity, especially in human relationship jobs?

Interesting:

Pinsker: And once people get these sorts of jobs, you write about the importance of “sponsorship”—basically, when some senior employee informally takes someone younger under their wing and helps them advance through the company. What did you notice about how those systems of sponsorship worked?

Laurison: I think that a lot of people, on some level what they think they’re doing when they sponsor young co-workers is spotting talent—they called it “talent-mapping” in the accounting firm we studied. But a lot ...

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February 25th, 2019

In Technology

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In Clojure, it is easy to extend the Function protocol

I guess I’ve known this for years, but this is a wonderfully clear article:

(defprotocol IFn "Protocol for adding the ability to invoke an object as a function. For example, a vector can also be used to look up a value: ([1 2 3 4] 1) => 2" (-invoke [this] [this a] [this a b] [this a b c] [this a ...
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February 23rd, 2019

In Philosophy

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She says, nobody had to teach me how to be kind

Interesting:

“Women, teach your sons to be better!” but why? but why? nobody had to teach me how to be kind, i learned it naturally, i learned it easily. i watched and listened and took turns and sat pretty. i don’t understand. what could i teach them better than they could learn just from breathing? why is it my job to curb my brother’s anger when i’ve got my own well stewing and bubbling? why do i have to reign in ...

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February 23rd, 2019

In Philosophy

No Comments

Are you near New York City?

If you live near New York City, then I would like to get to know you better. Once a month I host a gathering. This used to be exclusively a tech event, but lately I have opened it up to the artists that I know. This is very informal. You might have seen my earlier post about one of the dinner parties I threw last summer?

Contact me if you are interested.

Source

February 22nd, 2019

In Philosophy

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Online conversations are undermined by anonymous communication

A long sad goodbye to one thread on Reddit:

But instead it was always that the the thread was “dominated by” or “only had” or “was an echo chamber for” homophobic transphobic alt-right neo-Nazis, which always grew into the claim that the subreddit was dominated by homophobic etc neo-Nazis, which always grew into the claim that the SSC community was dominated by homophobic etc neo-Nazis, which always grew into the claim that I personally was a homophobic etc neo-Nazi of them ...

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February 22nd, 2019

In Philosophy

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The new Conservatism includes tax subsidies for big corporations

When I was younger the Conservatives in the USA had a rhetoric of “small government” and they were nominally anti-subsidy. In reality, the government grew under Republican governments, and no government questioned the many billions of subsidies given to the farm sector. Still, there was a rhetoric that suggested subsides are bad. I don’t see any trace of that rhetoric anymore. It is worth noting how much it has vanished, given that it was important to Republicans for several decades. ...

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February 21st, 2019

In Philosophy

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When to use Tumblr instead of Twitter?

First of all, it looks like Tumblr creates a copy of a post when a blogger decides to reblog it, but how can this be allowed under the GDPR? Here is a case where it looks like the original blogger deleted a post, but the post still exists where it was reblogged. Does anyone know the legal implications? How does the original blogger say “I want all of my material erased from this website.”?

The original post was reblogged here, ...

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February 21st, 2019

In Philosophy

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Any comparison of a standard of living over time is blurry

I wrote this as a comment on Hacker News.

It’s also worth examining if our typical ways of measuring inflation (in the USA, the Consumer Price Index, or CPI) is an accurate guide to the real costs of raising children. The CPI currently takes into account a very diverse range of goods, including canoes and guns and lamps and kitchen wares and music and coffee grinders. The CPI tries to avoid the assumption that some purchases are more important than ...

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February 20th, 2019

In Technology

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Women as the original software developers

Interesting:

Often enough, Wilkes’s code didn’t produce the result she wanted. So she had to pore over her lines of code, trying to deduce her mistake, stepping through each line in her head and envisioning how the machine would execute it — turning her mind, as it were, into the computer. Then she would rewrite the program. The capacity of most computers at the time was quite limited; the IBM 704 could handle only about 4,000 “words” of code in its ...

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February 20th, 2019

In Technology

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Ego driven software development is not good software development

This is the kind of emotional impulse that for thousands of years would cause men to challenge one another to a duel:

And finally, I became the exact thing I hated: a toxic asshat throwing his skills around like fists. I don’t do code review for the business, I just like showing the rookies their place. My skills have finally started to pay off.

If a guy brings me his code, and it has mistakes, it brings insane pleasure from how smart ...

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February 19th, 2019

In Philosophy

3 Comments

Don’t waste your life on Twitter

The energy that goes into writing tweets is also energy that could instead go into works of lasting value. I’ve noticed that with all of my favorite writers, the moment when they turn to Twitter seems to be a moment when their production of high quality books/essays seems to go into decline. One of my favorite economists had a 10 year streak when he was absolutely on fire, then he started tweeting on Twitter, and his production of books and ...

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February 16th, 2019

In Philosophy

No Comments

Seeing Romeo and Juliet for the very first time

Interesting:

oh! I have to tell you guys a great story one of my professors told me. So he has a friend who is involved in these Shakespeare outreach programs where they try to bring Shakespeare and live theatre to poor and underprivileged groups and teach them about English literature and performing arts and such. On one of their tours they stopped at a young offenders institute for women and they put on a performance of Romeo and Juliet for a ...

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February 10th, 2019

In Business

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Always invest in real estate

My great-grandmother Nanny came over from Europe and invested in real estate. She taught my grandparents, and my father, to invest in real estate. Avoid the stock market. Apparently economists now have evidence that this is a very good idea:

In general, economists would expect that assets with more risk–that is, more likely to rise or fall over time–will tend to have higher returns on average. From the standpoint of investors, the higher returns are needed to make up for the ...

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February 6th, 2019

In Philosophy

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USA schools are child jails

Interesting:

I have a saying when my peers compare themselves to the Zuckerbergs and Gates and Musks of the world: How many hundreds of thousands of dollars did your parents spend on your education? Because you have to realize that is who you are competing with. I went to a VERY RURAL high school. We had 3 math classes that everyone went through… none of them college level. My math class decided it was funny to rip up the floor tiles and ...

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February 2nd, 2019

In Technology

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What should you do when your machine learning algorithm is broken?

I’ve made every mistake that they mention in this lecture. Most of the lecture is devoted to diagnostics for ML, how you should act when your ML is not performing the way you expected:

Source

January 24th, 2019

In Philosophy

No Comments

Why are young people interested in computer science?

The New York Times shows this graph, which shows a dramatic decline in the number of students interested in computer science, followed by a dramatic uptick. I find it frustrating that the article focuses on the uptick, without making any comment on the decline. The article says that enrollment in CS majors has doubled since 2013, but it doesn’t mention that it was only in 2014 that enrollment got back to the level of 2002. That’s a 12 year lull, ...

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January 20th, 2019

In Philosophy

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Actor autonomy when disagreeing with showrunner

It’s an interesting idea, how much autonomy the actor should have, in relation to the showrunner:

it makes me think back to bering and wells. the femslash ship that was captained by the two actresses themselves. and how the showrunner dug his heels in, not wanting them to be in a relationship, but the actresses played all their scenes romantically despite it. and to this day it holds semi-canon ship status. because the actors made sure to show (and say ...

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January 19th, 2019

In Philosophy

No Comments

Why Tumblr survives

This is actually an important post, with a message that the rest of the tech community would be wise to listen to:

What the experiment demonstrates is that I will put up with all of that just to use a site that shows me posts that I asked for in chronological order.

and this:

the key function of this site is not asking me for my real name/phone number and not using my contact list/other apps to find people/let people find me.

Source

January 18th, 2019

In Philosophy

No Comments

Should children ever be considered transexual?

Interesting:

In response:

This young man is in the SAME situation as Jazz Jennings. No puberty = no sexual maturation. No sexual maturation = no genital development and libido.

PLUS hormones and puberty blockers that cause genital atrophy, libido loss, urination problems etc.

But HOW FUCKING STUPID are parents like this?? The goal was stopping puberty from ever happening and now they act surprised that their son is basically dead down there. Fucking idiots.

And also:

This is what I meant when I said trans ...

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January 18th, 2019

In Technology

No Comments

Peter-Paul Koch asked for a moratorium on new Web features in 2015

I missed this at the time. Interesting:

The main counterargument is that the moratorium would stifle web innovation. Since web innovation is currently defined as “emulating native even more,” I think a bit of stifling would actually be a good idea. Once web innovation is redefined as something that’s actually about the web we can proceed as usual.

Another counterargument is “But we need feature X!” Everybody will have a favourite upcoming feature that would be hit by the moratorium — mine ...

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January 18th, 2019

In Philosophy

No Comments

Hopepunk is Camus

Alexandra Rowland has more to say about her word “hopepunk”. This definition is nearly identical to Camus’s “Myth Of Sisyphus”:

The work is never finished. The work will never be finished. There will never be a nice, comfortable utopia where we can rest on our laurels and sip strawberry daiquiris by the pool and trust that now things are Fine and we can all relax. Utopia is not a stable system. It doesn’t last. The best we can hope for is ...

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January 17th, 2019

In Philosophy

1 Comment

When will the era of CyberPunk end?

People complaining about is the first sign of something ending.

Interesting:

This was science fiction perfectly tuned for the Reagan-Thatcher era. Its connection with punk music and subcultures is, of course, contingent. (Who knows what might have happened if Bethke decided to call his story Techno-Hipster.) Yet the clichéd punk imperative to “Do It Yourself” is in fact perfect for a kind of fiction whose ethos is that you have to survive in a world where unstoppable megacorporations control every aspect ...

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January 13th, 2019

In Philosophy

No Comments

To protect children, don’t send report cards home on a Friday

Apparently child abuse spikes when report cards are sent home, but the effect is especially strong if the report cards go home on Friday:

While talking to a pediatrician and fellow early-childhood researcher, Dr. Melissa Bright heard something that stopped her in her tracks: Child abuse spikes after report cards come out.

Bright, a research scientist in the University of Florida’s Anita Zucker Center for Excellence in Early Childhood Studies, couldn’t find any studies to back up what doctors have long observed. ...

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January 11th, 2019

In Philosophy

No Comments

It will consume it

English is a flexible language. Perhaps it is too flexible?

Carlson is hardly the first right-leaning figure to make a pitch for populism, even tangentially, in the third year of Donald Trump, whose populist-lite presidential candidacy and presidency Carlson told me he views as “the smoke alarm … telling you the building is on fire, and unless you figure out how to put the flames out, it will consume it.”

Source

January 8th, 2019

In Business

No Comments

Are hospitals allowed to sell my phone number to advertisers?

My mom was recently in the hospital. I gave the hospital my cell phone number, as the official point of contact between the hospital and the family. Suddenly I’m getting spam robots calling my cell phone, with messages about how I can get low cost health insurance. Someone sold my number. Maybe it was the hospital or maybe it was a related 3rd party, but someone sold my number. I am very irritated about this.

Source

January 4th, 2019

In Philosophy

No Comments

Nassim Nicholas Taleb accidentally argues against 4 year school degrees

Nassim Nicholas Taleb has an excellent essay about why science works to advance the human race, and how to structure a research program for maximum benefit. However, it is also the strongest argument I’ve ever seen for ending 4 year school degrees. Consider this bit:

1) Convexity is easier to attain than knowledge (in the technical jargon, the “long-gamma” property): As we saw in Figure 2, under some level of uncertainty, we benefit more from improving the payoff function than from ...

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January 3rd, 2019

In Philosophy

No Comments

What queers these heteros be

I’ve been watching the HBO production of My Brilliant Friend. I love it. I think the acting is great, the direction is great, the recreation of the past is great, the tension is constant. Everything about this is great. But I saw this Lesbian review on Jezebel, and I laughed because it seems so true. The two women are often in these situations, staring at one another, close together, bonded by some deed or secret, and its possible to imagine ...

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January 3rd, 2019

In Philosophy

1 Comment

Argument about attraction and sexuality and trans

Interesting:

Source

January 2nd, 2019

In Philosophy

No Comments

The opposite of grimdark is hopepunk

A good article at Vox, of obvious interest to me:

“The opposite of grimdark is hopepunk,” declared Alexandra Rowland, a Massachusetts writer, in a two-sentence Tumblr post in July 2017. “Pass it on.”

…When pressed by other Tumblr users to expand on her two-sentence Tumblr post that coined the term, Rowland elaborated on what she meant by “hopepunk,” touching on themes present in both her own psyche and in the spirit of resistance and political agitation all around her:

Hopepunk says that genuinely ...

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