Archive for March, 2021

Advice I would give my child

Saturday, March 27th, 2021

So, I’ve been mulling over things that I wish my parents had told me – and of course, given that my memory is a swiss cheese, they probably *did* tell me some of these and I just don’t remember it.

Anyway, I figured I’d make a few blog posts on the topic over the next few years and see if anything good popped out.

#1: The important thing is not who you love or what you love, but that you love. Get involved, get engaged, be interested in your life. If your life isn’t interesting to you, adjust things until it is.

#2: You are the author of your own story, and you get to decide what kind of character you’re going to be. You don’t get to decide what happens to you – that’s something the universe will decide – and your ability to bend the universe is much much smaller than it’s ability to bend you because of the relative size of you and the universe. However, you do get to be whoever you want to be, and that’s important. Make sure you are the hero of your own story.

#3: If you stand upon the shoulders of giants, you can achieve wonders. This doesn’t mean that you need to get a education as sold at a ridiculously high price from the commercial education system, but it does mean you should learn from those who went before you. Libraries and the wikipedia are both free. Read and learn and try things and fail and get up and try again.

#4: The master has failed more times than the apprentice has tried.

#5: It is worth doing hard things. Dare to be a badass at something even though it costs you thousands of hours of hard work. You’ll like yourself better for it.

#6: My friend Cygnostik has a great quote – “Everybody is born unique, but so many die as copies.” I could also quote Enigma here – “Don’t accept average habits. Open your heart and push the limits.”. You are only here for a limited time, you are going to die as we all do. Try to make the time you’re here worth having come.

#7: Thus far, when I look back on my life, most of the things I regret are the things I *didn’t* do.

#8: One of the secrets of life is balance – in particular, balance between risk and reward. There are a lot of things that risk-averse people will tell you not to do that have significant rewards. On the other paw, there are also a lot of things where the risk outweighs the reward.

#9: Don’t do anything you don’t want to remember having done.

#10: Another song quote “You’ve got to do what you can to keep your love alive – try not to confuse it with what you do to survive.” Almost none of us are lucky enough to get paid to create the art we want to be creating, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t engage your creative side early and often.

The awfulness of comments on the internet / polyamoury

Saturday, March 27th, 2021

So, back when I was young and idealistic, I thought the internet would end war and result in people finally having hoenst conversations and result in us looking beyond superficial things and in general make everything roses. I now look at the comments on news posts, youtube posts, etc, and realize that Anonymous is right – none of us are as cruel as all of us.

This is particularly depressing when I look at comments on the polyamory articles on Medium. We’ve been trying to make happy monogamous pair-bonding work for years and largely failing, and yet every commenter feels the need to speak superiorly about how of *course* polyamorous relationships are going to fail. The unstated subtext is “because humans are made for monogomy” which we most certainly are not – it’s *really* clear that we’re wired to fall in love over and over, and we’re not really wired to want to let go of people in our lives.

Howsomeever the people who write the memetics for the human race – have I ever mentioned how much I loathe the people who write and maintain things like organized religions? – like the idea of monogamy – possibly because it makes it clear who we should be charging child support to. (They also don’t believe that the entire tribe should support the children – this is especially true of modern republicans who have done a steady and disastrous series of various types of damage to public education – a side effect of their love of organized religion combined with their love of money)

Anyway, of *course* it’s going to be difficult to be poly right now. We *don’t really know how*. We don’t, in general, know how to love very well – and we have non-stop memetics in the USA encouraging us to prioritize other things (like a new car or keeping the carefully balanced 2-party system war going – or, just keeping the war machine murdering folks in general) over learning how to love.

Part of why I’m hesitant to risk too active of a polyamorous lifestyle despite it being my ideal is I would be in essence a memetic beta tester – of some memes that are not exactly stable software. There’s also that I have managed to get in one relationship that I’d describe as a visit to hell, and also behave horribly and in damaging ways in another relationship, and also that I carry the scars of being exposed to random and scary violence as a child – while being actively poly sounds appealing, it also sounds like something I might have to wait a few more lifetimes for in the hopes that I land on some planet that *does* know about love and does care more about average happiness in the system as a whole than GDP – not to mention values feeding everyone over blowing things up more and more spectacularly.

Anyway, to bring us back to the original topic at hand – all these haters, and there are many, generally probably can’t make *one* loving relationship work, much less several, but they feel the need to dump their cynicism and lofty predictions of failure on us anyway. As with Christians, it’s their tone of lofty superiority that really bugs me. Of course, the smartest thing is for me to just stay away from such places and things – I have far better things to do with my time, when I think about it.


Sunday, March 21st, 2021

So, I do think we’ve gotten to the point where the kit I’ve got available is better than I am – I’m of course working my paws off trying to catch up. Anyway, if anyone was curious, here’s some of the setup:

More later.

400 hours

Sunday, March 21st, 2021

And slowly we accumulate the 10,000 😉

Down with intellectual property

Sunday, March 21st, 2021

I’ve thought a number of times about how awful intellectual property is, and how it hurts us all.

I think I’ve mentioned before that the attempts to stop piracy, including the FBI warning, cost us more man-hours than piracy ever could. I’ve talked about how patent trolls hurt us all, as do companies that won’t share their innovations. (Remember how the oil companies got access to the patents for NIMH and wouldn’t allow EV-sized batteries to be made in the USA? And ponder how we could have magsafe-like connectors everywhere if Apple weren’t such dicks – not to mention the absurd idea that the iPhone was the first smartphone

Side thought, I think part of the problem is that the worst of us are the most likely to want to control the rest of us, so historically the bosses and political leaders are often the people you would least want to have the job. I’ve often thought this about things like the presidency but I think it’s also true on a much more micro scale.

Anyway, back to the evils of intellectual property. We *all* stand on the shoulders of giants – I talk about this in Resource Allocation As A Group – and yet over and over we let people camp out on and hoarde ideas.

I think I’ve mentioned before how every song ever recorded already existed before it was recorded – this is easy to prove, just consider that every song can be represented by a fantastically large number (after all, a digital file is really just a fantastically large number) – now start at zero and start counting. You’ll get there.

I understand that content providers need to earn a living – although in my ideal universe the need to earn a living would be removed since we clearly have sufficient resources to permit people to do whatever they want and still eat and live indoors, we’re starting to deliberately do things in massively inefficient ways in order to keep enough “jobs” because we feel like people shouldn’t be allowed to eat and live indoors unless they are working. (Awfulness is a popular theme among humans, and it’s catching.)

However, we clearly have gone too far at the point that we start allowing things like DNA to be copyrighted. Which we do. We allow companies like Monsanto to bully farmers because some pollen from a copyrighted strain of corn happened to blow onto their field. We allow copyrighting of DNA that originally came from humans or animals.. sometimes even without those humans or animals’ permission. And, DNA is another one of those things that’s just a really large number, so it exists in potentia even if it doesn’t exist in a concrete manifestation.

Think about how much better the world would be if all education and entertainment was available to everyone! But, of course, the message over and over with the modern world is Thou Shalt Not Share. And maybe given the lack of success of polyamoury the message I shoudl take away is that humans really aren’t into sharing – or indeed into happiness or success. Given nuclear reactions, most sane species would build NERVAs. We built bombs. Enough bombs to guarantee extinction.

I should probably stop here before I get even more depressed about our potential future.

Sunday, March 21st, 2021

I had a interesting thought the other day. One of the official purposes of inflation is to discourage money-hoarding.

Now, obviously something is a bit nuts about our resource allocation system because humanity is fantastically wealthy and yet people are having trouble affording food and a place to live. This is partially because of greed, but it’s also partially because the idea of money is fatally flawed in a bunch of ways. See other places in this blog for more about that.

Various band-aids have been suggested – obviously inflation is a band-aid which penalizes people for money-hoarding but also results in money becoming steadily more and more out of whack with reality because money is backed by all it can buy and it is backed by steadily more actual value.

I’ve talked about the desirability of having two types of money, one for finite nonrenewable resources and the other for renewable resources, and having UBE for the latter. I’ve talked also about the desirability of tracking every kilowatt-hour, man-hour, gram of copper, gram of silicon, etc, etc that goes into each transaction, so we could finally find out what we can and can’t afford.

I’ve talked about the desirability of having wallets that have a *maximum* quantity they can hold, to discourage money-hoarding (which is a stupid and counterproductive behavior – it hurts the hoarder, it hurts everyone) – with of course a quota board to approve *really* big projects like starships.

I’ve also talked about how we should ban all behaviors which do not match the real world. Charging 30% interest is not reasonable, because in the real world your resources didn’t expand by 30% over a year. Any time we make the paper tracking system do something the real world did not do, trouble is likely to ensue – and indeed, trouble has – our resource allocation system makes it look like humanity is just barely holding on by the skin of it’s teeth when in fact humanity is spectacularly wealthy.

Down With Apps

Monday, March 8th, 2021

So, one of the things that really irritates me is when a company only offers functionality via apps. This is especially a problem with IOT devices, most of which will end up in the dump in a few years when there’s no way to install the app that enables them to be configured any more, but it’s also a problem with functionality in general.

There’s some major problems with requiring functionality to require a app to be installed

A: There’s some serious privacy concerns. Most people don’t read the list of privileges the app will have, and they can easily include access to the camera, filesystem, radio modem, etc. Even if the app just sends TCP traffic, the user seldom has much control over what that traffic includes, and that traffic can definitely be identifying

B: It is yet another way that the modern world tries to get you locked into upgrade train. At some point the app developers will stop supporting older operating systems and you will be forced to buy a new phone just to run a app you’re required to have in order to access $FUNCTIONALITY.

C: It is yet another way the modern world tries to get you locked into the throwaway economy, in that the manufacturers will stop maintaining apps for devices and they will become unavailable, at which point the devices will be unconfigurable and have to be replaced.

D: Most of the apps I’ve seen are ridiculously bloated. Taco bell needs 100 megs so I can order a taco? Many of them are also massively wasteful of CPU and/or poorly written. Most of them have at least one bug that will crash the app.

E: As a side effect of #D, there’s no chance that the developers know all the library code that’s in all the apps, or that the end users do. So, the apps also act as a security concern in that they may include libraries with security weaknesses that not even the developers are likely to know about

F: Apps are – generally – not friendly to the blind. There’s also the question of whether we should *require* people to have a smartphone in order to participate in the modern world. A particular company I’d like to underline who has done this but has absolutely no excuse for it is Venmo, who has chosen to remove the payment functionality from their web site in order to force users to install their app – probably partially because they can then sell private data about those users. I have reported them to the ADA in the hopes that it gets them forced to return the functionality to their web site.

In general, I am against the idea of installable apps in favor of web sites. A lot of apps are really just web sites wrapped, and with html5 increasingly we can get access to specialized hardware like GPS and video cameras without needing to install anything.

It strikes me as a dystopian world that requires people to own, not just a smartphone, but perpetually newer models of smartphone in order to participate. I think as end users we should collectively refuse to install apps whenever possible.

Another subject of dystopia that I should discuss in the future is the forced “upgrade” to newer and often worse versions of user interfaces.