Interesting dream

January 4th, 2023

So, last night I had a dream in which Phoebe had written a book about all the things about me that sucked when I was 19. Of course, I had to agree with a lot of them myself. Sometimes that all feels like a different lifetime.

I do think I like who I am now a lot more than I like who I was then – or, for that matter, liked who I was then at the time. On the other paw, I think I had to go to that place to get to this one – at least I don’t see a process that would have given me the dedication to do the things I need to do that hadn’t gone through some of the unfortunate steps needed to get to this place.

IPC::Shareable sets SIGCHLD to Ignore (I’ll take “Annoying undocumented side effects” for $200, Alex)

January 1st, 2023

Just a heads up that hopefully google will index and save someone else from the several hours of digging I’ve just had to do. the perl module IPC::Shareable sets SIG{CHLD} to ignore any time you include it. You can set it back to the default behavior, but until you do, waitpid() is going to return -1 and $? will contain -1 for any pid-waiting you do.

More of sheer’s rules for programming.

December 24th, 2022

1) If you haven’t tested it, it doesn’t work.
2) If what it’s doing appears impossible, it’s probably two or more bugs working together
3) Intermittent faults are sensitive to Murphy’s law, and will be triggered by the time when the most damage will be done
4) As a rational reaction to #3, always have a backup plan.
5) Focus your optimization efforts on the parts of the code that run the most
6) Add at least two hours to your time estimate for testing

On the ‘would someone make’ front..

December 24th, 2022

I’d like to see the math done as to how much energy could be saved by a heat pump water heater that had a tank for the greywater coming from the shower/bath. The idea is it could use a normal air exchange when no hot water was available that had returned from the bath, but it could extract the heat from the hot water coming back from the shower/bath if there was any. It seems like this ought to lead to considerable energy savings for a tanked heat pump hot water heater in normal usage since it would be pumping only slightly uphill. One can envision a system where the heat exchanger wrapped around a pipe leaving a insulated tank and a valve opened to empty the cold water and fill with more hot whenever the water had been pumped down to ambient.

Silent Night 2022

December 24th, 2022

So, this could hypothetically be part of a whole jam-blues-style christmas album, if people like it enough, or it might just be a standalone thing.

Anyway, here is Silent Night 2022.

Peace on earth and goodwill amongst sentients and such.

Running VMWare on Dell 7810 / Fatal Error Out Of Resources loading tools.00

December 18th, 2022

So, I ran into the dreaded not-enough-memory-below-the-4G-barrrier problem trying to install esxi 6.0 on a Dell 7810. After trying several varients (disabling *everything*, moving all 64 bit PCI to > 4G, etc) I ended up just installing esxi onto the SSD using another dell I had lying around (a 7010) – I suspect any computer would have worked that had UEFI – and then moving the SSD and configuring it for UEFI boot on the 7810, after which it popped right up.

The growth of Elon Musk

December 16th, 2022

I have to wonder if as Elon discovers that he’s not a free speech absolutist after all (wow, that idea makes me giggle at this point) if he’ll start to realize everything else that’s wrong with the libertarian point of view.

800 hours

December 5th, 2022

hour meter showing 800 hours

Am I being too hard on Elon Musk?

December 1st, 2022

So, over the years my opinion of Elon has varied a number of times. Obviously we’ve got a lot of things in common, and there was definitely a week or so where I would have considered myself a muskrat and defended him. But increasingly I’ve been disappointed – both by the sense that he’s not as bright as I thought he was and by the sense that he’s a horrible human being and not someone who should be put in charge of decision making.

So, reasons I’m hard on Elon lately:

1) The hyperloop. It was never going to work. Anyone who’s worked with hard vacuum themselves would have already intuitively known why it wasn’t going to work. It underlines that Elon’s never actually gotten his hands dirty building stuff in the real world – I’m not even sure if he’s done any coding.

2) Taking the radar out of the tesla. If Elon were a little brighter, he’d recognize that while humans can navigate and operate vehicles without extra senses, we have a 100b neuron neocortex supervising our 8b or so visual cortex to make sure that common sense gets applied to the output. People have already died because the Tesla can’t tell grey semi from grey sky. Elon is willing to have people die to save a few bucks – and doesn’t seem to recognize that SDR will get cheaper and cheaper as it’s widely mass produced because it’s literally made out of sand – but every single human cannot possibly have a price tag placed on them and what their loss would cost us.

3) Having more children than he can possibly provide good entrainment signals for, despite the fact that he himself was abused. Clearly not interested in breaking the cycle of abuse.

4) Believing we need *more* humans, when we’re not clear on where we’re going to get the water and food and whatnot for the ones we have, and we’re not clear how to make earth not a dystopia for the ones we have

5) Increasingly I’ve come to suspect Elon is really good at selling how brilliant Elon is, but less good at actually making stuff work. He’s clearly abusive to the people he works with, and he’s also clearly *not* prioritizing a good outcome for humanity over stroking his own ego. He doesn’t care about ruining people’s lives, and is willing to hurt them – and fire them – for no particular good reason. He also fails to give good positive feedback for successes. Elon is a bad leader.

6) He doesn’t care about anyone but Elon. he didn’t have any kind of worldwide vote before filling the sky with his ISP, for example, and he’s not concerned about the impact on radio telescopes. He also hasn’t asked himself the question about whether it’s really a good thing for humanity for us to be reachable everywhere

7) He seems to surround himself with yes-men. This means he doesn’t get people telling him, for example, the hyperloop is not a good idea.

8) He overpromises and underdelivers. (He has that in common with Nicolai Tesla). I can point out everything from the vegas tunnel to the cybertruck.

9) He doesn’t do a good job of triaging, and he takes on more than he can do a good job at. Hm, me too.

On the other paw. No one is perfect. He’s done more to promote electric vehicle transition than anyone else I can name, and I think he deserves credit for that. TSLA made a car, but Elon contributed to making it sexy, and making it sell. If he doesn’t always knock it out of the park, well, at least he’s still swinging. And, I hope he doesn’t stop. There might be people that I would wish weren’t with us any more, but Elon is definitely not one of them. I wish he would grow – but I’m glad he’s here and hope he stays.

My final verdict is yes, I am too hard on Elon Musk. I should leave Facebook threads about him alone and stick to achieving my own goals. There’s nothing to be gained by tearing him down and there’s far, far worse people in the world if I want to criticize.

I am really glad I am not Elon. I would imagine he probably is really glad he is not me. I prefer to steer the ship from the rear of the pack – like Buckminster Fuller, I am a trim tab, a very small thing which makes enormous waves a long way away. He prefers to steer the ship from the front. But, one man’s heaven is another man’s hell, and it was ever thus.

Denatured alcohol – a clear case of money is more important than people

November 29th, 2022

So, I was watching Call The Midwife the other day and they had someone who was dying from being a broke alcoholic who was drinking methylated spirits – aka denatured alcohol. And I had a interesting realization – we do often see places where humanity chooses money over people’s lives – a recent example was Tesla removing the radar from self-driving EVs, increasing undoubtedly the number of people who will die so that Tesla can make slightly larger profits. And of course we get outraged in cases where this is done.. like the Ford Pinto.

But.. denatured alcohol is a clear case of us deciding killing people is acceptable if the alternative is threatening the government’s profit. There’s no reasonable reason for denaturing alcohol.. other than, it enables us to sell alcohol and know it will only be used for sterilization. The reason this matters is that there’s a huge tax on alcohol. We do the same thing with kerosene – we sell it for heating and aviation use untaxed and for road use taxed and we dye it and trust people to follow the rules based on the dye. We *could* do the same thing with ethanol, but we don’t – instead we risk killing people – *knowing* that people will die – and the government officials probably feel smugly satisfied about this solution.

Now, the government is well aware that broke addicts will buy denatured alcohol and be killed by it. It’s more important to them to not lose whatever tax dollars they would lose to people knowingly cheating by buying denatured alcohol than that those people live.

This isn’t surprising. The government has always acted as if there’s a fairly low price on human life. We accept our police murdering innocents, we accept the government executing innocents – in both cases possibly because there’s no alternative.. we accept the government not enforcing environmental safety regulations, we accept people destroying the water table with things like fracking – in general, the government puts a very low value on life. (We routinely commit mass murder so various corporations can make more profit). But denaturing alcohol demonstrates just how low – of course the government probably thinks it’s a feature, not a bug, that broke addicts are who gets killed off..