|Current Topic: Miscellaneous|
|| 8:19 pm EDT, Sep 14, 2015
Some people think pleasantries have no place in professional meetings.
The truth is, yes, even "hello" can feel like an unwelcome demand.
A person who has worked with Sheldon Adelson:
In the business world, "[Adelson]'s been enormously successful by having the right instincts combined with a sheer decisiveness and willingness to tell everyone basically to fuck themselves."
When you remove the right through legal action to say the word 'FireEye', you remove the right to say 'fuck FireEye'."
||these reasonable politicians
|| 8:16 pm EDT, Sep 14, 2015
There are lots of ... politicians out there who ... refuse to buy into right-wing economic nonsense, but who do so without proposing to scour the countryside in search of immigrants to deport, or to rip up our international economic agreements and start a trade war. [But] none of these reasonable politicians is seeking the Republican presidential nomination.
[Trump's] supporters ... long for someone ... who can tame OPEC and China and Iran as if world affairs could be made to be like a reality TV show. This is an understandable yearning to some extent, in an age in which the United States' ability to call the global shots is so much reduced from what it was fifty years ago. But it has a more sinister aspect, this wish for a strong man who can just fix everything.
There are two reasons that people act: Carrots and Sticks. Lowering the barrier to entry might be a carrot, but the sticks are much more effective and come when the political situation makes it impossible for people to go about their lives without acting.
I'm confident that technology has improved the resources available to people if/when they choose to act. So far they don't need to, largely. Don't wish for times when they do.
Moe: Homer, you need to focus here. You gotta ... think hard, and come up with a slogan that appeals to all the lazy slobs out there.
Homer: Can't someone else do it?
Moe: "Can't someone else do it?", that's perfect!
Homer: It is?
Moe: Yeah! Now get out there and spread that message to the people!
||the life you have right now
|| 8:15 pm EDT, Sep 14, 2015
People early in their career should learn from computer science: meander some in your walk (especially early on), randomly drop yourself into new parts of the terrain, and when you find the highest hill, don't waste any more time on the current hill no matter how much better the next step up might appear.
I'm not old but I'm not young anymore, either, and if you're a procrastinator and a ditherer like me you can manage to sustain until well into midlife the delusion that you might yet get around to doing all the things you meant to do; making a movie, getting married, living in Paris. But at some point you start to suspect that you might not end up doing that stuff after all, and have to consider the possibility that the life you have right now might pretty much be it.
God, how I long to go out West again someday -- to drive some blue highway in Nevada or Utah until there's absolutely nothing around me, then stop the car, in the middle of the road, maybe, and get out and just stand there, where I can see the horizon in every direction, and smell the air and feel the sun and listen to the silence of the desert. I have this idea that if I could do this, time might hold still for a second, and I would know, for just a moment, what it feels like to be here.
I felt, for a moment, that I have the life I've always wanted.
You look at some pictures from the Hubble Telescope and you snap out of it. I used to keep pictures of the Hubble on the wall of the writing room at Seinfeld. It would calm me when I would start to think that what I was doing was important.
People always say it makes them feel insignificant, but I don't find being insignificant depressing. I find it uplifting.
|| 8:14 pm EDT, Sep 14, 2015
Matthew Porteus, a pioneer in gene editing at Stanford University, says research that required a sophisticated molecular biology lab three years ago can now be done by a high-school student.
Now, after three billion years, the Darwinian interlude is over.
Someone once accused Craig Venter of playing God.
His reply was, "We're not playing."
Mark Renneker likes to say that surfing "is essentially a religious practice." What I've always had trouble deciding is just who or what is being worshipped.
David Foster Wallace:
Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship.
When H.L. Mencken, an avowed atheist, was asked if he believed in baptism, he replied "Believe in it? I've seen it done!"
|| 8:13 pm EDT, Sep 14, 2015
New York City -- and every other coastal city on the planet -- may only have a few more decades of habitability left.
People within sight of any coast want a wall to call their own.
New York Times:
An earlier version of this article misstated the amount of land in the United States that was destroyed by wildfires last year. It is 3.6 million acres, not 3.6 billion.
(For reference, 3.6 billion acres is 5.625 million square miles, which corresponds to a square land area 2371 miles on each side. The total land area of the United States is 3.5 million square miles.)
|| 8:12 pm EDT, Sep 14, 2015
Richard J. Light:
What does it mean to live a good life? What about a productive life? How about a happy life? How might I think about these ideas if the answers conflict with one another?
The challenge is how to align your time commitments to reflect your personal convictions.
It's a rat race, a treadmill, and it's grueling. If you can avoid it, you owe it to yourself to try.
Have we really tried?
Busy is a bug, not a feature.
In the technology industry, where revolutionary ideas drive the next big growth areas, you need to be a bit uncomfortable to stay relevant.
Take risks. ... Don't play it safe. If you're not expecting money, you have nothing to lose.
Fear operates as an appetite or an addiction. You can never be safe enough.
A saying around campus:
Amazon is where overachievers go to feel bad about themselves.
At the end of the day, you can't really exploit a robot the way you can a person.
||an act of vigilant noticing
|| 7:16 am EDT, Jul 30, 2015
Which shall it be: bankruptcy of purse or bankruptcy of life?
Your Time is the most valuable thing that you have. There is nothing more important than how you spend your time.
Learning a place by heart is a luxury rarely afforded to adults, and unless absolutely forced to, one seldom even notices that the ability has been lost.
Surfing, as William Finnegan renders it, is more than just a fun physical activity: it's a way of being in the world, with its own private politics and etiquette and benchmarks of success.
Finnegan is especially capable of coming up with phrases that are at once poetic and concrete. "Waves are not stationary objects in nature like roses or diamonds." They are, instead, at once "the object of your deepest desire and adoration" but also "your adversary, your nemesis, even your mortal enemy." Riding them is "the theoretical solution to an impossibly complex problem."
Surfing, in the most basic of ways, determined for decades where in the world he was at a given time, and with whom he spoke and laughed and ate. How a person spends his free time -- what he chooses to do when he can do anything at all -- is one of the most important things about him. But Barbarian Days is less an ode to independence than a celebration of deliberate constriction, of making choices that determine what you think about and who you know. Surfing demands intuition and familiarity with one's surroundings but it does not allow for the perceptive disregard that so often accompanies deep knowledge. As Finnegan demonstrates, surfing, like good writing, is an act of vigilant noticing.
Being in the water alone, surfing, sharpens a particular kind of concentration, an ability to agree with the ocean, to react with a force that is larger than you are.
I love to wander lonely streets in unknown cities. To find a cafe and order a coffee and think to myself -- here I am, known to no one, drinking my coffee and reading my paper. To sit somewhere just barely out of the rain, and declare that my fortress.
David Foster Wallace:
Pay close attention to the most tedious thing you can find (Tax Returns, Televised Golf) and, in waves, a boredom like you've never known will wash over you and just about kill you. Ride these out, and it's like stepping from black and white into color. Like water after days in the desert. Instant bliss in every atom.
||a new and unnecessary conflict
|| 7:22 am EDT, Jul 28, 2015
Every time you use encryption, you're protecting someone who needs to use it to stay alive.
It's clear that while I may have missed the drama of the '90s, I won't be able to escape the cryptowars redux of the 2010s.
The Second Crypto War is going to be harder and nastier, and I am less optimistic that strong cryptography will win in the short term.
If there's any good news, it's that GPG's minimal install base means we aren't locked in to this madness, and can start fresh with a different design philosophy. When we do, let's use GPG as a warning for our new experiments, and remember that "innovation is saying 'no' to 1000 things."
In the 1990s, I was excited about the future, and I dreamed of a world where everyone would install GPG. Now I'm still excited about the future, but I dream of a world where I can uninstall it.
It's not just hippies and hackers making these arguments. It's also someone who, for most of his career, pursued and prosecuted the same kinds of people that Jim Comey is today.
In another bit of theatre, FBI officials gave every reporter a three-pack of Oreo Double Stuf cookies. The creamy center filling, Chappell said, gets its brilliant and consistent whiteness from the chemical titanium oxide. Last year, a jury in California convicted two men of stealing the chemical's formula and selling it to -- who else? -- China. The thieves pilfered the recipe from U.S. chemicals giant DuPont and passed it off for $20 million to Pangang Group, DuPont's state-owned competitor, who had previously tried to buy the recipe without success.
Andi Wilson, Danielle Kehl, and Kevin Bankston:
It seems like we may once again be on the verge of another war: a Crypto War 2.0. But it would be far wiser to maintain the peace than to begin a new and unnecessary conflict. There is no reason to repeat our previous mistakes.
There was a proposal to change the error message from "Permission denied" to "Sorry" to match su, but not implemented. "doas" will not apologize for your failures.
I'm not sure they've really tried.
||the life-changing magic of going for it
|| 8:32 pm EDT, Jul 27, 2015
More people than ever can enjoy "exploit" at the office.
Participants given power over making financial decisions consistently reported experiencing less loneliness than participants given no financial decision-making power.
One so-called Starlight-Muhlen exploit Hacking Team sought, for example, was going for $100,000. Exclusive iOS exploits could cost as much as half a million, according to one of Hacking Team's sellers.
Gary E. Sparks:
It's better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.
It's good to have a plan, but if something extraordinary comes your way, you should go for it.
|| 8:31 pm EDT, Jul 27, 2015
We should not be tempted to say the blue of the sky is simply a property of the scattered light. There is no blueness unless the light interacts with perceivers like us, who have photoreceptors that respond differently to short versus long wavelengths of light.
So, precisely speaking, the sky is not blue. We see it in a blue way.
Maybe reality -- the universe we're living in -- isn't a 3D space that evolves over time, maybe it's a 4D "non-Euclidean" space that's just there. I.e., what if time and space (space and time make up the universe) have just always existed? No evolution. No time. Just there.
There is no motion in spacetime -- it's tenseless. The manmade concept of past/future/present tenses is meaningless. So your future isn't predetermined, it already exists.
Eventually all moving images begin to seem simultaneous, with all places and persons -- in silent movies and sound, in all languages -- existing in an eternal present, a world unto itself with which we are almost as familiar as we are with our own world, or perhaps even more so.
Not tangled in desire you embrace the unknown
Tangled in desire you see only what you want
But the unknown and what you want
have one source. Call it no place
No place or darkness