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Journal: On Spam, Faith, and Bullshit

Last Monday we had a front page article asking about the "effectiveness" of ISP-level spam filters. I eventually responded with a rehash of my central thesis on slashdot, pointing out that spam is an economic problem and filters will never resolve it.

My comment was generally well received (as seen by the moderations applied to it), though clearly some people were confused by it. Note for example two anonymous applications of the standard form, neither of which showed good comprehension of my comment. Overall my comment fielded 13 replies, many of which seemed to struggle with my statement in one way or another.

However the one who really failed most dramatically was this comment claiming - based on nothing at all - that everything I said was completely wrong. I eventually challenged his faith in spam filters, which apparently caused him to take off the gloves and make it personal.

In fact, so personal, that he kept bringing the conversation back to himself. Eventually I got tired of trying to bring the discussion back to being about spam, and he apparently got tired of talking about himself.

Even for this crowd, that was an odd discussion. Something like 18 comments from him in ~5 days and possibly not a single fact across the lot of them.
User Journal

Journal: Thanks, Obama! 23 23

Talking to a Caribbean-based business acquaintance this week reminded me that, no matter my feelings for the Obama administration, I will be eternally grateful that he's taken Cuba off the table. Because in the pantheon of stupid american wedge issues, the Cuban embargo is near-lock for the title IMO.

Bonus conspiracy fun: The lifting of the embargo, and its timing could be seen as a nice little spoiler for the only 2 GOP candidates who have any shot at beating Hillary next year, Bush and Rubio. Most of the other candidates can choose a wide range of answers when presented with questions on the topic, whereas the Floridians actually have serious history and ties on this, making finessing the issue that much harder.

Oh, and before someone thinks they're clever by telling me that President Perry or whoever would just go back to the status quo faster than you can say "fuck you liberals!", good luck with that. The GOP only cared that it reliably delivered Florida's electoral votes, and it stopped doing that a good couple of cycles ago. It's dead, Jim.

User Journal

Journal: Catholics have jumped the shark 16 16

I'm not Catholic, but even if I was:

1) I do not recognize this ball of mud in space as "our Sister, Mother Earth". How long before Catholics, who already come dangerously close to or cross the line into worshipping false idols, refer to it as "the Blessed Holy Mother Earth"? Water is blessed to make "holy water", so when will dirt be? Say three Hail Gaia's and you're absolved of your sins against "her"? I'm envisioning a creepy earth cult a la the movie Avatar. Stop the madness. Stop making little godlets out of other people and mere things.

2) This "sister" is not now crying out to us nor never has, because it doesn't have vocal chords and it's not alive. It's a giant dirtclod that has living things on it, most of them soulless/not made in God's image and therefore as valuable as the rock they live on.

3) I will not say a prayer for "our Earth". I don't pray for inanimate objects. Nor do I deify them.

These are based on an article I read at lunch about it this week on ArsLeftica. I ignored what the author said about the Pope's writing, and refer only to the quotes. Which appalled me enough; I don't care to read the original source on this one. (I don't want to know fully how bad it is.)

p.s. Note that I consider Catholics to be my fellow brothers in Christ. Same with Mormons. I trust that our acceptance of Jesus will enable us to go to the place that's the best. (Where I guess it'll all be straightened out.)

User Journal

Journal: Obviously, this validates the conspiracy 18 18

Islamic State operative suspected in 2012 Benghazi attack killed in US airstrike

Because certainly they must have known that he had all those deleted emails from Hillary Clinton's email server - particularly the ones where she asked him to initiate the strike - on his person when he was killed in Iraq this week. Hence this airstrike was done only to bring about the coronation of Mrs. Clinton.

Am I getting the conspiracy about right this time? I haven't heard anything from the usual gang here to tell me what to think about this yet.

User Journal

Journal: solidarity vs. feeling like you need a shower 32 32

My dad made an interesting point in the car on the way to lunch today. He wondered how my bro-in-law's folks, who are dedicated Liberals, could buy Toyotas, when they don't use union labor.

It's a bit of a conundrum. If you're a Leftie, you have disdain for anything American. Yet the Japanese automakers dodge unions like Wal*mart.

While it's still a capitalist system, how's a socially conscious person supposed to support the labor movement without also indirectly supporting their (private) employers.

User Journal

Journal: you dirty girl 8 8

Driving home from work Thu night I was at a stoplight behind a minivan with a PBS supporter license plate frame. The minivan had a large rear window, and I could see part of the taller SUV in front of it, with a Ron Paul for president sticker! I'll bet the minivan driver was road-raging in there!

The week before I was behind an SUV with a/an "If you're gonna ride my ass, at least pull my hair" license plate frame. I had to pull up next to the driver at the next light to see the person standing behind this statement. It looked like the lady from that pitbull rescue TV series.

That same afternoon another lady had a license plate frame of "Look out, Mary's driving". I wonder if that was self-bought, or if it was a "gift". She seemed to be driving just fine.

User Journal

Journal: Leveling up with python 2 2

$ py
Python 3.4.3 (default, Jun 14 2015, 02:11:57) [MSC v.1800 64 bit (AMD64)] on win32
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
>>> dat="http://docs.aws.amazon.com/IAM/latest/UserGuide/Using_ManagingMFA.html"
>>> print(dat.split("/"))
['http:', '', 'docs.aws.amazon.com', 'IAM', 'latest', 'UserGuide', 'Using_ManagingMFA.html']
>>> print(dat.split("/")[1:])
['', 'docs.aws.amazon.com', 'IAM', 'latest', 'UserGuide', 'Using_ManagingMFA.html']
>>> print(dat.split("/")[2:])
['docs.aws.amazon.com', 'IAM', 'latest', 'UserGuide', 'Using_ManagingMFA.html']
>>> print(dat.split("/")[3:])
['IAM', 'latest', 'UserGuide', 'Using_ManagingMFA.html']
>>> print(dat.split("/")[3:-1])
['IAM', 'latest', 'UserGuide']

I hadn't ever used the python REPL to work on a bit of code, but it sure makes exploring the slicing notation easier.

User Journal

Journal: Winduhs

I think the whole mobile operating system thing has screwed up GUI design to a certain degree. Microsoft, Ubuntu, and GNOME have both been brave and tried something new, but what they ended up with ended up being highly unpopular on the desktop. And to be honest, I think only Microsoft ended up with something truly good on a touch interface, though I admit to not using Ubuntu or GNOME in those contexts, just being aware that they've not really encouraged an ecosystem for applications to work well in a tablet environment, leaving users with only the main shell being friendly. So the loss of optimization for the desktop lead to no significant gains elsewhere.

The way I'm seeing it, Windows 10 seems to be genuinely exciting, and a decent modern desktop, that also encourages cross interface design. Microsoft has learned from the mistakes it made with Windows 8, kept the good parts, and put together something truly great and modern.

I don't really want to be stuck with Windows though as my primary OS. I'm hoping Ubuntu et al actually learn from it.

This is something you'll never normally hear from me, but perhaps they need a Miguel type figure to take a lead in either GNOME or Ubuntu. At this point, at least to me, it looks like Microsoft is the one with the good ideas about how a UI should work and the relationship of an application to the UI frameworks of the underlying OS. I don't want anyone to clone Windows, but it would be nice to learn from it, at least.

Back in the 1990s, nerds like me put together our own "desktops", running random window managers, app launchers, and file managers (if that) that seemed to go together. I'm feeling like the FOSS "desktop" is heading back to that era, of stuff that doesn't really go together, being shoehorned to fit, with no real philosophy binding the system together.

User Journal

Journal: Chronicle: Yesterday's bike ride

Rode my bicycle yesterday for exercise, with intent to go to Meijers (The name, Meijer's Thrifty Acres, which people colloquial called "Meijers". The name has changed, removing the need for the possessive "s." Kids and sticklers now use the new name.) I did go there, stopping off at the Royal Oak Post Office en route.

The post office is a nice one. I used to have a PO Box there. They've since added inner doors to replace the gate locked at nighttime. The doors look nicer when closed, i guess, but also makes it look more office-like during regular business hours. The bike stand/rock was missing outside, so i used the railing on the accessibility ramp. It goes around like a hairpin, but gets more narrow in middle of the second half. Well, if whoever uses it can use the more narrow part, using the side of the excess shouldn't be an issue, should it?

Anyway, they're slow, but what government office isn't? When the guy two in front of me went up (without being called, to wait for the returning clerk, who asked if he was actually next when she came back) the guy in front of me went moved up. The line at the office is not straight. There is the counter and an open area for standing and leaving, then an island with a flat top and forms on the side. The line forms on the other side of the island and around the bend, where people usually wait to be called. So, both people in front of me were facing perpendicular to the direction i was facing. When two-in-front went up, one-in-front walked forward. I turn and got behind him, and he moved up just a little further. Obviously, he wanted room. So be it. I figured he might not kike Jews, so i didn't stare at him either. That is, i made sure to look away from him. He did his business and left. I needed only a minute, so i was out relatively quickly.

As i was beginning to ride away on my bike, he commented (while unlocking his car?) to me, "I never saw a rabbi on a bike before." I smiled and kept on riding. I still don't know what he meant by the statement or why he considered me a rabbi. Mayhap, he doesn't get out much. :)

Before i even got to Meijers, i was pooped, and realized i really needed the break before i could ride home. The stop at the post office elongated my trip more than expected, and i wasn't ready for that much exertion this summer, yet. I took my time in the store, including checking out the Italian section, and getting Turkish sun dried tomatoes. I may go back and grab some of the Pomi products (they had two, iirc) to see if they are that good.

On my way home, i evoked the same responses as usual. People stare at me biking. I think people stare at all bikers, or better put, intruders on their domain. Anyway, as i was riding down one street, i saw two boys playing a couple(?) blocks ahead. The first went inside. Seemed normal. I don't know if he saw me or not. The second saw me and ran inside too. Nope, not inside. As i passed by, i saw him hiding behind a bush. Did he think i might curse him or was he just afraid or shy? I wish could go back and ask. Or maybe watch a video online with comments. Hmm... bike cam, anyone? :)

User Journal

Journal: Days Go By 1 1

The Offspring released a new album in 2012 and I didn't know until yesterday. There are implications to that I need to get sorted but now you know what I'm listening to all day while I work.

They have a newer song out which I heard on the radio, which is what clued me in that something had been done since Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace. (Which was the 'new album' in my brain until yesterday even though it's 5 or 6 years old. Not that that is a big deal. I also think of Seventh Son of a Seventh Son as 'new' Maiden and that came out in '88)

I may start streaming US radio stations to stay more aware of what is going on in music back home.

Real computer scientists don't program in assembler. They don't write in anything less portable than a number two pencil.

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