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Journal: A mild rant 3

Journal by mcgrew

I've been listening to KSHE since the day they changed format in 1967. They play some great rock and roll.

They're a hundred miles away; Im in the fringe reception area so I listen online. So a few days ago I'm editing random Scribblings and the music stops. I curse Firefox and Flash and ComCast and pull the browser up to refresh the page that plays the music, and I see "Still listening?"

Well, no, YOU SHUT OFF THE MUSIC! WTF, if I wasn't listening I wouldn't have it running!

I do see why they started that, though: $$$. They have to pay the RIAA and ASCAP fees, which vary according to how many people are listening, and they don't want to pay for someone who isn't.

Still, it's annoyance.

User Journal

Journal: WTF, WI? 3

Journal by smitty_one_each

The state Government Accountability Board's top officials proceeded with a secret probe into coordination between Gov. Scott Walkerâ(TM)s campaign and conservative political groups for months without authorization from the six retired judges who run the board, court records unsealed Friday allege.
The documents filed by a target of the investigation also allege that the board voted to end its involvement in the probe in July but that staff continued to work on it.
The records add ammunition to Republicans in the state Legislature seeking to overhaul or abolish Wisconsinâ(TM)s elections and ethics watchdog agency.

I can't fathom the disquiet about secret investigations.You know darn good and well that those Lefties felt justified when they did it. Isn't that what matters? As long as our moral superiors say it's important, I gotta figure it's important.

User Journal

Journal: Three Irons Burning: Progress Report 2

Journal by mcgrew

When I was in college, I often took workshops in the summer. Two weeks of eight hour days equaled a normal class for a quarter. It would allow me a couple months vacation.

One was a blacksmithing workshop, where I learned to fashion stuff out of steel, learned a little metallurgy, and learned where a lot of the "old sayings" came from: blacksmithing. One is "too many irons in the fire", which is where this journal's title comes from. I'm working on three books right now.

Mars,Ho! is in its final editing stages, and I hope I'll be able to publish it next week; fingers crossed.

Next up is Random Scribblings, a collection of stuff I've posted on the internet since 1997; what I consider the best of what I can remember and find. It's also in the editing stage, but there's a lot more work to be done. it's huge, well over 100,000 words.

Then there's Mars Bars, a collection of short science fiction stories. It's in the beginning stages, with seven stories written so far and Voyage to Earth about half a novelette, at a little over 3000 words so far. I still don't know how long that story will be, or what other stories I'll come up with when it's written.

I'll probably post Fourteen: The Final Chapter a week from Thursday. I'll have a rant about my favorite radio station tomorrow or Monday.

User Journal

Journal: Interface

Journal by mcgrew

I plan on trying the suggested browsers, but thought I'd revisit Opera first. It dawned on me that changing browsers is going to be a big PIA, since Firefox holds a bunch of passwords.

It's been at least a decade since I've tried Opera; it was brand new when I last tried it. So I installed the latest one. The result was...

Who designed this gawdoffal mess? Look, folks, I'm all for hiring the handicapped, but you shouldn't have the learning-disabled designing interfaces. Look, folks, it shouldn't take five damned clicks to get to a bookmark. And what idiot had the idea to have each bookmark take up a square inch or two, with stupid illustrations?

I haven't uninstalled it yet, maybe there's a way to make the interface less idiotic (Firefox does), but I'm not hopeful.

Saturday morning I started working and just wasn't in the mood; I needed a weekend off. I probably wrote a paragraph in "Voyage to Earth". So I did a little random googling and ran across the fact that Windows lets you easily catch and save an audio stream, but it's disabled by default.

I'd been using EAC to sample my LPs and tapes for years, but it will only run on the XP tower. Someone clued me to Audacity a few years ago; it's been installed but unused.

I fired it up to see if I could indeed catch streams, and it does indeed.

And unlike EAC or Opera, it has an excellent interface and its manual is actually useful! I love that program! There are a ton of advanced features I'll probably never use, but it's good that they're there.

Sunday night I copped ACDC's new album, a Deep Purple "best of", and the Grateful Dead's "Skullfuck" album from KSHE's "Seventh Day" show. I guess I need some blank CDs for the car...

User Journal

Journal: Two-Factor Authentication 2

Journal by Timex

Finally got TFA working on my home system. Trying to SSH into the box will require the PIN and the password. This will only present a problem when I'm using an SSH client from my phone.

Does anyone have personal experiences with this sort of thing? (I have professional experience with it, but this is the first time I've done anything like this at home.)

User Journal

Journal: Where were we? 11

Journal by Captain Splendid

Ah yes, we've just completed the boring off-year political cycle, which means it's time for the billion dollar roller coaster ride that is the quadrennial US presidential contest.

Except that, thanks to the right-wing retards, all the excitement has been well and truly drained out of what used to be one of my favourite pastimes. Their race to the bottom, still unchecked, means that Hillary Rodham Clinton is your next Oval Office Occupant. How the fuck am I supposed to enjoy the ups and downs of what used to be way more of an "Any Given Sunday" situation when the results are so predictable?

"Bu...but...but", I hear you say.

Oh fine, I'll humour your delusional asses.

HILLARY CAN BE PRIMARIED FROM THE LEFT. "It happened before! Liberals aren't fond of hawks!" And who the fuck is gonna primary her? Biden? Warren? Cuomo? Don't make me laugh.

A LOT CAN HAPPEN IN 2 YEARS! Sure it can. But apart form the fact that that argument cuts all kinds of ways and is thus useless, the "something" that's going to need to happen for HRC not to be elected Prez is going to have to be Extinction-Level Event sized. You go ahead and count your black swans before they hatch, see what that gets you.

PEOPLE JUST DON'T LIKE HER. Well yeah, if you're Railgunner. Meanwhile, to ordinary people, she's just a high-visibility politician.

YEAH BUT $REPUBLICAN CONTENDER CAN TAKE HER! Really? Let's see who's currently in the lineup:

Rick Perry: Either he's burnishing his stock to improve his post-political career earnings, or one of his advisers thinks they've ironed out all those glitches that made him a laughingstock even to members of his own party. The only way he makes it past Super Tuesday is because he has a nice smile.

Scott Walker: The stunning thing about the Wisconsin Governor is that he's somehow managed to convince donors that winning over white people in a medium-size state as well as surviving a recall election makes him both unstoppable on the way to the White House, and secretly the most amazing potential president EVAR. I really hope he does run, watching the 'electability' bloom come off that rose will be fun to read about.

Jeb Bush: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. The base won't even touch him with a ten foot pole, and the general electorate, faced with two different versions of recycled crap, will always vote for the one they remember more fondly.

Chris Christie: Oooooh, a Republican even Democrats could vote for! Yeah, maybe 10 or 20 years ago. Anyway, forgetting the millions of problems that would hound a Christie run, I suspect his biggest will be he doesn't' have the stomach or the endurance to really go the distance. In fact, I think he's also smart enough to know not to run, which is sad, because he'd be the only one with any moderate cred, and non-crazy Republicans are already feeling pretty unloved these days.

Rand Paul: Never thought I'd see the day when a presidential candidate came along that would make Ron Paul look sane. I guess crazy is contagious.

Ted Cruz: Let's pretend for a minute that Ted isn't the poster child for everything that's wrong about the GOP these days, the US electorate will never overwhelmingly vote for a Canadian with a whiny voice.

Paul Ryan: Remember Sarah Palin? You don't? There you go.

Marco Rubio: Theoretically, he's almost perfect. And in a non-insane world, he would be the man to beat this cycle. And even then, a disciplined Clinton machine could still keep him 5 points away.

Someone wake me for 2024. maybe things will get interesting again.

User Journal

Journal: WTF, Firefox??? 7

Journal by mcgrew

As usual when I boot on Patch Tuesday, I open a bunch of tabs, the notebook slows to a crawl, and this time it was locked up so tight that Windows gave a message saying it couldn't display the message and to use the power button. I had to pull the battery to reboot the damned thing.

So I start Firefox back up and it says it's updating. It finally opens, with an extra tab, one telling me that it changed my default search to Yahoo.

WHAT THE GOD DAMNED HELL, FIREFOX??? This is bullshit! If I wanted that God damned Yahoo, an even worse search engine than Bing, I would have chosen it.

Yahoo, when your product is so shitty you have to trick people into using it... fucking morons!

There used to be a drop down by the search box; it's gone now. I tried tools->options; that's where it is now. Non nerds would give up.

Pissing off your users is NOT the way to get more of them. Anybody have any suggestions for a less annoying browser?

Also, I need to dig out that kubuntu CD and load it on a thumb drive; I'm damned sick and tired of Microsoft's patch Tuesday.

Excuse me while I reboot. Again.

User Journal

Journal: This is a first 5

Journal by mcgrew

Mod points both here and s/n at the same time. And here I'm working on three books!

There's Mars, Ho! which I'm hopeful I'll publish soon.

Then there's Random Scribblings, a collection of articles and stuff I've posted on the internet since 1997. Its subtitle will be "junk I've littered the internet with". Even though there's probably less than 10% of what I've written it's huge, well over 100,000 words. It will probably grow a little, because I just found six articles I thought had been lost forever.

This is kind of related; much stuff from my old Quake site is there. Someone once asked if I could re-post the shoutcasts, but there's too much RIAA music in them and they would surely be quickly taken down, so if you want them, email me and I'll send them as attachments.

Finally there's MarsBars, a collection of short science fiction stories. I worked on Voyage to Earth some yesterday. That book is less than 20% done.

I've been working harder than I worked when I still worked. So I'm glad I got all those mod points, I needed a break.

User Journal

Journal: Crappy Holidays 5

Journal by mcgrew

Thanksgiving morning I was ready to pick up my daughter and visit our family a hundred miles south in St. Louis.

My keys weren't in my pocket. An hour later I gave up looking and called all concerned with the sad news; no Thanksgiving for me this year; I was stuck in my house.

I found them Saturday.

I'd ordered a copy of Mars,Ho!, hopefully the final pre-print, on Monday before Thanksgiving. I expected it to ship Saturday, but it still hasn't shipped. So I doubt I'll have it published by Christmas, let alone soon enough for it to be gifts.

Sorry, guys.

User Journal

Journal: The Leonine Contract 9

Journal by Marxist Hacker 42

It's a pretty standard trope, but one that libertarians do not seem to believe can possibly exist. And it is a blind spot in economic justice in the United States of America.
 
 

The Lion and his Fellow Hunters, By Aesop
Once, a lion, a fox, a jackal, and a wolf went hunting. They caught a stag and killed it, and quartered the meat. "This quarter," said the lion, "is for me, as I am the King of Beasts. And this quarter is mine as the arbiter of the spoils. The third quarter is mine because of my part in chasing down the stag. And as for the fourth â" well, I'd like to see any of you dare to put so much as a paw on it." The other three animals were bitterly disappointed, but they slunk away, unwilling or unable to fight for their share of the meat.

Just because you help a lion doesn't mean he'll share.

 
So remember boys and girls, just because you help a rich man to run his business, does not mean he'll share the profits with you. Which leads us right back to an entirely Different Leo and his successors.

User Journal

Journal: [TCM] Communist Manifesto Reading Club, Part 5 20

Journal by smitty_one_each
We've passed the halfway point in the first chapter. Golf clap. Let's continue the journey. I'm going to use a lone capital B (Das Kapital) for "bourgeoisie":

The bourgeoisie has subjected the country to the rule of the towns. It has created enormous cities, has greatly increased the urban population as compared with the rural, and has thus rescued a considerable part of the population from the idiocy of rural life. Just as it has made the country dependent on the towns, so it has made barbarian and semi-barbarian countries dependent on the civilised ones, nations of peasants on nations of bourgeois, the East on the West.

So Marx is against urbanization, without explitely saying why, other than crediting his B strawman with the development, while decrying the "idiocy" of rural life.

The bourgeoisie keeps more and more doing away with the scattered state of the population, of the means of production, and of property. It has agglomerated population, centralised the means of production, and has concentrated property in a few hands. The necessary consequence of this was political centralisation. Independent, or but loosely connected provinces, with separate interests, laws, governments, and systems of taxation, became lumped together into one nation, with one government, one code of laws, one national class-interest, one frontier, and one customs-tariff.

Well, that blows away a lot of thought which credited technology with liberating agrarian labor, in addition to providing new work in cities, for the urbanization. Is technology, itself, a B conspiracy in the B movie of Industrialization?

The bourgeoisie, during its rule of scarce one hundred years, has created more massive and more colossal productive forces than have all preceding generations together. Subjection of Nature's forces to man, machinery, application of chemistry to industry and agriculture, steam-navigation, railways, electric telegraphs, clearing of whole continents for cultivation, canalisation of rivers, whole populations conjured out of the ground--what earlier century had even a presentiment that such productive forces slumbered in the lap of social labour?

Marx's genius is elevating the B to near-Cthulhu levels of diabolical power. Here we are decrying all of the improvements that have made modern life possible, AND set the stage for the reactionary counter-charge that labor is being exploited and Gaia molested.

We see then: the means of production and of exchange, on whose foundation the bourgeoisie built itself up, were generated in feudal society. At a certain stage in the development of these means of production and of exchange, the conditions under which feudal society produced and exchanged, the feudal organisation of agriculture and manufacturing industry, in one word, the feudal relations of property became no longer compatible with the already developed productive forces; they became so many fetters. They had to be burst asunder; they were burst asunder.

So Feudalism--it's not clear whether it was as bad as the B, or merely a precursor--was superceded by this hellish B force. As far as I can tell, Marx is noting a technological progression, and attributing societal side-effects to his B group. Has he confused horse and cart here? Perhaps. Is this a deliberate rhetorical choice? Let's keep the disbelief suspended.

Into their place stepped free competition, accompanied by a social and political constitution adapted in it, and the economic and political sway of the bourgeois class.

Heinlein replies:

Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded--here and there, now and then--are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.
This is known as "bad luck."

A similar movement is going on before our own eyes. Modern bourgeois society, with its relations of production, of exchange and of property, a society that has conjured up such gigantic means of production and of exchange, is like the sorcerer who is no longer able to control the powers of the nether world whom he has called up by his spells. For many a decade past the history of industry and commerce is but the history of the revolt of modern productive forces against modern conditions of production, against the property relations that are the conditions for the existence of the bourgeois and of its rule. It is enough to mention the commercial crises that by their periodical return put the existence of the entire bourgeois society on its trial, each time more threateningly. In these crises, a great part not only of the existing products, but also of the previously created productive forces, are periodically destroyed. In these crises, there breaks out an epidemic that, in all earlier epochs, would have seemed an absurdity--the epidemic of over-production. Society suddenly finds itself put back into a state of momentary barbarism; it appears as if a famine, a universal war of devastation, had cut off the supply of every means of subsistence; industry and commerce seem to be destroyed; and why? Because there is too much civilisation, too much means of subsistence, too much industry, too much commerce. The productive forces at the disposal of society no longer tend to further the development of the conditions of bourgeois property; on the contrary, they have become too powerful for these conditions, by which they are fettered, and so soon as they overcome these fetters, they bring disorder into the whole of bourgeois society, endanger the existence of bourgeois property. The conditions of bourgeois society are too narrow to comprise the wealth created by them. And how does the bourgeoisie get over these crises? On the one hand by enforced destruction of a mass of productive forces; on the other, by the conquest of new markets, and by the more thorough exploitation of the old ones. That is to say, by paving the way for more extensive and more destructive crises, and by diminishing the means whereby crises are prevented.

It's as though Marx views technological improvement as though it were nuclear fission. Was he a proto-Luddite?

The weapons with which the bourgeoisie felled feudalism to the ground are now turned against the bourgeoisie itself.

Here is a critical point: Marx has said that the B are bad, and will now be hoisted upon their own petard. But who is managing that? If the B were so clever as to fell Feudalism, how is the B to be eliminated by less than an Ueber-B?

But not only has the bourgeoisie forged the weapons that bring death to itself; it has also called into existence the men who are to wield those weapons--the modern working class--the proletarians.

Oh, the Proletariat is going to be bigger and tougher enough to slay the B dragon, while somehow not actually becoming even worse than the B, even though the slope of history sketched by Marx seems rather negative.

In proportion as the bourgeoisie, i.e., capital, is developed, in the same proportion is the proletariat, the modern working class, developed â" a class of labourers, who live only so long as they find work, and who find work only so long as their labour increases capital. These labourers, who must sell themselves piecemeal, are a commodity, like every other article of commerce, and are consequently exposed to all the vicissitudes of competition, to all the fluctuations of the market.

Wait--are the Proletariat the victims, or the conquerors of the B.

Owing to the extensive use of machinery, and to the division of labour, the work of the proletarians has lost all individual character, and, consequently, all charm for the workman. He becomes an appendage of the machine, and it is only the most simple, most monotonous, and most easily acquired knack, that is required of him. Hence, the cost of production of a workman is restricted, almost entirely, to the means of subsistence that he requires for maintenance, and for the propagation of his race. But the price of a commodity, and therefore also of labour, is equal to its cost of production. In proportion, therefore, as the repulsiveness of the work increases, the wage decreases. Nay more, in proportion as the use of machinery and division of labour increases, in the same proportion the burden of toil also increases, whether by prolongation of the working hours, by the increase of the work exacted in a given time or by increased speed of machinery, etc.

OK, here is what I don't get. If "individual character" and "charm for the workman" are a key component of work in the market, why aren't the workers in the proletariat leveraging that? I'm talking craft beer, artisinal cheese, and hand-made furniture.
That is, Marx seems to appeal to fear of obsolescence in the proletariat, rather than appealing to individual greatness and pursuit of excellence.

Modern Industry has converted the little workshop of the patriarchal master into the great factory of the industrial capitalist. Masses of labourers, crowded into the factory, are organised like soldiers. As privates of the industrial army they are placed under the command of a perfect hierarchy of officers and sergeants. Not only are they slaves of the bourgeois class, and of the bourgeois State; they are daily and hourly enslaved by the machine, by the overlooker, and, above all, by the individual bourgeois manufacturer himself. The more openly this despotism proclaims gain to be its end and aim, the more petty, the more hateful and the more embittering it is.

One of the interesting aspects is how readily Marx both (a) rejects individual responsibilty for life outcomes, and (b) places individuals like sheep in the B factory pens in support of his argument.
In this, Marx seems ready to agree with the B, while purporting to attack them.
The contemporary version is rioters destroying small businesses in Ferguson, in the name of "Fighting the Power". Because #Justice.

Previously:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Pastable version:
<a href="http://slashdot.org/~smitty_one_each/journal/1342943">Part 1</a>
<a href="http://slashdot.org/~damn_registrars/journal/1343899">Part 2</a>
<a href="http://slashdot.org/~smitty_one_each/journal/1344465">Part 3</a>
<a href="http://slashdot.org/~damn_registrars/journal/1553731">Part 4</a>

User Journal

Journal: I'm dreaming of a secular Christmas 1

Journal by mcgrew

I'm dreaming of a secular Christmas
In these modern secular days
With a secular tree with secular lights
And a Santa in a secular sleigh

I'm dreaming of a secular Christmas
With lots of secular snow
With a secular wreath and some secular lights
And some secular mistletoe

No baby in a manger
No wise men at his bed
No thought of Jesus Christ at all
Just get him out of your head

I'm dreaming of a secular Christmas
With lots of secular snow
With a secular Santa in a secular sleigh
And a secular HO HO HO!

No baby in a manger
No wise men at his bed
No thought of Jesus Christ at all
Just get him out of your head

I'm dreaming of a secular Christmas
Have a Happy Holiday!
Don't forget the secular eggnog
Just forget just whose birthday...

---

The above is of course sarcasm, but I think that ironically, antitheists might embrace it.

I am offended by the Honda commercials, where toys given to adults when they were children as "holiday gifts" are attempting to sell cars.

There are no "holiday gifts". Only Hebrews and Christians; it's Hanukkah gifts and Christmas presents. and only 1.8% of Americans are Jewish. Damned Japanese! Then I had a second thought -- is there a Japanese holiday where gifts are exchanged?

It turns out that there is a Japanese holiday, this year on the last day of Hanukkah. It's the Emperor's birthday, but gifts are not exchanged; the emperor's palace is open to the public on that day.

Honda ad agency people, you are idiots. 1.8% of Americans are Jewish, 77% identify themselves as Christian. Guess what, morons? You just offended half the Christians in the US while trying to not disenfranchise the less than two percent who are Jewish.

If you're trying to use Christians' second most holy day to further your worship of mammon, you better damned well mention Christ, or risk pissing off half the population.

Any given program, when running, is obsolete.

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