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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! 33 33

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: Number Five 2 2

I just sent off for the fifth and, I hope, last pre-publication copy of Yesterday's Tomorrows. I was sure it would be finished a month ago, but there were problems printing it due to some of the illustrations being too high of a resolution. It took a month to get the fourth printed.

I can't decide whether or not to assign an ISBN to it, since the book may not be legal in all countries. What do you think? I only have three or four left, and a block of ten is $250. Should I use one? The only country besides the US that has bought my books was Great Britain, and very few there although the web site gets visits from all over the world.

I'm pretty sure I'll never sell a book in Australia, because they're crazy expensive down there; tariffs, probably.

Oh, if you want to read the copy of Huckleberry Finn at my site, better hurry because when I post Yesterday's Tomorrows I'll have to take the Twain book down to make space. It will be back up this fall when I renew my URL and upgrade my hosting level. When it's back up I'll have a version that's easy to read on a phone.

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.

Getting the job done is no excuse for not following the rules. Corollary: Following the rules will not get the job done.

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