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Comment Three cheers for Firefox (Score 1) 167

If you're using Firefox, one problem is that they've been very tardy with H.264 support, for ideological reasons.

I understand some of their reasoning and am not critical of it.

If anything, I think every FireFox user should try it without Flash. There just are not crashes. It's inspiring.

Comment People are not equal (Score 1) 214

People will still write, will still sing, and will still make movies.

Yes, but will we get the same quality of work?

Ernest Hemingway was able to devote his life to his writing because it not only paid the bills, but paid comparable to work as an attorney or doctor.

If writing pays nothing, he'll take those other jobs instead, and not have the time to write the masterpieces he would do otherwise.

Comment Is copyright obsolete? (Score 1) 214

That said, I don't agree with how copyright is used/abused these days and I think it's an outdated idea. Human culture and advancement has always been built on the basic human desire to share good ideas/music/art/recipes etc.

I think this is the core of the issue.

On one hand, sharing information is a great thing.

On the other hand, that information will not get developed if it doesn't pay off handsomely.

My concern is making sure we can continue to fund quality books, movies, etc. We can find people to do it for free, but people who get paid to do it can do it full time and may do a better job.

Comment My report: 6 months without using Flash (Score 4, Interesting) 167

Some time ago, after the last round of Flash exploits, I de-installed it and resolved to live without it.

There are glitches: I can't get most video content, and Flash-only sites are inaccessible. However, this ended up being not a big issue.

One reason for this is that many YouTube videos play in HTML5 on Firefox. (If you find a video you can't play, try embedding it; this sometimes produces a workable version.)

Overall, the playback on HTML5 is better than Flash. There are fewer random slowdowns and stall-outs. On the downside, not every video is in HTML5.

The most amazing this is that browser crashes have dropped to near zero, either one or zero during this time. Most of what I thought was FF and Opera being buggy was in fact Flash being buggy.

There's not yet enough content switched to HTML5 from Flash to navigate everything, but during my 6 months without Flash, I've noticed that more firms are going away from the Flash-only navigation school of design.

YMMV. For me, life without Flash has been better, although I do miss out on some things.

Comment Unhappiness and dysgenics (Score 1) 179

I would add unhappy to your list of qualities that make up the bulk of social site users. Many of the people I know who are regular users remain in contact with old flames even though they are now like Al Bundy. Here's to hoping these extra opportunities to procreate don't result in the psychologically healthy being out-bred by this genotypical subset.

I've noticed this as well. People tend to try to "justify" their lives using lifestyle and/or perceived success. For example, a recent survey of Facebook friends found that almost 3/4 of the profile pictures contained either (a) alcohol or (b) children. It's like saying "See what I have, I'm doing quite well."

I don't think that sort of pre-emptive bragging happens when people are actually happy. Instead, as you've observed, there are signs of misery. Lots of scheming and pseudo-romance. It's creepy.

The dysgenic effects will undoubtedly be felt by future generations. It's as if we're breeding humanity into obese deskbound drama queens that know how to look successful on Facebook, but not succeed at real-life things like happiness and fidelity!

Comment I keep trying to use Facebook. (Score 5, Insightful) 179

I've come to the conclusion that social networking is screwed up because the people who use it most are the people who are least invested in reality.

Every time I try to use Facebook, I get driven away by the behavior of its users. Not the Instagram dinner plate updates, or the personal drama, because I've already filtered out those people.

It's the sensitivity. People take anything seriously. I posted an article showing that divorce really screws up kids. I got back a half-dozen replies, all from people who'd had divorces, defending their own decisions. When I said that it wasn't personal, they said they still felt attacked.

There were other instances of similar behavior too. People hover around Facebook, looking for some reason to cause a scene. Why was this, I wondered.

It seems to me that if you have found something worth doing in life, you're mostly doing it. That doesn't mean your job. If your job sucks, you've probably got a project on the side. You're not going to devote your time to screwing around, which is what most people on Facebook do.

This means that social networking including Facebook selects out the people who have any direction in life, and leaves the resentful, bored, unemployed, disabled, upset, insane, teenage, etc. and concentrates them in large numbers. This is why so much of the response is crazy.

I should amend the post title. I used to keep trying to use Facebook (and MySpace, Digg, Reddit, Friendster, Pinterest, etc.). But now, I don't. These aren't places where healthy people hang out.

Comment An objective standard of health? (Score 1) 172

One 180g apple is about 100 kcal, while 180g of donuts (3.5 Krispy Kremes) is seven times as much at about 700 kcal. One has fiber to moderate its gylcemic index, the other represents a sugar spike + crash and burn. Both can taste pretty good, but physiologically one will keep you satisfied for a big while the other one will have you reaching for more food in no time. Our natural food response cycle, the one that's so it's hard to fight against, wants to eat until we're full. If you chose to eat your fill of apples you'll be doing much better than your fill of donuts.

This clashes with my beliefs. I believe it is an equal decision to eat the donuts, to eating the apples. If I want it to be good, it's just as good.

There is no objective standard of "health." Now, I'm going to have this cigarette and eat this whole pack of pork rinds, and then we can talk about other subjective choices that are equal or should be to their "healthier" equivalents.

Comment I am expressing myself! (Score 0) 214

These 2.3 terrabytes of bit torrent downloads are not piracy.

They are performance art.

Some express themselves through defecating paint on canvas, or inserting nostalgic objects into their vaginas, or even collecting garbage in a room and calling it art.

My art is poetry formed of the sequence of downloads I am undertaking.

Now please stop troubling me with your talk about "piracy" and "illegality" because it's simply not true.

Also because I'm in the EU, can I get welfare benefits for heavy metal addiction?

That's what I'm downloading. Help me!


Submission + - Using relativity to encrypt data (

hessian writes: "Bob Way has a great post up about his brainstorm for a file-sharing system that technically does not include the actual data it shares, but can reconstruct it from a relative measurement of it, which is stored.

This is much like coming up with a mold for a part and using relative vectors to describe it, so that when needed, it can be re-created using some seed data and thus used to create the part in question."


Submission + - Architecture versus pattern recognition in programming (

hessian writes: "Most programming is a variant of “cut and paste” programming. You find the archetype you’re looking for, adapt it, and then paste it into the program from a mixture of sample code and blog posts. It works; you move on.

The problem with each of these method is that they’re limited role. The programmer is the only one involved in how the project works; the major architectural factors unique to the project are removed; and, it’s difficult for others to participate."

Comment Civilization is self-destructive. (Score 1) 470

The process of civilization is self-destructive for two reasons.

First, any civilization develops rules and methods and eventually uses those to the exclusion of anything else.

Second, any civilization creates a "system" which must be manipulated by individuals to achieve success.

Both of these remove people from contact with raw reality.

Eventually, people recognize success only within what the civilization already recognizes as important, which excludes any ideas that are actually new.

Worse, the civilization produces its own form of "innovation" which consists of re-applying its principles in new combinations. These innovations take precedence because they are recognized by the audience, since they are based on previously approved ideas within both the system and the rules.

In other words, the problem of civilization is that it re-targets our goals from pure engineering (adapt to reality) toward social goals (adapt to civilization's expectations).

Social goals are expressed through the utilitarian mode of what most individuals approve of. This in turn is based on what the average person can expect based on past successes in the system, and what they can recognize as building on that past.

In short, everything that civilization does is against innovation and more importantly, independent leadership. Civilization forces self-referentiality on its citizens and thus constrains them to its current direction, which is like a kind of super-inertia.

It is for this reason that screwballs such as myself exist. We don't trust existing frameworks, and build our own from scratch. Not only does this mean ditching Ruby on Rails for Perl wildcoding, but also, wildcoding in philosophy and politics so that future generations don't have to suffer under the mistakes of the past.

Comment A fatal flaw (Score 1) 798

You are depending on the people to vote intelligently.

I agree this is the fatal flaw of democracy.

Most people do not vote intelligently, because they do not act intelligently, and often it has nothing to do with their raw intelligence potential.

Mostly, people are narcissistic, distracted, neurotic, selfish, individualistic, and afloat in a world of desires, judgments, feelings and fears.

They aren't making decisions using their logical abilities, but their emotional reactions.

Comment Democracy has failed? (Score 1) 798

Where you live, the government looks out for its constituents, the people.

Here in the U.S., the government looks out for its constituents, the corporations.

But how can that be?

The people have the vote, freedom of speech and assembly, and their own media.

How is it that these bad outcomes can take place given all the safeguards we've put in, including giving power to the people?

Or is it that apathy, laziness, narcissism and general stupidity (that ugly bell curve of unequal human ability) won out?

If that's the case, democracy has failed.

What do you think?

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