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User Journal

Journal Journal: News for nerds that's safe for work.

I've been on Slashdot forever. This account is old, and I had another account before. I changed the password to that account when I decided to be less of a troll and exercise a little more editorial control over what I say ( though I had excellent karma even with that other account. )

It's always been a great source of news for nerds, with news discovery crowdsourced, and techies have been a stimulating group to have conversations with over the years. Slashdot still is king of that, and the news for nerds is mainly why I still stop in now.

For most of the time I've used Slashdot, I browsed the site with lynx or some other such text browser for the blind. I'm not blind, but it looks superficially like I am coding if Lumberg comes up behind me to ask for the TPS reports. Also, web use is generally measured by the bite, rather than the site, and lynx text browsing has never gone above the radar.

But lately I work from home most of the time, and I think that's becoming common for real nowadays among techies, whereas once it was talked about more than it actually happened.

So I care less about what media I am viewing. ( using lynx I was rather biased toward text ) Also, if a NSFW image or offensive paragraph is on my screen, I don't have to explain it to Lumberg.

So lately, I've been browsing 4chan and youtube regularly. 4chan boards have some of the same crowdsourced discovery of news ( though it's less targeted toward techies depending on which board you are using ) And the stories have to be vetted more - obviously. But the crazies on there can be fun to argue with.

And youtube has improved its comment system to make conversations doable without too much hassle if not exactly supersmooth.

I've gone from being a slashdot / sciencedaily / google news / google groups (usenet news)/ the oil drum (now defunct) during the day and fark / dailyrotten ( now defunct ) at night kind of guy to a youtube / 4chan / slashdot / sciencedaily / fark kinda guy whatever time of day it is.

At work, though, when I go in, it is usually because I've got a reason to be busy, so I don't have slack days where boredom must be filled by posting shit. If I do run into a day like that, then I revert to my lynx habits.

I've always browsed slashdot with no filters. I think the moderation system was mainly to keep it safe for work. The conversation aspect of things suits me better on 4chan, though I like the crowd here better. Also I like posting things for posterity on youtube. I don't mind getting a reply to something I posted months ago. The replies are why to post, and have always been more important to me than moderation.

I guess the recent post I saw about only millenials liking Edward Snowden where there were older folks chiming in to defend their age bracket Eg: "I'm 65 and I like Ed" - GargamelSpaceman is 38 as of 2015 btw, so not a millenial, more of a Gen X. Also he can't spell millenial apparently, and talks about himself in the third person.. the comments on that recent post made me wonder if the age demographic of slashdot is getting older.

I saw many a post about: Stupid millenials this, and stupid millenials that. Once computers were for young people. I still think so, I mean 4chan's demographic is still young, but maybe that's because 4chan's demographic tends to be more unemployed..

My years of text browsing I've found has really been an information concentrating filter. I visit sites that seemed infomation dense and found them seeming information sparse when viewed with firefox.

And while it's possible to listen to youtube in the background while doing something else, it's not possible to pay close attention to anything being said. Also it's hard to search for keywords like you can in a text page, to go right to the thing you wanted to see.

And making videos is harder than typing, Youtube is at least a week behind the text web, and not as close to source ( except when the source was a video ). By the time someone makes a video the result has been through yet another layer of editing.

Slashdot, while probably older demographically, and mainly a text site, is still the freshest most comprehensive source for news for nerds of all types, and not a bad place to argue about stuff with at least some intelligent people.

User Journal

Journal Journal: NSA SSL Backdoors - are they real, how to avoid?

What do people think of this?


and this sort of thing:

With this last one, is it enough or even possible to disable this random number generator on my own machine, or will talking to someone via ssl who uses this generator render my communication compromised? Also the first link talks about forging certificates? WTF?

User Journal

Journal Journal: Virtue and Vice in the Malthusian World

I have been watching a very interesting lecture on youtube. Part one wasn't that interesting because I'd heard it before, but starting with part 2 I was amazed. +1 insightful

User Journal

Journal Journal: Crash Course

Prof Steve Keen makes a lot of sense..

User Journal

Journal Journal: Jubilee 1
Not a one time jubilee. It has to be a constant jubilee. All debts forgiven instantly as they are created. If debts could not be legally enforced, but only existed on the honor system, then they would be smaller.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Krugman: If the banks are outlawed only outlaws will have banks. 2

It's not news to me that there's nothing preventing FRB from going offshore if it were gone. It may not be practical to even do. But I think I can argue that if it could be done, it would not be harmful.

Krugman writes:

Like a lot of people, my insights draw heavily on Diamond-Dybvig (pdf), one of those papers that just opens your mind to a wider reality. What DD argue is that there is a tension between the needs of individual savers â" who want ready access to their funds in case a sudden need arises â" and the requirements of productive investment, which requires sustained commitment of resources.

Banks can largely resolve this tension, by offering deposits that can be withdrawn on demand, yet investing most of the funds thus raised in long-term, illiquid projects.

To this I say that money is just paper. If savers largely keep their money in shoeboxes under their beds then it is effectively irrelevant to the economy until it is spent. This helps to raise the value of the money that IS available for long term investment creating better incentives to invest long term for those with the vision and the means to do so.

According to Krugman, banks are those entities that borrow short and lend long. This creates adverse selection of ideas because those who prefer to take a loan rather than invest capital they already have are those who believe the interest will not be able to be repaid, but have some hope that their expectations may be exceeded. If you had a dollar it's better to use that dollar on an idea you believe to be good rather than borrow a dollar since you get to earn the interest yourself.

This is analogous to the adverse selection that takes place in the insurance industry. People buy insurance when they think they will need it.

Is it better to try things that you think will fail in the hope that they may succeed and have your expectations exceeded ( by relying on the Fed to increase the money supply so that you can pay the interest ) or is it better to try things that you think will probably succeed in the first place?

Productivity of bad ideas that can't work isn't real productivity.

If there is a lack of money available for long term investing then by all means create more money, but there's no reason banks must create it with a shell game involving other money only available short term. If the short term money is only available for the short term then let it sit harmless in a shoebox.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Money Masters

I'm watching this now. Not quite finished watching, but it's good.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Get money out of speech.

For example, I live in a US state where billboards are outlawed in favor of small license plate sized signs. Remotely from a place of business it is the only kind of sign allowed. In my state, we are free from the eyesores billboards blocking up the scenery while still being able to find the nearest McDonald's by looking at the far less intrusive signs that are allowed.

Why is advertising so noisy? Because it must be obnoxiously noisy not to be DROWNED OUT BY ALL THE OTHER ADVERTISING.

By limiting volume, we preserve the peace, and also preserve the spirit of the first amendment by preventing those with the means from drowning out everyone else's voice like a GNAA troll with too much time on their hands.

The government already limits the power of radio transmitters including Citizen's Band radios, and regular FM radio stations. The power of money to transmit ideas also needs to be limited. This means political ideas as well as other ideas. Each must be able to voice their opinion, but it should not be possible to drown out everyone's voice because you can afford the largest loudspeaker.

I think it is probably possible for there to be laws limiting the volume of speech so that everyone can have their say heard without limiting it's content.

What do other people think?

User Journal

Journal Journal: People Live in the Cracks

People live in the cracks, meaning that chaos creates niches in which humanity can exist. Imagine if the world were perfectly efficient - you couldn't waste a second. Every waking moment would be accounted for, and you would consume no more than absolutely necessary to maintain your metabolism. You would be a human being encased in a metal life. Imagine how many more people the world could hold if we could only somehow get to absolute efficiency. 7 billion is nothing. Soylent Green is only the beginning.

500 million has been suggested as a good world population that would permit humans to live with some kind of dignity. I agree with this. 13/14 of us should just die ( just as long as me and mine are spared ). To leave a bit of room for growth, maybe half of the remainder should go too leaving 250 million or so survivors.

Yeah, I'm a genocidal maniac at heart. I'm not racist or anything, I don't care who lives and who dies as long as it's not me and mine doing the dying, but humans are pests - especially to other humans. I'm also too lazy to do anything about it, and I have doubts as to whether the living or the dead would be better off. Consider that those remaining living and their no doubt plentiful decendents would be cursed to live on. Some say: Life is suffering. And I don't believe in Nirvana.

At least the sun will go red-giant someday and cook all the unfortunate little earthlings into vapor.

But since I'm here, I'd rather live in style than not. Some, like the Libertarians, believe individual property is sacred, and some like the Communists, believe property is theft from everyone else who would use the property. ( note the capital L in Libertarians and the capital C in Communists, I'm talking about dogmatists here, not ordinary people )

I believe that property is theft, AND that there is *absolutely nothing wrong with theft*. If you can keep the property you claim ownership of then it is de-facto yours to enjoy. Those you stole it from ( everyone else ) should realise that you have wronged them, and you, the claimant to property should defend it from everyone else if you wish to keep it. This is how every other animal operates, and it is how honest humans operate too. The taboo against theft is a con as is the concept of ownership itself.

Might ALWAYS makes right. If you disagree your opinion is by definition wrong.
If you want to fight about it, then you're soon dead, and so your opinion is irrelevant. The living exist by force.

Read through the famous 'Ten Commandments'. There isn't one I agree with per se.

That being said, such cons are useful to manipulate others with. Moral absolutists crashing against each other create lots of cracks and debris in which to live. Moral absolutes are like a piece of rubbish plywood from which one can build as safe little shanty in which to live, or not, leaving it for the next denizen of the social slums to build with.

Philosophical rubbish isn't the only kind of trash in our environment. Your relationship with whatever institutions you depend on are merely unavoidable. You stick your holdfast into a crack and filter the water for food. If there were ever an institution that had no cracks, it would be a sentient machine with no need for humans at all.

If you are more than a 'wage slave' ( I don't like that term, but it's concise ) then your human dignity is due to your being a successful parasite upon the rest of society. Even 'wage slaves' steal their meager nutrients from everyone else by wedging their little holdfasts into a spot that for some reason can't yet be automated. Why can't we just obviate the need for these pesky humans???

Left, right, meh.. I think the left has shut it's collective mouth in recent decades because it realised that the things it traditionally advocated shrunk the overall economic pie, and everyone else realised it too. Some benefitted ( like those in unions that did not lose their jobs, or in some countries, eg, communist party bosses ), most did not.

Recently, in the absence of much of a left in a more rightward leaning environment, of course some still benefit while most do not.

The thing is capitalism exists even if it is outlawed, even if there is no money, even where it is anathema. Social capital, physical capital, political capital, favors etc are always traded. They are impossible to outlaw effectively. There's no point in trying. People are going to steal from each other and accumulate capital in whatever form people are using.

It's a truism, if someone is accumulating more than you, then they are stealing from you. You can try to accumulate more yourself by stealing from others, and this is the route most of us ( including me ) prefer, but that doesn't change the fact that relative success IS to be despised.

But then, ANY success is to be despised. It's generally wiser to steal from the weak, as they can't fight back. Do I steal a dollar from you, risking retribution, or kill a raccoon and steal it's pelt to sell for a dollar? The choice is a no-brainer.

There are too many humans anyway. Why not aid those stronger than you in plundering from the weaker? It's probably safer and pays better than other options right?

I have no problems with this per se.. It puts me on the winning side probably since I live in the first world. However it creates a monster in my own backyard that will some day come to eat me too.

Chaos needs to happen but it's not my job to cause it. I'd rather not be near any of it. I'd rather sit back and watch other people kill each other and mind my own business.

There's a monster growing in the US that needs to be put down so we can get back to being our blessedly lucky old isolationist selves.

There needs to be a constitutional ammendment to get the money out of politics.

User Journal

Journal Journal: OccupyCoincidence

I just heard about this Occupy Wall Street etc stuff two or three days ago. According to Wikipedia it's been going on since Sept 17th.... Lately I've been posting some journal entries in that vein. My earliest slashdot post along these lines was Sept 16th. However I'd been reading/viewing that sort of thing quite a bit for some days before that. Have these sort of ideas hit a critical mass on YouTube in September or something? It's just spooky.

User Journal

Journal Journal: The Man in the Mirror. 1

In a previous journal entry, I said:

A former Hillary Clinton supporter, and current Barack Obama supporter, I like McCain more than I like most Republicans. Part of me might almost be tempted to vote for him except... Well I like Barack's Health Care Plan better..

I guess I had hope that it might eventually morph into something more along the lines of Hillary's plan. I've had a bit of a sea change in my view of how the world works. I still would have voted for Barack Obama because of fear of Sarah Palin being VP though.

I have to look in the mirror and see that I am as easily manipulated as the Christian Right because I am pretty much their opposite on social issues. I will vote against their agenda because they terrify me. This effectively nullifies me wrt opposing any other issue the democrats may be being paid to support ( cf, Obamacare ). As long as the Christian Right votes Right, I will vote Left.

What to do?

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I consider a new device or technology to have been culturally accepted when it has been used to commit a murder. -- M. Gallaher