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User Journal

Journal Journal: Slashdot archives journals, too? 17

Wanted to add a late item to the old Email Inquisition journal entry, only to find that it was archived. Annoying, and another feature I might want to help fund the fixing of, if only Slashdot had such an economic model. Here I was thinking that my journal was some sort of place to work on ideas that lasted longer than the main articles...

Oh well. I guess I can add the other comment to this entry?

User Journal

Journal Journal: Why China WANTS to unlink from America? 4

[Longer-term and slightly modified copy of a reaction to a dying discussion...]

Well, hey! Yours was one of the three insightful-moderated comments that actually struck me as slightly insightful. You hit a couple of key issues. Not deeply, but brevity is supposed to be wit's soul, eh? No wit in my verbosity.

None of the funny ones were funny. Didn't waste the time with informative or interesting, though I did some browser-level searches for the key terms related to what I would regard as actual insight on this issue. Came up completely dry. And of course the article and entire discussion have effectively timed out now, so making any comment is moot, eh?

What I was looking for was some discussion of how the international force vectors have been changed by this election. Seems obvious that Russia's international leverage will be greatly increased, and Iran benefits, too. If Trump delivers on a small fraction of his promises, then America's influence will drastically decrease, but I suppose we can hope he's just lying, as usual.

That sets the stage for considering China's response to the election. Insofar as the Chinese have any international ambitions (and I am certain they do), then their economic ties to America are now a disadvantage, even a vulnerability. They would much prefer to redirect their focus towards growing economies and perhaps even do what they can to push America into recession. China's new primary concern should be negotiating better deals with Russia. Should be easy to get concessions in Asia, but what will the Russians agree to regarding the Middle East and Africa?

But what about the economic damage to China? If you think about it for a second, you'll realize it is NO problem now. They'll just blame Trump for any and all problems and gladly stoke the nationalistic fires within China. The better not to buy your inferior American goods. Of course the Chinese economy couldn't continue to grow so rapidly, but now it's all the stupid American's fault. You can safely bet the Chinese people will agree.

Time to rethink your investment strategies. Obviously makers of wife beater t-shirts, anti-anxiety meds, and for-profit prisons should be hot stocks. However the big word is not "plastics". How can you get in on the ground floor of big poverty?

Will the Chinese even bother to compete in those areas? Maybe, but I bet they demand hard cash, and they probably won't even accept dollars.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Hillary's True Crime: Governing While Human! 16

Where does the rabid hatred of Hillary Clinton come from? I think I finally figured it out. My theory is "existential crime". Like "voting while Black" in the South (until the Voting Rights Act was passed) or like "driving while female" in today's Saudi Arabia. Hillary wants to govern while being human, and many (perhaps most) of Trump's supporters hate her for that. Some of the Hillary haters are specifically misogynists, and for them the existential crime is "governing while female", while others are religious fanatics, and for them the crime is "governing while Methodist", but these are minor variations. The point of existential crime is that it isn't anything she actually did, but a crime of "being" the wrong adjective.

Hillary thinks that government is made of human beings and they have government lives and human lives. She probably thinks the two of them should be kept apart as much as possible, even though she knows that separating them is hard. Her REAL mistake was allowing the two aspects of her life to be so thoroughly mixed in her email. Then she tried to separate them afterwards by instructing her lawyers to delete the email about her private life, but in the many thousands of email messages there were some ambiguous cases and her Republican enemies have seized upon this detail and spent MILLIONS of your taxpayer dollars searching for evidence that some of the deletions were NOT for privacy of her personal life but were actually intended to hide something nefarious. That's on top of the MILLIONS of your taxpayer dollars that they have spent investigating her over the last decades, and they haven't found anything yet--but if you hate her for existential reasons none of that matters, because she still exists.

If Hillary was a megalomaniac or narcissist this would not be a problem in the same way. Perhaps I'm going too far, but I'm guessing that Donald Trump thinks his personal life SHOULD be his government life. He probably thinks that ALL of his email should be preserved for prosperity, except for the nasty bits that would tarnish his legacy. Deleting that stuff is fine, even if there were a few crimes, because he thinks of himself as a kind of gawd who deserves worship. When you project from that perspective, Hillary MUST be trying to delete the nasty bits, because you think ALL of your personal bits are GREAT!

The anti-solution of "Governing While Gawd" is really bad. You should be thinking of dictatorships and the sociopathic megalomaniacs who run them. Today's best example is probably the little clown in North Korea, but there are other less clown-like dictators around the world. Or perhaps you're thinking of religious lunatics who sell their used bathwater as holy water, the way the clown-like Shoko Asahara did before Aum Shinrikyo imploded. However Trump has the potential to be a YUGE clown with the YUGEST delusions of grandeur. (In that regard, he actually reminds me of Nixon, but without any polish or dignity.)

User Journal

Journal Journal: Nobody Expects the Email Inquisition!

But if you use email, you should expect the Email Inquisition!

Actually, the Email Inquisition has already begun, though it isn't clear when the floodgates were opened. Probably after 9/11, when Cheney could get anything he wanted through Congress without any pretense of debate. What we're probably seeing now may well be a turf war. The FBI just wants email-inquisition parity with the NSA and CIA.

We might disagree on a lot of things about Hillary Clinton, but surely you agree that she would like to increase the privacy of email. However email privacy is like a contagious disease. If she wants to protect hers, then she has to protect yours. Six degrees of Kevin Bacon is a REAL contagion from the FBI's perspective.

If Hillary had won big, which now appears unlikely because of the FBI's sudden intrusion into the election, then she surely would have supported legislation to increase email privacy. Now, even if she still wins, it's apparently going to be a narrow presidential victory. She won't have any leverage or Congressional support for any major changes and we really will get four more years like President Obama's last eight. Can you really imagine finding 60 Senators who are willing to work together on ANYTHING? To protect YOUR privacy? ROFLMAO. You silly peasant.

Now try to imagine the ramifications of a Trump presidency. Do you think he will resist giving the FBI more tools to use against HIS numerous enemies? Heck, if he actually wins, he owes it all to the FBI, so he should give them whatever they want. For example, do you know any Muslims? Have you ever exchanged email with one of them? That will be enough to justify keeping a permanent record of ALL of your email. Heck, they'll have to keep copies of all of your spam, too, just in case some of the spam was really secret communications from the Russians working for Putin.

Just in case it isn't sufficiently obvious to the most casual observer (in the idiomatic sense this time), let me remind you of why privacy matters to freedom, per my old equation:

#1 Freedom = (Meaningful - Coerced) Choice{5} â (Beer^4 | Speech)

Killing your freedom is about limiting and controlling your choices. Sometimes it involves lying to you, as when the (sociopath) Donald tells you he really feels your economic pain, even though he's been fabulously wealthy since the day he was born and he has dedicated his entire life so far to making you poorer. However, more often it involves carrots and sticks. In discussions of privacy, the focus is usually on the sticks, how the dangerous information about your mistakes or personal flaws can be used to threaten and control you. However, the carrots are also important, because your interests, preferences, and even your strengths can be used against you to influence and control you, from the job you work at to the toothpaste you buy to the presidential candidates you vote for. Your email is FULL of carrots and sticks.

Everybody should expect the Email Inquisition!

[This is actually modified from another venue, so I guess this is mostly a reference copy. Your sincere and thoughtful (or at least thinking-based) comments and questions are welcome, but if they aren't based on what I actually wrote, then my response will probably be some number of ZZs. Such ZZs will basically signify that I saw your comment and dismissed it for some reason (though the most frequent reason seems to be for marking trolls' posts for ignoring without reading past the handle). [If Slashdot had a member-driven economic model, reducing the visibility of trolls would be high on the list of features I'd support.]]

User Journal

Journal Journal: Why Hillary is better than the Donald 126

Based on a comment from one of Slashdot's typically transient discussions:

You [quite probably a troll, so I'll leave him nameless] are exaggerating each of your claims against Hillary to the point where is is not possible to distinguish between your claims and an outright lie. Notwithstanding, your last paragraph seems sane enough that some dialog might be possible, though I think I'm wasting keystrokes and time.

I think that Hillary is constrained by reality. Her decades of public service make that quite clear. She is not perfect and has an adequate number of flaws, though I don't count ambition as one of them. To fix the "ambition problem" with presidential politics would require a page-one rewrite of the Constitution. She has also made mistakes. So have you and I. She has even been foolish enough to acknowledge some of her mistakes in public, which is practically political suicide these days. However, I think you can only learn from your mistakes by first acknowledging them.

Trump is quite different. If you have studied his history, it is quite clear he is very greedy and heartless. He might even be a sociopath, though that is obviously not a disqualification for the presidency or even for "successful" corporate leadership these days. However my largest concern is that he is also stupid and easily manipulated, as was proven in all three debates (and in MANY of his business dealings over the decades, if you have looked into them). I have found extremely little evidence that he even understands his mistakes, though he sometimes appears to have gotten better at hiring smarter lawyers to protect him from himself.

I think that Hillary is probably a center right lawyer who doesn't much like change, but accepts that it will happen. She takes a gradualist, evolutionary approach to solving problems. I personally prefer evolutionary change over revolutionary change. The outcome of either approach is uncertain, but revolution leaves a lot of corpses behind, while evolution usually allows the losers to die off peaceably. The dead people don't care if things got better or worse.

I do not know what Trump really believes on ANY issue. He obviously panders to his audience, and he has made statements on every side of every issue. Because of the self-contradictions, it is absolutely certain that he is lying to many of his supporters, but each of them believes he is lying to the others. Though Trump frequently advocates revolution, I don't know if he believes that, but it is clear that many of his supporters want one (or more).

You raised the specific issue of war. As an honorably discharged veteran, the son of a 100% disabled veteran, and being named for an uncle who died fighting the fascists, I really don't like war. However, I do think there are some things you have to fight for, even at risk of an escalation to war. From the cowardly perspective, I suppose Trump is safer, because it would probably be easier to manipulate him so as to defeat America without any need for war.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Value of voting? Even in winner-take-all elections? 16

The continuation of this discussion: https://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=9707139&cid=53004045

I think that any winner-take-all system (including instant run-off) is going to destroy a party's ideology, because for every "normal" issue the voters are going to be distributed on a bell curve. Actually, it is possible to imagine 3D or higher issues, but that's not how it works in practice as the elements and dimensions are reduced to the minimum in search of clarity (or suitability for public debate?). Black-and-white binary issues are quite rare in the real world.

Assume that you start with two politicians discussing an issue. Then each of them is motivated to change his position towards the middle to capture the largest number of voters. If he crosses the middle, then he may start losing the small tail of voters "far behind" his new position, and that's where you seem to be. However, because you are in the small tail, it's still a winning election strategy, and you're more likely to be "neutralized" by some extremist on the other end who is equally offended by the politician who started on his side before moving to the center.

Today's so-called Republicans tried to "fix" the problem by moving the goalposts. That's more like rigging the game. They quit worrying about their actual beliefs that could be rationally justified and just started each discussion from the most extreme position on each issue. Essentially they were trying to redefine the bell curves more in their favor, but they have completely fallen off the cliff at this point. In other words, they started each discussion by lying about what they really believed, but instead just said whatever was most distant from their political opponents. The party of Honest Abe has been taken over by right wing extremists, anti-government fanatics, and various strains of haters. Not all of their voters, but definitely the entire leadership. GOP party-line discipline has become more extreme than within Lenin's Bolshevik Party.

At this point, the internal strain has become so severe that the so-called Republicans are alienating a key constituency, the people who always vote the same way. The evidence indicates that most people prefer to repeat their last vote rather than admit they were wrong. (That's the key to gerrymandering, by the way.) About 60% of the voters have been regarded as predetermined voters. Trump is actually flipping many of them because he focused so strongly on the extremists. Inertia notwithstanding, I am increasingly unable to see how any moderate person is still willing to call himself a Republican.

I think that coalitions help, though some of that is by venting off the extremists into their own parties. They still feel like they are represented even though the votes of their representatives are almost never decisive. However, perhaps the larger problem is with direct democracy itself. It doesn't scale, and I'm increasingly in favor of scalable hierarchical systems where your votes are actually more meaningful.

You may be familiar with the economists' analysis? It is so unlikely that your vote will matter that any other use of your time is better than voting. Economists are supposedly good at figuring out prices, but not so good at real values. I'd prefer a mathematical approach... How many times would you have to vote before one of your votes would turn out to be decisive? It's kind of like the birthday paradox. With two people, the chance that the 2nd person has a different birthday is 364/365, which is quite small, but as you add more people, you multiply 364/365 by 363/365 by 362/365 by... Around 30 people, you're almost sure to have a match, and you can use the same approach (but with more complicated math for multiple races in each election) to figure out when you would actually get to pick a winner.

Thank you for the provocation of my thoughts. Seems heavy enough to be worth porting to my journal...

User Journal

Journal Journal: Best simple SID to USB connection? 3

That may not be a good way to describe it but... I have a C64 I never use and I think I shall desolder its SID before consigning it to recycling since they are now officially hard to come by. What can I put it on that will let me use it efficiently?

User Journal

Journal Journal: WikiLeaks has Trump's tax returns! 25

Just joking. This is only a thought experiment. Had this been an actual emergency, you would have seen it on Twitter already. Notwithstanding...

What if WikiLeaks released the plausible, highly embarrassing, but possibly fake tax returns of Donald J Trump?

(1) Trump would still refuse to release his tax returns?

(2) Trump would release his tax returns and he would be helped by the resulting cloud of confusion.

(3) Trump would be hurt by the spotlight.

(4) Cowboy Neal already has the results of the audit!

Just a thought experiment, but remembering how they handled Dan Rather and how WikiLeaks works, I suspect Assange is already sitting on the Donald's tax returns...

User Journal

Journal Journal: Ask Slashdot: What "rights" did Microsoft claim today? 1

What does the new MS Services Agreement and Privacy Statement REALLY mean?

Feels like ancient history, but do you remember "Where do you want to go today?" According to Wikipedia that was their second global campaign, so on the one hand, the beast knows we want freedom, but on the other hand is the EULA and "Services Agreement and Privacy Statement" and fiendish friends.

I am not a lawyer, so I have no idea what it means. I'm sure the old one wasn't perfect, but nothing is. I'm strongly suspicious the new one is more strongly in Microsoft's favor, but that's just speculation.

Googling for analysis comes up dry, but this is an obvious case of professional courtesy. There probably are some insightful websites out there, but if the google helps us find the Microsoft ones, then Microsoft will put more effort into making sure Bing returns the corresponding results about the google, eh?

Insights? Suggestions? Where are the (significant) changes and what do they really mean? How doth Microsoft profit? And of course...

Where do I want to get screwed today?

User Journal

Journal Journal: The lameness filter is broken (again) 13

Your comments "spectacularly brain-damaged suggestion" and "drug-fueled" are why I consider your post troll like.

The above quote rendered one of my comments unpostable...

User Journal

Journal Journal: Powell did not say who he was voting for 5

In reply to https://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=9654353&cid=52889219 the following comment took enough compositional effort that I want to keep a copy in so-called my journal.

Your comment has a false subject. ["Powell can't bring himself to vote for Hillary"] Powell has said he will not yet say who he is voting for.

Your body is also highly questionable. I remember watching at least one speech in which Powell endorsed then-Senator Obama, but I don't remember anything that approximated "enthusiastic supporter". Nor do I recall any of the marks of enthusiasm such as actively campaigning for Obama or speaking at the Democratic convention. According to my research just now, Powell only made his endorsement two weeks before the election in 2008.

One obvious lie and a highly questionable comment in such a short comment? Let me predict you are a Trump supporter, and in that case the only relevant question is "Who do you hate most?" Every Trump supporter I've met so far has been a deplorable hater, and I can only pity them. Maybe some of them can grow into less hate-filled people?

Powell is a realist. His assessment of Hillary was not particularly favorable, though I'm not sure how they compare with his personal assessment of Obama. However, it is clear that his personal assessment of Trump is extremely negative. He personally might well prefer the positions of Johnson on many issues, but he knows America has a winner-take-all system, so I predict that he will ultimately endorse Hillary or say nothing.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Yet more false equivalencies: Hillary Clinton is NOT Mitt Romney 46

False equivalencies: Hillary Clinton is NOT Mitt Romney

There are certainly some things to dislike about Hillary, but I actually think she was being refreshingly honest with the "basket of deplorables" comment. You sure can't tell from the worthless commentary of the worthless media, but it is important to understand the REAL differences.

Hillary was clear in stating that "deplorable" referred to racists and various other categories of bigots. That is, she was referring to people who hate other people, either for accidents of birth or for various acquired characteristics such as religious preference. She regarded it as deplorable that such people are eagerly supporting Trump, though I regard it as MORE deplorable that Trump welcomes their support. At this point, I am convinced the Donald is NOT faking it, and he really will do ANYTHING to become president, which includes accepting and even soliciting support from people who are deplorable or worse.

In contrast, Mitt's infamous 47% comment was really about HIS personal hatred towards roughly half of the entire population. He regarded those people as lazy bums who were never going to vote for a hard-working vulture capitalist. He was deploring their lack of HIS brand of greed, which is completely different from deploring their hatreds of other people.

I'm not sure where Romney got the exact value of 47%, but I can guess where Hillary got the "half", and even why she had to be fuzzy about it. The value depends on the exact question you ask. The question determines what kind of hatred you are measuring, and when such questions are put to Trump supporters the results range up to 70% picking the hate-filled response. Other questions elicit smaller percentages of "deplorable" responses, but "half" seems downright generous.

The latest poll shows about 40% of the voters supporting Trump, so the estimate of 20% of the voters as "deplorable" haters certainly is a lot of people. However, I think the standard of comparison here should be the percentages of voters who supported bad leaders in the past. Your political views probably don't matter as much as you think. If you deplore President Obama, then you think more than 50% of the voters made a terrible choice TWICE. If you adore Dubya, then you have to admit that more than 50% of the voters preferred Al Gore. (I'd even be curious if you have any rational and nonpartisan basis for attacking Obama, but I think I've seen all the criticisms and attacks by now, and many, perhaps most, of them qualify as deplorable.)

The original Republican Party led by Honest Abe was about constructive change (even though that led to an incredibly destructive war), and the GOP of Teddy and Ike was a party of gentlemen and their ladies. None of this applies to today's so-called Republicans led by Con Man Donald, the man of 3,500 suits, at least four major bankruptcies, and uncountable political bribes (but his tax returns would help count some of them).

User Journal

Journal Journal: Don't try to borrow money from rms 28

In response to https://yro.slashdot.org/story/16/09/04/0455250/richard-stallman-online-publishers-should-let-readers-pay-anonymously

I actually admire rms and regard him as a great man, but probably for smaller values of "great". In particular, he has little conception of money and his financial models have never demonstrated anything approaching viability or critical mass.

In years past I actually ran a few alternative financial models past him. He did ask an extremely perceptive question in one exchange. The question led me to a significant improvement in a financial model, but mostly he convinced me that he never has understood money, and probably never will. He wouldn't even be interested in whether or not he helped out, but he lives in a kind of money-free fantasy land, and I think his latest suggestion is just more evidence. Yes, he sees part of the problem, but his idea of anonymity as the solution is completely half-baked. If someone is motivated to donate, why would that motivation be affected by anonymity?

What the online media needs is a focus on SOLUTIONS. How many of us are sick and tired of reading about problems without solutions, and the media should earn a kind of tithe for helping to SOLVE the problems. The articles should be followed by links to some solution projects, and if enough readers (or viewers of a video) agree to support a project, then it would get funded, and the website would get a percentage for (1) publicizing the problem, (2) bringing donors to the solution project, and (3) evaluating the results and reporting them.

The details don't really matter to me, so in that sense I might be as bad as rms. You can call it an agent's fee if you prefer, though before that discussion with rms I mostly called it RACS (for Reverse Auction Charity Shares) and at some point afterwards I favored the idea of a charity share brokerage. DAUPR.

User Journal

Journal Journal: The ongoing death of OSS 7

My response to https://apache.slashdot.org/story/16/09/02/183249/is-apache-openoffice-finally-on-the-way-out (from the comments) follows:

Oh, wait. Oracle apparently and unfortunately seems to have a highly viable financial model. The current problem is merely that OpenOffice was NOT a part of those profits and Apache also lacks a good financial model.

So how about considering SOLUTIONS. At least LibreOffice got mentioned in a couple of posts, but the underlying problem remains unaddressed: Is the financial model viable? I don't know enough about LibreOffice to say, but if the economic model is as fundamentally broken, then it doesn't really matter, does it? Just a question of when.

What about a BETTER financial model? Beating the same dead horse, but how about creating a simple mechanism for the lusers... Er, I mean the honorable users, to fund OpenOffice (or LibreOffice) with special focus on the features they actually WANT?

I just love flogging that dead horse, don't I? Even worse that the same dead horse could be used to make slashdot viable (pending its next change of ownership and debt assumption).

Yeah, of course I'm talking about the idea of the charity share brokerage where the users would buy shares in ongoing-cost projects for features they want to keep using and feature development projects for new features. At this point I can only believe that it's the breakeven idea that is anathema. Unless there are profits, no one is interested, eh?

I'd start another poll on the topic, but it seems pointless. If anyone is interested (and I'm not holding my breath), feel free to make the polite request for additional details. Meanwhile, I'll continue switching over to LibreOffice pending its demise. OpenOffice, it was nice knowing ya, and I'll try to attend the funeral if it's sufficiently convenient.

Oh yeah. One more thing. I have to express the usual disappointment with the state of today's slashdot and the lack of high-quality comments. If the charity share brokerage system were in effect, features that would improve the quality of the discussions would be my favored donations. Not sure if that means addressing the trollage or fixing the moderation, but right now there is no decision to be made because there is no such system.

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