8 months Ago

A brace of videos from Oxford (Varoufakis, Piketty & Žižek)

Published by marco on in Miscellaneous

I watched a brace of pretty rewarding videos from the Oxford Union.

Yanis Varoufakis

Yanis Varoufakis | Full Address and Q&A | Oxford Union (YouTube)

Yanis talks about the Euro: “It’s like taking the shock absorbers out of your car and then driving into a pothole. […] This is designer idiocy.”

He talks about RussiaGate:

“In the United States, you have the ridiculous situation where the Democratic party is going to the people and saying ‘you were duped by Putin. Putin stole the election through Facebook.’

“My goodness! I mean, what an insult!

“To people... [More]”

True Nobility

Published by marco on in Quotes

“There’s nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.[1]
W.L. Sheldon


[1] The citation is often mis-credited to Ernest Hemingway, but the article at Quote Investigatoroffers quite a bit of clarification.

A discussion about RussiaGate

Published by marco on in Public Policy & Politics

Is RussiaGate a giant pile of smoke? Just listen to two defenders of it, James Risen and Jane Bradley[1] in this video CIJ Logan 2018: Collusion or the New McCarthyism? by CIJ (Vimeo).

Risen circumlocutes into a summation that says that the Russians almost certainly didn’t do anything worthwhile, but that they tried real hard to do something, even if that something can’t be proved. He backs off considerably on the main RussiaGate accusations, although he is a stickler for terminology. It’s just that this... [More]

Human vs. machine categorization

Published by marco on in Technology

Humans are currently better at detecting patterns than machines—this may change in the near future.[1]

However, machines are massively better at sorting detected patterns than humans. Humans can’t stick to a regime.

For example, a site like Reddit amounts to a vast sorting algorithm with posts, pictures, videos and articles as input and the subreddits as buckets.

Myriad users upvote and downvote these items to determine whether an item belongs in a given subreddit. If an item in one subreddit... [More]

Hacking your Voice Mail

Published by marco on in Technology

tl;dr: If you don’t use your voice mail for your phone, then you should disable it. It is ridiculously insecure and can or will be used by hackers to gain access to other services you use (e.g. Whatsapp or PayPal).

On Sunrise, you can deactivate your voice mail by “calling” #145#. To re-activate, call *145#. You’ll get a confirmation message.

The CCC annual conference (Chaos Computer Club) took place last weekend, in Leipzig, Germany. There were several interesting talks, but this one stood... [More]

Vocabulary Words

Published by marco on in Books & Movies

This is a running list of vocabulary words I’ve encountered in my reading over the last several years. I use the vocabulary-list feature on my Kindle to collect words, then export them from the Sqlite database with a simple SQL. From there, I have a text file with words that I combine with my existing list, deduplicate and then re-apply formatting to generate the text below.

I will occasionally update this list.

Where a word (e.g. “reef”) has a common definition, I’ve left it off, preferring... [More]

Why do we need Jobs?

Published by marco on in Public Policy & Politics

You’ll very often hear politicians, pundits and pretty much everyone talk about “jobs” as the be-all, end-all of the economy.

But why do we all need jobs? To stay busy?

Jobs are a means whereby the needs of a society are provided by its members. People have certain needs in order to survive—food and shelter being two of them. We’ll get to others later. A society is filled with people, each of whom need food and shelter.

Let’s imagine the beginning: each member fending for itself. There is... [More]

On Sounding British

Published by marco on in Miscellaneous

In the article From Bizarre Rage Against James Joyce to MI5 Phone-Bugging: Why I Collect Snippets of Strangers’ Conversations by Patrick Cockburn (CounterPunch), the illustrious journalist takes a break from writing about the tragedies arising from near-constant, western meddling in the Middle East to relate more uplifting stories on this first day of 2019.

Near the end, there’s a bit that—to my admittedly tinhorn American ears—is one of the most British things I’ve ever read:

“Earlier this month we went for a drink and a... [More]”

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2018.8

Published by marco on in Books & Movies

These are my notes to remember what I watched and kinda what I thought about it. I’ve recently transferred my reviews to IMDb and made the list of almost 1200 ratings publicly available. I’ve included the individual ratings with my notes for each movie. These ratings are not absolutely comparable to each other—I rate the film on how well it suited me for the genre and my mood and. let’s be honest, level of intoxication. YMMV. Also, I make no attempt to avoid spoilers.

Shoah: Four Sisters... [More]

Dean Baker tries, once more, to explain things

Published by marco on in Finance & Economy

Poor Dean Baker often writes about the same problems—topics that he’s discussed in detail and for which he’s provided solutions in his book Rigged: How Globalization and the Rules of the Modern Economy Were Structured to Make the Rich Richer. He’s a national treasure.

Once more, though, from the top. His brief post Thomas Friedman Shows Us Why Democracy is Facing Huge Problems by Dean Baker (CEPR) makes the following points (all emphases added).[1]

Patents

“Bill Gates is not incredibly rich because of rapid... [More]”

Ray-tracing on postcards

Published by marco on in Programming

The article Deciphering The Postcard Sized Raytracer by Fabien Sanglard is a wonderfully presented breakdown of how the path tracer found on a postcard does its magic. It’s not super-fast (it takes 3 minutes to produce a much rougher version on the author’s machine). He includes his final cleaned-up source code.

It comes from the same person who made the business card ray-tracer discussed in the article Decyphering The Business Card Raytracer by Fabien Sanglard.

The problem with slow development tools

Published by marco on in Programming

The article ”Modern” C++ Lamentations by Aras Pranckeviciusis a wide-ranging rant about the inefficiency of C++ template programming and the degree to which it’s inappropriate for many of the areas where C++ is used. Aras is one of the developers for the Unity game engine

In particular, he highlights the disastrous compilation and execution speeds when using a lot of the STL. Not only that, but the debugging time is extremely slow, due to the inordinate amount of extra symbol information associated with hundreds of... [More]

On not seeing or understanding context

Published by marco on in Philosophy

Here are some features of modern discourse that I’ve noted.

  • It’s very easy to express an opinion publicly.
  • This is the default mode for many.
  • Entire conversations are carried out in public.
  • Speed is of the essence to get attention.
  • Distribution is the same for insipid thoughts as for pithy
  • There is no undo.
  • People writing or saying stupid things is funny
  • Market penetration and remuneration is overarchingly important
  • Learning is not rewarded
  • Neither is apology or correction

Taken together,... [More]

.NET Tips and Resources

Published by marco on in Programming

If you’re a .NET developer, this is video you’ve been looking for:

S107 − Build great libraries using .NET Standard by Immo Landwerth (YouTube)

Immo tells you everything you need to know about Nuget, using Package References, switching to .NET Core, and using Assembly-Binding Redirects in .NET Framework (they’re not necessary in .NET Core). He also includes an effusive apology for the nightmare of compatibility issues that accompanied the purported interoperability between .NET 4.6.1 and .NET Core.

If you want to be compatible with .NET Core 1.5 or lower, then you... [More]

65. Zürcher Wein-Austellung (Weinschiff)

Published by marco on in Shared

Kath, Max and I went to the 65th Zürich wine expo in November. It’s held every year on the lake of Zürich on several ships (eight, I think, but don’t hold me to it).

Along the way, we learned about two wine events:

Wines we tried (and liked)

Obviously, we’re moderate noobs and we tried a ton of wines and we failed to cleanse our palettes and sometimes we liked wines... [More]

Books read in 2018

Published by marco on in Books & Movies

American Gods (2002)

by Neil Gaiman

This is a fantasy novel about gods. It is less about the nature of faith and more about the gods themselves: on how they are called into being by the myriad flickers of belief of humans, gaining power as this belief hardens to nigh-fanaticism. All gods have power, but many have faded as their believers have faded.

There are the old gods of early man, the gods of the Native Americans, the all-but-forgotten gods of even their precursors, the Egyptian... [More]

The Two-Bear Mambo (a Hap and Leonard ...Joe R. Lansdale (1995) (read in 2018)

Published by marco on in Books & Movies

Disclaimer: these are notes I took while reading this book. They include citations I found interesting or enlightening or particularly well-written. In some cases, I’ve pointed out which of these applies to which citation; in others, I have not. Any benefit you gain from reading these notes is purely incidental to the purpose they serve of reminding me what I once read. Please see Wikipedia for a summary if I’ve failed to provide one sufficient for your purposes. If my notes serve to trigger an... [More]

Mucho Mojo (a Hap and Leonard Novel) b...Joe R. Lansdale (1994) (read in 2018)

Published by marco on in Books & Movies

Disclaimer: these are notes I took while reading this book. They include citations I found interesting or enlightening or particularly well-written. In some cases, I’ve pointed out which of these applies to which citation; in others, I have not. Any benefit you gain from reading these notes is purely incidental to the purpose they serve of reminding me what I once read. Please see Wikipedia for a summary if I’ve failed to provide one sufficient for your purposes. If my notes serve to trigger an... [More]

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2018.7

Published by marco on in Books & Movies

These are my notes to remember what I watched and kinda what I thought about it. I’ve recently transferred my reviews to IMDb and made the list of almost 1200 ratings publicly available. I’ve included the individual ratings with my notes for each movie. These ratings are not absolutely comparable to each other—I rate the film on how well it suited me for the genre and my mood and. let’s be honest, level of intoxication. YMMV. Also, I make no attempt to avoid spoilers.

Hap and Leonard... [More]

Midnight at the Pera Palace: The Birth...by Charles King (2014) (read in 2018)

Published by marco on in Books & Movies

Disclaimer: these are notes I took while reading this book. They include citations I found interesting or enlightening or particularly well-written. In some cases, I’ve pointed out which of these applies to which citation; in others, I have not. Any benefit you gain from reading these notes is purely incidental to the purpose they serve of reminding me what I once read. Please see Wikipedia for a summary if I’ve failed to provide one sufficient for your purposes. If my notes serve to trigger an... [More]

The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling (1894) (read in 2018)

Published by marco on in Books & Movies

Disclaimer: these are notes I took while reading this book. They include citations I found interesting or enlightening or particularly well-written. In some cases, I’ve pointed out which of these applies to which citation; in others, I have not. Any benefit you gain from reading these notes is purely incidental to the purpose they serve of reminding me what I once read. Please see Wikipedia for a summary if I’ve failed to provide one sufficient for your purposes. If my notes serve to trigger an... [More]

Bad Chili (a Hap and Leonard Novel) by...Joe R. Lansdale (1997) (read in 2018)

Published by marco on in Books & Movies

Disclaimer: these are notes I took while reading this book. They include citations I found interesting or enlightening or particularly well-written. In some cases, I’ve pointed out which of these applies to which citation; in others, I have not. Any benefit you gain from reading these notes is purely incidental to the purpose they serve of reminding me what I once read. Please see Wikipedia for a summary if I’ve failed to provide one sufficient for your purposes. If my notes serve to trigger an... [More]

Star Maker by Olaf Stapledon (1937) (read in 2018)

Published by marco on in Books & Movies

Disclaimer: these are notes I took while reading this book. They include citations I found interesting or enlightening or particularly well-written. In some cases, I’ve pointed out which of these applies to which citation; in others, I have not. Any benefit you gain from reading these notes is purely incidental to the purpose they serve of reminding me what I once read. Please see Wikipedia for a summary if I’ve failed to provide one sufficient for your purposes. If my notes serve to trigger an... [More]

The New Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko (2011 – en/2012) (read in 2018)

Published by marco on in Books & Movies

Disclaimer: these are notes I took while reading this book. They include citations I found interesting or enlightening or particularly well-written. In some cases, I’ve pointed out which of these applies to which citation; in others, I have not. Any benefit you gain from reading these notes is purely incidental to the purpose they serve of reminding me what I once read. Please see Wikipedia for a summary if I’ve failed to provide one sufficient for your purposes. If my notes serve to trigger an... [More]

The Sixth Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko (2012 – en/2013) (read in 2018)

Published by marco on in Books & Movies

Disclaimer: these are notes I took while reading this book. They include citations I found interesting or enlightening or particularly well-written. In some cases, I’ve pointed out which of these applies to which citation; in others, I have not. Any benefit you gain from reading these notes is purely incidental to the purpose they serve of reminding me what I once read. Please see Wikipedia for a summary if I’ve failed to provide one sufficient for your purposes. If my notes serve to trigger an... [More]

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2018.6

Published by marco on in Books & Movies

These are my notes to remember what I watched and kinda what I thought about it. I’ve recently transferred my reviews to IMDb and made the list of almost 1200 ratings publicly available. I’ve included the individual ratings with my notes for each movie. These ratings are not absolutely comparable to each other—I rate the film on how well it suited me for the genre and my mood and. let’s be honest, level of intoxication. YMMV. Also, I make no attempt to avoid spoilers.

12 Angry Men (1957)... [More]

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2018.5

Published by marco on in Books & Movies

These are my notes to remember what I watched and kinda what I thought about it. I’ve recently transferred my reviews to IMDb and made the list of almost 1200 ratings publicly available. I’ve included the individual ratings with my notes for each movie. These ratings are not absolutely comparable to each other—I rate the film on how well it suited me for the genre and my mood and. let’s be honest, level of intoxication. YMMV. Also, I make no attempt to avoid spoilers.

Joe Rogan: Strange... [More]

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2018.4

Published by marco on in Books & Movies

These are my notes to remember what I watched and kinda what I thought about it. I’ve recently transferred my reviews to IMDb and made the list of almost 1200 ratings publicly available. I’ve included the individual ratings with my notes for each movie. These ratings are not absolutely comparable to each other—I rate the film on how well it suited me for the genre and my mood and. let’s be honest, level of intoxication. YMMV. Also, I make no attempt to avoid spoilers.

Escape to Victory... [More]

Dr. Ben Goertzel on consensus-based AIs

Published by marco on in Philosophy

Joe Rogan Experience #1211 − Dr. Ben Goertzel (YouTube)

This is wide-ranging discussion with Goertzel doing 95% of the heavy lifting. He and Rogan discuss uploading consciousness, a confluence of nanotech and AI Research to create the future and the inevitability of a technological singularity. He is interested, hopeful for and actively working toward,

“[…] biasing technology-development to control [the singularity] so that it creates a world of abundance and benefit for humans as well as AIs.”

They discuss the value system of an AI, with Joe... [More]

Why don’t I believe most of what I see online?

Published by marco on in Technology

It’s easy enough to make fake text and fake articles. Anyone can write something online. You can make up information out of whole cloth or you can subtly manipulate the so-called truth to slant it in a desired direction, either by omission or by emphasis or both.

Since many people read only the titles of articles, you don’t even need to try too hard to make well-substantiated and well-linked articles. Sure, somebody’s going to “debunk” your text. However, by then, your lie will have made its... [More]