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Name Marco Von Ballmoos
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Home page http://earthli.com/users/marco
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The (only) developer at earthli.com.

Contents

2539 Articles
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2 months Ago

Chapo Trap House mourns the death of the King of Twitter

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

This episode is ostensibly about what social media is like in the yawning absence of Donald Trump on Twitter. It’s not just that, but those parts are pretty funny. I include a partial transcript after the video—mostly of Matt Christman (whose voice I recognize and whose comments are the pithiest). He has an excellent and moving rant at just over 45 minutes in that is amazingly eloquent considering he did it extemporaneously.

PermabannedPresident45 | Episode 488 FULL by Chapo Trap House (YouTube)

The episode’s cold open has them rewriting the famous Tears in... [More] (Wikipedia)

A fair trial of J.K. Rowling

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

I found this 90-minute analysis of J.K. Rowling’s participation in the trans-gender discussion to be fair and enlightening. I hadn’t paid the years-long online battle much attention and figured there was a lot of deliberately elided context as well as exaggeration and straw-manning involved. While there is that aspect, there isn’t just that aspect.

J.K. Rowling by ContraPoints (YouTube)

One nice example is from about 27:00 into the video. She addresses the disingenuousness of just “stating facts”. She asks the important question... [More]

A matter of degree

Published on in Quotes

“Everyone is self-centered; the radius differs.”

Unbreakable / Unverwüstlich

Published on in Quotes

“There’s this famous story about Sonny Barger, the old Hells Angel who woke up from a coma after a motorcycle accident. And the nurse said to him, “Well, I hope you’ve learned your lesson, Mr. Barger.” He said, “Yes, I did.” And she said, “What’s that?” He said, “I can do anything and survive.””
From a Daily Show interview by Doug Henwood

Jimmy Dore on tightening of the “liberal” censorship noose

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

This is excellent coverage of CNN literally saying that Congress should force tech companies to shut down their competition because “there are YouTubers with a larger audience than daytime CNN” and that cannot stand.

CNN Panel’s OUTRAGEOUS Call To Shut Down YouTube News by Jimmy Dore (YouTube)

He starts with old footage of Noam Chomsky teaching his students that standing up for freedom of speech means nothing if you’re only willing to defend speech with which you agree. If you’re for censorship of opposing views, then you’re not for freedom of speech—in any way.

They... [More]

A breakdown of programming languages used in a week

Published on in Programming

In one recent week, I realized I’d been working in many different areas and on many different projects, so I took an inventory.

For one project, I reconfigured a program with Delphi Pascal, using Delphi 7 (it’s a very old, legacy solution) to run on my local machine instead of in a VM that had swollen to 120GB. For that project, I also used SQL on SQL Server, running in a Docker container that I’d configured with YAML. The solution has several products, among which you can switch, so I wrote a ... [More]

Links and Notes for February 12th, 2021

Published on in Notes

Below are links to articles, highlighted passages[1], and occasional annotations[2] for the week ending on the date in the title, enriching the raw data from Instapaper Likes and Twitter. They are intentionally succinct, else they’d be articles and probably end up in the gigantic backlog of unpublished drafts. YMMV.

[1] Emphases are added, unless otherwise noted.
[2] Annotations are only lightly edited.

COVID-19

Why You Should Take Any Vaccine by Zeynep Tufekci (Insight)

“Here’s the other real and current problem. We don’t have... [More]”

How to ask the Internet

Published on in Quotes

“This is a well-known internet phenomenon: The best way to get the right answer is not to ask a question, but to confidently assert the wrong answer.”

Beating Bufferbloat

Published on in Technology

The article 2021 Prediction #4: WiFi 6 is a bust (for now) as Bufferbloat returns thanks to ISP greed by Robert X. Cringely takes up a topic that he’s written about quite a bit over the last decade: bufferbloat. This symptom of a bad connection shows up as excessive buffering and excessive latency when streaming video (or a lot of data). Basically, the connection will continually fail and restart until it stops altogether as the router gets all snarled up. The following definition is from Wikipedia, which has even... [More]

Links and Notes for February 5th, 2021

Published on in Notes

Below are links to articles, highlighted passages[1], and occasional annotations[2] for the week ending on the date in the title, enriching the raw data from Instapaper Likes and Twitter. They are intentionally succinct, else they’d be articles and probably end up in the gigantic backlog of unpublished drafts. YMMV.

[1] Emphases are added, unless otherwise noted.
[2] Annotations are only lightly edited.

COVID-19

Dr. Michael Osterholm warns of massive spring surge of coronavirus in the US

““The surge that... [More]”

Pushy Apps

Published on in Design

These are just two examples of the inundation of UX frustration on any given day.

TacX

TacX asks every time I start the app whether it can use my personal data for a feature that I never use.

 TacX Requests Data

The language is not only supremely awkward but inspired in its use and non-use of punctuation (why ellipses rather than etc.?)

“To use live opponents, we will need to share some of your personal data, such as but not limited to you name, profile, picture, speed, watt/kg, what workout you’re doing,…... [More]”

Links and Notes for January 29th, 2021

Published on in Notes

Below are links to articles, highlighted passages[1], and occasional annotations[2] for the week ending on the date in the title, enriching the raw data from Instapaper Likes and Twitter. They are intentionally succinct, else they’d be articles and probably end up in the gigantic backlog of unpublished drafts. YMMV.

[1] Emphases are added, unless otherwise noted.
[2] Annotations are only lightly edited.

COVID-19

Post about listening to scientists by Arnold Schwarzenegger (Facebook)

“Dr. Fauci and all of the virologists and epidemiologists... [More]”

A Crisis of Confidence in Leadership

Published on in Finance & Economy

The video below is an interesting and worthwhile financial, political, and COVID analysis that includes both Europe and the U.S.

If There’s No Fear of Inflation, Why is GOP Against More Stimulus? – Rana Foroohar and Mark Blyth (YouTube)

At 17:54, Rana Foroohar spoke about the difficulty of doing anything big because any of the people with enough free time and energy to actually move the needle on how our society works in any significant way have been conveniently captured in it because they are heavily invested in it. They would have to literally put a decent dent in their (relatively) ample... [More]

3 months Ago

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2021.1

Published on in 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 around 1600 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.

Mr. Robot S04 (2020)... [More]

Chapo on Bush and Trump at Jacobin

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

This is an interesting discussion featuring Jen Pan and Ariella Thornhill of Jacobin and Felix Biederman of Chapo Trap House. I enjoyed the free-ranging nature and insight, but found the end, starting at 1h30 or so to be the most insightful—where they discuss concrete lines leading from Bush’s policies to Trump’s—with a partial transcription below.

George W. Bush Amnesia w/ Felix Biederman of Chapo Trap House by Jacobin Show (YouTube)

This is a partial transcript starting at about 1h30.

Jen Pan: There is no Trump without Bush. […] For example, people always talk about... [More]”

Links and Notes for January 22nd, 2021

Published on in Notes

Below are links to articles, highlighted passages[1], and occasional annotations[2] for the week ending on the date in the title, enriching the raw data from Instapaper Likes and Twitter. They are intentionally succinct, else they’d be articles and probably end up in the gigantic backlog of unpublished drafts. YMMV.

[1] Emphases are added, unless otherwise noted.
[2] Annotations are only lightly edited.

COVID-19

The New Strain: How Bad Is It? by Brendan Foht and Ari Schulman (The new Atlantis)

“New Covid spreads much more aggressively. That could mean the... [More]”

Jaocobin Interviews Slavoj Žižek

Published on in Philosophy

Just one day later: another interview with Slavoj Žižek; another wonderful, intelligent, open, wide-ranging, and funny/friendly interview. It’s about 140 minutes long. Ariella Thornhill and Nando Vila did a great job, with Ariella in particular “translating” some of Slavoj’s more convoluted formulations with aplomb and accuracy.

Slavoj Zizek on Biden, Race, and What It Will Take to Stop the Pandemic by Jacobin: Ariella Thornhill & Nando Vila (YouTube)

 

Žižek: Did we notice how the fight against racism is usually in the liberal center, reformulated in the terms of tolerance, which I think is already an... [More]”

Jonathan Pie on Acting Gay

Published on in Fun

Jonathan Pie nails it, with nary a superfluous word.

Acting Gay! by Jonathan Pie (YouTube)

Partial transcription of the 4.5-minute video.

“If this is about authenticity and not about wokeness—which I don’t believe for a second, by the way—if it is about authenticity…would Russell T. Davis cast a gay person in a straight role?

“I’m not being contrarian. I’m not. An actor’s job is to imagine being in the shoes of someone who has a different lived experience to their own. Suggesting that an actor can’t authentically pretend... [More]

Chris Hedges explains American desperation on Jimmy Dore

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

Chris Hedges delivers powerful analysis in this 45-minute interview on the Jimmy Dore Show.[1]

America Has The Tinder To IGNITE Social Uprising − Chris Hedges by Jimmy Dore (YouTube)

The following is an especially powerful, off-the-cuff explanation for the core problem in America: a nearly unacknowledged problem of inequality that actively disparages the poor and the disadvantaged. 50 years ago, it was open season on anyone non-white. It still is, though less (or expressed less directly, if not less effectively).[2]

But they’re now joined by poor whites, who the elites happily send... [More]

Red Scare Interviews Slavoj Žižek

Published on in Philosophy

This is a wonderful, intelligent, open, wide-ranging, and funny/friendly interview. It’s about 100 minutes long.

The Pervert's Guide to Podcasting w/ Slavoj Zizek by Red Scare Podcast (YouTube)

Anyone who disparages Žižek doesn’t listen to him or doesn’t understand him or misunderstands him or deliberately misunderstands him or is incapable of understanding him. He has no pretense; he’s honest. He’s brilliant, he’s well-read, and he draws often-brilliant connections between philosophies, modern media, history, and current events. His insight is always interesting.... [More]

Choosing Authors by Identity

Published on in Philosophy

The article Shakespeare Matters (And Always Will) by Scott H. Greenfield (Simple Justice) discusses the idiotic-sounding question of whether it’s OK to read books written by people without considering their identities. That is, the books should stand on their own. We can, of course, consider whether we’ve historically ignored some good books because of racism—and dig these books back up. But there is no reason to discard existing books because they were written by white people (i.e. “switching the signs on the drinking fountains”).... [More]

The backstory about Colonel Sanders no-one wanted to hear

Published on in Fun

This is a real thing. That is the Mario Lopez of “Saved by the Bell” fame. This is not even tongue-in-cheek. This seems entirely irony-free.

A Recipe for Seduction | Premieres December 13th | Presented by Kentucky Fried Chicken | Lifetime (YouTube)

Deep Fakes are overkill for our tiny brains

Published on in Technology

Cheyenne 9’s Coverage of the Official White House Address by Sassy Justice (YouTube)

Just in case you think you can spot a deep-fake video from a mile away, the gentlemen that brought you South Park made a new Sassy Justice video. They do us the favor of making it pretty clear that this never happened; others will not be so generous. On the surface, it’s just a joke video, but the implications are grave. If Sassy Justice can make this video, what’s stopping a much-better funded news organization from making a “Trump/Biden calls staffer the c-word, caught on tape” video?

The SMBC... [More]

Waiting it out

Published on in Science & Nature

People’s behavior vis á vis COVID-19 at this point—ten months after the onset of the virus—is like when an action movie’s hero is in the swamp with a straw in his mouth, sucking a barely adequate supply of air through it, while his pursuers are still somewhere up there, looking for him.[1]

Were they still within earshot? Would they hear him if he just came up quickly for a good, solid breath? Were they completely gone? Was he suffering underwater for nothing? They’re not still around, right?... [More]

Software without Process

Published on in Programming

 A software product with undocumented or poorly documented commits and a patchy issue-tracker is akin to a shipping pallet with 100 boxes haphazardly stacked on it, all wrapped up in shipping cellophane. You can see some of the labels and some of them you can’t and some of the boxes definitely don’t even have labels at all.

 If it looks like the pallet to the right, then you already know you can’t ship it. That’s an obvious train-wreck of a project that’s going to blow up in everyone’s face. But... [More]

Increasingly Unhinged Observers

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

The imposed panic and climate emergencies and COVID seems to be trapping more and more victims in a death spiral of increasingly frenetic, ill-considered, spiteful, and ill-informed—if not actively misleading—commentary.

Jeffrey St. Clair

The article Roaming Charges: White Riot, I Wanna Riot of My Own by Jeffrey St. Clair (CounterPunch) contains a lot of increasingly unfair “hot takes” and seemingly unwarranted swipes at other journalists and commentators. This is an unfortunate trend over the last few months. I used to... [More]

Nils Melzer on Julian Assange

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

This is an excellent interview with Nils Melzer, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

UN torture expert [Nils Melzer] on Julian Assange's persecution and the lies behind it by The Grayzone (YouTube)

Melzer is not optimistic because the judgment was, essentially: the British court system agrees with all of the charges brought by the U.S. and agrees that, under their own laws, they would also prosecute Julian Assange for journalism.

The British prison system has deteriorated Assange’s mental condition to the level that he has... [More]

Links and Notes for January 15th, 2021

Published on in Notes

Below are links to articles, highlighted passages[1], and occasional annotations[2] for the week ending on the date in the title, enriching the raw data from Instapaper Likes and Twitter. They are intentionally succinct, else they’d be articles and probably end up in the gigantic backlog of unpublished drafts. YMMV.

[1] Emphases are added, unless otherwise noted.
[2] Annotations are only lightly edited.

COVID-19

It’s Time to Use Eminent Domain on the Coronavirus Vaccines
by Arnab Acharya, Sanjay G. Reddy (Foreign Policy)

“The easiest way to make vaccines... [More]”

Cornell West and Chris Hedges on the American Condition

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

This is a splendid and inspiring 30-minute discussion between Cornell West and Chris Hedges. As the interviewee, West does most of the talking. I’ve included a partial transcript of the points I found particularly insightful below.

America's existential crisis (Interview with Cornell West by RT America/On Contact with Chris Hedges (YouTube)

Here, they discuss the 2021 storming of the United States Capitol:

Chris Hedges: I found so much of the coverage—I don’t know what you thought—where they were demonized as thugs—which is not in any way of course to condone their activity—missing the... [More]”

Set up PHP With Docker, PHPStorm, and XDebug

Published on in Programming

Until now, PHP debugging involved a fragile balance between the IDE, the server, and the debugger, each with overly verbose configuration. On top of that, using Docker introduced the wrinkle that you were technically debugging on a remote server rather than on the “real” localhost.

It’s been a long journey, but it’s finally a lot easier to set up PHP debugging with a server running in a Docker container. Once you use the most modern tools, everything works with a couple of lines of... [More]