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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.

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2243 Articles
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4 months Ago

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

Published 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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]

The State of the World

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

How not to be ignorant about the world by Hans and Ola Rosling (YouTube)

This video poses a few interesting questions about the state of the world. The two presenters argue that we should be less pessimistic about certain features of global society. For example, extreme poverty and deaths by natural disaster have all gone down significantly. There is almost global parity between men and women on number of years of schooling. These are all good things.

However, they seem to play fast and loose with some statistics. They use the statistics about people in extreme... [More]

TIL: Consolidation in Online Pornography

Published on in Miscellaneous

As in so many other lines of business, the online pornography world has seen a tremendous amount of consolidation in recent years. The company MindGeek was founded 14 years ago. as Mansef, a portmanteau of the owner’s names. It has since acquired nearly every significant online pornographic presence: Playboy, YouPorn, RedTube, PornHub and more. They’ve not only cornered the market in free, online pornographic video, but also hoovered up most of the classic producers and distributors, like... [More]

Sohaila Abdulali Interview

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

I just listened to this interview with Sohaila Abdulali, the author of the book What We Talk About When We Talk About Rape. This is an incredibly lucid, pragmatic, sensitive and occasionally funny interview.

On rape and the conversation about rape by Sohaila Abdulali (This is Hell)

“I never forgot what happened to me. I wouldn’t say I ‘got over’ it, in the same sense I wouldn’t say I ‘got over’ the fact that my father died. Both of those things are awful, but here I am. I figured it out. I feel bad sometimes, and often I don’t.... [More]”

An Eclectic List of Holiday Reading

Published on in Miscellaneous

Here’s a reading list I put together for a couple of friends, for when it’s dark and cold and boring:

  • An old man with a good head on his shoulders tells us how to fix Congress in First Step Post-Election – Open Up the Closed, Secretive Congress by Ralph Nader (CounterPunch).
  • Meagan Day interviews Kristin Ghodsee about her book Why Women Have Better Sex Under Socialism. They talk about life under socialist regimes (DDR lässt grüssen) made men and women both more comfortable and try harder to be good people (i.e. trophy... [More]

6 months Ago

Reserved filenames in Windows

Published on in Technology

Did you know that there are some filenames you’re not allowed to use in Windows?

I knew that there are characters that you cannot use in a path, like : and ? and *, but I didn’t know that otherwise innocuous-looking names like aux.txt and con.txt are verboten.

I learned about this from the article It is 2018 and this error message is a mistake from 1974. This limitation, which is still found in the very latest Windows 10, dates back to […] by foone (Thread Reader), which has a pretty click-bait–y title and is quite... [More]

Hate vs. Envy

Published on in Quotes

“Unlike the Europeans, Americans have never hated the rich, only envied them.”
Gore Vidal

Some links about cycling and watts

Published on in Sports

Do you need big legs to push watts? A friend asked whether good hill climbers would need giant legs to push big watts—450-500W for a light rider, or 6–6.5W/kg. Apparently not. Phil Gaimon is a very strong hill climber. He looks like this.

Scrawny A.F. Not so huge legs, though. In the next video, you’ll see that he can push 450-500W for minutes at a time.

The first video is of Fabian Cancellara vs. Phil Gaimon. Both can push big watts, but Gaimon is retired and weighs about 20kg less. It... [More]

7 months Ago

YouTube content warnings

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

At first, YouTube stopped bringing certain subscribed content into newsfeeds – unless you explicitly marked that subscription as “show all content”. Shows like Redacted Tonight weren’t exactly being suppressed, but they weren’t being promoted in the same way that much-more mainstream content was being promoted. However, if people simply browse the next item suggested by Google, slack-jawed and dull-eyed, then it amounts to suppression, in the end.

Now, YouTube/Google is plastering warnings on... [More]

Schizophrenic Society

Published on in Philosophy

 This photo was taken on an international flight from Switzerland to the U.S. I think it captures, in a nutshell, how insane, how schizophrenic, how hypocritical we are.

It is considered utterly non-noteworthy for a flight attendant to push a cart full of cancer sticks—clearly marked as such with a photo of an intubated man in the last throes of the crushing grip of what I assume was terminal lung cancer, for which one can hope that his orphaned family is seeing at least some... [More]

Stewart Lee on Racism

Published on in Quotes

“Like all reasonable people, I hate all Muslims. Except the ones I’ve met. They seem fine.”
Comedy Vehicle SO4E02 by Stewart Lee

8 months Ago

Acknowledging and punishing crime

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

Louis C.K. did 15 minutes at a stand-up club last week. The audience seemed to like it. They gave him a standing ovation.

This is not allowed because he copped to sexual-harassment allegations less than a year ago. He is a pariah and has been ostracized for it. That is his punishment. It’s unclear how long this is to last, but one year is definitely not enough.

There was never a ruling and his exile was more-or-less self-imposed, but it’s been made very clear that he should never be allowed... [More]

Go Down Swinging

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

This is taken from Chris Hedges, “America: The Farewell Tour” (1h 12m) by Chris Hedges (YouTube), a truly excellent talk Hedges gave at a bookstore in New York.[1]

“We’re talking about revolution, by the way – we’re talking about the overthrow[2] of the corporate state. Because these people are going to kill us, and they’re going to kill my children.

“And, in the end, these corporate forces have us, they have us by the throat – and they have my kids by the throat. And I don’t know if we’re going to win – I don’t even know... [More]”

Greenfield responds to a nation gone mad

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

From the article, The Constitution Will Survive, If We Deserve It by Scott H. Greenfield (Simple Justice), which attempts to address the absolutely hyperbolic and absurd hysteria surrounding Kavanaugh’s inevitable nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“This isn’t how the law works, how courts work, how the process works. It’s really quite absurd. Worse than absurd, it feeds the craziness and ignorance that makes people hysterical about the future, that there is no hope. The solution to Trump isn’t to rewrite the Constitution, to... [More]”

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2018.3

Published 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.

Lost in Space (2018)... [More]

The Last Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko (2006 – en/2008) (read in 2018)

Published 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 Night Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko (1998 – en/2006) (read in 2018)

Published 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]

Rogues edited by George R.R. Martin an... Gardner Dozois (2014) (read in 2018)

Published 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]

Dispatches by Michael Herr (1977) (read in 2018)

Published 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]

On the Beach by Nevil Shute (1957) (read in 2018)

Published 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 Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin (1971) (read in 2018)

Published 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]

Grand Forks: A History of American Din...Marilyn Hagerty (2013) (read in 2018)

Published 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]

Empathy for Immigrants

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

“How can those people not know how things work here? How can they abandon and/or endanger their children?How can they not know they’re going to get caught?”

Think of your own culture, of the many idioms, historical events and nuances of language that influence your quotidian actions. Think of how much work it is to know implicitly what is possible and what isn’t, what is acceptable, how things are done. Many of our cultural idiosyncrasies blossom from large or small events in the past, spreading... [More]