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Name Marco Von Ballmoos
Member since
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Home page http://earthli.com/users/marco
Description

The (only) developer at earthli.com.

Contents

2138 Articles
93 Comments

#1 − Update: 13 years later

marco

13 years later and the Lud is still kicking! It’s still right where we left it, but now hosted at another site. The clues and rules are still the same. Kath and I just tried one for the first time in a long time and managed 100% on the first try. This is not because it’s gotten easier, but because we’ve gotten so much better. Most of the puzzle was deceptively easy, but we had to make an educated guess on the final letter g where “kind of palm” (“sago”) and “mulled wine” (“negus”) crossed.

“Negus”? Really?

(Attached to Article The “Lud” Crossword in Fun)

#2 − IOC Overkill?

marco

I suppose you could do that as well, although we currently don’t have the IOC involved in creating metadata. Almost everything is a helper method to make it easier and quicker to create metadata—if you don’t like the way the helper method works, then just write your own helper method. We’ve been slowly but surely getting rid of larger extension/helper methods, so passing in an IOC so that it can create the aspect seems kind of like overkill.

You can either just write your own extension method, like so:

public static ClassCacheAspect SetSuperCacheAspectValues(
  this IMetaClass metaClass,
  Action<ClassCacheAspect> setValues)
{
  return metaClass.UpdateAspect<IClassCacheAspect, ClassCacheAspect>(
    new SuperClassCacheAspect(),
    setValues
  );
}

We can call this as follows:

Elements.Classes.Person.SetSuperCacheAspectValues(a => a.Capacity = 1000);

If I go the IOC route, then I would make the base helper method accept another parameter (I guess?). This is kind of neat, and would let me push the machinery for creating a new aspect down to the next-level methods.

The method that works with aspects that implement ICopyTarget looks like this:

public static TConcrete SetAspectValues<TService, TConcrete>(
  this IMetaClass metaClass,
  IServiceRequestHandler handler,
  Action<TConcrete> setValues
)
  where TConcrete : TService, ICopyTarget<TService>
  where TService : IMetaAspect
{
  return metaClass.UpdateAspect<TService, TConcrete>(
    handler,
    (aspect, existingAspect) => aspect.CopyFrom(existingAspect),
    setValues
  );
}

The fully generalized one that has no expectations of the aspect actually creates the aspect using the IOC.

public static TConcrete SetAspectValues<TService, TConcrete>(
  this IMetaClass metaClass,
  IServiceRequestHandler handler,
  Action<TConcrete, TService> copyValues,
  Action<TConcrete> setValues
)
  where TConcrete : TService
  where TService : IMetaAspect
{
  var aspect = handler.GetInstance<TConcrete>();
  var existingAspect = metaClass.Aspects.FirstOfTypeOrDefault<TService>();
  if (existingAspect != null)
  {
    copyValues(aspect, existingAspect);
  }

  setValues(aspect);

  return aspect;
}

And, finally, the caching-specific method looks like this:

public static ClassCacheAspect SetCacheAspectValues(
  this IMetaClass metaClass,
  IServiceRequestHandler handler,
  Action<ClassCacheAspect> setValues)
{
  return metaClass.UpdateAspect<IClassCacheAspect, ClassCacheAspect>(
    handler,
    setValues
  );
}

Now I don’t have to ever call new for an aspect, but I have to pass in the handler, every single time.

Elements.Classes.Person.SetSuperCacheAspectValues(handler, a => a.Capacity = 1000);

I would have to make sure that the handler (IOC) was available during metadata construction (which it generally isn’t, but could be, via constructor injection on the metadata builder class, e.g.)

I think this is a matter of preference, but given how small the chance is that I would want a different cache aspect to be created—and how easy it is to make my own helper method—then I would opt not to use the IOC, just so I don’t force all callers to (A) have a reference to an IOC around and (B) have an extra parameter that isn’t needed in 99.9% of the cases.

Although, since these are helper methods, there’s nothing stopping anyone from creating the methods I outlined above and using that pattern instead. Perfectly valid to use the IOC there, but a bit uglier to get it down to where it can be used.

#1 − A week after I wrote this article, MS responded :-)

marco

Making it easier to port to .NET Core by Immo Landwerth (MSDN)

“While there is certainly some value in presenting new customers with a cleaner API, it disproportionately penalized our existing loyal customers who have invested over many years in using the APIs and technologies we advertised to them. We want to extend the reach of the .NET platform and gain new customers, but we can’t do so at the expense of existing users.”
(Attached to Article Beware the Hype: .NET Core in Technology)

#1 − Adjustments and Enhance “sometimes” don’t work

marco

After publication of the article above, I encountered another issue that I’d seen before, but had assumed was something I was doing wrong. Nope: Photos cannot show previews of adjustments and enhancements in real-time anymore. Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn’t. The solution, according to Adjustments not working in Edit mode using Photos is that “[q]uitting and relaunching the application fixes the problem temporarily.” What a lovely workaround. This issue has apparently been in Photos since it launched in April. No fix from Apple in sight.

At least a restart did solve the problem, as advertised. I hope it survives without further restarts for the 60 pictures I want to touch up.

(Attached to Article Apple Photos: a mixed review in Technology)

#1

marco

An interesting article published a few years back CHARLIE HEBDO: Not racist? If you say so… by Olivier Cyran sums up Charlie Hebdo as follows:

“You claim for yourself the tradition of anticlericalism, but pretend not to know the fundamental difference between this and Islamophobia. The first comes from a long, hard and fierce struggle against a Catholic priesthood which actually had formidable power, which had − and still has − its own newspapers, legislators, lobbies, literary salons and a huge property portfolio. The second attacks members of a minority faith deprived of any kind of influence in the corridors of power. It consists of distracting attention from the well-fed interests which rule this country, in favour of inciting the mob against citizens who haven’t been invited to the party, if you want to take the trouble to realise that − for most of them − colonisation, immigration and discrimination have not given them the most favourable place in French society. Is it too much to ask a team which, in your words “is divided between leftists, extreme leftists, anarchists and Greens”, to take a tiny bit of interest in the history of our country and its social reality?”

#2 − More notes on valuation

marco

These are just some notes I plucked from an interesting email conversation with a friend.

On the distribution of resources and where to invest:

I think it’s important to think about companies that provide value in the “essentials” area (bottom of the Maslow pyramid) and those that do so in the areas that clearly involve “disposable income”. While we have so many people incapable of fulfilling their most basic needs, how much resource expenditure should be tolerated/encouraged for such frivolity? Those that benefit initially convince themselves that such progress is utterly necessary in order to drive society forward for *everyone*, but that sounds very much like the underpinnings of trickle-down economics.

On the transition from brick and mortar to Internet:

I’m reminded of the article I read last year in that magazine you gave me, about the fracking boom in the States. Most of the companies listed there were values in the dozens of billions, if not more, and had dozens of thousands of employees.

That is one of the differences I see in the move to Internet value as well: these companies are valued in the billions but have hardly any employees (relatively speaking). That is, they are perfect vessels for funneling a tremendous amount of wealth to a handful of people. That’s great for those people. Not so good for all of those who are finding it harder to find jobs in an economy based more and more on this scale of company.

And, without jobs, where do people get the money to purchase Uber services? This is all kind of short term, to my way of thinking. It’s short-term gain for Uber, but they too will collapse because Uber’s very model helps create a world where there are no Uber customers anymore. There are solutions to this, but they are either not very classically capitalist or quite fascist.

On the valuation of GoDaddy at over $2 billion:

As for GoDaddy: this is one of those company whose 2.25b valuation is an utter mystery to anyone who still thinks that the company’s main service is to its supposed customers (the users). They are very good for funneling advertising and “trapping” customers. This is considered to be very valuable to those who are just interested in turning a profit and not interested in *how* that profit is turned. As long as there exists such a strong separation between ethics, *true* value and investment, we will have these dilemmas.

The stock corporation was truly both a blessing and a curse. It allows companies to grow more quickly (and to presumably provide more value to its customers), but it also allows companies that would otherwise go out of business to survive and thrive simply because they know how to turn a profit (if not actually provide a non-parasitic value). The world would be a better place without GoDaddy in it. As long as GoDaddy can figure out how to make money for its investors, we’re stuck with it. And, no, I’m not sure what to do about that either: is it good or bad? Dunno. I’m just thinking out loud.

(Attached to Article Riding the wave in Finance & Economy)

#1 − Whither Radio Shack?

marco

I just saw the article RadioShack continues death march, loses $98.3 million in a quarter by Megan Geuss (Ars Technica) and it got me thinking again: where do you usually find Radio Shack stores in the US? In poorer neighborhoods, where they more often than not provided a convenient place to find replacement parts for electronic goods.

Did the need for Radio Shack’s goods disappear? Or is it just that it provides value to the wrong target market? With our overemphasis on valuation, are we not also picking winners and losers? Are we not preferring the opinions of the wealthy over those of the poor? If you can vote billions, you get your way. Once again, we circle back to the question of to whom is value being provided?

(Attached to Article Riding the wave in Finance & Economy)

#1

marco (updated by marco)

In defense of the OpenSSL project, the article OpenSSL code beyond repair, claims creator of “LibreSSL” fork by Jon Brodkin (Ars Technica) cites its OpenSSL Software Foundation President Steve Marquess “describ[ing] OpenSSL’s struggle to obtain funding and code contributions.”

““I’m looking at you, Fortune 1000 companies,” Marquess wrote. “The ones who include OpenSSL in your firewall/appliance/cloud/financial/security products that you sell for profit, and/or who use it to secure your internal infrastructure and communications. The ones who don’t have to fund an in-house team of programmers to wrangle crypto code, and who then nag us for free consulting services when you can’t figure out how to use it. The ones who have never lifted a finger to contribute to the open source community that gave you this gift. You know who you are.” […] As for Heartbleed, “the mystery is not that a few overworked volunteers missed this bug,” Marquess wrote. “The mystery is why it hasn’t happened more often.”(Emphasis added.)”

The emphasized text is what we should all learn from this experience.

(Attached to Article OpenBSD takes on OpenSSL in Technology)

#1 - Snopes has information on the cha...c Ocean that's also making the rounds

marco (updated by marco)

The article Fukushima Emergency debunks the fancy we-re-all-gonna-die chart that’s also been making the rounds (shown below).

 Purported chart of Fukushima radiation (it's not)

“However, that chart did not actually track or measure radioactive discharge emanating from Fukushima in 2013, or any other aspect of the Fukushima disaster. It was a plot created by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) immediately after the Tohoku earthquake in March 2011 showing the wave height of the tsunami that followed. It had (and has) nothing to do with the flow or spread of radioactive seepage from Fukushima.”

Nice. Take a chart from 2011 about a completely different topic and use it to “prove” that people are being duped by Tepco about the radiation in Fukushima. I think Californians can breathe easy, at least as far as dying from Fukushima radiation is concerned.

““The Pacific Ocean is an enormous place,” said Norman, who found radiation from the Fukushima nuclear power in California rainwater, milk and plants soon after the earthquake and tsunami. “There’s a lot of material between us and Japan. No matter what happens in Fukushima, it’s not going to be a problem over here.””

#1 − John Galt caused the shutdown

marco

From Who is responsible for the US shutdown? The same idiots responsible for the 2008 meltdown by Slavoj Žižek (The Guardian)

“[…] sales of her opus Atlas Shrugged exploded. According to some reports, there are already signs that the scenario described in Atlas Shrugged – the creative capitalists themselves going on strike – is coming to pass in the form of a populist right. However, this misreads the situation: what is effectively taking place today is almost the exact opposite. Most of the bailout money is going precisely to the Randian “titans”, the bankers who failed in their “creative” schemes and thereby brought about the financial meltdown. It is not the “creative geniuses” who are now helping ordinary people, it is the ordinary people who are helping the failed “creative geniuses”. (Emphasis added.)

“John Galt, the central character in Atlas Shrugged, is not named until near the end of the novel. Before his identity is revealed, the question is repeatedly asked, “Who is John Galt”. Now we know precisely who he is: John Galt is the idiot responsible for the 2008 financial meltdown, and for the ongoing federal government shutdown in the US.”

#3 − @trpugh

marco

You’ll have to dig out any references to the wrong version number. First, do as Marc says: get rid of all compiled assemblies that Visual Studio may be using. Also make sure that VS can’t find the wrong version in the GAC because it might be grabbing that one as well. Restarting VS is also a good idea as it sometimes retains caches references in memory.

If none of that works, then you have an explicit reference to the assembly using the old version number somewhere in your solution. Check project files for references with that version number; check those pesky license.licx files (you can just delete the offending line from those).

Good luck! And be reassured, there’s always some logical reason for the assembly mismatch. It’s just sometimes tedious to find.

#1 − The True Poor

marco (updated by marco)

And then there are the people who really are living on the edge of destitution, eviction and being frozen out of society (in the colder states, quite literally); the article Chart of the day: The working poor by Felix Salmon (Reuters) has this to say:

“Nearly 1 in 3 working families in the United States, despite their hard work, are struggling to meet basic needs. The plight of these families now challenges a fundamental assumption that in america, work pays. […] The workers in these families have a much greater risk of becoming unemployed than the population as a whole, and of course they’re financially much less prepared for any period of unemployment than most of the rest of us.”

The chart below shows the 200% of poverty level income for various family sizes. The census reports that 30% of the working families in America are at or below this line. More proof of the lopsided distribution of wealth and prosperity in an increasingly expensive society.

 200% of Poverty Level for Various Family Sizes

#2 − Speaking of asking for it…

marco (updated by marco)

The article, When Propaganda Is No Longer Necessary (Anonymous Liberal), also lashes out at the U.S. media, for whom Israel’s essential goodness is so deeply ingrained that it extends to absolving it of the murder of an American citizen a priori.

“There’s another rather disgusting tendency of the American Right on display in Johnson’s post: the blind assumption that any Muslim who is killed or captured deserves it. With his keen logic, he notes that if this kid was “shot five times at close range, four times in the head,” then “it is reasonable to infer that he was one of those attacking Israeli soldiers with a club, knife or other weapon and was shot in self-defense.”

“Yes, of course, the only logical inference one can make when presented with a corpse riddled with five gun shot wounds, including four to the head, is that person was shot in self-defense. Someone get this guy a job on CSI. Really, who needs propaganda when there are people out there who, without any prodding, already reason like this?”

#1 − How to stop the spill

marco

Closing the Hole in the Gulf: A Petroleum Engineer Responds by Robert Reich

“Mobilize every possible tanker to siphon up crude from as close to the leak points as possible. Oil industry leaders as John Hofmeister (president of Shell Oil from 2005 until 2008) have recommended this, but inexplicably neither BP nor the federal government are talking about even trying this idea. BP currently has only one spot where they have inserted a tube into a riser, or pipe, that is leaking oil from the sea floor. The company is gathering the crude oil and siphoning it up to a drill ship for storage.

“They should have at least a dozen collectors. BP has 24 tankers that are being used to make money for BP, not for clean-up duty.”

(Attached to Article Bad Day at the Beach in Science & Nature)

#1 − Uri Avnery on the blockade

marco

The article, Who Is Afraid of a Real Inquiry? by Uri Avnery (Antiwar), has 80 questions for Israelis and their government that would be asked “[i]f a real commission of inquiry had been set up (instead of the pathetic excuse for a commission).”

Questions cover topics like

  • “What is the real aim of the Gaza Strip blockade?”
  • “Questions concerning the decision to attack the flotilla”
  • “Questions concerning the planning of the action”
  • “Questions concerning the action itself”
  • “Questions concerning the behavior of the IDF spokesman”
  • “Questions concerning the inquiry”
  • Leading up to “What is our [the Israeli] political and military leadership trying to hide?”

#2 − Juan Cole also wonders what comes next

marco (updated by marco)

The article, Israel’s Gift to Iran’s Hardliners by Juan Cole (TomDispatch), points out that Iran is not as stupid as Washington seems to think it is, and the world is not as convinced of Iran’s intrinsic evil as the U.S. and Israel think it is.

“The hypocrisy in all this was visibly Washington’s and Israel’s. After all, both were demanding that a country without nuclear weapons ‘disarm’ and the only country in the region to actually possess them be excused from the disarmament process entirely. This was, of course, their gift to Tehran. Like others involved in the process, Iran’s representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency immediately noted this and riposted, ‘The U.S… is obliged to go along with the world’s request, which is that Israel must join the NPT and open its installations to IAEA inspectors.’”

Israeli and U.S. policy has been working against itself for a while now, with their actions fitting poorly together with their stated goals. For example,

“[Netanyahu’s] election as prime minister in February 2009 turns out to have been the best gift the Israeli electorate could have given Iran. The Likud-led government continues its colonization of the West Bank and its blockade of the civilian population of Gaza, making the Iranian hawks who harp on injustices done to Palestinians look prescient. It refuses to join the NPT or allow U.N. inspections of its nuclear facilities, making Iran, by comparison, look like a model IAEA member state.”

Either Israel and the U.S. don’t believe that anyone will notice that they are failing utterly, they are otherwise benefiting it, they just don’t care or they are utter idiots. Or perhaps some wondrous combination of all of these.

(Attached to Article Why Iran? in Public Policy & Politics)

#1 − Philip Giraldi on the MSM

marco

On the topic of American brainwashing, there’s the article Shaping the Story on Iran:

“The unanimity of view is particularly evident on the editorial pages where the neocons and the groupthink that they have fostered have become deeply embedded. Everyone in the MSM agrees that Iran either already has nukes or is about to go nuclear and that the country shelters terrorists on every block, all colluding to attack a completely innocent and guileless United States. Saturated with the propaganda, the American public more or less accepts that narrative.”

If you know that Iran has nuclear weapons, ask yourself how you know this. Do you know because you learned it from the same people that told you that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction?

Do you think it’s perhaps time that you start thinking for yourself before even more people are killed in order to assuage your irrational fears.

(Attached to Article Why Iran? in Public Policy & Politics)

#2

marco

Thanks for the response! I didn’t notice it until now because I had comment notifications shut off.

“What I don’t see is your gripe about merging from the command line. Aren’t you merging on your dev-box? Don’t you have visual tools for the actual file-merges there? You can even use p4merge. (http://mercurial.selenic.com/wiki/MergeProgram)”

On my dev box I now use Murky, which is great! I tried MacHG as well, which is even sexier-looking, but doesn’t show diffs automatically. The P4Merge integration was working on my old Mac, but I haven’t gotten around to setting it up again because I haven’t had to merge locally yet.

The problem was really on my Debian machine, on which I have only headless SSH access.

“Sadly, TortoiseHg is not yet available for OS X. I use it on Ubuntu and simply love the way it lets me work from the command line and seamlessly switch into GUI mode as needed.”

+1 for TortoiseHG on Windows as well. As I said, though, there are all of a sudden two very strong contenders on OS X, so that’s a relief.

(Attached to Article Mercurial: Why So Unhelpful? in Technology)

#1 − An Open Letter from soldiers on the ground

marco

Just today, the article An Open Letter to the Iraqi People, From Soldiers in the Unit Depicted in the WikiLeaks Video by Josh Stieber and Ethan McCord (AlterNet) appeared. The soldiers were on the ground (not in the helicopter):

“We acknowledge our part in the deaths and injuries of your loved ones as we tell Americans what we were trained to do and carried out in the name of “god and country.” The soldier in video said that your husband shouldn’t have brought your children to battle, but we are acknowledging our responsibility for bringing the battle to your neighborhood, and to your family. We did unto you what we would not want done to us.”
(Attached to Article Death from Above in Public Policy & Politics)

#4 − Excellent article by Rebecca Solnit

marco (updated by marco)

In Haiti, Words Can Kill by Rebecca Solnit (TomDispatch)

“After years of interviewing survivors of disasters, and reading first-hand accounts and sociological studies from such disasters as the London Blitz and the Mexico City earthquake of 1985, I don’t believe in looting. Two things go on in disasters. The great majority of what happens you could call emergency requisitioning. Someone who could be you, someone in the kind of desperate circumstances I outlined above, takes necessary supplies to sustain human life in the absence of any alternative. Not only would I not call that looting, I wouldn’t even call that theft.

“Necessity is a defense for breaking the law in the United States and other countries, though it’s usually applied more to, say, confiscating the car keys of a drunk driver than feeding hungry children. Taking things you don’t need is theft under any circumstances. It is, says the disaster sociologist Enrico Quarantelli, who has been studying the subject for more than half a century, vanishingly rare in most disasters.

“[…]

“The media are another matter. They tend to arrive obsessed with property (and the headlines that assaults on property can make). Media outlets often call everything looting and thereby incite hostility toward the sufferers as well as a hysterical overreaction on the part of the armed authorities. Or sometimes the journalists on the ground do a good job and the editors back in their safe offices cook up the crazy photo captions and the wrongheaded interpretations and emphases.

“They also deploy the word panic wrongly. Panic among ordinary people in crisis is profoundly uncommon. The media will call a crowd of people running from certain death a panicking mob, even though running is the only sensible thing to do. In Haiti, they continue to report that food is being withheld from distribution for fear of “stampedes.” Do they think Haitians are cattle?

“The belief that people in disaster (particularly poor and nonwhite people) are cattle or animals or just crazy and untrustworthy regularly justifies spending far too much energy and far too many resources on control – the American military calls it “security” – rather than relief. A British-accented voiceover on CNN calls people sprinting to where supplies are being dumped from a helicopter a “stampede” and adds that this delivery “risks sparking chaos.” The chaos already exists, and you can’t blame it on these people desperate for food and water. Or you can, and in doing so help convince your audience that they’re unworthy and untrustworthy.”

#3 − The Flip Side

marco

Unfortunately, the heroes of the mainstream media—as documented in this post, In the midst of looting chaos by Anderson Cooper (AC360)—still gleefully represent the apparently tiny minority that aren’t behaving in a noble fashion.

What’s amazing is that, while rioting over food and water when you haven’t seen either in nearly a week is completely understandable, most Haitians are apparently not doing that. That’s an amazing and uplifting story, Anderson Cooper. Report that instead of your staged heroism with a blood-covered boy.

Similarly, the article, Haiti earthquake: police admit gangs have taken over Port-au-Prince by Bruno Waterfield (London Telegraph) also emphasizes the negative, though they start off claiming that all of Port-of-Prince is apparently lost and end by admitting that the recently sprung gang leaders seem to be fighting over one slum.

#2 − From the January 20th, 10 AM BBC GlobalNews

marco (updated by marco)

Brother Jim Boyden from the Jesuit Mission near Port au Prince:

“I wanna get this out because I have not seen a whole lot of … the media … with the picture that I’ve seen … the little things that I’ve seen in the media …they’re covering pictures of the Haitians that are looting and gunfire and burning and crime. I have led medical brigades to the garbage dumps of Guatemala for the last six years. I do many, many, many. And, they’re oftentimes chaotic and people are fighting to see the doctor and they’re pushing each other forward. What I saw yesterday, the Haitians that were here…triaged themselves. There was a person here with a compound fracture … everyone made sure that he saw the doctor first. They were orderly, they were appreciative, they were grateful and they are right now, about the most honorable people that I can possibly imagine. I have never seen patients act as respectful to a doctor and I’ve never seen a crowd of people act as orderly and trying to help out perfect strangers. I’ve never seen that. If you go to an American hospital on a Friday night in the emergency room, people are scrambling to see a doctor and yelling at each other to try to see the doctor first … and these Haitian people are noble.

“[…]

“Let me say one other quick thing: I arrived in the country on November 1st to start working in a school. My first impression when I first came here, I said to my home pastor, I said, ‘I hope at some point I can get to a love for these Haitians that is not based on pity.’ That was in November; for the last three days, when I would think that the Haitians would deserve all the pity they can have, I have no pity for them, I only have respect and admiration and has just completely changed my view. I no longer have pity for the people, I just have respect and admiration and they’re noble. (Emphasis in original.)”

There’s no link because I transcribed the text directly from the podcast.

#1 − Bubba’s got it right

marco (updated by marco)

When asked whether things won’t just get worse in Haiti until troops are on the ground, Bill Clinton said (cited from Haiti police battle to keep streets safe:

“When you think about people who lost everything, except what they’re carrying on their backs, who haven’t not only eaten, probably haven’t slept in four days… and when the sun goes down, it’s totally dark and they spend all night lying, wandering around tripping over bodies living and dead − I think they’ve behaved quite well.”

Couldn’t agree with you more, Bill.

#1 − Dean Baker on Copenhagen

marco

It’s a bit late now, but the article What should Obama say in Copenhagen? by Dean Baker (Politico) serves as a source for the U.S. requirement that the Chinese commit to ¼ of the per-capita CO2-output of the U.S.:

“The current view in the U.S. appears to be that the Chinese should forever commit themselves to emitting greenhouse gases at one-third or one-quarter the per capita rate as people in the United States.”

So, when you kept hearing the President say that the “deal is on the table” and that “countries should step up”, he knew full well that the deal was completely unacceptable to the Chinese. Hillary also made sure to very specifically note that the U.S. would only proceed with their deal if “all other parties” also signed on. Both Obama and his Secretary of State took the opportunity to try to look and sound good because they knew that the Chinese wouldn’t take the bait and force the U.S. to actually have to go through with the deal they’d offered.

(Attached to Article In Short in Public Policy & Politics)

#1 − South Korea is the key ally in this equation

marco

The article, We Have a Nobel Peace President Who Won’t Ban Land Mines by Bill Moyers (AlterNet), points out that a major modern-day deployer of land mines is, in fact, South Korea, another major U.S. ally (home to dozens of thousands of U.S. troops and numerous bases).

“But still we refuse to sign, citing security commitments to our friends and allies, such as South Korea, where a million mines fill the demilitarized zone between it and North Korea.”

Given that situation, there is every reason to believe that U.S. commitments to South Korea play an important role in the continued lack of a U.S. signature on the land mine treaty. It’s not as if an objective reading of history would lead anyone to expect principles to have anything to do with U.S. policy.

(Attached to Article Screw You, Peg-leg in Public Policy & Politics)

#1 − Another example from Eric Lippert

marco

Begging the question by Eric Lippert (Fabulous Adventures In Coding):

“Suppose I asked “why are diamonds very hard but butter is very soft?” and you answered “diamond and butter are both made out of atoms; the atoms of diamonds are hard and the atoms of butter are soft.” You would have begged the question; your answer to my question “why are some things hard and some things soft” is “because some things are made out of stuff that is hard and some things are made out of stuff that is soft” – that is, you’ve avoided answering the question by providing an “explanation” that itself cannot be understood without answering the original question – namely, why is some stuff hard and some stuff soft? This pseudo-explanation has no predictive power; it doesn’t tell us anything new, it just circles back on itself. The explanatory assumption – that some atoms are hard and some atoms are soft – is stronger than the thing we are trying to investigate – the hardness and softness of two substances.”

#1 − Another clever and succinct solution

marco

This one’s from Chris Meadowcroft:

const string EnglishListPrefix = "{";
const string EnglishListSuffix = "}";
const string IntermediateSeparator = ", ";
const string LastSeparator = " and ";
static string BuildStringWithEnglishListSyntax(IEnumerable<string> itemsEnumerable)
{
  StringBuilder result = new StringBuilder(EnglishListPrefix);
  using(IEnumerator<string> items = itemsEnumerable.GetEnumerator())
  {
    if(items.MoveNext())  // make sure it's not an empty list
    {
      bool isFirstString = true;
      bool isLastString = false;
      while(!isLastString)
      {
        string current = items.Current;
        isLastString = !items.MoveNext();
        if(!isFirstString)
        {
          result.Append(isLastString ? LastSeparator : IntermediateSeparator);
        }
        else
        {
          isFirstString = false;
        }
        result.Append(current);
       }
     }
   }
   result.Append(EnglishListSuffix);
   return result.ToString();
}
(Attached to Article Elegant Code vs.(?) Clean Code in Programming)

#1 − More Pictures

marco (updated by marco)

The photo attached to the article itself is quite tame. In the ensuing days since publication, these far more devastating ones have appeared:

#1 − Excellent Article

marco

The article Call Me Ishmael… by Tony Karon (Rootless Cosmopolitan) puts the paltry thoughts outlined above much more eloquently:

“The war on terror is a profound conceptual error, not simply because the problem with making war on a common noun (drugs, poverty, terror) is that a common noun cannot surrender; but also because it treats a small band of extremists with no means of transforming the balance of power as if they represent a genuine strategic threat rather than what John Kerry quite correctly in 2004 labeled a ‘nuisance.’ Kerry told the New York Times, ‘We have to get back to the place we were, where terrorists are not the focus of our lives, but they’re a nuisance. As a former law-enforcement person, I know we’re never going to end prostitution. We’re never going to end illegal gambling. But we’re going to reduce it, organized crime, to a level where it isn’t on the rise. It isn’t threatening people’s lives every day, and fundamentally, it’s something that you continue to fight, but it’s not threatening the fabric of your life.’”

#1 − Nothing to Lose

marco

The article, Not My Financial Crisis – I’ve Got Literally Nothing to Lose by Alexander Zaitchik (AlterNet), makes the following point about those who have not really participated in the economic boom, who don’t really do much more than scrape by:

“Scraping by will likely become even harder in the days ahead for people in my income bracket. But it seems to me that a decade of scraping by is good practice for whatever’s coming. And it’s just a fact that this particular era of capitalism hasn’t been very good for those of us at the bottom of the wealth pyramid. If it takes some creative destruction to herald a new, more egalitarian, better regulated economy, then so be it. Millions of us are waiting for the reckoning with belts already tightened. They’ve been tightened for as long as we can remember. (emphasis added)”

It is easy to sympathize with the emphasized statement above; it’s probably true. But, it also indicates that the author isn’t at the bottom of the heap or isn’t aware of the ramifications of a true restructuring of the economy. When economists claim that the system can be saved, they mean that it will be put back the way it was; they don’t mean systemic change, which would benefit the unwashed masses, but not before it starved half of them to death.

(Attached to Article Define Crash, Please in Finance & Economy)