Older blog entries for ncm (starting at number 293)

chalst: For what it's worth, I think kgb brought about his low diary rating by his choices in what to post here. Endless accounts of Disneyland ... life ... are manifestly off topic.

My brother bought an iPhone, thinking it ought to "just work". He looked and looked, trying to find a way to cut and paste. Turns out you can't. Yet, no reviewer mentions it. Why is it not in the first line of every evaluation summary? What is this cult?

It’s really hard to be always right, and hardly anybody is. It’s even harder to recognize one who is. It seems to be amazingly easy, though, to be always wrong, and it’s not very hard to find people who are. You probably know one.

The latter are almost as useful as the former. After you’ve identified an Oracle of Wrong, then when in doubt you just do the opposite of whatever they recommend.

2 Oct 2008 (updated 3 Oct 2008 at 00:33 UTC) »
You Want a Singularity? You might get one, good and hard.

etbe: Singularities are, historically, dime-a-dozen. Overwhelmingly the most frequent of them are out-and-out collapses, including mass starvation and massacres. Development of tools and weapons did not "immediately" vault early humans to the top of the food chain; that happened more than a million years later, so must be traced to some other cause. The effect of agriculture was certainly unpredictable: except in the last century in rich countries, its main effect was a grossly-expanded but seriously malnourished population.

As developments likely to have surprising effects, the greatest currently may include (1) systematic, radical climate change, (2) systematic elimination of ocean food sources by factory fishing, (3) systematic elimination of river outflows, (4) systematic elimination of broad swaths of animal and plant species, some of which, necessarily, are linchpins in ecological systems we depend on, (5) uncontrolled deployment of nuclear weapons, (6) television-driven religious indoctrination, (7) agricultural use of antibiotics driving development of resistant bacteria.

You want a singularity? You might well get one in your lifetime, but I predict you won't like it.

1 Oct 2008 (updated 8 Oct 2008 at 03:13 UTC) »

According to Google, this, right here, is the only place on the entire intarweb where you may encounter the expression, "Don't stick a bee in the mud!" (Rachel Reida writing for the Rio Grande Killer Bees hockey team came close with "BEES STUCK IN MUD; LOSE 5-1 TO BOSSIER".)

Jordi: Life in Valencia may be difficult at times, but at least you have the Holy Grail.
29 Sep 2008 (updated 30 Sep 2008 at 03:04 UTC) »

My favorite political blogs lately are

Congratulations to Daniel Stenberg and everybody who worked on Rockbox 3.0 for the release. If only the playback UI button assignments matched builds early this year I would be happy. I suppose I'll need to make my own build.

Firefox (iceweasel) hasn't crashed today (yet!).

Powertop reports that epiphany accounts for fully half of my laptop's CPU wakeups, over 200 per second (out of almost 400). syndaemon (from the xorg-xserver-input-synaptics package) accounts for somewhat fewer; when last I checked there was a Debian bug open on it, and an almost completely ineffectual patch proposed. Despite Arjan van de Ven's assurances, we're not there yet.

Fun, lshw reliably hoses my video card configuration ("nv") when run as superuser (as recommended).

Iceweasel (firefox) is getting awfully crashy lately.

Those holes in the ground remain as a monument to the cowardice of the American people, who responded to box-cutter terrorism with naked terror, instantly abandoning every ideal the nation was supposed to stand for.

3 Sep 2008 (updated 3 Sep 2008 at 17:27 UTC) »


We are perhaps doomed as a nation. If this not unreasonably inarticulate person and a large enough minority like him can look back at eight years of national disaster and sign up for more, but worse, it doesn't matter so much who wins elections. Idiocy will triumph. On the upside, I now have a concise quote to demonstrate that libertarianism is a fetish: "Freedom in the political sense means freedom from government coercion. It does NOT mean freedom from an employer, from a landlord, [from a monopoly corporation]..." Hint: YES IT DOES.

One last remark for mako... is this sticker meant to be popular? Are you trying, by this effort, to create the impression that feminism (or, perhaps, training up on feminism) is all about banning things? 'Cuz, you know, that doesn't seem very inspiring. Except to some people, of course.

I installed Google Chrome in a VM. It seemed to work OK. I wonder how you get Emacs key bindings.

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