May 2015 Archives

Such a bizarre statement.First, there is literally no reason to think that valuing the acquisition of knowledge for its own sake will give us a better future than valuing it only for economic reasons.  That's just an entirely invented concept with no basis in fact or reason or evidence.Second, of course we should take responsibility for our own survival.  That belief is not, in any way, contrary to religious belief.Third, similarly, using the light of reason to banish the darkness of superstition is not in any way contrary to religious belief.Hey, I know!  Let's start with banishing the darkness of the superstitious belief that valuing the acquisition of knowledge for its own sake will lead to better outcomes than valuing it for economic reasons! G+

29.05.2015 08:54

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"Bernie Sanders, that sweet old socialist who we would have to invent if he didn’t exist in real life, elicited guffaws all over the Internet with his now famous comment about deodorant choice."

"'You don’t necessarily need a choice of 23 underarm spray deodorants or of 18 different pairs of sneakers,” he said, “when children are hungry in this country.'"

"The errors here are three: ..." G+ (Go to 39:20 in the video)

"The online scoring ... oh, a bit of a surprise, it's close."

That was me.

This was almost 20 years ago, in 1996 (years before the MLB All-Star voting incident), during an undercard for the first Holyfield-Tyson fight (not the "Bite Fight," but the one before that).  I wrote a Perl program to try to win the online vote for Holyfield.

I needed to test the program, so I ran it in the undercard bout between Akinwande and Zolkin.  I picked Zolkin (since Akinwande was the favorite, so I could try to better measure the effect) and ran the program to vote repeatedly for him during the fight.  Seeing that Zolkin was getting hammered in the fight, but winning the online voting, I stopped the program after four rounds.  From the fifth round on, Akinwande won the online voting, leading me to conclude I was having a significant effect.

The web site isn't around anymore, nor even on the Internet Archive, but at one point it was, and I archived the result page:

I ran the program during the Holyfield-Tyson fight, but I was not having a significant effect, as the volume of other voters had significantly increased.  My program was actually able to register fewer votes per round during Holyfield-Tyson, which compounded the problem.

It was a trip, though ... to hear announcers on a live televised event talking about the impact my little program was having on the online voting, during the fight.  Today that wouldn't be a big deal, but it was pretty crazy to me back in 1996. G+
Dear news media: do not use the abbreviated title "Secy." for Secretary of State, because "Secy. Clinton" looks too much like "Sexy Clinton."

Thank you. G+
The top cone is my ObamaCone. NO, not because it more closely matches his skin color. (Why does everyone think that?) It's because while I was making it, I heard him on TV saying he wanted to use the media to change the minds of his opponents, and that "triggered" me, and I forgot I left the cone in the iron. G+
"Why are you so fixated on the idea of personal safety, by which you apparently mean not having uncomfortable or unhappy thoughts and feelings? Is there any chance this preoccupation is unworthy of you? Please say yes." G+
People still get "Spygate" wrong.  Here's the Spygate Executive Summary:

* The NFL rule said you can't use "information gathering equipment" that "might aid a team during the playing of a game."

* The league sent a memo saying that you could not record from the field, because that might facilitate the use of the material during the game.

* The Patriots disregarded the memo, and followed their interpretation of the written rule: they recorded from whereever they felt like it, and did not use the material during the game.

* The NFL interpreted the rule not in terms of whether the material was actually used during the game, but whether it might be used during the game.  And the memo was designed to outline how "might aid a team" would be interpreted: if on the field, it might be used, whereas upstairs, it wouldn't be.

* The NFL affirmed that the Patriots never used the material during the game.

* All teams record the opposing teams, both before this incident, and after.  They never stopped doing it.  It's perfectly legal.  But to stay within the guidelines designed to ensure you don't use the material during the game, you have to do it from a specific location.

That's it.  There was no cheating.  There was no league allegation of cheating.  The NFL even admitted that the Patriots didn't cheat.  The Patriots did violate the league's guidelines -- designed to give a bright line for "might aid" -- for how the rule would be interpreted, and got severely punished for it.

But there was no cheating.  Period. G+
This is the Website of the Year.  I love it so much.

Yes, it is not perfect.  I mean, it gives the Patriots one "cheating point" for the snowplow incident, which was perfectly legal in every possible way.  And the scores for each incident are subjective.  But most of it is pretty reasonable, and I love that the Patriots' biggest critics -- Baltimore, NY Jets, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, Denver -- all have a lot more cheating than the Patriots, even in recent years. G+
“New England’s been doing stuff in the past and getting in trouble. When stuff repeatedly happens, then that’s it. I don’t know what else to tell you. Stuff repeatedly happened through the years. You got SpyGate, you got this and that and everything else. Obviously in those situations in the past, they had the evidence. So they did what they needed to do.”

What situations in the past, Darrelle?  You mean like when the Jets cheated just a few months ago, to sign you as a player, and they got penalized for it?  And then when the Jets made a false claim back at the Patriots out of vindictiveness, and didn't get penalized?

Or maybe the year before you got there, in 2006, when the Jets illegally taped the Patriots?

The fact is that -- setting aside PED use, and on-field incidents like cheap hits -- the Patriots, with Brady, have only ever been found guilty of one thing before "Deflategate": the one "Spygate" that you mentioned.  That's it.  Once.  You are ignorant or lying when you say they've done it "repeatedly."

The Jets have been far worse cheaters than the Patriots (who are "average"), ranking third in the league. G+
President Obama is the worst President ever.

I don't say this because I think he's the most liberal President ever (even if he is, that doesn't make him a bad President), or because I watch Fox News (which is what Obama himself probably thinks), or because he is a Muslim (as Madonna thinks), etc.

Obama is the worst President ever because, from the beginning, he has never understood that it is both perfectly valid and necessarily true that different people will have different opinions, even about things that he himself is passionate about.  He demonizes people simply for disagreeing with him, and has done it literally his entire presidency, since his first inaugural address, when he proclaimed that those of us who want a smaller federal government are "cynics [who] fail to understand ... that the ground has shifted beneath them, that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply."

Literally, in his first act as President, he told us that I, James Madison, and about half the country is simply wrong, and that we should all just change our minds to agree with his.

That's the opposite of being a leader.  A leader takes people as they are, serves their needs, and does whatever is in his power and job description to help them succeed.  Instead, Obama tries to do whatever he wants -- even when it goes beyond his power and job description -- to push us to do, say, and think things against our will, whether it's forcing us to buy health insurance, chastising an entire media organization for disagreeing with his policies, and now literally saying that he wants to change how elected representatives think, to be more in line with his thinking.

... if we're going to change how John Boehner and Mitch McConnell think, we're going to have to change how our body politic thinks, which means we're going to have to change how the media reports on these issues ...

Perhaps Obama's should re-read Federalist 10 -- which he surely read when he was becoming an expert in constitutional law -- wherein the aforementioned Madison tells us how to ensure that everyone thinks the same way.  Clearly, Madison and Obama are concerned about the same problem, which Madison describes as the negative "effects of the unsteadiness and injustice with which a factious spirit has tainted our public administrations.""

He continues:

By a faction, I understand a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or a minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adversed to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.

This is what Obama thinks that us on the right represent.  Well, what to do about it?  Madison notes:

There are two methods of curing the mischiefs of faction: the one, by removing its causes; the other, by controlling its effects. There are again two methods of removing the causes of faction: the one, by destroying the liberty which is essential to its existence; the other, by giving to every citizen the same opinions, the same passions, and the same interests.

And that's where Obama apparently stopped reading, because this is what he is now trying to do: give everyone the same opinions, the same passions, and the same interests.  But Madison explains the problems with this:

As long as the reason of man continues fallible, and he is at liberty to exercise it, different opinions will be formed. As long as the connection subsists between his reason and his self-love, his opinions and his passions will have a reciprocal influence on each other; and the former will be objects to which the latter will attach themselves. The diversity in the faculties of men, from which the rights of property originate, is not less an insuperable obstacle to a uniformity of interests. The protection of these faculties is the first object of government. From the protection of different and unequal faculties of acquiring property, the possession of different degrees and kinds of property immediately results; and from the influence of these on the sentiments and views of the respective proprietors, ensues a division of the society into different interests and parties.

In summary, Madison is making these basic points:

* Right or wrong, men will have different opinions.
* Their passions will inform their opinions.
* They will become passionate about their opinions.
* The differences between men -- which result in differing economic interests -- will further inform their opinions.
* Government's main job is to protect these differences.

Of course, we know that Obama doesn't want to protect the "different and unequal faculties of acquiring property," as his main domestic goal these days is to eliminate them.  So maybe I don't give Obama enough credit: maybe eliminating wealth inequality is one step on his way toward giving us all the same opinions, passions, and interests, which will ultimately result in furthering his desired policy goals.

This isn't a new idea, of course: it's built in to the modern Social Security system.  Supporters of the system made sure everyone got benefits from the system, to ensure lasting support for the system.  They gave everyone the same economic interests, which results in having the same opinions.

Madison said that this is impracticable, but Madison greatest fault was always that he underestimated what others would do to subvert the system he was designing. G+

Reshared post from Reason:

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Original Post from Reason:

Lyndon McLellan is a convenience store owner who lost $107,000 to the IRS because it considered his bank deposits suspiciously small. Yesterday the government agreed to drop the case and return all of McLellan's money.

Haven't read any of it yet.

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Haven't read any of it yet. G+
I got Project CARS for PS4!  And then I plugged in my Fanatec Porsche GT3 RS V2 wheel and tried it out.  And ... the game froze.

Nothing moving.  Just frozen.  I unplugged the wheel, game moved again.  Plugged it back in, game froze.

Then I moved the wheel ... and the game moved again.  Then froze again.  I moved the wheel again ... and the game moved again.

Basically, as long as I moved the wheel, the game moved.  When I stopped, the game froze.  So as long as the track I'm driving didn't have straightaways, I'd be fine.

Some research told me that people recommended firmware updates for the wheel.  Great!  Except that they are Windows only firmware updaters.  I have VirtualBox, and Microsoft puts up time-limited VM images for testing IE.  So I grabbed Windows 10 (about 5GB), and booted it up, and the image wouldn't boot.

It was apparently corrupt.  So I grabbed XP (<2 GB), and I booted it and installed the updater, and it wouldn't recognize my wheel.  I eventually figured out I had to make a "USB Device Filter" to let the VM see my wheel.  I did that, making a filter from the existing wheel.  Then I ran the updater, and in the middle of the updating, it stopped recognizing my wheel, because the updater changed the specs of the wheel for how it is recognized, and the filter stopped working.  I modified the filter so it only recognized by the wheel manufacturer "Fanatec" and not on device ID, or version, or manufacturer ID, or anything else.

So I tried again.  It froze in the middle again.  Thankfully, no Flashing had started yet.  I tried again, same problem.  The wheel was still being recognized, the updater just wouldn't work.

So I downloaded Windows 8.1 (5 GB).  Tried again.  Made my filter.  Flashing started ... and froze.  Now I am worried.  But I needed to kill the installer and restart my wheel and hold my breath.  It seemed to start OK.  Flashed again ... and this time it worked!

To verify the firmware, I restarted the wheel, held the wheel during calibration when it was 1/4 turn away from the final move to center, press four buttons, and then move it back to center manually.  It showed the correct firmware version on the wheel display.  Success!

But now the fan won't turn off on the wheel.  More research: the same operation to see the firmware version toggles the feature to then the fan on (instead of being on only when needed).  Do the same operation again, fan turns off, and I finally have a working wheel with Project CARS.

And Project CARS is pretty good. G+

I am probably going to the Red Sox @ Mariners game tomorrow.  Should I wear my Patriots jersey? G+

Dear Exchange: do not send me "I'm out of the office" email just because I accepted an invitation. G+

The stupid thing about moves to eliminate gender differences on a shopping site, of all places, is that when I am shopping for a toy for a child, it does not matter why the child prefers certain toys over others -- whether it is due to nature or nurture -- because at that point, the child has preferences, and I want to provide toys that match those preferences, and if those preferences happen to be in line with what children in society of each gender generally want, then there's nothing wrong with that, and preventing me from being able to search by gender just limits how much I'll be willing to use the site.

The problem is worse with Amazon than most sites, because the breadth of available products is so great that gender filters can really make a huge difference in getting to what I might actually want to purchase.

Pushing gender equivalence on children and their families who have already established preferences is just stupid.  There's nothing immoral about boys liking things "for boys", or girls things "for girls."  If you have another label for it, fine, but the group of things with that label are generally what people who associate with that label want, and it's nonsense to say that it is wrong for them to want those things, or to make it harder for them to get to those things for the sake of your social agenda. G+

Amazon Didn't Really Eliminate Gender Taxonomy for Toys—Yet

A report that Amazon no longer sorts toys into “boy” and “girl” categories is currently sweeping the internet. It’s not exactly true, but it might be a sign that the change might be on the way.

Dear Internet: there is an anonymously sourced news report that says Brady will be suspended.  This seems unlikely to me, given the fact that there is no actual evidence -- either direct or circumstantial -- against Brady.  But we know the NFL is not rational, so maybe they will do it.

But more likely, the NFL leaked the suspension to see how the public reacts, and will end up not suspending him.

Even more likely, if the NFL suspends Brady despite there being no evidence against him, the NFLPA will immediately back an appeal.

I can't think Goodell wants that fight, but if he does suspend Brady, I'll take it as evidence that Goodell does want that fight, since the evidence against Brady won't be the reason for the suspension, since there isn't any.

BTW, if you disagree with my claim that there is no evidence against Brady, please do cite the evidence against him.  I keep saying there is no evidence against Brady, and people keep getting angry with me for saying it, but none of them are actually providing any evidence against Brady. G+

Myers: Roger Goodell will suspend Tom Brady for DeflateGate

Tom Brady will be the highest profile player ever suspended in the 96-year history of the NFL.

People actually believe this sort of thing, that when you do good things for your child you are "disadvantaging" other children.  It's untrue and dumb, but people believe it.

But there is a real point, very poorly expressed and ill-thought-out, in there: many kids don't have a lot of the good things many other kids have.  It hurts them to not have attentive and nurturing parental units at home.  And there's various things we can do to help that: giving to certain charities, participating in Big Brother/Sister, and so on.  (Some might add "support government wealth redistribution policies," but I wouldn't.)

But the idea that doing good for your child "disadvantages" other children is nonsense, and it exposes the entire fraud that people who have things others do not are "advantaged" and those who do not are "disadvantaged."  It's predicated on the false notion that something good happening to me somehow negatively affects you, or the relationship between me and you.  "Advantage" means nothing except through direct comparison or competition.

Frankly, knowing nothing about the man, it wouldn't surprise me if this professor Adam Swift is engaging in satire to undermine the concept of "advantage," especially since you could join the names of Adam Smith and Jonathan Swift to get the professor's name.  A modern "modest proposal" of sorts.  But that's probably just wishful thinking on my part. G+

Long story short on the NFL investigation of the Patriots: the NFL does not have measurements of the balls from when the officials examined them, and they have no serious evidence that anyone actually let any pressure out of the balls after that, but the NFL still really really wants to believe that the Patriots did something wrong.

The only evidence that even remotely implicates the Patriots are some text messages between staff that, to me, appear more like jokes than anything else -- and at one point they talk about how referees illegally overinflated some balls -, but even if taken seriously do not imply that Brady was aware of the actual acts taken.  Remember your science, folks: the pressure during the game, depending on the temperature, can be a lot different from what it is when measured.  QBs around the league can tell you whatever they want about how much they like it, but the fact is that a ball inflated to 12.5 psi indoors before a game is going to feel completely different in a cold weather game, and a warm weather game.

So even if McNally was deflating balls in violation of the rules, there's no reason to think Tom knew, or could even tell the difference when he finally got the ball on the field.

So the bottom line, again, is simple: there's no evidence showing the Patriots coaches or players knew anything about it, even if it happened, and there's little evidence that it even happened.

Which is what we've been saying all along. G+

Long-awaited deflate-gate investigation implicates Pats, Tom Brady

Ted Wells' investigation into the possibility that the Patriots were involved in deflating footballs has found that it's more likely than not some of the Patriots were guilty.

May the Fourth funny.

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May the Fourth funny. G+

Watch a Star Trek actor perfectly troll Star Wars fans on May the 4th

Since playing Lieutenant Tuvok in Star Trek: Voyager, actor Tim Russ has played dozens of character roles in children's television shows, crime procedurals, and B-movies. That is to say, I haven't...

This web site claims to be against Carly Fiorina, but it actually makes a positive case for her: laying off lots of workers is generally a positive thing.  Yes, really. G+

Carly Fiorina failed to register this domain.

So I'm using it to tell you how many people she laid off at HP.

"The future must belong to those who recognize a categorical difference between free expression and violent reprisals. The future must belong to those who affirm speech over silence and freedom over fear, regardless of who is speaking and who is offended." G+

Free Speech Under Fire; Two Gunmen Killed at Texas "Draw Mohammed" Contest

Free speech is never a justification for violence - or submitting to the thug's veto.

Dear Internet,

I am no fan of hating on anyone, including Muslims.  As long as people do not try to cause harm to others, I have nothing against them.

But if a group of people are telling you that if you express a certain type of speech that you will be killed, the proper societal response in a free society is to explicitly engage in that speech.

I don't support Pamela Gellar in her hatred of Islam.  I do support her in her fight against oppression by Muslim radicals ... and that's precisely what threats of violence for free speech are: oppression.  And those of you who say we shouldn't engage in this speech are telling us to allow ourselves to be oppressed.

No, in the grand scheme, this particular thing -- Mohammed cartoons -- doesn't matter.  But it speaks to the larger issue that we see almost daily, of people telling us we cannot say whatever we want to say, as long as we are not causing direct harm to others.

On the other hand, though ... I sure hope this isn't a setup.  I've seen it before, people faking attacks to try to gain political favor.  Shawna Forde -- who later committed, and was convicted of, murder -- apparently faked her own "rape" and, in a separate incident, probably her own shooting, too ... probably all to stoke more public anger at illegal immigrants.  People are nuts. G+

I can't help but think of an O'Malley candidacy without the name "President Littlefinger" coming to mind. G+

O'Malley: I'd make city strife central to presidential campaign |

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley said the nation's cities have been neglected and that if he runs for president, he'll make it a central issue of his campaign and announce in Baltimore. I wouldn't think of announcing anywhere else, O'Malley said on NBC's Meet the Press. O'Malley, a Democrat, said the unrest in Baltimore following the death of Freddie Gray in police custody should be a wake-up call for the entire country. O'Malley served two t...

Dear Baltimore: when you assert that the criminal charges are the result of your protests, you are asserting that the charges are an injustice.  Charges should be the result of the evidence, not protests.  It's rule of law, versus rule of man or mob.

Dear Baltimore Prosecutor Marilyn Mosby: it's sad that you decided to use this tragedy as a platform for furthering your career, instead of for seeking justice.

I have no conclusion on whether the police did anything criminal -- no serious case has yet been made for their guilt, or innocence -- but that you explicitly framed this one case as being part of a larger "cause," which you explicitly claimed yourself to be a part of, eliminates any credibility you might have had with all fair-minded and intelligent viewers.  You literally and explicitly said, at the end of your statement, that you are biased against the cops.  So, yeah: zero credibility.

I'm glad I don't work as a lawyer for you, having to try this case in the courtroom, because if I did, you would've just made my job a lot harder. G+

+Baltimore Police can take a lesson from the +SPD Blotter ... you can respect individual rights, keep the peace, and protect property all at the same time.    #MayDaySEA   G+

Protest? I thought it was a BROtest. Nevermind. G+

Bone Thugs-n-Harmony to rename themselves to Bone Misguided-Young-People-n-Harmony. G+

<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

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