PUBLIC NOTES (H)
©2017 Adam C. Moore (LÆMEUR) <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Extracts from my journals deemed more-or-less safe for publication; some incomplete. Text is in Org-Mode format.
* <<H13.0055>> Words
Although not necessarily with the familiarity of frequent usage, I know a great many words. They are mostly useless to me.
* <<H13.0990>> Regex to match Org tags
For use with grep, the -P flag is needed to get the lookahead [ (?=...) ] to work. The command line looks like this:
$ grep -P ':w+(?=:)' filename
* <<H1C.0483>> Look into
Frogpad and other one-handed keyboards/keyboard mappings, and compare with my chord-keying system.
* <<H1T.0000>> ILUK
I prefer to think of it as gazing, but
It is a question of degrees,
And the subject makes the call.
I stare, and I see
In you, through allegory of self,
Everything that I fell in love with
And with which I so remain.
I see the fierce, good heart,
And the caring anchored so deep
That worry and despair ripple up
Its taut line with shattering force;
I see the brain that's both
X-ray specs and a flick-knife,
Rendering bullshit transparent
And cutting quickly to the heart of a thing;
I see excitement and engagement,
I see wonder and studiousness
(This latter is not a trait often high-lighted
In love-notes, but it is a beautiful trait
And I love it in you)
I see the tenderness that is Classic Femininity,
I see the awkwardness that is Classsic Killoran,
I see the joyousness that cannot be contained
and moves its host!
All of these things are written in the line of your silhouette
Like the words of a treasured, favorite poem
I could read endlessly
So, I stare,
And I *see*,
And fall in love again every day.
* <<H28.0644>> Ted call items
- Names: use them all!
- "Save" function, or orthogonal persistence?
- Noodles with ancestors
- Make it xanalogical, Ted says. That will be tricky...
- "Lock" a noodle, make it ineditable
- Put it in anyway – it it's a headache, hide the feature.
* <<H29.0453>> Pencinal
I love that Hal says "pencinal sharper" instead of pencil sharpener. And "it needs to be pencinal sharpered," etc..
* <<H2B.1149>> Why I Like Ted
The thing that drew me to Ted's work is, I'm realizing as I read his 2002 Ph.D thesis, that he addresses directly the problems, challenges, and the essential hazard of writing.
I've never been a writer of any consequence— I'm more-or-less unpublished, for whatever that says— but I've always been drawn to the challenge of writing; and, at every crack I've taken with any seriousness I have been ultimately frustrated into resignation by these problems:
- There are an infinity of ways to say the thing you want to say, and
- Every way you choose to say a thing must some leave aspects unsaid, and
- To try to say it all is stultifying; you would be mad to try, you will be made mad if you do, and the further you travel down that road to madness, the more remote becomes the likelihood of anyone ever following you.
*These* are the problems Ted seeks to wrangle with hypertext— and this is why his work resonates with me, because these are *my* problems, at a very deep and personal level.
* <<H2D.0539>> Right/Conservatism
The "right" is not conservatism, but it is characterized by it.
This is an important distinction because the conservative impulse, or conservative motive, is important in society as a braking force on change. This CAN BE beneficial. It can also be malignant.
The right concerns itself with the maintenance of the status quo. Their reason for wanting its maintenance is that they are either comfortable-with or benefitted-by its inherent biases.
They argue for deregulation, privatization, segregation, denial of service on religious grounds, and so-on, under the pretense of individual or personal liberty. Liberty to do what, exactly? Exploit, discriminate, marginalize, and disenfranchise. Liberty for me! Me, me, me! At the expense of others— so what!?
Their arguments almost always degrade to appeals to nature or tradition. I should be able to discriminate because discrimination is natural; it is natural that some people are more able, powerful, fortunate than others; this is the way we've always done things, and everything is great, so we must not do things in new ways; that's just the way it is, or, that's just the way it has always been; &c.
They are short-term thinkers. Everything is fine now, so change nothing now. Maintain, maintain, maintain.
This is lazy thinking. Any business person with vision will tell you this. Even if this quarter is good, what will the numbers look like in a year? Ten? Fifty?
Things may be fine now, but what about tomorrow? What changes may be coming, and how will I face them? I'm doing well now, but could I be doing better? —These are the concerns of progressivism, which takes the point of view that even if we are doing well (which we may not actually be), we COULD be doing better. Changes ARE coming, and we must be ready to face them.
negative emotions are quickly subsumed by anger
the impulse is to smash and rid myself of the offending stimuli
sometimes the offending stimuli is myself
that is bad
bittersweet sadness that I treasure
sadness without anger
* <<H2S.0538>> INTERPUNCT
EVERY SENTENCE ON A LINE
EVERY PARAGRAPH DEMARCATED BY A VERTICAL SPACE
IS THIS NOT A CLEAR MEANS OF WRITING
TO HAVE ONLY GRAPHEMES AND SPACES WITH NO ADDITIONAL SYMBOLS
IT IS CLEAR
BUT ONLY TO A POINT
AND IT QUICKLY BECOMES QUASIPOETIC
* <<H2S.0642>> Aborted email to Ted re: modes.
I don't have any dogmatic objection to modes; they can be useful and are sometimes necessary in certain situations. I only object to them when they become user-hostile: when there are inadequate cues to the user that they are in mode X, Y, or Z, and they become vulnerable to the hazard of issuing unintended commands, or performing unexpected operations. Or, when they are simply an encumbrance.
A mode, to me, isn't just a level of referral, it's a LOCK on a level of referral that requires explicit actions for engaging and disengaging.
For example, when we click-and-drag the mouse inside of a span of text, a selection is made; when we click-and-drag the title-tab of a noodle, the noodle moves. We get two different behaviours for the same action, and there's been no mode change; the target of the action defines the program's resultant behaviour.
What I would consider a mode-change would be something like this: you click on some button or issue some key sequence that LOCKS you into a level of referral or an operational context, so that, for example, clicking and dragging the cursor inside of a noodle would NOT select any text, but would instead pick-up and move the noodle, because we are in NOODLE MODE. Then, to disengage that modality you would have to click the proper button or issue the right key sequence.
I like things to be contextual, defined by whatever the operational target is. If I have a blinking cursor placed in some text, the operational target is the text span, and unmodified keystrokes perform the usual text insertion/deletion actions that we expect them to. Is that a mode? I'd argue not, because I can use a modifier key to momentarily alter my level of referral (Alt-N for a new noodle: workspace-level; Shift-Alt-+ to scale the noodle: noodle-level, etc.). Likewise, for the mouse, if I right-click on a text span, I get a menu for that text span. If I hold Alt and right-click, I elevate my level of referral and get a menu for the noodle. If I hold Ctrl and right-click, I get a menu for the workspace, and so-on.
Now, that's just my druthers-- but I am not married to this way of doing things! And I certainly understand the argument against it. When the operational target is ambiguous/variable, and you start overloading the letter-mnemonics of the keyboard with 2, 3, or more different command/actions it becomes burdensome for the user.
* <<H3G.1306>> PulseAudio
GAH. Mozilla, you butt-heads.
I have had no end of trouble with PulseAudio on my machine. Every time I install it, it only lasts for a few weeks before I can't stand it anymore and remove it. And now you are forcing me install it to have Firefox with audio?!
The whisp'ring muse, but faintly heard,
Had bidden me conjure with spirited words
An epic – a blazing and hurtling thing,
Thro' chasms deep beyond imagining,
An exhalation of fire into cold, crystalline
Caverns, igniting in the walls of that mine
A cool iridescence, a Cherenkov glow
That danced like aurorae, sinuous, slow,
In each facet, each shard, each shimmering edge
Of a lexical labyrinth-palace – but then,
I thought, fuck it.
I'd rather watch porn.
* <<J0O3FM06>> Drawing notes (H3O)
Created: 3/24/2017, 10:21:13 AM
I need considerable improvement in my treatment of scenery. Urban or rural, the issue is the same: I am terrible at interpreting a scene in an impressionistic kind of way — I see a building way-off in the distance, and I think I have to draw a building; I see scree on the side of a hill, I think I have to draw a million little rocks; et cetera.
There's nothing wrong, per se, with the treatment in this image, but I have some issues with it.
My ideal is an image in which all of the forms are interesting, and all of the forms are, to some extent, designed. When, as I've done here, I get tied-up in textural effects and extraneous detail at the horizon, it does a few things:
It distracts me from the forms in the image. Textures and unnecessary rendering muddles them, makes them indistinct — and it's time consuming — time that would be better spent refining a few background elements and rendering them simply.
It distracts me from the composition, getting mired in an area that represents 5% of the total image, and which is not a focal point anyway.
Those unnecessary details are invariably the worst drawing in a piece. If you're concerning yourself with completeness, then you've deprioritized concreteness. Better to get a few things in well than get a lot of things in badly.
An extension of that last point is that unnecessary background details always break the flow of good draughtsmanship. I've noted before that artists who excel at working in line achieve a kind of linear harmony throughout an image. If you're nosed into your page and are doing some pointless micro-rendering on a background detail, you are not taking the linear consonance of the whole image into consideration.
All of my favorite cartoonists and illustrators figured this out at some point, and they're all great at suggesting backgrounds rather than neurotically depicting them.
I will work on this.
* <<J0ONB60Y>> Interplanetary Pee Colors
Created: 3/24/2017, 7:37:38 PM
My son informed me tonight that he has been spending most of his time on Jupiter, and that when he returns from that planet his pee is dark blue.
Also, that they have tasty grey food on Mars, which makes one's pee purple.
The food on Pluto is yellow, though he made no remark with respect to its quality; the food on Bear Planet, however, is disgusting. This, he told me with certainty. Its nature was not clearly described, although I think we were arriving at the description of a kind of bland gruel.
* <<J0RC150U>> Incremental grep
Created: 3/26/2017, 4:45:13 PM
What we've got with the dptron side-flap's SOURCES pane is a really nifty incremental grep — now, that's about an order of magnitude cooler than incremental search when you're looking through large sets of textual data. Rather than searching for a string and successively F3'ing your way through the matches, you instead get a digest of all the lines in which that string occurs.
Alright, I'm still annoyed that I was unable to articulate my point satisfactorily in there. Here's my concern: all the activity we see directed at, for example, gender parity in STEM, is in the form of classes, events, programs, and products sending a girl-power message to girls and young women, while we see no activity being directed at boys to foster an appreciation for diversity and gender parity. Empowering girls is important, but telling a room full of girls they're empowered while the boys are off enjoying the status quo and ignoring whatever the girls are doing is not really coming at the problem from both sides. Maybe it's happening where I can't see it, but I don't see any effort being put into making boys want more girls in their clubs, so to speak.
Created: 4/19/2017, 12:14:19 AM
A few things tugging at my mind right now.
I am completely disaffected with the Web, which makes any kind of work on my Web site feel like an agonizing and fruitless chore. But I need to do it, because that's how clients find me.
My attention-span for drawings is just... gone. I've penciled quite a few panels in the past two weeks — I have a yearning to reconnect with the art-form that inspired me to become an illustrator, but I'm hitting the wall on every attempt. The work doesn't feel like it pays for itself. I'm not that interested in the work itself, and everything seems like a waste of effort and energy.
* <<H5T.0725>> Prefatory
I've got to get out of the nasty habit of saying things like "I don't really play video games, but this-or-that video game looks really cool." Why should I preface my comments like that? Does it serve my point to let people know that I don't play video games? Why don't I just say "video game X looks cool and I want to try it"?
* <<H6A.1197>> Why I draw with GIMP.
First, the antialiasing on the ink tool is unbelievable. Even in indexed-color mode, with no antialiasing, it's a great tool; I have just two presets, and I do everything with them. My main preset gives me a fantastical virtual pen-brush, an in-between tool that's stiff under light pressure, flowing under heavy pressure — it's like a Hunt 107 nib that morphs into a #2 sable brush the harder you press. My other preset is for lettering: very "stiff", about 35° obliquity, oval nib.
Second, the free transform tool makes it easy to do any scaling, rotation, shearing, perspective transformations that I need to, and the resampling algorithm is absolutely top-notch. Sometimes, in a pinch, I need to scale some line-art by just three-to-five percent; normally, that's a sure way to take the crispness out of lines while introducing some ugly artifacts, but the resampling in GIMP is so good that I don't have to fret over line quality loss much anymore. If I need my lines ~really~ crispy, I can do a very low-key unsharp mask filter after the transformation, but nine times out of ten it's unnecessary to do that.
* <<J3ZXGP2J>> Mastodon
Created: 6/16/2017, 7:06:27 AM
Using Mastodon leaves me feeling like I'm settling – or like I'm endorsing a status-quo that I fundamentally disagree with.
Creating a libre-Twitter is a great idea, but microblogging/shitposting is not the be-all of social media. Mastodon is a nice application, but by only supporting the notice activity object – "tweets" – it sort-of misses the point of a libre social/pub-sub federation.
If an OStatus server (GNU social, Mastodon, etc.) can't at least provide notifications to users for the receipt of activity types that it doesn't know how to handle, then it's A) a complete failure for users, and B) it discourages the development of new post types/applications.
Already we've seen that polls and events, fully functional in GNU social (and before) are
* <<J3ZXQZF3>> Post size limitations
Created: 6/16/2017, 7:14:27 AM
Post size limitations – especially when we're talking about limitations in hundreds of characters – are completely stupid. Email servers rejecting messages larger than a certain number of megabytes — that's a reasonable limitation stemming from a concern over system resource abuse. Moreover, the sender at least receives a notification that their message has been rejected, which gives a reason for the delivery failure. Limiting the length of a note to a few hundred characters, on the other hand, is some pointlessly arbitrary shit.
In OStatus, because we're dealing with a one-to-many distribution scheme, delivery failure notices for the sender doesn't make a ton of sense.
* <<J43TDDVQ>> BORU! BORU! BORU!
Created: 6/19/2017, 12:22:59 AM
BORU BORU BORU BORU
NETTO! NETTO! NETTO!
ZUPOW DUNOK TIMTINI
WAYDO MUOROOK, OBAU GEI SA GEISSE
IRU BIBWI GOLET WETNO
GOLET WETTHO NO THET
AZU SHONG ZHOLAU STHET
SEEK ESS KSETTA GORU SHOLE
SIDAU KUNET SIKSIS, ASU CAU
OMO WAYBON AW-HO HOANUI
TOLONIK TITAU GANDOBWE
MESS MITAU SEPTO – ORO
GOWD RO DU GIDI MAI KESSA, MAI KES:
ORO GOWD RO DU GIDI MAI KES!
* <<H6L.1176>> Preserved tweets
FORGRON VORPIT VEM NIT VEMTO · SELT OM NURIPTINTIK STEN · CRO AF MITREN MORGON SOOF LEM DORAK DROKOM TOOF
Belge, binch. Orcats m'zoundy. Foltard gennid spap misto nutay, oom pwopwan far sinnig om spompard vuday.
Porfak rag-na-gag, imma donto floh magay. Spetz matiginny, spetz matink, fetz matrinculink trolong kerrink.
Kelmak pwang. Teggida dikta spoom na spoom. Elfik bink ma tingo nayday. Steddy boof, steddy boof, ma walgo: pwee zala negday spum.
Volololo de pwi pwi spacka!
Drofe ma teekt, drofe ma teekt; alcraboof san staug fma deekt. Slep no smatchma, closte al ampse; stook ma teekt ronnoast prostikt!
Ezmo, Diz'n, McMictrian, Palfeigh -- nactrial onc paze imdebel strotis, maitazly med mastic imdeb debel stwa.
Chelkit staks, parmin actis; efk im stakt im sauchik. Toostik zdem mofe denk im denk; ang mak dantmit kaufchik.
* <<H6N.0647>> Mastodon, ÆGNUS, plain-text, ...permascrolls?
I happen to think that HTML/XML notes were a potential boon to extensibility (<http://alph.laemeur.com/txt/GS-microformats-notes.html>) in GNU social and the OStatus fediverse at-large, though admittedly challenged by the necessity of HTML code-sanitization on servers. Nevertheless, that's presently out the window as HTML (posted via AtomPub) notes do not seem to federate to Mastodon. If that issue is not fixed – and I suspect this is not a high priority for Mastodon devs who seem focused primarily on building a sort-of "Twitter+" microblogging server and not a more general/extensible many-typed pub/sub server – there's not much incentive to work on an AtomPub/HTML-based GNU social client (that's you, ÆGNUS) when the users of that client are, essentially, blocked from the far greater Mastodon userbase.
So, since the mastodon seems now to be leading the menagerie (sorry, ol' gnu), and it only supports plain-text notes (with attachments) – it's time to start thinking about what we can do with plain-text notes.
Extensibility via notational conventions:
The answer to "what can we do with plain-text notes?" is: we can do anything. It might be ugly, or inconvenient, but all source code is plain-text anyway, right? So it becomes a client developer's challenge to devise, implement, and popularize applications based on the exchange of plain-text notes.
We already have @-mentions, #-tags, !-groups (in GS, but not in Mastodon), and, of course, the venerable URL. How else can we add to this vocabulary of machine-readable notations in plain-text notes to enable additional features in clients?
There's a side point here: with regards to how ugly or opaque heavily "coded" plain-text can be, it the effect of that on users – it doesn't seem to matter! Millions and millions of Twitter users have, without difficulty, become adept at parsing in an instant the heavily coded messages all over that service; not just the '@' and '#' symbols, but a huge number of abbreviations, contractions, and initialisms that have sprung up out of necessity in the 140-character world. This is a fascinating development in language and literacy, and shows the wonderful flexibility in humans' ability to aquire and create new language in the Internet Age.
Tree-structure and manuscript authoring:
This is a different topic entirely. It's not about extensibility and applications, but rather it's about writing.
I like plain-text. I like it a lot. It's a fundamental part of a xanalogical text system, and as such it's a core element in my main project, Alph (<http://alph.io>).
In xanalogical systems, we build documents from source texts, and ideally those source texts are plain-text. Plain-text microblogs are interesting to me as a source for transcluded text becuase:
Notes represent nodes in a graph – the conversation tree – and additional nodes can be appended to the graph by multiple users. Linked data is another core xanalogical concept – not just A-to-B linking, but the manuipulation of graphs – and so this is additionally interesting in relation to that (altho' the "links" between notices are not xanalogical).
Regardless of the nits one might pick, there's something worth exploring in OStatus microblogging as a writing tool. Imagine this:
You post a note which acts as the root node of a notepad/outline. You post notes representing top-level headings as replies to the inital post; then you continue to build an outline by replying under each topic/heading in the tree.
Other users contribute. They annotate your notes.
(Of course, shit-disturbers will flame you and try to start pointless arguments.)
Then you start to work on a draft. Maybe each post is a paragraph, or a short section. What order do you post them in? It doesn't matter -- this is where you also start working xanalogically, to sequence the various source texts. And all through the process you're posting revisions, corrections, asides and annotations as replies to notes – and so are other people.
GNU social, Qvitter, and Mastodon don't show conversations as trees – but ÆGNUS does. And for this kind of usage, it could be a great tool. This gives me things to consider for future development of both ÆGNUS, and Alph.
* <<H6N.0844>> GNU social notes
In February of 2015, I wrote in my journal, "I should probably start some kind of blog/page with my thoughts/experiences on using GNU social & the OStatus network in general."(F26.0120). It's now June of 2017. Better late than never!
My brief history with GS:
The SDF (<http://sdf.org>) started running a GNU social instance on wm.sdf.org in 2014, and I started using it at that time. Before that, SDF was running StatusNet – I think I had an account, but didn't use it. After a discussion on bboard about the current state of federated social media, the StatusNet install was upgraded to GNU social, and the old database was wiped as it had suffered some kind of malady.
I installed GNU social on a home server in June '14 for testing, and to help debug the SDF instance. It was briefly federating, but I can't remember what URL it lived at.
I wrote the bulk of the SDF GNU social tutorial: <http://sdf.org/?tutorials/gnu_social>. For a while, I think this was one of the best documents explaining how federation worked to the layperson. Subsequent authors have done it better.
I sent a series of cheeky emails to the GNU social mailing list in 2015, saying that the project's name sucked:
<https://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/social-discuss/2015-01/msg00001.html>. I honestly cannot remember why I felt so strongly compelled to do this. I still like "HORD", though.
My home server was reincarnated at <https://hord.laemeur.com>. I disappeared for days into the wretched bowels of the CSS for GNU social's classic UI. Upon emerging, my site looked amazing. But running a home server wasn't ideal for a few reasons. I shut it down in July of 2015.
SDF's GNU social instance was reborn again on its own subdomain, <https://gs.sdf.org>. I still have an account there.
I wrote the first (that I know of) GNU social federated conversation completion tool: <http://laemeur.sdf.org/gs/convo>. Prior to the emergence of Mastodon as the OStatus platform of choice, it worked pretty well.
I wrote a tool to scrape GS servers for their federated groups, for compilation into a searchable index: <http://laemeur.sdf.org/gs/fedgroups>.
In 2016 I hacked together a browser-based GNU social client, ÆEGNUS (<http://aegn.us>), which uses the AtomPub API for posting HTML notices, and which has conversation reconstruction built-in, with foldable threaded conversation display.
On their stoopar rode collected
All the Zekt, quite disaffected
* <<H86.0753>> Insurance
One of the things that drives me crazy about people who argue in favor of an entirely private insurance system is the myth that consumers' freedom of choice gives them power over insurers. The story goes, that because consumers will flock to the insurer that is most competitive, insurance costs will go down as insurers bend-over backwards to reduce their costs and add value.
Having a competitive insurance marketplace is not doing anything about consumers' medical costs. That's a cartload of horse shit.
Insurance companies compete with each other in two ways: they can reduce their operating costs and add value to their services. Cost reductions can take the form of automation and reduction of staff, streamlining of business practices, the use of fast and efficient information technology, the maintenance of low-cost facilities, et cetera*. To add value they can do things like customize their product offerings to appeal to a wide range of consumers, provide excellent customer service, and advertise to create a brand image that makes consumers feel good about the company.
* Of course, they can also do things like reduce the pay of their staff, outsource customer services, use wasteful but cheap facilities, and so-on, but we'll pretend for the sake of argument that insurers are all highly ethical and we don't have to worry about it.)
However, the key area in which insurers can't compete is in the cost of medical care and drugs. Typically, about 80% of all insurance company revenue goes back out to pay its clients' medical expenses, and they don't control those costs. So if you're paying a $100/mo premium and you want to shop around for the same level of coverage somewhere else, you're never going to get down to $80. You won't even get down to $90. You might be able to find $95, but no insurance company is going to operate on 10 cents of every incoming dollar.
The only meaningful choice that consumers have is between levels of coverage. Consumers have little power over insurers because insurers, ultimately, have little power to control medical costs, just as airlines have little control over the cost of jet fuel. They can (and do) negotiate prices with doctors and hospitals, but suppliers raise their prices accordingly, knowing that a haggle with insurers is inevitable. Do some insurers haggle better than others? Oh, probably, but in the absence of data I'm left wondering whether insurer A really gets better rates for care from providers than insurer B does. In-network costs for insurer A may be lower, but fewer services are covered and vice versa...
Ultimately, the freedom of choice that people are fighting tooth-and-claw for – the freedom of choice that made people vote for Trump – is not a consumer empowerment issue, and I'm tired of it being characterized in that way. The freedom that people are fighting for is simply the freedom to gamble with your family's health.
How long can you go without coverage? Or, how long can avoid any serious accidents or diseases so that you can get away with only having enough coverage to cover routine doctor visits? Those are your choices, empowered consumer.
The other angle on this that drives me crazy is that insurance is a fundamentally socialist model: everybody pays in a little so that where need arises a lot can be paid out. Corporate insurance, of course, is slightly different: everybody pays in a little so that where need arises a lot can be paid out while setting aside a portion for profit (for growth, of course – and for shareholders*).
http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2009/09/new-study-finds-45000-deaths-annually-linked-to-lack-of-health-coverage/ --> http://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/full/10.2105/AJPH.2008.157685
Yes, insurers will compete for your dollars, butyou have your choice between insurers, who will offer all kinds of different service tiers — but there are no radically different insurers. The choice between insurer A, B, and C is like the choice between a black Model-T, white Model-T, and grey Model-T. They're the same god-damned car. All insurance companies offer essentially the same services with the same limitations, and they compete by tweaking the details. A few dollars off of this premium, a per-period co-pay versus a per-claim co-pay, a 180-day look-back period for preexisting conditions versus a 160-day look-back period, and so-on. These are mostly negligible margins, and the real competition is between the consumer and the insurer: can the consumer find the service that will actually give them the most coverage for their dollars? Or will they eventually just throw a dart and pick one after they've become exhausted with shopping around? Disease and accidents are unpredictable, so the game of insurance shopping (this is your "consumer empowerment" – the right to play) is a gambling game: how little coverage can you buy for how long, and can you avoid any expensive accidents or illnesses? The only consumers that really win the game of insurance shopping are the lucky, and the prescient – and they represent a pretty small fraction of consumers.
Can Insurers Even BE Competitive?
(* Replace "shareholders" with "bureaucrats" and you have the ~corrupt~ socialist model.)
* <<H8F.0831>> Quasar/Blazar worlds
I learned from this article:
that quasar S5 004+81 is so bright/massive, that if it were 280 million light-years from Earth, it would be as bright in the sky as the sun!
What an inspiration! We imagine that life of our own type could/should exist on terrestrial planets in the green zone of their own stars, but quasars produce a massive green zone of their own that, for millions or even billions of years, could make conditions right for abiogenesis on planets that are too far from their own suns to sustain life. Imagine a "hot" Pluto! Imagine a system with a dozen terrestrial planets and large moons that contain the right chemistry for life, which *do* contain life because they are in the green zone of a nearby quasar, despite being outsize the green zone of their own star.
* <<J758W7HV>> Instagram
Created: 9/3/2017, 2:24:24 PM
K is on me to make more use of Instagram. Everyone is using it, I'm told, and it's a great place for artists to attract clients.
But the god-damned service doesn't have a desktop application or an open API. You have to use the Instagram mobile app, or you cannot post images to Instagram.
I do not have/use a mobile phone.
Furthermore, there is nothing insta- about anything I do. Even when I post microblogs I sit and think about them for twenty minutes before actually posting them – and most of the time I decide not to post them anyway.
* <<J759JZH0>> Next-level social
Created: 9/3/2017, 2:42:54 PM
So, I got this email the other day from a startup that was looking for people who want to "take their social to the next level."
Lady, my "social" is at such a low level, taking it to the next level would only entail responding to more than one comment every three months.
Why is it that I don't post anything to Instagram, or Twitter, or Facebook, or whatever other service people are flocking to at the moment? Should I get into that? 'Cause I'm happy to get into that.
For a start: what fucking year is it? 1979?
Do any of you remember Compuserve, or Prodigy, or America OnLine?
A brief history lesson for those of you that don't: in the dark days before widespread consumer Internet access there were a number of competing "online services" that provided information, shopping, and communication facilities. They were all "walled gardens" as we say: you could enjoy the scenery and mingle with the people on one service, but you were cut-off from people on other services.
Ultimately, Internet access, email, and the World Wide Web obviated all of those proprietary services. Why?
Try for a moment to imagine a world in which you can only call people who use the same phone carrier as you.
Would that not be insane?
How about a world in which you can only send packages to people in your postal network.
Is that not completely idiotic?
Of course, we have to change the analogy somewhat to more closely map it to the current state of affairs. As accounts/memberships at the various "social" walled gardens are free, people have accounts across three, ten, maybe a dozen services, so a better analogy would be that before you can send Bob a package, you have to find out whether Bob has a UPS account, or a FedEx account, or a DHL account, or whatever.
The bottom-line is that the social media landscape is comprised of a number of companies offering superficially different versions of the same services, each of which is existentially threatened by the concept of an open and extensible social media framework that any software developer can implement, and which favors no single company or application above any other.
It's hard to know what to do about a country like North Korea. If we hold that military intervention should always be a last resort, what action can actually effect change in the regime? Economic sanctions? The country is already underfed, and the small amount of foreign money that comes in is immediately gobbled-up by the state anyway. So, imposing economic sanctions on a country like North Korea only serves to starve the civilians. Is that the idea? We want to impoverish and starve the population so that they'll revolt against their government and abolish it? That may have worked in the days of pitchfork and torch revolutions, but when the state you've got to rebel against has automatic rifles, bombs, tanks, and jets ...
The most dismal thing about the Bannon interview was how utterly unimpressive he is, in every way. He is not a particularly compelling speaker, not exceptionally intelligent, or persuasive, or charismatic. One can hardly characterize the impression that he leaves, because he is so entirely middling that he leaves very little impression at all.
The neoliberal media want a supervillain, a figure as outwardly grotesque as he is inwardly diabolical, a puppet-master that they can point their finger at and say "that is the evil genius behind Trump" because it is too hard for them to reconcile with the reality of their own America. That banal reality is that Steve Bannon is simply a garden variety businessman with a poor complexion and a chip on his shoulder, while Trump is, in fact, a nigh dullard who happens also to be an effective huckster; Hillary Clinton was never much liked, nor likeable; and, tens of millions of American adults are saps.
* <<H9M.0779>> Web linking and stupid browsers
One of the most maddening things about the Web is that every document must be its own user interface. Every document has to visibly link itself to the various indices on which it is listed; it has to provide its own context.
Now, this is not technically true, although it is practically so. Links and metadata can be specified in a document's <head>, or in the HTTP headers that the server sends with the document. A <head> link can point to parent documents, sibling documents in a collection or series, documents that describe or are described-by the current document, documents about the author, etc.. But, these links are NEVER PRESENTED TO THE READER. Web browsers have not in a quarter century ever made any effort to display <head> links of a document or HTTP header links (to my knowledge).
The consequence of this is that we don't have standalone documents on the Web. We have content management systems that generate user interfaces around document content. Nearly every document you see on the Web has user interface elements IN THE PAGE, because the browser makes no attempt to provide interface elements for/about the metadata/link content of a page. Every site/page is an app.
* <<H9O.1198>> ALSA/Jack notes
Turn on the ALSA loopback device:
$sudo modprobe snd-aloop
Make the loopback output a Jack input:
$alsa_in -j "ALSA Loopback" -d hw:Loopback,1,0
Vice versa? Do I need this?
$alsa_out -j "ALSA Loopback" -d hw:Loopback,1,1
Then, put these in ~/.asoundrc to get ALSA apps to connect to the loopback by default:
* <<HA1.0734>> Po...ecch
Poetry is tough
When your days, top to bottom,
Are duty distraction midst fogs insensate.
Poetry has always
Been the preoccupation
Of those with the time, made or given, to be idle.
(Was that poesy or prose, then?
Not quite vulgar diction,
But straight -- though I set it in lines of a form.)
O, poetry. What
Is the use of you, wisp?
Wan meditation 'mid stroboscopic orgasmia.
* <<HA6.1411>> Gopher Nav Is Killer
I always start browsing Gopher sites with a niggling little feeling in the back of my head that the interface isn't that good, that stacks of pages of single-column text is not at all optimal for site navigation, that tabs/multiple windows must be better, right? Parallelism over serialism!
But I'm wrong! And I'm wrong because navigating Gopher sites is FAST. Damned-near instantaneous. It boggles the mind, the speed with which I can rip through documents and sites in Lynx or any other console-mode Gopher client.
We navigate Gopher sites as though each page is a room, and there's at least one door back to the room you came from, and any number of additional doors into other rooms. It's an arbitrarily deep tree structure, but from the user's perspective it abstracts to the room-and-doors spatial metaphor quite naturally. Navigating the Web can be thought of in the same way, really. In early Web days, it felt very much the same, although there was always one difference: in Gopher, you can always go "up" to an index; on the Web, there is no "up".
So, navigating a tree structure is, really, very natural for most people, and when you can do it almost as fast as you can press the keys, man... surfing Gopher is heaven compared to the Web.
* <<HAH.0861>> Electoral College
>TACKER: Anonymous (Anonymous)
>SUBJECT: .. Fixing the Electoral College
>DATE: 17-Oct-17 15:20:45
>Someone tell me why replacing the electoral college with a national popular
>vote is a good idea, and how the tyrrany of the majority will be averted.
>Have you seen how the masses act? They're insane as a group, completely
The current electoral college system does nothing to avert federal-level tyranny of the majority because it _creates_ much larger tyrrany of the majority at the state level.
Republicans in Californa and Democrats in Idaho quite literally have their votes thrown away; they don't count in total election results. This causes voter turnout problems as red voters in blue states throw up their hands and say "oh, what's the point of voting? I live in a blue state, my vote doesn't matter." So the majority party in any given state receives disproportionate representation when the disenfranchised minority voters opt-out of elections that they think they have no influence in.
On the other hand, you also get an apathy of the majority problem under the electoral college. Democratic voters in Pennsylvania say "ah, I don't have to vote this year because this state always goes Democratic" which, in elections where the candidate is especially enervating (I'm talking about you, Hillary), you end-up with a disproportionate representation of the slightly more motivated minority party.
In both of these scenarios, you get depressed voter turnout and distorted election results. How many Americans would actually have preferred Trump over Hillary? We'll never know for sure, because the largest share of voters chose the "Whatever" ticket, and I believe quite strongly that the low voter turnout in the US is due in no small part to the discouraging effects of an electoral college system.
What minority are you concerned about protecting with the electoral college? Rural voters? What about the minorities within those minorities? The liberals in Arizona and the conservatives in New York -- how does the electoral college serve them?
The biggest democratic issue we have in the US is the lack of voter engagement. People expect and want a direct-election system for the presidency. If one-person-one-vote gets more people into the ballot boxes (and I think it will), then it's absolutely worth abandoning the electoral college for that effect alone.
You're right; the masses are completely insane. Forty-five percent of the voters not showing-up at all is insanity.
* <<HAI.0546>> Two poems
I like poetry.
Too bad most of it fuckin' sucks.
I'm a poet now.
I'm writing prose, but
I'm breaking the lines –
That brings FORM to what otherwise
Is an amorphous blob
You go through your whole adolescence thinking ~my parents, siblings, teachers, friends... they don't understand me~; you grow up, work some jobs, you fall in love, get married, you have some kids, and then you go through the rest of your life thinking ~my wife, my kids... they don't understand me~...
Then you develop a drinking problem and die alone with a broken family in your wake.
What in the hell do you do for a good timestamped record separator in plain text?
@2017-10-20 20:10:62 +800
Something like that, I guess.
Or, better yet ↑: year,day,minute,second (UTC)
This one's not bad, either: year,month,day,hour,minute,second UTC
* <<HAL.0020>> ffmpeg/avconv, GIF
Some gyrations for scaling, dithering to GIF...
Crop, scale, error-diffusion dither from the source video directly to a GIF:
$ avconv -i video.file -vf "crop=width:height:left:top, scale=width:height:sws_dither=ed" output.gif
Additional filters can be chained inside the -vf argument string; separate them with a comma; ex.:
-vf "crop=100:200:300:400, scale=50:-1:sws_dither=ed, curves=strong_contrast"
To get better colors, crop and scale the source video to another high-color video format first:
$ avconv -i video.file -vf "crop=width:height:left:top, scale=width:height" video2.m4v
Then, get a palette from the video and save it to a PNG file:
$ avconv -i video2.file -vf palettegen palette.png
And convert the second video to a GIF using the palette from the PNG:
$ avconv -i video2.file -i palette.png -filter_complex paletteuse video3.gif
* <<J99NJ2WG>> DPTRON writing
Created: 10/27/2017, 1:44:35 AM
It says a lot that I'm not doing any writing in the Docuplextron. A lot of the tools are good – but it's the absence of linking that's really killing me. THAT'S THE WHOLE POINT! Without links, this isn't any great leap from doing text composition in Emacs.
It looks like I'm going to need something like lamian but for links instead of text fragments.
* <<JA0JHFGC>> Ted's Ahead of You
Created: 11/14/2017, 8:21:07 PM
It's funny: you can be a true believer, like me – a real Xaniac – and you can think to yourself, hey, I GET it; I'm not like all these other turds-for-brains computer people who don't GET Xanadu. I understand Ted's ideas. I'm one of the enlightened people!
And then you talk to Ted, or you read something he wrote twenty, thirty, fifty years ago, and ...you pause ...as in your brain a small iconoclasm is committed, and a space is freed into which another little chunk of The Big Picture fits. You then eat your slice of humble pie, and you think to yourself, ah, well, I get a LOT of it, but I wasn't quite getting that bit, was I? But now I am!
It's easy to make excuses for oneself when the tao of understanding has a large unlearning component. I was a youth when I started learning about "hypertext" and "links", and the concepts I gained then were not at all the real thing. They were the shallow simulacra of hypertext and links that the world had consented to accept as real: hypertext is text with links; links are things you click on. Try to scratch below that surface and you'd get more layers of misapprehension: it's chunked text, it's nonlinearity — the great joke of the latter being that in a single-document browser it's ALWAYS linear, always sequential – you just have some control over the sequence.
Hypertext isn't just data structures and informatics, it's sensual and experiential. There's motion, there's action – it's cinematic.
There's nothing cinematic about a Web browser.
Intertextuality, a term that came later, is the essence of Ted's hypertext.You might call it dynamically explicit intertext.
* <<JA5SZ3YG>> It's fun to be smart?
Created: 11/18/2017, 12:45:39 PM
There's a pre-school workbook sitting on the table in front of me, and in giant letters on the back is the phrase
IT'S FUN TO BE SMART!
I'm seeing this everywhere these days. Amy Poehler has a video channel called Smart Girls Have More Fun; another popular YouTube channel is Joe Hanson's It's Okay To Be Smart.
The corollary for all of these is obvious: it's dull to be stupid. Stupid girls live lives of drudgery and boredom. It's not okay to be stupid.
But who is smart? And who is stupid?
I'm sympathetic to the intent of the being-smart-is-better crowd, but the messaging on this is all wrong. Smart, like beautiful, or funny, is a qualitative term, not a quantitative one*. Children get their sense of whether or not they are smart, in large part, from the evaluations of their parents, teachers, and peers. What is the message of the smart-is-better crowd to a child that feels stupid? Saying that it's more fun or acceptable to be smart only helps reinforce the confidence of people who, deserving or not, feel smart, and diminishes the outlook of the children who, however bright they are, doubt their own intelligence.
* How would we feel about a YouTube channel called Beautiful Girls Have More Fun? Or It's Okay To Be Beautiful?
What we should be saying instead is that it's fun to think! It's fun to use your brain! It's fun to learn!
Learning, thinking, studying – these are ACTIVITES that anyone can do, regardless of what their self-image tells them about their own intelligence, and being an active learner MOVES you forward. Do we want children to simple feel smart, or feel stupid? Or do we want them to feel empowered, and to know that they're not stuck one way or the other. We want them to know that active learners can surpass their more idle peers, regardless of how gifted those peers may seem – that being smart isn't as .
* <<JAEQ9I40>> Self-annotation
Created: 11/24/2017, 6:39:41 PM
If every text node in an HTML document had a container that gave the network location of the enclosed text...
If servers that served text also supported Linked Data, to give authorship information about it, copyright and licensing information, authorial context, related works, references and annotations, etc...
People say, "be careful what you publish online, because it stays with you forever." Well, what if you had the opportunity to annotate all of your own publications, to express your changing point of view over the years? And what if those annotations were easily accessible to everyone who encountered the things you'd written, WHEREVER THEY APPEAR?
Wouldn't that be marvelous?
LOOK YE HUMANS ·
CHARGE UP YOUR ÞORAXES ·
BLOW SPARKING BREAÞ AT ÐE [SKY]
[ SHIELD AGAINST FATALISTIC INTRUSIONS ]
[ OF ASPIRATORY CRUSH OF DREAMS · ]
WHAT SEE YE
IN ÐE VARIEGATION
OF BURNING LIGHT AT DUSK
CRACKLE HUMANS ·
RIP FORÞ WIÞ BOLTS
OF FIGHT AND SEE ÐE FIRMAMENT
AWAITS YOUR VESSELS
FILL ÐEM UP
* <<HCT.1409>> Hiketep
| | K | | | T | | | P |
| | G | | | D | | | B |
| | Q | | | N | | | M |
| H | X | X̟ | C | S | Þ | F | Φ |
| | Ȝ | Ȝ̟ | J | Z | Ð | V | β |
| | | R | | L | | | |
| Y | É | E | A | Á/O | Ō | W | Ù | U | I |
| heat | hate | head | hat | hot | hope | hoop | hook | hut | hit |
| keep | cape | kept | cat | cot | coat | coop | could | cut | kit |
| geese | gate | guest | gap | got | goat | goop | good | gut | git |
| (ng) | -- | -- | -- | -- | -- | -- | -- | -- | -- |
| (kh) | -- | -- | -- | -- | -- | -- | -- | -- | -- |
| (gh) | -- | -- | -- | -- | -- | -- | -- | -- | -- |
| (Gr. X) | -- | -- | -- | -- | -- | -- | -- | -- | -- |
| (asp. Y) | -- | -- | -- | -- | -- | -- | -- | -- | -- |
| sheet | shape | shed | shack | shot | shoal | shoo | should | shut | ship |
| (zh) | -- | -- | -- | -- | -- | -- | -- | -- | -- |
| teak | tape | test | tap | tot | tote | tube | stood | tut | tit |
| deep | date | debt | dad | dot | dote | dude | -- | duck | dip |
| neat | nape | net | nap | not | note | nuke | nook | nut | nit |
| seat | sate | set | sat | sop | soap | suit | soot | sup | sit |
| Zeke | -- | -- | Zach | Zot! | zone | zoom | -- | -- | zip |
| theme | -- | -- | thatch | thought | thoat | Thule | -- | thud | thick |
| the | they | then | that | -- | though | -- | -- | the | this |
| fiend | fey | fen | fat | fought | foe | food | foot | flood | fit |
| veer | vein | vet | vat | vox | vole | -- | -- | -- | vim |
| peek | pate | pet | pat | pot | post | poop | put | putt | pit |
| beat | bait | bet | bat | bought | boat | boot | boogie | butt | bit |
| meat | mate | met | mat | mop | mote | moot | -- | mutt | mitt |
| (ph) | -- | -- | -- | -- | phone | -- | -- | -- | -- |
| (β) | -- | -- | -- | -- | -- | -- | -- | -- | -- |
| reap | rate | rep | rat | rot | rote | root | rook | rut | rip |
| leap | late | let | lack | lot | lope | loot | look | luck | lit |
WY HAV NŌ B'NANUZ TWDÉY (we have no bananas today)
KOM'NLY MISSPELD WRDZ (commonly misspelled words)
VOWELIK ÁR IZ É HANDY ÞYQ (vowelic R is a handy thing).
There's not much new with this Hiketep derivation. In fact, I think it's the same as the last (tho' I'm too lazy at the moment to check).
ÐEYRZ NOT MUTC NW WIÞ ÐIS HYKÉTEP DERIVÉC'N. IN FAKT, ÁY ÞYQK ITS Ð' SÉM AZ Ð' LAST (ÐŌ ÁYM TW LÉZY AT Ð' MŌMENT TW TCEK).
ÁR YW ÉY X+YWM'N, OR ÉY HYWM'N?
MÉ Ð' FORS BY WIÞ YW