Stefan Molyneux: The Truth about Single Moms

This is a magnificent presentation.  I catch this guy’s podcast, I devour his videos etc, and I agree with probably 90% of what he says.  I consider myself a better person for the decisions I make when considering the things I learn from Molyneux.

He styles himself a philosopher, and makes great efforts to engage in that arena.  It’s adorable, really.  He’s a mensch.

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BuzzFeed Glosses Amazon Review Fraud

Premium Member ctlaw pointed out a fascinating recent phenomenon on the recent RAMU: fraudulent reviews of Amazon products, accomplished not through the review process, but by the seller swapping out well-reviewed products for chintzy junk that doesn’t work, leaving the positive reviews in place.

Here’s a well-done overview of some aspects of Amazon review fraud.  I don’t care much for BuzzFeed, but they’re good at two things — hit and run content, and SEO.

BuzzFeed News found items across many different Amazon categories — electronics, cookware, health and personal care — that include reviews that refer to wildly different products.

This earbuds listing includes a May 15 review that reads, “If you are looking for a long lightning charger, this is the one to get.” Based on a detail in the review, it appears the charging cable was added as a product “color” variation (“Earphones 46”) to the earbud listing by the manufacturer, CaseyPop.

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The Way C Were

I went poking around for the Bible in ebonics.  I lol’d at the lolcat version before it got done in by unfunny hacks.  Figured I would try the ebonics version.

Closest I got was some faul Hawaiian thing.  But a reference to an attempt is posted on an old C Language board, which see.

And what is the first thing that jumps out at me?  Look at all of the conservatism!  Computer programming even when done by old hippie greybeards who voted Democrat or worse was *still* a science which demanded right answers, and had an effect upon those who practiced it.

Look at the fearlessly casual rejection of political correctness!  I don’t mean that these people voted for Reagan, W Bush, Gingrich, Rudy, Romney, or Trump, nor even McCain, HW Bush, or any other GOPE rentier.  I mean that they had zero stomach for namby-pamby lectures arising from their midst about the proper way to go about enjoying a joke or understanding a squishy concept.  And back in the day (this was contemporary with the heyday of Little Green Footballs), the internet was not a humorless danger zone.

It was the Wild Wild West, and it was funny as ksjdhfjdgfhjk\b \bd\b \bf\b \bh\b \b CONNECTION RESET BY PEER

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Go Back

We told gun-grabbing limey Piers Morgan to go back where he came from as well, and for the same reason. We didn’t like the content of his character.

If any person wishes to extol the virtues of some culture as superior to that of the United States, then that person should go to that place, and if they came from that place, then they would “go back” to that place.

Americans don’t have to take this pie-in-the-face.

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Both Legs Knee-Deep in Microsoft, Yahoo, and Despair

Short version: I am downloading Mozilla Thunderbird to rescue my emails from Yahoo. I have no problem with Microsoft’s infernal machinations — I pay for those machinations, and I prefer them to Yahoo, Google. Apple, and others. After all, Microsoft makes my chosen hardware and operating system, they make the office software I must use at work, and in general, since Windows7 (inclusive), their products have been great*.

But somewhere in the interface between Yahoo Small Business Mail and Microsoft’s Outlook 365, there is a hitch which cannot be made to work. There are workarounds and alternatives, and those are not what I want. What makes me break in favor of Microsoft on this particular dilemma falls into two reasons — Yahoo already screwed all of its small business users several times running, and in fact I paid for a BlueHost account well over a year ago to move my mail and blogs.  I haven’t made it there because Yahoo is such a difficult trap to get free of.  The other reason I go for MS in this case is that Yahoo is intentionally difficult to get out of. They have my stuff, and they will not provide an archive.  Can I download a .pst file, a .mbox, or a ,mail file from them?  No. And they make it difficult to even sort through the mails that are present, giving you a screenful at a time when you query.

They have an awesome database engine handling my mail, and I want it to handle it FOR ME, not for them. Well, that service is not offered. Here’s your screenful.  Press the lever again, rat.

So I cannot connect my Outlook client using IMAP, which is what you do when you want to check your mail, but leave it on the server. The POP3 alternative to IMAP is “check your mail by downloading it and it’s gone from the server.” Here’s the irony — if I could be confident in my ability to use Outlook with Yahoo Mail, I would be comfortable settling into a POP3 account.

I am paying for IMAP access, but cannot get access to it. Yahoo is well aware of this issue, and have an artful series of nonsense articles and doubletalk. Many people have complained about this for years.
Yahoo compromised all of their small business customer emails years ago, and then sold the business to something called AABACO, which has now been sold to OATH, which has a remarkable TOS agreement they want me to sign. It says that my mail is their mail, and I’m not signing it.

Well, I will have to use Mozilla Thunderbird to retrieve all of my mail, then whack mightily through that .mbox file (using THunderbird), then upload what’s left to my BlueHost service. I’ll have to get my MX record pointed to BlueHost.

Bluehost has provided detailed instruction for all of this. They cannot answer questions about Yahoo’s particulars as to registration and destination hand-offs, but they’ve gotten pretty close. I can’t ask for more.
Now all that’s left is hours of work and a high likelihood of failure with loss of data.

******** all of them.


  • Remind me to tell you the tale of Microsoft Visio some time.  Microsoft is just as evil as the rest of them, and nowhere is this more apparent than in what happened to Visio.
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The African Sin

Gee, we didn’t have slavery in recent Western Civilization until we got back in touch with African sources.

To a comfortable degree of accuracy, every slave sold to a white European trader was a slave sold by a black or an Arab African.  Slavery was alive and well, popular, even DARE WE SAY an ingrained part of the cultures spread across Africa and the Arab world.

Where do we line up for reparations?

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Falsifiability and BS Navy Patents

I understand that the Navy has filed for patents on ridiculous magic apparently on the grounds that if they don’t, then we will have to pay the Chinese to license their ridiculous magic technology.  These idiots make beanstalks look like Newton.

This has been covered here before, but I just wanted to make explicit my favorite argument against woo-woo.  Chase its inescapable, inseparable implications to their impossible conclusions.

So there’s an easy way to tell if your topic is nonsense.  Will it allow you to build a perpetual motion machine?  Because if it will, then it’s nonsense.  Some will attempt to dodge this with warp-drive, subspace, stargate extra-dimensional woo-woo.  We’re not modifying the path of the object, which would take energy — we’re modifying its geodesic in n-d spacetime and allowing it to fall whither it may.”  This is word salad.

If I have a machine that allows me to move a household object from one place in the universe to another, then I say let’s put it at the top of a gravity-driven electrical generator.  Every time the weight of the object reaches the bottom, we’ll re-locate it once more to the top.  Actually, we’ll target points about about 60 and 120 degrees past the top, but I need not chase efficiency because I now have an “over-unity device”, that is, a machine which puts out more energy than it takes in.  Note that the power in the illustration below is flowing AWAY from the generator.

“It should take at least as much energy to change the geodesic of an object as it would to change the trajectory of an object with no modification of spacetime.  If it does not, then we can exploit the difference to create an “over unity” perpetual motion machine, which I am comfortable that we cannot do.  Claims which cannot be falsified even conceptually are not improperly discarded.  They’re just turtles.”

Well said.  If we allow a hypnosis with the other-worldliness of a proposed mechanism to hide from our eyes the export or import of energy from the local context, then we should allow that same latitude to any equivalent claim.  But if we do so, then any perpetual motion machine becomes possible.  Monkey turning the handle?  Dammit Jim, I’m a theoretical physicist, not a primatologist!

Clarke’s third law states that “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic,”  which has a sting in the tail.  The statement is not intended as, and should not be  accepted as, a get-out-of-jail-free card for any sort of ridiculous woo-woo.  Clarke most definitely did not say that claims of magic are unassailable because they might turn out to be science after all.  We have other laws which help filter the nonsense from the good sense, and the laws of thermodynamics are the fiercest.

Theoreticians and patent trolls may wish from time to time to hide out from the long arm of these laws, perhaps with a cushy Navy job submitting preposterously-justified patent applications for ridiculous magic, but there is nowhere to run.

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Carl Sagan: Useful Idiot

It pains me slightly to say this, as Sagan was always a favorite of mine.  I overlooked some of his silliness on issues because when I was nine years old, his book lit me up in a way that has never stopped working.  Thank you, Late Dr. Sagan.

Yet he ran with a bad crowd, including his execrable wife “the poetess Ann Druyan,” and he was not immune to the predictable infiltration of leftist intellectual circles by leftists more dedicated to the left than to the intellect.

I only recently learned that Sagan among others had been duped by a bit of flim-flam known as “nuclear winter.”  Oh, I knew all about nuclear winter, having consumed everythig Sagan wrote just as eagerly as I could.  But it turns out it’s all bunk.  Now, to my credit, I also rated this lower on the scale of risks than that of being conquered by the monstrous Soviet engine of oppression.  One was proven, the other conjectured, and even in my tender teen years, I was already an astute observer the phenomenon that seemingly unrelated beliefs travel in packs — that means something.

So while I had discounted nuclear winter on my own, I did not know that it had been thoroughly debunked as early as 1986!  I did not know until less than a month ago that decades ago a KGB defector and later other ex-Soviets confirmed that the whole thing was disinformation fed into our science community for the political purposes of the USSR.  Naturally, we should have been alert for things like this.  After all, there are convincing reports that we fed bad shuttle data to the Soviets to fry their shuttle upon re-entry.

Still, when you want science to support your politics, all you need is a computer model and some bad data:

It soon became apparent that the nuclear winter hypothesis was plain wrong. As the geophysicist Russell Seitz pointed out, “soot in the TTAPS simulation is not up there as an observed consequence of nuclear explosions but because the authors told a programmer to put it there”. He added: “The model dealt with such complications as geography, winds, sunrise, sunset and patchy clouds in a stunningly elegant manner — they were ignored.” The physicist Steven Schneider concluded that “the global apocalyptic conclusions of the initial nuclear winter hypothesis can now be relegated to a vanishingly low level of probability”.

http://www.rationaloptimist.com/blog/nuclear-winter/

Sounds familiar.

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Ravenous

I just watched video from the 24 June Falcon Heavy launch, and the sheer awesomeness got me thinking big thoughts.

We now do easily what it used to take us a national effort of will to achieve. Other countries are still struggling to get things into orbit reliably, and with considerable public expenditure. The US has competing private ventures succeeding — at a profit. This is an amazing situation. The physics haven’t changed.

Meanwhile, our own government has been displaced from some of its favorite feeding grounds. It is in competition with the private sector, having come un-moored from its rightful place as the least efficient operator of last resort. Government, the organism, is itself in a growth-model of sustenance. It is not the economy which requires growth, but the ability to tax it to the degree that it supports an enormous parasitic entity. Government is fighting back, and it has arcane superweapons at its disposal, including replacing the populace and indenturing generations of descendents.

When we view the government as a pass-through entity only, we see that the parasites are us, or at least, a significant fraction of us. Yet, there are multiple channels of this dependency which should be treated differently. A person who receives government benefits will just as well accept them from a private entity, but a public employee is truly wedded to government. Public employees’ compensation of salary and other benefits are remarkable even on an apples-to-apples comparison with private sector employment. This has rested more on the beneifts than the salary, historically, but this is changing as government “competes” to hire talent. yet there is also the security of being untouchable in a government job, and the vicarious power wielded by petty functionaries with the seal of the state behind their every opinion to sweeten the pot. no amount of salary can outweight the selection effect that these greasy incentives work on a population of mixed decent and indecent fellows. The crap will accumulate in government, where they need not actually perform to a measurable standard, while the cream cannot abide the lordliness of an army of petty tyrants, and absquatulate the dysfunctorium.

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Shredded English

In which I stare slack-jawed in amazement at the beating our language takes.  Here’s a line from an online review of a burger joint:

I want to start off with saying I absolutely loved this place and it has been my boyfriend and I’s go to spot for a beer and a burger when we want one.

Cultural destruction only becomes permanent when the language is destroyed.  The language, like so many books on a shelf, is safe but useless if not retained and not used.

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Plop, Plop, Fizz, Fizz

In case you don’t follow John Walker’s UPDATES group posts, you’re missing out on some prime, old-school appropriate respect for the efforts of poorly-managed groups poorly implementing poorly-thought-out bad ideas:

Six days after its originally threatened release date, WordPress
5.2.2 plops into the latrine.
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More Data on Google/YouTube Wielding Political Influence

This guy does a great job laying out numbers showing that YouTube is targeting specifically US-based audiences with a selective algorithm.  In my own terms, YouTube is saturating your feed with leftist pabulum while de-platforming political content which YouTube does not like.  Those are the general and the specific variants of their political machine.

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To Measure, Perchance, To Evaluate

IN REF a spirited debate about the universality of measurement, to whit: anything that matters can be measured, and its converse; that which cannot be measured does not matter.

Accepted proposed definition of To Measure as: to assign a value, literally, “to assign a number.”  Book definition closer to: a measurement is an observation which reduces the observer’s uncertainty, but number definition accepted as shorthand for my extended claim that: if it matters, it can be measured, and can generate information worth doing math on.

My train of thought follows the logic of this informative book, How To Measure Anything: Finding the Value of Intangibles in Business, which I highly recommend.

From the Inside Flap

Anything can be measured. This bold assertion is the key to solving many problems in business and life in general. The myth that certain things can’t be measured is a significant drain on our nation’s economy, public welfare, the environment, and even national security. In fact, the chances are good that some part of your life or your professional responsibilities is greatly harmed by a lack of measurement – by you, your firm, or even your government. Regardless of your role in business, understanding the power of measurement will make you, those around you, and your organization more efficient and productive.

Using simple concepts to illustrate the hands-on application of advanced statistical techniques, How to Measure Anything, Third Edition reveals the power of measurement in our understanding of business and the world at large. This insightful and engaging book shows you how to measure those things in your business that you may have previously considered immeasurable, including: customer satisfaction, organizational flexibility, technology ROI, and technology risk. Offering examples that will get you to attempt measurements—even when it seems impossible—this book provides you with the underlying knowledge and the necessary steps for measuring anything, especially uncertainty and risk.

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