QOTD 2018-10-18

On the other side of the screen, it all looks so easy”   – Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) TRON

(Since I can’t link any original TRON content, here is a fan-made trailer)

Greetings, Programs!  Last week, I mentioned my favorite line from the movie TRON.  This week I figured I would do one of the more famous quotes from the movie – from three different angles!

The Philosophical Angle:  Flynn goes from being a programmer designing video games into a virtual world where programs have personalities, and there is an entire society within the confines of the computer system.  How do you look at the computer system that you work with in the same way after you have been inside of it?  Is deleting a file actually killing someone sentient?

It’s interesting how a change in perspective makes a difference.  I can tell you that I had no idea how far off I was on how moderation works around here.   There are a lot more Dilbert moments than X-Files scenes with the Cigarette-Smoking Man.  I’ll say that my opinion of academia has certainly changed after I got inside.  It is even more ruthless than the average corporate office, and much more hierarchical.  Older PIs often seem like ancient wizards or medieval nobles.  Have you had moments that completely shifted your perspective?

The Theological Angle: Flynn creates a world, then goes into it, becoming all but indistinguishable from the beings that inhabit it.  He is reduced to the lowest level, but his power is still evident.  He sacrifices his life to save the world, but in the process is restored to his proper place.  Sound familiar?  The Christian narrative is so powerful that Hollywood can’t resist incorporating into stories, even if it is in a distorted way.  Are there any other stories where the Christian imagery was present almost in spite of itself?

The Political Angle:  There is no way this movie could be made today.  Flynn is a relic from another era – the renegade programmer turned hacker, acting immature and flirtatious, brash and boastful.  He’s from an era of tech that wouldn’t be recognizable in this modern era of digital safe spaces and walled garden run by social justice scolds.  Even the age of the open Internet, where a techno-libertarian future seemed to open before us, is all but gone.  Tech companies seem to have gone from geeks to the villains of a cyberpunk novel, with a bizarre unreal twist where people identifying as buildings and animals are welcome, but people identifying as with beliefs similar to half of America are not.   Ironically, the sequel’s villain is not the supposed wickedly greedy CEO, but the system administration program out to create the perfect system.  Any who deviate are destroyed or “rectified” into identical drones.  It’s unintentionally a description of the modern vision of Big Tech.  What do your think happened to the technology industry such that it


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TOTD 2018-10-18: Amazing Apps

I was a late adapter to a cell phone. I thought I didn’t need it. I could use one of the ubiquitous pay phones that were everywhere in Japan. Well, the pay phones are now an endangered species and I would feel naked without my cell phone. I call it a cell phone but it really is a small computer with a phone function. What amazes me is the wonderful apps you can download to make your life easier.

I will share two apps with you. One app I have used for years and a new one that came with iOS 12 on the iPhone. The first one is 駅Locky (Eki-Locky). Eki means station and Locky is added so it sounds like “clock” in Japanese. What this app does is gives me a countdown timer for when my train leaves the station. This is far better than just giving me the time when the train leaves. Looking down at a timer that says I have 5 minutes left gives me the information that I need. I can either run to the station or relax and take the next train. If I swipe left the application shows a countdown timer for the next train so it is easy peasy.

The new app is Measure by Apple. This little app uses the camera in the phone to measure an object. Instead of a tape measure I can point the phone at a starting point then an ending point to see how long the object is. Pretty neat, right? It also has a level so one can see if the picture on the wall is crooked or not.

How about you? What app is amazing to you?


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TOTD 2018-10-14: Snark

What is the difference between good humor and snark?
When is snark good and when is it bad?
If good, at what percentage should it be used?
I think most people are biased. They think using snark against opponents is good but take umbrage when it is used against them.

Please write your thoughts in the comments and I will give my answers there too.


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TOTD 2018-10-13: Quotes

Time for something from Chesterton. (I have to keep Blumroch happy.)

  1. What embitters the world is not excess of criticism, but an absence of self-criticism.
  2. Moderate strength is shown in violence, supreme strength is shown in levity.
  3. The reformer is always right about what is wrong. He is generally wrong about what is right.

UPDATE: There was originally only the first quote but then I founds some more.


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TOTD 2018-10-11: Make Her Stop

Trigger warning: This video is extremely non-PC. Meltdowns may occur.

In this climate writing a book called “The Diversity Delusion” has got to be gutsy but to be able to defend the book has got to going to 11. I haven’t watch the full video but the beginning has college students “dying”.

My response to people not liking the video is, “Women must not only be heard but believed.”*

*Sen Horrendous (I may have the spelling wrong but close enough.)


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TOTD 2018-10-8: The Next Step

In life it is easy to see a problem. Complainers are a dime a dozen. (Fill in your coin of choice if that offends you.) Few people take the next step and work toward positive change. Sadly I see people stuck for forty years in a wilderness murmuring and never take the next steps. These people walk into rooms and bring their own dimmer switches.

I appreciate that many on this site are “Next Step” types. They are people who are able to complain but also able to make a difference. Someone just put up a post about victims. Becoming a victim is terrible but to remain a victim is even worse.  Strangely victims take comfort in their problems. “See how good I am because someone is bad to me.” It is another way of not taking responsibility. “It’s not my fault.”

I like to think of America as the land of the “Next Step”.  People of Europe decided to stop being victims and took a boat ride for a chance at something better. These people unleashed creativity that was pent up. One of the greatest moments was when they saw that gift from France that lit a harbor.


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TOTD 2018-10-7: We are above this.

I am above being a poor winner as I know the rest of you are. Why should we say anything about “Leakin'” Diane? That is beneath us. We will humbly be nice to “Pocahontas” Warren and “Danang” Dick. I will walk softly by “Sleepy” Joe Biden. Because who am I to say anything mean to a crowd of people who are chasing elevators to the bottom floor? Please take time today to pledge not to be unkind. What will you do to show comity? (Comedy?)

I pledge to not always use the tears of my enemies. (I have enough for a while.)
I pledge to not take too many victory laps. Not just yet, after this last one, okay?
I won’t even be unkind to “But Gorsuch”, “But Kavanaugh”, “But Trade Deal”, “But Low Employment”, and “But Civility Matters” people.


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TOTD 2018-10-04: A Hill to Fight On

My friend has always been a snarky libertarianish conservative, very cynical about political causes.  However, when he talks about Kavanaugh, he is furious.  He voted already,and has been much more active in political discussions – even trying to get a job with a campaign.

The formerly squishy, comity-at-all-costs Senator Graham has been a font of righteous indignation.  In addition to his unloading both barrels on the Dem on the committee and calling out their blatant partisan exploitation, he has been getting really snarky off-the-cuff.  In response to a protestor whining about the need to give Kavanaugh  a polygraph, he dropped a Monty Python reference: “Why don’t we dunk him in water and see if he floats?”

On Ricochet, people who are normally moderate in tone are outraged.   Susan Quinn on the same page as Hypatia?  American Greatness and National Review on the same side?  Kurt Schlicter’s Bitey and Jonah’s dingo Zoe hunting democratic squirrels together?   I  have not seen this degree of conservative unity in ages.

Mitch McConnell is a now a snapping turtle.  He’s resolved to make this happen.  I think he takes this personally – judges are his thing, and he warned Harry Reid about what might happen if the filibuster got nuked.  He clearly gets the stakes.

Fundamentally, this is the hill to fight on.  (Not die on, I plan to follow General Patton’s advice)  Kavanaugh is a man of upstanding character and iron will.  The democrats are utterly despicable and lying like rugs.  (Perhaps Spartacus will get the Roman treatment?)  The allegations are completely discredited.

It’s time to put Never Trump to bed.   Their and our hashtag shall be #NeverSurrender

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