Brexit and Trumpism Have Failed Because Conservative Populism Is a Lie

Today’s conservatism is mostly a front for racism, sexism, and nativism.

The conservatives of the 1980s won, and now they’re the boring center, which means they don’t get the press that accrues to right-wing radicals. Meanwhile, the failures (and they are legion) of center-right neoliberalism (which has little to with US left-liberalism) get pinned on a wealthy “liberal elite”.

It’s just another damn divide-and-conquer device the 0.1% use to keep the rest of us fighting each other.

People with anxiety; what are your coping methods?

Meditation practice, directed with a topic: death. Specifically, my death.

No, seriously. I imagine the rest of my life, counting breaths (one year per breath) till 80, then the last month, last day, last hour, etc. Then, from the void of meditation, I try to imagine what might come after, although I’ll admit (by my rational mind) I don’t really know.

Realizing that death, which we conceptualize as the worst thing that can happen, isn’t terrible– if in fact there is no afterlife, we will never know about it– that helps a bit.

None of this is any substitute for pursuing medication or therapy, which you absolutely should. Nothing can abort a panic attack, but it can level the playing field to have proper medication and cognitive strategies, too.

What do you hope the next trend in books and publishing will be?

I don’t know why we form literary ghettos based on the age of a protagonist, or why it’s assumed that people don’t read books about other age ranges, genders, etc. Seems silly and reductive to me. Good literature is good literature: you don’t have to be a middle-aged male pervert to read Lolita.

Literature is supposed to challenge people. We should want to read books about people different from ourselves (or our idealized selves).

Deserves recognition

It has been happening for decades.

There are so many forms of this that aren’t illegal but should be. There’s an evil smegma-queen, very well-connected in Manhattan (who probably, ahem, got her social pull by being like most well-connected people [1] in that world, if you catch my drift), named Kat Cohen who makes hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars per year as a “college admissions consultant”, which means she whores out her connections to high school kids so they can get prestigious internships and opportunities that lead to elite college admissions. Not illegal, but disgusting.

One especially galling case was in the mid-2000s when she called in a publisher for a client writing college admissions fiction (yes, that’s actually a thing). Said client got a $500,000 advance– before the book was even written, which is unheard-of for a first-time author, and for a 17-year-old writing pure garbage!– and, in the end, the kid (who got into Harvard for her efforts) didn’t even write it! It turned out that she plagiarized it, because writing is hard. Oh, and Harvard did nothing when this was revealed, and she became an investment banker because, you know, accountability is only for the poors.

This scandal is but a minor microchapter in the greater debacle, which is that our society is run by immoral, cheating, mediocre, indolent, and stupid degenerates. So-called “meritocracy” is a sham. Who-you-know feudalism cannot coexist with what-you-know meritocracy, and the former has won. It’s everywhere and it goes up to the very top.

[1] It’s 2019. The men ought to be shamed as much for the women in that decadent, anti-cultural mess. And, by the Seven, if you only knew….

[2] I edited this to be less harsh on Viswanathan. Celebrity books often require extensive book doctoring to be remotely publishable (and, reading many of them, it’s hard to believe they had editors at all, but that’s another issue). It’s possible that a sloppy book doctor put the plagiarized sections in. This doesn’t make it less disgusting, but it gives room for the possibility that the teenage girl involved was, although irresponsible and unskilled, not as horrible a person as she’s been made out to be.

Ok so NO

This guy iron tritanium prices.


This. *The Hobbit* is about 90,000 words. It would be classified as YA today. It’s not at all a bad book, but it isn’t complex and it doesn’t require three 3-hour movies. They added a bunch of stuff that didn’t fit. Producing *Lord of the Rings* and then producing *The Hobbit*, with comparable or higher hype and budget levels, will result in anticlimax. Everyone wants and expects each project to be better, and Peter Jackson tried to do better with less source material, and it didn’t work.

Of course, prequels can match or excel their parent material, but they should have given *The Hobbit* proper respect and left it as-is. Stories are never improved when people who use the term “high concept” without irony and contempt muck about.

Optimal conversion ratio seems to be about 25,000 words per hour of TV or film. You can use a higher ratio and cut. That’s fairly common, historically speaking, because there isn’t much of an audience for the 6-hour movie. Commercial novels tend to be fluffy enough that a 40K-word to 1 hour ratio can improve on the source material, and literary novels tend to focus on inner life that is hard to put on screen. Going lower, though, often means you’re asking Hollywood people to add things, making the film’s story more like a Frankenstein’s monster than a coherent narrative. Hollywood people are pretty good at cutting the bits that don’t translate well to screen or that won’t improve commercial prospects, but they generally aren’t great at story expansion or major plot doctoring.


Beautiful comment.

What do you *NEVER* fuck with?

That’s some Bolton Strid–level shit. Just, nope. Not even once.

Just wait until you pass 50!

Wait til you’re 60!

I don’t expect to make it to 5!, although I suppose it’s possible. 6! is a bit of a stretch, except for elves and vampires.

What is a critical hit in real life?

The purpose of allowing employers to ask about past felonies is to make more prisoners. The private prison industry has a massive lobbying arm, and prisons create jobs for locales that otherwise wouldn’t have any. That industries wants more prisoners, and what better way is there to ensure repeat customers than to make it impossible for people to get jobs on release.

For people who believe in heaven, what happens if you take a new spouse after your initial spouse dies? Do you still reunite with the initial spouse after death?

I don’t think any of them believe it to be literally how the afterlife works.

For people who believe in heaven, what happens if you take a new spouse after your initial spouse dies? Do you still reunite with the initial spouse after death?

I have no idea (of course, since no one knows) whether this is an actual afterlife experience, or merely an artifact of a dying brain, but people who have near-death experiences say that everyone looks about 30, whether they died as newborns or at age 105.

For people who believe in heaven, what happens if you take a new spouse after your initial spouse dies? Do you still reunite with the initial spouse after death?

I’m not Christian and certainly would never claim to speak for all 2 billion Christians, but there is Biblical evidence for this.

Luke 12:51–53:

Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division:

For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three.

The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

For people who believe in heaven, what happens if you take a new spouse after your initial spouse dies? Do you still reunite with the initial spouse after death?

Although Judaism is notably agnostic on the matter of afterlife, there’s an interesting Jewish concept (also found in some liberal Christian denominations) that heaven and hell are the same place– experienced one way by the good and another way by the bad. One metaphor is of a banquet where the forks are longer than one’s arms. In hell, they try to feed themselves, fail and starve; in heaven, they feed each other.

The Case Against Quantum Computing: “The proposed strategy relies on manipulating with high precision an unimaginably huge number of variables”

Technically a qubit has an infinite amount of data, measured in bits, because of the complex amplitudes. However, it’s not useful data because the amplitudes are forever invisible. When you measure a qubit, you get a 0 or 1, with some probability.

So the useful storage in a 1000-qubit machine isn’t on the order of 21000 bits. The state vector is of that size, but you can’t really observe all those amplitudes.

Reddits who have absolutely no plans of having kids, where do you want your wealth to go after your death?

In which case– and, yes, this happens quite a lot– the person involved shouldn’t even pay $0.01, because that can legally interpreted (in some jurisdictions) as agreeing to take responsibility for the decedent’s debt in full.

Have you ever found pornography on the internet of someone you know personally? What did you do?

I agree. It’s a psychological violation. People who do that should end up on the sex offender list.

Have you ever found pornography on the internet of someone you know personally? What did you do?

Friends from College is rich-people-suffering crack. A good watch to get out of a bad mood for a couple hours, but you don’t feel great afterward, nor do you sense that you’ve learned anything.

What feels illegal, but isn’t?

It doesn’t matter what I say.

What “old person” things do you do?

I’m 35, so from half of Reddit’s perspective I’m an actual old person.

I go to bed around 9 and I’m usually up between 3 and 4. I’m working on a novel and it would be much harder to carve out the time if I slept on a more normal schedule.

I also find that as I get older, I read more and watch less TV. Taking on a new TV show is a huge investment. Oddly, these days I’m less specialized in my interests (in my 20s, it was all about math and CS) and read a lot more history, religion, science, and literature. I watch a few TV shows (e.g., Game of Thrones, which I like better than the sprawling book series) but the writing and story have to be top-notch to justify the time.

When you hit your early 30s, you see a bifurcation in intellectual ability. The people who go all-in on corporate success and social climbing become intellectually dull, even if they were brilliant at 25. IQ is hardware power, but if you’re running shitty software… it doesn’t much matter; the “garbage in, garbage out” principle applies. That’s why corporate executives are such morons: they were smart at one time, but they’ve specialized in cheap social tricks and lost everything else. At the same time, you see people who were unremarkable when younger leap ahead because they have grit and value knowing what they are doing. One’s 30s seems to be the decade when some people stagnate and others begin to hit the high notes.

That was probably a bit much for this question; ah well.

Tech support

Tinder is heavily against the average male user. Woman are bombarded with messages from so many guys, that they have the luxury of choosing the most attractive and successful looking men.

I don’t think it’s Tinder’s fault. It’s how our society works.

It’s equally hard for both (cis/het) genders to find someone who respects you (that is, quite hard). In late-stage corporate capitalism, alienation is the norm. However, the world is teeming with thirsty, damaged, horny young men who send hundreds of messages per day. Some of those low-quality men are rich and good looking. There are women like that too, but either there are fewer of them or they’re less visible.

It’s not that it isn’t hard out there for women. It’s hard in a different way. Women can easily get short-term sexual encounters with attractive but low-quality men who’ll ghost them or use them for booty calls. To a horny 17-year-old guy that might seem like an advantage, but it’s actually very unpleasant. In terms of the actual goal– finding a romantic relationship– it’s hard for men and women alike, and the things that ostensibly make it easier (fame, wealth) actually get in the way.

When you’re old like me, you realize men might have it easier. Men more often get rejected before sex; women get rejected after (which is emotionally damaging, too). The man goes home and jerks off; the woman can end up with someone in her house who doesn’t much like her.

Tech support

There’s enough miracles here to blow your brains.

A new element has been discovered

Discovery is the correct notion, since we don’t know what to expect and the element may not even exist.

At some point, the half-lives will be so small that we effectively cannot make the element. I believe the cutoff is somewhere around 10-24 seconds. If you don’t have nucleosynthesis, you don’t have an element: you have exotic plasma.

So there is an upper limit, and the only way to know an element can exist is to make it: quantum systems become exponentially more complex as they get larger, and for element 119+ we’re talking about 290+ nucleons, and computationally we can’t do 2290 of anything (at least, until we have scalable quantum computers). We have a good idea of some of Element 119’s physical properties might be– we expect to be an alkali metal similar to rubidium or francium– but we don’t know anything about it for sure until we make it, and we don’t know if we can.

Moreover, once we’re into sub-second half-lives, we arguably don’t have a “chemical” element in the classical sense. A macroscopic quantity of anything that radioactive would get so hot it would turn into plasma. Above 10000 K you don’t have classical chemistry– you have a soup of hot particles.

Four-day week trial: study finds lower stress but no cut in output

As a philosophical question, one could argue about that for days.

From a practical perspective, it’s when you own your life instead of renting it from a boss. You might still have an operational superior, but you only take orders from people who are providing mentorship, protection, and rapid advancement… and there are consequences for people who don’t support your career goals, even if they’re higher in the system.

The truth about the corporate “career” game is that it’s pretty much not worth playing unless you have familial air superiority. (Growing up “wealthy” itself doesn’t matter that much; you’ll go farther with well-connected parents of average means– say, Harvard professors– than if your parents have high net worth but don’t know the right people. Of course, it’s still better to have rich, not-connected parents than be a 99%-er, because at least you can peace out.) If you can’t call in an air strike on a manager who doesn’t support your career, you’re fucked from Day 1… because eventually you will draw a bad boss.

So, for the 99%, it’s really not worth playing the corporate game. It’s a scam, a malevolent joke, something the rich people who stole all the money set up because they love watching the rats race (and, to continue the metaphor, devour each other when they get to the end and the food’s all gone)

If the rising generation invested in overthrow– I’d prefer a peaceful one with UBI and Scandinavian-style market socialism; but I’ll take the other kind over none at all– rather than a sycophant’s false hope… then no one would have to be a serf (unless we fucked it up again, something humans are remarkably good at finding new ways to do). Unfortunately, I think it is impossible both to predict and to influence the timeliness of such occurrences.

Four-day week trial: study finds lower stress but no cut in output

Here’s why people have to show up at their corporate jobs 50 hours per week.

  1. The corporate system is far, far to the right on the performance–control spectrum. Bosses know their serfs are fucking around most of the time, but it’s not about hours in today’s corporate culture. It’s about indivisible personal loyalty. Most people have about 75 useful working hours (not 75 highly productive hours, but 75 above-zero hours). Companies want to grab at least 50.1% of that time. The reason corporates would hate a 20–30 hour work week is that they’d have to compete for their workers’ loyalty and favor, because people could have 2 or 3 serious/career jobs.
  2. In today’s world, bosses would see people working 30-hour weeks and wonder if they couldn’t cut 25% of their people and push to 40 hours… or more. It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t work. 90 percent of what’s done in corporate America doesn’t work, in the sense of having productive value, but it does give executives what they want– that is, it keeps them in charge.

The entire system exists to keep the high high and the low low. Productivity has little to do with it, unfortunately. Productivity matters only in the long term, insofar as unproductive, inefficient companies (or nations) will be surpassed by less defective ones, but the timescale on which that occurs is long enough that executives aren’t personally worried about it.

no regrets

“This shit’s the bomb.”

the man

Launch party for an app that would solve the pressing world problem of it being a pain in the ass to book famous people for an event. On Pablo Escobar’s island because, you see, drug-related murder and suffering are glamorous. Except, since they couldn’t get Escobar’s island, they had to use the parking lot of a Sandals resort.

It actually wasn’t all “rich kids”– don’t get me wrong, it was a stupid event the whole way, marketed toward narcissistic cunts, but early rounds of tickets were affordable. The expensive “luxury villa” tickets were sold later on because the organizers realized that ticket revenue (at the earlier, affordable prices) wouldn’t cover their costs. Like a Ponzi scheme or a variant of the Martingale betting strategy, marketing traveled upscale but the organizers were never able to fix the core problems, in part because of the unrealistic timeline, given the logistics of a large music festival in a foreign country, so they ended up failing at a grander scale.

I ruin developers’ lives with my code reviews and I’m sorry

This isn’t a problem with code reviews, but with culture.

Correction isn’t aggression. I’m writing a novel and it will be a miracle if it has fewer than 50 copy errors after I do several rounds of revision myself, and I’m not a bad writer. (Someone who isn’t a professional writer makes 3 or more errors per page.) Most of these are minor– I’d bet less than 1 percent of the population can recognize the difference between After eight o’clock, Erica said, “Let’s go outside.” and After eight o’clock, Erica said, “let’s go outside.”. [1] Mistakes happen. And, speaking from experience, first drafts even from the strongest writers are still terrible… and corporate code is pretty much all first draft material. Business code sucks and it always will because no one will pay for it to be good. I’ve given up on trying to make it otherwise.

Technology culture is the way it is (that is, atrocious) because most of us answer to horrible people– we’re literally in the business of finding new ways for scummy corporate executives to unemploy people and run off with the gains– but those horrible people have better social skills than we do and therefore divide us against each other. Code reviews have become another way for management to make developers rat each other out to their bosses. This shit works because those developers are myopic enough to focus on relative comparisons (who’s better and worse, who’s carrying more weight, who does and doesn’t “fit”) and petty resentments, rather than banding together and doing something about the diamantine butt-pounding they’re all taking from their bosses.

What’s the solution? I don’t know. It is possible to edit another’s [2] work without it being aggressive. Almost all writing at a professional level of quality has been edited by at least one person, and published books by people who aren’t professional writers often require intensive developmental editing in addition to copy editing. The same absolutely can apply for code, as I believe it does in research-oriented think-tanks and government agencies (e.g., NASA) where the work product isn’t Jira tickets but high-quality code and so an understanding that even the best people make errors exists.

Can it apply in line-of-business software, where we mostly exist to replace job-providing business processes with executive-enriching ones? Nah, I don’t think it can. Expecting people who work in support of the corporate system to behave with honor is like expecting drug pushers not to act like criminals. Corporate software has a rotten culture and always will; code reviews are a symptom, not the root cause.

[1] The first is a complete quote, like dialogue, and so the saying happens after eight. The second is an inline quote implying Erica wants to go outside after 8:00 (although she may have said it before then).

[2] I originally typed “anothers'”, which is unambiguously wrong, since “another” is singular. I caught it on a second read, but no one gets 100%. See my point?

Agile Isn’t New, It’s Just Common Sense Rebranded

s/Common Sense/Failed Taylorist Bullshit/

Get prepared for Valentine’s day with these quality poems

Roses are red,

or yellow like gold.

Sick jokes, like dead babies,

will never get old.

Get prepared for Valentine’s day with these quality poems

Roses are red;

salmon’s called lox.

I’d like to come over

and play with your XBox.

Yeah man

One theory holds that running out of oxygen leads to a DMT trip for free.

Omar responds to Trump calling for her resignation: ‘You have trafficked in hate your whole life’

Not only that, but one can be Zionist (that is, support the Jewish state) while being opposed to the current practices of the Israeli government, which is far to the right of what Israel’s founders intended.

Israel is in a tough spot, but it’s hard to support everything the Israeli government is doing. Keeping the occupied territories as a buffer zone to defend Israel would be one thing; the settlement activity crosses the line.

Russian-Style Kleptocracy Is Infiltrating America

Ostensibly, religion and politics. However, it’s worth understanding why he (and many other wealthy Arabs) are drawn to extremist Islam. I don’t think Islam is innately more radical than its cousins. (Saudi-driven radicalization is a new phenomenon, historically speaking; it’s about 100 years old.)

What you have is the tendency by which extreme wealth and power lead to nihilism (see: the Joker in Batman; Kefka in Final Fantasy VI). In the US and EU, it tends to be nonreligious nihilism– coke, perversion, and nightclubs– but in the Arab world, ultra-religious nihilism (which would never conceive of itself as nihilism, but shares the nihilist’s contempt for all that is accessible) seems to be the more common pattern.

How I Tell A Story

Most people are closer to the bottom diagram. Storytelling is a natural impulse but it is not a commonly-held skill. It’s hard to say for sure whether it’s a talent or effort barrier, but very few people do it well. There’s a reason why, if someone you don’t know approaches you and seems intent on telling a story, you back away….

Storytelling done well is somewhere between the two diagrams, but that’s another matter.

Don’t learn a programming language, solve a problem instead

I got really, really into programming language design and strong, static typing and, I have to say, I kinda agree.

Don’t get me wrong: Haskell’s great. It’s a better language than Python on language merits, but Python has libraries for everything, and Haskell… I still haven’t seen a convincing way to statically type data frames without going down a dependent-type rabbit hole (since “remove highly correlated columns” creates a data-dependent type… ouch).

If you’re building a system that you’re going to be working with for 10+ years, you may want to use Haskell or OCaml. Jane Street built its proprietary trading software on OCaml and has been extremely successful with it. That said, I spent far too much of my early career fighting against “inferior” languages and it was an emotionally draining waste of time. I wish I had focused mainly on Python, not because I love the language (I don’t, but it’s passable) but because of the tool chain.

Today, because of language weenies like me fighting for “better languages”, we have Scala and, guess what, most Scala codebases are disastrous. Why? The language is hyper-capable, super-powerful, and that turned out to be a problem. Hand Java to a bunch of Jira jockeys or overseas contractors working to deadline, and you get a ball of garbage that can be walked-through with industrial-strength IDEs. Hand Scala over to business-grade programmers and your codebase now copulates with Cthulhu.

Russian-Style Kleptocracy Is Infiltrating America

My novel, Farisa’s Crossing, should be out by the end of the year. At the least, I plan on free-pubbing some chapters on Oct. 1, 2019.

Russian-Style Kleptocracy Is Infiltrating America

It’s hard to say. We’re in uncharted territory, and the conflict is global. There are about 200 countries in the world. It’s more likely to be peaceful in Finland than the United States, and more likely to be peaceful in the U.S. than in countries where violence is a fact of daily life, but… other than that, hard to tell.

I would argue that the Class War is already happening. People who’ve died because of inadequate health coverage, or the recent drug-price spikes, have been on the wrong side of it. Millions have died already.

I would also argue that 9/11 was as much about social class as religion. I was in college then and I remember all the discourse about a coming “clash of civilizations” between “the West” and Islam. Didn’t really happen. (And, to the extent that it did, we were the aggressors.) I see 9/11 an an attack by a rich Boomer ultra-nihilist (a religious ultra-nihilist– the most dangerous kind) on middle-class office workers who, to him, didn’t matter. The fact that he lived in a cave and practiced a different religion occluded, to many people, that he was very much a product of the global upper class.

Russian-Style Kleptocracy Is Infiltrating America

It’s an interesting article, but I get annoyed when value decay is associated with one nationality (e.g., Russian, Chinese, Arab) whose practices are “infecting” the US.

Might-makes-right, Machiavellian politics is the historical norm. It’s everywhere. It’s in our business culture already. The decency of the midcentury middle class, in the US, Europe, and Japan, is the exception, and it required extensive public effort. We should hope that social and political decency won’t be rare in the future, of course, but they have been in the past.

Socio-political indecency is no more Russian than it is Renaissance-Spanish or Feudal-Japanese or Babylonian or Mafia or Corporate. We’re blessed to have a government that is relatively free of what seems to be a recurring human pattern.

Here’s what’s at play.

Around 1850, it became clear that businesses were as potent as governments in their influence over human life. Economic forces were no longer a concern only of rich spice traders and urban financiers; they began to affect everyone. This led to accelerated colonialism (now with popular support) and, eventually, massive wars, the last of which involved a weapon that could, in principle, be scaled up to kill everyone.

So, now it’s 1945, and we’ve had a huge war and agree we don’t want to do that again, so we set up a world order based on democracy, a large middle class (supported by public exertions that make Ocasio-Cortez’s proposals seem mild, and would be called ultra-socialist today) and international cooperation forms, even among nations that were just previous bitter enemies. Okay; sounds good. American-style capitalism (alloyed with socialism, which is OK as long as you don’t call it that) has its high era.

Around 1975, thanks to air travel and information technology, we start to become a global society. The problem is that the elites of many developed countries (including, if not especially, the US) had lost memory of why societies restrained their upper classes.

In the 1980s, you start to see Boomer CEOs, who make $500k per year and have to follow traffic laws, sizing themselves up against third-world oil, narco, and diamond billionaires (and, later, post-Soviet kleptocrats) who had private harems and were the law. So, the US/EU elites felt like they didn’t measure up. This was called the “Reagan Revolution” in the US, but in reality it was a deep cultural shift that (a) had little to do with one charismatic center-right politician, and (b) would later evolve into a form that would horrify Reagan and Bush. Starting with the Baby Boomers, liberal democracy and hybrid capitalism were dismantled in favor of oligarchic extreme capitalism. By the early 21st century, our economic corruption (which had started in the upper echelons finance and technology sectors, where it seemed harmless) had infected our culture, our society, our politics, and our way of life. That’s where we are now.

Russia and China and the Arabs did not– I repeat, did not– do this to us, any more than Idi Amin or Fernando Marcos or Nicolae Ceaușescu did. Our elites did it to us, and they knew exactly what they were doing, since they were restoring the same illiberal capitalism that existed in the US and (to more deadly effect, last time around) Europe in what Americans call the Gilded Age.

What the US did from 1935–80 was engineered, with the participation of the upper class. (FDR was from a rich family, after all.) It was a brokered peace. They got to stay very rich but decline in relative terms; in exchange, we had record low risk of domestic insurgency. Unfortunately, the post-Boomer hereditary upper class wanted to be as relevant as their grandfathers were in the Bad Old Days and, guess what, now they are.

Russian-Style Kleptocracy Is Infiltrating America

When that wall came down, I really had hope for russian-us ties. Now they’re just an enemy again.

I don’t see it that way. The US elite (a chapter of the global elite) is an enemy of the American people. The Russian kleptocracy (a chapter of the global elite) is an enemy of the Russian people.

What fluctuates is whether a dictator can gain the adoration of the people. Putin has high approval in Russia, even though he’s likely bad for Russia.

The peoples of nations are not enemies, and the global class war is the one that matters these days.

What’s a tourist attraction you’ve been to that was 100% not worth the hype?

Agree on Devil’s Tower. Also, the Badlands. There’s plenty that’s beautiful in that area. Great hiking and sights. Mount Rushmore ain’t worth it.

Rushmore’s back story is appalling, too. It was a scared mountain to the Lakota people and carving out the presidents was a “fuck you” gesture.

I’d also skip Wall Drug– another overrated South Dakota tourist trap.

What’s a tourist attraction you’ve been to that was 100% not worth the hype?

Perhaps it was a Struggle to use that thing.

“Essential Books That Every Programmer Should Read”, lists by B. Batsov, Uncle Bob, K. Beck, J. Atwood, and DHH

I like Batsov’s list the best. The books he’s listed that I have read are good; the ones I haven’t look interesting. It’s a shame that he works at Toptal.

I like that DHH mentioned On Writing Well and Elements of Style. Far too many techies treat learning to write well as something beneath them (it’s not) that they could learn easily (again, no; it’s hard). I’d add Bill Walsh’s Lapsing Into a Comma to that list.

Learn C programming and the rest will come

Interesting. I read a bit about Rust a few years ago. I’d like to jump in and learn more at some point.

Learn C programming and the rest will come

Fair point. C is a good start at one computational model, but it’s a flawed language and modern technologies have diverged from it at the high and low level both.

Which modern languages are beating C, and is this in contrived scenarios or fairly common? My understanding (which may be dated) was that C was still the beating the other HLLs, performance-wise, in most cases.

Learn C programming and the rest will come

I would also recommend watching Ben Eater’s 8-bit computer series on Youtiube. He shows you how to build a computer from commodity devices and (in principle) using capacitors, resistors, and transistors.

‘People Shouldn’t Be Going Bankrupt and Dying’: Nationwide Week of Action Aims to Build Mass Movement Behind Medicare for All

I don’t think we need a violent revolution. That said, corporate capitalism must be scrapped and if people defend it with their lives, that’s their fault. Not mine.

Of course, single-payer healthcare, passed legally, needn’t involve any bloodshed. It would save lives, not end them. It would force private insurance to retreat to frills like nose jobs, where it belongs, while the serious stuff is managed by competent, transparent public processes.

Learn C programming and the rest will come

Here are 5 Awesome Books for Learning C/C++

Stop saying C/C++. They are not at all alike; they are quite different languages and need separate study if you’re going to understand either.

That said, every serious programmer should understand C. Living in fear of the lower level is fine if you want to be a line-of-business Jira jockey, but if you’re doing serious work, you need to understand how compilers and computers actually work.

For my part, though, I’d recommend Ben Klemens’s 21st Century C. “C is punk rock.”

‘People Shouldn’t Be Going Bankrupt and Dying’: Nationwide Week of Action Aims to Build Mass Movement Behind Medicare for All

What increasingly irks me is this middle position that I’ve heard some people I know take where they say it’s sad and then ultimately land on single payer or medicare for all is not “pragmatic”. That is monstrous to me.

Agreed. Universal healthcare is the centrist position.

The extreme position (which I don’t support) is storming insurance companies and collecting executives’ heads, as retribution for the thousands they’ve already killed, and putting them up on spikes.

Single-payer healthcare is the merciful option. Health insurance barons lose their companies, but get to keep their heads, and don’t even do prison time for the thousands they’ve murdered (since it was technically legal at the time).

‘People Shouldn’t Be Going Bankrupt and Dying’: Nationwide Week of Action Aims to Build Mass Movement Behind Medicare for All

When people born 50 years from now learn that after the turn of the century, people had to fucking buy insurance plans on their own bodies, they’re going to ask if end-stage capitalism really was that horrible… and yes, kids, it was.

What is a sensation that you can’t stand, even though it’s not painful ?

Eating sounds. Most people’s brains filter them out. When you have misophonia, yours doesn’t.

what character had the best character arc?

I felt like Locke carried the show. I found it hard to care about the Arrogant Doctor (TM) and the Overrated White Chick With A Dark Secret That Isn’t That Dark (TM) who were supposed to be the protagonists.

I didn’t like how they used the same guy for the evil character in Season 6. I mean, I get keeping a prize actor… but still. Flocke was a totally different guy, and Evil Impostor requires top-notch writing (which later seasons didn’t have) to get it right.

what character had the best character arc?

I struggle with Jason’s character. He’s stupid for the purpose of being stupid, and that gets on my nerves. It’s borderline offensive.

Pre-transformed Eleanor is a caricature of a middle-class, selfish twit; we recognize that few people are legitimately that awful, but she’s not some new invention. Jason is a pretty off-point representative of what people with actual intellectual disabilities (whether actually retarded or merely 70–89) go through.

what character had the best character arc?

I wish my mother had lived long enough to see the end of Mad Men; she was the first to pick up on the fact that Peggy was the true protagonist.

what character had the best character arc?

Prez’s arc is great– you start out absolutely hating him; he represents so much of what’s wrong with policing in this country. And then, by Season 4, he’s a really good guy. Strong argument that there is a possibility for heroic transformation in a shitty, corrupt world that wants nothing but to grind down everything and everyone that is good.

The Wire is the literary fiction of TV.

[Long Article] Biography of Terry A. Davis – Creator of TempleOS, Former Reddit User, Programmer Affected by Schizophrenia – Recently Died of Suicide

The tech community is full of people who’ll kick a man when he’s down. (I have mild PTSD from adversity I experienced due to my public opposition to fascism.) There’s a lot of stuff about him and Hacker News that hasn’t been made public. A lot of the weird gaslighting tactics toward users they dislike (many of whom are sane people who criticized YC-backed startups) they tried out first on him to see how much it would perturb his sense of reality.

I don’t blame the tech community for everything that happened to him– his story was obviously largely driven by unfortunate biology– but they certainly didn’t do anything to help him.

Billionaire Howard Schultz Would Like Non-Billionaires to Stop Calling Him a Billionaire

Different billionaire asswipe, now deceased: Progressive Kristallnacht Coming? Yes, this garbage rant got published in the WSJ.

It’s fairly common (and disgusting) for non-Jewish billionaires to compare populist impulses to the Holocaust.

Letter: Socialism for the rich, capitalism for the rest of us

Corporate capitalism has always been a hybrid system designed to give an entrenched social elite (masquerading as a meritocratic organizational/economic one) the best of two systems (socialism and capitalism) while feeding the rest of us the worst of both. We don’t have to imagine ourselves in one of last century’s failed communisms to see self-serving bureaucrats– the beetle-like men of Nineteen Eighty-Four– because we already have them; they’re called “executives”. These private-sector social climbers and bureaucrats demand we treat them like entrepreneurs who succeeded on their own grit and talent, but nothing could be further from the truth.

A List of Awesome Programming Books (Must Reads)

So, agility is obviously a good thing, but like efficiency it’s one of those words that (although ostensibly positive) is used by the worst corporate assholes. If we take away that connotation, then we should want to be agile. But capital-A Agile isn’t about agility. It’s about control. It’s a system for paint-by-numbers micromanagement designed to remove autonomy from software engineering, and to intimidate engineers into working at a certain pace because if they don’t meet their “sprint” goals, they’ll be humiliated in front of everyone.

Agile is the software-engineering analogue of the Spreadsheet Eichmann’s wet dream in which middle managers (and their tendency to be humans and therefore have empathy) have been factored out and the workers live in fear of being fired by the computer. Of course, the micromanagement can’t be as automated over programmers as truck drivers, because the work hasn’t been automated.

I sit in on plenty of management meetings where Scrum is pitched. The whole thing about it not being used to measure performance is bullshit. The whole point of these methodologies is to catch “low performers” as soon as possible and, when there are no low-performers, to make problems up. The real reason for the Jira-fication of software engineering is that it enables managers to point blame when things are late (and, in software, things are always late).

User stories are terrible. They’re unnecessary. NASA didn’t need user stories to send people to the Moon. Here’s how you get technical excellence: hire great people and get the fuck out of their way. It’s built within them to work hard and to give a damn about what they’re producing. All this Agile stuff is Beer Goggles: it turns the (unemployable) 3’s into (marginal) 5’s, but the 6+ see a sloppy, dangerous drunk and want nothing to do with you. The kind of programming for which Agile Scrum exists should not be in the same job classification of genuine software engineering, which ought to be more like the R&D job it used to be, back when programming was great.

Where the hell did swears come from and who the hell decide they were bad?

Social class and religion tend to be two reliable sources.

Words for body parts, sex acts, and excretory functions that are deemed low in class will evolve into swear words. Fuck, shit, cunt, and piss all began as non-profanities in ancestor languages and were, at some point in the history of the English language, deemed obscene because of the low social status of the people who used the words.

Religion is another source: tabarnak is profane in Quebecois French, but that’s the only tabernacle-derived profanity I’m aware of in any language. But any religious term taken in vain will be offensive to the devout. “Zounds” is a minor profanity (“God’s wounds”, referring to the crucifixion). Although religiously derived profanities are considered minor today, they weren’t always. To use damn in vain was far more offensive to Puritans than the word fuck (which probably meant little-to-nothing to them).

In Dutch, diseases are a common source of profanity. The word kanker (cancer) is a profane intensifier, like fucking in English.

Over time, profanities weaken. They’re far more often used as expletives (which, to a linguist, has nothing to do with vulgarity; an expletive is a meaningless word used for cadence or emphasis) than for their original meaning, so cultures reach a point where the swear words become inoffensive, because the newer expletive usages dominate the older literal ones. That’s why there’s little discernible “profanity” (in the sense of swear words) in old languages; it isn’t stable across the centuries which words are considered profane. In the 1960s, “sucks” (fellatio) would have gotten your mouth washed out with soap; in 2019, most people don’t even connect “that sucks” with a sex act– I’ve met several non-native speakers who were shocked to find out that the meaning existed. (Since it is a bit bizarre that one would correlate oral sex with a thing being of low quality.)

A List of Awesome Programming Books (Must Reads)

User Stories Applied: For Agile Software Development

This should have been placed at the top so people would know to stop reading. People who take “user stories” seriously are in no position to recommend “must reads”.

A couple of these books are good. Quite a few I haven’t read and will hold my tongue on. But Agile, Scrum, user stories, and the daily interview-for-your-own job ritual can fucking die in a taint fire. All that garbage ruined what was once a great career for the otherwise unemployably intelligent.

AOC’s 70 percent billionaire tax is not high enough; 90 percent is more like it

You can keep a billionaire tax sustainable if you keep reminding the population that taxing billionaires more means, all else being equal, the middle class pays less.

Right now, middle class taxes are way too high, in large part because we indulge billionaires.

AOC’s 70 percent billionaire tax is not high enough; 90 percent is more like it

Capitalism is taking advantage of disparities in markets and rewarding a select few who figure out and exploit those disparities.

Correct, but I’d add “who already have the resources”.

You don’t have to be clever to play capitalism. You have to start out with the money and connections to take advantage of disparities and opportunities (which are often obvious, if inaccessible to most).

Millennials’ pay still stunted by the 2008 financial crash

It’s not only paychecks that have soured. It’s also job quality. Employers don’t need to invest in their people anymore, not only because of 2008 but also because of outsourcing and automation. Genuine programming jobs are pretty much gone in favor of ticket-shop “Agile Scrum” jobs.

The only way to have a career in the corporate world is to have rich and connected parents your bosses are scared of… to have contacts who can get kids kicked out of schools and wives kicked off charity boards unless the execs take your career advancement as seriously as they take their own. The truth about the corporate system is that if you don’t have that kind of air support, it’s going to be a total waste of time, because the good projects and opportunities will be given to the rich kids whose parents the managers are afraid of.

What jobs are too much work or danger for what they pay?

I don’t consider open-plan offices egalitarian. On the contrary, they exacerbate the power inequities of the workplace.

They make everyone naked, but the bosses have (by decree, beyond any appeal) 36-inch dicks they can whack people over the head with at will.

What jobs are too much work or danger for what they pay?

You’re constantly visible from all angles to people who can turn off your income for no good reason or for nonsensical reasons and who have a history (as a class) of doing that, even if it hurts the business, and sometimes just to prove they can. You’re subjected to noise and disturbances in your peripheral vision that you barely notice but that your brain has to work extra to filter out, so you’re constantly tired and don’t know why. You’re constantly worried about people creeping up on you. At lunch you’re subjected to people’s disgusting eating sounds. You have to appear stressed-out at all times (since it makes you look busy; seeming relaxed at work will make people dislike you) and this will, over time, make you stressed out… because almost all of us have an in-built aversion to cognitive dissonance. While you’re in the fishbowl, you’re expected to do work that requires actual focus, but you can’t do it well because of the terrible environment, and it takes 4 times longer than it otherwise would. You eventually develop vertigo, headaches, and dissociative symptoms which are the beginning of what is called “open-plan syndrome” by psychiatrists in the Bay Area and, if it continues for a few years, you start getting panic attacks, which are a topic of their own, but will usually disable you to a point that, in today’s appearance-obsessed, zero-substance corporate world, makes you unemployable. The truth about panic attacks is that, once treated, they’re just another boring health problem (like a less life-threatening version of epilepsy) but the stigma is sufficient that, if it gets out that you have them, you’ll never be trusted with real work again.

On top of all that, we’re hard-wired to associate visibility from behind with low social status (you’ve probably noticed that the most disliked people in your office have their computer monitors visible to the largest number of people; that’s intentional) and to further associate low social status with failure. So your brain is picking up the cues and telling you that whatever you’re doing isn’t fucking working because it’s been 7 goddamn years and you’re still in the fishbowl, nowhere close to the high-flying executive job you were implicitly promised (because, let’s be honest, corporate America would be overthrown, with executives hanging from lampposts, in about 27 minutes if people knew how bad their odds of advancing really were). And yet society demands you keep doing this pointless shit that isn’t leading to any of the promised rewards. Eventually the brain pulls a motivational cut (“Yo, asshole; what you’re doing isn’t working”) and now you have depression.

Working in an open-plan office is like having a constant anxiety disorder that can’t be medicated except by turning you into an unemployable zombie (which means you can’t afford those medications, which means you go into withdrawal, and that’s hella fun). Oh, and it gets worse as you get older. After 5 years, you start to experience brain fog (because the brain is disengaging to protect itself from physical damage). After 10, you have constant low-grade nausea that tends to spike at inconvenient times. At 15 years, if you haven’t moved up in the ranks and earned yourself enough genuine respect to have privacy, you’re on the verge of being unemployably depressed. After 20… well, no one really knows, because the kinds of companies that have so little respect for their workers as to use these office plans also don’t hire older people, because there’s a line out the door of 22-year-olds who have no idea what they’re doing, but who are young and clueless and therefore make their bosses “feel like men” (whatever that means) which makes them eminently more employable.

I doubt that working in an open-plan office was ever good, but now it’s especially bad. The market value of production work (of any kind) goes down by about 5% each year (due to technological advancement, which would be a good thing, if we were a more equitable society) and so the corporate environment is teeming with people (“Spreadsheet Eichmanns”, I call them, but I think they prefer to be called “efficiency consultants”) whose literal job it is to walk around and decide who the firm can do without. Since they’re bullshit artists who don’t understand companies, they often get it wrong, which means that even if it’d take 5 people to replace you, they’ll sometimes pull the trigger. It’ll hurt the company in the end (most corporate cost cutting is actually cost externalization) but that’s no use to you. And when the company learns its lesson, (a) the Spreadsheet Eichmanns will have moved on to some other project and nothing will stick to them, and (b) the firm won’t hire you back, but replace you with some clueless recent college grad for reasons discussed above.

The worst Black Mirror episode is that nameless interactive one that lasts several hours and that you have to watch over and over.

What jobs are too much work or danger for what they pay?

Anything with an open-plan office. Having your fight-or-flight response fucked with has all kinds of nasty cumulative effects over time. If the panic attacks don’t get you, the cortisol-induced obesity will.

Big cities feed on their hinterlands to sustain growth. Individuals who leave small areas for large cities are better educated and have higher cognitive abilities than those who stay.

They also stop breeding at replacement rate. The combination of the two effects (selection for intelligence plus lowering reproductive rates) means that cities can accurately be described as ‘IQ shredders’.

I don’t think it can be blamed on cities. Society has negative demand for children: massive financial burdens on the parents, minimal to nonexistent support, diminishing career options.

There’s also so much that can go wrong. Even if you have two well-adjusted smart parents, the kid can be a dud, or a serial killer, etc.

The smarter you are, the less appeal there is to you in creating people, at your own expense, that society will abuse because they weren’t born into the right connections. Smart people realize the con.

A summary of the whole #NoEstimates argument

I wonder how the fuck it became socially acceptable for bosses to ask for estimates when underlings aren’t allowed to ask their bosses, “How long do you think it’ll be until I’m making your salary?” Reciprocity, yo.

America is falling out of love with billionaires, and it’s about time

I am aware of what it means. My point is that this attitude existed (at least in theory) among the US upper class for a short time: 1933-80. The main reason was that mid century historical conditions (rise of communism, Second World War, space race) forced the US rich to be atypically decent for a time… but after 1980 those factors went away and they could be little shits again.

America is falling out of love with billionaires, and it’s about time

The problem is that humans die and are replaced with other humans. America fell out of love with the super rich in the 1930s. Then those Americans died, and their children (other their grandchildren, etc) didn’t learn the lessons because they weren’t there to suffer the same injustices their parents did. Things got better for a while but then we forgot why they were better and what we had to do to keep them going.

One change that influenced this is that globalization started in earnest. Globalization has been more good than bad, but one of the evil things that happened is that our post-1940 noblesse oblige national elite– a defanged, snooty but harmless, humbled “WASP” descendant of the robber barons– became a part of an openly malignant global elite with no concept of national loyalty.

The 1970s CEO made a couple million per year (in today’s dollars) and had to follow traffic laws. He measured himself against overseas socioeconomic counterparts: dictators who were laws unto themselves, oil sheikhs with harems, and (after 1989) post-Soviet kleptocrats who just took whatever they could. So, our national elite (our 1%) saw that they were more restrained and poorer than everyone else’s 1% and felt they came up short. That’s what led to the evils of the past few decades: rich Boomers seeing murderous despots in private jets and wanting that too.

I think a big part of the problem in the US is that, because we’re such a young country, we haven’t learned yet how to defend our culture against people with money. No country’s doing it very well to be honest, but we’re especially bad because we’ve only had a couple centuries to build our national culture.

People of Chicago, what is -30F really like?

It’s not nearly as bad as 33 °F (1 °C) with rain and wind. “Humid cold” isn’t actually a thing because cold air is always dry, but a pelting rain around freezing (or, better yet, a full-on ice storm) is the worst because there’s no way to dress for it: if you dress for a normal 33 °F (light jacket) you will freeze, but if you dress warm enough to keep out the water and wind, you will get hot.

Okay, so what’s real cold like?

The threshold between regular winter cold (jacket, possibly gloves) and dress-for-it cold (multiple layers, gloves and hat necessary) is (for me) about 20 °F (–7 °C). You can still do most things outside down pretty easily to about –10 °F (–23 °C) with regular winter gear, including a scarf. Your nose will freeze around 10 °F (–12 °C) and your eyes around –5 °F (–21 °C) but neither is harmful. You’ll want a hat and your ears especially will get cold (and that hurts like a bitch) if uncovered.

When the wind chill gets below –20 °F (–29 °C) you need to start thinking about multiple layers of gloves and socks, as well as a ski mask or full facial scarf. You’ll want to wear long underwear or snow pants– possibly both. Exposed skin gets cold fast.

Pretty much any degree of cold is tolerable with layers. If you dress for it, –30 °F (–34 °C) honestly isn’t that bad. You’ll spend 5–10 minutes armoring up when you leave the house (and taking off your winter gear when you get inside). Being outside though, if you’re dressed for it, is… actually pretty fun.

If you want to experience more extreme cold than that, you can look into cryotherapy. A session only costs about $40 and you can experience 3 minutes of –256 °F (–160 °C). They give you two layers of cotton gloves and socks, and you have to wear underwear if you’re a guy, but the rest of the body can take it for that long. I have no idea whether cryotherapy has the benefits it’s touted to have, but it’s an interesting experience worth trying at least once.

Howard Schultz’s Claims of “Centrism” Are Laughable Given His Record as Starbucks CEO

One good thing about Trump is that he’s murdered the whole “centrist” (in the US, this means a right-winger who wants to be socially respectable) canard about how “we should have a CEO president” as opposed to lifelong public servants (almost as if the latter were a bad thing). We didn’t learn the lesson from Bush, but Trump has been such a disaster that perhaps we’ve figured it out this time.

Real talk: clean CEOs, at a certain scale, don’t exist. You don’t rise to the top and stay there without serious compromise. Ethical capitalists exist but they’re usually running small firms that invest in their people (and that are hard to get into, because everyone wants to work there). They’re quite rare.

The idea of a corporate executive becoming president is like that of a drug kingpin becoming head of the police force. Can it happen? Sure, and it does in some countries– especially the politically degraded ones. It shouldn’t, though.

A reminder that Rick Santorum is trying to erase this picture from the internet.


Writers of reddit, what cliché should people avoid like the plague?

Poetry, I shall provide.

Her boobs were boobing boobily;

their boobing did not yield.

She brushed her boobs out of the way,

to storm the battlefield.

“Why are my boobs so effing big?”

she asked the God of Boobs,

and with a boobing Boobsword swing

beheaded orcish newbs.

Writers of reddit, what cliché should people avoid like the plague?

That’s actually quite a good opening sentence, for its plot twist.

“You thought I was just going to punish you with purple prose. Nope. Now, picture a severed unspecified body part. Also, custard.”

Writers of reddit, what cliché should people avoid like the plague?

There’s a difference between tropes and cliches.

A trope is a recurring story element. You can’t help but find those, even if after the fact. A character who follows a stereotype will be a trope; so will one who defies the stereotype.

Cliches are what you describe: lazy writing that relies on what sounds witty or resonant to the inexperienced. But if it makes sense for the story to have the princess trapped in a tower, that’s not necessarily evil– although it will probably make the story if she solves the problem herself rather than waiting for a white knight.

The Long Walk – /r/OCRwritingWomen

I keep it on during the first draft (just for speed, not because I can’t spell) but I’m cognizant of where it tends to burn me.

Mistyped “elbow” turning into “below” has burned me once. (As in “she touched her below”.) Revision is fundamental.

Some sex scenes from a book my ex roommate wrote (definitely a NSFW read)

“Of course, the men up above were greatly disturbed when they noticed that the archer’s anus was stretched open with white slime leaking out of it, but they were even more flabbergasted when they saw an eight foot tall devil around the corner with a bloody raging boner.”

-5 for “greatly”, an unnecessary adverb.

Some sex scenes from a book my ex roommate wrote (definitely a NSFW read)

Here I was, agonizing (in my fifth draft) over whether a minor character who gets one POV scene is smart enough that I can use semicolons.

Writers of reddit, what cliché should people avoid like the plague?

Suddenly, her eyes were on the mirror.

“Shit, it happened again,” she exclaimed, as she blindly reached out, accidentally colliding with the silvered glass portal, knocking a few things off of it. Why did her eyes teleport? No one else’s did.

She felt a squish under her bare foot, and another. “Dammit,” she said. She would never again behold her perfect bosom.

Writers of reddit, what cliché should people avoid like the plague?

Her boobs boobed boobily, boobing up to a boobish heave, as she thrust her claymore, Boobsword, into the orc’s rippling but asymmetrical abdominal muscles.

(Yes, I recognize that a claymore is a striking sword, not a rapier.)

What happens regularly that would horrify a person from 100 years ago?


It happened then too, but they had that flu going around.

An Utterly Impartial History of Britain (or 2000 Years Of Upper Class Idiots In Charge) by John O’Farrell

American here. You guys could have it worse. At least your upper class fuckheads are semi-cultured. Ours, I wonder if they’ve even figured out toilet paper.

I actually think the Continental idle rich have the right idea. When we force the rich to work, they take all the decent jobs and the middle class can’t advance. There will probably always be people born into wealth; convincing them to be lazy and go soft is the best strategy. Everyone wins that way.

Can we talk about the TRUE Fyre Festival hero?

It was fun, dissecting the tech industry. These days, though, I’m more focused on my novel, which I’m desperately trying to have finished this year. It turns out that it’s a lot more work than it seems, especially if you’re trying to write to a literary (as opposed to commercial) standard.

Applying for jobs these days like…

it’s a shit test. the more shit you can take, the more they want you to work there.

Exactly. And the prize is more shit, for years. It’s how the corporate system works. Second prize for winning the shit-eating contest is more shit to eat. Third prize is, “You’re fired”.

First prize? There is none. The good jobs have been carved out and allocated to the generationally well-connected (who don’t need jobs, because they’re already rich) twenty years ago.

The only reason people apply themselves in the corporate system, instead of working to tear it down, is because they think the adversary will someday run out of shit to feed them. It hasn’t happened yet.

Applying for jobs these days like…

This guy taleos.

Try it.

I think durian has a nonlinearity similar-in-kind but completely opposite to that of skatole (which smells sweet in small doses, but it literally what makes shit smell awful). Durian fumes are the opposite. They stink in small amounts, but once you’re smell-blind to the bad basis vectors and only pick up the good ones, it smells passable– and it tastes great.

That said, I’ve only had fresh durian in the Philippines. I haven’t worked up the courage to try durian from DC or New York, which has presumably traveled quite a bit.

Smell is probably the most nonlinear of the human senses; all sorts of scents become radically different as concentrations and durations vary. For example, hydrogen sulfide smells like a rotten egg in small amounts. In large amounts, it’s odorless (it destroys your sense of smell) and can rapidly kill you.

World’s Billionaires: Taxing Us Our Fair Share Would Be “Disastrous”

Seriously, fuck these Davos assholes.

You know why these overfed corporate twats get trigger3d by AOC? Because they are the past– tried-and-failed ideas, divide-and-conquer techniques of diminishing capability, $120 dinners no more imaginative than steak and potatoes– and they suspect that she is the future. These are the shrill cries of the dinosaurs five minutes after Chicxulub.

If the Davos men don’t like it, do it. These fuckers have done such a bad job of running the world, they have zero credibility.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has more Twitter power than media, establishment

She has (at least now) what is missing in 100% of media, establishment, and corporate content: authenticity.

That may change over time, as the generationally connected frauds who run this society court her. You see it in authors, who write one decent (but commercially successful) book and then get into the cocktail scene with literary agent types and book buzz people, and never again write a thing worth reading. I hope it doesn’t happen to her. We’ll see.

For now, though, she’s one of the few people in politics who isn’t at least partially owned by the frauds who own everything (including most politicians).

What socially unacceptable thing should be socially acceptable?

Open discussion of whether it’s time for a global overthrow of the upper class, whether violence should be used to do the job, and how much.

I’m not saying “eat the rich”. I don’t think anyone who’s thought deeply about this wants to hurt people because they are rich. (Not all rich people are bad, violence has negative follow-on effects, etc.) It’s not about vengeance; it’s about solving the problem. We have a few decades to bring the world from widespread dysfunction, poverty, and environmental degradation… to a state in which we all get along, poverty is extremely rare, and we’re decent stewards of our environment. If the process requires that 50,000 corporate executives and private-jet fucks take a dirt nap, it’s better that than to have 7 billion people continue to live in misery. Which is worse, for hundreds of thousands of Americans to die of health insurance and for millions to die of catastrophic climate change over the next 50 years… or for a few bad actors to eat it?

The Gross World Product is $17,000 per capita and doubling every ~18 years. That would be about 12 years if we could restore research funding to 1950s–60s levels. We can eradicate poverty, on a global scale, within our lifetimes. Or we can let the people currently in charge continue to steal everything, and find ourselves having three more lost decades and wishing we had done something about our corporate problem when we still had the chance.

By 2125, we’ll either have a comfortable global basic income, providing a upper-middle-class standard of living (by today’s standard) for everyone, or we’ll be (as a civilization, if not biologically) dead. Of course, I’ll be literally dead by then, but since I think reincarnation is a credible possibility– of course, I could be wrong; if there’s no afterlife, I won’t know, so I don’t worry about that– I don’t look at the long-term future as someone else’s problem. It’s important to get this right.

People who have ‘died’ or had a near-death experience, how did it affect your views on religion or an after-life?


Don’t do it.

The Alt-Right is Recruiting Depressed People

First of all, it’s worth noting that it’s recruiting depressed men. At least as many women have depression, possibly more. As far as I can tell, it’s not trying to recruit depressed women.

Also, Jordan Peterson gets a lot wrong, but I don’t think he’s in league with the hate groups. He’s a conservative and unfortunately his public misinterpretation of a Canadian law has made him somewhat of an alt-right darling, but I don’t think that was ever his intention. His lectures are actually pretty good when he stays within his expertise (psychology). It’s when he gets into politics and economics that he’s full of shit. That being said, I don’t think he’s in the same category as the hate groups. I think he’s an eccentric conservative with a weirdly topical charisma.

His observations about male nihilism are worth noting. I don’t necessarily buy into essentialism about women naturally being more inclined to be maternal or find childbearing purposeful. However, societies recurrently impose certain expectations on men and others on women, and it’s an invariable expectation of free societies that a man must “provide” and that an adult man must earn his coin on his own terms (not as a subordinate). A man who lives on the whim of another, or on his reputation, is not a man, but a mere boy. I’m not making an essentialist claim. (Who knows what is biologically essential in humans? We generate shitty societies and have always lived, in aggregate, far below our potential.) That’s just an observation of an attitude that recurs epigenetically across societies.

It’s impossible to say which regime is more oppressive– historically, societies have been far worse to women than men– but “male privilege”, in 2019, is an insulting oversimplification. The rich male experience is top notch, sure. To be a poor or subordinate male is pretty lousy. (Not to say that there aren’t lots of women having lousy experiences too; our society sucks.) To claim that all men are privileged is far off the mark. The expectation to “provide” slowly kills most of them.

Capitalistic masculinity is imploding under its own contradiction: it tells men that to be valuable, they must earn money, but the only way 99% of them can earn money is to self-emasculate and subordinate to higher-ranking people (most of whom attained that rank through inheritance and generational connection, not merit). The contradiction is obvious, and it makes disaffected men such an easy target for fascists and the alt-right.

Here’s why we’re at such danger of militarism: over five thousand years, society has created exactly and only one situation in which it’s acceptable for an adult male to be a subordinate: put a gun in his hand and call him “solider”. Now he’s defending the homeland, which is considered honorable. Operational subordination in war is not seen as contrary to masculinity. But if he subordinates at work, in some office to some bloated fail-male, then he is considered an embarrassment. Not only has he failed to provide security for his spouse and children (because he can be fired at any time) but he has cast shade on his parents, for if they had set him up right, he wouldn’t be a subordinate.

I’m not writing about what should be– most of our society’s traditional attitudes toward gender are stupid– and I make no essentialist claims, but there are powerful epigenetic patterns that recur in societies. When there is a robust labor market and workers have clout, masculinity can be stable, because workers have enough value not to be fully subordinate– there is reciprocity between employer and employee when the latter is hard enough to replace. When the labor market degrades (as it has, due to automation and globalization, and will continue to do so) it becomes toxic. Capitalistic masculinity is a moral and cultural dead end, fully incompatible with a technological society that does not need as much human labor.

Do I wish we could evolve beyond outdated notions of what it means to “be a man”? Of course I do. That said, the situation we have right now is one where men are defined by their ability to “provide”. In the 1940s–70s boom there was legitimate demand for skill and one could live on one’s talents. However, we now have a degraded labor market and record-low demand for skill, which forces workers to live not on talent but on servility and reputation, and that’s a world where there is no place for masculine men. A competent fascist (and I’m glad that Trump is an incompetent fascist, for this among other reasons) could easily take advantage of the male purpose vacuum.

The good news is that I think capitalistic masculinity is on the decline. Millennials grew up believing in it (for the most part) but have become disillusioned, but I think people are becoming more progressive over time. So, perhaps some of these outmoded ideas– the ones that hold up corporate capitalism, capitalistic masculinity, and the threat of fascism– will finally die.

The super rich at Davos are scared of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s proposal to hike taxes on the wealthy

They shouldn’t be scared. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, if the momentum behind her is indicative of a true national change, is on track to solve our upper-class problem in the way that’s best for all of us: legally and nonviolently.

No one actually wants to “eat the rich”. Most of us just want (a) better leadership, especially around climate change and the threat to the labor market represented by automation, (b) wages to reflect productivity increases again, (c) more representative government, (d) legitimate jobs instead of gig-economy bullshit and surveilled/squeezed nightmare jobs, and (e) economic opportunities and freedom like previous generations had.

The problem is that some of the very rich are very stupid. (I’ve been attacked by literal fascists; read up on me.) If the Davos fucks fight now, against a peaceful and reasonable left, they could make things worse for all of us. None of us want violence– nonviolent solution of the Davos/0.1% problem is preferable, but a violent resolution still beats none at all.

They grow up so fast

It’s hard to tell, but I think it’s Celeste Barber, an Australian comedian. (Maybe not?) Doubt she’d be offended.

John Kerry told an audience at Davos that President Donald Trump should resign

Doesn’t it strike anyone that the idea of a former Secretary of State bashing the US president to a group of foreigners is a bit sketchy?

I despise Trump and I’ve bashed him in the open (although I’m a nobody, not a former SoS). Still, I don’t mind that he’s bashing him to “foreigners”. (He is a former SoS.) That said, he shouldn’t even be at Davos. He’s taking audience not with foreigners, but with America’s enemies.

Just like toxic masculinity is a thing, toxic globalism is a thing, and the WEF is it. (I generally identify as a globalist, because globalism’s inevitable, but we need to do it right.) Fuck Davos.

John Kerry told an audience at Davos that President Donald Trump should resign

The amount of hypocrisy at Davos. Private planes from one corner to the other. I would respect liberals if they at least held true to their values.

You may not be popular with this comment but I agree (and I’m a leftist). I lived in New York and limousine liberals (who should probably be called private jet liberals these days, to adjust for 21st-century inequality) are the absolute fucking worst. Every one of them can choke on a taint. They’re just as fascist as the right, but they take superficially leftist positions because it’s good PR, especially in the cultural industries. They’re not liberals; they’re royalists who went to good enough schools to know how to make themselves socially acceptable.

the one thing that should unite us all is that Trump is a byproduct of a political system run by the elite. Let’s compromise and take them all out of government instead of shouting for Trump to be removed from office.

Agree. I don’t like Trump at all, but he’s a symptom of a much deeper problem. As far as fascism goes, he’s not even very good at it. I’d rather have him– perhaps he’ll poison the well against fascists and corporates (two facets of the same problem) for a while– than a competent version of the same guy.

John Kerry told an audience at Davos that President Donald Trump should resign

Donald Trump’s presidency has been an unmitigated disaster, so he’s right, but being at Davos (much less speaking to those evil fucks) annihilates any moral credibility you’re trying to have.

I don’t think Trump will resign, unless it’s to save his ass (or Ivanka’s) from legal repercussions, and it may be too late for that. Otherwise, he’s going to burn-baby-burn to the end. The shutdown is just a foretaste.

Book Joe is exhausting (potential spoilers)

I haven’t read the book, but TV series Joe is semi-likable– by contrast at least, since so many other characters are horrible– over episodes 1–7, but his true character shows when he dumps Karen. In the end, he’s just like Beck: addicted to horrible people (e.g., Benji) and destructive emotional drama. That’s why he can’t be happy with a well-adjusted woman. He uses other people for his own self-destruction.

He becomes much more unlikable later in the series. His oh-so-traumatic back story (Candace) turns out to be… that a shitty person cheated on him, which almost everyone has at least one instance of. And then he lost his cool and killed someone who probably didn’t know about him at all.

Benji was the free kill that (at least in fiction) everyone gets, because everyone likes to see people like him get theirs; Peach was a case of self-defense (though illegal, as he was trespassing) and, besides, she was a classist gatekeeping 0.1-percenter. By the end, though, it’s pretty obvious that he’s not merely delusiona, but a hypocritical, deranged, and overall terrible people. The fact that his victims are also terrible people is more of an artifact of the broken clock effect (right twice a day) than moral principle (which he doesn’t really have, except for his own perverse male-chauvinist quixotry).

“Kids these days have it easy”

Yeah, outside of the West Coast (which was sort of a backwater then, and got lucky) the mid-Boomers (born in the early ’50s) got fucked. Not as fucked as Millennials, but more fucked than the years before and after them.

One of the disgusting things about our society is that a bad early start follows a person. We really are a one-chance society, and a lot of the mid-late Boomers got screwed.

Silents probably had it best, work-wise. That was the age of the three-martini lunch, in which actually working an honest day put you on the fast track. On the other hand, there was no internet, so you couldn’t stealth-slack the way you can now.

“Kids these days have it easy”

Boomers don’t all deserve to be painted with the same brush. The “Boomers had it easy and fucked us in the ass” narrative doesn’t apply to black Boomers, or gay Boomers, or Boomers who died in Vietnam and never got to buy the affordable houses.

The Boomer 0.1%– the ones who sold our country out to a rapacious, antidemocratic global elite– is just about the worst tide of atrocious human garbage the world has ever seen, but regular Boomers aren’t really any worse than any other generation. Besides, the post-Boomer 0.1% is just as disgusting, if not worse. I work in tech, where the narrative is contrary to the general national one: rich young sleazebags (parentally lifted, of course) firing older programmers.

“Kids these days have it easy”

you have two choices: 1) make more money

Yeah. They should just leverage Daddy’s connections to get $500k sinecures or Series A rounds. What the fuck is wrong with people, they have no gumption.

“Kids these days have it easy”

Unpopular opinion: People don’t have the right to live wherever they want.

This isn’t an issue of people wanting to “live wherever they want”. This is an issue of people needing jobs because that’s how our society works. Plenty of people would rather live in the mountains than in a dysfunctional city like San Francisco, but the labor market has imploded everywhere in the country, except for a few cities under the drug-dealer-style “beneficence” of the global elite.

Some places are in high demand and only individuals who are capable of producing an exceptional amount of value can afford to live there.


The rich of the current U.S. have (in about 40 years) turned one of the most equitable, successful countries in the history of the world into one of the most corrupt, dysfunctional ones that modern times have seen. We should be putting corporate executives in the stocks for this, not calling them “individuals who are capable of producing an exceptional amount of value”. They don’t produce a damn thing. They take.

“Kids these days have it easy”

They are certainly stress testing how little they can give the plebs before they storm the bastille. Shit. I mean really really pushing the limits. The strongest bull market in history coming to an end and companies are still telling folks they can’t afford to give em’ a fuckin 8% raise because of the recession that happened a decade ago. The balls on these guys.

Right. They want the system to run so that the plebs don’t revolt but nothing improves. The problem (for them and us) is that they have no conception of externalized costs or systemic fragility, because they only think in terms of short-term profit. Ergo, we have a socioeconomic system that is designed to putter along in perpetual semi-misery, but that will actually have catastrophic effects on everyone when it fails.

If it should be a possibility, I would prefer a nonviolent, legal solution to our upper-class problem. I don’t hate them; they are merely a problem that must be solved, like bedbugs. That said, I think it’s highly likely that they will defend what they have with their lives, in which case no one but them is responsible for whatever happens. I’d rather have 50,000 corporate fucks die now than 3 billion die because of climate change and global famine.

“Kids these days have it easy”

The rich (if you must generalize) have no interest in killing off the poor. They just want them working, preferably as many hours as possible for as little pay as possible. This isn’t about class genocide, it’s about restoring feudalism.

This is true, but they’ll resort to genocide if their way of life is threatened. It’s better to hit them first.

“Kids these days have it easy”

But places like SF (and bay), NY, are hot spots, have to be. Which market forces would push the same in-livability in other parts of the country?

The problem is that our society lets the upper class get away with anything. They’ve stolen all the jobs to give them to their useless, effete progeny, and the result is that there’s no high-end work outside of a few expensive cities (and even there, the odds of getting a real job are extremely low).

“Kids these days have it easy”

This is an artifact of buying a home in an area where real estate becomes very valuable because everyone wants to live there.


Also, the problem with San Francisco isn’t “everyone wants to live there”. It’s been a pretty shitty place for about 10–15 years; the old city’s gone. Rather, it’s a mix of two factors: (1) the job market became roadkill outside of a few cities, and (2) NIMBY policies (combined with price inelasticity) created a supply shortage.

We ended up with a system where people who weren’t born into NYC/SF real estate and connections are treated as low-class, transient migrant labor (within their own country!)… unable to afford housing where economic circumstances have forced them to live, and forced to work 12+ hour days at shit jobs because a bunch of useless rich kids pulled daddy connection to get the few real jobs that still exist.

We need to fix this. It’ll be ugly, but it has to be done.

“Kids these days have it easy”

That’s how you get another great depression.

I don’t like that banks made off like bandits, but that had nothing to do with the bailout and everything to do with idiot Republicans gutting the regulations that ought to have followed.

The labor market has been in a Great Depression for 10 years. Real jobs, where they pay you a living wage and invest in your career, have been replaced. Even in the tech industry, there are 20 “Agile Scrum” jobs per real programming job.

I’d rather have the whole society, top to bottom, take the hit… then have a situation of boom-era prices (everything’s fine, if you have rich parents and are generationally well-connected; hence, prices stay high) and depression-era job quality. The next crisis, we need to reverse the standard practice and have the upper class take the brunt of it. After all, they caused it.

In 2008, I thought the bank bailout was the right call, because I didn’t want to see another Great Depression. But in the years since then, we’ve had the worst of both worlds: a Great Depression for workers, but enough booming for prices to stay afloat. Next time, let everything burn. The upper class had their chance to make amends and stop being evil, and they didn’t take it. Fuck ’em all to death.

(Netflix) One thing that’s I think is lost in this conversation, are the 20-30 people working on the Fyre app only who all lost their job without being able to claim unemployment

You’re claiming I use sock puppet accounts… with a sock puppet account.

Your shit’s hilarious. I really do wish you the best of luck with it.

(Netflix) One thing that’s I think is lost in this conversation, are the 20-30 people working on the Fyre app only who all lost their job without being able to claim unemployment

failed boardgame

News to me.

banned from Wikipedia, Quora, and Hackernews

WP was more than a decade ago. The others reflect badly on the sites, not on me.

fired from google

News to me.

reputation for being incompetent

Are you sure you’ve got the right guy?

What fact totally changed your perspective?

I’m about 95. So either they’ll need to carve out some leg muscle, or the journey will have to scare me enough that I drop 5 kg on the way.

What fact totally changed your perspective?

You just have to gather all the 90kg projectiles (including large people, like me) in one place.

(Netflix) One thing that’s I think is lost in this conversation, are the 20-30 people working on the Fyre app only who all lost their job without being able to claim unemployment

No, 35. And it happened to me. I’ve had nothing close to the career that I should have had, because (a) I got conned in my 20s, and (b) I was attacked by literal fascists in the mid-2010s.

Tech is dark and full of terrors. Keep your head down and you’ll probably be fine, but if you’re a keep-your-head-down type, you can do better in the real professions. See, technology was supposed to be a haven for the high-IQ weirdos, but then the corporates took it over and make it a shittier version of Wall Street. Which led me to realize that I’d have done better if I had sold out and spent my 20s sucking up.

Can we talk about the TRUE Fyre Festival hero?

I coined the term in 2013 and I’ve had death threats because of this essay (which is why it’s no longer on my blog, although someone else archived it, which in 2019 I’m glad for.)

Which documentary is better: the Netflix one or the Hulu one?

The Hulu one does a better job of portraying who Billy McFarland is, and how con artists operate in general. The Netflix one gets some internal details that probably couldn’t have been found anywhere else. They’re both worth watching; people in the future who are curious about how bad 2010s capitalism was (“Grandpa, did people really have to buy insurance on their own bodies?”) will study this shit; it’s massively entertaining, though, to see it now happening to people similar enough to people we know today for us to understand that they (Bahamanians excepted) mostly deserve it.

I think the Hulu version’s a little more incisive and, on the whole, better; but they’re both worth watching.

So Are We Just Gonna NOT Talk About That Dude Who Was About To Be Pimped Out For Bottled Water in the Bahamas? (Netflix Doc)

This guy had been under tremendous stress, burning both ends of the candle for weeks on end, putting out daily, hourly fires in order to make sure the festival launched in time. Then the boss tells him that it will all be for naught unless he offers sexual services to the customs guy.

I’m imagining Billy McFarland also had him believing lives were on the line.

It’s not booze. It’s not entertainment. It’s water. If you have thousands of people on the island– I know there were only a few hundred, but this is a fog-of-war situation– in 88 degree heat and there’s no water, people will get very sick and possibly die.

I don’t mean to absolve Andy King. He supported the career of a smug piece of shit whose face just asks to be punched. However, I don’t fault him for, in the fog of war, being willing to blow someone in what could be a life-or-death situation.

So Are We Just Gonna NOT Talk About That Dude Who Was About To Be Pimped Out For Bottled Water in the Bahamas? (Netflix Doc)

That was the moment I really wanted to punch Billys face. I can’t even describe how disrespectful, sexist and inhuman this sentence is. My full respect to Andy King. Loved that guy and his humurous way talking about this incident and Fyrefraud.

Andy King basically made Billy McFarland’s career. Having watched far too many sociopaths get careers handed to them by skeezy older men (although usually the skeezy older men are heterosexuals looking to live vicariously through a young sociopath, not gay themselves; see my other posts on chickenhawking) I don’t feel “full respect” for him. Though I do pity him for being put in such a disgusting position.

I wouldn’t have thought less of him if he blew someone for water, though. He probably thought (in the fog of war) that lives were on the line. If it’s 88 degrees and you have a bunch of people without water– especially, say, Type I diabetics– there’s a good chance it gets bad quickly.

Can we talk about the TRUE Fyre Festival hero?

I think Billy McFarland just wanted to humiliate someone, to feel power.

People do weird shit when they’re desperate. Look at Trump and the never-ending shutdown.

Also, chickenhawking is a weird psychological mess. (See my other comments in this thread.) I’ve seen far too much of it for one lifetime (having worked in VC-funded startups and ex-startups where chickenhawking is everywhere).

It’s rare that you encounter a chickenhawk who’s gay, though. 99% of business chickenhawking is male bonding over the destruction and humiliation of women– the older man hands a young sociopath his career, the young sociopath rips apart women like he’s a late-April tornado, and the old backer gets to hear the juicy weekend stories. You can argue that chickenhawking (like frat culture in general) is homoerotic– it doesn’t really matter; whether it is or is not homoerotic doesn’t make it any less (or more) disgusting– but it almost always involves two men who identify outwardly (and probably live) as heterosexuals.

Can we talk about the TRUE Fyre Festival hero?

Having worked in VC-funded startups, I’m all too familiar with chickenhawking, but this was weird chickenhawking. Usually, the chickenhawk is a heterosexual older male who funds a young sociopath’s career in order to live vicariously through him. (Business chickenhawking may be homoerotic, but it’s rarely homosexual. It’s an old guy who did his 20s wrong handing some young twerp a career so he can hear said twerp’s weekend stories.) I could conceive of a gay chickenhawk funding a young gay sociopath. I’ve never heard of a gay man chickenhawking off a straight guy. That’s new, and I thought I had seen everything.

(Netflix) One thing that’s I think is lost in this conversation, are the 20-30 people working on the Fyre app only who all lost their job without being able to claim unemployment

They were probably able to collect unemployment.

That said, the career damage of a bad startup is more than most people realize. In tech, getting conned once in your 20s can ruin you for life.

A lot of us (“us” meaning programmers who were young between 2004–19) bought into the Paul Graham lie that if your startup fails, you get hired at Google or Facebook as a VP because of the supposed accelerated learning of being at a startup.. The reality is that when you’re coming off a failed startup, employers lowball you not only in salary but in title and project allocation. So, I’m sure these people were badly fucked in the long term, but they would have been able to collect unemployment as soon as the paychecks started coming.

Of course, it wouldn’t surprise me if Billy McFarland threatened them with bad references (while his name still meant something) into not collecting unemployment. When startup CEOs get desperate they will resort to anything to hold the bad news back.

Why did Billy invite a video crew to document his latest scam?

Because he’s a dumbass lol. Classic case of someone who never faced repercussions in his life. Probably why he truly didn’t think he was going to jail.

Daddy will get me out of this.

Billy McFarland has a new “Daddy” now.

How Baby Boomers Broke America

It has everything to do with the fact a global oligarchy of ultra-rich elites fuck with everything for their continued benefit and control of resources to continue what has basically been 300+ years of financial slavery and extortion on common people who were not born into that wealth.

What is happening in America today is these same elites cashing out.

Yep. It’s not that specific generations are worse or better. It is, as you said, a global oligarchy that it will fall (by historical chance, but not because we are innately any more or any less heroic) on our generation to destroy… because we’re a few years from running out of time, climate-wise.

How Baby Boomers Broke America

The title should be, how the wealthy elite broke America. For they are the ones who put the politicians in office. Keep blaming generations like Millennials are lazy and Boomers caused all the issues when it’s been the mega rich increasing their wealth on the backs of others.

This is an important observation. It’s not the Boomers who ruined America– it’s the Boomer 1%. The whole “Boomers had it easy” narrative ignores black Boomers, gay Boomers, and Boomers who died in Vietnam.

Approximately 1975 is when the noblesse oblige national elite (which was crummy, but contained itself) disappeared; the new generation of the upper class sold us out to the global elite. It probably had little to do with “the Boomers”. The 1975 CEO barely made a million per year and had to follow U.S. laws; when he came in contact with oil sheikhs who could murder people for weekend fun, and third world despots, and (later) post-Soviet kleptocrats, he felt like he didn’t measure up. In other words, our national elite selling us out and wrecking the country didn’t happen because people born during certain years were evil, but due to inevitable technological and economic forces. (That doesn’t absolve us of responsibility for reversing their damage.)

Reddit, what’s your family’s dark secret? [NSFW]

I always pick the wheelbarrow when I play Weimar Monopoly.

What is a really old video game from the 90’s that everyone should play at least once in their life?

For storyline, I think the golden age was the SNES era (mid-1990s). Final Fantasy I and the later Dragon Quests were anomalies. The resources weren’t usually there to make top-notch story-driven games. And yeah, the bottom 50% of NES games are pretty much unplayable by today’s standard.

One underrated NES game that I like quite a lot, for all its quirks: Legacy of the Wizard. Really captures the better of blocky 1980s games, before genre differentiation split apart puzzle vs. action vs. role-playing games.

After the N64, players and designers seemed focused on other things: graphics, open-world games. Storyline and atmosphere took a backseat. It’s not that they got bad at it; the market just moved to prefer other things from games: realistic explosions, physics engines for driving games, and MMO play.

What is a really old video game from the 90’s that everyone should play at least once in their life?

My reaction too. “Really old” + “from the ’90s” => does not compute.

I wonder if OP knows that there was a notable video game crash in 1983. That’s right: enough of an industry to have crashes, 36 years ago.

Hunters of Reddit, what did you see out there that made you not want to go back into the woods?

“Well, I’ll be buggered…”

Hunters of Reddit, what did you see out there that made you not want to go back into the woods?

“You don’t come here for the huntin’, do ya?”

What Makes a Great Software Engineer

I’m not talking about websites for small businesses here. I’m talking about enterprise projects sponsored by some VP who wants to show his bosses that he can “be tough” and build things that don’t need to be built… that is, most in-house corporate software.

What Makes a Great Software Engineer

Agile is not intended to build crypthographic algorithms, it’s intended to put together business applications and that’s what most of us is usually doing.

Well, this is a bigger problem than what’s typically discussed around here. Why is it that 99% of software programmers work on such bogus projects– not to say that business apps are inherently bogus, but only to agree that Agile is geared toward the low-end, low-yield nonsense barely (if) worth doing– instead of work that moves the world forward?

What Makes a Great Software Engineer

Hire good people, and let them get to work.

Jira [1], Agile, and two-week “sprints” are for people who really shouldn’t be anywhere near a computer.

[1] I’m referring to Jira as a source of all work assignments. It’s a fine bug tracker, but it should have stayed a bug tracker.

What is the one food that you refuse to eat no matter what?

There are trace amounts of almost all natural solid elements in your food. A hamburger probably has about about 100 nanograms of U-238.

What is the one food that you refuse to eat no matter what?

I’ve swum with sharks. For the most part, they aren’t dangerous as long as you don’t act like an idiot. A scuba diver is a space alien to them– not food.

Shark finning ought to be banned all over the world. That’s fucked up.

What Makes a Great Software Engineer

If you can come up with an alternative to both, you’ll probably be a consulting billionaire.

I don’t need to come up with one. It already exists: technical excellence.

What Makes a Great Software Engineer

Not if they have to do slipshod work because the idiots are setting two-week deadlines, which is the whole point of Agile after all.

Waterfall vs. Agile is a false dichotomy. They’re both subtypes of business-driven engineering. It’s like arguing for gonorrhea because “at least it’s not syphilis”.

What Makes a Great Software Engineer

In today’s world of Jira tickets and “Agile” mediocrity, it’s better from a financial standpoint to be mediocre. To fit in.

If you’re mediocre, you get the same paycheck– and keep it as long as you’d like. If you excel, you risk pissing someone off, or scaring someone higher in rank, and getting fired. Excellence isn’t just unrewarded; it’s actively punished in 90+ percent of software environments.

“Trust the Rich Less, Trust Each Other More”

Us and them mentality is dangerous and toxic.

The class war is happening, today. There are people who can’t afford their insulin. The entire government has been shut down because an executive (as they do in corporate) didn’t get what he wants for his career.

“They” see us as useless rabble, even though we do all the work. It’s already us-versus-them, and “we” didn’t start it.

What, you think the people at Davos see you and me as human beings? Ha.

It’s time to fight and it has been time to fight for a long time. It’s better to fight back than surrender and lose everything.

White House now expects the shutdown to hurt the economy even more

If the shutdown ended tomorrow, Trump would brag about his 150-day shutdown.

Manifesto for Half-Arsed Agile Software Development

The Agile Manifesto has some decent (although not unassailable) ideas in it, but standard “Agile” makes software worse. The two-week sprint nonsense and humiliating meetings don’t produce quality software. They produce burnout and slipshod work.

Redditors who went to school with a celebrity, What were they like before they became rich and famous?

I was too disgusted to follow the details of that story but I was immediately turned off by her recounting it.

I mean, kids do dumb/gross stuff in the name of “exploring” and not knowing boundaries or rules. She was 7. (Usually, kids who do that sort of thing were abused themselves and don’t know that it’s wrong.) I’m not a child psychologist and I’m not going to get into the issue of moral culpability. Blowing her sister’s privacy like that, as an adult, was heinous.

Veterinarians abandon profession as suicide rate remains alarmingly high

He was a gorgeous cat. What a great color. I bet he was kind to your son, too.

Why was he abandoned?

We got two tabbies from a no-kill shelter in New York (just before we left the city and had space for cats). The gray one (Henrietta) was adopted out of a kill-shelter and is still semi-feral but an awesome, sweet cat. The brown tabby (Omar, because we were in the process of moving to Baltimore) was given up because apparently an older cat didn’t get along with him, but seeing as Omar is the sweetest cat ever, I doubt that was on him.

Cats are far better than their reputation. They aren’t jerks. They’re sweet; they just have no social skills… which is fun if you have a sense of humor.

Redditors who went to school with a celebrity, What were they like before they became rich and famous?

“The voice of [her] generation.” She called herself that in one of the episodes.

Not me. I’m a leftist anti-racist mostly-feminist socialist but I can’t fucking stand her. She’s what rich, PC limousine liberals want us to find funny. When it comes to humor, I’d rather watch someone with real talent. There are so many top-notch female comedians now (Samantha Bee, Ali Wong, Tina Fey, Michelle Wolf, and the mostly female writers of Mrs. Maisel) that we don’t need this nonsense.

She’s a B+ writer by Hollywood standards. As in, she can put competent scripts together and generate enough drama that people keep watching and talking about it. She’s not stellar, but she’s not incompetent. She could probably put together a novel that a publisher wouldn’t be embarrassed to make a lead title (though it would be forgotten in 20 years). Still, I find her uninteresting. Upper-middle-class white ennui wears thin in a world where there are real things to write about.

Redditors who went to school with a celebrity, What were they like before they became rich and famous?

I do not get how she became such a thing. I’m Gen X; I hereby induct you into the tribe.

I’ve made this defense of Millennials: the reason we look like garbage right now is that (a) most of the genuine among us have been dealt a shitty hand, and (b) the ones rising to positions of prominence now (in tech and the arts) are mostly the garbage promoted by Boomers. If you judge us based on Zuckerberg and Dunham, you’re going to get a skewed view of us.

I think we’re starting to see legit Millennials in politics, though. That makes me happy. Nothing bad to say about Ocasio et al.

Veterinarians abandon profession as suicide rate remains alarmingly high

I’m sorry to hear this, but I don’t think you should beat yourself up. It sounds like you did everything you could to give him a good life and that he died of old age.

Given that the vets couldn’t find a cause after several months of visits, I don’t know that things would have played out differently. It’s quite likely at that age that any efforts to kill what was making him sick would put him at risk of an even worse death.

Three pounds in a month is alarming (and you already were seeing the vet by then) but I don’t think most people would consider 3 pounds over 5 years to be unusual.

Anyway, I doubt Oscar, wherever we all go where we die, bears you any ill will or would want you to feel guilty. Losing a pet sucks.

Redditors who went to school with a celebrity, What were they like before they became rich and famous?

I worked with a woman who claimed to go to high school with Al Gore in Tennessee. She said he was a cheater who, during the annual Easter egg hunt, would sneak into the field (or forest?) an hour early and scoop up as many eggs as he could.

He was dressing up as ManBearPig. However, we now know that MBP is real, so the joke’s on her.

Redditors who went to school with a celebrity, What were they like before they became rich and famous?

I don’t know why people felt a need to let Lena Dunham count as affirmative-action-funny when these days there are plenty of legitimately excellent female comedians.

Lena Dunham is “funny” if you’ve been living under a rock for so long that you can’t imagine the concept of a comedically talented woman. Not only are they out there; they’re not even rare. If you say “women aren’t funny” in 2019 you’re not just sexist– you’re also an idiot– but Dunham is… not funny, and really not notably talented in anything, to be honest. She just had parents who knew people who could give her a career.

And if she’s the voice of my generation, I’m having my telomeres aged two years so I can claim a 1981 birthday and pass as Gen X.

Government employees of the USA, how has this prolonged shutdown affected you or your loved ones?

also, guess what a lot of government workers are doing to make money while furloughed? Driving for Uber. A decrease in demand and an increase in drivers is killing me right now.

This is a point I keep coming back to when I talk about the technological unemployment crisis. People think “some jobs” being affected won’t kill their own chosen industry. They’re wrong. Every demand loss in one industry is going to trigger a refugee crisis in other industries, and we’ll have a chain reaction. The labor market is extremely inelastic downward and we’re headed for immediate catastrophe. No one is safe.

Government employees of the USA, how has this prolonged shutdown affected you or your loved ones?

I work research and analytics and a bad adhd day is enough for a performance review.

What kind of psychopath boss would write you up for having a bad day, especially in research which is supposed to be high-variance work? (I’m assuming by “bad day” you mean not much getting done, not manic freakout.)

Government employees of the USA, how has this prolonged shutdown affected you or your loved ones?

The ’94 Republicans were just as willing to shut the government down when they didn’t get what they wanted. The Tea Party was/is terrible, but the militant assholery really got going with the ’94 midterms. Before that, you’d have a figure like Reagan say “Government is the problem” but not mean it. It wasn’t good, but it wasn’t this bad.

What would you put in a mental health first aid kit?

Panic attack doesn’t properly describe someone having a really bad trip, it can be even worse.

There are also tiers of panic attacks. I don’t think think a bad trip is “worse than” a panic attack, except in the sense that a bad trip can cause a panic attack. But severe panic attacks are trippy in their own right, and it’s scarier to be hallucinating [1] when you know that you’re not on a drug.

[1] Technically, the sensations induced by psychedelics are not hallucinations, and nor are panic visions/voices. They’re not hallucinations because you know they aren’t real. A legitimate hallucination would be when you forget that you’re tripping/panicking, which is a whole other level of dangerous and scary.

What would you put in a mental health first aid kit?

Diazepam is highly addictive, and there are long-term alternatives available. I used to have a prescription for it, and it was scary how dependent I got on the instant calm.

I take clonazepam, which has a slower onset, in increments of 0.25 mg. At first I wondered if it might be easier to have something faster-acting, but I think it was good to get practiced with having to work through it for 15–30 minutes. The clonazepam was enough to convince me that the attack would end… I never needed more than 0.50–0.75 and it would eventually kick in… but slow enough that I could try to ride it out on my own.

Veterinarians abandon profession as suicide rate remains alarmingly high

I noticed my cats weight loss too late.

In hindsight, were there other signs?

My cats fluctuate +/- 2 pounds, and my previous cat got lighter as she got older (from 7.5 pounds at age ~2 to 5.5 pounds at 14). How does one tell normal aging from something to worry about?

Veterinarians abandon profession as suicide rate remains alarmingly high

Glad to hear NZ is civilized.

Just make sure the billionaire Americans planning to use your country like post-war Argentina, if things go bad here, don’t get a nice welcome.

Trump, Jr. Tweets, Compares Mexicans to Animals

If you put either of Donald Trump’s eldest two sons in the stocks, and charged people $50 to punch him in the face, you’d raise enough money to build their dopey dad’s dumb wall.

The 70% marginal tax rate is only the beginning of a fair system

If average Americans took the time to understand this graph there would be civil instability within an afternoon.

The 70% marginal tax rate is only the beginning of a fair system

I don’t know why we should stop at 40%. I think it should be 75%.

I helped Google screw over James Damore


I helped Google screw over James Damore

I’m on the left and was similarly attacked (although not as badly) in the early 2010s. I criticized a Google+ product, ended up on a “unionist risk list”, got a bad Perf score because I was on the list– and had a slew of other horrible things happen in the mid-2010s that had nothing to do with Google, but persisted because I was on that list. My anti-fascist bona fides don’t need much touting; one can read up on me.

I believe every word of this. I don’t agree with Damore’s memo, and I doubt we agree on all that much politically, but I also think Google’s behavior was cowardly and reprehensible. Google pretends to be open to critique, and since 99% of critique is ignored blowing-off-steam, most people can get away with saying a lot on “misc” or “rants” lists. God help you if what you say gets any attention, though.

Google didn’t fire Damore because of a sincere commitment to a more diverse workplace. They fired him out of cowardice. And the tech press is ungodly in its lack of ethics– if you want to talk about “fake news”, that’s all there is in Silicon Valley now that Thiel killed Valleywag.

I helped Google screw over James Damore

In communist China, Mao encouraged people to criticize communism. Anyone who did was murdered.

This is the Hundred Flowers Campaign, which everyone in Corporate America should know about.

I helped Google screw over James Damore

Google got rid of “do no evil”

They got rid of “Don’t be evil” because Paul Buchheit (no comment here on his evil level) coined it and they wanted to distance themselves from him.

Furloughed Federal Employee: Trump’s Speech Like ‘A Slap In The Face’

Make everyone see people just like them…

Unfortunately, this may not have the desired effect. A lot of Trump’s support comes from the “liberal tears” voters and, in their minds, everyone who works for the government is a liberal.

Furloughed Federal Employee: Trump’s Speech Like ‘A Slap In The Face’

He bankrupted the one business that almost literally prints money, a casino

Donald Trump is an utter moron, no question, but the casino business isn’t as easy as people think. The games themselves are reliable for the house, sure (Law of Large Numbers) but it’s labor-intensive and you end up spending a lot of money on comps.

To say that casinos literally print money is like to say that restaurants print money because they sell $7 worth of food (at the grocery store) for $20.

The casino business may be more reliable than restaurants, though. For one, people get addicted. For two, slot machines. The other games are mostly PR to get people in who’ll play the Skinner boxes and become zombies– it wouldn’t surprise me if, net of labor and rent, those games only break even– but it wouldn’t look like a casino if slot machines were the only games.

The government shutdown spotlights a bigger issue: 78% of US workers live paycheck to paycheck

Things happened. It cost the U.S. economy billions of dollars.

A 16-day shutdown is nothing like a 3+ month shutdown. Virtually no one gets evicted for being a month late on rent. If this goes on for too long, it’ll start doing serious damage. People will die.

Just as people can hold their breath for 1 minute but not 10 minutes, society can function with a shut-down government for a few days but not several months.

The government shutdown spotlights a bigger issue: 78% of US workers live paycheck to paycheck

Right. Also, first world countries (under the new definition) focus on social health. Second world countries want to grow the bulk wealth. If you’re way behind (e.g., China) that may be the way to go: crank up the GDP-Growth knob as high as it can go. Capitalism does a better job of lifting people out of feudalism than to attempt socialism (and end up with another left-authoritarian nightmare). This makes less sense for a developed economy like the US, and it doesn’t even work. Our GDP growth over the past 20 years has been pathetic.

A small degree of authoritarianism, as a limited measure, can be a force for good. See: the transformation of Singapore. What you hope for is that the country modernizes and becomes more liberal/democratic as its economy grows. The problem is that people with “temporary power” rarely want to give it up.

I would expand the model you used:

First: very rich upper class but limited power; large secure middle class; small (<25%) lower class and a social priority on making it even smaller. It’s not that there aren’t billionaires in Finland or Switzerland; the difference is that they aren’t god-kings over there.

Second: extremely rich and powerful upper class, subservient middle class that must remain loyal to its superiors “or else”; large precariat. Divisions within lower class (e.g., racial tensions, cultural wedge issues, religion) used to keep it divided against itself.

Third: as you said, a tiny upper class (usually robbing the country in the open) and a massive lower class.

Men of reddit, what are the struggles of dating a very rich girl?

I don’t know how people have kids, to be honest.

I thought I would find babies cute as I got into my 30s. Nope. Love cats, love dogs. Kids who can talk can be fun in limited doses… and maybe if it were my baby I’d feel different, to me… babies are fragile blobs that do gross stuff. I’ll go out of my way to pet your cat or dog, but I don’t want to hold anybody’s baby.

Anyway, our society treats parents like shit– full financial responsibility, workplace discrimination, worsening anti-meritocracy in educational admissions– and then wonders why no one cares enough to perpetuate the species. To me it’s obvious. It’s already not that compelling, and society does no favors for those who are brave enough to create a new human.

Men of reddit, what are the struggles of dating a very rich girl?

Every job has unpleasant elements, that people still do because they are motivated by the greater whole. People will still do the grunt work. We’ll just be forcing society to come up with better motivators than “You’ll starve to death if you don’t do this.” Instead, the motivation should be something higher and more purposeful, like believing the work one is doing has value.

I like having cats, so I clean their litter box, and I don’t mind doing it. The motivation’s clear. But if someone made me spend 8 hours per day cleaning litter boxes and I never got to play with any cats, I’d cut the fucker’s head off with a machete. “Work” for a lot of people is 8 hours of litter boxes. I’m honestly surprised they put up with it.

The government shutdown spotlights a bigger issue: 78% of US workers live paycheck to paycheck

The shutdown could literally cause another Great Depression.

What brought the last one was cascading rural poverty. We got very good at making food, thanks to improved technologies (esp. nitrogen fixing). So, agricultural prices collapsed, farmers went out of business, and the towns servicing them followed suit. The thinking of the 1920s was that “protestant work ethic” bullshit– poverty is a “bitter medicine” that pushes people to better behavior. Nope! It’s a cancer that spreads; as more people are disenfranchised, more businesses lose their customer base.

Our entire economy is brittle. If this shutdown continues for another few months, we’re going to learn how much it hurts not to have those federal dollars. We’ll see much of the country collapse. Financial desperation triggers a lot of irreversibilities and there’s a lot of long-term destruction of wealth (this is why Bush and Obama bailed out the banks, even though it meant the bankers got off way too easy: waves of house and job losses would have done no one any good). If people leave federal jobs during the shutdown, they’ll trigger wage decreases in other places. We could end up (entirely preventably) in the shitter.

Right now, the S&P is up because no one thinks Trump is going to be stupid enough to run a 3-month shutdown. I wouldn’t make that bet. No one thought in 2011 that he would run at all; no one thought in 2015 that he stood a chance of winning. And yet… here we are.

The government shutdown spotlights a bigger issue: 78% of US workers live paycheck to paycheck

There aren’t as many people like that as it seems. They’re just visible and annoying.

The government shutdown spotlights a bigger issue: 78% of US workers live paycheck to paycheck

The US really sounds like a true nightmare to live in more and more, not unlike Russia to be honest.

I’ve come to the conclusion that, as archaic (and offensive) as the original Cold War delineation of First, Second, and Third “Worlds” was, there is a new one. It has more to do with national priorities than raw wealth.

First World are countries focused on social welfare and a general high level of well-being (e.g., Germany, Switzerland, Norway).

Second World are countries that will sacrifice anything (freedom, quality of life, the environment) to achieve a goal. That goal could be escape from prior poverty (China, Singapore, Brazil) or reclamation of prior importance (Russia) or maintenance of an empire and a decaying economic system. (U.S.)

Third World are still the poor countries that get kicked around by the others. That isn’t new. The positive change here is that the “Third World” is smaller; India and China have moved into Second.

The First/Second split is a bit iffy in this case (as opposed to in the Cold War definition) because culture and priorities change, but it’s becoming more clear how it works. Global corporate capitalism doesn’t work and never did; corporate capitalism worked in the U.S. era of high nationalism (1950s–70s). The First World increasingly aims for global soft socialism; the Second World countries are all converging on national populism as global capitalism increasingly fails them.

The government shutdown spotlights a bigger issue: 78% of US workers live paycheck to paycheck

The 78th percentile has a household income of $105k. How are people that well off living paycheck to paycheck?

Keeping a job is expensive. You need nice clothes, you need to live in an expensive place, and you need to have similar hobbies and interests to the boss if you want to advance.

Also, kids.

A single person in Asheville making $105k can live pretty well. Raising a family in San Francisco? NFW.

Mom Fights for Lower Insulin Costs After Her Diabetic Son Died from Rationing His Medication

You raise a fair point. At this point, it doesn’t matter what’s done with the revenues. The prices are unacceptable.

Men of reddit, what are the struggles of dating a very rich girl?

I would come out in the red in raw numerical terms, but it would be better for society and it would especially improve the employee/employer relationship.

Men of reddit, what are the struggles of dating a very rich girl?

This pertains to the real rich ($20M and up), not so much the upper-middle class.

They love the lifestyle Daddy’s money provides but hate the person Daddy had to become to get it. They expect you to match said lifestyle without developing the same horrible personality (which is impossible) and they want you to reach that level by age 30.

Oh, and they do a shit-ton of drugs and don’t know why you can’t be out till 3:00 am on a Wednesday.

In sum, they want an alpha lowlife (unlike the effete, agreeable, suit-wearing beta their dad became in order to play the corporate game) who somehow makes it rain money.

Finally, your career will be a Catch-22. If you go out on your own steam, after 20 years you will won’t have the earning potential that would’ve been possible if her dad had made a phone call. So she’ll see you as an underperformer. But, if you let her Dad make calls on your behalf (which becomes an option if he sees you as marriage-worthy for her) then she won’t fully respect you.

Men of reddit, what are the struggles of dating a very rich girl?

Why would anyone with a lot of money even WANT publicity.

Because no one really wants money. Intrinsically, it’s worthless paper. People who want massive amounts of money usually want it for a reason.

Typically, it’s social status. Since most people are mediocre, they can’t get the status they feel they deserve on their talents, so they start flashing bling.

I think, too, that it’s similar to a drug addiction. No one who does coke the first time thinks addiction will happen to him. It’s always “just this one time”. Similarly, I think people experience the thrill of dropping $500 to skip the queue at a nightclub… as with drugs, it starts with the little shit… and before they know it, they’re lending their friend’s jobless cousin $350K to start a restaurant.

Men of reddit, what are the struggles of dating a very rich girl?

The most frustrating thing for me was that our definition of a crisis was so different. From month to month I would literally not know whether I could afford my rent or be able to put gas in my car and she would be freaking out about some (to me) minor social issue or whether a store carried a fashion brand she liked.

I can tell that you’ve been there. It’s always eye-opening how little it takes to set a rich girl into existential crisis.

It’s good (I read your other post) that it didn’t get more serious. They are impossible to please. They want you to provide the lifestyle they’re used to but not work long hours or hate your job… you’re in your 20s and competing with their 50+ daddies, and of course you can’t win. Never good.

Men of reddit, what are the struggles of dating a very rich girl?

Skiing itself isn’t that expensive. Regular good skiing on natural snow is expensive. It’s the travel that’s the problem.

Massachusetts (for example) gets cold enough and has good-enough skiing for most people, but it doesn’t get “bluebird days”– sunny days after a 6-inch overnight snowfall– often. You’ll get machine snow more often than fresh powder.

It’s the absolute worst for people who have kids and have to mind the holiday calendar because of school. If you go on a random week in February or March (which is when the better skiing is) it’s not terrible. If you go on the last week of December, you’re going to get fucked.

Men of reddit, what are the struggles of dating a very rich girl?

This is an excellent synopsis. The confusion between upper-middle-class ($470k dual-income family) and dynastic wealth is also one of the reasons why rural Americans accept a Republican Party that has sold the country off to the rich.

Conservative media has done a good job of making hoi polloi think of “the rich” as a scaled-up version of the neurosurgeon who makes $500k but works 80-hour weeks, rather than a hereditary class based on connections/corruption as much as financial success.

That said, a lot of the people from the $10-million set are emotional basketcases. If they’re born into it, they don’t appreciate it. And the people who make it in the first generation know that they’re only the margin (at best) of the true social elite, and also tend to have Type-A personalities that mean they’ll never be satisfied. Also, most of them realize around 30 that they don’t have any real friends, and of course they’re still just as mortal as everyone else.

A lot of them struggle with focus, and have kids that are even worse. Wealth makes superficial things extremely easy, but anything significant is still difficult (by definition) and the hardness differential means they tend to lack self-efficacy.

Of course, I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be concerned about global wealth equality and do what we can to take some of it back. We should. I don’t think, though, that they’re a happy or enviable set of people. If they were, then why would they insist on a society that makes almost everyone miserable 40+ hours per week?

Men of reddit, what are the struggles of dating a very rich girl?

Old money thinks it’s degrading to have to work, it should just be a hobby.

I’m not old money, but I agree. It’s degrading and unnecessary, which is why I support universal basic income. People should work because they want to work– and employers should be forced to operate in such a way that their employees can actually leave– rather than out of compulsion as they do now.

Of course, UBI is useless to people who insist on buying $2,000 handbags or $80,000 sports cars, but I don’t have much sympathy for that.

In other words, that attitude’s not some eccentric prejudice of the wealthy. It’s an unpleasant truth that most of us just don’t want to accept.

Mom Fights for Lower Insulin Costs After Her Diabetic Son Died from Rationing His Medication

We absolutely need to have a cap on profits for drug companies, medical device companies, labs, hospitals, insurance companies, the whole thing. The industry has abused its ability to operate in the free market and failed miserably, so it’s time for it to be regulated. Plain and simple.

I agree fully, but capping profits isn’t enough. It’s a common but economically naive view that all this evil is done in pursuit of “profit”.

For one thing, Corporate America is a corrupt oligarchy where executives don’t work for companies; companies work for their executives. Profit, at least, gets disbursed to shareholders (in theory) or reinvested in the company. It’s the executive take (which, on paper, is a labor cost; that is, not profit) that’s doing a lot of the damage. For another, administrative bloat within the entire system is a cause of price increases, but it’s hard to do anything about this bloat, because execs will fire everyone below them before they cut their own pay.

Furthermore, as bad as the for-profit system is here, I don’t think fixing the business end of things is enough. The system (the whole corporate system, really) is run by a generation of rotten people who’ve done worse things every year and gotten away with everything. We need to fix the system, yes, but we also have to deal with the people currently in charge. They need to be put out to pasture and replaced.

Mom Fights for Lower Insulin Costs After Her Diabetic Son Died from Rationing His Medication

If this mom wants to stop this from happening to anyone else, removing the executives who voted for it from among the breathing would do it.

I’d vote to acquit, too.

Wikipedia: Jury nullification

Mom Fights for Lower Insulin Costs After Her Diabetic Son Died from Rationing His Medication

This is what Americans need to have beaten in to their heads. Not only are we more concerned about profit then health care, but we legally restrict a patients option of purchasing medications from international suppliers.

It’s not a problem of “we”. (Okay, it’s a problem of ~35–45 percent of us, but every society has some percentage of authoritarian asshats.) It’s a problem of corrupt government (thanks to lobbyists) and the proliferation of atrocious corporations that continue to exist despite behaviors that would get a private individual thrown in jail. The American people aren’t perfect, but the current system isn’t representative of us, and we deserve better.

Mom Fights for Lower Insulin Costs After Her Diabetic Son Died from Rationing His Medication

We rightly vilify dictators who massacre thousands or people, but for some reason we are OK with it when PhRMA and health insurance companies do it. It does not speak well of us as a country.

The problem is that few people connect the dots. When a dictator massacres thousands to scare or distract his people, or to plunder a vulnerable minority, we recoil. Yet when impersonal processes (or, increasingly, private algorithms no one even audits) destroy lives, we treat it as a force of nature. It’s not. We could have a better world, if the upper class took less.

Mom Fights for Lower Insulin Costs After Her Diabetic Son Died from Rationing His Medication

What’s astonishing to me is that we’re still fighting two wars over 9/11, where 3000 people died, when that many people die in a month because of our healthcare system. (Before the ACA, it was 45,000 per year: a 9/11 every 24 days.)

Here’s what seems to be the moral principle behind US-style for-profit healthcare and insurance: if you’re brown and you kill people, your country gets invaded; if you’re white and you kill people, the board lets you double your bonus.

Mom Fights for Lower Insulin Costs After Her Diabetic Son Died from Rationing His Medication

There are very few “conservatives” left in the United States. Both left and right know that the status quo is unsustainable, and have for at least 20 years.

The left wants to bring us back to 1950s–70s soft socialism… which is the right idea. The right wants an authoritarian capitalism that is more like feudalism than a modern market economy. Religious social-conservatives are loud but their numbers are dwindling, and even when they were at their height, they were radical in their own way, wanting to restore a social order that in fact never existed.

In a time of multi-front crisis like this, there’s no such thing as a conservative. We have the corporate assholes (who want even more of what they’re getting), the nationalist-populists, the religious radicals, the racists, and the male-identity Republicans… all of whom get grouped together on “the right”… but there’s no one out there who’s trying to conserve the status quo. The greedy assholes who benefit from it want even more. We do, however, have a large number of people in our society who want to take it in the wrong direction.

The left, by and large, is made up of people who want to keep the world from going off a cliff. The right is made up of people who focused on making sure they themselves (and, often, people who look similar to them) are OK.

What was the most shocking revelation you had about your parents as you entered adulthood?

Yeah, in my first year of college, in my first class, my professor had everyone who was born in the fall of 1993 raise their hands.

He turned to us with a big smile on his face and said, “congratulations. You are all a product of the 1993 snowstorm that swept across the US when no one could leave their houses for nearly an entire week. What else were people supposed to do to keep warm and entertained?”

Unlikely for September and October birthdays. The ’93 storm came in mid-March.

That storm was the first time I saw thundersnow, and the day afterward the drifts were 2–3 feet high. That said, the winters of 1995 and ’96 were more generally epic for total snowfall. March/April blizzards are impressive but the snow’s usually gone within a couple of days.

Welcome to Aperture Laboratories

Subtitle: “This is a planar projection of a torus, and I topologize for the confusion.”

Software developer jobs will increase through 2026

If you look at it reasonably, an engineer with 10+ years of experience who passes the hiring bar at google can make 350k.

You don’t get that as a SWE 2–3 with no connections. You get that either by being excellent at politics or by coming from an elite school. Regular Google hires don’t get $350k. They get lowball offers and shit projects because the company knows it can take advantage.

How many other careers where you can go to some garbage college, not have prestigious employers or perfect employment history, would be willing to pay someone that kind of money?

Quant finance was like that before 2008, if you were smart. Most jobs were like that before 2001. Back when we had a country, the employment situation was entirely different.

Programming has never paid better and is more lenient than almost every career.

The 1980s and ’90s were the golden age of programming compensation– and working conditions. If you took your job seriously, you’d be able to freelance for $100+ per hour (again, in 1980s–90s dollars) within five years.

The high end of the corporate path is a lot higher, but that’s because tech has become Wall Street, but without most of the good parts. That only applies to a tiny percentage of engineers, though. The vast majority of people at that level are managers. No one in Silicon Valley pays $350k for a programmer if he can help it.

What profession was once highly respected, but is now a complete joke?

Also, I’ve noticed with older programmers, they hate change, and the software world is constantly changing.

Now that I’m 35, I have a lot of perspective on why that is.

In the corporate world, almost all change is bad. Almost all changes that appear good are bad on closer inspection. Workers getting squeezed, management getting more overpaid and imperious. Very few jobs are better now than they were 30 years ago. The bad guys are winning.

Executives have set up as a heads-I-win/tails-you-lose system. If the change produces benefits or gains they take everything for themselves. If it causes problems, they make sure the pain falls below.

So, yeah, I’ve become one of those old programmers who hates change. I like sensible change. I like progress. I hate stupid change that serves no purpose, and 95 percent of all corporate change is that kind.

*shutter flash* “Okay, you can relax now”

Manic episodes generally don’t last your entire life.

Also, they tend to end horribly.

What profession was once highly respected, but is now a complete joke?

But I am worried about the future of careers in US. Not much is left that can’t be automated or outsourced for cheaper. I don’t even know what will be left for my children and grandchildren to pursue professionally that will provide them with a “good living”…

Even in middle age, programming stops being a good living. You’re too old for the “Agile” nonsense that doesn’t work, so if you don’t want to be a manager, there are very few jobs appropriate to your level of experience (and they almost all require PhDs, not because they’re needed to do the job, but because so few good jobs exist).

The US is learning that corporate capitalism, the economic system that peaked in the 1950s–60s glory era, can only work in a time of high nationalism (e.g., Cold War). Corporate capitalism requires an existential threat from which even the elites cannot escape. Otherwise, they just take everything from themselves and leave us with the scraps.

I don’t want the highest levels of conflict– it’s still not too late to evolve peacefully into something better than corporate capitalism– but if there is going to be one, I’d rather we use the crisis to do something about our current elite– the ones who sold the country out to the anyone who had money– than go into a pointless, grinding war with another nation-state full of people none of us have any cause to have a problem with.

What profession was once highly respected, but is now a complete joke?

You got out at the right time– while it was still fun.

The software industry sucks, but programming is a great skill to have. It trains your mind, and there’s a power trip to building things out of logic. As an experience, I recommend getting into technology; unfortunately, the industry is such a shitfest these days that one needs to have an exit strategy as well because it’s still manage-or-be-managed like every other corporate job.

What did you end up doing instead?

What profession was once highly respected, but is now a complete joke?

Waterfall is terrible too. It’s a false dichotomy. Business-driven engineering is the enemy.

What is the hill you will die on?

Your the monster.

What profession was once highly respected, but is now a complete joke?

Waiting for the cloud to yell back.

What profession was once highly respected, but is now a complete joke?


It used to be an R&D job with high autonomy. Once you’d been there for a few months, you could pick and choose your projects.

Now, you interview for your own job every morning and have to compete with young kids who don’t know anything but will work 80 hours per week. Their work is terrible, but the bosses don’t care.

Software needed to professionalize 10 years ago before all that “Agile” garbage got in. Now, it’s probably too damn late. The quality of what’s produced is shit, but the world has now accepted that.

What was history’s biggest scam?

How were so many smart people scammed by one woman?!

She comes from a rich family with a long history of peddling connections. She was in a position where social proof brought more attention from prestigious but medically ignorant people. She had DC royalty on her board; Sand Hill Road wasn’t going to pass on that.

Software developer jobs will increase through 2026

Anyone who has to work under conditions like that and doesn’t unionize is an idiot and that tech lead needs to be told what he is in the parking lot.

Talking About Elizabeth Warren’s Likability is a Way to Tell Women to Sit Down and Shut Up

Trump hates pretty much everyone. He’s an aging narcissist whose shallow friends dropped away from him as he got older and less relevant, and he went on a personal revenge crusade that actually worked.

Because he hates everyone, he also hates most “establishment” rich people… and that was his appeal. The problem is that he hates the poor (and minorities and women) even more. He’s just a horrible person, and the broken clock that’s right twice a day (i.e., the unapologetic asshole who hates the social and political elites, who deserve such hatred) is still wrong every other time of day.

Talking About Elizabeth Warren’s Likability is a Way to Tell Women to Sit Down and Shut Up

This is on the mark and I agree: it’s fucking disgusting.

Women don’t even have to be old or unattractive to deal with that nonsense. Look at the reaction to Rashida Tlaib, who’s neither. If that isn’t gendered– OMG, she’s using words men use all the time in public (and that women use in private) without controversy– then I don’t know what is.

Software developer jobs will increase through 2026

Honestly, if you grind LeetCode/Algorithms and Data structures questions for six months, you can pass the FB/Google/AirBnb/Uber/Other high paying tech company interview. With a competing offer youre basically guaranteed 250k.

Sure. I doubt I’d need to grind; one can read up on me.

First, I’m 35. It’s a different game. Second, I don’t want to live in the Bay Area. Third, I don’t care what I’m paid if I work on bullshit or have to put up with the terrible culture you get in a stack-ranked, hyper-political company.

The thing is, at my peak, I was in the top 1–2% of programmers. And I have enough of a sense of taste to tell when someone’s far better… I’m talking about the top-0.01% tier… people who know so much more because they have 20 more years of experience. Even they, after age 40 or so, start to get treated badly by the industry. I know people who’ve published several papers but can’t get hired. It’s fucked up how ageist this industry is, and how horrible the corporate cultures are.

Software developer jobs will increase through 2026

There’s nothing “prestigious” about interviewing for your own job every morning, answering to a technically illiterate “product manager” with 37 days of experience, and having to justify your own work in terms of “user stories”.

Software developer jobs will increase through 2026

Where do you think the “real talent” is going?

It’s hard to say. I don’t think the exodus is toward one industry or field; what the tech industry was in the 1960s–90s hasn’t been replaced.

Before 2008, the regular professions (law, medicine, government, banking, consulting) had the flavor of second-tier careers. If you were a good student, you’d go on to graduate school… although it was acceptable to drop out for an elite hedge fund or top startup. It was just assumed that smart people, if they picked the right industries and applied themselves, would earn $1 million per year by age 35… because it was true, then.

2008 happened. The world done changed. Those of us who bet on quant finance did okay (mild disappointment) but those who bet on venture-funded tech got ruined.

From a 2019 perspective, the 2007-era attitude seems almost otherworldly in its arrogance.

So, the short answer is… I think the top talent is going to the places where it went before the Silicon Valley golden age. These days, you’re an idiot if you scoff at a the idea of making $250k as a pediatrician. You have to be extremely well-connected to get the real jobs in QF or in tech.

If I could do it again… I would have stayed in graduate school and considered working for the government as a researcher. Quant finance pays very well but is fundamentally of low social utility, and the venture-funded tech industry (which I stupidly got myself into) is even worse.

Software developer jobs will increase through 2026

Unfortunately, I have my doubts that they’ll be good jobs. I’ve seen enough to recognize a general trend, and it’s in the wrong direction. The horrible project management nonsense has only become more oppressive as time as gone on, and developer autonomy has decreased.

We used to be highly-respected, well-paid, autonomous professionals. We’ve been replaced by factory-order Agile drones who are just good enough to work tickets. The real talent is going elsewhere, because of this.

Jewish friends of Reddit, what have your experiences been like dealing with Antisemitism?

That’s fascinating. Thanks for this response; a lot to examine and think over.

I’ve always found it interesting (and upsetting) how Christianity was de-Judaized in its first centuries, probably in large part because it was adopted by the Romans, who never got along with the Jews.

Most people don’t know that to convert into Christianity in the early days, one had to convert to Judaism first, because Christianity was a sect of Judaism. But then Christianity (as the continuation of the Roman Empire) went out looking for converts everywhere, whereas Judaism didn’t proselytize (and then lost membership, due to pogroms and conversions over two millennia)… and now we have a world where Christianity (long mutated beyond what the historical Jesus likely had in mind) has dominated the narrative.

Ocasio-Cortez floats 70 percent tax on the super wealthy to fund Green New Deal

No. I thought the Kavanaugh reference– drawing attention to the severe, gendered inconsistencies in behavior policing– made my sarcasm clear.

Unfortunately, there are people who believe “the female body is innately sexual”, which is a big part of why there’s so much raving, insane misogyny in this country.

Ocasio-Cortez floats 70 percent tax on the super wealthy to fund Green New Deal

posting a very tame dance video of her thinking it would damage her reputation

She was guilty of far worse than dancing in that video. Classic EWF. Existing While Female.

The female body is innately sexual, you see.

Meanwhile, Bret Kavanaugh’s case was just “boys will be boys”.

Ocasio-Cortez floats 70 percent tax on the super wealthy to fund Green New Deal

Trump being a joke actually limits his threat. To pull fascism off, a leader needs to seem sacrificial. Hitler enjoyed his wealth and probably had mistresses, but he portrayed himself as a simple-living, celibate bachelor.

A competent, dangerous attempt at fascism would come from someone we’ve never heard of… likely a Silicon Valley billionaire who’d run as a post-partisan centrist.

2019 will be the worst year of Donald Trump’s life

His hair will either go to a separate prison or write its own book.

Jewish friends of Reddit, what have your experiences been like dealing with Antisemitism?

There is a weird feeling in the US now that both the political right and the political left don’t like the Jews very much, and that’s sort of a yucky feeling, like it’s just not safe in that way. I recently read an article in the New York Times about anti-semitism in the Women’s March organization (one I participate in) that really made me feel uncomfortable. I just feel like I need to keep my opinions mostly to myself.

This is one thing I’ve noted on the left and it disgusts me: people who think anti-Jewish bigotry is OK because it’s somehow punching up. It’s not. I don’t think it’s as prominent on the left as the right, but it shouldn’t exist at all.

The antisemitic garbage out there also ruins meaningful debates. For example, the dog-whistle use of “globalist”. Global corporate capitalism really is a bad, doomed system (corporate capitalism only worked in the Cold War because that was a period of high nationalism) and there’s an argument for getting our house in order before trying to save the world (although globalism is the eventual reality; we need to get it right, not ignore it) but none of that has anything to do with the Jews, and the idea that “the Jews” are at fault for the failures of globalism is completely wrong.

Jewish friends of Reddit, what have your experiences been like dealing with Antisemitism?

Why the hell do people think all jews are rich power hungry people running the world? Wtf? I’ve heard this crap loads of times

Part of it is that Christians weren’t allowed to lend for interest in the Renaissance, while Jews weren’t allowed to own land in much of Europe. So bankers tended often to be Jewish. (The converse wasn’t true. Most Jews were farmers and artisans, not rich bankers.) Additionally, many Jews were poor and had to be “stingy” to survive, just as old people (who remembered the Great Depression) still counted pennies in the 1980–90s because they remembered a time when that was the difference between eating dinner and not. Finally, I think a major part of it was that Jews were disproportionately punished for small crimes. Jews were killed, often in public, for crimes for which Christians were told to pray on the rosary.

Many Jews threw in with the Muslims during the Crusades, but you can’t blame them. Christians already had a long history of persecuting them; Muslims just charged them an extra tax. Besides, advanced civilization in that time was Islamic, and the Crusaders were (from the Jewish or Muslim perspective– or even from the Eastern or Arab Christian perspective) barbarous, pillaging murderers.

The Jewish stereotype is especially pernicious because “greedy” applies to a solid minority (35 percent?) of every group out there, and everyone is “greedy” when survival is on the line, so confirmation bias tends to set in. The only truth in that stereotype is the general truth about human nature. If anything, Jews are less money-centric on the whole than others. There’s a suspicion toward wealth, in the religion.

Jewish friends of Reddit, what have your experiences been like dealing with Antisemitism?

a weight and substance I found lacking in any Christian sects or denominations

It’s interesting that you say this. What do you mean? What examples could you give? I’m not trying to be challenging. Judaism (and religion in general) is fascinating to me.

One of the things I always disliked about mainstream Christianity was its emphasis on the past. You’re expected to believe certain accounts of long-ago events (and reject others). Judaism seems to accept itself as a work-in-progress, always changing. Meanwhile, Christianity emphasizes events that may have happened 2000 years ago and pretends to have a grasp on inflexible truth. It wasn’t till my late teens that I learned that purgatory was a medieval invention, that most of the supposedly Christian ideas about the afterlife came from Dante rather than Scripture, and that Jesus most likely believed in reincarnation.

Judaism seems to accept questioning and doubt in a way that most of Christianity (at least, mainstream American Christianity) doesn’t.

If 0 is entirely evil and 100 is entirely good, what number are you? Why?

Ctrl+F “schfifty five”.

Elizabeth Warren says ‘government has been bought and paid for’ by big business. Political scientists say she’s got a point.

Actually, I didn’t get into this because it’s a diversion from the main point, but companies operate on behalf of executives more than shareholders. It’s actually not “profit” that’s bleeding the economy dry; it’s executive markup. A small cadre of scumbags who sit on each other’s boards have managed to convince the rest of us schmucks that companies need their “executive talent” (the only expression of which, over the past 40 years, seems to be thoughtlessly firing people) and ought to pay absurd sums of money for it.

In civilized world, managers work for companies. In US&A, companies work for managers.

Elizabeth Warren says ‘government has been bought and paid for’ by big business. Political scientists say she’s got a point.

The problem is, it turns out corporations are just as greedy as people, and neither really give a fuck about what’s best for society as a whole.

Corporations turn out to be worse, in practice, than people.

It’s not that all corporate executives are evil (although most are, because the good ones don’t survive). Profit maximization is the only thing they can all agree on. Whereas if one exec (say Tom) stuck his neck out for the wetlands, it would become “a Tom issue” and his political enemies within the company would make fun of him (and perhaps sabotage the wetlands, as a show of power). So the learned lesson within the organization would be that only losers give a fuck about the wetlands.

Elizabeth Warren says ‘government has been bought and paid for’ by big business. Political scientists say she’s got a point.

Sure, if that’s a serious offer.

You can also buy my book, Farisa’s Crossing, when it comes out later this year (I hope). It’s “in late revision” (famous last words) and has been for ~2 years, but I’m closing in on the finish line….

Elizabeth Warren says ‘government has been bought and paid for’ by big business. Political scientists say she’s got a point.

Right. Libertarians focus on the math problems of economics (the distributed computation of a free market wins in nearly all models, but models are just models) and ignore the 4,500 years of recorded human history telling us that humans by and large want stable power and will do what it takes (including making markets, and people, unfree) to lock themselves in as a social and political elite. The reality is that markets do some things very well and others poorly.

Elizabeth Warren says ‘government has been bought and paid for’ by big business. Political scientists say she’s got a point.

I’ll try to ELI5 the pro-Citizens argument, even though it’s total bullshit.

I have about 250 Twitter followers. (Before I deleted my account, because literal fascists were threatening my family and trashing my employability– something I still deal with– I had about 2600. Whatever. Who cares?) That’s arguably a financial asset. I obviously have the right to say whatever the fuck I want on Twitter. That’s free speech.

Enter Bob. Bob owns a television network. Bob wants to use the 7:00 hour to run a special arguing that Sally the Senator is the best Senator ever, while Theresa, her challenger, eats pâté made from human infants. That, says the libertarian, is Bob’s right. It’s his television station. Free speech.

Carl doesn’t have a TV station, but he has a big wallet. He wants to pay strangers $100 to put flyers up all over town reminding voters that Sally is excellent and Theresa may or may not have abused a dolphin when she worked at Sea World. It’s his money, and the strangers are voluntarily using their free speech for his purposes.

From a distance, it’s a defensible line of argument. Where do we draw the line between a private citizen’s right to speak his mind on Twitter (or public-access TV, or in the op-ed page of a newspaper that’ll have him) and his right to deploy purely financial resources?

How do we resolve this? The corrupt, right-wing response is that we don’t. Money can be converted into paid-for speech, but paid-for speech is speech and therefore should be unrestricted.

The correct answer, of course, is that societies restrict speech all the time. There’s the classic example of yelling “fire” in a crowded theater, but the truth is that most crimes are “just talking”. If I verbally threaten someone’s life unless given money, that’s “just talking” but it’s not free speech– it’s extortion. If I ask someone to do something illegal on my behalf, that’s “just talking” but it’s not free speech. Libel is not “free speech”.

The public networks used to be under “equal time” laws that required them to spread access evenly across credible candidates. However, the laws pertaining to new media haven’t been written yet, and it’s not clear what they should be. Unfortunately, we don’t have the technology yet to determine what is a legitimate grassroots movement (which should fall under free speech) and what is capitalized private campaigning.

Do I agree with the ruling in Citizens United? Absolutely not. It was a terrible decision. But, if you decide that free speech includes all kinds of paid-for speech, and if you remove the (somewhat artificial) distinction between financial capital and social capital (having “a megaphone”)… then that’s where one logically ends up.

Elizabeth Warren says ‘government has been bought and paid for’ by big business. Political scientists say she’s got a point.

Intelligent libertarians know that corporations focus on profit and not the consumer. They just think that free-market magic, with enough agents and competition, will push selfish agents (against their personal inclinations) in the direction of the public good. That argument is still incorrect in my opinion– it ignores that the meritocratic elite that will win in the first iteration will reinvest its political and economic power into insulating itself from competition, and thereby destroying meritocracy while enabling corruption– but it’s at least not openly delusional.

Living paycheck to paycheck is disturbingly common: ‘I see no way out.’

This is so much like Trump’s history of not paying people for work they have done.

People wanted a corporate president, a CEO, a guy with “private sector experience”. (They hadn’t learned the lesson from Bush, apparently.) I think they failed to recognize that most corporate executives are crooks. I could have told them as much.

Living paycheck to paycheck is disturbingly common: ‘I see no way out.’

You get a better house, but there are costs. You have to move to a backwards state run by people from the most backwards parts of the state. Your kids will see racism in a normalized context, your taxes will pay for repressive policies, human rights are ignored etc.

Pool houses are nice, but a lot of people don’t want to move to Texas for the same reasons they don’t want to move to Saudi Arabia.

Texas has its problems, but Austin is more progressive than most of California. And California (for the record) is way more racist than the Northeast and Midwest.

What does the older generation not understand about today’s job market?

That even in a “strong job market”, the jobs are shit, due to recurrent pointless change and aggressive micromanagement, often by technology.

Back when we had a country, the only thing you had to do to get every promotion was put in an honest day. If you had a boss who cared enough to make you do work, you’d fly up the corporate ladder along with him. If you had a boss who didn’t care, you could either work 2 hours per week or find a more ambitious manager.

These days, bosses don’t invest in the good aspects of management (e.g., career growth, protecting reports) and they let technology handle the evil ones (e.g., surveillance, squeezing). There’s no training. The job is “make the computer like you so it doesn’t fire you”. Even programming has gone this way, with “Agile Scrum” and the moronic “story point” nonsense (which middle management insists isn’t a performance measure, even though it absolutely is).

The value of measurable work goes down 5% per year, due to automation and globalization. That’s why the most successful people in Corporate America do as little of it as possible.

What does the older generation not understand about today’s job market?

The entire board and C suite could probably fucking vanish for a week with no perceptible impact on the bottom line, but turning off the wrong server for 10 minutes could have A VERY noticable impact.

Brutal truth. We live in a society where the market value of real work declines by about 3–5 percent per year… due to automation and globalization… and the people whose salaries keep going up are the ones who don’t really do anything quantifiable (read: don’t really do anything).

What does the older generation not understand about today’s job market?

Better to kill a few people at the top of the heap, if that’s your strategy.

The problem isn’t “too much competition”. There’s more stuff to be divided than ever. The problem is that the 0.1% have successfully divided the 99.9% against each other… the proles end up using those competitive energies to do more work for lower wages, when they should be using that impulse to take back what’s theirs.

I walked across the lake in -44°C because I had a 30 percent chance of seeing the Aurora Borealis

All cold is dry. Air below 0°C simply can’t hold much water. That said, if there’s fog or rain, you’ll get quite cold fast, because water is a conductor of heat, while air is an insulator. Heavy rain around 1°C is the absolute worst, because raindrops fall faster than snowflakes. If it’s not raining though, “damp cold” doesn’t really exist.

Still, much of the difference between dry cold and damp cold is psychological, in the same way that painting a room can reduce complaints about temperature. If you’re going out to see the aurora at -44°C, you’re less likely to mind the sensation of cold (noting also that you’re heavily dressed) than if you’re going to work on a gray Monday morning and it’s -5°C.

A fair amount, too, has to do with how one dresses. Most people only have about a 5°C thermal comfort band (without clothing, 25–30 °C; with indoor clothes, 20–25 °C; with a sweater, 15–20 °C, etc.). If you dressed for a “damp cold” 2°C overcast day the way you would for -20°C, you’d get quite hot.

Unless it’s raining or foggy, though, cold is just cold– there’s no dry or dampness to it– and the unpleasantness of so-called damp cold has more to do with people being underdressed… from underestimating the 5°C days.

Sunlight plays a major role, too. You can be comfortable in a T-shirt at 10°C if the sun’s out and there’s no wind; if it’s cloudy, you’re going to want a jacket.

As government shutdown continues, human waste on Yosemite’s roadsides prompt park closures

“Founder” is well-understood Valley shorthand for “venture-funded startup founder”.

What’s the most horrifying thing in space?

The idea that the reason we don’t see evidence of intelligent life elsewhere in the universe is that there is, in fact, a malevolent and advanced species that wipes them out.

As government shutdown continues, human waste on Yosemite’s roadsides prompt park closures

Silicon Valley goofs, at high levels– I’m not talking about engineers, but the venture capitalists and founders who run the place– are MAGA-hatters who cosplay as liberals or “libertarians” to keep the left-leaning code proles from rebelling.

What’s the most horrifying thing in space?

Fair point. The “wouldn’t notice” claim (by which, I mean, “wouldn’t be affected”) is probabilistic. It’s the “space is big” principle: there’s always a chance that you come too close to (or collide with) something and everything gets disrupted; it just isn’t likely.

Shutdown nightmare: Park bathrooms overflowing with human waste, vandals causing damage

Honestly, though, birds are no joke. People get nasty injuries from herons and swans. An adult golden eagle could kill an 80-pound dog, easily, if it wanted to.

There’s a lot to despise about Trump, but I wouldn’t want to get that close to an eagle unless I knew it was tame… and I would probably flinch if it gestured like it was going to attack me.

Stock market has worst year since 2008

If anything, the rich conspire to make the market and economy look more stable than they are. We’ve only had two recessions in the 21st century, and they were numerically mild and short-lived… but the middle class was destroyed. They’ve engineered the system to look like it’s performing well when it’s actually rotting.

I doubt that it’s an explicit conspiracy, though; it’s emergent behavior from selfish actors who’ve learned that they can get away with pretty much anything (cf. Jeffrey Epstein). The rich don’t need to “conspire” to loot the country; it’s not like they need meetings to figure out how to do it.

What’s the most horrifying thing in space?

Dark Forest Hypothesis.

What’s the most horrifying thing in space?

This is true in today’s atmosphere (21% O2) but in the Carboniferous period when the atmosphere was 35% oxygen, 3-foot spiders were possible. Perhaps there’s a planet out there whose atmosphere is nearly 100% oxygen where giant insects rule. Of course, such at atmosphere would make them easier to kill with fire.

What’s the most horrifying thing in space?

A black hole isn’t more dangerous than any other object of that mass. Most (if not all) galaxies are in gravitational orbit around a black hole.

If a black hole collided with Earth or the sun, we’d be fucked, but that’s just as true of a planet or star… or even a big enough asteroid. These collisions are rare because space is big. In fact, even though our galaxy is likely to collide with Andromeda in 5 billion years, it’s unlikely to disrupt life on any of the stars– during a galactic collision, stars get moved around and structure of a galaxy may be destroyed, but life on the planets wouldn’t notice.

As government shutdown continues, human waste on Yosemite’s roadsides prompt park closures

A lot of the waste is coming from Silicon Valley douchebags who are taking advantage of the opportunity to do break the rules (e.g., illegal off-roading) without consequence. And, of course, they’re generating lots of poop. Perhaps it can be said that the ultimate goal of Silicon Valley is to leave the rest of the country as full of shit as they are.

We Have a Right to Boycott Israel

What stands out to me is the deafening silence toward Saudi Arabia. Imagine a country in which an ethnic group were treated as horribly as women are treated there.

Exactly this. Not to mention the fact that the Saudis kill journalists and are waging a war in one of the poorest Arab countries (Yemen) just because they can.

We Have a Right to Boycott Israel

I agree that individuals have the right, but it isn’t a good idea.

Israel is the most moderate state, by far, in the Middle East. It has its problems, in large part because it faces challenges that are unique in the developed world. Countries like the United States and Switzerland cannot understand what it is like to be surrounded by larger neighbors where many want to murder their civilians. That is just not something we face from Canada or Mexico. On the other hand, had Israel lost the Six-Day War, it is likely that its people would have been massacred. It’s possible that hundreds of thousands to millions of lives were saved by Israel’s well-timed air strike on the morning of June 5th, 1967.

Should the settlements be stopped (and probably rolled back)? Absolutely. I support Israel’s right to defend itself, and if it were using the land as a buffer/DMZ, that would be one thing; but to build settlements there (in addition to being illegal) is to put civilians into harm’s way while antagonizing the displaced people.

That said, there’s a common anti-Israel narrative that the land was “stolen from” the Palestinians, as if the whole country from Tel Aviv to the Negev were a settlement, and it doesn’t hold up. Israeli Arabs have all the rights that Jewish Israelis do, and even have seats in the Knesset. If they did not fight in a war against Israel, they did not lose their land and homes. Meanwhile, many of the Jews who moved into Israel from its Arab neighbors are there because their former countries did steal their property and kick them out.

It’s one thing to object to some of the things that Israel does, but the anti-Zionism that I sometimes encounter among my fellow leftists seems to be founded on ignorance and far too close to antisemitism. It is odd to excoriate Israel while ignoring the extreme illiberalism, danger, and religious hatred that exists in the rest of the region.

We Have a Right to Boycott Israel

Israel is currently run by a shitty far right government that I despise, however, Israel is the only country in the middle east that is a progressive democracy and the governments of Israel’s neighbors, including the Palestinian governments, are far more reprehensible than the Israeli government.

It’s good that there’s someone here familiar with the nuance. Israel != Israel’s current government or Likud. Besides, Jews did not go to Palestine (for the most part) because of dominionist nonsense; they went there, starting in the early 20th century, because they had nowhere to go. Neighboring Arab states were forcing them out; and, of course, there was the Holocaust.

On top of that, it’s far better to be an Arab in Israel– and many Arabs are Israeli citizens with all the rights the Jews have– than it would be to be a Jew in any of Israel’s neighbors. This is something I break with some of my fellow leftists on… it’s one thing to criticize Israel, but it’s idiotic to paint them as the bad guy while ignoring that they are by far the most moderate, functional state in the Middle East.

As for the settlements, most Israelis I know are opposed to their existence. Unfortunately, a lot of people unfamiliar with this issue (perhaps because of antisemitism) make no distinctions and seem to operate under the assumption that the whole country is a settlement, which just makes no sense.

How the Valley treats its experienced people

The data about your chances of moving up in a corporation really is opaque, would be interesting to see it.

It’s deliberately so. The whole system has to make it appear to the middle classes like (A) they have a chance to move up, but (B) it’s really hard. That way, when upper-class kids with generational connections and parental air superiority rise quickly, it’ll look like the latter earned it and really just are that good.

The goal of the corporate system isn’t merely to concentrate wealth and opportunity. That would be bad enough. It goes beyond that; an additional goal is to make it appear just– to ratify the self-asserted superiority of the upper class (when, in reality, no one else had a chance).

Due to survivorship bias, we only hear about the success stories of people who’ve “risked it all” to achieve their goals. What’s your story of how you did the same, but failed?

It depends on the app: how many users it will require, how much maintenance, etc. Many apps are trivial and don’t need to change much. If you’re talking about an app you can found a full-fledged tech company on, with a nontrivial back-end, then you need quite a bit more, of course.

How the Valley treats its experienced people

You have a angry, 1-dimensional view of the people you work with.

Not really. I don’t see it in stark antagonistic terms. The middle manager is an exploited proletarian, too. He’s not the enemy. This is just another device the upper class uses to pit us against each other.

… technically we are losers …

is true, though. I mean, the people who stole all the money sell it back to us, in exchange for the bulk of our time and complete, one-sided loyalty. It’s bad enough that we’re in this situation. Worse yet, we’re expected to thank them for “the opportunity”… for not being persona non grata (and even worse off) in a system designed to use us up, then cull us as soon as we’re no longer as useful as an off-the-shelf replacement.

If you’re 40 years old and have to explain to 26-year-old “product managers” …

I probably shouldn’t have put age into it, but the fact is that “product management” is a bullshit job. It exists to put between the executive and the worker two different bosses whom the executive can pit against each other (thus preventing the manager and worker from realizing their class interests are aligned). PMs (and various other “dotted line reporting” pathologies) exist so managers can’t protect their own people.

how much corruption, nepotism, and anti-meritocracy exist in the corporate world …

That’s realism, not antagonism. I’m not saying “everyone who works for a corporation is an asshole”. I’m saying that the system is corrupt and was designed with malignant intent. Which is true.

They’re trying to climb the ladder.

Again, realism. It’s hard to blame people at an individual level, for playing the game put ahead of them. Corporate capitalism isn’t just meaningless; it actively searches out other peoples’ stores of meaning and destroys them. It doesn’t do that because the rank-and-file are bad people (they aren’t). It does that because that’s what best suits the people on whose behalf it really operates: the 0.01%, the generationally well-connected, and the executives.

How the Valley treats its experienced people

I never said that you were crushingly stupid. I was more than willing to give you credit for inexperience.

Being wrong on occasion doesn’t mean someone’s not smart. When I was 7, I believed in Santa Claus. When I was 17, I believed in corporate meritocracy. One ages out of such things.

How the Valley treats its experienced people

Ah yes, I disagree with you so must be a student.

No, I was expressing philosophical charity. That is, I was attributing your misconceptions about the corporate system to ordinary inexperience rather than crushing stupidity.

I’m happy to be corrected, though.

I’m not in my late 30s feeling like I’m failing at life

Wait, what? Who said anything about “failing at life”?

We are all failing. The corporate system persists; the 0.1% gain wealth and power, while the planet gets hotter and workplaces get stupider and the 99.9% gets poorer. We’re all losing together. Some of us are aware of this in the present; others haven’t grown enough to see it that way.

How the Valley treats its experienced people

I’m not paid to go to parties.

Thanks for the clarification.

How the Valley treats its experienced people

I spent about 18 months working for various tech startups doing an investor outreach and communications role. The real game in Silicon Valley isn’t about building bleeding edge technology, it’s about your startup’s strategy to get funding and then get bought out by a bigger company so your investors become even more obscenely wealthy.

This. This is absolutely how it works. Most of these companies are not innovative; the innovative stuff (if it is tried) ends up not working– because genuine innovation requires an open timeframe, not bullshit two-week deadlines– so they “pivot” to getting ready to be some bigger company’s back office.

They’re basically as fucking cynical as the suit-wearing douchebags working for Wall Street investment banks, but they get to pretend they’re saving the world through technology.

Worse. So much worse.

You really get a sense of someone’s character when he doesn’t need you.

In a bank, getting fired looks like this: when the business contracts, there’s a layoff, and you get a few months of severance and a great reference. You bounce back quickly.

In a tech firm, layoffs are disguised as firings for performance, to avoid the press of a layoff. No severance, and there’s a good chance your boss will trash you as soon as you’re gone in order to test other’s loyalty.

The techies think that, because they promised God to give half their wealth to Africa once they’re billionaires (Africa has a Bitcoin address, right?), and because they are “changing the world”, they can do anything. They’re the absolute worst.

The bankers admit that they’re working for money and treat it as somewhat of a game. Even if you get fired, your MD will make sure you land well. Techies? They’re pretty much the worst people ever. Fuck techies.

How the Valley treats its experienced people

I look forward to reading your posts after you get your first real job.

The fact that you got a $20 gift card for selling the most potato chips does not meritocracy prove.

How the Valley treats its experienced people

Also, not everyone has such antagonistic relationships with coworkers.

Where do you get that from? From “[t]hey’re trying to climb the ladder”?

I’m a realist. Corporate capitalism creates organizations not worth caring about: piles of money that don’t stand for anything but the desire to become a bigger pile of money. In such a world, it’s hard to blame individuals for playing it as designed.

What I said, I didn’t say with any contempt. (To put it more bluntly: hate the game, not the player.) There is literally nothing to do within the corporate system but try to increase one’s personal take… unless you’re going to tear it down (which is the more noble goal, but obviously most people can’t afford to take that path). There’s no purpose in “Sprint 137”. It literally means nothing.

How the Valley treats its experienced people

Jira et al is how people communicate complicated priorities with 10s-100s of people. Write your tickets. Do your job.

You must be fun at parties.

I picture you as the guy everyone avoids around Columbus Day because they’ve already heard the rant about how Columbus wasn’t that bad by the standard of his time.

How the Valley treats its experienced people

Even the old folks who had nothing to show for their years of grinding are still getting paid a comfortable salary.

It’s not that “comfortable” for them. At some point, some new age-discrimination framework (e.g. Agile nonsense) will be rolled out, even though they worked productively without it. Or their doctor will tell them that 30 years of open-plan stress have fucked up their heart and they need to cool it. Then, they have no income and hope to die before they run out of money.

However, by that time, they’re usually too old for fighting in the streets. Which is exactly what I’m getting at. The system is designed to delude people, so they work for the corporate system in earnest, until they’re too old for rioting.

How the Valley treats its experienced people

I mean this in the best way possible, but it doesn’t sound like you’re in the best place mental health wise from the industry. Have you considered just leaving and finding something completely different?

Leaving my personal calculus out of it, let me just say this: the tech industry belongs to people like us, the genuine meritocrats, and not to the corporate slimeballs. To leave is to cede territory. We should be going the opposite way, and taking it back.

From a personal health perspective, the optimal call is to walk away. From a moral perspective, it’s less clear. I choose to believe that the direction of technology, and that of society, matters. Technology used to be a force for good; now, the bad guys are in charge, and it’s a force for evil. Someone has to fight that. I don’t see why I’m too good to be that “someone”.

How the Valley treats its experienced people

We’re all just humans trying to build things whatever our age, gender, etc.

No. The managers and product people aren’t “trying to build things”. They’re trying to climb the ladder. You overestimate their character. Whatever is made, they’d prefer to make sloppily so they can make their deadlines and get promoted away from these projects before things start to fall down.

And second, earning a six-figure salary as an engineer and having to use Jira with young people is far from “losing”.

I’m the last person to be anti-“young people”. But if I walked on to a job and my boss was a recent college graduate, I’d be a bit confused. No one is saying “Young people are bad”. We’re saying that today’s companies don’t value experience or excellence; they value the image of youth and they value naivete.

You are financially better off than 99% of humans on the planet

Numerical well-being doesn’t matter much. The places where there are jobs, rent is also higher than in 99% of places on the planet.

If some stranger– often, an uncultured loser who hasn’t read a book since high school– can turn off your income because you didn’t do enough “story points” last “sprint”, then you’ve been beaten.

How the Valley treats its experienced people

I think so. Corporate capitalism is a fundamentally empty system. It needs a constant supply of new suckers.

How the Valley treats its experienced people

no heads would roll if younger people realized its not really worth working 80+ hours a week in hopes of a startup making it to IPO. The reality is if young realized it they probably just wouldn’t work the 80+ hours, or they might still do it.

Sure, but if the 22-year-olds had a sweeping sense of the anti-meritocracy of the corporate game… if they understood at that age how rigged the game is against them… we would have our class war within a week. It’s not like startups are the only rotten option… and if you’re not born into generational connections, you aren’t likely to get any good ones.

How the Valley treats its experienced people

Most who are 40+ have plenty to show for it: see above – hobbies, a decent life, usually kids.

I would love to see a return of the lifelong engineer path, the R&D jobs of the Bell Labs days where engineers are trusted to pick and choose (and even define and initiate) their projects.

If you’re 40 years old and have to explain to 26-year-old “product managers” why you haven’t done your Jira tickets, then you’ve not made any progress. You’ve lost. If you’re old enough to have kids but have to ask for permission to take a two-week vacation, you’ve been beaten.

I would love to see all this change. The manage-or-be-managed world sucks. It’s not innovative, and it pushes people into roles they aren’t well suited for. Unfortunately, I have my doubts. Corporate capitalism cannot be other than what it is.

The Trump Administration’s War on Wildlife Should Be a Scandal

This is a depressing post that is spot-on.

Billionaires will be able to strive under any circumstances.. they won’t ever run out of food, shelter, land, or water.

Right. They’re prone to prepper fantasies (see: their desire to turn New Zealand into a 21st-century analogue of postwar Argentina) because they only care about one thing: beating the other guy. If they live 25 hours after the end of the world and no one else lives more than 24, that’s victory.

Kefka from Final Fantasy VI is the ultimate expression of what motivates the god-tier billionaires of this world. Death is losing to them– they don’t know any better than the rest of us what happens afterward, but they know they can’t take their toys with them– but, of course, everyone’s going to die. So, the closest one can get to victory is to defeat everyone else. This isn’t nihilism per se, because nihilism doesn’t exist– humans will fill meaning vacuums; it’s a lot worse than that. They define meaning by seeking out what others value and capturing or destroying it.

People need to realize that this administration only has one goal, and that’s to squeeze as much money out of these 4-8 years as possible, and then retire in absolute luxury, void from the cares and concerns that the average person has.

Yep. That’s basically it. If we don’t stop them now, our best hope is that their children will grow up to hate them.

There is another reddit in the afterlife called deddit. What are some of their suddeddits?

“Excuse me while I Planck…”

‘Pouring Salt Into the Wound’ Amid Shutdown, Trump Signs Executive Order Freezing Pay of Nearly 2 Million Federal Workers

How could good Germans sit around and do nothing as the Nazis slowly grabbed up power while promising their extreme bullshit.

Most people lose all sense of moral responsibility when someone has them by their monthly income. Hitler was an awful man, but he was a jawb creator. In mobilizing for war, he brought Germany to full employment.

One could very easily bring fascism to America if one did so while restoring the middle-class job market. People would rather be unfree in an unfree society (e.g., fascism) than be unfree in what appears to be a free society (e.g., corporate capitalism).

Under fascism, everyone is unfree. Everyone’s a subordinate. There’s a narrative that makes it OK. History has invented exactly one situation in which it is acceptable for an adult male to subordinate to other men: he’s a soldier. A subordinate office worker is a useless loser who didn’t make it and whose life has no purpose; put a gun in his hand and (even though he’s still subordinate to other men) he is now a defender of the nation.

Under corporate capitalism, 99 percent of people are unfree and they’ve all been convinced it is their fault. Because they fell into unfreedom despite living in a notionally free society, they feel like garbage.

Eventually, they tire of this psychological anguish and will fall for any strongman who can build up a narrative that is better than the nonsense they currently have.

As one who’s fought for years against fascism– to the point of losing job opportunities for the right– this is terrifying to me.

‘Pouring Salt Into the Wound’ Amid Shutdown, Trump Signs Executive Order Freezing Pay of Nearly 2 Million Federal Workers

Hillary was “a terrible candidate” in the sense that she is an abysmal player at the weird spectator sport that big-money, soundbite-driven electoral politics has become. She was a good candidate in that she would have been a decent president: smarter, more liberal, and older than her husband was– and most people didn’t find him to be that bad.

She failed at the game for a few reasons. One: her husband’s sleaze stuck to her. I’m not talking about Lewinsky; no one cares about that. I’m talking about his hanging around (after being president) with scumbags like Epstein, Trump, and Rezko. The Boomer “take any connection you can get” strategy has made the Clintons increasingly unpalatable, but somehow that has been pinned on her more than on him. Is that due to sexism? Probably. Two: the media hated her. I don’t think the MSM wanted Trump to win, but they wanted to weaken her. It’s not about politics; individuals within the media need access to keep their careers and punish those who don’t put out, and she spent more time on her work than on publicity. Three: the rich (“donor elites”) were luke warm about her. Publicly, they supported her because it’s bad PR to be rich and illiberal, but privately I think many of them wanted Trump to win, since they care more about tax cuts than the country. I’d bet that at least half of the limousine liberals vote Republican; their public leftism is a branding decision, a business move rather than a sincere conviction.

As a candidate, she actually got the worst of both worlds from the Establishment; she was connected enough to make people dislike her. (I wasn’t a fan of her sleazy connectedness either, but I’m enough of a realist to know that she had little choice in the matter, if she wanted to win. How many people wouldn’t turn down a seat at the table next to Kissinger?) But she wasn’t deeply connected in a way that would get her sincere support. The rich would donate in order to sit at the $30,000-per-plate dinners and hobnob with other Davos parasites, but they wouldn’t go out of their way to defend or help her. They probably didn’t want Trump (instability) but they wanted to weaken her as much as possible.

‘Pouring Salt Into the Wound’ Amid Shutdown, Trump Signs Executive Order Freezing Pay of Nearly 2 Million Federal Workers

It’s amazing to me that so many Federal employees vote Republican when a major part of the Republican manifesto is to undermine the government.

The gubbamitt is holding them down, you see. If there weren’t all these regulashuns, they’d be alpha-male capitalisting… making 8-figure salaries running their businesses from private jets… but since the gubbamitt and the New Yawk libruls don’t want them to be rich and conspire to hold them down, they have to settle for cushy low-6-figure, secure* jobs. Waaah!

* Until Trump, that is.

How the Valley treats its experienced people

This is a problem in most industries. By 32, you’re expected to be on a management track. By 40, people will ask how many people you manage– not what you do. By 50, you had better have a national reputation. The whole corporate system is set up this way: if you’re so smart, why ain’chu a boss?

Silicon Valley just accelerates it, because it builds dopey companies that don’t have long-term career tracks. (That’s the future of corporate capitalism, but that’s another rant. Silicon Valley’s only true innovation is the disposable company.) You can’t really protect a specialty in the startup game: you might land the dream AI job, only to find out that your firm is pivoting to “portable back office for insurance companies” and you’re going to spend the remaining 43 months of your vesting interval dealing with browser issues.

Corporate capitalism wouldn’t work if the young knew how bad the odds actually were. People would not put up with it; there’d be blood in the streets. They accept startup job offers because they feel immortal (being 22–25) and because they’re misled about how the regular corporate world will valuate their work experience. (This is the Paul Graham lie that if your startup fails, you can still get a VP-level job at Facebook because of what you learned.) They work long hours because they think they’re building useful “career capital” when, in truth, they’re only learning how to be slightly more efficient grunts (until they’re replaced with shell scripts).

The entire corporate system would be overthrown, violently, if young people had an accurate sense of their real futures. This is not an exaggeration: palaces have been stormed and heads removed from bodies by generations less hopeless than this one. It does not take much. In our campaign against corporate capitalism, the truth is solidly on our side.

We all spend our adolescence in an educational system that, while flawed, is reasonably close to a meritocracy… seeing as it’s a system designed by humans. People assume their corporate jobs will be similar. If people knew, at 22, how much corruption, nepotism, and anti-meritocracy exist in the corporate world, they’d take up arms and we’d see executives hanging from lampposts. Obviously, the people in charge do not want that to happen. They need the young losers who do the grunt work to think they have an honest chance. (They don’t. Everything good has already been allocated to the generationally well-connected, and even an Elizabeth Holmes–level fuckup won’t put them in the doghouse for more than a few years.)

It’s not that the 99+ percent who get to age 40 and have nothing to show for it are losers or failures. (I’m basically one of them, though only 35.) I mean, technically we are losers– we played a game, and we lost– but… I assume you know what I mean. The system demands that we be presented as such: bitter failures, rather than the average-case scenario that we are. It wants us to slink away in shame, so it can pretend we don’t exist; we were all taken to a farm upstate where we can run free.

The people at the top know that if their young “resources” come in contact with people who are in middle age, as smart as they are, and still have to work for a living… the whole ruse will collapse. The younger workers will start asking questions, like “Was it work it, to work 80 hour weeks?” (Answer: no.) Or, “What’s the secret to career success?” (Answer: well-connected parents who can provide air support.) Or, “Does it actually matter to the world if I deliver Sprint 137 on time?” (Answer: no.)

There’s a legend about the Buddha: in order to raise a fearless warrior-prince, he was sheltered from all signs of aging, sickness, and death until age 29. His father expelled old people from the court so his son wouldn’t know aging existed. As for whether and how this was actually done… who knows? It is an apt depiction of the workplace, though. The sick and unlucky must be culled; those who are old enough to see through the long con must be discarded. This is necessary to keep the young fearless… and by “fearless”, I mean ignorant.

Stop adding cancer-causing chemicals to our bacon, experts tell meat industry | The reputation of the meat industry will sink to that of big tobacco unless it removes cancer-causing chemicals from processed products such as bacon and ham, a coalition of experts and politicians warn

The fact that these animal rights activists could face charges is why every American, now more than ever as the corporates try to take the country over, needs to know about jury nullification.

Trump issues executive order freezing federal workers’ pay in 2019

They’re used to living under the assumption that all problems are economic. Oil won’t “run out”; it’ll just get more expensive. If they get caught doing something bad that damages their reputation, they’ll buy a new one (reputation, that is) by hiring a PR firm. The only thing that can go wrong, as they see it, is that a few things get more expensive and their (ridiculously high) standard of living drops a little bit.

Their plan is to use New Zealand as a sort of analogue for midcentury Argentina. I don’t see that working out so well for them. If they destroy the world and NZ is the only decent place left, I can’t see the natives wanting to share a resource-limited stretch of islands with the previous world’s worst assholes.

Trump issues executive order freezing federal workers’ pay in 2019

You’re right that it’s not in the nation’s best interests. I don’t know about Murdoch per se, but I do think that many of them believe in the right-wing, authoritarian nonsense they tend to spout. That might make it worse. I’m not saying they aren’t bad people; I’m only saying that I don’t think “weaken America” is a specific goal they have. It’s more likely that they don’t care if they weaken America, if it’s good for them personally.

Trump issues executive order freezing federal workers’ pay in 2019

I agree that they’re not operating in the nation’s best interest. They’ve done a lot of harm.

I think that most of them believe their own nonsense– and that their lying is necessary to get their point across. I imagine we both find their tactics and goals abhorrent, but that’s another matter. I don’t think they harbor an explicit goal of weakening America, although they may not care about it… that’s a separate issue.

Official Discussion – Black Mirror: Bandersnatch [SPOILERS]

The achievement of this work is a metafiction aspect. The typical “social contract” of a choose-your-own-adventure is that “you”, the second person, are the protagonist. In Bandersnatch, you’re the antagonist: the 21st-century interloper who’s making his choices for him.

Trump issues executive order freezing federal workers’ pay in 2019

Russia, Fox, Saudi, and China all have disparate ultimate goals that intersect in the weakening of America

Why do you say Fox News wants to weaken America?

I agree that it’s a force for bad, but I don’t think it wants to weaken the nation. It’s full of ideas that don’t work, but I don’t think it sees itself as operating against the national interest.

Trump issues executive order freezing federal workers’ pay in 2019

In my 20 years of experience I’ve never seen anything like these last 2 years. These agencies are at a standstill. I’ve spoken to numerous members of leadership within these agencies (mostly mid level and Sub Agency level), and they have no idea what is going on. Every day it’s something new for them and they can’t plan for anything.

Not at all surprising. I’ve worked in startups and finance, and executive types love pointless change; it’s a way to project power, even if it means nothing gets done. We elected a “CEO president” so it shouldn’t surprise us that corporate levels of dysfunction have infected our government.

Trump issues executive order freezing federal workers’ pay in 2019

The GOP is trying to break the government.

They have been for 40 years. “Starve the Beast.”

Conservatism used to be about keeping the idealists (like me) from going off the rails and, back then, it had a purpose. Now it’s this perverted, evil neo-feudalism. The thesis is that government is innately broken and can’t work; this is “proven” by defunding it (to finance welfare-for-rich-people “tax cuts”) and watching it fall down.

Americans. What do you hate the most about your work culture?

That’s absolutely what it’s about.

When PMs say “story points” aren’t going to be used against the worker as a performance measure… they’re lying.

Americans. What do you hate the most about your work culture?

The extreme dishonesty and the compete lack of ethics.

The dishonesty exists at every level. To keep your job, you have to lie on a daily basis: to hide your disgust when you’re assigned a shitty project, to pretend your boss’s jokes are funny, to ignore the obvious nepotism and thereby indulge the myth of meritocracy, to go along with stupid ideas while making sure someone else takes the blame when things go bad. It only gets worse as you climb the ladder and often have to mediate between your subordinates (whom you often like) and the shitbags up top who see them as mere “resources” to be exploited.

There’s a saying that if you don’t lie on your resume, you’ll work for someone who does. That seems to be true almost everywhere. As a consequence, nothing people say is really taken at face value; to survive the corporate world, you have to simultaneously (a) believe nothing anyone tells you, but (b) appear to buy everything, because it’s impolite not to go along. (You can stab that person in the back later; it’s how these things are done.)

Bullshitters and flatterers drive out the honest. I’m skeptical that it will ever change. At the highest echelons, you have full-time private-sector politicians who provide no value to anyone, but are really good at getting companies to pay them millions of dollars for zero work.

In addition to the dishonesty, there’s a complete lack of concern for the ethical ramifications of one’s actions. If it’s not against the law, management has the right to do it. If it’s illegal but you don’t get caught, then it’s effectively legal. Fines are just a cost of doing business. Even when the executives should get jail time, the company will hire lawyers on 7-figure annual retainers to make sure that doesn’t happen.

I think we should scrap the whole system. We’re Soviet Russia, circa 1986. I’d prefer to accelerate the downfall process so we can get started building whatever comes next.

Americans. What do you hate the most about your work culture?

That actually assumes your boss knows what you do….. I wish that was a joke.

I’ve been a manager in enough places to know that it’s not. At 10+ reports, you have only the faintest idea what your people are doing. Remember that bosses have to manage up into people who are usually even-worse bosses (i.e., more narcissistic, more political) and protect the people below them from an unbelievable amount of bullshit. So if 20 hours of the job is spent dealing with the idiots upstairs, and another 10 is administrative, that leaves only 1 hour per week to spend managing each report. So, yeah….

In software, we have this “Agile Scrum” nonsense which exists to have programmers managed by machines– tracked by “story points” and Jira tickets. The only problem is that it consigns the team to terminal mediocrity. No one any good will stand to work on Jira tickets or to put up with “backlog grooming” and 2-hour “retrospective” meetings.

Trump: Give Me a Wall or I’ll Engineer a Recession

Jawb creators strike again.

In the future, everyone will want to be anonymous for fifteen minutes

2004: Facebook was useful if you wanted to figure out if someone at your college was single.

2018: employers think you’re weird and “next” you if you don’t have “a LinkedIn”. You need a reputation even to get a mediocre office job (in part, because the Boomers tanked the job market). The rich and powerful spy on you using information that you knowingly give them because you have no choice. Russia may have chosen our last president.

It isn’t fun anymore. I can’t see it ending in any non-ugly way.

Official Discussion – Black Mirror: Bandersnatch [SPOILERS]

The story has some weak points, and the true ending feels too much like the end of “Playtest”, but what’s really interesting is that it inverts the standard choose-your-own-adventure: you’re not the protagonist; you’re the villain. The story itself isn’t that new to *Black Mirror*, but that metafictional “reveal” is interesting.

Sunday Drive in Russia

It’s also winter in the film: snow-covered ground and bare trees. While it could conceivably be snowy in September (in the far north) one wouldn’t see deciduous trees there at all. You’d either be in taiga with short evergreens or tundra where there are no trees.

What is probably your most elitist viewpoint?

IQ is a sketchy idea at best. You make it sound like high-IQ individuals should be desirable, but what does it actually measure and do we actually care?

I should have made it more obvious that I was using “IQ” as a proxy and scale for what we care about– actual intelligence, as opposed to a score on a fairly meaningless test.

There’s no point being intelligent if you can’t communicate your ideas well.

With that, I agree.

Society didn’t just regress, companies and governments are doing even more R&D now.

Society has regressed. Look at the academic job market these days. You have people with loads of published papers spending 5+ years in postdocs, or ending up as adjuncts. And there’s very little genuine R&D in the private sector. Lots of “Agile Scrum” jobs for morons, though.

The idea that governments and corporations wouldn’t take advantage of a resource like 150 IQ people is silly.

It depends where you land. In most corporations, no one in charge can recognize intelligence even close to that level. It’s pretty random whom the shot-callers “see things in” and it’s never the best people who end up getting lucky.

The problem with your argument here is hindsight. We only remember successful companies of the past. There’s plenty of companies that had poor hiring and suffered as a result.

I don’t think that’s true. No one out there is saying that there weren’t companies “back then” with ineffective HR. Of course there were. Organizations– at least the large ones– did a better job of dealing with it; there was more redundancy. This is a much larger topic, of course.

There will always be good companies and bad companies. You don’t hear about all the shit CEO’s in the 1950’s because they all went out of business.

The problem today is that there are very few “good companies”. Here’s what your school of analysis misses: companies aren’t driven by profit motive so much as by executive self-dealing. In 2018, managers don’t work for companies; companies work for their management. So the line of analysis that companies could be more profitable if they were better run doesn’t work… because, from the perspective of an executive doing everything he can to stay on top– and this includes destroying internal threats to his position– they run well. The 2018-era company is a loathsome place to work, but it runs as it is designed. Executives don’t look at a smart person and think “successor”; they think “threat”… and that’s one of the reasons the best people are the first ones to be attacked.

What is probably your most elitist viewpoint?

I thought it was obvious that I was using “IQ” as a proxy and scale for what we actually care about, which is genuine intelligence.

It is true that there’s no flawless measure of intelligence, especially at the high end.

What is probably your most elitist viewpoint?

Silicon Valley is the absolute worst in terms of anti-meritocracy.

If you’re a legit 145+, your odds are far better in quant finance than in Silicon Valley. Quant funds can recognize that level of talent; venture capital, by and large, can’t. Venture capital is where the ones who weren’t smart enough for stat-arb go.

What is probably your most elitist viewpoint?

It’s hard to be sure what’s causing it. One thing to keep in mind is that this level of intelligence is quite rare, so there’s a lensing effect. It’s not like most people have a hate hard-on for intelligent people. It’s more like this: if 2% of people beat up on the same 0.1%, that’s a 20x focus. It’s the same principle as gendered harassment in male-dominated industries: most men aren’t sexual harassers, but because there aren’t many women in (for example) startups, it gets focused on a small number of people.

What surprised me is that it doesn’t really get better. The corporate world is basically run by schoolyard bullies.

It could be that there’s an innate, neurological social awkwardness that comes with high intelligence. It could also be the accumulated effect of negative childhood experiences. It’s hard to say for sure. It’d be fascinating to look at other cultures and see if there are counterexamples to this. Asian societies tend to be better for smart kids, but their corporate cultures are even worse than ours, and so it’s probably just as unpleasant as it is here to be a smart adult.

Could expanding employee ownership be the next big economic policy?

It can work if it’s transparent, but in the tech industry, we already have this (sort of) and there is no real sense of ownership. The equity slices are pathetic. A software engineer hired as employee #20 might get 0.01 percent. Executives and investors get all the good stuff; what’s left for workers is an insulting fucking joke. It’s there to convince the clueless and young that they’re a real part of something, and that they should waste their 20s on someone else’s dream, but the reality is that, even if a “liquidity” event happens, most of the workers get very little.

On several occasions, I’ve seen management and the acquirer agree to zero out the common stock while cutting out 7-figure signing bonuses for the executives. It would be illegal to abuse rich people’s money this way, but since it’s employee time that gets wasted, no one cares.

Day to day, tech workers don’t have a real say in how they are managed, proving the lie of “employee ownership”.

As for whether the concept of the corporation can be reformed in more radical ways, it absolutely can be; what worries me is that as soon as a progressive innovation X is introduced, Silicon Valley will figure out a way to appear as if it is doing X while actually making things worse for the workers, and that will be what dominates.

The truth of the matter is that “shareholders” are not the ones hurting workers. Shareholders don’t care and they don’t really have the power to do much about executive malfeasance, because the shareholders who matter are the rich, most of whom got rich via the executive swindle. It’s not workers against shareholders; it’s workers against management. Management cares less about profits than locking down control; above all, the bosses want to stay in charge. And the problem with Corporate America is not that companies are too profitable; it’s all the executive self-dealing that goes on. I don’t see a way to fix that.

What is probably your most elitist viewpoint?

Here’s mine, and it’s one you can’t talk about in front of most audiences: people with serious high intelligence (IQ 145+) are a maltreated minority.

In our society, it is not enviable to be at that level. It is a social disability and it seems to be crippling in about 50 percent of cases. Intelligence above IQ 145 is very rare; most people meet a handful. I’ve met a couple hundred such people and they tend to be a bit weird… and almost always have terrible childhoods.

As humans, we evolved in groups of about twenty people, which means we look at the 95th percentile for leadership, but the 99.9th percentile is a freak– perhaps some other species– that must be killed with fire.

Sure, there are high-IQ people who become rich inventors, hedge fund quants, and esteemed professors. (There are plenty of people who achieve those things without notable intelligence, too.) For each of those, though, there are several who go nowhere. Sometimes it’s their fault (drugs) and sometimes it’s not. I’ve met several IMO medalists who have been utterly raped in the non-meritocracy of the corporate world.

Also, the problem’s only getting worse. In the 1980s and ’90s, the 145+ didn’t often end up running companies, but they’d be tracked for R&D jobs where they could find useful work. These days, corporations don’t really have the capacity to recognize talent, so you often find out that an IMO gold medalist got assigned bullshit and put on a PIP, which should literally never happen… but does, because the shot-callers in the corporate world are so inferior these days.

Societies invariably function in ways that disadvantage their most capable people, and if this process could be stopped, you’d likely see economic growth double or triple. We really don’t gain anything by pounding the crap out of our best people. That being said, I don’t know how one goes about convincing an entire society to stop doing so.

The suburbs abandoned Republicans in 2018, and they might not be coming back.

Plot twist: by trashing the economy and forcing college-age Millennials to live with their parents, the reptilians liberalized “the suburbs” and compromised their own gerrymander.

What’s the worst career advice you could give to a teenager?

“There is no future in science.” Actual quote by my father, circa 1995.

To be fair to your father, the scientific job market has been in the toilet for decades.

Science and computer programming used to be legit upper-middle-class careers. The reason college towns like Cambridge and Palo Alto are unaffordable is that professors used to make middle- to upper-middle-class salaries and could buy houses. Postdoc hell and the permanent adjunct market are relatively new (~20 years) things.

Is there a future in science? Of course. That said, the only people who’ve been making money in the 21st-century scam economy have been MBA-toting business guys.

If Boomers struggle with computers, what will Millennials struggle with in late adulthood?

The circa-2050 Millennial stereotype will be the old person who dies too young of something preventable because of a fear of doctors and hospitals that made sense now, when medical bills were/are a real thing.

This is somewhat analogous to the circa-2000 elderly customers at grocery stores who saved pennies and paid with exact change because they grew up in the Depression, when every cent counted.

People form habits while young and it isn’t always conscious. Even if we fixed the medical-industrial complex tomorrow, we’d still have people who “hate doctors” and aren’t sure why, because of prejudices formed under today’s for-profit system, and who will die 30 years from now because of it. I don’t know how common this will be, but it’s a statistical certainty that some people will.

Do Developers Understand IEEE Floating Point?

I often encounter the reverse, too: people who hold an extreme distrust and dislike for floating point, as if it were an incorrigible mess as opposed to merely imprecise by necessity.

Floating point numbers are far more precise than the vast, vast majority of real-world measurements… and we have (as a discipline) more than sixty years of experience with numeric algorithms. In the hands of professional engineers, floating point is almost never an issue; the lack of professionalism in most of software is a problem, but it’s certainly not the fault of floating-point math.

Which person would you want to see have an uncensored, nothing held back, autobiography?

Every time I see that lantern, I have Tonberry flashbacks….

Trump is incompetent, impulsive and amoral. Heaven help us all.

Mueller don’t scare.

Trump rips ‘presidential harassment’ against him in late-night tweet

She ran an incompetent campaign by the ridiculous American standard, in which people assume that if you’re not throwing millions of dollars into TV ads and giving the same speech four times a day in different places, you don’t care about the voters.

She played the game poorly, but the game is also stupid. (If we fixed campaign financing, as in Europe, politics would be more “boring” and issues-based instead of this weird spectator sport.) It didn’t help that her contempt for the game, which has little to do with governance, was visible to other people. As much as people claim to loathe “politicians”, they vote for them; ditto campaign ads, which still seem to work.

Trump rips ‘presidential harassment’ against him in late-night tweet

“In other news, Old Man rages at Cow– for not being a Veblen good.”

Trump rips ‘presidential harassment’ against him in late-night tweet

DJT was pretty effective at “presidential harassment” when he was the harasser. Talked his way on to a job with pure bullshit, like one could in the Boomer days.

What is the dumbest lyric in history?

It’s the anti-science sentiment expressed afterward that makes it stupid.

I mean, scientists also asked, at one time: “Fucking magnets, how do they work?”, and figured it out. (At root, it’s relativity.) But, according to the Book of Juggalos, “Y’all motherfuckers lying, and getting me pissed.” It creates quite an impasse.

What is something that just refuses to die?

If they could cut everyone’s work hours and save a ton of money every year, don’t you think they would?

No, and here’s why. It wouldn’t save them money. Companies know they get 10 hours of earnest effort and 30+ of unproductive ass-in-chair time. If they cut hours by 75% and kept the salaries the same (a 4x increase in wages) then a good number of people would deliver 10 good hours. But, that’s not what companies are going to do– you and both know this. Salaries would go down 75%, and so people would take their jobs less seriously, and now these companies would be lucky to get 2.5 hours of genuine effort.

The full-time work week has to be enough that a person can’t conceivably do much more– because when people spend the majority of their working time in one job, their aversion to cognitive dissonance kicks in.

Most employees are replaceable, simple as that.

Very true.

If you owned a company and could cut your labour force while maintaining the same amount of productivity, you would do it in a heartbeat because it would save you from paying out salaries. You wouldn’t have a bloated work force on salary for some vague purpose of preventing them from doing anything else while minimizing your own profits. That makes no sense.

First of all, managers do cut labor forces. But they don’t convert 200,000 people to part-time; they lay people off. The number of people they employ scales; the work week won’t. If anything, layoffs push the workweek higher because employees are more cutthroat against each other.

Also, in most of corporate America, there are several middle management layers between the workers and “ownership” (which is effectively passive shareholder ownership). “Companies” don’t do things to maximize profits; managers do things that suit their own careers (and that sometimes correlates to a profit). Managers don’t work for companies in the U.S.; here, companies work for their management.

Managers don’t optimize for profit, in general. They optimize for control. Which is why the full-time work week will never go to 30, or 20, hours per week. They want indivisible personal loyalty.

That’s why we can’t have the utopia where people work 10 hours per week. If we get to that point, we’ll have ~25% of people working full time and the other 75% unemployed.

In fact, every time a new technology comes out that makes certain roles redundant, those people are let go and their remaining tasks are given to the remaining employees, that’s how it works. In truth, corporations would love if they didn’t have to hire anyone and reap profits from transactions all to themselves, only paying a skeleton crew to maintain the systems. That’s why automation of the work force is a concern, because it’s every company’s dream.

Everything you said in that paragraph is correct.

What is something that just refuses to die?

I feel that, rather than a single cataclysmic event, the collapse will take the form of a mass withdrawal of labour capital from the established economy.

Interesting. How would this work? Would it be a retreat into independent, postmodern kibbutzim? It’s a neat idea.

My view is probably similar to yours. I think the fall of Corporate America will be necessary for the betterment of the world, but sudden de-corporatization is going to leave a lot of people high and dry… like the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. Corporate America, I think, is in the mid-1980s on the Soviet collapse clock… and as much as I’d love to see corporate executives out of work, my fear is that it’ll hurt the common people more.

What is something that just refuses to die?

While I agree that classes lack singular coherent will, we see patterns emerge in which the aggregate popular behavior suggests collective intention, and u/TheHealadin‘s post qualifies.

For example, we say “France and Germany went to war in 1914”. That doesn’t mean that every French person suddenly started wanting to kill every German person, or vice versa, because it doesn’t work like that.

Likewise, not everyone in the upper class is wargaming against the possibility of popular revolt, but there’s enough of this thinking that it’s reasonable to assume (and, to some degree, correct) that workplace culture exists to humiliate and enervate the lower classes for the benefit and security of the upper classes.

That being said, I think there’s a more accessible reason why society forces people to spend long hours on work that isn’t needed: managers. In the US, managers don’t work for companies– companies work for management. From hired-gun CEOs down to front-line managers, these people aren’t interested in the quality of work so much as in indivisible personal loyalty (managerial feudalism). Even though we could run 95% of this society on 15 hours per week with no drop in functionality, that would divide the worker’s loyalty. Full-time employment is designed to use up enough time, energy, and availability– even when there is no work to be done– that a person can only have one such gig. In other words, it’s not “the lower classes might revolt”– there’s a little of that, but I think most of the upper class underestimates the probability of this, relative to the near-term threat of employee departures– so much as “my ‘resources’ might go off and work for someone else (or themselves)”.

What is something that just refuses to die?

If you’re under 40 and live in the US yes. You won’t ever be able to retire and will likely have to work till you drop dead.

The problem is that most “retirement” is involuntary. It’s a euphemism. You can’t get the quality of jobs at 60, in most cases, that you could at 50. Working till death is not really an option.

I think most of my generation is considering exit, in the event that we still live under corporate capitalism, as a viable possibility. I don’t say that to be depressing (although it is depressing). I think it’s prudent. Everyone should have a plan.

What food has made you wonder, “How did our ancestors discover that this was edible?”

I’m surprised this isn’t higher up there. Anyone can eat a fungus or lump of maggot cheese. Turning teosinte into corn on the cob over thousands of years, that takes dedication.

Richest 1% on target to own two-thirds of all wealth by 2030 — World leaders urged to act as anger over inequality reaches a ‘tipping point’

I don’t support murdering people because they have wealth. I don’t think indiscriminate murder, of people who happen to be rich, is a common position; it’s more of a straw man used to disparage leftists.

I do support political and social changes that reduce the power of the upper class over everyone else. If people choose to defend the status quo with their lives, that’s on them. But it’s always better when things are done nonviolently.

I’d prefer democratic, legal processes: nationalizing companies when necessary, restoring worker’s rights, instituting a basic income, prosecuting tax cheats, etc. Guillotines are an absolute last resort.

In the U.S., I see no utility in violence. First, I don’t think we’re at the point yet where it would be necessary– cultural and political processes still work. Second, a violent revolution in the US would likely go to the far-right and leave us (and the world) worse off. There are a lot of armed assholes in this country.

That being said, the class war really is a global war. And we cannot forget that the upper class has already used violence against us: before the ACA, 45000 people died every year due to a lack of health insurance. The class war is a real war; it is violent, it is global, and it is already underway.

Richest 1% on target to own two-thirds of all wealth by 2030 — World leaders urged to act as anger over inequality reaches a ‘tipping point’

Yes, well… we also can pay for armed protection. Ain’t that a hoot?

This is not a comment about what should be, but one of what is. When there’s a revolution against an elite, the guards often turn. Guards who don’t, the mercenaries, tend to get the worst treatment at all.

The paid-for “armed protection” will be quick to defect. This is what the super-rich don’t realize. They won’t be able to trust anyone in a SHTF situation. Not their guards, not their friends, not each other, and not even their own families.

I don’t want to see a violent revolution. In the US, it would be taken over by the far-right and it would leave us far worse off than we are now. However, I laugh at these rich asshole preppers, because none of them will last a month if society collapses. Property rights will not exist if the government ceases to exist. Gold bars will be useless and their title deeds on silo bunkers will have no meaning.

What adult problems were you not prepared for?

The complete and crushing lack of justice. Dissociation may be unhealthy from a clinical perspective, but it’s the only rational reaction. We live in a society that has no moral authority; might-makes-right corporatism has become the law of the land. We have an economic system that only works in times of high nationalism (which has its own problems) and have ceased to be a civilization so much as a bunch of animals squabbling at the trough.

Kids have a tendency to be pricks (like anyone else) but when that happens, adults tend to step in and stop the prickish behavior. The adult world seems more enlightened… adults are always telling you: be nice to others, don’t steal, don’t hurt people for no reason. And, in general, people seem to become better as one gets older. High school is less stupidly cruel than middle school. College is a bit better than high school. So, one goes through the first third of life with all these expectations about the superior rationality and decency of adulthood.

Then… the corporate world. Who put that there? Seems out of place… the regression into bad behavior, the fact that two-year-olds are in charge. Oh, and this time it’s forever. Have fun!

In fact, the corporate world is worse because it’s full of passive-aggressive people who should get a beating (if you wouldn’t say it at 4:00 in a parking lot, don’t say it on a performance review) but never get what they deserve, because it’s illegal. What you learn when you become an adult is that (at least, under capitalism) adults are as bad as children– except when they’re in front of children.

I can handle aging. The chores really aren’t that bad. The problem is that becoming an adult involves learning that there are no adults. In the real world, the bullies don’t get a deserved ass-whuppin’– they get millions of dollars. And if you do try to be better– an “adult among adults” so to speak, well… then you’re really in for it, because people will fucking hate you for trying to be something better.

What adult problems were you not prepared for?

The medical field expects continuing education, but you also get time to do it. In most corporate jobs, you’re putting your job at risk if you’re “learning on the clock”.

There’s a difference between the allowance (and expectation) of high-tier professionals learning on the job and today’s corporate world, which expects people to “keep current” (to be shiny and new, so they can make current and future bosses feel young again) but saddles them with 40+ hours of grunt work they learn nothing from.

1.6 billion in gold

Zero, after diving head-first into the vault of gold coins, breaking his neck, and dying.

People who work in the morgue, what do we want to know and what don’t we want to know?

Contorted in fear??? Jeez how awful

More likely than not, there’s no emotion of fear. When people die of old age or illness, it’s almost always a slow process taking hours or days. They’re already out of it by the time they stop breathing. The body is fighting to stay alive, and it can be extremely unsettling to watch– the death rattle is a sound you never forget– but the person’s already somewhere else.

Most people who have near-death experiences describe the process as peaceful.

What movie HAS aged well?

The truth of American capitalism is that managers don’t work for companies. Companies work for managers.

The inefficiency keeps the peasants in line. Works as designed.

This is explicit in tech. Executives hire two separate classes of managers– product managers and “people managers”– because it gives them the ability to pit middle management against itself. This is necessary because tech-industry execs are absurdly incompetent and must keep everyone who might know a thing in check.

U.S. branded “far-right” after being one of two countries out of 183 to vote against UN pact to help refugees

This. I rag on the Democrats quite a bit but as far as conservative parties go, they aren’t at all bad.

Still, I wish the choice didn’t so often come down between a center-right candidate and a far-right one.

U.S. branded “far-right” after being one of two countries out of 183 to vote against UN pact to help refugees

I thought you were describing Canada at first. And then I saw you still had to pay, what the fuck?

We have similar wait times and lines to the EU countries and Canada. The notion that we have a speedier or better system is pure right-wing propaganda.

More than half of Americans say they didn’t get a pay raise this year | The economy is thriving, but many Americans say they aren’t seeing a difference in their paychecks

I mean, how many jobs are acceptable sacrifices before the rich no longer have enough people to buy their products? That’s the part I’ve never quite followed with this line of thinking.

Henry Ford was a unionbusting, antisemitic piece of garbage… as a man, he was repugnant… but he did help build the American middle class. By raising wages, he had an industry-wide effect that left him net positive: other factory owners had to raise wages as well, and more people bought cars.

That might be the rare argument for corporate consolidation. When there’s a company that can trigger nation-wide wage increases, it can benefit by doing so. We don’t live in that reality today: although large employers exist, they are geographically too distributed for that incentive structure to emerge. In the 21st century, the only thing that can keep capitalism honest is nationalism, but that has ugly side effects. Globalism is both inevitable and desirable– which is why we need to move to socialism; on globalism, the only acceptable option is to do it right.

The Fordian loop– which kept the middle class alive and safe– was assumed within our entire economic system until about 1980. Then, consumer credit came online. Because of this new magic money (debt, which isn’t new, nor is it magic) employers no longer had to raise wages for revenues to increase. If people can buy houses and college educations and vacations with money they don’t have, then employers don’t have to play nice to keep the economy going.

Of course, this generates a credit bubble: you know, the one that nearly killed our economy in 2008 and is still going on… that one.

The Yoda of Silicon Valley

That’s a really insulting title. “Silicon Valley” has only negative connotations among anyone who’s paying attention, and Donald Knuth is the real deal: a genuine intellect, and a good man. To lump him in with Silicon Valley charlatans is offensive.

Politicians have caused a pay ‘collapse’ for the bottom 90 percent of workers, researchers say

That is the most laughable garbage ever.

What is this magical “innovation” that capitalism gets us? 10 different brands of smartphone? Who gives a shit?

The last time we had a serious communist power, it was the Soviet Union, and they basically tied the United States with regard to “innovation”. We barely squeaked by in the space race.

Corporate capitalism is falling apart, and in its dysfunctional state, it’s not especially innovative. That said, if we could roll back to 1970, there’d be no comparison. The U.S. had affordable cross-country air travel. The Soviet Union did not. Soviet socialism may have improved on what was before it– that’s debatable– but US/EU capitalism, back then, provided a better life for average people.

There was a time when capitalism worked– although that was in part because of a very strong nationalism that (a) is unlikely to return without a major war, and (b) is not necessarily desirable. The dark truth is that capitalism only functions with extreme nationalism… global capitalism is an unmitigated catastrophe. That’s something the Trumpists (as much as I loathe their ideology, their racism, and of course their chosen leader) understand and the Democrats don’t. Globalism (which, contra the Trumpists, is both desirable and inevitable) necessitates a different socioeconomic system.

Capitalism sucks now because it doesn’t have to prove itself, and because nation-states– which seem thus far to be the only sustainable bulwarks against obscene capitalism– are dying out. The very concept of democratic government is under attack from the global super-rich. It hasn’t always been so terrible, though. There was a period of forty years– historically a blip, but half a human lifetime– in which well-regulated capitalism did a lot of good.

All of this said, keep in mind that 1940–80 capitalism– i.e., capitalism when America was supposedly “great”– would be considered socialistic today. What worries me, too, is that European countries seem not to be learning all the lessons from our horrible system.

Politicians have caused a pay ‘collapse’ for the bottom 90 percent of workers, researchers say

Does MA know about the west coast yet?

You mean the coast that sold all its real estate to foreign criminals? That one?

Don’t get me wrong. There are plenty of things I love about Portland and Seattle. And the east coast isn’t cheap either, and is fucked up in its own ways. The sad truth is our entire country– even supposed bastions of liberalism– is right-wing by first-world standards.

Things Nobody Told Me About Being a Software Engineer

Software used to be mostly an R&D job. You had to do things useful to the business, and occasionally you’d get called in to solve a technical crisis, but most of the time, you had full autonomy over your time and work.

Things Nobody Told Me About Being a Software Engineer

I do not have schizophrenia. It is a terrible illness however and I have nothing but compassion for the people I know who suffer from it.

Perhaps I am oversensitive– to the condition of the world, to the effects of what I am saying, to the long-term fate of humanity despite my low likelihood of having more than an infinitesimal contribution– but if sensitivity is what sets me apart from people like you, I have no desire to step away from it.

Things Nobody Told Me About Being a Software Engineer

I’ve been in enough companies like that.

Genuine progress in AI takes (a) very smart people, (b) given a high degree of autonomy, (c) for a long period of time. The thing about genuine research is that you don’t know if you’re going to succeed. The hits are major, but they’re intermittent. The smartest people spend 50–75 percent of their time failing. Those failures add up to improved judgment; you learn a lot from them. Still, this isn’t something the corporate world is going to accept– especially not if we’re talking about cash-strapped startups.

The truth about these “AI startups” is that they’re under the same investor-level time pressure as the crappy app startups.

I don’t think that these companies intend to be frauds. The founders underestimate how hard AI is, so then they get to the point where investors need to see progress, and they throw something together that both fails to advance AI (which investors don’t care about) and won’t scale very well (which is the future’s problem). In the end, though, most of these companies end up being uninspiring solutions to boring business problems– $250M of investor cash into something that might get acquired for a quarter of that, if the company can convince a big dumb company (a “whale”) to buy it as a plug-in back office.

Things Nobody Told Me About Being a Software Engineer

I agree with everything you’ve said. However, if you go through a top MBA program, you don’t end up in a dime-a-dozen middle management position. You might be middle management in title, seeing as you’re still only ~24 years old, but you’re set up to rise quickly.

It’s not about what’s taught. It’s about the connections you make in a top MBA program. Has nothing to do with competence and everything to do with being on the favored side of our society’s corruption. It sucks that things like that matter, but they do.

That being said, what you say is true of “regular” middle managers. If you’re not seen by the top meatheads as “one of us” and therefore worth a professional fast track, you’re just as disposable as the grunts.

Things Nobody Told Me About Being a Software Engineer

Tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people got in to software because Silicon Valley “thought leaders” and “luminaries” said, “It doesn’t matter if your startup fails, because you’ll have learned so much that you’ll be hirable anywhere.” Having to settle for the VP-level 9-to-5 was the consolation prize. Paul Graham built Y Combinator literally by pumping out that message and building up a fanbase. There was a time when “New Economy” was said without bitterness, but optimism.

However, none of it’s true.

In retrospect, I should have stayed in quant finance. It has its problems, and ultimately statistical arbitrage isn’t the most inspiring vocation in the world. Intelligence is at least respected there, though. Meanwhile, for all of tech’s pretenses of meritocracy, you can have a 130, 140, even 150+ IQ and still have to do Scrum. I know IMO Gold medalists who’ve been PIPed over story point bullshit, because this industry doesn’t have enough true talent to recognize such at scale (yes, there are islands of meritocracy… good luck landing in one).

What American traditions have gone away in the last 30 years?

That’s not an American tradition, it’s a 1950s aberration.

Not quite. The trend in the US and Europe toward a large middle class was underway during the 19th century, minus the disruption of the world wars (which helped the American economy but set Europe back). The reversal of progress around 1975 was not mean-reversion; it was a moral failure of our upper class.

We can get our country back if we fight the right people: the very-rich people who took it from us. The problem is that they’re very good at convincing the least intelligent (and most violent) that their jobs and opportunities were taken by vulnerable minorities and foreigners. As a take-our-country-back movement, MAGA is doomed to fail… because it’s targeted at people who don’t have the country either. If we want it back, we have to deal with the 0.1 percent– the ones who stole it in the first place.

Things Nobody Told Me About Being a Software Engineer

I’m curious where you work because from my perspective, the Agile Scrum nonsense has infested 95+ percent of the software jobs. It doesn’t really matter if those jobs seem to pay well, because the whole purpose of that nonsense is to replace actual smart people with rent-a-coders… so wages will go down, hours and working conditions will get worse, and advancement will be impossible.

I’d love to be able to find one of those R&D type jobs where you work on whatever you want and your employer sees itself more as a sponsor than a taskmaster, but I think that era is over.

Things Nobody Told Me About Being a Software Engineer

You don’t learn much in MBA school, but if you go to one of the top ones, you make connections, and in today’s corrupt business environment, connections matter more than anything else.

Harvard MBAs who make $500,000 per year are considered failures– because that’s the career that’s handed to you when you get the degree. To be considered successful you have to break into the millions.

I don’t want to romanticize that path. You’ll probably end up in middle age miserable because your net contribution to the world has been negative… but at least you’ll be able to retire. Whereas, if you take the software path, you’re also going to be miserable in midlife because your net contribution to the world has been negative, but still have to work on pointless nonsense.

That being said, non-elite MBAs don’t do much for a person’s career. It’s the top 3–10 schools depending on whom one asks that set you up to take advantage of corrupt connections; in the rest, you’re not running into the people who can cut deals.

Things Nobody Told Me About Being a Software Engineer

For me, the painful reveal was that software engineering will always be subordinate to the business. As such, it would have been a smarter decision to sell out early. The people who had no ideals, who went into investment banking or MBA school at 22, they won. They weren’t smarter than we are– in many cases, the opposite– but they bet on nihilism and it paid off. Better to be the business than to work for the business.

I love programming in the abstract– the applied mathematics of machine learning, the rigor and sensibility of strong static typing, the challenge of compiler design, and the art of UI development. Building things out of pure logic is fun. Unfortunately, that’s not what 99% of programmers get paid to do. The masses of programmers can’t get jobs where they do real work, so instead they end up subordinate to business guys, raping their brains with meaningless incidental complexity– complexity that exists not because the problems are hard, but because prior work was done to deadline and is shitty– for 50+ hours per week, and then are put out to pasture at the ripe old age of 37.

The whole industry is a scam. Young people are told their stock options will be worth millions and that they’re getting the skills that will equip them to be VPs at Google or Distinguished Engineers at top companies. They’re not. Investors are told they’re putting money into “AI companies” that are actually using human labor because the AI still doesn’t work (and never will). Shitty, insecure code is everywhere and no one cares about doing things right because the people who gave a damn all got fired. It’s hard to see a good way out for this; what’s left of the industry these days is middle managers fighting each other for turf and semi-charismatic founders scamming the shit out of everyone while the only people who win are corrupt overseas officials using Bay Area real estate for money laundering.

His worst nightmare: Trump’s life under a legal microscope

“I had to become the swamp.”

This is unfair to swamps, which are a vital ecosystem.

He is a Superfund site, and when tapped he produces mana only for a player controlling the Vladimir Putin planeswalker.

His worst nightmare: Trump’s life under a legal microscope

Why the FUCK doesn’t this happen as a vetting process before becoming a legitimate candidate.

It was pretty obvious, well before November 2016, that he was a crook. I think most people knew; they just didn’t care.

How have you bought happiness with money?

Since you aren’t hungry, your work performance is better aND your attitude is better, increasing your chances of promotion.

Something I have learned about jobs in end-stage capitalism is that no one who needs the job gets promoted. Society is designed to allocate things (including promotions and opportunities) to the people who need them the least.

What is some real shit that we all need to be aware of right now, but no one is talking about?

From what I understand they’re a severely invasive species that has no natural predators, including humans.

Humans have become predators of lion fish. In Bonaire, they’re a fairly regular catch. The flesh isn’t poisonous and they taste pretty good.

Reef sharks may start eating them over time, but there aren’t a lot of predatory sharks in the most infested areas.

What happens regularly that would horrify a person from 100 years ago?

Also, one common pattern with depression is (a) carbohydrate cravings, (b) mindless eating, and (c) lack of satiation due to anhedonia. A lot of poor people have low-level depression because, well, being poor is depressing. So, that’s a factor too.

Will power is a finite commodity. If you work a low-status job and have to use it all not to scream at your shitty boss and snotty customers, it’s much harder to resist the processed foods that are pretty much everywhere.

Dow slides 500 points on global growth fears

There is a scarcity of good jobs and has been for a decade. There are plenty of un- and underemployed highly technical people. I’m not talking about people who majored in “amphibian identity studies” either; I’m talking about biologists, mathematicians, and even software engineers who’ve had enough of the Agile Scrum bullshit that exists for the mediocre.

Employers whine to the moon about a lack of qualified candidates. They’re full of shit. This is disingenuous and evil. They used to invest in their people. They used to take people off the street and train them, instead of expecting everyone to do that off on their own time and dime (the latter of which, few have). What they can’t find are “plug-and-play” people who won’t require some investment to be productive on Day 1… and they need people like that because most of these companies are poorly run and can’t keep people, since they’ve built a system where the only way to get ahead is to job hop. Well, boo-fucking-hoo. Start investing in your people and you won’t have that problem.

Poor girl scarred for life

Also, stress shit smells so much worse than regular cat poop.

I don’t know if it’s only stress shit. Cat poop that’s been in the litter box is relatively inoffensive because the litter neutralizes the odors. And cats are usually quick to bury their poop, which is a good thing. When they don’t, and it’s fresh, it smells awful. It’s almost unimaginable that something smelling so bad could come out of something so cute.

When you see bae coming down the street

That is one majestic bear-lion.

What’s a really cheap item you can buy that can make you look incredibly rich?

“penny-wise butt pound foolish”


Billionaires Are the Leading Cause of Climate Change

Yes, but the refrain of its all these 100 companies fault is just so people can pat themselves on the back and say they have no responsibility. Walmart will sell you beans just as easily as they will sell you ground beef. Car companies will sell you a hybrid just as quickly as they will sell you a gas guzzler. They don’t care, they just want your money.

I don’t blame corporations for selling people beef. It’s on us that some of us eat until they’re as big as the animals they consumed. I do blame them for the 7,500 miles of useless driving most people do, not because they want to, but because they have to– because they have to spend 8+ hours per day in a box full of other people’s farts, just to have a (mediocre) income. At least 50% (probably 75%) of the “work” done in our society is pure waste.

Michael Cohen Committed Crimes For Trump. A Woman Illegally Voted. Guess Who Got More Time.

Jeffrey Skilling got prison time: he went in in 2006 and got out last summer. You’re right though that the rich live under a different standard. And, of course, Skilling will be able to pull contacts to consult and make more money in an hour than most of us make in a month. Even with the 12-year interlude, he’s had (and will continue to have) a charmed career; the government can’t do anything about connections.

What you’re saying is otherwise true. I’ve worked in Corporate America for long enough that I suspect less than 0.1–0.2 percent of corporate criminals ever go to jail for it. The whole system is full of scumbags at every rank.

The concept of the limited liability corporation makes sense as a protection when businesses fail in good faith (i.e., the company borrows money, it fails for a business-related reason… that is, not the proprietor doing something wrong). The problem is that (a) most bank loans require personal liability these days, which neuters the concept, and (b) the corporate veil is now used to make executives pretty much invincible.

No one went to jail over 2008, for example, and that’s amazing. As a consequence, the corporates didn’t learn any lessons, and we’ll have another 2008-style meltdown in time.

What’s not as bad as everyone says?

No, I don’t think they charge for cream and sugar. What I mean is that most of the money they make isn’t on straight coffee. The prices for lattes, cappuccinos, etc., are much higher.

What’s not as bad as everyone says?

The corporate system primes people to surrender agency. There are a lot of people who are in middle age and haven’t actually finished anything– a whole, complete project that took meaningful work and some originality– since they were 21, in college.

People get used to corporate life and start to believe that they work for self-asserted “leaders”, as opposed to the other way around.

What’s not as bad as everyone says?

Out Of Time – R.E.M.

Oh, and especially… “Shiny Happy People”. People missed the irony and took it to be an upbeat, childish song. The music video (which ignores the irony) didn’t help, and ultimately the lyrics weren’t well-enough executed to pull off what they were trying to do. Still, it’s a 4/10 from a solid band– not really deserving of such hate. Every good artist makes a couple mistakes; even Shakespeare had some clunkers.

What’s not as bad as everyone says?

Our health insurance system is terrible, the quality of care is spotty, and our work culture sucks. Education and childcare are pretty much unaffordable. It’s a terrible place to be poor, and it’s so-so for the middle class. Our economy has been run by sleazy con artists and cost-cutting psychopaths for a long time, and our political climate has been right-wing since the 1980s.

There are a lot of great things about this country– our natural environment, our diversity, our culture and history– and it’s worth fighting for. I’d rather fix the place than fantasize about some Eurotopia that exists only in one’s head. Still, there are a lot of things to be upset about. Previous generations turned us into the third world of the first world– all for short-term personal gain– and now people are suffering.

What’s not as bad as everyone says?

I think it’s not so much Java-the-language that gives it its bad name, but the culture of mediocrity that has grown up around it: the horrible design patterns, the giant objects, etc. That said, Scala is a better language and very powerful, but still has a lot of the same cultural problems– I’ve worked in quite a few Scala shops and the programmers are closer to business-grade Java jockeys, in both their skill and their thinking, than to Haskell types.

What’s not as bad as everyone says?

Starbucks uses bitter beans, because they make their money on milk-and-sugar-plus coffee drinks. The bitter coffees don’t taste great black (and I’m a black-coffee drinker) but they bind better with milk proteins and that’s why Starbucks prefers them.

What’s not as bad as everyone says?

I’m a Millennial, so I get Boomer hate but, in reality, it’s not “Boomers” who were handed everything but destroyed the country. It’s the Boomer 1%. Their descendants are just as bad.

The 1% turned rotten around that time– the noblesse oblige of the national elite faded into the rapacious malignancy of the global elite– but it hasn’t turned back. Silicon Valley Xers and Millennial “social media influencers” (or, say, the Lena Dunham types who get their careers handed to them by their parents and proclaim to be the voice of their generation) are just as bad.

What’s not as bad as everyone says?

I’ve had root canals. The pain afterward can be extreme. It seems to be a crapshoot; one was nearly painless, and the other time it was nearly impossible to sleep through.

There’s no pain during the procedure, though, because of the drugs.

What are some of the most creative ways office workers killed time before computers?

Back when we had a country– that is, before the rich people took it away and made everything (especially work) suck– it wasn’t socially unacceptable to read at work. You could always say that you were learning about leadership. Also, people set up (and, in many cases, ran) their own businesses on company time; it was generally accepted that unless senior management was grooming you for leadership, you had the right to “self-mentor” and set yourself up to go independent. You could spend your afternoons courting the people who’d be anchor clients or early investors of your new business, and nothing bad would happen to you.

That was what office work was like when we actually had a county. That’s why so many Boomers are rich. You didn’t need to be born into wealth to start a business, because unless you were on an executive track, you could get away with half an hour of work per week and invest the rest of the time into yourself. If you actually worked an honest day, upper management would appreciate it and make sure you advanced quickly.

There’s a lot of good in computing, but as of right now, employers can use them as worker-surveillance devices. We need regulations that drop a pipe on that shit– we need to take our country back from those who use these machines for bad.

The Rise of Right-Wing Extremism, and How We Missed It

I grew up in central Pennsylvania. I have and have had friends on the whole socioeconomic continuum, from bottom to top. I saw that it was coming; it never went away.

Yes, if you grew up in Manhattan and spent your teen years attending gallery openings and $30k-per-plate dinners, you probably didn’t see this problem coming.

I’ll put out another thing most people are “missing” now: the leadership of Silicon Valley is already on the far right when it comes to labor rights. I don’t think they harbor much personal racism, and they’re not especially nationalistic, but most of them would be pretty easy for fascism to co-opt. They’re at the extreme right on the topic they deal with every day; the rest of the camel will follow.

Connect once

It depends on other factors. If your skin is wet, then your resistance is only about 500–1000 Ohms. A heart-crossing current at 120–240 milliamps can kill. It’s not a sure death sentence like a high-voltage line, but some people get unlucky with regular house current.

Trump impeachment: President claims he’s ‘not concerned’ about being removed from office because there would be a revolt

Don’t underestimate his base. Some of them are just your average old person, but plenty are young, disillusioned, and filled to the eyeballs with rage and hatred that was purposely put there by Fox News. These people have underdeveloped morals and empathy and are just looking for an excuse to explode.

And they have free time. And they have been primed by the rich and the right to hate other regular citizens (a more accessible target) rather than the rich corporate assholes who actually took their jawbs away. It could get really ugly.

Previously unreleased footage of me graduating college.

Stay in school, fishes.

Which fictional character, while not strictly a villain, is just the worst?

yeah, that house had to be a million plus

A house that costs $1.5M today cost $200k in the 1990s. It was a different world.

There still are nice houses that are affordable, but only in places where there are no jawbs.

Why can’t robots check the box that confirms they are not robots?

They could. It’s just not economically worthwhile to build bots to pass the “are you human” tests. At that point, it’s cheaper to use overseas human labor.

Something New Is Happening In The House: Progressives Are Winning Internal Fights

“Generation X” was originally coined (by Douglas Coupland, I believe) to pertain to the late Boomers– the people born in the late 1950s and early ’60s, who were too young to participate in the ’60s. They’re now lumped in with the Baby Boomers, but someone born in 1962 had a radically different cultural experience from someone born in 1943.

Economically, the break point depends on social class. The rot in our society traveled up the socioeconomic chain from the late ’70s to today. So, if you’re working class and Gen X, you’re closer to Millennials (i.e., fucked) whereas if you’re upper-middle-class and Gen X, you got that Boomer privilege– easy jobs, guaranteed career advancement, able to retire by 45–50. It wasn’t till 2008 that our society’s rot starting affecting the upper-middle class, who thought they were safe.

In terms of individual virtue (or the lack thereof) I don’t think there are major differences between the generations. There are plenty of good people who are Boomers, and there are plenty of terrible Millennials. In the corporate world, Millennial bosses are just as shitty as their Gen-X and Boomer forebears were.

What needs to be understood, generally speaking, is that it was never the case that Boomers were all terrible people. Most of them are just like anyone else. The Boomer 1% has been singularly awful– and, yes, they have destroyed the country– but their 1%-er descendants (Gen-X Silicon Valley sleaze and Millennial neo-fascists) haven’t been any better.

Schrodinger’s Immigrant: How Can Immigrants Steal Jobs if They’re “Too Lazy to Work”?

Correct, and this is what the upper class wants.

The corporate upper class may or may not want fascism. I imagine, individually, they’re split down the middle on that one. However, they gain a lot by dividing people against each other. They live in a society where half the victims of their atrocious social and economic leadership hates the other half. Meanwhile, the true malefactors go unscathed.

This didn’t happen by accident. There is a deliberate effort in this society by its upper class to steer its revolutionary energies toward division rather than unity against them. I hope that someday soon it stops working.

Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu tears intro Republican colleagues during Google hearing: ‘If you want positive search results do positive things’

To be fair, that’s a lousy argument.

Don’t get me wrong: I absolutely loathe Steve King and everything he represents. I just have to call the argument here on its merits: it has none.

For example, I’ve made enemies by fighting fascists. I would call this “positive things”. As a result, my #4 Google hit is some Paul Graham bullshit on Quora, and my #7 Google hit is a site that was made to defame me– taking things I’ve said out of context, and attributing quotes to me that were, in many cases, said by other people.

I don’t hate Google for this. I wouldn’t expect them to care about getting it right for every single private citizen out there. It is, however, a weak argument and it distracts us from the real problem: these companies really do have too much power over individual reputations, and there is a legitimate role of government in getting involved on the matter… even for people whose politics I find reprehensible.

The Golden Age of Rich People Not Paying Their Taxes

It’d probably never happen as it’s pretty much a corporate death penalty (nationalization of corporations).

We absolutely need a government that’s not afraid of the corporate death penalty. It’s probably better that it be used sparingly– I don’t have an ideological problem with private ownership; if it works more efficiently than government ownership would, then let’s keep it that way– but it needs to exist and be a real threat, in order to keep the corporates honest.

For a start, I’d fix at-will employment. Companies can lay people off of course– I mean, sometimes they have to– but no executive can get a raise or sell stock for 24 months after a layoff decision is made. And if a company tries to get around this by disguising a layoff as firing “for performance”, execs would get jail time for that. In general, I think all terminations should be subject to government review. Yes, this creates bureaucracy, but creating bureaucracy also means creating jobs. The 3 million people who lose their jobs when after instituting single-payer healthcare could be put to work keeping the private sector’s HR honest.

The Golden Age of Rich People Not Paying Their Taxes

I would also say that it’s better to confiscate their wealth and leave it at that then collect heads. I’m not into violence unless it’s absolutely necessary, and severed heads freak me out. (I mean, I imagine that they would.)

The Golden Age of Rich People Not Paying Their Taxes

But the glorious job creators!

I find it odd that rich people brag about being “jawb creators” as if it were a virtue to tell people what to do. Two-year-olds seem to be quite good at it.

Also, the ultimate jawb creators were: Hitler, Stalin, and Mao. I don’t think it’s a good look, to brag about sitting at the same table as those guys.

The Golden Age of Rich People Not Paying Their Taxes

Basically, rich people will stop (or have already?) paying taxes and there will be no consequences for them other than the nation’s declining institutions and infrastructure.

The late-18th century French had a few ideas on what to do with rich people who weasel out of paying taxes.

‘Dropout’ rate for academic scientists has risen sharply in past 50 years, new study finds. Half of the people pursuing careers as scientists at higher education institutions will drop out of the field after five years, according to a new analysis.

Land the Masters first, and land a job before you leave. But if you land a job before the Masters, then maybe leave then too.

Your first inclination is the correct one.

I left a PhD program (in math) after one year, without the Master’s. It was a mistake.

Getting a Master’s says that you’re part of the academic tribe, but were smart enough to take action once you get a sense of the shitty job market. If you leave before you get the Masters, people will think you failed out (I didn’t). There are very few jobs worth sticking with for 5 years… chances are, you’re not leaving for one.

If you were born into the kinds of connections that can get you the sort of job worth leaving for at the one-year mark– by this, I mean that you’ll be put on a track to be a hedge fund manager in 5 years– then you’ve got no use in listening to me. If you’re anyone else, though, you should get the pedigree, because the stupids who call the shots in the corporate world aren’t able to recognize genuine intelligence and will always default to a person’s paperwork.

President Trump Really May Go to Jail—For the Rest of His Life

I’m starting to believe he really does have good genes… how does a guy this stressed out, up late, pounding down BigMacs and Diet Cokes… survive?

Part of it really is random. I know people with terrible eating habits who make it to 80–90 by dumb luck, and of course there are plenty of people who just get unlucky and die young. As for his stress level, stress tend to be cumulative and he lived a very low-stress life until after his 70th birthday. I mean, this is the first real job he had, unless you count spamming Twitter with birther bullshit.

“Leave Our Nation Be”: France Asks Trump Not To Interfere In Politics

Go back to r/The_Donald please.

“Leave Our Nation Be”: France Asks Trump Not To Interfere In Politics

They’re the ones who will be blamed if the company succeeds or fails, which is why companies pay so much to get the absolute best executives.

Absolute best? Have you met these people? I have. I’m a 35-year-old nobody and I would do their jobs better than 90% of them.

Without executives the unemployment rate in this country would be far higher.

If the current crop of preening idiots were put out to pasture, competent people would step in and we’d be fine.

Why Software Developers Are Paid 5x More in The USA

Nobody is stopping American VCs or Apple or Google (as shown in OP’s video) from investing in Europe, and yet they don’t because of the terrible business climate.

No, they don’t invest in Europe because, in general, they don’t invest more than 30 miles from where they work. They’re micromanagers who want to be able to drop in at any time. Granted, most founders who land VC funding are morons (in my observation) who need to be micromanaged, so I can’t say I blame them for that.

Europe does not have a “terrible business climate”. That’s a myth people have created to justify the Lovecraftian horror that is American corporate culture.

Why Software Developers Are Paid 5x More in The USA

It really depends on the type of work you do, and how good you are at doing it. If it’s in highly in-demand specialized fields such as machine learning/AI, and you’re really good, you can command $500k-1M total compensations (no management skills needed).

That was true 20 years ago, but today, machine learning is overcrowded. Every college in the country is cranking out hundreds of machine learning and AI graduates. By definition, most won’t be stand-outs or pioneers of new fields, but they’re more than well-enough equipped to do any corporate job.

Why Software Developers Are Paid 5x More in The USA

I mean that if your manager sees you as interchangeable then you probably are. No manager would replace a seasoned veteran with a 22 year old if it wasn’t a good business move.

Corporates don’t know or care what is a “good business move” in the abstract. They do what suits their individual careers. For management, this means to maintain control. So, if you can replace a competent person who’s a threat to your position or image with an incompetent who is no threat, that’s what you’ll do. It’s bad for the company in the abstract, but it’s good for you.

Why Software Developers Are Paid 5x More in The USA

Unionization is for the lowest common denominator of society that’s easily replaceable, it doesn’t do anything for in-demand skilled people.

I would argue that the AMA and ABA are effectively unions under a more respected name. Same with the exam-based meritocracies that actuaries have. It’s professional structure that’s outside the control of employers (and that employers often dislike for that reason).

Other countries artificially limit how much their engineers can make with all the terrible regulations.

Citation please. Sounds like bullshit. I’d be the last to say that these countries are utopian– the EU has its own problems– but there’s no regulation that says companies can’t pay programmers better.

But if you choose not to live a life of servitude, nothing is stopping you from starting your own software company and changing everything you complained about, this industry doesn’t even require a lot of capital to start.

Even if you don’t need capital, you need to get clients and publicity, and the VCs will make sure that those go to your competitors. The tech press is 99+ percent payola.

“Leave Our Nation Be”: France Asks Trump Not To Interfere In Politics

No… it isn’t. The difference is they aren’t just printing money. They’re creating goods and services that provide value to people who in turn hand over their own hard earned money for those goods and services. That is how a business works

Small business owners, sure. Corporate executives just get paid 7- to 9-figure salaries for playing politics and happening to know other rich assholes because they were born into the right connections. The country would be fine without people like that.

Why Software Developers Are Paid 5x More in The USA

Valve and Github– before the VCs used it as a Kleenex, and not for nasal purposes– had it figured out: open allocation.

When projects compete for engineers, you get better projects. When engineers compete for projects, you get worse engineers.

Agile Scrum is just there to humiliate people whose intelligence intimidates executive types– and they don’t really need to be intimidated, because even though the programmers have individual intelligence, they are collectively stupid… which is why they answer to better-organized but dumber people.

“Leave Our Nation Be”: France Asks Trump Not To Interfere In Politics

Then we make sure the people in those poorer countries know exactly where their new wannabe colonizers live.

Why Software Developers Are Paid 5x More in The USA

It’s not 5x. It’s about 1.75x, if you compare like against like and use developed countries for the comparison. There are far more software engineers making $60–120k than $400k+.

Yes, there are a few people in the Bay Area making $250–500k (and, very rarely, more… usually in stock, which means their income isn’t diversified). They’re not software engineers. They’re managers who like to think they still code, and who occasionally take time to crank out a proof of concept (before pushing the ugly details down the chain). You don’t get those jobs by being a good programmer and magically being in the US. You get those jobs the same way you get any other overpaid managerial sinecure: either by being lucky or by playing vicious politics. It can be done, but you’d make even more money if you played the same games in, say, finance or management consulting.

Bay Area cost of living is also horrible. It’s more expensive than New York, and you get a lot less. Manhattan is a genuine city where everything but rent can be affordable; the Bay Area is a giant suburban parking lot, so you’ll need a car, and because of “cultural fit” nonsense in the corporate world, you’ll need an expensive one if you ever want to become a manager.

Programmer pay outside of the US is low because it’s a low-status job, and it’s a low-status job because, even though software engineers are individually quite smart, they seem to lack the collective intelligence that it would take either to unionize or to become a genuine profession, which means that they’re helpless against the thing the boss-men do to lower our status (e.g., “Agile Scrotum” project management that has us interviewing for our own jobs every morning). I’d like to think otherwise; I’d like to think it’s possible that programmers could get their shit together… but I’m 35 years old and I haven’t seen it.

I would describe the pay and working conditions of U.S. private-sector software engineers as upper-working class at absolute best. You get very little say in what you work on. You will often have to compete on hours– since the people in charge aren’t smart enough to recognize excellence, it’s compete-to-suffer rather than compete-to-excel– with clueless, interchangeable 22-year-olds who don’t know anything (and who will create more problems than they solve) but will be in the office at 1:30 in the morning.

Do we make more than our counterparts in Italy or France? Sure, but we have to put up with American work culture, and it’s a 10-year career if you’re lucky. If you’re not a manager by your late 30s, you’re literally unhireable because there is no respect for expertise– private-sector software here is all about doing easy things fast and sloppily, rather than doing anything well.

Being a professional programmer anywhere in the world is pretty miserable. (Programming is fun. But most of the job isn’t programming; it’s political nonsense that “product managers” and various executards generate.) It’s a non-career that starts off strong but leaves you on a sandbar in middle age. It wouldn’t surprise me if it’s just as bad outside of the US, but the idea that it magically becomes a high-status, rewarding, remunerative job if you change countries is… not supported by the evidence.

Why Software Developers Are Paid 5x More in The USA

No, he’s pretty spot-on.

The US is a decent place to work if you have a really good manager who protects you from the general awfulness of American work culture. If you have the standard self-serving manager who only gives a shit about being a higher-ranking manager in 3 years, you’re unlikely to be able to take your 15+ days of vacation.

Also, the US software career is pretty short. We make about 1.75 times as much (not 5x) but you’re also expected to move into management within 10 years… especially because of this infantile project management nonsense (“Scrum”) that you simply can’t tolerate if you’re an actual adult. So, it’s higher pay but it’s still a low-status job; it’s just a shorter career.

“Leave Our Nation Be”: France Asks Trump Not To Interfere In Politics

When it comes to the global rich and their sleazy tax dodges, I’ll admit that there’s a lot of complexity that very few of us have studied well enough to come up with perfect resolutions on the spot.

This isn’t a one-front war, and it’s not either/or. It’s going to be extremely complicated, no doubt; but as a society, we either get started on it, or things continue to degrade.

The mechanisms are complex, but the social problem is simple: the parasites are stealing everything and leaving the rest of the world miserable and poor.

“Leave Our Nation Be”: France Asks Trump Not To Interfere In Politics

A fair point. Still, even in this capped environment, the rich pay the lion’s share of total payroll/FICA taxes

Yeah, but they also take everything.

I mean, rich people get away with murder in this country. They get to send their kids to whatever schools they want. Their kids can be D students and will get executive positions in any industry they want. There are no restrictions on how many houses they can own, or how many trips they can take on their Lolita Express jets. They get second and third and fourth chances in their careers, when everyone else (the peasants) worries that one wrong move will force them to become Wal-Mart greeters. Virtually everything in this society runs for the rich and not for us. For us in the 99 percent, this society runs strictly against us. So, when it comes to the 0.1%, their marginal tax rate should be 98+ percent, not slightly higher than it is for the middle class.

“Leave Our Nation Be”: France Asks Trump Not To Interfere In Politics

Lets kick out his businesses, kill all the jobs he created and ban him from coming back here to spend massive amounts of money.

Nothing is more insufferable than when rich people call themselves “job creators”. It is not a virtue to tell people what to do. Two-year-olds pick it up pretty quick.

The best job creators of the 20th century were Hitler, Stalin, and Mao.

ban him from coming back here to spend massive amounts of money

Fiat currency only has value because it has credibility. It’s a pure abstraction. If our worst people leave with some notional money (which they are increasingly unable to use) but we still have a productive country and 99% of our people, we’re going to be just fine. We can always inflate the currency and wash out the money they took out.

If “money” were a thing of absolute good, then it would be legal to create your own. It’s not, because counterfeiting damages the credibility of the currency and, writ large, would inflate it. If you counterfeit, you’re creating “bad money” in that it didn’t emerge from an act of economic value, but because you illegally printed it. But the money that comes from these parasitic, tax-dodging rich people is also bad money, so… I’m not sure what the problem is if they get out of town.

Like I said, money’s just an abstraction. It’s the people and the resources that set a country’s destiny. If the scumbags leave with “all the money”, then the government can just print more.

“Leave Our Nation Be”: France Asks Trump Not To Interfere In Politics

that would mean you either put your own companies at a disadvantage or you also ban all foreign products

No. It doesn’t need to work that way. Only foreign companies that assist in helping our people dodge taxes get blocked.

The targets are people in this country who don’t pay taxes, not foreigners.

and also puts your companies at a disadvantage since they can’t use foreign goods in their products.

See above.

On top of that plenty people would just disavow citizenship causing even more money leaving the country.

So, we get rid of some parasites, and experience short-term currency inflation, but still get to have a productive country and 99% of our people? I think we’d handle that just fine.

“Leave Our Nation Be”: France Asks Trump Not To Interfere In Politics

Too many governments around the world, and they all act in their own interests. In the nuclear world, can’t really make governments do what you want. At least not the ones with clout. The UN exists to basically stop that from happening.

Not sure what nuclear weapons have to do with this. No one is talking about bombing anyone.

If you want to sell to US customers, or have an office in the US, or hire US workers, or be allowed to visit the US, or put money in US banks, then you stop dodging US taxes. (Again, if you want to live on an island and never interact with the US, then do whatever you want.) This measure benefits the US people and very few Americans are affected– the upper-middle class can’t afford these tax dodges. If there were an honest discussion about what would be at stake and what could be gained– lower taxes for most, more social services, possibly UBI– then it would be popular.

Now, consider that most developed nations would want similar laws in place… so making it a treaty doesn’t seem unreasonable. We all extradite each other’s tax cheats and rule-breaking billionaires. A few degenerates from the global elite whine, but what are they going to do… stop making money?

If a country of significant magnitude tries to exploit the game-theoretic edge of being the single hold-out, we apply sanctions and tariffs and isolate that nation from the rest of the world until it complies… unless it decides to be entirely self-reliant, in which case we have no right telling it what to do… but since 100% self-reliance doesn’t exist, and since said nation’s people will likely support making the rich pay their damn taxes, that would likely be a transient affair.

“Leave Our Nation Be”: France Asks Trump Not To Interfere In Politics

Actually, social security and Medicare taxes top out at a fairly low level ($128k, I believe).

I am not spiteful. I do not have an issue with the fact that rich people exist, or that some people have more than others. However, I look at a world that has been getting worse for 40 years… it’s hard not to implicated the self-asserted “leadership”. Whoever is in charge, they’re doing such a shitty job that I’d rather have a few hundred randos calling the shots than these Davos fucks.

“Leave Our Nation Be”: France Asks Trump Not To Interfere In Politics

Macron has 18 percent approval rating. He doesn’t speak for France.

I’m in the US, so I may not be seeing everything, but I feel sorry for him. The sense I get is that he’s probably a decent man, and that he’s trying to be a pragmatic left-centrist, but that he got unlucky. He didn’t cause the poverty of rural France, any more than Trump or Obama caused the misery in our Jobless Interior (“red states”).

The major economic problem of the 21st century– the global elite pitting nations against each other, thereby evading taxes, and leaving both developed and developing nations poorer for the wear– is beyond his capability to solve, especially with the terrible leadership the U.S. has.

I think he’s out of his depth, but who wouldn’t be? A head of state can only do so much; this is an international problem where you’ve got billionaires and psychopaths on the other side.

“Leave Our Nation Be”: France Asks Trump Not To Interfere In Politics

For all my solidarity with left-wing causes, including the justified anger in France, I don’t think I’m unreasonable in saying that I’d rather have Macron than Trump. Macron strikes me as a decent centrist who rose to power at an unlucky time. He may be out of touch, and he’s probably taking the blame for a lot of measures over which he doesn’t have much choice, but he’d be to the left of 80–90% of politicians in the U.S.

“Leave Our Nation Be”: France Asks Trump Not To Interfere In Politics

Trump’s view is very short sighted though. It’s a simple truth we’re going to have to make some very hard sacrifices for the greater good.

People won’t tolerate sacrifices unless the rich are making them, too. World War II rationing affected everyone. That was the difference. People accepted it because, whether you were rich or poor, you could only get X amount of meat or gas each week. Everyone participated.

I personally think fuel taxes should be higher. (I would supplement this with a basic income, since higher fuel taxes would kill jobs.) That said, to rely on “market solutions” only and have the brunt of the pain fall on the poor– people trying to get to their jobs, as opposed to the private-jet crowd for whom the tax is at worst an annoyance– is unjust.

The problem in 2018 is that the global rich are such a set of moral degenerates that they won’t make any sacrifices. We have better odds with violent (1) overthrow (and those odds aren’t good, especially in a country like the US where the right is better armed and less restrained) than we do of them ever waking up and, collectively, deciding not to be dicks and to provide better leadership.

(1) This is not to advocate violence. Except in extreme circumstances, I don’t. When political systems work– and in the U.S. and France I would say they still do– it’s always better to get rid of bad leadership legally and nonviolently. However, we are getting to the point where a violent resolution to our global corporate class is arguably better than doing nothing.

“Leave Our Nation Be”: France Asks Trump Not To Interfere In Politics

Taxing the rich isn’t an answer.

Actually, it is.

The money isn’t free.

It’s the freest money there is. You do less damage to the world by taking $1 from a billionaire than a person who only has a dollar.

The rich adjust their behavior to avoid taxes, or pass them along to downstream consumers.

That can be solved. Get the nations with clout to sign a treaty in which overseas tax dodgers lose access to the markets, financial institutions, and infrastructure of the countries they dodge against– completely. If we do it right, these scumbag billionaires will increasingly be confined to the few rogue states that don’t participate, and those countries will eventually be increasingly isolated from the global economy until they give in.

A peaceful, global revolution against the extremely rich is unlikely– we’re more likely, sadly, to see 10–20 years of things getting worse before it breaks out into violence– but it could, in principle, be done.

“Leave Our Nation Be”: France Asks Trump Not To Interfere In Politics

When you tax the rich, they move. Typically bringing things with them like businesses (jobs).

Yes, global plutocrats pit governments against each other as a mechanism for lowering their taxes. You see it within federal systems (e.g., Amazon pitting localities against each other) and you see it at the national level, too.

Here’s how you fix that. If they keep their citizenship, if their businesses own domestic assets, or if they sell to your country, they pay their damn taxes.

If they want to pull out, they pull out completely. They cannot visit. Their companies cannot have branch offices here. (“Here” could mean the U.S., it could mean France, it could mean Germany… any country with a big enough market to have cloud.) They cannot hire people who work here. They cannot sell to our market.

Get enough signatories to a policy like this, say through the UN, and the rich will pay their taxes… unless they want to spend the rest of their lives in the few rogue states, which will increasingly be isolated from the world economy, that don’t sign the treaty.

Then we can establish UBI, fund important research, and get to work on fixing the planet, and no one gets hurt… except for the extremely rich who become merely very rich, and I don’t care about that.

The utterly lawless ‘Individual-1’

I want to say that Trump is a fascist, but the reality is that he is a moron, an entitled brat who lacks empathy, or at the very least, believes everyone else to be lesser humans than he.

Trump’s saving grace is his total incompetence. I’ve been studying fascism for years, in part because of Trump, but also because of changes I’ve observed in the tech industry (“Silicon Valley”). An effective fascist needs to seem sacrificial. Hitler understood public perceptions extremely well, and so even though he enjoyed his wealth quite a bit, he made sure never to be seen enjoying it. He presented himself as a celibate, simple-living bachelor “married to Germany”, even though that was a total lie.

Fascism must present itself as inevitable and post-politically pragmatic– it must seem that every action taken has no alternative. Fascism takes a “debate is over, now get back to work” approach. (If this sounds like a corporate workplace, that shouldn’t surprise anyone.) The fascist dictator needs to seem (regardless of truth) incorruptible by material comfort and personal indulgence.

There’s no way that Trump could pull that off. With Trump, self-indulgence has been his “personal brand” for 40 years. The people who elected him largely hate-voted for him. That doesn’t excuse this, or the movement behind him, but it does put a limit on how far they’ll follow him. He has still done a lot of damage, and he will do a lot more before we see the sun set on him, but he I don’t see him reaching Hitler or Mussolini levels. The danger from him is more that the next would-be fascist (say, a 39-year-old Silicon Valley founder who bill present himself as a centrist) can present himself as moderate.

He has sold out an entire nation from the top in the name of American supremacy unaware of the irony

I think he’s aware of it. He ran, successfully, against 40 years of damage done by Boomers, bullies, and billionaires… despite being all three. His whole schtick was, “I know these guys in Washington are corrupt, because I corrupted them.” People were fed up with the smug superego of corporate capitalism and voted for the id.

It’s going to be a long fight.

Agree. The truth, which not all will accept, is that we will increasingly vulnerable to people like Trump, and people far worse, until we scrap corporate capitalism.

The utterly lawless ‘Individual-1’

Trump used to go to sex parties with a close friend of his. Said friend has been credibly accused of raping over 50 different girls (not women, quite underage). Said friend was given a deal by a US Attorney that settled the cases while preventing any formal public discussion of the charges. And that US Attorney was rewarded by Trump, he’s now the US Secretary of Labor.

Because this is unbelievable (and yet completely true) it’s worth including some links.

I think Jeffrey Epstein would be a great test case for public handling by the 99%. If the official justice system isn’t working, time to roll our own. It would also be interesting to see if we could pull it off and prove the rich aren’t as invulnerable as they seem.

The utterly lawless ‘Individual-1’

Half century? Try since 1775.America does one thing well and thats start fights.

We also rebuilt Europe and Japan… after a fight we didn’t start.

We’ve done a lot of bad in the past 70 years in the name of “fighting communism”. There’s no walking away from that. It ought to be a point of national shame, the degree to which we have supported some of the worst people overseas, out of a paranoid need to protect our increasingly obsolete economic system. That being said, it just isn’t accurate to say that the U.S. (which has done a lot of bad, don’t get me wrong) has done nothing good in its time.

What do people complain about that literally never happens?

Drug dealers aren’t “welfare queens”, though. We would have even more crime if there were no social services and, although most criminals (in the lower classes, at least) end up in jail, there will always be a few who seem to do well.

What do people complain about that literally never happens?

“Welfare queens.”

Yes, there are (rare) people who defraud the government. Rich and poor do it. But this myth about people who somehow find a way to live a six-figure lifestyle (six figures in 1980s dollars, since that’s when this trope was invented) without going to great (and very illegal) lengths… is flat-out contrary to the facts. The woman who was cited as the “Chicago welfare queen” used multiple identities, which is a crime.

Millennials Didn’t Kill the Economy. The Economy Killed Millennials.

Generations are subjective and they largely separate based on ages at life events, so it’s unclear what the precise end of our generation is, but people born after about ~2000-03 are usually called the Homeland generation. Kind of a non-name, but that’s what happens when generations are named when their oldest members are children.

The Homelanders, the post-Millennials, they’ll either spend most of their adult life in a post-scarcity, post-corporate world… or they’re even more fucked then we are and they can look forward to living in a Cormac McCarthy novel.

On the whole, they seem like good kids. There’s a certain good-naturedness to them that makes me think that either they’ll be instrumental in overthrowing corporate capitalism, or they’ll be utterly crushed by it. Right now, they’re probably most well known for pushing for gun control and being called “crisis actors” by right-wing Boomer fucks.

Trump On Coming Debt Crisis: ‘I Won’t Be Here’ When It Blows Up

That’s why they’re called Boomers; they blow up the country, then they die.

Beef-eating ‘must fall drastically’ if growing world population is to be fed – and catastrophic climate change averted

Or world wealth distribution needs to be adjusted. The Amount of money the United States has spent on the war since 911 could have solved so many of the worlds problems and yet resolved nothing. Trillions of dollars probably could’ve solved world hunger with that. Our species is not mature enough and we will be our own demise.

Agree completely.

We learned the wrong lesson from 9/11. An upper-class religious nut killed a bunch of middle-class office workers, and rather than see it in its correct context– late-capitalistic nihilism, class warfare, insofar as bin Laden comes from a social class that considers it acceptable to murder thousands of the little people to make a point– we saw it in old-style religious and nationalistic terms (“clash of civilizations”). It was not a clash of civilizations; most Muslims have no interest in “clashing” with us. It was an attack by a member of the global elite on thousands of innocents.

Instead of seeing it in the proper way, we bombed a bunch of people in the Middle East who never did anything to us. We had to shut down al-Qaeda, no doubt, but the war in Iraq had nothing to do with that, and left the region a lot worse off.

Trump Is More Loyal to Dictators Than to the U.S.

Donald Trump is no more and no less than corporate capitalism personified. What else would we have expected? We’ve championed a mercenary economy for forty years; now we have a mercenary president.

It’s not that he’s “loyal to” dictators. He’s going to work to the benefit of whoever will benefit him. He has successfully run against “globalism” and yet he’s made millions of dollars selling prime real estate to overseas criminals. It’s ridiculous that it works.

For years, the arch-capitalists have said that government ought to be run more like a business, and that we need a CEO for our president. Well, we fucking got one.

Trump Is More Loyal to Dictators Than to the U.S.

All he wants to be is is Putin or Arab Prince rich, but he can’t get anywhere near it and no reputable banks will finance him because he’s such a sleaze ball.

This is basically the story of the American elite, starting with the Boomers.

I don’t want to romanticize the old blue bloods. They did a lot of damage, especially if they could convince themselves they were “fighting communism”. But they had restraint. They were happy to be merely 15 times richer (as opposed to 500+) than everyone else and for this country to have a healthy middle class.

I think the 1970s was the turning point. Our national elite compared notes against the global elite. American CEOs made $1 million per year and had to follow the speed limits; foreign billionaires and oil sheikhs (and, after 1989, ex-Soviet kleptocrats) had expensive harems and menageries (and frequently mixed up the two). So, they tossed aside the affectations of noblesse oblige and became part of the global elite.

What the Trumpists are right about is that corporate capitalism is only tenable with a high degree of nationalism. It worked during the Cold War, and hasn’t since then. What they’re wrong about is this idea that “the national elite” were some good guys who got done in by some “global elite”. Our national elite is a plurality contingent (about 30%) of the global elite, and they’re just as bad as the oligarchs and oil sheikhs.

What’s amazing about Trump is how successfully he has run against everything that he is. He successfully mounted a campaign against 40 years of damage done by bullies, Boomers, and billionaires, despite being all (or, at least, the first two) of the three.

‘This is a disgrace’: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez slams her future colleagues in Congress for employing unpaid interns and failing to pay staffers a ‘living wage’

Establishing a norm of unpaid interns is a strategy to ensure that the ‘right’ people get the best chances to make a career in politics; the right people of course, comes from wealthy families and they don’t want competition.

Right, and they try to make it a virtue, that they’re going on low or zero pay, because of “passion”. As opposed to the proles who just do jobs because they “want money” and therefore don’t deserve respect.

Riots, looting and violence: Here’s what’s happening in France and why it matters

The American version of dying of starvation is dying from a lack of healthcare. Unfortunately, severely ill people are not exactly physically formidable.

Riots, looting and violence: Here’s what’s happening in France and why it matters

It begins as fuel tax, widens to cost of living, citizen disenfranchisement, austerity, elitism.

I support a fuel tax, insofar as I think gas really should cost about $8 per gallon, with the tax going into alternative energy research (in the US, a “Green New Deal”). I don’t like how our society always makes shit roll downhill. The rich should give up far more during “austerity” than the poor, since they collected all the benefits during the good times (in which they were mostly externalizing costs onto the public and future).

Riots, looting and violence: Here’s what’s happening in France and why it matters

Nonviolent revolution is always better– if it will work. Violence adds variance as well as the risk that control of the movement will pass to the most violent rather than the most earnest.

In a peaceful society, you can gain more support if the other side is doing bad things and you aren’t.

That said, behind every nonviolent movement is the threat that violence will occur– if not by said movement, then by others whose support is won later– insofar as societies tend to be run by the sorts of people who respond to nothing else. Sometimes the bad guys will not give up what they have peacefully, and therefore make it so that force is the only option.

Never before have I seen blind anger like this on the streets of Paris

Imagine this x10000 when Americans are told they either have to pay more to fill up their mobile isolation bubbles or start walking, biking or taking the bus. At least Paris has a decent Metro, most places in ‘Murica don’t even have a good bus system.

Most of the polluting that Americans do is to get to those jawbs they hate but need to do in order to live. Basic income could solve this problem. No one wants to spend 500 hours per year in traffic.

We have decent transportation in most American cities– if you can afford to live there. The suburban “American Dream” is mostly a 1950s–90s thing. Today, the wealthy tend to live close to work and the outer-ring, car-dependent suburbs are for the lower classes.

Never before have I seen blind anger like this on the streets of Paris

Tax the rich. Tax the shit out of them. Confiscate their wealth if they try to leave. Imprison them if you have to. Just fucking take the money. It’s there. Trillions of dollars world wide hoarded by the rich. And what do we get for it? Lower standard of living and a dying planet. Just make the fuckers pay up for just one in their vampiristic lives

This. It’s amazing how few people see what needs to be done. It’s simple, really.

History will judge us much more harshly (1) if we let the uber-rich destroy the planet than if we rise up against them.

(1): If, that is, it exists at all.

“Collapse of civilisation is on the horizon” Sir David Attenborough tells UN climate summit

I don’t think you understand society if you think the 20,000 at the top are “the brightest, most intelligent, and creative”.

It’s pretty much random who ends up on top– most of it’s decided before birth– and the component that isn’t random has more to do with a lack of moral restraint than with anything we might value. The people who are best at rising within companies turn out to be the worst at running them; there’s a reason for that.

Also: I’m not saying “kill the 20,000 richest people”. That would be insane and immoral, because not everyone with wealth is one of the bad guys. What I am saying is that our society allows a small elite (and note that “elite” != “rich people”) to make all the important decisions about how our economy and society work– and they’ve been doing a horrendous job and ought to be deposed. If it can be done so that zero people die violently, that is obviously the best outcome.

“Collapse of civilisation is on the horizon” Sir David Attenborough tells UN climate summit

I would defend the rights of the 20000 against you. This is beyond hate

Not hate. If one could bloodlessly remove the corporate system, then we should do that. It’s not about emotion; it’s about doing the job.

I want to see an end to environmental degradation, pointless corporate greed, and economic apartheid.

If that can accomplished and no one dies, it should be done. If that can be accomplished, but 100,000 among the elite will choose to defend the existing system with their lives, it should still be done. I prefer the nonviolent turn of events where no one gets hurt; but if that were possible, then why hasn’t it already happened?

This isn’t “Kill them because they have more than us”. Someone will always have more: more money, more friends, better looks, etc. That’s not a reason to hate someone. This is “Remove the elite because they’re doing a terrible job”. They created a society in which they get richer while everyone else has no option but to watch themselves get worse off– declining wages, worsening prospects, more acceptance of bad behavior by employers– every day. We ought to take back what was stolen.

you are pushing for genocide over something we don’t even understand.

Not at all. Genocide is when you murder people en masse. I am saying that we should take out global corporate capitalism and replace it with something better– and that we need to do it fast– and that if the beneficiaries of the current system choose to defend it with their lives, then that is their mistake.

Murdering people out of envy or rage, in general, is going to make the world worse, and it’s immoral. If something had been done about the Koch Brothers twenty years ago, though….

“Collapse of civilisation is on the horizon” Sir David Attenborough tells UN climate summit

… which is why our debate shouldn’t be very long.

“Collapse of civilisation is on the horizon” Sir David Attenborough tells UN climate summit

The problem with how a lot of people view the fight against climate change is that they assume the ultra-wealthy (the decision-makers who can effect climate change) are in the same boat as everyone else.

It’s not “same boat”, but if we’re talking about full-on collapse of civilization, they will experience a degradation of existence severe enough that I’d be inclined to prefer death. They or their kids will run out of canned food. Someone will get appendicitis or a gallbladder infection, or just a bacterial wound, and die (very painfully) of it.

Rich people who’ve never heard the word “No” in their lives want to outlive calamity, thinking it’ll be as exciting as Walking Dead (when it’s more likely to be dismal, as in The Road). If calamity occurs, the joke will be on them.

“Collapse of civilisation is on the horizon” Sir David Attenborough tells UN climate summit

The Earth’s climate changing does not mean the end of the world people. Coasts will recede, will be harder to grow crops for overpopulation but it’s not a massive social collapse.

If the tropics warm up a few degrees, we’ll see 32–37 °C wet-bulb temperatures. (WBT is a more accurate measure of dangerous heat. Death Valley on a 55 °C day is around 25 °C wet bulb.) That’s uninhabitable. If the tropics become uninhabitable, so do the middle latitudes for 3+ months each year. Much of our farmland becomes unusable. People move toward the poles, but there’s a problem. Most of that land doesn’t have the kind of soil we’ll need to meet immediate food needs. In the Southern Hemisphere, “toward the poles” means Antarctica,

At the same time, coral reef collapses will devastate the world’s already stressed supply of fish, and for many people, fish are their only reliable source of protein.

No one knows for sure what is going to happen, but there are credible scenarios in which billions of people die.

“Collapse of civilisation is on the horizon” Sir David Attenborough tells UN climate summit

In other words, “Don’t worry; the rich people who brought this calamity to you will sell you an exit.”

“Collapse of civilisation is on the horizon” Sir David Attenborough tells UN climate summit

I swear to Christ, we all need to take them with us if they think that’s how it’s gonna go.

I agree with the sentiment here, but we should go after them now.

If anything, for them to survive in a degraded world while we are peacefully dead is punishment enough. Whatever they think post-apocalyptic life will be… it will be a lot more dreadful. (The Road is a better depiction than Walking Dead, with all the fun zombie killing.) But if we can fix the problem now and thereby avert catastrophe, we should do so.

I didn’t think I’d actually see it, but we as a species are getting to the point where we have to debate the ethics of taking out 20,000 among the elite if it means saving the rest of us.

“Collapse of civilisation is on the horizon” Sir David Attenborough tells UN climate summit

Silicon Valley was a fascist cult long before Trump came on the scene.

The engineers lean left, yes, but the people who matter are all quite right wing. They’re just smart enough to hide it.

Ocasio-Cortez says ‘death panels’ exist in private health insurance market

I guess I feel sorry for them because I know that most people in corporate capitalism know that they’re doing unethical things for money, and hate it. If the world were replete with other options, it’d be a different conversation. But a lot of people have no other choice than whatever jobs they’re in right now.

I’ve certainly had the experience, more than a few times, of arriving on a job and finding out, within the first months, that my entire reason for existing was to help an organization do something illegal, unethical, or harmful. In this world, if it doesn’t hurt someone, then… good luck finding a rich person who will pay you to do it.

The Climate Apocalypse Is Now, and It’s Happening to You

We need to get off this planet. We need space habitats.

Not a chance. Those could serve as a backup once we’re able to terraform other planets (which is much harder than fixing our own) but we’re nowhere close to being able to support complex civilization (or any civilization) on other planets. Martian soil is full of toxic perchlorates and likely unusable; Venus is 465 °C.

Getting off the planet is a long-term necessity for human survival, because the place only has a billion years left in any case, but it would be astronomically harder to recreate Earth on Mars than to fix the planet we have.

The Climate Apocalypse Is Now, and It’s Happening to You

I have co-workers that talk about the dreary fog and how San Francisco summers are so cold. Meanwhile, it’s been 75 for sixty straight days and we’ve had two days of fog in the entire year. I can’t understand why people hold on to this idea of foggy, cold San Francisco! It hasn’t been like that for at least a decade!

The histrionics of Bay Area people– especially, tech douches who aren’t even from there– about weather are beyond belief. They forget that they come from more severe climates and complain about the slightest things.

I was there on a 75-degree summer day when I overheard people complaining, more than once, about “wind”. I assumed there’d been some kind of windstorm a few days ago; no, they were complaining about the 10 mph wind… which, in my book, hardly qualifies.

I also remember fondly when I discovered that LA’s hated “June Gloom” was what everyone else calls “partly cloudy”.

I think it’s worse now. Back in the ’90s and especially before, there were cultural amenities to California. But now the house prices have driven out almost all of the real people, who’ve been replaced by corporate drones who are culture-negative. So, thanks to the tech douches, weather is all much of California even has these days.

Ocasio-Cortez says ‘death panels’ exist in private health insurance market

She’s not wrong. They have people paid to find a flaw in your application to deny you coverage when you get an expensive disease.

If there weren’t already more than one case for giving the corporate elite the Paris 1793 treatment, one could use that: funneling premiums into something that directly hurts policyholders.

The people who do that job, I feel sorry for. The executives who raise premiums so they can pay other people to ruin policyholders’ lives… knock ’em straight to hell.

Ocasio-Cortez says ‘death panels’ exist in private health insurance market

I still trust the free market more. Socializing health care always [citation needed] [citation needed] [citation needed] [citation needed] [citation needed]


Ocasio-Cortez says ‘death panels’ exist in private health insurance market

In reality that “rationing” seldom happens in a national health service; sometimes nothing can be done but palliative care.

Right. The people who think there must be widespread “rationing”– obviously, some things must be rationed, like organs which are naturally limited– in other countries are operating under the assumption that life can be prolonged indefinitely if one just throws money at it. First, it just doesn’t work that way. Second, the highest healthcare expenses tend to be racked up when a person has no quality of life– often, long after they’re conscious– and is largely alive because their family doesn’t know how to let them go. (The fee-for-service model doesn’t help here, either.)

Ocasio-Cortez says ‘death panels’ exist in private health insurance market

She’s right. People have died in this country because private health insurance companies have denied treatments that could have saved someone’s life.

In the mid-2000s, we had 45,000 people die per year of health insurance; about two-thirds of those were covered. That’s what we’ll go back to if Trump gets to “repeal and replace Obamacare”.

Could you imagine what this country would do if a foreign power killed a million of our people over two decades?

I’ve said it before: that’s a 9/11 every 24 days. We should view it as such. Class war really is war. The conflict is already started, and not by us.

Ocasio-Cortez says ‘death panels’ exist in private health insurance market

Fair point, but she’s not even uncivil; she’s just honest in a country where almost no one in a position of power can be trusted to tell the truth.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says all Americans should have the affordable healthcare she now gets as a congresswoman

This is the “radical socialism” that the vast majority of Americans agree with if you put it to them on its merits.

I find it irritating how much pride establishment Democrats will take in close wins and near misses. Given that our platform is so much closer to what people actually want, we should be embarrassed by anything less than a 20 percentage point lead, and having let Trump (of all people) take up the mantle of “economic populism” just shows how bad we are at controlling the narrative.

It’s almost like the establishment Democrats don’t want to win… maybe because (lowers to a whisper) they’re rich people.

Ocasio-Cortez says ‘death panels’ exist in private health insurance market

A fantastic rebuttal to shitheads like Cruz who whine about “death panels” in single-payer due to “wait times”.

What these morons don’t realize is that wait times exist in our system too. Even most insured people can’t afford to get themselves on 79 waiting lists, all over the country, then take a private helicopter at 4:00 in the morning when an organ becomes available in Kentucky.

Insecure Men Were a Big Trump Demographic in 2016

As easy as it is to mock conservative men who are losing their sense of place and value in the world, the fact is that end-stage capitalism is producing a masculine crisis. The left, which wants to believe that gender roles are entirely constructed, has its collective head buried in the sand on this issue.

I don’t care to opine on whether masculinity and femininity exist objectively or are socially constructed. (I’m on the left myself; many of my colleagues believe it’s entirely constructed.) The fact is that, while societies vary in how they define gender roles, there are patterns that recur so often that they are, at the very least, epigenetic. Some of these are injustices that should be overcome; however, a few live deep in our psychology and cannot be changed. One of those is that a man who lives on his reputation is a failure; he is worthless. If you live on your reputation, you’re not a man; you’re a smiling little boy. Heterosexual women are not attracted to men in such positions, and most men would rather perish in violent conflict than end up in such a role.

In fact, the reason war is inevitable under an economic system like ours is that history has proven that the only way a man can be subordinate and not be universally pitied or reviled is for him to carry a weapon. I’m not saying this is right. I’m not saying that this makes sense. I’m only observing what is; the only time it is acceptable for a grown man to take orders from other men is when he is in uniform, and that has been an accepted ground truth for 2500 years. Unless we abolish corporate capitalism, a system built on class-based subordination and hierarchy, we will always have frequent, pointless wars.

I’m not a Trumpist. I didn’t vote for him; I loathe the man and the political movement he stands for. But the Trumpists are, to their credit, honest about the fact that our accepted economic system– corporate capitalism– requires extreme nationalism to function. It worked pretty well during the Cold War; it’s miserable now, because when the elite is not at war with the elite of some other society, it wages war on us. Where I differ from the Trumpists is that I want to scrap corporatism entirely. I think think the world is ready for global social democracy.

Anyway, in the US, we have a society that has been telling men for centuries that their value lies in their ability to squeeze money out of the world and other people. When we had a functioning labor market, that wasn’t such a big deal, because men could find something productive to do. One could be morally opposed to the pattern and ideology, but it wasn’t an existential risk to society. However, in 2018, the “manly” objective work is all done by machines. As a result, we have a crop of men who’ve been told (like every generation before them) that this thing called “work” defines their masculinity, and yet… the only work available to them is to subordinate to other men. Anyone who doesn’t see the stark contradiction– and the recipe for violent mayhem– is clueless.

Millennials are killing countless industries — but the Fed says it’s mostly just because they’re poor

It’s not only that we don’t have money. It’s also that we don’t have the false hope that prior generations had. We’re less likely to spend prolifically when we have money, and less inclined to take on debt we don’t need. The idea that more money is just around the corner is gone.

Generation X got fucked pretty bad, too: shitty jobs, declining institutions, collapsing wages. Before 2007, though, there was still a sense that things might get better. One could believe that corporate capitalism might return to its 1940–73 glory days again… if we just worked harder, if we just believed. People used to say that getting laid off was just a vacation before a better job. Ha. Remember that? They had a word for it; hope, I think it was.

In a late-’90s shit-job, you could delude yourself that you’d rise in the company if you just stuck it out through hard times. You could tell yourself that your overpriced apartment was an investment in your career. In 2018, we’re better informed and know that it doesn’t work like that. If you weren’t born into the elite, the corporate system will make sure you never get the promotions or opportunities that matter. So why play? Why render unto this horrible system more than the bare minimum?

The Fed’s assertion is right. The cascading organ failure we’ve inflicted on corporate capitalism occurred through attrition (either we don’t have the money, or we do but don’t have the false hope that would let us part with it so easily) rather than intent. I wish it were intentional, though; killing corporate capitalism is a thing to be proud of.

Millennials are killing countless industries — but the Fed says it’s mostly just because they’re poor

Like so many issues of our time, It’s harder to explain the insititutional decisions that lead to this generational economic disaster than it is to simply say “THEM BROWN FOREIGN PEOPLE OVER THERE CAUSED IT! GIT EM!”

Nah. It’s easy. If you want to pump a message to the “less nuanced thinkers” who’ll be your infantry, you can use naked class resentment. “The rich caused it. Git ’em!” It can easily be done; we just haven’t done so. See: Paris 1793, Russia 1917.

Whether we want to do this– since most of us would agree that not all rich people are evil– is another matter. I don’t want to live under left-authoritarianism any more than I want to live under our current corporate center-right authoritarianism. The fact is, though, that the left can recruit the gullible, the miserable, and the less educated/intelligent. We just haven’t done so; we tend to think we’re morally better than that. I’m less convinced, as I get older; how moral is it, really, to let ourselves be defeated so easily?

Perhaps it is time for the left to get into the demagoguery game. Currently, the right is cleaning up. And this is the major difference between the US and the EU. We don’t have a larger number of proto-authoritarians or gullible idiots than European countries do; the difference between us and them is that their fuckheads have tended to split between left and right, whereas ours have been a reliable rightist resource since the 1960s.

Millennials are killing countless industries — but the Fed says it’s mostly just because they’re poor

The hilarious part here is that I was talking to a boomer over the phone during my call center job, and he was lamenting about the economy and actually sounded sympathetic about the situation millennials (and soon to be gen z) are facing… but then he blamed it on illegal immigrants instead of the rigged system.

That’s what makes Trumpism dangerous. It starts from a true premise– the country really has been stolen from us– and uses it to justify absurd, evil conclusions. The reality is that the the country was stolen from us by the 0.1%, not by immigrants or minorities.

It’s true that, 40 years ago, you could drive into a new city with no connections on Wednesday, make some calls to CEOs from your hotel on Thursday, have a lunch interview or two on Friday, and start at your new job on Monday. If you actually worked an honest day, you’d be groomed for executive leadership (or placed right in, if you were over 30). That’s what economic life was like back when we had a country and, yes, we should fight to get it back.

The evil of Trumpism is that it redirects justified rage toward the absolute wrong people– at vulnerable, innocent minorities, rather than the uber-rich who actually stole everything.

Are there any beta reader spots left?

I’ll PM you.

Which is that one thing you still regret doing it??

Left Wall Street for a tech startup. Bought in to the Paul Graham lie that there’s no real risk, because even if your startup fails, you’ll be hired at Microsoft or Google at a VP+ level based on what you learned.

It’s bullshit. Total bullshit. VC-funded tech is a loser career– most of these companies are portable back offices that solve existing business problems cheaper; none of them are doing anything important– that talented people have no business in.

Only one man could have seen this coming…

I think e-books will win, not because they’re a better product, but because they can go anywhere and be taken anywhere. Want to sell to Thailand? With an e-book, you can publish to the world market. But also, so long as our society requires millions of people to spend 8+ hours per day in a box, there will always be people who tire of Facebook, and want to improve themselves during that time. You can’t read a paper book at your desk, but if you use an e-book, no one will know.

This has not been shared in a while, but everyone should read this: The Stress of Remote Working

The engineer goes into work, does work, and goes home. (If he works from home, then this might be a short commute.) No pointless status meetings, no useless PMs getting in the way.

Story of Bitcoioners 🙁

I’m glad to see Bitcoin fall. Its only value proposition is scarcity. It’s a literal nothing whose value is justified by the fact that there are a finite number of these nothings– and that one has to do a bunch of useless computation to get them. I recognize the need for money as a necessary evil, at this hopefully-early stage of human development, but I don’t think it reflects well on anyone that the archetype of a successful Millennial is someone who bet early on artificial scarcity and nihilism.

Higher Estate Taxes Can Prevent a Nation of Dynasties

It’s amazing to me that any country would not have inheritance taxes. What percentage of us are not in the 1 percent? Oh, right. 99 percent. How this is not a no-brainer is beyond me.

I understand people who fear that universal healthcare will reduce quality, or that UBI will lead to laziness, or that the Second Amendment ought to cover their assault rifles. I think they’re wrong, but I understand their thought processes. Poors who’ll fight for the right of rich people (who despise them) to inherit $57M estates while their own kids can’t even afford college… that just makes zero sense.

Just a normal day in NYC [NSFW]

He’s a techie. Was Director-level at a VC-funded startup for a while.

This has not been shared in a while, but everyone should read this: The Stress of Remote Working

Where do you work, out of curiosity?

As I get older, I’m convinced that good companies are extremely rare– perhaps 1 out of 100. There are plenty more that talk a good game, but this is an industry where moral decency is uncommon.

Jerome Corsi Told Roger Stone Wikileaks Had Dirt on Hillary’s Health. Then the Attacks Started.

I imagine Ben Carson is quite intelligent, but that doesn’t mean he can’t have loopy beliefs. People who get taken in by cults tend to have higher-than-average IQs.

It’s possible that this is analogous to the role of a learning-rate parameter in machine learning algorithms. Being smarter means you learn faster, but in spaces where proof and refutation don’t exist, it can mean you pick up bullshit (overfitting) faster. This also explains, in my view, why so many intelligent people humiliate themselves when they go out of their well-studied domain, e.g., when it turns out that chess masters or famous scientists have loopy political views.

Jerome Corsi Told Roger Stone Wikileaks Had Dirt on Hillary’s Health. Then the Attacks Started.

I remember reading in the 1990s how, “as opposed to now”, the Ivy Leagues of the ’50s were for the social elite but had low academic and admissions standards.

Really, it didn’t change much. There are two sets of standards. For the well-connected, it’s extremely easy to get into these schools. For everyone else, it’s difficult and rare; even for people with top-notch academic specs, rejection is more common than acceptance. The PhD level is different and mostly requires academic merit, but for undergraduate and professional school, the functions are still socioeconomic, with a splash of middle-class smart kids thrown in to give the real clientele a credibility boost.

This has not been shared in a while, but everyone should read this: The Stress of Remote Working

To this complaint I reply with the here-accurate trope-y answer: You don’t hate remote working; you hate corporate capitalism.

If you are working remotely, communication tends to stick to structured channels: the chats, the daily standup, maybe a few global meeting (retrospective, company status) every other week, Jira for the tasks and bug reports and lots and lots of emails. This works well to accomplish structured tasks, but you might definitely feel disconnected from the company sometimes.

That’s how most on-site workers feel, too. This is the “new normal” of end-stage corporate capitalism: short-term thinking, zero investment in the worker’s career, zero trust. Alienation.

The biggest problem with remote work is that you’re now in competition with the whole fucking world, which is a dismal place and probably will be until human culture reaches a point where global unionization is possible and post-scarcity life is the norm (2075?). If you can do it from your $650K house in the suburbs, 37 miles from work, then someone else can do it in a country where $5 per day is the prevailing wage.

I felt detached from the team, especially when the teams I worked with were made of multiple people working in the same office/place, and seeming to have fun.

I don’t think one should envy this “seeming to have fun”. If you actually talk to people who work in the corporate world, you realize that 85+ percent of them are miserable. Most of them are on the edge of suicide, held back by (1) hope that it might get better somehow, and (2) family ties and the realization that their sudden departure would leave others worse off. No one enjoys being a corporate subordinate, but seeming to enjoy it is an appearance people keep up because honesty would get them fired.

I actually often realized that other colleagues working remotely were criticized because they were not answering very quickly on the chat.

This is because techies are fucking stupid, collectively speaking, and rat each other out to management. If they had one-tenth the protect-our-own instinct that managerial types have, they could run the world. But they fall prey to this moronic individualism that allows the shitbags on top to divide them against each other.

Engineers are individually far smarter than MBAs, but they’re collectively stupid, and that’s why they’re not in charge. The real purpose of MBA school isn’t education; it’s enculturation into a set of people who’ll circle the wagons no matter what. Engineers are so anti-union but fail to realize that their bosses already have a union: it’s called management.

I worked for example for a company where I felt that people “in the office” were preferred for promotions. So, you have to consider that too when working remotely.

That’s true. Moreover, most companies won’t admit it but have an up-or-out policy. If you’re not a call option– a worker who might be convertible into, at the very least, a club-wielding middle manager, then there’s no reason not to replace you with someone overseas who charges $7 per day.

You might suffer from some degradation of your social skills

Working as a subordinate also destroys your social skills. At least, you don’t learn the social skills that might actually lift you out of where you are. You don’t learn what matters in life, and your genuine friendships will disappear over time. There’s no panacea for this. Corporate capitalism turns people into less than what they could be, and whether you spend 8+ hours per day in a box or not, this is just what it does. It also makes them dumb; I suspect that 95–100 percent of midlife cognitive decline is caused by it (which is why don’t see midlife mediocrity in, say, the arts).

Socrates said that manual laborers make poor friends, because their lives are consumed by work and they don’t have the time or energy to be friends, or citizens, or anything but machines for someone else’s purpose. The irony of 2018 is that this applies far more to white-collar drones than it does to blue-collar people (who often work 9-to-5, because they’ll get paid overtime if pushed beyond that). This is probably why one sees less midlife cognitive decline in high-IQ blue collar people than in comparable white-collars, who are lucky if they’re still average by age 50.

To summarize, the main problem for me is to feel like a text processing machine, receiving mails, Jira tickets and chat messages as input and writing code as output, without the human interactions needed to make it more meaningful. I do not like becoming a kind of a remote developer black box.

That’s just how the corporate system is. It’s more obvious if you work from home, but it’s still present if you show up and sit in a box, popping benzos to stave off open-planic attacks, all day. One should either work to overthrow the current economic system… or shut up about these side-game problems. It’s not remote work that is the problem; it’s corporate capitalism. And bringing it down will take years, but it’s something we owe to future generations.

Michael Moore Rips Donald Trump: He ‘Doesn’t Understand’ How General Motors Played Him

Bridge and tunnel trash from Queens who wanted in with the Manhattan elite. They never accepted him. They’ve accepted others from the outer boroughs, but never him. Why? It should be obvious. He’s an asshole, a con man, and he has shit taste.

His daughter won respectability with that set, which might explain his creepy obsession with her. She was his ticket in.

How to Deal with Difficult People on Software Projects

Agile/Scrum has also driven out the engineers with experience or talent, because people with serious capability don’t want to work on tickets for the rest of their lives. It has replaced genuine talent with replaceable employer-compliant morons.

Scrum is Beer Goggles Programming. The otherwise-unemployable 2’s get promoted to 4’s; but the 6+ see a sloppy mess about to piss on himself and want nothing to do with you.

How to Deal with Difficult People on Software Projects

The answer: draw four lands, at least two of which are plains.

Washington Post: Trump says his ‘gut’ can tell him more than ‘anybody else’s brain can ever tell me’

To be fair, though, there’s a “broken clock is right twice a day” effect going on.

Trump appeals to the paranoid sort of person who dislikes all change and feels “in his gut” that the people in charge of society are either incompetent or malevolent, and that his socioeconomic fortune is likely to get worse.

That person has been right about that. I wouldn’t have voted for Trump in a million years, and I can’t get behind the racism or sexism, but the fact is that the gut feeling many people have had in the Red States about the attitude of our policy elites toward them is spot-on. They miss the nuance. They’re easily misled into believing that liberals and minorities are at fault for decisions that, in fact, their bosses made (to line their own pockets). The gut is not a subtle organ. It is not smart enough to tell apart positive cultural changes (i.e., a more inclusive society) from malevolent economic ones (e.g., precarious employment, declining wages, increasing work demands). It just knows that change has been more bad than good over the past 40 years– which, for people who have to work for a living, is undeniably true.

When things fall apart, as they have, it confirms (from their perspective, which is colored by emotion rather than reality) the gut-level negativity of the paranoid sorts of people who tend to fall in love with authoritarian strongmen.

Maybe They’re Just Bad People

Yes, it’s self-protection. You can be critical of politicians, businessmen, and celebrities, but don’t you dare criticize literary agents or publishers…. A lot of people think writers have a certain occupational independence. In traditional publishing, it’s not so. There are about 15 agents who matter at any given time and if you get one, you protect that relationship (read: grovel and humiliate yourself) at all costs. Self-publishers have to follow rules; the downside is that no one really knows what the rules are.

Silicon Valley is the same way. They’re superficially leftist and countercultural, but if you say anything bad about venture capitalists… you’re taking your life into your hands– literally. These people will do some old-style thug shit to protect their reputations. Hiring the homeless (of whom San Francisco has an inexhaustible supply) to rough people up is a common device. Social media brigading is another one.

Maybe They’re Just Bad People

Some people would rather be on the wrong side than on the outside.

This is extremely true, more than most people realize. I’ve been saying this forever.

You see it in the arts, too. A writer might put out an excellent first novel. Then, he gets into the cocktail party crowd, and his writing turns to shit (while continuing to earn 7-figure advances, and sell well because the publishers push it on the public) because he’s afraid to write anything that would cost him his new friends.

Upper-class apparent ideology is entirely performative. This doesn’t apply only to the late-in-life right-wingers, either; it also applies to the limousine liberals and phony leftists of Silicon Valley. A lot of people slide into whatever niche is available. They might gravitate toward an ideology over time, as a sort of after-the-fact rationalization, but what appears to be sincere adherence is often driven by the availability of rank.

Case in point: Tucker Carlson. He used to be a bowtie-wearing, intellectual conservative more like William F. Buckley than Sean Hannity. Now, he’s peddling white grievance nonsense, because that was the camp that would have him.

Authentic, sincere people are a minority, especially in higher political and economic ranks. We’re talking about 15–20% of the population, but 1–5% (if that) when you get to the level of people who matter in our society. If you want to climb, you can’t turn down an opportunity or friendship, no matter how loathsome; sincere people– especially in a world of insincerity, duplicity, and win-at-all-costs materialism– are at an almost insurmountable disadvantage.

Trump’s incoherence is too much — and it’s getting worse

Is it politically incorrect to call him an idiot savant?

No idea, but that’s an excellent characterization.

He’s the essence of corporate capitalism, and he has a knack for people at their worst. He does have a malignant and decidedly non-intellectual genius in that regard. He’s a narcissist who can masterfully manipulate other narcissists (and the narcissistic elements of various idiots who probably aren’t full-on narcissists).

Trump’s incoherence is too much — and it’s getting worse

My honest guess about Trump is that he was smart. When he was young, he was probably around 120–125 IQ. Not a genius, but definitely not an idiot either. I also think there’s a “use it or lose it” element of intelligence, and Trump is a lazy man, so I don’t think he’s kept himself up. Corporates also tend to turn dumb over the years; if they get to the top, no one challenges their ideas; if they fail, severe depression and learned helplessness set in. So he’s probably sub-100 today (and he may be dealing with dementia).

He has always been loathsome, but he could speak intelligently back in the 1980s (although his business acumen has always been questionable).

America Is Poorer Than It Thinks

Their most destructive untruth is that it is very easy for any American to make money. They will not acknowledge how in fact hard money is to come by, and, therefore, those who have no money blame and blame and blame themselves.

It’s extraordinarily easy for some people to make money: the well-connected, the already-rich, the well-positioned. It’s extremely difficult for people who have little or nothing to make money– and it’s only getting harder. The value of money is like the value of water. Either near-zero or near-infinite, and you don’t want to be in the latter situation.

Disparate difficulties are often used to make the advantaged class seem superior. College admissions follow the same pattern. It’s extremely difficult for a lower- or middle-class person to get into the top colleges; it’s very easy for the rich and well-connected. The more naive middle-class people remember getting rejected despise 1500+ SATs and think, “Man, that kid must be smart”, when they see a Harvard degree. But it often ain’t so. And when people who don’t come from money get made, it’s mostly luck, because it turns out that slot-machine mechanics work.

America Is Poorer Than It Thinks

It’s physically impossible to pull oneself up by bootstraps. One can not pull on a grounded object and rise; one either pushes against the ground or pulls on something off the ground.

The phrase caught on in spite of its deliberate, biting irony and is now used by people who are unaware of its original meaning.

America Is Poorer Than It Thinks

The solution is to ban foreigners from owning homes, and limit domestic homes to 1 per person.

I would allow resident foreigners to own the house that they live in, but these shitbag speculators have got to go. 14 days to sell, or the government takes it at a price it chooses.

Trump’s incoherence is too much — and it’s getting worse

To be fair, the splitting of spoken words into sentences (and application of punctuation) is subjective and this has been done unfavorably for Mr. Trump. That’s not to say that he’s an eloquent speaker or an intelligent person. His thinking is disorganized and it’s frightening that the man is president. But it is uncharitable to parse that segment of speech (as rambling as it is) as a single sentence.

It’s also fairly typical to chop “like”, “um”, etc. Journalists often do it… and fix grammar errors when possible, although one has to be careful. (I wouldn’t “fix” a fragment by adding words; that goes too far.) The self-interruptions are hard-to-impossible to spackle over.

A more neutral parse would look something like this:

Look, having nuclear…. My uncle was a great professor and scientist and engineer, Dr. John Trump at MIT. Good genes; very good genes. OK, very smart, the Wharton School of Finance, very good, very smart. You know, if you’re a conservative Republican– if I were a liberal… if I ran as a liberal Democrat, they would say I’m one of the smartest people anywhere in the world — it’s true! — but when you’re a conservative Republican they try — oh, do they do a number — that’s why I always start off: I went to Wharton, was a good student, went there, went there, did this, built a fortune — you know I have to give my like credentials all the time, because we’re a little disadvantaged. But, you look at the nuclear deal…

It’s still awful. As far as dialogue goes (if it were fiction) it would have lots of sins. More self-interruption that a novelist would allow for a non-insane character. Nested em-dash upserts. Fragments that aren’t justifiable for any stylistic or rhetorical reason. He does get plus points for repetition on “if I were a liberal” (as in “If it were true– oh, if it were remotely true my friends– then I’d be giving a different speech.”) because while I disagree with his assertion that a double standard exists, he is driving it home. Of course, that’s canceled out by the swarm of minuses accompanying the generally terrible speech and idiotic reasoning.

Trump’s incoherence is too much — and it’s getting worse

I said, “You don’t use steam anymore for catapult?”

Trump prefers a trebuchet for his 90-kilogram/300-meter needs.

When you order same day shipping and it’s 11:59pm

Subtle Alaska boosting.

What’s the biggest double standard in society?

I might be the only person who considers himself an average driver. (I’ve never had an accident, but that might be luck combined with being cautious.) I wonder if this means I’m actually significantly below.

42 Years of Microprocessor Trend Data

To be honest, for most business software, you’d get bigger performance boosts from hiring competent programmers than by changing up the hardware. Most of us suffer performance problems, day to day, due to terrible software that was written to deadline, and therefore uses gigabytes of memory it doesn’t need and runs slowly. Hardware keeps advancing but (a) we don’t use the extra oomph, and (b) regular Agile/Scrum programmers wouldn’t know what to do with it in any case.

The performance problem isn’t “Moore’s Law is slowing down”. It’s the culture of belligerent mediocrity in software culture.

“The system is rigged” How the crimes of The Panama Papers affect us all

This is one of the main drivers of the “global trumpism.”

True, but only because of sustained campaigns of disinformation. The right wingers successfully paint rich people as “jawb creators”, except for a wealthy “liberal elite” with so few people in it, it practically doesn’t exist.

This right-wing populism steers the rage of those fucked-over by the rich… into movements that ultimately benefit the rich. It can only work if you’re a shameless liar, which the current crop of nationalist demagogues are.

Americans Want To Believe Jobs Are the Solution to Poverty. They’re Not.

Technology has already reduced our real workload to about 15 hours a week, but our culture has clung fiercely to the idea that butts in seats for 40+ hours a week is what is morally required to “make a living.”

Companies don’t want work anymore. If you put forth a serious effort, you become a threat to management. You’re overperforming and likely to get fired. What they want is indivisible loyalty. Which is the workweek stopped decreasing once it was ~51–60 percent of what most people can do in a week.

The thing authoritarians hate most is having to compete with other sources of authority, protection, esteem, or whatever else they provide. If the workweek reached a point where workers could have two genuine jobs, the corporates would lose their shit. How dare workers make them compete for loyalty.

Office work, in 2018, is not about what gets done. It’s about a show of force. Competitor has 15,000 bodies? Better get 16,000. Workers are evaluated not based on productivity but on loyalty and ability to endure a subordinate role– get ready for a fact that’ll make you want to punch someone– with a smile.

If society continues on its current trajectory, we’re headed for a masculine crisis that will end in violence, probably within 15 years. Not to get into what gender roles “should be” (or if they ought to exist at all)… we need to acknowledge that, as our culture exists today, they’re real. Society tells men that they are worthless unless they suit up and go to work… but, thanks to automation, the only jobs left are subordinate, emasculating jobs fluffing up the egos of effete aristocrats– the fake news of the male gender– called “executives”. The only way to “be a man” is to not be a man. Ex falso quodlibet. Kaboom.

Americans Want To Believe Jobs Are the Solution to Poverty. They’re Not.

The other problem is that labor has an immediate, humiliating need to eat, whereas capital can starve labor out. Labor is local; capital can go anywhere.

It’s asymmetric warfare. As the system is structured now, it’s unwinnable from labor’s perspective.

Radical organizing actions are a start, but we also need to fix our system of government. For too long, the government has erred on the side of property.

My personal view is that any company of a certain size should be treated as a utility. That’s what income is– a utility. And just as power companies can’t decide to cut service on a whim, firms shouldn’t be able to fire at will. The burden of proof belongs on the company, not the worker, and every termination or layoff should be subject to government review– was the layoff a necessary move to sustain the business, or was it an executive lining his pockets? (Yes, I’m advocating more bureaucracy; hey, we need jobs for people, right?) If a company tries to break the rules or weasel out of its obligations to its workers, then the stock gets zeroed and the company is nationalized.

We’re still at the point where political fixes (as opposed to violence) are possible, but we won’t be in this (relatively) happy territory for long. We’re not many years from a point of no return.

Why is your generation so depressing?………..

I simply can’t imagine who Would go and (burp) eat the baby.

– A Dingo

– Michael Scott

What is something that everyone praises but is actually horrible?

Labor markets truly have the dynamic where if one person is unfree, everyone is. It only becomes more true as technology advances. The unfreedom of “the Third World” wasn’t a problem for Americans in the 1950s; now, it is. We can’t compete on wages with slave labor; that’s a game where everyone (except for the crooks) loses.

We learned in the 1970s that a 5% reduction of oil availability could drive prices up 300%. That’s inelasticity. It’s the same for work. Whenever people desperately need something– food, medicine, jobs– price shocks can occur. So a small increase in worker availability can tank wages.

I think capitalism’s ability to provide meaningful, remunerative work for people is down for the count. Capitalism requires nationalism (cf. Cold War) to work. This is why the Trumpists– the ones who correctly perceive that something’s wrong, but errantly seek to preserve a failed economic system– have such a strong nationalistic streak. But the 20th century isn’t coming back, and we shouldn’t wish for it to do so. We are a global civilization. Like technology, “globalism” is inevitable so the discussion shouldn’t be about “if”, but how to do it right.

What is something that everyone praises but is actually horrible?

Most scientists would assume that those who educate, heal, or innovate would be the most idolized and revered in a society, much like in the past in Ancient Greece. In modern culture though, we’ve grown to idolize those who entertain, like athletes or celebrities.

He always wondered if that was a coincidence of our culture’s development and if we were to restart the world, if we’d end up in the same place.

The U.S. has had three distinct phases: Citizen America, Producer America, Consumer America. The first was most in line with the classical ideal: it was seen as best to be a statesman or person of letters. Producer America changed the focus from citizenry to production, making the nation coarser but more egalitarian. Only the few can indulge in public life, but everyone can produce. By the 1950s, it was clear that technology (rather than an individual worker’s excellence) was driving our production, so we shifted focus to consumption: people are sized up based on their tastes, rather than what they do.

We’re in the late stage of the third phase, and so we worship ultra-consumers. Meaning, rich people and celebrities (who are ultra-consumers of attention).

What is something that everyone praises but is actually horrible?

Millennials and younger generations are constantly being told they’re lazy or have bad work ethic

Which is especially broken when one considers that automation (along with inelasticity in the labor market) is driving the market value of all human labor to zero. No one can keep up with the robots in the long run. Yet, people are expected to shut up and suffer like their great-great-grandparents did, because to do anything else is an unaffordable indulgence (unless you were born into generational wealth, in which case you already have the basic income everyone’s talking about… as well as a head start on the few decent jobs remaining).

Poorest dying nearly ten years younger than the rich in “deeply worrying” trend – “Women life expectancy in most deprived communities in 2016 was 78.8 years, compared to 86.7 years in the most affluent group. For men, 74.0 years among the poorest, compared to 83.8 years among the richest.”

I find it odd that people view “class war” as a leftist fantasy, a distant event– that will probably never happen, the centrist narrative says– in which we nobly rise up against the elite.

Class war is no fantasy, it’s distinctly unpleasant, and it’s happening today. It’s no metaphor– it is an actual war. People die because they don’t have health insurance. They die of capitalism (work stress, uncompensated bodily damage) already, by the millions. This war is not some fantasy; the problem right now is that it’s one-sided, with the losing side unaware that it is going on.

Oh, and a reminder from your capitalist overlords: today is a great day to buy a bunch of shit no one needs.

Why “Agile” and especially Scrum are terrible

That’s crazy. I’ve only known you as a tech blogger – primarily by reading your thoughts on Agile and VC culture. I can’t imagine anyone would send death threats to a tech blogger.

You’d think that, right? So would I.

That being said, the tech barons will go quite far to protect what they have. It isn’t illegal, in their world, unless they get caught. It’s not that rare, for example, that they’ll hire bums to mess up a rival’s events. The homeless are just 1/1 counters to them and San Francisco is a bottomless bucket.

Michelle Wolf calls White House Correspondents’ Association ‘cowards’

This, after Michelle Wolf actually does a job well.

What is it about her that causes things to burst in flames after she’s there? I don’t believe her show was cancelled because of “poor ratings”, as Netflix said; I think it got cut because she told one too many truths that her bosses didn’t want getting out.

I never much liked the WHCD, because it represented the opposite extreme of what we have now. Before Trump, the press and the people they covered were too buddy-buddy, and the WHCD largely represented dick-measuring along the lines of social status and “access”. But now we have a POTUS who directs extreme hostility (not to mention overt lies) at the press and that’s worse.

Trump Says in Interview He Is the Sole Arbiter of Truth

No, I was the Sole Arbiter of Truth in 1985. (I was born in 1983.)

First ever photo of a cat 1880 (the cats name is snow)

They actually had sub-second exposure times by 1880. The age of having to sit still for 10+ minutes had passed.

I only know this because I make a similar joke in my novel, which is set at an 1895 tech level, making it technically anachronistic (at least, by the standards of our world). But I kept it in because, fuck it, it’s my world and I can.

Daguerreotypes required long exposure times but those were out of fashion by 1870, replaced by newer technologies. That said, before Kodak (ca. 1900) photography was restricted to professionals and serious hobbyists– a lot more technical (and expensive) than it is today.

The teachers’ cafeteria staff at a high school put up a sign.

this is like 1st grade level grammar

Or middle- to upper-middle-class adult after 5 years in the Corporate world. (I did the bogus capitalization intentionally.) A lot of people can’t write. Some I assumed never learned, but for others it’s a combination of forgetting and laziness. I’m not talking about an occasional typo or error (we all make ’em) but a wanton disregard for the rules of English writing.

It’s not just uneducated people, either. I’m including PhDs and Rhodes Scholars here. The number of people with impressive paperwork who can’t write to an adult standard is shocking. Similarly, I know plenty of people who never went to college but can write just fine.

Why “Agile” and especially Scrum are terrible

Well said, I feel this way as well. It’s hard to care about IoT when Liberalism itself is on the ropes. Curiously, are you doing anything about it?

That’s a great question, and the answer’s… complicated.

I can’t “not be political” because my name is all over the place and the cat’s out of the bag. I’m putting most of my energy into my novel, though. After some harrowing experiences in 2015–16, I have to be more selective about how I spend my time. I’d rather have one big, possibly important, contribution than keep throwing darts, as I could in the relative peace time of 2010–14.

I got a death threat earlier this month. It wasn’t a credible one. These don’t affect me the way they used to. Still, the bad guys are very much out there. And the Time of Trump encourages not only the fringe, but also the corporates who are more confident about treating workers like shit these days.

George H. Bush letter to Bill Clinton on inauguration in 1993

He may have missed a comma, but there’s nothing grammatically wrong with the sentence as written. Excellent choices of semicolon examples, by the way.

A Glimpse Into the Ideological Monoculture of Literary New York

I finally got a reply back from an agent that said the book was good, but it needed more genre elements, plus he couldn’t see where i was going with it. Ugh. Depressing!

I’m not a fan of agents. There are a small number who can really help your career. The rest are just gatekeepers, and they don’t even read the slush pile. A bunch of unpaid teenage interns do.

Most of the impetus was on the individual to sell the book, so I was essentially paying them to do nothing. Depressing.

Never pay to be published. That isn’t traditional publishing, nor is it self-publishing. That’s vanity press. You pay if you self-publish, but for services like editing, interior design, and cover art. Not for publishing itself.

Also, most traditionally published authors have to do their own marketing. It’s a bad deal unless you get a really good deal. Much more important than the advance is where you rank at your publishing house. It’s not the marketing spend that gets a book going, but the called-in favors (e.g., big-ticket reviews and TV spots). But publishers don’t offer those for just anyone.

Tech and social media is probably one of the worst mistakes humanity has ever made

I wouldn’t go that far, and I don’t think tech is only bad. I do agree that social media is a toxic waste of time and that the associated political nightmares are only starting.

George H. Bush letter to Bill Clinton on inauguration in 1993

You can use a semicolon as he did, but it’s not standard. Usually, you don’t promote commas to semicolons unless you need a second-level separator for lists of lists, e.g., “we have: apples, oranges, and pears; chicken and beef; water, wine, and beer.” The categories (fruits, meats, and drinks) get heavier separators.

You’ll sometimes also see a semicolon as a heavier comma in a sentence like this: “She went to the store; but, the store was closed.” That’s not incorrect, although it may come off as pretentious. That particular sentence has the same meaning without the semicolon or comma. Using the semicolon is more about timing (style) than anything else. Classically, a comma is a quarter beat; a semi-colon is a half beat; and a colon or sentence is a full beat; paragraph breaks, I believe, are one-and-a-half.

So is the use of the semicolon grammatically correct? Yes, although it’s non-standard.

When you’re fusing two sentences that could standalone, the semicolon is the correct punctuation. To use a comma (unless you add a conjucction) is a comma splice; but, sometimes in fiction, the faster pace of the comma is preferable. Though comma splices are “wrong”, you’d prefer them over conjunctions or semicolons in a rapid-fire battle scene, e.g. (“He threw the bomb, the bomb exploded.”) Doing “the right thing” slows the prose down.

George H. Bush letter to Bill Clinton on inauguration in 1993

He skipped Ford. And, to be technical about it, Nixon was never impeached. He resigned to avoid impeachment, and then was pardoned (by Ford).

People who’ve been blocked on Twitter by a famous person, what got you blocked ?

He’s not famous outside of startups/tech, but… Paul Graham.

I wrote a blog post in 2013 that he thought was about him (it wasn’t). Two years later, he had me banned from Hacker News and another shitty website Y Combinator now owns.

There is no cure

I’m not saying Skyler is a good person. She’s not. (She’s a great character, but that’s different; often, the two are negatively correlated.) The argument I’m making is that the reason we find ourselves, as viewers, so biased against her is that she gets in the protagonist’s way.

Gus Fring is a worse person and a more ferocious antagonist, but he doesn’t get 1/10 the hate Skyler does.

There is no cure

Marie was a mirror image of Walt, breaking the rules not because it was in her genuine interest (Walter could have joined Gray Matter; she had no need to shoplift) but to express agency, because she felt powerless.

The difference in arcs is that Hank and Marie start out as awful people and become the good guys; Walter and Skyler are the reverse.

There is no cure

Its a lot like the woman that played Cersei, she’s had people refuse get autograph because she’s such a bitch. That is the definition of world class acting

I’ve gotten into the same argument with regard to Anna Gunn (Skyler in Breaking Bad). I don’t think Skyler’s an evil bitch like Cersei– the viewer dislikes her so intensely not because she’s a bad person but because she’s slowing down the dramatic arc, which involves Walt becoming an even worse person– but the fact that the actress herself gets death threats (which should never happen, for any reason, but alas it does) is testament to her skill in the role.

My issue with Skyler-haters is that I don’t see what sort of character would fit the role and story more perfectly. If she were a supportive wife early on, the protagonist would be too evil from the start for what Gilligan was trying to do; if she became supportive (or just faded) after he started cooking meth, that would be unrealistic and dramatically uninteresting.

Previous or current homless people of Reddit, what rules exist in a homeless society?

This sounds exactly like Corporate America.

It’s funny how the ethical rules that keep civilization together break down– in remarkably similar ways– at the top and bottom of the socioeconomic hierarchy, and it’s alarming that, as the middle disappears, our society increasingly becomes like that.

A Glimpse Into the Ideological Monoculture of Literary New York

You cannot deny, if you look at sales and the amount of attention it got, that The Martian was a titanic hit. And it was indie.

How often was it talked about? If you, for example, search NPR, you will find that they talked about The Martian twice. Once when one of their editors ranked it one of their favorite reads of the year, and second when talking about the movie. In all the times they talked about the movie, they mentioned it was a book once.

Artemis, on the other hand? Easily a dozen different things about it. Because it had a publisher.

The pressure to ignore the indie market is very real.

There’s an immense amount of favor-trading and sausage-making that goes into all these supposedly merit-based publicity outcomes: big-ticket reviews, celebrity endorsements, et cetera. It all happens long before reader word-of-mouth gets a vote.

I don’t entirely blame the publishers here. The chain bookstores killed the book industry in the 1990s; self-publishing is slowly reviving it. It was the chains that introduced the 8-week cycle and forced publishers to pick winners (lead titles) and losers (everything else) before readers even got a say. BookScan also did an immense amount of damage; it used to be that if a book flopped, the evidence disappeared. Post-BookScan, the chains would pull an author’s numbers and, even if he had a supportive editor, this would make the book impossible to sell.

What’s perverse and paradoxical is that it’s much easier to promote a book before it’s out then after it is been published. “Buzz” about the latest hot young author (it doesn’t matter that the book won’t be out for nine months, because the book-buzz crowd doesn’t read much) seems to travel fast; whereas, “Hey, this book was really good; I read to the end, I will probably re-read it in 10 years, and I’ll buy a copy for my nephew next Christmas” doesn’t.

That being said, I think it’s a bad idea to use a traditional publisher because you expect to get a dozen big-ticket reviews. That kind of treatment only comes with the 7-figure deals. And there might be three agents at any given time who can put those sorts of deals together. And if you weren’t born into connections, there’s no way you’re going to land one of those agents, no matter how good your book is.

A Glimpse Into the Ideological Monoculture of Literary New York

Also on the left. I can’t stand limousine liberals. They show a complete lack of generosity to everyone around them– ask one for an introduction to his editor or agent some time, just to see what happens– but think that, because they take leftish to center-left stances and vote for Democrats, they’ve bought enough indulgences to make up for it all. I disagree with conservatives, but I know plenty of people who vote Republican yet are generous in private life. I cannot stand these phony liberals.

You mentioned the role of interns. It is a bit amusing, the power that unpaid, teenage Ivy students are given. Somewhere out there, the Great American Novel that got shot down because a 19-year-old decided that “whilst” was properly literary but “while” was déclassé.

A Glimpse Into the Ideological Monoculture of Literary New York

What’s ironic is that they’ve managed to hold on to the reigns of cultural power… somehow… in the era of ebooks, Kindle, and self-publishing. I tried that route once, but it really is depressing.

Why was it depressing?

What’s a conspiracy theory you actually believe?

The very-rich have been fomenting right-wing extremism not because they want tax-cutting conservatives to seem moderate, but (since the 1960s) to scare the left off from revolution. We on the left have to play nice, because if there is a revolution, the racist psychopaths with most of the guns will take it over.

I also believe the very-rich are behind the large number of insufferable, smug, corporate centrists/liberals in the media, academia, and positions of high cultural influence. These people don’t represent the left or “blue states”, but they make us look bad to those who live in the Jobless Interior. The red/blue split is mostly cultural, rather than economic, and I believe it has been deliberately manufactured.

Because employment is oligarchic these days– there are few employers and they share information about wages and personnel– there is no longer a labor market to speak of. Wages are deliberately calibrated to decline slowly. The very-rich are greedy, but they also know that a quick collapse in wages or working conditions would lead to a revolution. The past 30 years of surveillance capitalism have less to do with work “performance” and more to do with keeping wage declines at an engineered level, giving the profiteers as much as they can without triggering revolt. If wages and working conditions had declined 20 percent faster, over the past 40 years, there would have been a violent revolution.

The above is not to say I would want a violent revolution to happen. I don’t. One: it would be taken over by the worst people. Two: it’s not necessary because the left is winning on the cultural front (which is what the right is so angry about).

What’s a conspiracy theory you actually believe?

That high cancer rates correlate to countries that eat wheat and corn over rice, this isn’t due to rice being healthier but rather due to to the prominent weed killer used on wheat and corn that contains a known carcinogen with the produce sprayed with the weed killer is then found in our own processed foods.

I find this likely. For all the fear radiation inspires, I think that most of our cancer epidemic (aside from the aging population and our getting better at detecting what was, 100 years ago, dying “of old age”) is due to chemical toxicity. I don’t think that’s a conspiracy theory, either.

What’s a conspiracy theory you actually believe?

As a writer, I doubt #2. GRRM’s “problem” (if we choose to think of it that way) is that he can’t focus. We saw that in his writing; once he got well-enough established that he could tell an editor to fuck off and stay published, the books became sprawling messes. He’s taking on more projects. He wrote a book about the Targaryens. He wrote a book about the world he built. There are several HBO spin-offs in the works.

My guess: he’s enjoying the wealth. Which is his right, because he only has one life and it’s not for me to tell him how to live it. It does mean that the series is unlikely to have a satisfactory conclusion. It’s not that he’s too old (he’s not that old, by a writer’s standard) or can’t write (he can). I just don’t see him bearing down and finishing the series. He’s far better at divergence than convergence.

Writing first drafts (divergence) isn’t that hard. At 2500 words per day, you can produce a 300K manuscript (that’s how long Game of Thrones is) in 120 days. It’s the cutting, pruning, and reshaping (convergence) that takes up most of the time, and that’s what he struggles with. Being a writer, I understand why he can’t just “write faster”. It’s not about typing pages; the hard part is chopping bits away and forming a story out of what would otherwise be a seven-digit word count of info dump.

I think there may be a “world builder’s dilemma”. If you’re not inclined to be a world builder, you can’t write stories beyond 100K words (400 pages) because it’s more complexity than you can hold in your head unless you subsume the bulk of your life into the story. If you are inclined to be a world builder, you’re easily distracted and can go off on a tangent– say, by writing a 300K+ book about the Targaryens. These tendencies can be overcome, but it’s hard– that’s why so few people do it.

Also, the book series is probably tied up, in his mind, with his mortality. It’s his most prominent work; it’s his best shot at being remembered in 200 years (or, at least, seems that way now, but who knows?) This is harder for him to write than it otherwise would be, because he feels like the spotlight of history is on him. That can be paralyzing for some people.

Would you take a 50% chance of dying instantly, right now, for $100,000,000,000 if you live? Why or why not?

It’s a tricky call. Let’s assume one is not suicidal; life has positive utility. Analytically, the question is: is there a 2X utility gain in having a titanic level of wealth?

If you’re rich enough not to have to work, the answer is almost certainly “No”. At that point, money is just a vanity score. Your life is materially different at $100B than $10M, but not in ways that matter enough to take the bet. Even at a 5% chance of dropping dead, I don’t think it’s worth it.

If you’re poor or middle class, it’s more complicated. If we had 1970s employment conditions– work demands were extremely low, your boss was your friend, actually working an honest day would get you every promotion– then I’d say “No”. Back when American capitalism actually worked, it wasn’t that bad to have to show up at a job; getting fired was extremely rare, and just giving a shit– not having to be or do anything special– meant you were on a track to modest wealth. Work wasn’t this terrible, oppressive thing. It was a part of life that most people didn’t mind, because it gave them regularity and a sense of purpose.

With old-style working conditions, although there was a material improvement between middle class and rich, it just wasn’t enough that many people would take this bet. If all the money means is being able to buy more shit, it’s not worth it.

On the other hand, if we’re talking about 2018 employment conditions, then having to work is easily a 50+ percent draw against one’s quality of life, and taking the bet makes sense. Given that automation will destroy workers’ leverage and that our corporate sector is run by fascists who’d rather take the whole country down than pay a dime more in taxes, I don’t see it getting better any time soon.

What’s really going on with this question is the bet on the future. If you’re a median American worker, then having to work is probably a 90% draw against the value/utility of your life. (For many, it’s more than a 100% draw, meaning that it puts their lives into negative-utility territory.) You can’t really take serious vacations, you get treated like shit by worthless people on a daily basis, and there’s really no way out. But… things change. We’re not as bad off as we were in the 1930s, and that was the decade before four decades in which capitalism actually worked. (I doubt it can be repeated; the fatal flaw of capitalism is that it only works in an environment of extreme nationalism, as in the Cold War.) It’s unlikely that people in 1937 had any idea how good material life would be in 1962; if they were told as much, they wouldn’t believe it. Or, there could be a socialist revolution that puts corporate capitalism where it properly belongs: in a history book. If you take the bet, you could lose out on positive future social changes– perhaps in 20 years, we’ll be a post-scarcity society– but, on the other hand, you’re insured against negative ones.

What would probably keep me from taking the bet is wanting to see what happens. I don’t think the next 15 years are going to be a lot of fun. Corporate capitalism sucks, but when it breaks down, it will hurt people, in the same way that the 1990s were a miserable decade in the former Soviet Union. But there is a chance that people will build something better in the wreckage, and I’m curious to see how it plays out.

If we factor out the unknown future, an alternative mode of analysis is to look at it in terms of dollars per micromort. A 50% chance of dying is 1,000,000 * ln(2) ~ 693,147 micromorts. That’s a valuation of $144,269 per micromort, which is absurdly high compared to the trades (in smaller volumes) most people make on a daily basis. A typical work commute is 20 micromorts per year, and most people accept that for a lot less. It’s the volume, rather than the nature, of the proposed trade that makes it seem extreme.

Would you take a 50% chance of dying instantly, right now, for $100,000,000,000 if you live? Why or why not?

I’m not suicidal and would consider taking the bet. I don’t think it’s a joke.

The question is: is it a 2X utility boost to have Bezos-level wealth?

It depends on your starting point. If you have a net worth of $10–100 million, probably not. I doubt it’s even a 1.1X boost. At that level of wealth, it’s just vanity, the matter of who has more. Not only are you rich enough not to have to work at that point, but you’re rich enough that if you don’t act like an idiot, you’re going to get richer, and your kids will be better off than you (unless you have 5+).

If you’re an average corporate worker who has to render 55–65% of his useful time and 95% of his emotional energy to capitalism, then… I think there’s a strong argument for taking the bet. Work, for most people, is much more than a 50% draw against their quality of life.

For the bet as given, I’m on the fence. I might sell the payout– I’d split into 1 billion binary options paying $100 or $0, selling at $49 a piece, to lock in a sure $49B. I still have a 50% chance of dying, but the money can go to a useful purpose if I perish. Either way, my life will mean something.

Another way to look at it is this: a 50% chance of death is 1,000,000 * ln(2) ~ 693,147 micromorts. So the price here is $144,269 per micromort, which is quite high. Skydiving is about 5 micromorts. Wouldn’t you skydive for $721,345? I sure would. I’d do it for free, for the experience. A typical commute is 50 micromorts per year. People accept that risk for a lot less than $7.2 million.

The hard question is: when does one get off? If given the choice, I’d rather take 200 micromorts of risk and stop at $28M (or even $15M) than keep playing.

Would you take a 50% chance of dying instantly, right now, for $100,000,000,000 if you live? Why or why not?

As usual, the question offered too much money and gets all yes replies

Try asking “what is the lowest amount of money you would risk your life on a 50:50 gamble?”

It’s still non-trivial.

At a $10M net worth– enough money not to have to work– I would imagine most people would say “No”. Once you’re rich enough not to eat shit on a daily basis, titan-level wealth isn’t a 2x multiplier on the subjective utility of your life. It’s probably not even a 1.1x multiplier. It’s a small improvement at best. At that point, I don’t think any amount of money would justify it, for a lot of people.

Hell, even if we had the work climate of the US in the 1970s, I would say that most people would be in the “No” camp. Back then, jobs were super-easy (your boss was your friend and took you out to lunch) and paid better. Work wasn’t the drain it was now. Modern corporate life is arguably more than a 50% cut to the subjective value of life today, but it wasn’t always that way.

If it were between $10M and a 1% risk of death, $100B and 50%, or no deal at all… I’d readily take the first one, even though it seems like the worse deal in terms of dollar-to-risk ratio.

What is the fictional character you felt most attached to?

Right. I don’t know why people think killing characters is hard or badass. It’s not like a competent writer can’t create new ones.

When I write fight scenes, I go in with the assumption that something is going to be lost. (Otherwise, why write it?) I don’t always know what. It won’t always be a character death– it could be the death of a pack animal, or an item getting lost, or a character crossing an ethical line he didn’t think he would, or a new inconvenience. But if nothing’s lost, the tension doesn’t grow. It’s the opposite of an RPG world where killing wolves outside the dungeon makes you stronger and everything easier.

What sets GRRM apart in pop culture is that most people think of genre literature (esp. fantasy and SF) as simplistic; they don’t imagine that fantasy has evolved since Tolkien. So the notion of a multi-POV fantasy novel where the villains have depth, where there’s no clear distinction between good and bad, and where terrible things happen for political rather than moral/thematic reasons, seems more groundbreaking to non-readers of fantasy than it actually is.

What is the fictional character you felt most attached to?

Something I encountered when studying fiction (because I’m writing a novel) was that American fantasy novels tend to have The One Hero do all the important work while the sidekicks offer moral support and cheesy catchphrases. The Asian attitude, though, is that the Big Bad isn’t all that bad unless it takes a team to defeat him… as you see in JRPGs where fighting the final boss without a full party, although possible as an elite-tier challenge, is extremely difficult.

I prefer the later (typically Asian) approach. If the allies aren’t going to be essential to the main conflict, why develop them? The Hero’s Journey is a time-worn story element, but we’ve had written stories around for 4500 years and we can do better than to have one character get all the glory.

What is the fictional character you felt most attached to?

In my view, Skyler White is a great ribbing of the audience; in our fictive dream, we’re all identifying with a sociopathic element of ourselves– great fiction requires conflict, whereas in real life conflict is usually best avoided– as watch Walter White do these horrible things and, because it’s not real, cheer him on. So we find ourselves not liking her, not for any good reason except for the fact that she seems to be holding Walter back. (I had the same reaction to Skyler at first, but then I stepped back and realized who the character was… and the writers did a great job, in my view.)

Skyler is a normal, real person who (surprise?) doesn’t want her husband to cook crystal meth. She’s a lousy wife (the “sad handjob” scene in S1E1) but Walter is a lousy husband, so it’s hard to know who’s at fault there.

People hate Skyler because she seems to be slowing down the action and getting in Walter’s way by, you know, being a relatively rational human being as opposed to the egoistic sociopath who’s destroying his life and everyone else’s (for our dramatic utility). She does what a typical risk-averse, self-interested, cool-headed person would do. But, dammit, we came here to watch ruin.

What is the fictional character you felt most attached to?

Calvin and Hobbes is brilliant. Watterson took the soulmate dynamic (that you see in romantic comedies and buddy-cop films) and not only managed to make it not trite, but to stretch it out for 11 years and keep it interesting.

What is the fictional character you felt most attached to?

GRRM’s cliffhangers are especially irritating because there are so many disparate threads in the later books. It’s fine in the first two books, where you’re mostly getting different perspectives on the same events; but in the later books he leaves off at a cliffhanger and resumes in 200 pages… or another book, that’ll come out in half a decade. He wouldn’t get away with that, if he weren’t famous.

His reputation as a ruthless character killer– which is not a thing to exult, nor a thing to shame; it just is– comes from the death of Ned Stark, from the Red Wedding (which he pulled off masterfully), and the Purple Wedding (which was highly desired). If he wants to kill characters, he can kill characters. If he doesn’t because he doesn’t, then he can write a different book. But the people who think he’s some badass outlier, just because he kills important characters, don’t read much.

What is the fictional character you felt most attached to?

That’s how war works. Good people are going to die deaths they don’t deserve.

Right. I feel like people are too quick to assume it’s author laziness or edginess, when the reality of war is exactly that… random, unjust deaths. They happen all the time.

If you’re reading a book and you’re angry because one of the good guys died and didn’t deserve to, that likely means the author is good at her job. She made the reader care.

What is the fictional character you felt most attached to?

There’s a common theory that Neville is the real chosen-one/hero, since they were both born at the end of July.

Wisconsin schoolboys in Nazi salute photo ‘shouted white power after Trump was elected’, former students claim

They’re only punishing themselves, because trump is all about helping the rich and sticking it to the poor.

Oh, absolutely. No disagreement on that one. Trump successfully ran against 40 years of damage done by bullies, Boomers, and billionaires… in spite of (or, perhaps and more disturbingly, because of) being all three.

It was a terrible choice on their part, and it fucked up the country. And some of the Trump supporters are, indeed, racist. Probably about 50%. Maybe even more. I’m just arguing that not all of them are.

Wisconsin schoolboys in Nazi salute photo ‘shouted white power after Trump was elected’, former students claim

I never said that it wasn’t a stupid strategy.

These people are angry. They’re lashing out and making bad decisions that are hurting everyone. No question about that.

All that being said, the red states aren’t monolithic, anymore than the blue states are. The fact that some people in the red states are assholes doesn’t justify writing off a whole geographic region.

Wisconsin schoolboys in Nazi salute photo ‘shouted white power after Trump was elected’, former students claim

People in the “red states” aren’t dumb or unsophisticated. They know that coastal elites sneer at them. They know their kids are unlikely to get into top colleges because they don’t have “the right” extracurriculars and can’t get high-school internships at Goldman Sachs or the New York Times. They know that careers in traditional media and publishing are inaccessible. And they know that if they were to move to the coastal regions, they’d face unaffordable housing and a downgrading of their work experience not because of what they did but where they did it. If you’re a Stanford grad and you go work in Silicon Valley, you get $175k straight-out and have your pick of projects. If you’re a Michigan grad of comparable calibre, you’re likely to get $90k (which is nothing in the Bay Area) and you’ll probably be put on a legacy maintenance project no one else wants to do.

So, they’re pissed off. They have a right to be; the 1% has stolen all the opportunities. Now, I’ve spent enough time on the coasts (I lived in NYC for 7 years, and I live outside DC now) to know that those sneering limousine liberals are a tiny percentage of the people who live here. And I also know that “the coasts” aren’t monolithic– Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, and Miami are pretty much different planets. I’m glad Ocasio came out of New York; she’s excellent PR for the blue states, because she seems down-to-earth.

Geographic polarization is hurting this country, because the Rise of Trump isn’t about economics. It’s about a sense of lost dignity. It’s about people in the Jobless Interior who know (not think, but know) that they or their kids will face an uphill battle, for no good reason, if they want to work for the few solid institutions left. They want to punish the sneering gatekeepers. To be honest, I’m on board with that impulse. I just don’t think destroying the country by electing a racist asshole is the way to do it– the gatekeepers are losing relevance as it is. And, of course, there’s no excuse for the extremes one sees… the racism and violence. I understand not liking CNN or the New York Times because your kids will never get to work there; I can’t support it when people lash out at vulnerable racial and gender minorities. That’s never OK.

As for the left and the Democratic party, I really wish Wellstone were alive. We lost a lot when he died. DFL fighting leftism is what we need to get back to; not effete Establishment centrism.

Why “Agile” and especially Scrum are terrible

The problems are both economic and moral. (And, relatedly, cultural and social and political.)

The reason one tends to focus on politics and economics is that, while as individuals we can do very little in the grand scheme, politics and economics can be fixed. A government can imprison criminals; it can offer social services and a basic income. It can’t change human nature, nor can it outlaw all forms of immorality.

Though human nature can’t be fixed, it can be contained. I’d rather have people killing avatars in a virtual-reality game than actually killing other humans. I’d rather see scarcity restricted to game worlds than be a landmark feature of most peoples’ lives. Would that bring us closer to God or the gods or Enlightenment? I don’t intend to make that argument; I don’t see how it could hurt. Poverty, misery, and violence serve no purpose and do a lot of harm, so if we can abolish or reduce them through political or economic means, we should.

Trumpism Is Racism, So Things Will Get Worse

Some of them are racist, no doubt. Certainly much of the fervor Trump has inspired– his stupid rallies, his unyielding loyalty from the bulk of a political party– is driven by racism, hatred, and tribalism.

I’m saying that not all of them are racist. Some of them legitimately think Trump’s proposed strategy for reinvigorating the U.S. economy will work. It won’t. They’re wrong. That doesn’t mean that they’re racist down to a man.

Why “Agile” and especially Scrum are terrible

I blame MBAs and McKinsey (et al). They created the culture of executive job hopping, which led to companies being run by unscrupulous social climbers who see the company as nothing but a pool of money that one should grab as much of as one can. Since this is the attitude up top, every other worker has to contend with a company that runs in the new, sociopathic way. As a consequence, we have an omnilateral lack of trust.

These sorts of trust breakdowns usually aren’t fixable. I don’t think there’s a solution other than to scrap corporate capitalism. The only thing that has worked in the past (1945) was: a worldwide culture of nationalism, leading to a massive war. That can’t be replicated, and it shouldn’t be; so we need a new economic system.

Why “Agile” and especially Scrum are terrible

U.S. Why?

Trumpism Is Racism, So Things Will Get Worse

The problem is that there are non-racists who fall for Trumpism. I’m not excusing them. I’m certainly not saying that Trumpism is right. It isn’t. But there’s a contingent of populist/anti-corporate rightism that isn’t racist.

In 2018, it’s obvious that capitalism only worked during a period of high nationalism: 1940–75. If your economy is run by an elite that identifies more strongly as a component of a global elite than as the leadership class responsible (noblesse oblige) for making their nation not be a shithole, then your elite will steal everything and your country will fall apart. (Source: the past 40 years.)

So, considering that capitalism only works when coupled with nationalism, there are two approaches. The first, from the left, is to ditch capitalism, at least of the corporate form. (I’m a soft socialist; I support a basic income. I think small businesses should have the right to exist; they become utilities at a certain point, though. Unlike a hard socialist, I’m not against private property.) The alternative approach, if you think capitalism ought to work fine (because, for decades, it actually did) is to bring back nationalism. This won’t work. Globalism, like technological change, is desirable and inevitable.

For a few, “Make America Great Again” is a dog-whistle racist or sexist slogan. Trump himself is a racist, misogynistic creep. However, I think for many of Trump’s supporters, there’s nothing nefarious about it. They just want to return to a society where you could drive into a city, with no connections, on Wednesday, call CEOs from the hotel room on Thursday, have a lunch interview on Friday and start on Monday. And, you know what? I want my country back too. I just know enough history (and have enough disgust toward racism and misogyny) not to buy the Fox News propaganda saying the country was stolen from us by minorities (they don’t have it either) or “globalists”. Our country was stolen from us by the 1%. That’s who we need to storm if we’re going to get it back.

I would like to see Trumpism burn out– and take the whole Republican party with it. That being said, I think we ought to listen to the “economic populists”, who only fall to the right because of an ancestral faith (“my father was a Republican, and his father was a Republican”) in capitalism. They really have been geographically fucked-over by “blue state” limousine-liberal hypocrites (who only represent ~1% of those on the coasts, but they don’t see that). And the geographic fuckery going on might be subtle and hard to see at first, but it’s real– for example, when some snotty admissions officer rejects a top student from the Red States as “standard strong” (college admissions speak for “Not Our Kind, Dear”) because he doesn’t have “the right” extracurriculars. And when people complain about the classism they face in admissions and employment, it’s a bit ridiculous to tell them to “check their privilege” because they share the same skin tone as a bunch of rich assholes they’ve never met and who wouldn’t do a thing for them.

The working class needs to unify, not let itself be divided, and of course we should reject racism and sexism; but we also need to move beyond this superficial red/blue dichotomy the 1% has concocted. They want us to look at the electoral map, point at it, and think, “That’s where all the assholes live.” But we need to get past that.

Why “Agile” and especially Scrum are terrible

You got me. When I wrote that post, I did so ignorant of the nuance. I believed that you believed I really was running a meth lab. That’s why I took great pains to correct you.

Why “Agile” and especially Scrum are terrible

Right, and even if Agile itself isn’t evil– the Agile Manifesto itself is fairly reasonable– we still have the general negative trend in management: tearing down specialists and experts (who make micromanagers feel insecure) and turning the job into code-by-numbers mediocrity. This career used to have a place for excellence; but we’ve been replaced by authority-compliant know-nothings… as our industry becomes increasingly blind to the political ramifications of our work. (Obviously, the rank-and-file programmers aren’t fascist– they tend to lean left– but even they are being replaced by apathetic youngsters.)

I’m less inclined, 3 years later, to call Agile the root of the problem. It’s a symptom. I’d write more on the topic– if I still cared about the tech industry. But honestly, I’m putting most of my energy into a steampunk fantasy novel that [1] has nothing to do with the tech industry.

[1]: “Nothing to do” may be an exaggeration. The antagonist is an evil corporation– it’s loosely based in an alternative timeline where the Pinkertons won and turned into Nazis. There’s a lot of bathos in the Global Company scenes, largely because I want to portray corporate capitalism as it actually is– not some cosmic horror like Sauron or Cthulhu; but, rather, as a dangerous joke as liable to kill through incompetence as by intent.

Why “Agile” and especially Scrum are terrible

you’re [intentionally?] mistaking notoriety for popular support.

More accurately, I don’t care anymore.

I don’t expect you to know my story, or to care, but you have no idea what I’ve been through in the past 5 years. Being made fun of on the Internet is, honestly, more humorous at this point than anything else. Compared to death threats and career attacks, this stuff’s pretty mild.

Why “Agile” and especially Scrum are terrible

Fighting shitposts with shitposts since 1996.

Why “Agile” and especially Scrum are terrible

But they’re tracked tighter than we are.

Then they should unionize and get that fixed.

Why “Agile” and especially Scrum are terrible

I think it’s completely reasonable for my employer to want to know how I’m spending my time.

Not every hour, but certainly days and weeks.

Does he tell you how he spends his time?

My view on transparency is that it’s only good when it’s reciprocal. If managers and employees follow the same rules, then it’s between them how much transparency to allow and how frequently to communicate status. But Agile is one-sided transparency: therefore, it further concentrates power in those who already have the political advantage.

Why “Agile” and especially Scrum are terrible

It’s hard to say. Even though he wasn’t technically in charge, Marc Bodnick called the important shots for a long time and he did an incredible amount of damage to that place.

Why “Agile” and especially Scrum are terrible

“Stick to the sprint work” is more about not going squirrel!!! at every passing thing that comes your way. Focus. This is not so much about saving the programmer from themselves as saving the programmer from being interrupted by a constant inflow of work from different partners that conflict with each other, or you end up with tasks that never get finished because they always get bumped in the middle.

I’m of mixed minds about this.

On one hand, the chaos of multiple stakeholders does give the individual engineer some cover if he wants to invest time in his own career development. You never want one person to have the complete picture of everything you do all day.

On the other hand, I do agree that said chaos can get in the way, and that processes that protect engineers from being tugged in myriad different directions could work for the good.

One of my problems is that Agile has no role for truly senior engineers. After 10 years in this industry, you want to work on more than just sprint work; you want to work on genuine R&D efforts that can’t be justified in terms of 2-week increments. Unfortunately, there’s very little of that kind of work in the world (and that’s not Agile’s fault) thanks to end-stage capitalism.

Why “Agile” and especially Scrum are terrible

As I get older, I’m more convinced that my earlier belief that capitalism can be saved from itself was built on false assumptions.

Who is, surprisingly, still alive?

akchually, you’ll almost never die from HIV. All they do is weakening your immune system, so you’ll get killed by other bacteria and viruses, which finally have chance to kill you,

Actually, you’ll never die from bacteria and viruses. All they do is wreak chemical havoc and interfere with cellular processes, leading eventually to organ failures, making it impossible to maintain homeostasis, causing an irreversible end of the coherent nerve activity on which our bodily consciousness depends, which finally kills you.

Why “Agile” and especially Scrum are terrible

This may get buried, which is fine, but I’m the author of the blog post linked here.

A few people commented that I failed to propose an alternative. In that essay, I might not have. However, at the time, I was pretty active in blogging and wrote essays on open allocation. So, I did discuss superior alternatives that actually work.

Most of my blog posts were deleted in 2016 in a stupid accident– not getting into that story here– so the context may have faded a bit.

I don’t really write, these days, about open allocation or programming languages, if only because I’ve given up on technology as a community. I don’t see hope for it. I used to think that if we used better programming languages or management techniques, we’d fix most of our problems. Not true. We’ve been conquered by the VC bastards and pedigreed sociopath founders. It’s over. The only decent way to make money in tech is to travel back in time to the 1990s, but if you have a time machine, there are plenty of even easier ways to make money….

Besides that, there are bigger political issues facing the country now. It was one thing to argue in 2013 about open allocation and organizational dynamics. In 2018, though, with the existential threats we face in technological unemployment, climate change, and old-style literal fascism, I’m just as not as interested in my old topics… which programming language or project management approach is better… as I used to be. The old tech-specific concerns feel a bit petty in comparison to the major problems we now face.

Why “Agile” and especially Scrum are terrible

That’s no strawman. I’ve been in the industry for 20 years and that was the dominant paradigm forever, and many teams still work that way.

I’m sure there are badly-run teams that end up in the Waterfall pattern, but software wasn’t supposed to be designed that way. The now-infamous waterfall flowchart was being presented as what not to do.

The only way to “win” at waterfall is to basically take your best estimates and absolutely pad the living hell out of them.

That’s how people win at Agilepolitik, too. It’s called “managing expectations” and though we probably both bristle at it, it’s what people do if they want to stay in the good graces of thems above them.

The solution is blindingly obvious: let the engineers themselves be a part of the process to design the stories.

That doesn’t help because you’re still forcing the engineers to justify insultingly low increments of their time to non-technical people.

“Sprint” pseudoscience can die in a taint fire. Sprint literally means unsustainable.

You are not supposed to do any work outside of a story.

So, in other words, being a professional software engineer is supposed to be like middle school, where you ask for a hall pass before using the bathroom.

Do you think the business guys justify their own working time in terms of atomized “user stories”? No, of course not. So why should the engineers?

Why “Agile” and especially Scrum are terrible

From a WordPress.com Website. It makes me laugh when people can’t even pay a couple dollars a month for hosting and $12 a year for their own domain name because they really don’t think their content is worth writing…

I started blogging in 2004, back in the Blogger days. Moved to WordPress in 2009, got enough of a following that there were switching costs. It’s now in maintenance mode.

Are there better ways to run a blog? Sure, and WordPress now runs ads, which I hate. But it hasn’t been that high of a priority for me.

Why “Agile” and especially Scrum are terrible

Clever, but not remotely true. Also, while I recognize that some people believe an ellipsis can be used as a punctuation wild-card, I don’t think you gain anything stylistically by using it over a full stop.

Why “Agile” and especially Scrum are terrible

I plan on moving away from WordPress, for a number of reasons. (I also don’t like that they now run ads in my blog. It pisses me off.) But it hasn’t been a high priority and, to be honest, I’m not really that interested in tech blogging; that phase of my life is pretty much over.

Why “Agile” and especially Scrum are terrible

It’s almost as if it was intentionally made to be provocative and controversial so they get more clicks; oh wait.

Not really. I don’t make any money off the blog and it’s not a high-ranking concern at this point in my life. This is about blood. Software used to be a legitimate career; the advent of “sprint” nonsense and the flood of unskilled, low-status Jira jockeys destroyed it. I’m pissed off and I have every right to be, because millions of people are getting fucked over.

Why “Agile” and especially Scrum are terrible

That was some dumbass Quora question. I don’t know if you follow Quora, but there are a lot of dumb people on it.

Why “Agile” and especially Scrum are terrible

It only seems to have gotten worse, in my observation.

I agree that the Agile Manifesto was reasonable; but that’s not where we are with this shit.

Why “Agile” and especially Scrum are terrible

Upvoted for insight.

“Say my name.”

“You’re goddamn right.”

What did you have in 1999 but not 2018?

Right. I mean, it wasn’t that long ago that there really were dangerous leftist radicals. (There weren’t many of them; at their worst, they were still far less of a problem than, say, the Klan.) These days, though, the right gets bent out of shape about middle-aged women wearing pink hats.

What did you have in 1999 but not 2018?

You know, I really dislike the PC lynch mobs, so I sympathize with this position. People shouldn’t become unemployable because they say something stupid.

That said, I’ll remark that the conservative position is inconsistent. They’re all for at-will employment… until someone gets fired over a tweet. They’re fine with bosses capriciously firing anyone except the guy who says something politically incorrect on Facebook.

If the right wanted more sympathy on the very real (although rare) injustice that exists here, then they would fight for labor protections, stronger unions, and better working conditions. But they can’t have it both ways. It’s inconsistent to support at-will employment in general but then call foul when a company sacks someone who’s pissed off a PC lynch mob.

What did you have in 1999 but not 2018?


In the ’90s, despair was a phase one aged out of. To many, it was an aesthetic. In school, it was one thing to be angsty and skittish and say things like “Capitalism is a rape machine” (which, at the time, would have been an absurd exaggeration) but you outgrew it. You turned 22, got your easy job where the C-levels mentored you into leadership roles, and within 5 years, you had paid off your first house.

Capitalism actually worked back then. If you were halfway intelligent and willing to put in the hours, you’d get every promotion available to you. Old people actually retired (at ages like 57) rather than hoarding opportunity. Meritocracy existed; you didn’t need generational connections to get a break in the world. And if your company sucked, you could apply for a job somewhere else because that actually worked.

Today, what was once a phase of hyperbolic anguish that lasted a few months (“woe is me, the world is a pit of infinite darkness, society is run by reptilian demon monsters and we should kill them all”) is a rather permanent attitude, because all those gothic nightmares became true. It’s not a transient aesthetic of misery; it’s (at worst) depressive realism. And I hesitate to use “depressive”, because I don’t think it’s clinical; I would argue for institutionalizing anyone who’s not disgusted by the economic situation today.

As for 9/11, I think it was an excuse for our parasitic upper class to crack down. We were so worried about terrorism that we ignored the rich people running away with all the money. It wasn’t till 2008 (which did far more damage to us) that we realized what had happened. On the topic of hope, I think it is returning. That said, hope in a time like this can only come with a transformational impetus. There’s certainly no hope in Establishment politicians– in both parties, they’re smug paycheck collectors who won’t do anything– and the alt-right is destructive and terrible. We see hope on the left, with the socialist candidates (who are largely social democrats and soft socialists). But, will they remain hopeful after taking a beating from the existing machines? On that, I couldn’t possibly say.

What did you have in 1999 but not 2018?

Pretty sure Bin Ladin’s motivation for the 9/11 attacks were actually the exact opposite. They wanted the U.S to stop meddling with their affairs

I don’t think this was it. My read of Osama bin Laden is: he was a rich, nihilistic asshole. It had little to do with Islam.

I was 18 when 9/11 happened and I remember the pundits talking about a “clash of civilizations” between Islam and “the West”. Nonsense. For one thing, Islam is part of “the West” and we wouldn’t know a damn thing about the ancient world if it weren’t for Muslim scholars who preserved Greek and Roman texts during our Dark Ages. The truth is that most people in the Middle East think about us very rarely, and most of the day-to-day anger is within religious identities (e.g., secular versus religious, Shiite vs. Sunni) rather than between them.

Sure, bin Laden used U.S. activity in the Middle East to recruit fighters, but as for his own motivation? The guy just wanted to make people die. He wanted to make a name for himself (and he did). And, of course, the political leadership in most of these countries was never especially observant of Islam; Saddam Hussein’s sons were raging alcoholics.

What did you have in 1999 but not 2018?

There’s orders of magnitude more violence and politically-motivated crime coming from the right than the left.

There are very few communists or hard socialists left in the U.S. (Bernie and Ocasio are soft socialists who want to temper capitalism and gradually replace it; hard socialists are those who want to abolish property ownership.) “Antifa” means nothing more than anti-fascist. And, while there have been a few (and quite few) property crimes from the left, they’re not shooting up churches or killing people with their vehicles.

There’s no comparison. For all this Fox News bullshit about antifa and the left, the fact is that there’s 100 times more bad activity coming from the right. This “we’re being attacked” propaganda is scary to me; in 1939, German propaganda made the Poles out to be the aggressors. He wouldn’t have been able to sell war to a country that had been crushed 20 years ago, had he not lied and made his targets out to be belligerent when, in fact, they weren’t.

In your opinion, what song immediately starts off incredibly strong, but then quickly devolves into “NO! What are you doing!?”?

Knights of Cydonia – Muse

The rest of the song isn’t terrible, but the opening is so much stronger, and it’s kind of anticlimactic (repetition of “no one’s going to take me alive”) at the end.

What still exists because we haven’t come up with a better idea for it?

Two people have mentioned the CGP Grey video already, but it really is worth a watch. It shows the Iron Law of Oligarchy from the dictatorial direction.

Every society generates oligarchies, whether its initial conditions are democratic or autocratic/dictatorial. The upshot is that democracy may generate limited, accountable, meritocratic oligarchies (e.g., science) whereas autocracy almost always produces malevolent courtier bureaucracies (e.g., Corporate America).

A republic is an oligarchy that serves the people; individuals who fail to do so are voted out of office. The bad kinds of oligarchy, that serve the wealthy or connected, seem to proliferate and gain power. In the US, we have a half-decent government even still, but we have the most corrupt private sector in recent human history.

Bureaucracy and oligarchy aren’t necessarily evil if they take the form of operational processes– most people don’t know or care about most decisions, which is why we need experts– but when those exist to serve themselves or, worse yet, a hereditary elite as in 21st-century America, then it’s ugly and it’s time to scrap everything and roll the dice again.

Ocasio-Cortez rips Fox News for cracking ‘jokes’ about her finances: It shows what they really think of working-class people

I didn’t find it to get humid often, at least not in the oppressive way that you see in DC or New York. Hot, yes, but there’s a world of difference between the Midwest 85°F (comfortable) and the DC/NYC 85°F (insufferable, stifling). You’ll have a couple days of horrible humidity out there, but it’s almost every day on the east coast. I’ve actually seem 75°F with 100% humidity and fog– I can’t say I recommend that.

Ocasio-Cortez rips Fox News for cracking ‘jokes’ about her finances: It shows what they really think of working-class people

But don’t tell anyone, Minneapolis is my favorite well kept secret

The weather is a true test of character.

I’m on the east coast and people are surprised when I say that it’s not actually that bad. I’d rather much have Minnesota’s winter than the humidity of a DC summer (which lingers into September). You can still do most outdoor activities if it’s cold or snowy, but the only thing that’s nice in a humid east coast summer is the beach, and I’d rather go to the tropics for that (better diving).

Ocasio-Cortez rips Fox News for cracking ‘jokes’ about her finances: It shows what they really think of working-class people

The red states are generally in areas most don’t want to live in, hence why the prices are cheap.

I’m pretty far to the left, and I’m definitely an intellectual elitist, but I really wouldn’t mind living in a far-out place like Maine, or Minnesota, or western North Carolina– you can find smart people anywhere; and you can always visit your friends– if there were jobs there. The few places I’d call objectively undesirable aren’t ecologically sustainable anyway.

The prices are low because jobs aren’t plentiful out there, and because the two-career strategy is completely infeasible unless one person has a work-anywhere career like medicine. In fact, I’d argue that the main red/blue cultural divide isn’t (at root) about education, but about one-career versus two-career family planning. But now that many of those one-career families have been turned into zero-career headless households by economic changes, we have a serious cultural war on our hands.

Ocasio-Cortez rips Fox News for cracking ‘jokes’ about her finances: It shows what they really think of working-class people

Queue the whole “why don’t you go live in some rural place in some red state where houses are affordable, you coastal elite” bull shit.

People don’t live in the expensive coastal cities because they’re snobs. They do so because, while we have a relatively low-corruption government, we have an extremely corrupt private sector (reaching historical records) and connections matter. Jobs that lead anywhere but a dead end are super-rare and clustered in those expensive cities.

Basic income would unfuck American geography in a matter of months. After 30, the expensive cities wear thin. People live there because they have no other choice (a) if they want robust job markets, and (b) if they want access to the people and tokens that will put their kids in the “feeder” boarding schools, then elite colleges, and thereby possibly buy their progeny out of corporate serfdom.

I would love to see artist colonies and the like spring up all over the Red States. The polarized geography we have now fucks everyone over: the young who have to pay inflated housing costs, the people in what has become the Jobless Interior, the urban poor facing gentrification. But, I think that it’s one of those things we won’t see until we end corporate capitalism.

Ocasio-Cortez rips Fox News for cracking ‘jokes’ about her finances: It shows what they really think of working-class people

One of the differences between working class people and the chattering upper-middle classes is their attitude toward financial responsibility. If you’re working class, you don’t get to spend money you don’t have. Running out of money isn’t an embarrassing conversation with the parents. It doesn’t mean you rely on your 275,000 Twitter followers to get a high-paying sinecure and staple yourself back together. Rather, it’s a major problem that can fuck up your life and work for decades.

Working-class people make bad decisions sometimes– that’s universal, across social classes– but there’s a lower margin for error for them. For one example, low-income people actually buy fewer lottery tickets (contrary to legend) than wealthier people; they’re just more likely to suffer from it because it’s a larger proportional hit. It’s among the middle and upper-middle classes that you encounter bad financial advice like “Buy the most expensive house you can, so you’ll have better neighbors” or “Do what you love and the money will follow.” Quite a large number of respectably upper-middle-class people are one economic downturn away from humility. It’s all status spending that they justify by believing it will help their careers– and, perhaps, it would have done so, if this were the 1950s–90s when the career game was on extreme-easy-mode any idiot could make money; but these days, one needs to prepare for bad times, because there’s very little to be optimistic about in the US socioeconomic picture. For these people, if their parents’ late-life needs or strange decisions wipe out their inheritances… they’re fucked.

So, the Fox News people are thinking: Why doesn’t she take out more credit cards? Can’t she borrow money from her parents– an advance against her inheritance? You don’t get to be a media personality unless you come from that small set of people that is used to spending money one doesn’t have, knowing that parental bailouts are available. (That’s literally what unpaid internships are.) And the answer, to people who live in the real world, as to why she doesn’t spend money she doesn’t have… is fairly obvious.

What’s the biggest fuck-up you have witnessed?

Better than a bear saying, “You don’t come here for the huntin’, do ya?”

9 to 5.

“I’ve got to go smile at the rich people who stole all the money, so they’ll give a little bit back to me, and we can eat something.”

‘Remarkable’ decline in fertility rates around the world

Most people that have children wouldn’t exchange their offspring for any amount of money. You can buy literally anything in the world but you can’t buy the love of your own child.

That’s a privileged perspective, one fit to those choosing between retiring with $5M and not having kids or retiring with $3M and having kids.

Of course people who have kids, but retire at 55 and travel the world are going to say they’d rather have it that way, than have not had kids but be able to eat at slightly fancier restaurants in their later years. However, those aren’t the options that Millennials will get, seeing as the 1% stole the country from us.

It is November so time to post this one.

Spearfish, South Dakota, which also gets Chinooks, once went from –4 to 45 °F (-20 to 7 °C) in two minutes. Less than two hours later, it dropped from 54 °F (12 °C) back to -4.

The drop must have been annoying, if not dangerous. Speaking from experience with cold climates, 54 °F is shorts weather, at least when it’s sunny… but if you went outside without a coat that day, and it dropped… that would be miserable.

Pun intended

It’s like prefixing “Not to be racist, but…” to a non-racist sentence and making it racist.

This Black Rhino lost its horns to poachers in Zimbabwe. He recovered after being left for dead with multiple AK47 wounds, having walked through the bush in pain and confusion for a week. (Photo by Ben Stirton)

I have zero sympathy for poachers. They are not poor farmers struggling to survive. They are well-resourced and often filthy rich by the standards of the countries they work in (which are often not the countries they are from). They know what they’re doing, so fuck ’em. I care more about innocent rhinos and tigers than the worst 1% of our species.

I’ve been homeless 3 times. The problem isn’t drugs or mental illness — it’s poverty

If people self-identify as liberal while acting like conservatives (which is rampant among the affluent people in the Bay Area), there’s little you can do to change things.

I don’t think of these people as “acting like conservatives”. I dislike conservative politics but there are plenty of people who lean to the right but are privately generous.

They’re superficially leftish because it’s good PR for their social class and because they rely to some degree on the middle classes (publicity experts, software programmers) to get things done, but they’re not liberal in any meaningful sense, and if you look at how they run their companies when in charge (e.g., Silicon Valley management) they actually show a fascist inclination.

Testing his luck with a FUCKING TRAIN

Let’s not have this discussion go off the rails.

The American civil war didn’t end. And Trump is a Confederate president

Slavery is still legal, too. Prisoners can be forced to work; it’s an exception written into the 13th Amendment (“… except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted…”). For-profit prisons make convict labor lucrative.

Not only that, but felon status follows a person forever. So, the person can’t get a legitimate job and is likely to offend again.

Increasingly, companies share data (often without employees knowing) and have a high degree of control over an employee’s reputation, and can make finding future work difficult. This, of course, allows employers to extort workers using their control over the worker’s professional image. Twenty years ago, the worst they could do was fire someone; they couldn’t prevent you from reinventing your professional reputation as you saw fit and starting at the same or a higher level.

We are still fighting the Civil War. This time, though, it’s not geographical so much as ideological– the constant running battle between Past (property, generational connectedness, notions of supremacy) and Future (inclusion, social equality, elimination of scarcity and coercion, creativity).

Who is the scariest villain in all of fiction?

Colonel Kurtz in Heart of Darkness (and, later, the movie Apocalypse Now).

The case for super-slow reading

Most people read slower than the “normal” reading speed. Although most adults can read 300–400 words per minute in bursts, few can sustain that speed. When I’m converting word count into reader hours for my book, I use the heuristic of 10,000 words per hour. That seems to be a good approximation of how fast or slow most people actually read.

Writers tend to be slower-than-average readers. So you’re not in bad company if you’re a slow reader. It’s very hard to read for style if you’re moving along at 350+ WPM. Of course, for regular corporate prose, you’re not missing out on much and bare comprehension is fine– if you have to absorb a lot of crummy writing for your job, 350 WPM or faster (skimming) is ideal– but if you’re looking to get to the literary heart of something, you’ll probably perform best at 150–200 WPM.

Which book do you wish you simply hadn’t read?

It almost makes the reader feel complicit in the violence, because all you want is for Bateman to stop going on about what mundane brand of luxury clothing he’s wearing and to just hurry up and murder someone.

Indeed. That’s how most slasher horror works.

When I call American Psycho “boring” I don’t mean to critique Ellis’ failure at properly pacing his novel. I think that feeling of boredom and its meaning is intentionally built into the story.

I agree. I think of American Psycho as metafiction more than fiction. There’s a certain fuck-you element to the book. I imagine Bret Ellis is a bit conflicted. He clearly hates his social class; yet, it is unlikely (not because he’s a bad writer, but because it’s unlikely for anyone) that he would have gotten the treatment from traditional publishing that he did, were he not from it. Regular folk don’t get 6-figure trade deals with marketing packages for first novels (or, usually, ever… even if they win awards).

Which book do you wish you simply hadn’t read?

GRRM was getting ponderous even in the third book. 750 pages of boring, depressing late-autumn travel… then, Red Wedding… then… more nothing-happening… then, Purple Wedding! High notes very high, perhaps… but the drama:word-count ratio was poor.

There are a couple problems with the series.

First, its appeal to non-fantasy readers is that it seems like an antidote to the fantasy stereotype of simplistic moral topologies (because many non-fantasy readers think the genre hasn’t progressed beyond orcs, elves, and dragons), Ancient Rune MacGuffins of Lore, and overused deus ex machina, especially in the ending. Compared to what non-readers of the genre think fantasy is, the series is excellent; compared to the best fantasy writing, it’s… not that innovative. (That said, the first two books were pretty good.)

The hardline moral relativism is a liability for a series. For a standalone literary novel, moral relativism isn’t a problem. For an epic fantasy series coming out over decades, it’s hard when the characters are so unlikeable.

Second, the shifting point-of-view was great when it gave us multiple perspectives on the same events. But once the characters got separated, it became an excuse for a wordy author to throw kilowords at us, end a chapter on a cliffhanger, and resume that thread 200 pages (or, better yet, a change of US presidential administration) later.

The first book of the series was decent plot-driven, low-magic dark fantasy with lots of political intrigue. And people I respect have spoken highly of Martin’s other writing, so I don’t want to knock him. I don’t think the fourth and fifth books are worth the investment for most people, though. Too many POV characters and side plots, many of which I don’t see going anywhere.

Which book do you wish you simply hadn’t read?

The Great Gatsby.

I find the novelists of that generation overrated. Technically competent, sure, but most of them aren’t telling interesting stories about people I’d care about. Fitzgerald and Hemingway aren’t bad writers at all– they’re above average, even among the small number who are remembered after they die– but nothing they’ve put together achieves the “Wow” tier for me. Then again, I’m just one person.

Which book do you wish you simply hadn’t read?

American Psycho is boring. That’s the real horror of it.

What Ellis appears to be doing is building credibility in the first third by using the standard, upper-middle-class metrorealism of literary fiction. The hatred and violence ratchet up slowly, so that (if the device works) the reader never has to suspect disbelief. He doesn’t start-in-genre; he starts from the familiar world and works toward the protagonist’s bizarro mental illness world, ending on a “It Was All A Dream” [1] note with one of his victims apparently being found alive in good health.

The boring bits are there to make the violence believable. The reader is itching for something to happen and more willing to believe in shocking events that would otherwise pop her out of the story.

Whether Ellis does this well… I have my own opinions, but I generally think that if you’re going to use this device, it doesn’t mean you should make the beginning boring. You can start your fantasy novel at zero or low magic and ratchet the fantasy elements up; that doesn’t require the beginning to be a slog.

[1] An alternative read is that society conspired to protect Bateman from accountability. This I tend to doubt because Bateman isn’t that rich; he’s not power elite, he’s an upper-middle-class striver who cares too much about his business card.

Which profession takes a lot of skill but isn’t respected?

The reason trades get low respect is anachronistic.

The college degree was supposed to provide general-purpose skills that keep a person isolated from the vicissitudes of the market, and therefore properly middle-class: with a stable income that would never go down. But these days, college degrees are so watered-down and over-produced that they really provide no armor. They’re still a low-variance option, but they don’t provide much lift.

With a trade, you depend on your union or guild structures to keep your wage afloat; college education was supposed to lead to economic independence, but today it no longer achieves that. Part of it is overproduction; but, also, the workplace has been dumbed down thanks to technology and there are very few positions that actually require abstract thinking skills– maybe 1 or 2 percent, and the elite hoards those. So college is now a ticket for underemployment– a chance to walk in to a flea-hunting expedition with a bazooka.

Amethyst Starling, native to tropical Africa

Birds make terrible pets. They need to fly, and they’re far too intelligent for the caged lifestyle they fall into, especially when the novelty wears off.

There are two animals that make excellent pets: cats and dogs. They evolved into it. There are a few more (a definitive B tier) that are dicey but can work. Birds are not on the list.

The problem with humans is that narcissism: too many people think they’re expressing their originality by having an unusual pet, but what they’re actually doing is consigning an animal to a miserable existence for no good reason.

Front-end vs. Back-end.

Front end: the idiots see your product and therefore think your job is 25x easier than it is, and therefore devalue your work.

Back end: the idiots have no idea what you’re doing, but assume they’d be able to do it if they wanted to, and therefore think your job is 25x easier than it is, and therefore devalue your work.

It’s like a Butterfly/Ant hybrid! What is it??

I recently had a severe gallbladder attack (they had to take the fucker out). It was a strange pain, because it’s mostly vagus nerve, so I felt it everywhere, shoulders to thighs on the right side completely clenched. It started around bedtime and felt like a severe stomach virus at first, but 5 hours in, it was only getting worse and vomiting didn’t help (I was well into dry heaves) so I went to the ER.

By 4:30, the pain was severe enough to break through morphine. We’re talking about can’t lay still, constant shaking, can’t tolerate contact with a bedsheet pain. Finally it let up around 9:00 in the morning and, with pain medicine, I was able to sleep and mostly did that till surgery.

They asked me to rate it on a 1-to-10 scale and I said “6”. They were shocked that I rated it so low, given that one of my organs was self-destructing… for most people, it would be 9–10, with a few extra syllables of profanity thrown in. Yeah, 6; because I watch too many videos like this, my sense of what “10” is, is different from most people’s.

There’s another one (same guy) with a centipede that is worse than the tarantula hawk, if I recall correctly.

My wife and I are selling our home. This man came to our open house to put my underwear (men’s) down his pants.

Michigan Man shows Florida Man how it’s done.

Tech’s push to teach coding isn’t about kids’ success – it’s about cutting wages

This is a risk, but I still support making programming more inclusive, and here’s why. If we get more diversity within our ranks, we’re going to be harder for employers to take advantage of, and we’ll be, on the whole, socially more skilled and aware.

The reason the VCs want a homogenous culture of 22–29 white-or-Asian males is because homogenous groups of people are easier to control. The reason VCs want to throw out the old (and women, and minorities) is because they don’t want to deal with people who have the social and organizational skills to form a union or professional society that would stand up for us.

Making our ranks more diverse might bring in the people who will save us. Quality control is a separate issue; to keep our numbers down, to make sure our wages/conditions are reasonable, and to prevent employers from flooding the market, we ought to have something like the exam-based meritocracy that actuaries have.

Google vs Facebook vs Microsoft: Engineering Levels and Compensation

One of the things I find disgusting about tech companies is how disingenuously they represent their tech ladders.

At a FaceGoog, it is ridiculously easy for a manager type to make Director or VP– it’s taken as a given– but it’s a lot more difficult for a programmer to make the Director- or VP-equivalent programmer rank. One requires being not-conspicuously-below-average among average intellects (MBA types) while the other requires beating the odds consistently among seriously capable engineers.

The dual-tracking isn’t in place to give engineers an alternate path to success. Rather, it’s there to purposefully ignore the extreme difference in difficulty of making rank for engineers versus non-technical people, and thereby to convince the engineers that all the non-technical “product” Directors and VPs, who actually work 3 hours per day if that, really do belong above them.

People with nut allergies, how do you feel about No Nut November?

Light year is a unit of distance not time

Arguably it is both; Einsteinian space-time is a Lorentz 4-manifold (that is, a 4-dimensional space, dimensions traditionally labelled “x”, “y”, “z”, and “c * t” where c is the speed of light, that is locally Euclidean) in which 1 second is “as long as” 1 light-second. So, 1 meter is approximately 3.3 nanoseconds and 1 second is approximately 300 million meters.

But, in that case, it is stylistically superior to drop the “light”, because 1 light-year of time is simply (not surprisingly, but anticlimactically)… exactly 1 year.

Do you think nuclear weapons will be used offensively in our lifetime? Why or why not?

I’m pretty pessimistic about humanity, and I expect the next couple decades to be pretty raw for most people, but my answer is… no.

The next major conflict is the Class War. That’s the big one that’s most likely to flare up in the next 50 years. Fascism is resurgent not because our upper class has an ideological affinity for it– they have no ideology other than belligerent selfishness– but because, for now, it suits their purposes.

As for the Class War, it’s already happening and, by the way, we’re losing right now. This isn’t a war where nuclear weapons have a lot of value. The upper class doesn’t care if 100,000 working-class people die– U.S. healthcare proves that– but it loses more than it gains if it destroys infrastructure. They have no qualms about killing people, but it’s not in their interests to wipe out square miles. And, from the other side, nuclear weapons have no use against the global elite, who are geographically dispersed and mobile.

Nation-on-nation wars with eight-figure death tolls are probably a thing of the past. I say “probably” because the upper class perpetuates itself by turning people against each other– they themselves don’t care either way about the racism, misogyny, and fascism they are promulgating, other than that it is useful for them to keep the people divided– and you can’t discount the possibility of them successfully turning a major nation fascist– in which case, old-style warfare might come back and the nuclear threat is more serious.

As far as I can predict it, the major wars of the 21st century will be fought using tactical, precise weapons, including malignant software (“cyberweapons”) and information campaigns. I expect it to get quite ugly, and I’m afraid a large number of innocent people will continue to die, just as they do now (again, U.S. healthcare). But I do not think either side will find it within its interests to wipe out a whole city.

Programmer Commits Suicide After Career Murdered By Age Discrimination

Well, then fuck this “free country” shit. Let’s start being civilized even if that slightly reduces the freedoms of the very-rich. They’ll fucking deal.

I’m not saying that people should throw sandwiches at people in the service industry. It’s a shitty thing to do. If he got a weekend in jail for it, I’d say it was deserved, since it is an assault. But it doesn’t deserve the death penalty.

People who love their jobs AND are content with the pay, what do you do?

Upvoted for honesty.

What are common misconceptions on books/writers/reading that really annoy you?

That writing a book means you’ll be set for life. In fact, the vast majority of books published today won’t even make $10,000 in royalties. Depending on various details, a book can be a “New York Times bestseller” and not even make $100,000.

This also creates a stigma around people who decide to self-publish; outsiders think that everyone who gets traditionally published gets a six-figure marketing budget and reviewed by the Times, unless the book’s terrible. Following that line of thinking, the only people who’d eschew traditional publishing are those who have no hope of getting in. It turns out, that’s not remotely true. It’s not all that hard to get traditionally published, but the vast majority of packages available to first-time authors are so poor that, in fiction at least, it’s usually better to go alone if you can afford self-publishing’s (not small) upfront costs.

A surprising number of the award-winning, traditionally-published literary authors live in poverty, especially if they get dumped by their publisher (which is survivable) or their agent (which is usually not survivable).

Programmer Commits Suicide After Career Murdered By Age Discrimination

“His sister said he had been diagnosed years earlier with Asperger syndrome”

I don’t mean to accuse you of holding such an attitude, because I don’t know the first thing about you, but one of the things I hate about the technology industry is its contention that people with mild disabilities don’t deserve to have jobs. It’s fucked up.

By a certain age, everyone’s got something. It’s pretty random. I have friends from school who’ve gone through cancer. Some have died. It could just as easily have happened to me. I’m not better than they are; I’m just luckier.

Tech workers tend to have a mentality of, “Well, I haven’t got that problem, so it’s not going to happen to me.” And perhaps that won’t, but something else will. “Not my issue” is no excuse to kick someone when he’s down.

Programmer Commits Suicide After Career Murdered By Age Discrimination

But it’s impossible to know if this was just based on his age, or the video of him throwing a sandwich at a McDonald’s employee because he got the wrong order.

It’s both. Social class (which is mostly inborn, and unchanged by improvements in income) likely also played a role. The standards for conduct are different for rich young guys than for older people who weren’t born into impressive connections… and the kinds of connections that’ll give you a lift when you’re in bad straits aren’t made at work, but in prep schools.

There are plenty of well-connected young white kids who do a lot worse and are able to laugh it off. “Youthful indiscretions.” Compared to what venture-funded founders do when no one’s looking, throwing a sandwich at a woman isn’t even on the radar.

I’m not saying he deserves to be a neurosurgeon… only that he’s been overpunished for his offense.

Programmer Commits Suicide After Career Murdered By Age Discrimination

I’m 35 and have started to see the (mild) effects of aging.

The older you are, the quicker you are with coherence, and the worse you are with incoherence.

For example, if you ask a 50-year-old grandmaster to memorize a chessboard position that would actually occur in a competently-played game, versus a 25-year-old intermediate player, the older person’s going to do better. If you do the same exercise with a completely random arrangement, the 25-year-old will retain slightly more (although neither will do very well, since there are so many possibilities).

I would imagine that this is why children are better at picking up new languages. Everything sounds like gibberish if you know zero languages, but they don’t tune out gibberish; they learn it. By 35, your brain shuts out everything that it recognizes as incoherent.

This is also why writers tend to peak late (50s–70s); our sense of the coherent improves. Prose is a low-entropy subset of random strings of words; and well-written, beautiful prose is even rarer and lower in entropy. If writing were about memorizing long random strings of words and repeating them back, then young people would be better at it.

Unfortunately, the corporate world involves dealing with shitloads of incoherence and incidental complexity: terrible code written to deadline; results of faddish and ill-advised technology choices; project requirements borne of power relationships rather than mathematical principles. That kind of work, I think, really is a young man’s game.

Programmer Commits Suicide After Career Murdered By Age Discrimination

I’m also willing to bet his standards were very high judging from his past employment history, and was looking for jobs that might have been reaches instead of sure things.

He wouldn’t have gotten his “safety” jobs either. They know when someone is overqualified. And if he had, he wouldn’t have lasted. The first time he disagreed with management, they’d say he had a “bad attitude” and throw him out. So now he’d be an old guy with a 4-month stint on his CV.

What are common misconceptions on books/writers/reading that really annoy you?

I don’t write or read much romance, but I do find it a bit sexist, how negatively the genre is depicted. I imagine that Sturgeon’s Law (90% of everything is crap) applies, but it applies everywhere– even in “literary fiction” (which is totally a genre). There’s great literary fiction, and there’s also the stuff that tends to be called “MFA Fiction”.

As for romance, I know enough about the genre and its readership to know that the books are more typically about the emotions of the characters rather than the sexuality. This isn’t the Victorian era, in which people need to pull out a romance novel for a sex scene. These days, there’s actual porn for that.

There’s women empowerment in Every. Single. Book. So much feminine strength.

Well, that I disagree with. I’m sure you’re right about a good number of romance novels, but there are also books like 50 Shades.

A woman as the hero of her own life is an unimaginably powerful thing to read. This is the satisfaction that I get from romance novels.

Interesting observation, as one who’s writing a female-protagonist fantasy novel (although without much romance in the foreground, though there are subplots) right now.

What are common misconceptions on books/writers/reading that really annoy you?

Adam Smith was far more humanitarian than his reputation suggests. (Same with Machiavelli, but that’s another rant. He wrote in his other work that democracy was superior to the autocracies covered in Il Principe.) It’s in hindsight that he might be viewed as a heartless capitalist; he was not. In that time, capitalism was an improvement over slave-driven and feudal societies (and still is).

Also, the 19th-century proponents of capitalism (including the U.S. Republican Party, which was the more progressive one) envisioned it as like a guild system, wherein subordinate workers would be trained up to go out on their own one day. You’d be a clerk/apprentice for a few years, then a journeyman manager, and finally launch your own company as a master. (Of course, this only works in times of geographic expansion as well as barriers to consolidation; in today’s world, the supposed masters hold their employees down because they don’t want competition.) Capitalism’s early proponents did not imagine that wage workers would be permanent subordinates; as it became clear that they would be, that’s when the Marxist rebuke welled up.

As for Marxism, I think that Marx does a great job of summing up the problems with the capitalistic system. He predicted failure modes that have since befallen our system again and again. Karl Marx comes damn near 100% for diagnosing the problem. As for the solution, well… we’re still figuring that out.

I think communism would have been far more successful if it hadn’t gone so hard after religion. I’m not a big believer in organized religion myself, but I also see no value in attacking religion as the early communists did. By creating the notion that atheism was a mandatory element of communism, they made it a lot harder for their own movement to gain steam.

Programmer Commits Suicide After Career Murdered By Age Discrimination

It’s huge and it’s only getting worse. The software industry devalues experience in favor of mediocrity.

It used to be hard enough to program that one had to know what one was doing. But now we live in a time where people who know very little can become marginally employable if aggressively micromanaged using a bunch of project management frameworks that the seriously competent hate. It’s probably not surprising that employers overwhelmingly favor the cut-rate, just-barely-qualified, “Agile Scrum” programmers.

By the time you know actually know what you’re doing as a programmer, you’re too old for the nonsense, and everyone knows it.

Programmer Commits Suicide After Career Murdered By Age Discrimination

a very public and violent outburst in a McDonald’s?

It wasn’t a “very violent outburst”. He threw food at someone. Should he have done it? No, of course not; and if he had spent a night in jail, as one might for a severe speeding ticket, then I would say that he got what he deserved.

He fucked up and embarrassed himself, but I think it’s just inhumane to call for him to be punished for years… but apparently the hiring managers he dealt with felt differently.

We are not supposed to be a country where extrajudicial killings and punishment are the norm. And for employers to decide not to hire him, when he had served his debt to society according to the law, is the sort of extrajudicial activity– and given the end-stage result, extrajudicial killing– that should not happen.

My somewhat complete salary history as a software engineer

From what I understand, living in America, you have to basically save up almost half your income to make sure you don’t go broke when you get unemployed or sick.

It’s more accurate to say that one should do that, but not everyone does or can. There are people who don’t save because they think they’ll make the same salary forever, or because they need to spend beyond their means for “cultural fit” reasons. And the poor (meaning the bottom 75 percent or so) can’t save because they don’t make enough money in the first place.

So, the reality is that most Americans are flying by the seats of their pants and are one stroke of bad luck away from financial ruin.

My somewhat complete salary history as a software engineer

If you can get a decent job outside of the Bay Area, it’s better, even with the pay cut.

Housing doesn’t eat up 90% of one’s income, but the Bay Area software culture has a heavy emphasis on “cultural fit” which means you have to spend a lot of money keeping up with the Joneses. Also, one incurs a lot of expenses due to the long work hours: $50 shaves because one doesn’t have time to do it for oneself, $25 for a round of laundry, restaurant meals every day. It adds up quickly.

What IS as bad as everyone says?

I suspect that most abusers of opiates get into it not out of curiosity but because drugs, in the US, function as the poor man’s vacation. Rich people can go on two-month meditation retreats; they can work from home to mitigate open-plan syndrome / panic attacks. The poor can’t. Of course, wealthier people abuse drugs too, but usually they stop in their mid-20s once they get enough adult perspective to realize that, yes, the stuff is dangerous.

It takes a week of vacation before one can get into the mindset, and there are a lot of people who work shitty jobs and can’t get away for 2–3 weeks. On the other hand, opiates (at first, before the horrible, crippling addiction) put a person into “vacation mindset” in a matter of minutes.

It shouldn’t surprise us that, despite having the harshest drug laws in the first world (save Singapore) we have such a massive problem with abuse. It’s a reflection of our sick society and of the sheer misery of life under late stage capitalism. Of course, none of that is to condone or encourage drug abuse; it’s a terrible decision that only makes one’s life worse. But I can understand why so many people succumb to the temptation; just as we saw a lot of alcohol abuse in the declining days (and after the collapse) of the Soviet system, we’re seeing a lot of drug abuse (including alcohol) in the US as the capitalist system falls apart.

Manager Told me I would not get promotion due to neurological disorder, what should I do?

So what you’re saying is that if your employer hasn’t already ruined your life then it’s not worth sueing them because they’ll ruin it anyways

Unfortunately, the kind of world we live in is… one where people have to think this way. If you think that an employer is going to respond to a lawsuit honorably– no perjury, no interference with the plaintiff’s reputation or employability– then you don’t understand how most companies operate in this country.

Manager Told me I would not get promotion due to neurological disorder, what should I do?

I would find another job. The depths of employer scumbaggery in the US are shocking and it will only make you bitter to fight. Sometimes, it’s best not to risk the madness of a fight with an eldritch horror.

Of course, if you’re late in your career and if they damage you enough that you can get a 7-figure judgment, it’s worth it to sue. If you’re in your late 50s, an embarrassing termination is career-ending and it’s absolutely worth it to go to court. If you’re a typical programmer, it’s usually better to walk away.

If you go to HR, there are two possibilities, neither of which is ideal. The first is that they don’t consider your claim credible, do nothing to help you, and tip off your boss. He’ll fire you for going to HR. (Of course, he’ll never say that that’s the reason. He’ll fire you “for performance” because you went to HR.) The second is that HR intervenes and your boss is disciplined. However, your manager– it will take 3–5 serious HR censures before he’s actually fired, in most cases– will hate you, so you’ll need to transfer, and you’ll get the reputation of a “boss killer”, so your transfer is unlikely to go well. Remember that managers protect their own: it’s what the company expects them to do, and if they break formation, they’re likely to no longer be managers. I know a few people who went against their managers and won– it’s rare, but it occasionally happens– but were let go or left within a year anyway, because no manager wants to take the risk of having a “boss killer” on his team.

Can you sue? Probably, but it’s going to get ugly. You have no idea how evil employers get when they’re under the gun. Keep in mind that you’re going up against something that will fire people if they don’t trash your reputation. Perjury may be illegal, but it’s extremely common, and your company will likely revise history, saying you were fired “for cause” (this has no official definition, but it’s extremely damaging) and pushing low-level employees (who, remember, still work there) to say things that aren’t true… like that you stole food from the cafeteria. (After-action cause argument.)

You’re looking at hundreds or thousands of hours of brutal work, and high legal fees if you lose.

He told me that he expects me to be operating at 100% even though I am still trying and increasing doses on different medications. He essentially said that he doesn’t trust that I am capable of working on the teams deliverables for our sprints.

That’s vile. Anyone who believes that “sprint deliverables” are more important than another person’s health deserves to be hit by a truck.

He essentially said that he doesn’t trust that I am capable of working on the teams deliverables for our sprints.

Ugh. “Sprints” ought to die in a fire. Unfortunately, this shitty psychological pressure is the new normal in private-sector programming, because tech is run by sociopaths who use faux-Asperger’s as an excuse to be low-empathy, greedy slimeballs.

Honestly, I don’t see you having a long career in corporate programming. You’re at a severe disadvantage that isn’t your fault. Working for the absolute worst people in the world is not going to improve your health, either. Get out while you’re young and you still can.

He has not been understanding at all, and said that the leave of absence that the accommodations team recommended was not necessary, and that I should use the vacation time that I was planning to take during the holidays instead.

Wow. That is super-illegal (but also not surprising).

First of all, focus on your health and your next job– don’t risk your health for this job, which (spoiler alert) you’ll probably lose in 3 months. If your boss is being this awful to you, then he and his manager (and HR, most likely) are almost certainly talking about you behind closed doors. They’re hoping you’ll quit, but eventually the axe will fall. The bet they’re going to make is that you’re too sick to fight back.

If you live in a one-party-consent state, record all these conversations. It can only help you. It may not be worth it to sue, but the company is also afraid of the lawsuit (they tend to be lose-lose situations, even when you win) too, and will likely settle. Don’t expect much, though. The era of decent severances, that might actually cover the time it takes to find a new job, is over.

Manager Told me I would not get promotion due to neurological disorder, what should I do?

Don’t do shady shit and you won’t lose lawsuits against you.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of employers do shady shit, or (just as often, if not more so) cover for managers who fuck up. More than anything else, managers protect their own. In the US, most employers are scumbags, because they can be.

This kind of discrimination is illegal and unethical. That said, it is also true that OP takes a major career risk if he pursues the case. When you sue an employer, they go into all-out war mode. You’re fucked if you need a reference from them. If the case goes to court, they’ll threaten people with their jobs into saying things about the plaintiff that aren’t remotely true. They’ll revise history, too. Even if you leave, they’ll say they fired you for cause, and they may extort your former colleagues into saying things like… that you stole from the cafeteria (actual case) or were chronically late.

Corporations are effectively above the law in the US. The worst that can happen is a fine or a lost lawsuit– a cost of doing business. No one goes to jail, unless the malfeasance costs rich people money. It shouldn’t be that way, but it is.

If you can get seven figures, a termination or discrimination lawsuit is worth the risks. (The risks go up to “You never work again”; because, again, scumbags protect their own.) If the worst damages you can prove are that you didn’t get a promotion… you’re probably not in 7-figure territory. It makes sense to sue an ex-employer if the discrimination truly fucks up your life: your reputation is ruined, you can’t get another job for years, you rack up medical bills after a lapse in health insurance because you lose your job, etc. It’s probably not worth pursuing in the smaller cases.

I wish it were otherwise. I wish people like OP’s manager were held accountable, personally and professionally, for their scumbaggery. But that’s not the world we live in.

Switching Careers

That sounds terrible, and yet it concurs with what I’ve observed, and even some really good people appear not to be immune.

Do you have an exit strategy, or do you expect to be stuck in shitty contract jobs till the bitter end?

Switching Careers

I’m still in software. I’ve used all sorts of languages: Clojure, Haskell, Scala, Java, Python, C.

It’s not programming that I dislike. It’s the nonsense around software. The industry is full of young dumbasses who take corporate culture seriously because they haven’t figured out that they’re not going to be CEOs in 3 years.

I tried to join the government in 2016–17; I had a team at a selective agency fighting for me. After 17 months, because of Trump-related funding cuts… the opening closed. That was fun.

Right now, I’m working on a novel in addition to the software work. I don’t expect the book to sell 6–7 figures (I mean, it’s possible, but it’s unpredictable, the odds are low, and it’s not necessarily correlated to literary merit) but I’ve learned a lot in the process. And it can’t hurt to be able to say I wrote a book. Just in the past 2 years, I’ve learned a lot about writing, storytelling, language, and editing. Exactly how I’m going to use the skills I gain in this process, I haven’t yet figured out; but it’s important to remain sharp.

Programming is a great skill to have. I still enjoy computer science and I like solving hard technical problems. If you’re planning on starting a small business that might involve some code, it can’t hurt to learn the basics of programming. It trains your mind.

I don’t know if programming is worse than accounting– although I suspect it is; I’m not exaggerating when I say it’s the norm for programmers to have to give daily status reports– but, like other business subfields, it’s one where you’re expected to move into management if you want to be taken seriously. In genuine R&D, you can be a 50+ programmer and you’ll be respected for your age and experience; but if you’re a regular subordinate engineer, people wonder why you’re not a manager. It’s a shame, because I’ve worked with and managed “older” programmers and they’re some of the best people to have around.

Who is the most annoying NPC in all of gaming history?

Final Fantasy I (NES): The bats in the Earth Cave that take forever to move out of your way.

There are four of you, and at this point, you’re able to kill giants (in groups of 4), a vampire, and a lich, but a bat can prevent you from moving down a corridor. Real-life bats are pretty skittish and would fly out of the way of sociopaths who kill innocent animals– wolves, spiders, and scorpions, all of which prefer to avoid us– “for the experience”.

Switching Careers

How long did it take you to find a job?

It’s relatively easy to find entry-level jobs, because our field devalues experience and worships youth. Early in your career, expect job searches in the 1–3 month range. It’s much worse in mid-career, though, because there are so few serious engineering positions (as opposed to the Agile Scrum positions any open-plan Java jockey can get).

Specialist roles and jobs for experienced engineers are rare, and it’s not as easy to slum in a lower-level job as you might think. By mid-career, you’re looking at 4–6 months. For experienced engineers… it’s bad, so bad that most of them go into management because it’s less competitive to get decent jobs and move up. Even if you think management sounds unpleasant– and it’s not a lot of fun, because it involves spending time in meetings with self-important corporate monkeys not smart enough to figure out what’s worth taking seriously and what’s not– you should plan on a management track before 40.

Did you find a programming job with or without a degree? (Like self taught etc)

I studied math in college. I learned most of the CS I know on my own.

How much was your starting salary and how much do you make now?

Not getting into that (real name) but there’s a lot of variance. If you’re coming out of an Ivy or Stanford and you’re willing to work in the Bay Area, you can start at $175k per year if you play your cards right… and the people who are really good at politics can get to $500k in Big-N companies… although that’s rare. More typical, and in a non “tech hub” location, would be a $60–80k start, with improvement to $120–140k by mid-career. That said, there really is no “late career” for software engineers– we’ve been replaced by “Agile” youngsters who don’t know anything– so you better have an exit strategy for when you hit 40.

Do you work Monday through Friday and is it a basic “9 to 5” job?

Again, there’s a lot of variation. There are tech companies where you leave before 7:30 at your own peril. More typically, you’ll be putting in 60–70 hours per week, not because anyone forces you to do so, but because tech companies don’t invest in their people and think ill of “learning on the clock”. You’ll be expected to “ramp up” (to use a disgusting corporate term) quickly and that means spending a lot of extra hours to learn each company’s technologies, which no one will teach you but you’re just expected to know. If you’re crafty and good at hiding your screen, you can do some learning on the clock, but these newfangled surveillance tools (e.g. Jira) make that difficult.

You can get a 9-to-5 job in this field if you’re willing to step back from the Bay Area, Big-N/startup game– those companies are hyper-political, and you have to be willing to backstab (and good at it) if you want to get ahead, and the politics will consume your life and thoughts even if you leave at 5:00– and don’t mind taking a mediocre salary at a company your friends will have never heard of.

Are you happy with your field?

No, I fucking hate this industry. I enjoy programming and computer science, yes. I still read papers and watch CS videos from time to time. I hate the evil shit we have to deal with– the open-plan offices; the “Agile” surveillance and generally terrible management; the overt ageism, sexism, and even racism; the awful people you get in an industry where a manchild oligarchy (venture capitalists and Big-N executives) has deific status– because we mismanaged our social status and ended up being corporate subordinates. We lost our industry decades ago and it sucks. I also get the sense that everyone who has the will to fix the problem and take our industry back has been “managed out” due to “overexperience”.

Programming itself is fun, but you won’t be doing much of that in a corporate tech job. You’ll be spending more time mucking about with terrible existing code and working on tickets and “user stories”– which might involve writing a few lines of code here and there, but are mostly politically-driven nonsense– than you will on real work. There’s not a lot of real work to go around in the corporate world, and if you get 2 hours per day of it, you should count yourself lucky.

“Stress Hormone” Cortisol Linked to Early Toll on Thinking Ability: “The study of more than 2,000 people, most of them in their 40s, found those with the highest levels of the stress-related hormone cortisol performed worse on tests of memory, organization, visual perception and attention.”

Here’s a pattern I’ve observed, although it may be limited to a small set of industries. I have noticed that people who take the corporate system seriously tend to exhibit severe midlife decline.

There are people who are smarter at 50 than 25, but they tend to have a profound anti-authoritarian streak, and that tends to prevent them from reaching the top. The people who fit in well to the corporate system, despite early promise, tend to become dumbasses by the time they’re old enough to reach decision-making levels. We are a country run by subclinical dementia patients.

That said, intentionally becoming anti-authoritarian doesn’t decrease one’s stress level and being difficult/oppositional for its own sake doesn’t seem like a good strategy. It seems to be a trait difference; some people just have less sensitivity to authority– they value their cognitive and moral integrity more, and protect them even at serious costs– or perhaps are able to manage the stresses that come from such traits (and they are legion) in a different way. If you take the corporate game seriously, you’re going to turn into a moron due to the chronic, low-level abuse that fries your nerves. If you recognize it as a sham that one can work against itself for personal benefit– that is, you no longer put your personal identity in what title you reach by what age– then you have a shot at protecting your wetware and being as smart, or smarter, in midlife than you were when you were young.

It wouldn’t surprise me if stress levels that are too low also caused cognitive decline. You see this a lot, too: people with early career success become complacent and stop having original ideas. Whether that’s behavioral or neurological, I don’t know; I’m not a scientist in that field. But people tend to become the average of those around them, and as you climb the socioeconomic hierarchy and must spend more time around uninteresting people, and eventually one reaches an age where it is easier to lose cognitive fitness than to gain it back.

New Zealand tech workers finally have collective voice

I’ve always found the anti-union sentiment of U.S. programmers to be absurd.

The main drawback of unions is that they acknowledge commoditization of the work. Once the unions come in, you’re no longer a rock star artisan working for passion; you’re a worker trying to get fairly paid. Fair enough. But let’s be realistic about the status of the typical tech worker, as things already lie.

The bottom 99% of tech workers:

  • have minimal control over working environment. Privacy-averse open-plan environments (back-door age discrimination) are the norm.
  • work under infuriating, infantile micromanagement frameworks that have them interviewing for their own job (“standup”) every day.
  • don’t get to pick and choose projects within their companies.
  • get no investment in their careers from their employer.

Their work is already commoditized! Unions will just make commoditization fairer. They’ll come in and say, “No, you can’t fire this person based on your bullshit ‘story point’ mumbo-jumbo.” And if your employer illegally fires you, they’ll help you in court.

Honestly, unless you’re a protege on a fast track– dead sure you’ll be executive management within a year or two, because the CEO is grooming you for leadership and has staked his professional credibility on you– then you lose nothing by unionizing and you’re a bit of an idiot if you don’t.

I Know the Salaries of Thousands of Tech Employees

As bad as being underpaid is, it compounds itself over time, because it also leads to inferior opportunities within the industry. No one has any idea who’s good at their job– software is a “those who can’t, manage” sort of thing– so you’ll get leveled based on your comp. If you get a job at a Big N that can afford any number, lie about your salary history. You won’t just make more money; you’ll also get a better title and better projects.

I bought in to the Paul Graham lie that if you spend time at a startup that doesn’t go anywhere, it doesn’t matter because a FaceGoog will value your “entrepreneurial experience” and carve out a VP-level position for you. Not only is it not true, but the salary step-back can follow you in all sorts of ways.

Now that Agile Scrotum nonsense has sucked all the joy out of the programming job, the only reason to do this stuff is for money, so you should get as much as you can, save as much as possible, and get out before you burn out. And yes, talk about pay, talk about work conditions and personnel conditions, and if it’s advantageous (and in most places, it is) get yourselves organized around your collective interests, because your employer already has. (Management already has a union; it’s called the company.)

What old person name should make a comeback?

Half of these had me thinking, “That’s not an old person name.”

Then, I was like, “Oh, wait. Right. Forget that I’m now….”

People who have participated in an orgy, what was your experience?

They aren’t really leftists. They’re superficially liberal, but they’re a bunch of corporate drones who’ll toe the line. I’m an actual leftist and as far as I’m concerned, the pro-corporate limousine liberals (most of whom are secretly fascist) can go fuck themselves.

What quote from a video game stuck with you?

“Power is beautiful, and I’ve got the power!” – Flea, in Chrono Trigger.

Not profound, but the ’90s deserve some representation here.

College professors of Reddit, what are some new trends that you’ve noticed?

I have to listen to the “big brains” having meetings that would embarrass a CS101 project team.

These aren’t stupid people but the planning and design skills are so weak, this is the inevitable result.

I think they become stupid over time. Power and success tend to make a person dumb; they get complacent and stop keeping themselves up.

I’ve come to the conclusion that we oldsters (judging my your name) suffer from this: either we keep getting smarter because of our anti-authoritarian natures, or we acquiesce as soon as we’re given cozy positions and go into atrophy. There seems to be no middle ground. Obviously, my inclination is to throw in with the anti-authoritarians who get smarter with age, but that other kind seems better at, you know, climbing the ladder and protecting a family.

College professors of Reddit, what are some new trends that you’ve noticed?

More recently, noting that even though I am officially an Old Person and not in a tech field, I feel so much more tech savvy than my students. I don’t get it. They are supposed to be digital natives and all that.

Old person (35) in tech here. It’s the same even within technology. It might be worse. Programmers are getting dumber each year; there are so many these days who close Jira tickets and crank out line-of-business features for 14 hours per day, but don’t know the first thing about software design or computer science– and it shows, in the terrible code they right.

There are exceptions, but time is revealing the rising generation of programmers not to be as good as the one I’m in, and I don’t think that we’re as good as the one that came before us. There are great programmers of all ages, but the vast majority of the superior software minds are between 45 and 65 right now. There was a 20-year period in which (a) software was a job with an R&D flavor, as opposed to the line-of-business nonsense it is today, and (b) a person could make serious money being good at it; the seriously good programmers are those who came of age during that era, when both the incentives and degree of autonomy allowed people to really understand what they were doing.

And… here’s what would be shocking to an outsider: those top software people… cannot get hired. Ageism is steep in tech, and employers still favor the young. Is it because they’re amazing programmers? No. A few are; very few. It’s because they’re easier to mould, because they don’t mind working on stupid projects, and because they aren’t old enough to remember how much better a job coding was before this Agile Scrum surveillance nonsense ruined everything. But also, software competence at high levels has no professional value anymore; the industry quite successfully runs on large amounts of mediocre talent, and the top-notch people are unnecessary.

People who have participated in an orgy, what was your experience?

Rich spoiled brats should be offended.

Burning Man wasn’t always that. I know some people who went in the ’90s and early ’00s who are legit. Silicon Valley ruined it. Before the tech sleaze started going, it was a legit arts festival.

If the Purge became reality, but it excluded murder, what would you do during the 12 hours?

What does “exclude murder” mean? How does manslaughter factor in? There are very few crimes that can’t lead to someone’s death. If you pick a fight and one-punch-kill someone, is that murder? What about if you rob someone’s house, the booby-trap backfires, and kills the resident? What about arson, or taking out the power grid? If you go on a joy ride and hit someone, is that vehicular homicide?

Counterfeiting seems ideal, but it isn’t likely to work. You can’t buy much during the shut-down period– there will be little commerce– and knowingly passing counterfeit bills during the rest of the year is still going to be highly illegal. You could make counterfeit bills during that 12 hours, but unless you’re trading them for real currency (prefer gold, because you’re not the only one counterfeiting) during the all-crime-is-legal period, you’re wasting energy for a bunch of paper you can’t legally use.

The money-making strategy, if you’re not averse to some risk, is to:

(1) sell firefighting services. Take payment either in advance or in precious metals, because people will be passing counterfeit banknotes night-of.

(2) since you’ll have to protect your firefighters, arm up. Sell armed protection and security services. If a community wants you to do something about people driving 85 mph through their residential neighborhoods, offer the service. Punish people who break the rules.

(3) offer rides to hospitals and, for as long as the government stands– it won’t last long in Purgeland– transportation to the government buildings that operate as safe zones. (Since the government in Purgeland is corrupt, also sell entree into these safe zones).

(4) eventually, you won’t have to do the dangerous or dirty work. You’ll be following the logistics of your makeshift police, fire department, and fare/tax collectors. You’ll become a bureaucrat, then a bureaucrat managing other bureaucrats.

Congratulations: you’re now in charge of the new government (well, for a while).

It’s the anarcho-capitalist’s wet dream– and everyone else’s nightmare. In this case, it’s a bit more complicated, because there are two competing governments– one that operates 99.85% of the time (364.5 (+1) days per year) and the other that exists for 12 hours but has no official power during the off season. Conflict will inevitably emerge between these two governments. You won’t win if this happens, so find a way to assimilate into the larger government without it being obvious what you’re doing. Congratulations again: you’re now an aspect of corruption in a larger, more powerful government.

If the Purge became reality, but it excluded murder, what would you do during the 12 hours?

So the money-making Purge strategy isn’t counterfeiting (everyone will do it; the currency will crash) but to work for a hospital or government building and sell entree into the safe zones. You can try your luck on a slip-and-fall, 6:55pm ER admit… or you can pay $179 and be let in the door.

(I’m assuming that even though murder is excluded in this Purge–, there’s still violence people don’t want to be part of.)

Probably not what you expect when you think “Iraq,” But I took this on a hike near Barzan, Iraq two weeks ago.

And God said, Do not eat of the tree of ionizing radiation.

The amount of McDonald’s coffee cups in this persons back seat

That there, my kind sir, is respectfully an uncountable amount of cups.

However, only a countable number of them can have non-zero measure, because they fit within a car of finite volume. But yes, looking at that car, I do believe that there are as many measure-zero cups– possibly, there is a Cantor dust of them– as there are real numbers.

The amount of McDonald’s coffee cups in this persons back seat

TRWTF is the use of “amount” when OP means “number”.

(Sorry. I had to be that guy. I couldn’t not.)

As companies embrace AI, a shortage of Machine Learning and AI specialists opens up

Correct, but not relevant (though I doubt you are asserting that it is).

As companies embrace AI, a shortage of Machine Learning and AI specialists opens up

A mix of factors. Mostly, it’s the fact that for 90+ percent of what the tech industry builds, quality doesn’t matter. Older programmers would be a bargain– if we needed high-quality software. We don’t, in general. Most programmers work on line-of-business, application-level, boring software that doesn’t take expertise or talent.

This used to be a field for earnest specialists; now, the replacements have crowded out the people who care enough about technology to become good at it.

Also, tech management likes monoculture because blah-blah bullshit teams blah blah bullshit

As companies embrace AI, a shortage of Machine Learning and AI specialists opens up

Come on, the investor-compatible white male argument is bullshit. Walk around any prestigious University campus, you’ll see tons of women and Asians/Indians.

Absolutely. The distribution of talent is diverse. The distribution of tech’s rewards is not.

And imagine what it’s like to try to raise money as a Hispanic, or as a black person, or as a darker-skinned Asian (e.g. Vietnamese).

investors only care about the bottom line.

Investors want to support people who look like them. And there is very little diversity (of any kind; especially not intellectual diversity) at the investor or founder level in this industry.

You deserve a more thorough response, so I’ll add a link to a reply I wrote, to a different comment, but relevant here.

As companies embrace AI, a shortage of Machine Learning and AI specialists opens up

Wow you tossed race and sex into this when we both know this field is very diverse.

At the engineer level, this is true. But how much equity do engineers get? How much respect to they get? How much job security do they have? Do they get Director+ level positions if their startups fail?

See what I’m saying? It’s the founder and investor level where tech’s rewards are distributed. The engineer game, with its open-plan offices and Agile nonsense and 0.0x-percent equity grants, is not really worth playing.

Among founders and investors, there’s very little diversity.

On diversity: look, I obviously don’t hate white males. I am one. I’m just calling it as I see it. And the fact that only WM can get into lucrative positions– if you make $250k but have to do Scrum, you’re still losing at life– suggests that there are all sorts of other biases (that may not be racial or gendered) at play.

Tech is still a preppy monoculture at the level that matters (founders and investors).

As companies embrace AI, a shortage of Machine Learning and AI specialists opens up

Have you considered that one of the reasons why there seem to be so few competent, smart data scientists might be the fact that Agile Scrum nonsense has driven them out of the industry?

If you’re 25 and you’re choosing between (a) being a quant making $500k, (b) getting an MBA and becoming an executive somewhere, or (c) working in an open-plan office for a tech company, interviewing for your own job every day… you’d be an idiot to choose (c). And anyone who can write half-decent ML code is going to be 99th percentile, intellectually speaking, among the MBAs….

Honestly, the only reason I chose tech (“you’d have to be an idiot”… I was an idiot) was because I was an idealistic mook. My IQ’s not a problem, but I made a dumb decision– I bought in to the Paul Graham lie that if your startup fails, it’s not a big deal because Google hires you at a VP level, even though it hasn’t worked that way for decades– and caught trapped in a loser industry. It sucks.

As companies embrace AI, a shortage of Machine Learning and AI specialists opens up

We were paying college hires comical amounts, 300k-400k. It was a shit show.

Maybe that’s your problem. If you’re expecting miracles from fresh Stanford grads… hahahaha. Very few people (from any school, prestigious or otherwise) know anything at 22; it’s not only about what’s taught in school. Maturity and work ethic are factors.

I could find you 5 top-notch people who’d work for less than that. I’d be one of them. They’re not all in one geographic location; in fact, none of those 5 are in the Bay Area. But if you’re actually desperate for talent, you’ll overcome that.

Other than browsing the internet and sleeping, what do you like to do at 3:00 AM?

It’s a great time to get a few hours of writing done, before the day starts. Only issue is that you have to go to bed, regularly, quite early (8 or 9). But that’s better than not getting the book finished.

What did you learn too late in life?

Avoid needless revenge; be too selfish for it.

If the offender is likely to attack again, then you need to prepare and you may need to cripple him (in most cases, socially speaking) so he cannot harm you. Discredit him, so nothing he says can hurt you; intimidate him into predictable inaction but do not frighten him into unpredictable action. If he’s no longer a threat, though… this goes against our programming on a deep level, but it may be best to walk away.

There are two possibilities. The one we prefer is where society recognizes the offense, makes us whole, and punishes the offender. We get our lives, jobs, careers, and property back. There’s no need for revenge; the work is done for us, and by a system with more credibility and finality than one person ever gets. The second, more common, one is where society does nothing to repair the wrong; our reputations remain damaged, our losses uncompensated. In that case, society is as much in the wrong as the offender, and perhaps it is best conceived as just revenge on said society to let a bad actor get away with his crimes.

The revenge impulse comes from a desire to make the world care about us (although, from the material perspective, it seems not to care at all). But we tend to rationalize these base impulses and develop a moral complex, a sense of “I have to take this bad actor out, so he doesn’t continue to harm society.” Well, no; you don’t. If society won’t make you whole, then you owe it nothing and should choose the selfish option of letting a bad actor kick around. Seeking revenge, as an individual without backing, ruins both parties in the best-case scenario.

What did you learn too late in life?

I know its terrible and it might be bullshit but I come from two parents that sleep 3-4 hours a night and always have

Do your parents suffer for the 3–4 hours of sleep, or are they fine?

You’re better off sleeping fewer hours and reaching a natural rhythm than sleeping 10+ hours per night on drugs. Depending on a variety of factors, you may only need 5–6 hours of sleep per night.

Consistency seems to be more important than the number of hours you sleep per day. For example, I know someone who slept 11–3 every night without issue for a while, but if he went to bed at 11:15, he’d sleep in and still be a basketcase. There seems to be a trade-off; the less sleep your schedule involves, the more you rely on regularity.

As companies embrace AI, a shortage of Machine Learning and AI specialists opens up

This is wrong. The AI/ML job market is terrible, especially if you don’t have a top-5 PhD, granted in the past 5 years. There’s a generation of AI/ML experts who’ve been unable to find jobs in their speciality and been put on line-of-business ticket work. That doesn’t happen when there’s a shortage.

Companies love to complain about “talent shortages”, like they’re damsels in distress, but I’ve seen far too many of them take engineers with 140+ IQs and put them on ticket work. So, I’m going to call bullshit on all of that. Companies that are desperate for talent don’t waste it.

Sure, there’s a shortage of 25-year-olds with PhDs from Stanford who wrote their dissertations on exactly what Company X needs (cough who happen to be white and male and are therefore seen as “investor-compatible” by executives). But there are plenty of talented and skilled people in this field (especially over the age of 40) who can’t get hired at anything close to an appropriate level.

We don’t have a talent shortage. There hasn’t been one since the 1980s, when computers were new. We have an egregious talent surplus. And, unless we get organized around our interests as propertyless workers, we’re going to continue to suffer for it.

What frustratingly bad advice is constantly given to people as “good advice”?

In Boomerland, all you have to do to get jobs and money is “pound the pavement”. As in: Have you tried pounding the pavement? Last time I did (which was in the 1960s) $100 bills fell from heaven.

What frustratingly bad advice is constantly given to people as “good advice”?

“Ask when you can expect to hear from them about their decision to hire you or not.”

This one isn’t bad advice, after you’ve had your final interview. It comes off as pushy/needy if you do it before you’ve had an interview, though.

What frustratingly bad advice is constantly given to people as “good advice”?

It depends a lot on the enclosing context. If you’re a park ranger, you probably aren’t going to lose your passion for nature, because you’re a part of a non-profit/governmental organization that is aligned with your objectives. So, even though the work can be painful at times (and what work can’t?) there’s never that sense of lost purpose.

Writing and programming tend to be two activities that people enjoy a lot, until they do it as subordinates in some business context. Business programming is boring and the field is filled with awful people; in writing, you see a lot of people who get stuck writing clickbait listicles.

What frustratingly bad advice is constantly given to people as “good advice”?

“Keep chasing the girl” might have made sense in the 17th century, when people’s social circles were small, and when prominent rejection did enough damage that it made sense for a suitor to “amend” the result. If you’re only going to meet 20 suitable women in your entire life, and if they all talk to each other, it might make sense to persist in the face of rejection. (In contrast, today, getting rejected is a lot more common, but also harmless.)

Such historical times also did not account for the wants or needs of women very well– a good reason not to go back to them.

And so we have hundreds of years of romance in our cultural heritage that, today, we’d recognize as pathological. Yet, we see this in the formulaic plots of romantic comedies. It’s not such a terrible thing, if a person recognizes that art and narrative focus on conflict and exceptions, and aren’t “how-to” manuals for healthy living.

In the 21st century, “keep chasing the girl” is insane, terrible advice.

What is a cool/fun/interesting word that most people don’t know?


This guy rhetorics.

What is a cool/fun/interesting word that most people don’t know?

The purpose of decimatio was punishment and intimidation, without significant damage to the unit. Soldiers were split into tens, and whoever lost in each group was beaten to death by the other nine. Since it was dishonorable to be killed by one’s own comrades– it meant that one was a traitor– one can imagine that the soldier’s family suffered for it, too, since he experienced an undignified death.

A 10% drop in force isn’t a big deal compared to what happens on a battlefield, and so a 1-in-10 chance of death isn’t that terrifying from a soldier’s perspective. It’s the 1-in-10 chance of a dishonorable death that gave decimatio its power.

A disturbing analogy would be the U.S. death row. More people die of natural causes on death row than by execution. But the punishment isn’t the execution (anyway, we all die). The punishment is having to live for years in a conditional existence, halfway between life and death, knowing that one may be killed or not-killed on an assigned date, often with no insight into the decision process. (That said, if you’re innocent of a crime but convicted, it may be better to be sentenced to death than life imprisonment; death penalty cases are rare and get a lot of free legal attention, so your chances of exoneration are higher.)

In cases where the unit needed to preserve most of its fighting force, groups larger than 10 were used; 20 was fairly common, and so was 100.

What film is the best example of 0% chemistry between two actors?

Two examples come to mind and in both it worked well and was possibly intentional (i.e., not a case of good acting, but a case of good acting of a terrible relationship):

(1) Tony / Elvira in Scarface. Works well, because you know the protagonist is an awful person descending into the underworld.

(2) Bud Fox / Darien in Wall Street. Perhaps more accidental; Darryl Hannah hated the character.

Looking back, 1980s movies tend to have a lot of nose-powdering ice queens for the male lead to “conquer”. It probably wasn’t intentional then, but from today’s perspective it comes off as not only abusive but borderline non-consensual.

One Generation Brought us Our Free Health Care. The Next Brought Us Legalization.

He’s dropping an anecdote that could be dangerously misleading.

Yes, there are doctors in Europe who get it wrong sometimes; there are doctors in the US who get it right. Our insurance system isn’t the reason for this. There are good doctors everywhere, and there are also incompetent doctors.

A 8 feet long colon that belonged to a man who had complained of constipation most of his life. It contained 40 pounds of feces at autopsy


Best typo ever.

The inner workings of Google+ from someone who worked on the project

I might have to look through some of my old boxes to see if I can jog my memory about Google+. That was relevant when, back in the age of pogs?

Inequality in Silicon Valley is getting worse: Wages are down for everyone but the top 10 percent in Silicon Valley adjusted for inflation

Not only that, but if a deadline was legit, they’d overstaff for it; if it wasn’t, it would have a way of disappearing. And to be taken seriously, a boss had to mentor and protect his people.

The kind of nonsense management gets away with these days, it’s just disgusting. Our grandparents defeated fascism (well, one round of it). Our parents bought houses at 27 and retired at 50 because Boomerbux. Yet in our generation people interview for their own job every day.

Inequality in Silicon Valley is getting worse: Wages are down for everyone but the top 10 percent in Silicon Valley adjusted for inflation

It was, before about 2000. Programming used to be a respectable job. It had an R&D flavor to it.

Redditors over 60, what are some of the less noticeable changes you’ve witnessed in the world?

That was always a north american fantasy driven by the utter devastation of all other industrial areas during the war. Outside of the factory cities life was much harder in North America, let alone the rest of the world

The 1940s and early ’50s were rough for Europe and Japan, but this isn’t true in general. The differences are:

  • if you had a college degree, you were set for life. That’s no longer true. Of course, not many people got college degrees, because most of the genuinely poor couldn’t afford the time off.
  • if you had a union job, you were part of the middle class and could send your kids to college on one income. If you didn’t have a degree, nor a union job, then you were screwed; and it would be hard, if you were a black person in the South, to get that union job.

Strong labor unions and leftist government policies (by today’s standards) are why it was better, economically speaking, in the 1940s–70s.

Inequality in Silicon Valley is getting worse: Wages are down for everyone but the top 10 percent in Silicon Valley adjusted for inflation

The whole concept behind Agile is that engineers are interchangeable and have to justify their own working time in ridiculously small increments (“sprints”). Agile devalues expertise and makes it impossible to invest in oneself or other people; work becomes about closing tickets and racking up “story points”, even though nothing is accomplished.

Under Agile, software is a ticket shop. It used to be a lot better; software used to be a high-autonomy R&D job: they’d hire smart people, then leave them alone.

Inequality in Silicon Valley is getting worse: Wages are down for everyone but the top 10 percent in Silicon Valley adjusted for inflation

That’s world GDP growth, not national.

It happened because the US had a leftist economy (by today’s standards) and invested heavily in R&D.

Inequality in Silicon Valley is getting worse: Wages are down for everyone but the top 10 percent in Silicon Valley adjusted for inflation

When you start letting the assumption that workers are human garbage, creatures of low value that ought to justify their own working time in humiliatingly small increments (e.g., two-week “sprints”), it doesn’t usually stop there. In our society, it won’t, either.

Equivalency? No. One has destroyed millions of careers; the other murdered millions of people. Agile is merely one brick on a long, bad road. The hatred of the worker, though, is a preamble to certain “populist” countermeasures, which present themselves as pro-worker (despite being anti-union, anti-socialist, and anti-feminist) that a fascist movement must employ if it really wants to catch on and do some damage.

Agile and “performance” surveillance break workers down; that is their purpose. Far scarier (and more murderous) is whatever emerges later and promises to build the people (if of the “right” race and nationality) back up.

Inequality in Silicon Valley is getting worse: Wages are down for everyone but the top 10 percent in Silicon Valley adjusted for inflation

Agile is new branding for old ideas.

In the 1900s-30s, there was a rash of nonsense called “scientific management” that was an excuse to humiliate workers, introduced all sorts of micromanagement and unreasonable performance standards, and made it easier for dehumanizing political ideologies (in Europe) to take hold. We learned in the long run that it didn’t work well. The Axis lost.

We had 4–6 percent GDP growth in the 1950s and ’60s because it turns out that when workers are given autonomy and treated well, good things tend to happen.

This Agile shit is largely in place to humiliate programmers. It’s bad for companies in the abstract, and it’s bad for society, but it gives executives another chance to put programmers in their place.

Inequality in Silicon Valley is getting worse: Wages are down for everyone but the top 10 percent in Silicon Valley adjusted for inflation

The problem is that the young dumbasses who do all the work and therefore make Silicon Valley function don’t see that their beloved “tech” industry is just corporate capitalism (which is itself a reboot of old-style, ugly imperialism) running faster. The same horrible people (never the programmers, not since the ’90s) win; everyone else loses. The names have changed and you see more modern corporate logos, but that’s about it. This dream we had of liberating humanity from scarcity never came about; everything we’ve done has, in fact, established scarcity further and made the world work.

As for the tech workers who still believe in this horrible system… either they don’t have the political awareness to know that they’re damaging the world, or (far worse) they don’t care.

Inequality in Silicon Valley is getting worse: Wages are down for everyone but the top 10 percent in Silicon Valley adjusted for inflation

Stalin was a power-hungry psychopath who set communism back, but you’re correct that US foreign policy has, historically, been a force for bad, and our need to protect the profits of the rich is why. We supported a lot of terrible people (e.g., Pinochet, Marcos) in the name of anti-communism, and we inspired a lot of hatred in doing so. We shouldn’t have done that.

Domestically, capitalism worked– like, really well– in the US between 1945 and 1973. The thing is that there was so much government regulation designed to make capitalism work well, and designed to keep the labor market afloat and support a middle class, that we were much of the way to socialism– at least, closer than we are now. People worked more often for private companies (capitalism) than the state, but truck drivers really could send their kids to Ivy League colleges– on one income.

It wasn’t obvious to most Americans till about 2010 (in the wake of the 2008 crash) that corporate capitalism was broken. I’d guess that 70% of people agree that it is broken and that the people in charge need to be thrown out; the problem is that about half of that 70% wants to blame foreigners and has retreated into scary, old-style nationalism (Trumpism).

Inequality in Silicon Valley is getting worse: Wages are down for everyone but the top 10 percent in Silicon Valley adjusted for inflation

I don’t know what percentage of workers are programmers, but software wages are declining overall; they might be holding steady in SF, but I’d guess that the top 10% is mostly VPs of Biz Dev and various “product management” non-producers. Engineers rank higher than the true peasantry, but they’re still second-class citizens in today’s tech ecosystem (hence, Agile).

The main difference between 1997 and 2017 is that, in the ’90s, you actually could make serious money as a programmer, based on your expertise alone, without having to climb the ladder and play odious political games (that, thanks to Agile, these days drag in engineers, too). It wasn’t a perfect meritocracy, and there was a lot of variance in outcomes at the high end, but a programmer who was good at his job used to be able to buy a house.

Inequality in Silicon Valley is getting worse: Wages are down for everyone but the top 10 percent in Silicon Valley adjusted for inflation

Why the fuck would anyone live in the Bay Area? I mean it’s nice, but there after lot of nice places.

Why aren’t companies investing more in other places like Raleigh, Denver, or Austin? All of those places are semi-tech hubs but they all feel like it’s an afterthought. Tech talent is everywhere, but living in SF just sounds miserable.

San Francisco is the imperial capital of this shithole, parasitic, anti-American industry of venture-funded “technology”. If you want to have a career, you probably need to live in the Bay Area because, as you mentioned, the “tech scenes” everywhere else (even NYC, excluding trading) are uninspiring knock-offs. This should not surprise anyone who understands corporate capitalism, which just puts a friendlier face on old-school imperialism.

Why is it so important to be in King’s Landing? Venture capital is all about network effects. These companies don’t just need string-pullers for funding, but for first clients and publicity, and the only VCs who can make a company matter are in SillyCon Valley. As it were, SV companies tend to see their “branch offices” as third-rate concerns and toss the crappiest work to those places. So, your career won’t really grow anywhere else. Then again, even if you live in SF/SV, there’s a 90 percent chance your career won’t advance either, because the game is rigged… in that case, you’re out expensive rent and you’ve wasted years of your life.

Ford Prepares for Mass Layoffs After Losing $1 Billion to Trump’s Trade Tariffs

Those jawb creators. Would I were more than I am, a mere mortal seeing only the damage that lies within damage.

Amazon scraps secret AI recruiting tool that showed bias against women

You can’t get around the garbage-in/garbage-out principle.

Fact: the business world is biased against anyone perceived as vulnerable: racial and gender minorities, people with disabilities, women, people outside of an age range that varies by industry.

These are supervised learning problems, meaning that they learn on labelled data (i.e., the “right answers” are known) and try to predict labels on new, unlabelled data. So where do your labels come from? Existing hiring decisions and performance evaluations, both of which are heavily biased as described above.

So, the AIs might accurately model the prejudices of executives– the garbage in. Unfortunately, that leads to embarrassment when news like this gets out.

If You Want Your Children To See A Coral Reef, Join The Left

Scuba diver here. I don’t have hard data, but my dive instructor said there are more divers over 50 than under. I think the reasons are obvious; young people don’t have any fucking money (thanks, Boomers).

I think that anti-environmentalism draws its energies from class resentment and class identity (which is different from income, because there are a lot of MAGA types who make enough money to go diving, but won’t, because “it’s not what we do”). People who haven’t seen a coral reef and are proud of what they don’t know have a certain “own the libs” mentality here.

Of course, the collapse of the reefs isn’t purely aesthetic. It’ll devastate economies all over the world due to failing fisheries, but that’s fancy science talk.

Christine Blasey Ford still unable to live at home due to death threats, lawyers say

I’m pretty far to the left, but I used to get annoyed by extreme SJWs going on about “white privilege”; I would readily point out that, as it’s the 99.9% who is getting fucked over by society, there are plenty of white males getting screwed, too.

Then a (white, male, and it’s relevant) weirdo I know, someone who lives in Pennsylvania, admitted voting for Trump because Trump was “at least funny”. He wasn’t funny to people of color; he wasn’t funny to women. This was when I realized that, yeah, white male privilege is a thing. Because, even though this guy wasn’t rich, only a white man could conceive of voting Trump because “he’s funny”, as if nothing goes wrong with you elect a third-rate actor, insult comic, or artist to the highest office.

I didn’t vote for Trump and I find him disgusting, but I think the election was even more visceral for people who felt that he invalidated their existence (because he pretty much did; I mean the guy’s first campaign speech was “foreigners are rapists”).

Christine Blasey Ford still unable to live at home due to death threats, lawyers say

I knew that was coming. Have an upvote.

What was cool in 5000 B.C. that’s still cool now?

Some spices preserve food; some don’t.

I did a bit more research. It looks spices had so much violence associated with them not because they were essential to food storage, but because they were a compact store of value– albeit, not as long-lived as gold. So, perhaps the narrative is a more general one about human nature: anything that becomes valuable (real estate, drugs both legal and illegal, precious stones and metals, even black-market light bulbs in Soviet Russia) draws a cloud of terrible activity due to human desires.

What was cool in 5000 B.C. that’s still cool now?

Probably had more to do with the fact that spices kept food from spoiling. Especially important since storable food is the limiting factor both on your military and your defenses (in case of siege).

What was cool in 5000 B.C. that’s still cool now?

Bronze Age Collapse was pretty good for one’s lamentation count, if one had a ship in the Mediterranean or few.

What was cool in 5000 B.C. that’s still cool now?

Evaporation: statistical mechanics, making deserts habitable since the Neolithic.

The Rise of Authoritarian Capitalism

It isn’t rising. It’s been here forever. It’s always been pretty authoritarian. I know, because my name was once placed (ironically, before I had any coherent thoughts about unions) on a list of suspected unionists. Holy shit, the things I have seen.

What is unnerving is this anti-intellectual Trumpism. On one hand, these people are dead-on correct that their country was taken from them, but they’re lashing out at the wrong targets. It was taken from them by the 0.1%, not women and minorities. (I checked. They don’t have it either.) That, I wouldn’t have expected. I knew there was racism in this country, but not such severe racism that we’d see right-wing “economic populists” (who aren’t interested in rightist economics; they’re just too fucking racist to work with the left).

The Rise of Authoritarian Capitalism

I suggest we start by organizing a boycott of Black Friday (11/23). The holiest day of corporations.

Black Friday’s not that important to them anymore. “Cyber Monday” is bigger. Retailers know that if people don’t shop on Nov. 23, they’ll buy stuff on some other day. It’s like these attempts to do a one-day gas boycott. Even if people did, it wouldn’t do real damage.

That said, if we collectively boycott gift giving to people over a certain age (say, 14 or 18) then that would make a dent. How much of one? I don’t know. I can’t imagine very many people giving up the Christmas nonsense because they think it’s a religious thing (because Jesus was a rich guy, and so into materialism, and he loved those moneychangers… oh wait…).

Perhaps a catchy promotion could go behind a buy-nothing winter season. “All I Want For Christmas Is The End Of Corporate Capitalism.”

Younger redditors, what scares you about getting older? Older redditors, what is it that younger shouldn’t worry about?

If you get home from work and don’t want to do anything, then you’re probably a “morning person”. So, get up before 5:00 and carve out time for whatever you want to do (perhaps building a side business) so the boss doesn’t get your best hours. If you’re a “night person”, you won’t have that problem– although you will hate getting up early for work.

And then, there’s the standard advice of saving what you can (as if it were that easy, in a world where almost no one makes money) and pushing for the left-wing politics that’ll give people born after 1965 a damn chance.

I agree with your basic observation. The regular, corporate-issued life– the one that makes you feel like you’re a part of something but prevents you from having anything resembling freedom– isn’t really worth living. Socrates called this the “unexamined life”, and his wisdom applies.

Announcing the new GitHub and Jira Software integration

The idea that something pertaining to a fucking ticketing system would be the top item on /r/programming… is why our industry needs radical overhaul.

Why did technical excellence go by the wayside? Why are “user stories” winning while the notion of doing things properly goes extinct?

What’s extremely rare but people think it is very common?

“Professional” means they get paid for their writing on a regular basis, not that it’s their only source of income.

What’s extremely rare but people think it is very common?

My point is that there are people who write professionally but have to work full-time in non-writing jobs– that’s probably 95% of writers, actually– and two years is, at least in traditional publishing, only enough time to get out 2–3 books, and that’s if you hustle.

What’s extremely rare but people think it is very common?

“Best seller” is a lot less money than people think. To make the list, you need to sell about 3,000 copies on your launch week (or any week, but it’s usually the launch) if I recall correctly. If it’s a $20 book and you’re making 15% royalties, that’s $15,000.

Most books don’t earn out the advance, and advances above $100,000 are rare, especially now.

I have plenty of friends who’ve made the NYT bestseller list. Very few of them are rich from it.

Meanwhile, a self-published book that consistently sells 300 copies per month, without slowing down, is an unambiguous success but will never make the NYT list (unless it becomes a movie).

What’s extremely rare but people think it is very common?

OK, it’s totally Kevin O’Leary’s opinion but one I agree with – if you’re not profitable within 2 years then it’s just a hobby. When it comes to being a professional writer, if you’re not able to live off your writing after two years then you’re just a hobbyist.

That’s unrealistic. Two years is 2–4 books at a commercial pace, and 1 at a literary pace. (The true literary vs. commercial distinction isn’t about “genre” vs. “not-genre”, because all work has genre, but revision intensity.) If you’re going for traditional publishing, it can take 2 years just to find an agent, not necessarily because the work isn’t good, but because the agent pipeline is congested.

If you write while working full time, achieving profitability within 2 years is even more unrealistic.

[Serious] If we’re seeing this kind of show over Kavanaugh’s 36 year old calendar and year book, what are politics going to look like 30 years from now when we’ll be able to retrieve every word someone has said online?

Short answer: all-out fucking war.

My opinion on this matter is complicated. On one hand, I am staunchly in support of people’s ability to remake their reputations and escape their pasts, especially when 99% of “reputation” is reflective of power relationships (which are abusive, almost by definition) rather than truth. On the other, there are severe cases, like Kavanaugh’s, in which 36-year-old events matter. Victims of sexual assault struggle for a lifetime for what they deal with; those who commit the crime cannot be allowed to toss it off as “youthful indiscretion”. A credible rape accusation shouldn’t be ignored just to preserve someone’s reputation.

Also, Kavanaugh sucks. I would say that he has a punchable face, but he has a face that appears to have punched itself. He’s a fucking preppy. Even if he’s innocent, we don’t need more fucking right-wing preppies in positions of power and he should be blocked for that alone.

On the more general question of reputation… today, the reputation-engineering capabilities of most people who make a living doing it (either for political or business figures) are primitive and the methods are restrained compared to kinds of things we’re going to see in 30 years. They’re just barely at the point of unleashing bots. Given the stakes of reputation, we’re going to see far more sophisticated manipulation strategies.

There will be a history of Internet activity that can be searched, but it will be so riddled with inaccuracies, misinformation, and decoys that it will be difficult to use for matters of personal reputation. There’ll be “archive” sites designed to look exactly like existing sites, but with modifications. By 2045, most of a person’s reputation (including “credible” sources like employment references) will be products not only of bots but of the interactions of bots with other bots. It’ll be like computerized trading, but with even higher stakes.

One possibility is that the adversaries will be more powerful than the curators and gatekeepers (e.g., search engines). This would be for the better, because we could go back to the time before, when one didn’t need a reputation just to get a job. On the whole, society would benefit. There are a lot of reasons why wages and conditions are going down for workers, but one of the primary and understated ones is that it’s easier for employers to extort people through their reputations. When a car and a college degree meant you could talk your way on to a new job, in a new city without any connections, in a week, employers had a lot less power.

The other possibility is that corporate or state interests figure out what’s going on and find ways to lock down and centralize reputation engineering. Then we end up in an authoritarian dystopia.

Whats the worst excuse you’ve heard from someone who was caught being a pervert?

He had Ed Whelan blame the assault on someone else.

How to Become a Better Software Developer: A Handbook on Personal Performance

story points

Yeah… I’m going to stop here. I have a finite amount of IQ left to spend, and every time I see that fucking pair of words (or, just as bad, “user story”) I lose 7 more points. Can’t afford that shit.

I could do that in a weekend!

Software projects require hundreds of man-years of work because the manager’s pay grade depends on the number of his reports. This means that hiring 10 idiots to twiddle their thumbs is financially incentivized, while hiring one genius to code it in a weekend is punished.

This is true, but there’s another reason why corporate managers prefer teams of 10 mediocre programmers (I wouldn’t call them “idiots”). The mediocre engineers can crank out features and will do what they’re told. If one burns out, you still have nine, and you can replace the one. If the genius programmer finds something better to do, you’re going to have a harder time replacing him.

The middle manager’s job is to reduce operational risk, not enable creative breakthroughs. Companies don’t want to invest in the latter. From this perspective, hiring under-impressive but competent people who will do what they’re told is better than hiring the best, and (to be quite frank) dealing with their idiosyncrasies. Academia and secret government agencies will put up with top-notch people’s intermittencies of performance; the next-quarter-focused corporate world will not.

Keep in mind, also, that managers don’t solve problems or investigate opportunities based on expected revenue gains or cost reductions. They eliminate things that use up their time or cause them stress. Teams of business-grade engineers are more expensive but, once assembled, run fairly smoothly. Research-grade engineers have personalities, and who wants to deal with that?

I’m one of those “elite” programmers who has found himself, at the ripe old age of 35, chased either into a management role or out of the industry. I cannot deal with the idiocy of “sprints” and “backlog grooming”, and I’m disgusted by the culture of mediocrity and fungibility that has conquered the software industry. The whole situation sucks. I don’t like that it’s the way I described it, but I recognize the situation for what it is.

Creative work can’t scale: if you’re a publishing house, hiring more writers won’t net you more bestsellers or make you more money.

I’m a writer as well as a programmer. Publishing houses technically don’t “hire” writers. Writers are free agents. They’re paid royalties on each book sold and, in most cases, get a (usually small, these days) advance against the royalties. They do not collect a salary; it’s all based on the sales performance of the work, over which the author may have limited control. Good books can flop because of publisher fuck-ups. When that happens, not only does the writer go unpaid (except for the advance) but it’s his career that suffers. Five years later, no one will know or care about the distribution snafu or the publisher’s inability to get a second print run together, but every bookstore and publisher in the country will be able to pull his sales numbers, see bad performance, and turn him down.

That said, one of the main reasons you’ve seen credible writers shifting to self publishing (in fact, I’ll most likely self publish my first novel) is because the arrangement between publishing house and author has shifted to a de facto employer/employee relationship, without the benefits. Book rights revert to the author when the work goes out of print. The problem is: today, nothing goes out of print, due to e-books and print-on-demand capabilities. If your publisher drops your series after the first or second book (which is common) then you can’t resurrect it elsewhere, because they have the rights. It’s also common for authors’ contracts to include a “right of first refusal”, which means that the publisher gets first dibs on the author’s future work, which can only be shopped around if rejected by the author’s “home”. If the publisher declines to pick up future work, the writer has to overcome the negative social inferences; if the publisher wants the work, there’s no incentive to offer the best deal.

In the old days when literal transoms existed and you could direct-submit your manuscript– when editors actually read manuscripts, instead of the 19-year-old interns of literary agents; and when rejections came with thoughtful notes instead of form letters– it wasn’t so hard for an author to re-establish himself. These days, though, being dumped by an editor or agent is unrecoverable for most people in traditional publishing. Thus, publishing houses don’t “hire” authors, though they can fire them.

Now, as for the scaling of creative work… that’s complicated. Literary success; commercial high performance; and top-quality, relevant writing are all quite rare, and seem to be often uncorrelated. (There are plenty of fashionable “literary” novels that won’t be remembered in 50 years, though it’s hard to know today which ones those are. The Manhattan literati are too invested in navel-gazing to know what’s good.) There are critically acclaimed books that don’t sell well; there commercially successful, terrible books; there are even books of high literary quality that go unrecognized even by the Manhattan types who claim rarefied taste.

There’s a lot of evidence that commercial powerhouses do scale.

For example, James Patterson “works with co-authors” (note: the co-authors do most of the work) and puts out dozens of books per year for that reason: his name sells hard. When an author has a hit, the publisher will pressure him to put out another book within the next 12 months. (These deadlines are one of the reasons why second books tend to be shitty. And remember that “a hit” in publishing is a book that makes $100,000 in royalties… which is not quit-your-day-job money. So those deadlines are impossible to meet without cutting corners.) Big names scale, in terms of sales.

I tend to think that commercial firepower doesn’t expand the pool of potential sales; it simply draws share from elsewhere. But if you can get a commercial powerhouse to crank out five times as much work, you’ll sell a lot more books. It might actually be better from the publisher’s standpoint if the author is a mediocre writer, because his voice is more replicable and he can “work with co-authors”– that is, dictate a high-level story and produce a style guide but leave the details to others. Not only are commercial writers’ voices easier to replicate, but they write faster. Literary authors tend to put out one book every 2–3 years, because they do so much more revision. For example, I started working on Farisa in December 2014, and I’m aiming for an April 2019 launch. Now, that wasn’t 4 years of constant writing, but some of the work is subconscious and it takes months for the mind to converge on the best way to solve certain story problems. Of course, you can’t afford that expense of time for everything, because you do have to get the book out some time.

My belief is that high-quality literary fiction expands the world’s readership in the long term. However, literary fiction tends to be contrary to what’s economical. You do 5–10 times as much work– mostly in the revision process; commercial authors do 2–3 drafts and hand the book over to an editor, while literary authors rewrite ad nauseam– and you won’t recoup it in sales. If you’re a literary author, you either need a permissive day job or one of the few “slots” publishers offer to talented writers who couldn’t otherwise live on their writing.

The Techtopus: How Silicon Valley’s most celebrated CEOs conspired to drive down 100,000 tech engineers’ wages

Not a problem. At this point, I find the whole matter of what happened in 2011 to be a thing that people take too seriously.

I went through it. It sucked. Now, I can laugh about it. If I can, I don’t see what problem these other people have.

The Techtopus: How Silicon Valley’s most celebrated CEOs conspired to drive down 100,000 tech engineers’ wages

And your mom, though she might use a different metric.

The Techtopus: How Silicon Valley’s most celebrated CEOs conspired to drive down 100,000 tech engineers’ wages

Dan G is a T7-9 taintlord.

The Techtopus: How Silicon Valley’s most celebrated CEOs conspired to drive down 100,000 tech engineers’ wages

Not at all— but by that point my reputation was already affected by the fallout and I already had PTSD. I wish they had done the right thing sooner.

The Techtopus: How Silicon Valley’s most celebrated CEOs conspired to drive down 100,000 tech engineers’ wages

I wasn’t fired from Google, although perhaps I would have been. I was a high performer but my “Real Games Initiative” made a few enemies and in retrospect I shouldn’t have done it.

The Techtopus: How Silicon Valley’s most celebrated CEOs conspired to drive down 100,000 tech engineers’ wages

Bots and thugs with vested interests. They usually don’t wake up. Today they did.

The Techtopus: How Silicon Valley’s most celebrated CEOs conspired to drive down 100,000 tech engineers’ wages

It’s real; it’s not just one company. See my other replies below.

The Techtopus: How Silicon Valley’s most celebrated CEOs conspired to drive down 100,000 tech engineers’ wages

Indeed, there have been concerted efforts by these thugs to damage my reputation, and it doesn’t help that I said some dumb things under influence of PTSD (which, in part, I got from exactly the sort of adversity being discussed here).

The Techtopus: How Silicon Valley’s most celebrated CEOs conspired to drive down 100,000 tech engineers’ wages

I’m happy to let my mistakes fade, but you’re right with your second point. I find a lot of this shit hilarious, and I’m the one who went through it.

The Techtopus: How Silicon Valley’s most celebrated CEOs conspired to drive down 100,000 tech engineers’ wages

No. You either wrote your comment because:

  • You’re a two-bit bully playing “internet badass”, or
  • You wrote that comment on somebody’s payroll, which would prove my point.

Spare me the bullshit apologies.

The Techtopus: How Silicon Valley’s most celebrated CEOs conspired to drive down 100,000 tech engineers’ wages

In the words of Omar Little, “Indeed”.

The Techtopus: How Silicon Valley’s most celebrated CEOs conspired to drive down 100,000 tech engineers’ wages

That’s hilarious. I’m glad to have contributed to the dialogue.

We are closing in on the Oppenheimer Point: my mistakes have not been forgotten, 7 years later. Three more years and I have made it.

The Techtopus: How Silicon Valley’s most celebrated CEOs conspired to drive down 100,000 tech engineers’ wages

I was put on the list because of the insanity at Google, but the death threats came after I left and only in one case do I know that it was a Googler sending the threat (and I suspect he did so on his own accord). The company itself is not (to my knowledge) especially or meaningfully guilty. In fact, they apologized— but it may have been too little, too late.

I should clarify that these blacklists aren’t maintained by one company. They’re passed around the Valley and I suspect all the big tech companies use them.

The Techtopus: How Silicon Valley’s most celebrated CEOs conspired to drive down 100,000 tech engineers’ wages

I’ve said a silly thing or two on the Internet; it’s true.

Still better than being a two-bit thug who attacks strangers online for who knows what kind of reason.

Software disenchantment

I don’t think this will change. The problem is sociological and, barring radical changes to society, cannot be fixed.

The short-sighted business mentality, and the corporatization of software culture, and the gradual but inexorable lowering of the software engineer’s status at the workplace (Agile, open-plan offices) mean that no one gets time to think and, what’s worse, lifelong engineers are chased out of this industry.

You’ll never get 20 years of software experience if you work on an Agile Scrum team, answering to product managers and doing ticket work. You’ll get one year, repeated 20 times.

I know plenty of amazing 50+ developers, the guys (and gals) you’d think should have it made, and a lot of them struggle. They’re overqualified for regular engineering jobs, and have been out of the workforce too long– at that age, being unemployed for 6–12 months is unremarkable– to get the rare R&D job that hasn’t been gobbled up by useless cost cutters. It’s not a good end. If they can get on to the management ladder, they often do, even if they’d ideally rather be lifelong engineers. The talent exists; the industry has just decided it has no use for it.

By 40, engineers have gone one of four directions: (a) management, which means they lose technical relevance, (b) consulting, which means they’re too expensive for companies to hire except when they have no other choice, (c) gradual disengagement where they might come in to the office one day per week, or (d) nowhere because they weren’t any good in the first place. You’d want those lifelong engineers to set the culture and mentor the young, but that’s not going to happen in any of those four cases. So we have an industry that’s super-busy but no one knows what the fuck they are doing– and no real hope of it being fixed.

What’s a tip that could save someone’s ass in a really specific scenario?

No. The lights are going to emit some visible light (usually toward the violet end of the spectrum) too, and that’s what you’re seeing. It’s good that they do; if they emitted no visible light, you wouldn’t know if they were on.

The Techtopus: How Silicon Valley’s most celebrated CEOs conspired to drive down 100,000 tech engineers’ wages

They also keep blacklists of employees suspected of being unionists or union sympathizers. I was placed (erroneously) on that list in 2011 and got death threats as a result for several years.

Ironically, at the time I had no opinion on software unionization and would have said it was unnecessary. Years later, my experiences have convinced me that software engineers need some form of collective protection and self-assertion.

What’s a tip that could save someone’s ass in a really specific scenario?

Most people can’t see it at all. They’re not even aware that it’s there, in the same way that a dark night looks black to us even though there’s infrared and microwave radiation coming from everywhere.

That said, people vary and most people can see wavelengths considered to be near UV. The typically used cutoff is 400nm, because it had to be somewhere. Most people, even without aphakia, and see in the 390s and possibly the 380s.

However, are you sure you’re seeing UV? Blacklights tend to emit a small amount of visible light so people know that they’re on. And the purple color of “ultraviolet ink” is something most of us can see: the ink doesn’t reflect UV; it absorbs it and emits light at lower wavelengths (fluorescence).

What’s a tip that could save someone’s ass in a really specific scenario?

If it’s not blocked, it stimulates all three cones, so people who can see it perceive it as a whitish, blurry violet that fades off to gray as the wavelength gets smaller. I believe 300 nm is where light becomes invisible for people with aphakia, as opposed to ~370 nm for the rest of us.

Infrared in the 750–1000nm range can also been seen if focused, as in a laser. It doesn’t look any different from peak red: just duller; the G and B cones don’t react at all to it.

Those who are choosing to stay during Hurricane Florence, what are your reasons?

We’re not in disagreement. As I said, it’s the flooding after the storm, rather than the event at the time of peak intensity (when the winds and rain are most intense), that does the damage.

Those who are choosing to stay during Hurricane Florence, what are your reasons?

It tends to be post-hurricane flooding that does the most damage. That and storm surge (which is a separate phenomenon from river flooding, but has the same effect of putting dangerous amounts of water where it doesn’t belong).

Katrina was a Cat 2 when it hit New Orleans. The storm passed and it seemed like it had been a minor event. Then, Lake Pontchartrain flooded… and that’s when everything went to shit.

I thought there was a severed finger in my fruit bowl. It was just some ginger.

They don’t make severed fingers in fruit bowls like they used to.

What things are misrepresented or overemphasised in movies because if they were depicted realistically they just wouldn’t work on film?

Programming is nowhere near as fast-paced as it’s made out to be in the movies. Don’t get me started on hacking (i.e., breaking into systems). Most hacking is social engineering; the systems are strong, but humans are the weak point. And corporate software jobs (Jira tickets) are boring as fuck and depressing– and account, these days, for about 90 percent of paid software jobs.

For an honorable mention, there are a lot of movies about sharks that massively overstate their aggression and danger. Even worse is a movie called 47 Meters Down, which gets sharks and scuba diving embarrassingly wrong.

What things are misrepresented or overemphasised in movies because if they were depicted realistically they just wouldn’t work on film?

There are different kinds of amnesia, but you’re right.

The most common form (if I recall correctly) is anterograde amnesia. The person has full memory of life before the injury, but struggles to remember things that happen afterward.

Software developers are now more valuable to companies than money

Software developers will never be valued more highly than money people (sales, VCs, internal politicians who control budgets). (1) The Corporate Way is to favor stupid consistency over even the image of inconsistency. (2) The Corporate Way also holds that anyone who doesn’t become a manager by a certain age is untalented; if a person were true “talent”, they’d make him an executive.

I don’t see this changing. There’s no individual incentive, either, for anyone at an executive level to improve bad code. Losses can be blamed downward, protecting the career of the decision maker; since these people get rewarded for shipping shiny crap quickly (and then are promoted away from the long-term results of externalized costs) the systems works for the people in charge of it.

A growing number of Americans want to join a union

Most programmers I have worked with are not bros, either immigrants or hard core nerds.

Notice a common thread, though.

Most of those immigrants don’t have their citizenship yet and can have their visas pulled if they try to unionize. The hard-core nerds don’t have the social skills to organize a union. The brogrammers won’t because they expect to be CEOs in 5 years– and because they’re privileged assholes who don’t care about anyone else.

Who does have the social skills to unionize? Women tend to be socially more skilled than men, especially before age 30. Older people tend to have better social skills than the young; it comes with experience. People who’ve had to adapt to multiple cultural milieus tend to have better social skills.

Now, you might see why tech culture likes to attract quixotic white men. Its target is the semi-privileged male: not from a truly rich background (prep schools and yachts) that would teach him how the world really works– he still has to believe in meritocracy– but privileged enough to have a complete lack of street smarts.

A growing number of Americans want to join a union

In fact, some large tech companies have taken big steps to stop unionization from coming in.

I was erroneously placed on one of those “unionist risk” lists in 2011. At the time, I didn’t have strong opinions either way about programmer unionization. Needless to say, the experience of getting death threats, having job offers rescinded, and dealing with frequent harassment… over being on a list I didn’t even know about until years later… convinced me that we need some form of collective organization.

I’d be happy to start with an exam-based meritocracy, like what the actuaries have, to prevent our professional credibility from falling to zero. Let’s try the concept out and see if it works.

Silicon Valley is scared to death of unions, it is true. They don’t invest in these rapid-growth-or-death startups because small businesses are more vital; these companies aren’t really small businesses. They’re large ones with no history. The true purpose of the Silicon Valley model is to create a system in which companies (and founders, and especially engineers) are disposable and any firm that becomes a union shop can be (and will be) killed by its investors. The engineers at these VC-funded firms know that’s the case, so they won’t even try. Which is why any programmer’s union has to operate across companies, like the Screen Actor’s Guild in Hollywood.

Learning BASIC Like It’s 1983

I was born in 1983, and I wrote (very simple) programs in BASIC and Logo as a kid (ca. 1990–95). I remember when C was a revelation; the language had existed for long enough, but figuring out how to do useful work in C, on a regular PC, wasn’t the easiest thing in the world. Microsoft came with BASIC; most people didn’t know how to install a C compiler.

If your concern is with making money as a programmer, then the golden age was the 1970s and ’80s: low house prices, very high salaries, and a lot of autonomy. Programmers were trusted to vote with their feet and if they were any good, they could pick and choose their own projects; it was essentially an R&D job. Programmers really could get rich without turning into sleazebag tech executives. I know non-managerial programmers who made $500k (adjusted for inflation) writing code in the ’80s and ’90s. It wasn’t uncommon.

The current era, from a perspective of a programmer who needs to make money in the field, is a depressing leftover.

That said, in terms of what computers and programming can do, the Golden Age is now. It was differently difficult back then, and in most ways worse. Hand coding and replacing line numbers in a GOTO-driven program is a special kind of hell. The reason for the notorious 10, 20, 30… line number sequence is that a program in BASIC usually required revision (as all programs do) and you’d need numbers in between existing lines: 15 between 10 and 20, then 17 between 15 and 20. If you ran out of space, you’d have to renumber everything. It was simpler, back in the day, but it sucked.

It was also much harder to learn a new area of computer science, if you weren’t connected to a university or major government agency.

It’s a lot easier to learn computer science to a degree the past would have envied. It’s also much easier to achieve interesting things and get them out into the world. What’s harder? Making money as a programmer. That aspect of it is broken, but if you factored out the job/money nonsense, you’d conclude that the golden age of computer programming is now.

What is completely illegal but everyone seems to do anyway?

True of radar. There are other means of measurement (e.g. Vascar, by aircraft, Lidar) that have much lower error margins.

What is completely illegal but everyone seems to do anyway?

“Illegal immigration” as this extreme obsession is a fairly modern (and traditionally American) thing.

Before about 1940, illegal immigration was so common (and unremarkable) that almost everyone (except recent immigrants) has an ancestor who came here illegally. If you’re a typical white American, you almost certainly have a few 18th- and 19th-century ancestors who did.

American and Canadian expats in Mexico often commit what is technically illegal immigration– overstaying visas– and it’s a minor offense. They pay a fine and renew their papers. Yet, the US treats it as this dreadful moral issue. It’s not and, of course, walls don’t work.

Illegal immigrants are actually one of the lowest-crime populations in the U.S., if one doesn’t count the immigration crime itself.

What is completely illegal but everyone seems to do anyway?

Piracy is the lowest tier of price discrimination. Creators don’t want piracy to be easy, but we don’t really have anything against individuals who do it. They may join the legitimate, paying audience in 5 years, and they aren’t hurting anyone. I’d rather the broke college kid read my book but not buy it than not read it at all.

What is completely illegal but everyone seems to do anyway?

never seen one use a hand turn signal

I think many bikers assume they’re not expected to travel fast. Generally, if I’m behind a bicyclist, I assume they can stop at any time, and try to get into another lane. If that’s not possible, I just accept that I’ll be going 15 mph until they let me pass. Not that big a deal in the grand scheme of things.

many run the lights

If you treat the red lights as stop signs, it’s not that unsafe. It’s no worse than jaywalking. You have lines of sight that cars don’t have. If you blow through a red light at 20 miles per hour, then you’re an idiot.

ride on sidewalks

Extremely dangerous, in fact, and not only to pedestrians, but also to the biker. You’re more likely to be hit by a car if you ride on the sidewalk than on the road, because when you cross a street, you’re liable to be hit by turning vehicles. Sidewalk riding is one thing for kids in suburban neighborhoods, but it’s a dangerous way to get around.

wrong side of road

I see that on occasion too and you’re right. That’s just stupid.

What is completely illegal but everyone seems to do anyway?

America: all the guns you want, but keep them dildos under half a dozen.

Legal question: if a compound dildo is made out of smaller dildos, like a larger cube made from 8 smaller cubes, what are the legal ramifications? Do they count the sub-dildos?

What is completely illegal but everyone seems to do anyway?

You can get a DUI bicycling while drunk!

That actually makes sense. Hit someone, barreling down a hill at 25 mph, and you’ll fuck up him pretty bad. If it’s a kid, you could kill him. Drunk biking in public spaces is a shitty thing to do and should be illegal.

If you’re riding in circles on your lawn or drunken unicycling on your patio, it shouldn’t be the law’s business, but the DUI laws should apply to bikes on public roads (and, where it is legal to bike on them, sidewalks).

What is completely illegal but everyone seems to do anyway?

If you’re drunk on a riding lawnmower on public roads, you should get a ticket.

DUI on private property (even your own) is illegal in many jurisdictions, but I’d imagine you could beat a “drunk lawnmowing” charge on your own lawn. It’s hard to imagine what would be PC for an officer to walk onto your lawn and take your BAC.

What is completely illegal but everyone seems to do anyway?

Unpaid internships are common:

  • in the media and culture industries, like publishing, because wannabe writers on trust funds will suffer through it for all the “access” they think they’re getting.
  • as a way for parents to buy careers for their kids; an internship for a high schooler in an investment bank or art gallery sounds ridiculous– and it is– but it’s a fairly common way to get a kid into the Ivies.
  • in glutted fields like game design.

What is completely illegal but everyone seems to do anyway?

An error in your own speedometer is not a legal excuse for speeding (most speedometers err high, by design, since one that underestimates your speed is illegal– it’s a one-sided tolerance). You’re responsible for keeping your car safe to drive. Radar guns only have about a 2 mph error these days. If you get tagged at 72 in a 65 mph zone, you were speeding (albeit, not by much).

If you got a ticket for 6–10 over, the officer probably wouldn’t show, and then you’d beat it. If he came to court, you’d probably get the ticket reduced to a no-points offense that won’t burn you on insurance. If he got you for 72/65, you could argue for 69, which puts you into the 1–5 mph zone, which is usually a low fine and no points.

It’s the insurance hike that really burns you, not the ticket, but most insurance companies will ignore one minor speeding ticket per year. I’ve been caught at 15 mph (90/75) and didn’t have any insurance problems.

What is completely illegal but everyone seems to do anyway?

One theory is that posting the actual design speed as the speed limit would be hazardous because people are so used to the buffer that they’ll go over whatever is posted. That is, if the actual maximum safe speed were posted, people would still exceed it because of the human need to be exceptional. It’s the “I’m above average, therefore I must go 15 mph above whatever is posted” mentality. Few people admit that they’re average (or below-average) drivers.

The other theory (which has a fair amount of evidence behind it) is that people mostly ignore speed limits. People refrain from driving 120 mph not because they’re afraid of tickets, but because they don’t want to die in fiery crashes. The correlation between posted speed and measured speed is pretty low: about 0.1–0.2 in most cases. Traffic calming reduces the speed people travel, while numbers on signs usually don’t.

What is completely illegal but everyone seems to do anyway?

It’s 20 over, or 80+. So in a 40 mph zone, reckless driving is 60 mph; in a 70 mph zone, the cutoff is 80 mph, because Virginia decided that 81 is bad, bad, bad. The jail line in most counties is 90.

From a traffic engineering perspective, it doesn’t make much sense. It’s not all that dangerous to go 85 mph on a highway in low traffic; the roads and cars can handle it. “Minor” speeding (e.g., 40/25) in a residential zone is a lot more dangerous– anything can happen, and if you hit a kid at 40 mph, he’s almost certainly dead– than serious speeding on the highway.

The RD-at-80 doesn’t affect me that much because it’s pretty easy for me to keep it under 80– I refuse to break 75 in Virginia even if the flow of traffic is higher– but it is a dumb law. I have friends who’ve had their clearances (and, thus, careers) under review for 80–85 in the middle of the night… which is nuts.

What is completely illegal but everyone seems to do anyway?

There is never a time when you can legally travel faster than the speed limit.

There is. If you’re fleeing a forest fire, tsunami, or tornado, then a safety exception applies, almost everywhere. Medical is gray; some states ticket for extreme speeding (e.g. 100 mph) to a hospital and others don’t.

However, speeding because it’s the flow of traffic is usually not an exception. There are plenty of aggressive dickhead speeders who don’t realize how much weaving they’re doing, and who think they’re going with “the flow of traffic”, when they’re actually driving “the speed I want, and fuck all of you in my way”. It’s somewhat subjective– a know-it-when-you-see-it sort of thing– what the “flow of traffic” is, since traffic’s flow is not always laminar.

Speeding doesn’t do shit to get you anywhere much faster overall, but it significantly increases the risk and severity of accidents.

It depends where you are. If you’re on a desolate road in Nevada, you probably will get there faster going 100 mph, because you can sustain that speed. That sort of offense (speeding on a sparse or desolate road) is also not very dangerous compared to other traffic violations. On the other hand, if you’re doing 100 mph in rush-hour traffic, you’re fucking everything up and putting peoples’ lives at risk.

Raw speed is a contributor to accident risk and impact, but speed variance is much more of an issue. Laminar flow (even at high speeds) is rarely a problem, but as humans (slow moving animals, built for endurance but incapable of running more than ~15 mph) we’re not built to handle speed deltas beyond +/- 15 mph. If the flow of traffic is 80 miles per hour, you’re probably safer at 80 than 65; but the asshole driving 95, weaving from one lane to another, is the most dangerous of all.

I seriously wish we could just make a separate highway for all the idiot drivers so you can all just have high speed head ons with each other to just get it over with without risking everyone else’s lives.

The German autobahns have stretches with no speed limit and a low accident rate. The German driving style is completely different from the American one. Lane discipline is strictly enforced: don’t pass on the right, don’t camp out in the left lane, don’t weave like an asshole. Driving school is mandatory in Europe and much more intensive, too. With that and impeccable road maintenance, it’s relatively safe to drive 100 mph on the autobahn even though it wouldn’t be a great idea in the US, where lane discipline is not well followed.

What is completely illegal but everyone seems to do anyway?

The funny thing is that most states, AFAIK, have some sort of “flow of traffic” law, which generally states that it’s illegal to impede the flow of traffic, as people driving too slow are often just as dangerous as people driving too fast.

You might get a ticket for driving too slow, but if you were at or near the speed limit, it won’t survive court. Most states have minimum speeds in the 40 mph range, to account for the fact that bad things happen. If you’re under that, you’re supposed to put your flashers on and get off the freeway if at all possible (sometimes it isn’t). And if your car can’t do 40 (or even if it can’t do 70) you should probably get it to the mechanic ASAP.

This being said, it is illegal in many states to drive under the speed limit in the leftmost lane. This means that if you’re in the leftmost lane, you are breaking the law with probability one, since your speed is almost certainly not 70.000000000 miles per hour.

How do you get into upper management?

How do programmers become upper management? Honestly, they don’t. At least, not if they continue to identify as programmers. You can code, or you play the social climbing game, but you’re going to have to pick one or the other. It’s very hard to stay sharp as a coder as it is, but once you’re spending 15+ hours per week in “roadmap” meetings, you haven’t got a chance of keeping fresh on the technical bits.

Focus on not making enemies rather than on your individual technical contribution. No one will care if you solve a 7-figure problem if they don’t like you; on the same note, if people like you, you can get away with massively inflating your accomplishments and “sharing” credit (don’t take credit; acknowledge that others did much of the work, even if they in fact did all of it) for others’ accomplishments.

The jump from programmer to serious management (not “scrum master”, but an actual management position that comes with respect) is hard. Every company has “a type” and you have to be that type or you’ll never advance, so it’s worthwhile to try out a new company if your not that company’s type; you might be a better fit somewhere else. Focus on becoming part of the club (even if you don’t have direct reports, which actually isn’t that important) rather building a team and becoming a middle manager per se. You don’t become a manager by hoping to be recognized as deserving “a team”; you become a manager but getting other managers to see you as part of their tribe.

In some companies, you’ll never be their “type” and you are best off either (a) changing your “type”, at least superficially, or (b) leaving and rolling the dice elsewhere.

Once you’re in middle management, rising the rest of the way is a lot easier. Director to VP to CTO is regular aging that you don’t have to do anything to get; SWE to Senior SWE to Staff/Principal SWE requires constant leveling up and is hard.

The easiest way is to be born into a rich family. Some people learn how to talk to rich people and get what they want when young; others have to pick the skill up in their 20s when they learn that the career game isn’t a meritocracy. If you were in that category, though, you wouldn’t be looking for advice here. The second easiest way is to get into a top-5 MBA school. There are academic components to MBA admissions– grades and GPA– so it’s not entirely socioeconomic, who gets in and who doesn’t. If you’re under 25, you may want to apply. I’ve met plenty of elite MBA grads and almost all of them are lousy, mediocre people, but they make more money and call more shots than I do, so that strategy clearly works. Admissions become a problem if you wait too long, though; business culture is ageist as fuck and MBA school is not an exception.

So, yeah… the first thing you need to do is get into management. Worry about “upper” later, because getting the first management job is harder than everything after that. As a programmer, you have to stick out in a good way (but not necessarily a technical good way) to get a management job, but a manager has to stick out in a bad way not to get promoted. Promotion is the exception for programmers but the norm for them; business people age like wine, but we are not seen that way.

If you’re assigned grunt work that doesn’t fit with your career goals, manage your performance to the lower middle. Don’t be incompetent and don’t blow it off, but don’t be so good at at low-end jobs that they keep getting assigned to you. Work hard only when you’re assigned something visible, important, or interesting– but when that happens, be ready to go all-out. Always seem busy so you don’t get crap work dumped on you– if nothing else, read e-books on your Kindle Cloud Reader– and make sure no one person (including your boss) has a full picture of what you do for the organization. Work “off-Jira” when you can; some percentage of your contribution should be inscrutable enough that people take your word for it if you need to say that the work it is difficult, time-consuming, and that only you can do it.

It’s better to be somewhat underutilized and focus on social polish than to take on too many tasks, burn yourself out, and start making mistakes– technical mistakes can be embarrassing; social/political mistakes can be fatal and will, at the least, cancel out anything you think you might earn by working 10+ hours per day on grunt work. Your boss might want you to work at 100% capacity; you should aim for 40% so that when you do get (or create) a visible, top-notch assignment, you’re rested and happy and can give it your all.

Over time, figure out the job you want in the organization, and just start doing it. Be careful that this job you’ve created for yourself does not inconvenience other people, though. Mentor people who ask for help; start leading discussions; figure out who you can delegate work to and who you can’t. Find out who the important people are in your organization– people who can spot you if you need a transfer, and who’ll push for you to get the best opportunities– and create an unofficial role for yourself that helps them.

If you’re boss notices that you’re trying to create your own job, and asks you to stand down and focus more on your regular work, then agree to do so (of course) but– this is the door-in-the-face principle; someone who delivers bad news or makes a request will feel indebted– make it clear that you expect the favor to be returned: positive performance reviews, introductions to people you’d like to know, and the training opportunities that lead to the position you’re gunning for. Everyone gets assigned grunt work or asked to cool his jets from time to time, and make it clear that you will comply, but that you see it as you performing a favor, and that you expect protection and support from your manager in return.

This is hard, at least compared to the strategy most people take, of doing not-much work and hiding from scrutiny. You’ll have to put yourself out there and introduce yourself to people proactively. Get to know them as people– what they do on the weekend, what they want– before talking shop. For introverted programmers, this is a tough thing to do, and it begins on your first day. It is probably easier, though, to get a management job than it is to get a good programming job. Companies do very little R&D these days, so there just isn’t much age-appropriate work for a 10+ year software engineer. It is honestly easier to become a CTO than to get paid to do real computer science (which, if such jobs existed, I would prefer).

Good luck!

What is your experience working on a failing or failed project?

I mean that, when that happens, the deadlines stop working, not necessarily the programmers. Engineers will usually find or make up something to do.

What is your experience working on a failing or failed project?

I’ve seen bullshit deadlines lead to ugliness. If no one gets punished, then people start to doubt the deadlines and they stop working.

What is your experience working on a failing or failed project?

It’s going to get ugly.

This might be a fake deadline. That’s what you should hope for, because it means you have time to get out. And I can’t be sure, not knowing your company, how big a loss a $7 million contract is.

I recently worked at a failing tech company– a supposed AI (vaporware) startup where I learned, after one month (and a move to another state), that our founders had lied to our investors. Did the founders take responsibility? Hell no. They did everything but.

There are industries where people can handle difficulty with grace. Tech is not one of them. Tech is run by some of the worst people you’ll ever meet, so when things get bad, the knives come out; blame gets pushed downward. When a company loses a major contract, people get fired, and almost never the people at fault.

Tell me your official and actual reason for leaving your previous job.

How do you get blacklisted at EVERY OTHER big tech company?

I believe him/her. Silicon Valley is extremely vindictive. We’re talking about absurdly, unaccountably rich people with no sense of ethics and no regard for the law.

I was erroneously placed on the suspected unionist list in the 2010s. (At the time, I really had no opinion on software unions; through that experience, I’ve grown to believe they’re necessary.) That shut a lot of doors.

Blacklisting happens. It’s extremely fucking illegal, but we’re talking about some of the worst people on earth. Tech exceptionalism is marketing; the truth is that Silicon Valley is a lot more, not less, criminal and unethical than “regular” corporate America.

Tech companies’ HR departments also share compensation data across companies. That’s illegal too, but it happens all the time.

PSA: economies turn, and this has been a very long cycle already. Plan accordingly.

Age discrimination is more of a threat than the next recession for most engineers. There are still jobs during recessions. But if you’re 40 and the only thing you can say for yourself is “I was on the Scrum team and did tickets”, that looks like shit. No one wants to hire anyone at my age (I’m 35) who’s worked on line-of-business bullshit and not made it into management. Of course, if you’ve specialized in ML or security, then you can be a lot older and still be coding, because those fields are genuinely interesting. But no one’s going to believe you if you’re 40 and say you actually like regular business programming (because who would?)

If people knew how much ageism was in software, no one would enter. The salaries are okay, but it’s a 10- to 15-year career at best unless you move into top-flight research jobs (which are rare) or management.

PSA: economies turn, and this has been a very long cycle already. Plan accordingly.

some kind of plan for a 6-12 month stint of no pay.

You’re not wrong, but the fact that this is something software engineers have to worry about is disgusting. Programmers have done such a bad job of managing their own social status that they’re quicker to suffer than the do-nothing MBAs who make three times as much.

Internal Transfer – Uh oh

At some companies “internal transfers” are the biggest lies told to new grads.

Almost all of them. You only get an internal transfer if your project gets shut down, and since you’ll be coming off a project that tanked, you’re unlikely to get better than a lateral movel unless you’re great at politics.

Tech companies know what the good and bad teams are, and they know that you know, and the uppity engineer who tries to transfer to a better team is the tall nail that gets hammered down.

Due to some politics and performance issues according to my manager, my manager blocked my transfer in what was an awkward and frustrating conversation I was hoping to avoid.

Almost certainly not a real “performance” issue. Your manager was trying to punish you. That’s how tech companies work. There is no investment in people and no desire to do the right thing because it’s the right thing.

The only way to change this and to create real internal mobility in a Big-N would be to bring in a union that pushes for it aggressively. Tech companies won’t do the right thing unless forced to.

Ron Jeffries: Developers Should Abandon Agile

Agile is a company union– that is, an illegitimate union propped up by an employer to prevent real collective organization. It pretends to favor the interests of workers but actually operates on behalf of management– like HR in a regular company.

The selling point of Agile to developers is that it makes their jobs more exciting and gives them more autonomy. In fact, it devolves into within-team bickering and allows management to apply all sorts of psychological pressures that work on quixotic young men (who think they’ll be management in two years) but that adults would never tolerate. Yes, you can “self-organize”, but if you don’t get 15 story points done within the next two weeks, you’ll wake up the Seven-Legged Rape Monster. You don’t want to wake up the Seven-Legged Rape Monster, do you? If not, then get back to work.

We’re now at the point where Trump is arguing against his own impeachment: “I don’t know how you can impeach somebody who has done a great job.”

But that’s the thing, the vast, vast majority of liberals are not saying this. Who is saying this are right wing talking heads in the media.

I wrote a comment on this in response to /u/FiveDozenWhales . You’re right. The limousine liberals in the coveted industries– media, publishing, upper-tier technology– are a tiny majority and not representative of us at all. Nor are they a good reason to reject leftist politics. They’re such a small group of people it’s hard to imagine that they represent anything.

But, they have outsized cultural influence– and the forgotten Americans envy their cultural influence more than their wealth or connections– and that’s why they create such a problem for us and the image of leftist politics (even though they aren’t very leftist, since most of them are happy corporate employees).

We’re now at the point where Trump is arguing against his own impeachment: “I don’t know how you can impeach somebody who has done a great job.”

Well, the whole idea that there are “smarmy, hypocritical limousine liberals that [tell you] your town sucks” is right-wing propaganda. Such people don’t really exist.

They exist. You find them in media and publishing circles, in administrations of elite colleges, and in superficially liberal industries like technology. You run into them in Silicon Valley and Manhattan.

They’re extremely rare, though. They have outsized cultural influence, but they’re less than 1 percent of all liberals and leftists– probably less than 0.1 percent. They certainly aren’t a good reason to reject leftist politics.

Everything else you say is spot-on and I would not disagree.

The best coders in the world only know a small fraction of everything

The problem is that most of us get insecure about all the things we don’t know, and we let employers take advantage of it. Rather than expect them to invest time in getting us up to speed on their idiosyncratic tech stacks, a lot of us feel compelled to learn that stuff on our own time, as if we incur a debt to employers simply by existing.

We might only know a small fraction of all knowledge. That’s true of everyone. We also know a hell of a lot more than the MBA-toting business guys (who feel no insecurity about “gaps” in knowledge) we end up answering to.

Which area of CS is least accepting of self-taught people ?

Data science is rife with pedigree bigotry. Because private-sector “AI” is mostly a bullshit field of smoke and mirrors, these people circle the wagons tight to keep their academic respectability up– not in a smart way, like forming an actuarial-type exam meritocracy, a professional society, or even a union; but by the industry-honored tactic of being unpleasant– and hate it when a self-taught programmer or analyst tries to work his way into their lane.

They’ll do everything possible to hide the fact that most of what the business actually cares about is SQL queries, data cleaning, and an occasional linear regression. These PhDs are massively overqualified, but have to protect their positions.

ML is a very interesting field, but a third of the people in private-sector “AI”/”ML” are truly awful and at a management level, they’re a majority.

Company “asking” all employees sign new employment agreement

Start a union.

Why universal basic income costs less than you think

What gets me is that so many anti-UBI arguments posit that there’ll be a class of useless parasites, hanging on to the bottom of society, that we’ll have to feed. The evidence suggests that very few people will take that route.

Meanwhile, a society of forced subordination to rich people tends to accrue power to the buyers and sellers of people– corporate executives– and therefore we end up with useless parasites at the top of society.

If we’re going to have a few moochers, I’d rather have them at the bottom not bothering anyone than the current arrangement, where they’re at the top and run everything.

Alt-Right “Intellectual” Jusitifies Inequality Because Of….. Ants…?

I like Jordan Peterson’s psychology lectures– he has a lot of academically unfashionable but interesting viewpoints– but he’s far out of his depth when it comes to politics and economics. I imagine he was a fantastic professor and clinician, but his political theories are pedestrian at best and dangerously naive at worst.

I wouldn’t tie him to the “alt right”, though. He’s a contrarian who has been adopted by some of the worse political movements out there, but I don’t hold him entirely at fault for that.

On way to PIP

I was officially given a 1-month warning through HR (by Dave) to buckle up and deliver or face the consequences. I have been given set of goals which will be evaluated by him. Think of this as a pre-PIP.

Sounds like an actual PIP. You’re pretty much fucked.

I argued that this was not a fair evaluation as Dave has a conflict of interest (he could be retaliating against me for my complaint).

Of course he is. There’s not much you can do about it, though.

Dave has a grudge against me. Since he is Dustin’s right-hand man, I really can’t fight him here. I will be put in PIP eventually.

It’s not worth it to analyze this. It sounds like you work for a shit company.

Fight it and come out successful

Unlikely. The game is rigged. Corporate criminals don’t fight fair.

the new manager

A strategy may be to offer your side of the story to the new manager, even if that’s after you leave. There’s a tiny (~2 percent) chance that he returns the favor later in your career. I wouldn’t bank on it. Best to get out as clean as you can.

Quit – This seems more reasonable and my conscience is leaning towards it.

Stay but disengage. Let them fire you; collect unemployment. Remember not to take it personally. They’re all paid actors. It’s designed to feel malevolent– the point of the PIP process isn’t performance improvement or even legal CYA, but to break you down so you’re not dangerous– but it’s not. The people in HR neither love nor hate you; they simply don’t care.

What is a good way to tell a recruiter that I don’t want to do their home coding assignment?

The demand for good programmers is very high. The reality is that the the market is flooded with people who can’t code their way out of a paper bag (for junior/entry level positions).

The demand for talented juniors is high, although most of the capable ones end up doing something other than programming after 10 years, because there aren’t many of the R&D roles (as opposed to line-of-business grunt work) that are the only respectable thing to do beyond 35–40.

The demand for excellent programmers is not high. For one thing, excellent programmers hate Agile and ticket-shop work assignments; they want to run their own. For another, they tend to be old (here, meaning 30+) and therefore not in love with open-plan offices and an aggressive drinking culture.

What is a good way to tell a recruiter that I don’t want to do their home coding assignment?

Too many things have been screwed up by America’s sue-happy culture.

Which doesn’t exist.

Suing someone is difficult, time-consuming, and often detrimental to one’s reputation. It’s a last resort. People do not sue employers lightly.

No one’s going to sue over a regular job rejection. Proving damages would be impossible, and unless the company did something egregiously stupid and unprofessional, the plaintiff wouldn’t have a chance. If you’ve been at a job for 3 years and you’re assigned a new boss, who fires everyone of minority X (which includes you) then that’s when you have a credible, winnable suit.

What is a good way to tell a recruiter that I don’t want to do their home coding assignment?

“Sorry, but we need candidates with knowledge and experience in more modern frameworks.” Say that to someone over a certain age? You could have a lawsuit for age discrimination on your hands because they may be able to tacitly infer that the reason you didn’t hire them is they’re old.

Seems unlikely that this would result in a credible suit. That’s a perfectly legal reason to reject someone. Old people can learn the new frameworks. The plaintiff wouldn’t win.

The legal risk of telling someone why is near-zero. The publicity risk is higher. But the real reason companies don’t say why they made a decision is simple: there’s nothing in it for them. Downsize only slight, but upside zero. The era when people in Corporate America thought about anyone other than themselves is over.

What is a good way to tell a recruiter that I don’t want to do their home coding assignment?

Unionizing software engineers will be hard. The industry runs on the semi-privileged young white/Asian males– not fully privileged and therefore aware of the games being played against them, but from enough comfort to afford quixotry. Once they’re old and have the social and organizational skills to be a threat, they’re kicked out.

Unions set in when the workers realize that their bosses don’t see them as capitalists-in-training but as subordinates. Programmers– because there are too many quixotic young men in our industry– haven’t figured that out yet.

What is a good way to tell a recruiter that I don’t want to do their home coding assignment?

Ghost them. You’ll feel marginally better, and they deserve it.

Homework that requires you to research a third-party library is ridiculous. It should take one hour max.

In my mid 20s, I went all-in on a take-home assignment, thinking that if I knocked it out of the park, I’d get the high-level offer I really deserved. I spent 10+ hours on it and kicked the problem’s ass, only to get… a regular engineer position. Total fucking waste and I never made that mistake again.

What do you miss about the 90s?

Fair point. We’re at a point now where 50–75 percent of us don’t really get to consume, since they have no disposable income… whereas our roles as producers (involuntary, increasingly oppressive ones) take a center-stage position in our lives… doubly tragic since so little is actually getting produced.

What is something that everyone glorifies that is actually pretty bad?

Narcos doesn’t make Escobar look good, but it does humanize him for narrative purposes, which I think runs in to the problem you described. Some people really are terrible.

The fashion of the time, which I won’t call bad or good from an artistic perspective, is to take the viewpoints of antagonists (e.g., Cersei in Thrones, Stringer Bell in The Wire) and thereby humanize them. I think it makes better fiction, but it’s a stretch to turn a lot of real-world miscreants– serial killers and drug kingpins, most of whom are broken people with few or no redeeming qualities– into fictional villains, who tend to be more balanced for art’s sake.

Trump trillion-dollar-plus deficits are putting America on a path to fiscal ruin

Party of Financial Responsibility… sigh… strikes again.

$1000 would likely cover rent and food, but what about health insurance?

$1,000 is a starting point: enough that it shows benefits and proves the concept, making it politically tenable. $500/month will help but its effects will be statistical and subtle– it will make people’s lives better, but just as no one can say that a specific hurricane was “caused by” global warming, there won’t be proof. At the $1,000 per month level, we’ll start to see significant changes that can be attributed to the program.

For example, UBI could unfuck American geography. Right now, people either cram themselves into expensive megacities– which are becoming increasingly unpleasant places to live due to traffic/transport congestion and socioeconomic homogenization; we’re well past Peak New York– where there are jobs, or can find affordable housing but live in places where only third-class jobs are available. Hence, the Red/Blue division. Education has the same problem; it’s not super-competitive to get into Harvard (compared to 20 years ago) because the education is better– if anything, the differential between Ivies and state schools is approaching zero– but because people are panic-buying connections in a world of declining opportunities. Some people would love to live in the mountains of North Carolina– but there aren’t jobs there, so they cram New York.

We wouldn’t see this problem fix itself organically at $500/month; I suspect we’d start to see it at $1,000.

What I’d propose: start at $1,000 per month. For every $1 the per-capita GDP goes up, the UBI goes up by 60 cents. Asymptotically, this means that no one will have less than 0.6 times a proportional share, although 40+ percent of the income is still allocated by the market and not subjected to limits (we’d still be a mostly-capitalist country, because for consumers, capitalism works). Since the UBI is sensitive to GDP growth, it has a “we all succeed or fail together” flavor and it’s self-limiting. If I’m wrong and it’s actually bad for the economy, it fades.

UBI doesn’t solve everything. We need universal healthcare, too. We need universal appropriate education. (If nothing else, it’s the only PC approach to the “smart people aren’t replacing themselves” problem.) We also need regulations that account for environmental externalities: a carbon tax and incentives for R&D, including a Manhattan Project for clean energy. And we should have a job guarantee for those who want it, because even though corporate wage slavery sucks, work is important to people: it’s built in us to need to be useful.

Why the US Should Provide Universal Basic Income

I suspect it would produce mild inflation, but as long as wages and the UBI increase with inflation (more on that) it’s not a problem. Hyperinflation is bad. Regular inflation (under 5% per year) is actually good for society: it taxes hoarders and forces people to invest.

Relative prices and valuations fluctuate. That’s just how markets work. No one would shed a tear if we developed a new, environmentally-safe way to make cheap gold and the price dropped, or if clean nuclear power (we already have the technology– we don’t need fusion; modern fission plants are good enough) came online and the price of energy dropped. Inflation just means that the price of money (relative to everything else) drops. It’s only bad if wages stay where they are.

Slight inflation driven by things getting better at the bottom is a good thing, not bad. Deflation is a lot worse. The problem with today’s inflation is that it’s engineered to be numerically low, except in isolated spots (housing, healthcare, education) that benefit the well-connected and fuck over everyone else.

What’s worrisome to me is that the value of all human work seems to be dropping by about 3–6% per year. This even applies to “safe” jobs like computer programming, because of labor market inelasticity and movements between industries. The same thing that started in the 1920s with food surpluses is happening to all human labor today. In order to stay where you are, you have to become at least 3–6% more productive. That’s not as hard as it seems, because of new technologies, but the benefits tend to go to the producers of those technologies and to employers more than the workers.

Open Source Has Not Failed. Don’t Cover Up Corporate Abuse of Open Source

I find the argument here tenuous at best.

Like globalization and automation, open source software is desirable if done well. The problem is that we, as programmers, have managed our social status so poorly, and lost so much ethical autonomy, that we’re a bit of a joke. Open source didn’t do that. Corporate capitalism did.

If there is a problem with open source, it’s the two-tier system of programmers it has created. The best-off 1% get to work on FOSS at their paid jobs and build international reputations and eventually become $500/h consultants; the rest work on closed-source grunt work the business needs. The people who tend to get to work on open-source at their paid jobs tend to be white, male, and from wealthy enough backgrounds that they aren’t afraid to work on FOSS instead of their assigned work— privilege also helps because ”the poors” rarely know how to pull that off.

Open source is not the problem. The issue is that, while the programmers are individually the smartest people in the corporate mix— we dwarf the MBA-toting morons shitting out orders— we are collectively the stupidest tribe there ever was. As a result, most of us answer to evil people and most of our work makes the world worse.

There’s always more work to do—but you still don’t need to work long hours

Don’t work more than 40 hours unless:

  • jobs or lives are on the line, or:
  • you’re getting prime projects that most people at your level of experience couldn’t dream of getting.

Regarding the first possibility, most of what we do isn’t critical, and if serious stakes are regularly bet on programmers working long hours, that’s a sign of bad management. (That doesn’t mean that you should stop working on the spot; it does mean there ought to be after-action reflection on how things got to that point.) As for the second, it’s so rare for an engineer to get the “protege” treatment that I’d say it describes less than 1% of cases. If you’re being groomed to be VP of AI at Google, then you’re probably not reading what I have to say on the Internet. If you’re in that other 99%, working overtime is a loss that’ll never be repaid.

Not only that, but you should invest in yourself aggressively. At least 6+ hours should be work you learn something from; if it’s not, adjust priorities accordingly. Read papers and push tickets off. If you’re getting more than 2 hours per day of career-incoherent work, let things slide. Your employer isn’t likely to invest in you; so set your own targets and invest in yourself. Work toward where you want to be.

If you work long hours and there isn’t a good reason– again, life-critical cases are different; I’m not saying surgeons should close up at 5:01– then you’re doing something unethical: you’re letting management get away with understaffing, you’re making your colleagues look bad and forcing them to incinerate their family lives to compete, and you’re participating in a wealth transfer away from programmers (who sacrifice time, even though they’re not all going to be proteges getting meaningful work) toward executives, who don’t need it.

If managers want engineers to work past 5:01, they should assign better work and let engineers run the show. There are companies where that’s the case, and where it makes sense to work longer hours, but it’s rare in our industry. In most firms, programmers are treated like business subordinates and ought to show reciprocity by getting out as soon as they can.

People work– I mean really work, not fill out a job and collect a paycheck– to prove something… but if you’re working your ass off on career-incoherent work, you’re only proving that you’re over-subordinate and have respect neither for yourself nor your profession… which is why you’re willing to shank the rest of your team by covering up for bad management.

What industry is shadier than most people realize?

Software startups. Not just shady, but for the most part, downright unethical. I’d guess that 85+ percent of venture-funded startups lie to investors, and not in terms of overoptimistic promising; I’m talking about bald-faced lies about what the state of the company in the moment.

We deserve our emerging negative reputation as killers of jobs. If the public had an insider’s perspective of our industry, they’d hate it even more. We have a lot of idealistic, capable people in our lower ranks who would gladly do something else, something better for the world– curing cancer, instead of helping businessmen unemploy people– but that doesn’t matter, because our leadership is absolute shit and has been for decades, and no one has been able to do anything about it.

Techies are terrible for the world, the ~1% of us who actually make serious money have turned California into an unlivable shithole full of ego and traffic, and we’re pretty horrible to each other, too. Our industry kicks people out (age discrimination) as soon as people are old enough to know what they’re doing because tech bosses fear unions more than they fear dangerous inexperience.

Oh, and the quality of what we end up building is absolute crap. Not because we ourselves are individually incompetent, nor because software is that much of an unsolved problem– zero bugs may be unachievable, but we could do a lot better– but because we work in open-plan offices and suffer these idiotic micromanagement systems (“Agile Scrum”) that use Soviet-style psychological pressures and fuck-your-neighbor paranoia to make people get things done fast instead of doing them well (our MBA-toting masters see the latter as self-indulgence).

This doesn’t apply to all technology companies. It probably doesn’t apply to the public sector– if NASA used Agile/Scrum, people would die– or academia. It’s less true in finance (surprisingly) than in startups because the high-status people have something to do (trading) that makes money, and therefore they’re too busy to waste time (unlike PM scumbags) micromanaging the code peons. The startups and ex-startups (including the “Big N”) are pretty bad, most of the time. It’s a culture built on lies where the game is win by writing checks that your programmers couldn’t cash unless they worked 60-hour weeks (which they will if they’re inexperienced idiots, but do you really want inexperienced idiots writing important code?)

What fact do you wish you had never learned?

Most aren’t just too tired to rise up. They’re afraid of losing what they have.

Right. They live in terror, because they aren’t actually poor– they just live with the constant knowledge that one thing going wrong– an unexpected medical problem, losing a job, the six-month gap between a disaster and insurance payments– will throw them into poverty from which they’ll never recover.

Average American life is materially comfortable– if you can ignore the gun pointed at your head from a mile away.

What fact do you wish you had never learned?

Most people die in the class they were born into

On top of that, almost all the apparent social mobility is engineered to make the upper classes look like they earned their privileged jobs through a fair competition. You’ll sometimes see a supposedly middle-class person end up running a tech company or media outlet, only to find that while his parents were middle income (say, professors) there was immense parental lift.

The truth is that for most of us (99+ percent) the current system has nothing to offer– the upward mobility that exists is engineered, subordinate, and fake; downward mobility is also far more common, and we ought to be violently angry about that– and there’s no reason not to overthrow it and see if we can do better.

What fact do you wish you had never learned?

Those rogue chomping magazines really are something. Rawr! I’m an evil bookshelf!

What famous figure could generate the most electricity from spinning in their grave because their message is being misused/misrepresented in the modern age?

The worst part of it is the mindfuck by which kids are given a leadership position, then slotted into subordinate roles in which it’s completely wasted. Five years later, it’s as if they had never gone, for the most part.

The real purpose of the educational-industrial complex, in late-stage corporate capitalism, is to absorb enough young people that we don’t have an unemployment-driven revolution against the ruling class. The ones whose parents can afford to shelter them from the collapsing, dysfunctional labor market, get to hide out during their vulnerable years. The rest know they have to tow the line, because one mistake means a prison term and an effective lifetime ban on the few decent jobs that might be available to them.

What famous figure could generate the most electricity from spinning in their grave because their message is being misused/misrepresented in the modern age?

Compared to feudal and slaveholding societies, capitalism was downright liberal from 1750 to 1880– the Industrial Revolution. Also, the expected play-out was that the capitalists would form trade guilds and the talented would rise and become capitalists of their own. If you were a clerk– all entry-level business jobs were called “clerk”– and you had a good boss, he’d mentor you into running your own show one day. If you had a shitty boss, you’d hope you were able to find a new one.

This pre-corporate yeoman capitalism worked decently well (and communism did not) in that day, because the technologies that have brought us the consolidation of corporate power did not exist yet. If you were talented, you really could work your way up in the system, from clerk to underboss to business owner. You might never get filthy rich, but you’d set your own destiny.

The difference today is that most corporate denizens have no hope of becoming capitalists themselves in any meaningful way. The upper class has all the resources locked down, thanks to technology and a legal system they’ve hacked to their own benefit. As a result, working people are no longer motivated by good-old-fashioned greed (they’re smart enough to realize that most of them will not be CEOs in five years) and so the boss men have to rely on fear instead.

What famous figure could generate the most electricity from spinning in their grave because their message is being misused/misrepresented in the modern age?

The U.S. has always been more afraid of leftist tyranny despite an order of magnitude more danger from the right.

Our governments (federal, state, local) are actually quite limited in what they can legally do, surveillance-wise, both in terms of how they get information and how they use it. The police can’t wiretap your phone without a warrant. Employers? No restrictions on them at all. They can decide on an arbitrary date that anyone browsing Reddit between 1:00pm and 1:30pm that afternoon gets fired– and that’s legal. And no one seems to mind.

College used to have academic purpose, but now it’s mostly a sorting mechanism that employers get for free because the people being sorted pay all the costs. Social media is more of the same; people freely giving their bosses information to use against them. It’s now really easy for an employer to follow any car for 500 miles and write that ticket.

What famous figure could generate the most electricity from spinning in their grave because their message is being misused/misrepresented in the modern age?

There are interpretations of Quantum Mechanics– an extremely well-verified theory, proven out again and again through experimentation, even if no one knows how to interpret it– that are no less ridiculous than Schrodinger’s (|Dead> + |Alive>) / √2 cat. No one knows for sure why wavefunction collapse happens (or if it does). There’s no clear delineation between “the quantum world” and “our world”. Technically, we are all quantum systems. There’s just enough order in our macrostates that the quantum aspect is very boring and the unexpected almost never happens.

Einstein struggled to accept quantum physics even though his work (in particular, on the photoelectric effect) was crucial to its development. Schrodinger was, of course, pointing out the apparent mismatch between the quantum world and our macroscopic one– is the cat an observer? does an observation of a paired particle here affect its twin 1,000,000 light years away?– and not making a truth claim about what happens to the cat.

Are you caught in the trap of Sales Driven Development?

The problem is deeper than that. In a way, it’s our fault. Thanks to automation– a desirable trend that our society has not yet figured out how to integrate into a humane economy– the value of actual work goes down by about 5 percent every year. That includes our work, which is why we play treadmill games learning new frameworks, while the young and cheap pile in to our field. until we get sick of it.

The one thing that seems to hold its “value” on the labor market, because its wages aren’t set by market forces but are manipulated (in an in-group’s favor) using social connections, is the buying and selling of others. MBA-ing, in other words.

Sales people have no idea what they’re promising to developers, and we all know that PMs are people who couldn’t quite hack it in engineering or management but ended up in an uncanny valley (and somehow still outrank engineers). When this mess makes engineers work extra hours and CEOs see people at their desks at 8:30pm, or cars in the parking lot on Saturday, they assume things are going well and congratulate themselves. Whatever is happening (and “whatever is happening” seems to be the upper limit of a CEO’s knowledge of the bottom, at least in large or VC-funded companies) must be working, they conclude. When it results in serious customer-level embarrassments, the blame falls on engineers (usually at an individual level) and a few people get fired and the company continues as usual, with nothing really changing.

So long as engineers are subordinate to business people, this will not improve. But, I also think that automation is at a point where we can expect workers’ wages and status to plummet until the situation gets bad enough to produce a state-level intervention. This means there’ll be more profits at the top for fewer people, and no one who matters is going to mind, except in the outlier case where bad software actually kills someone.

25 Tips for New Developers: Advice from a (Mostly) Self-Taught Software Engineer

They think they’re the only underemployed ones and that the bosses will see that they’re overqualified to be “regular” coders and rapidly promote them. That’s why programmers act that way.

You’re right, though. It never works. Classic prisoner’s dilemma.

25 Tips for New Developers: Advice from a (Mostly) Self-Taught Software Engineer

  1. Don’t waste time reading advice from people who’ve been in the field for less than five years and still have the rose-colored glasses. We do not owe the exalted boss men gratitude for being so kind as to give us a (meager) income; they owe us gratitude because their companies would cease to exist if we didn’t show up every day.
  2. Unionize or professionalize. If nothing else, consider the exam-based meritocracy actuaries have– that would go a long way in kicking out the unqualified hacks for whom “Agile” was designed. Figure this out before you get tossed out due to age discrimination.

25 Tips for New Developers: Advice from a (Mostly) Self-Taught Software Engineer

Burns himself out within a year or two due to the fact humans are not supposed to work on mentally draining problems all day while sitting at a computer.

The open-plan office adds to this. The noise and surveillance aspect, as well as the subtle sense that most of one’s daily annoyances exist for pernicious reasons rather than to improve productivity, makes it almost impossible to get into flow. Consequently, people spend 8+ hours to work a 2-hour day and are miserable.

Finally figures out why all the old engineers look like they want to die at standups and have no passion for the job.

Nothing says “lost at life” like having to interview for one’s own job, well into one’s 40s.

Companies say they offer legitimate parallel tracks for non-managerial programmers, but the truth is that it’s 100 times easier to make Director, VP, et al, than to get Dir- or VP-equivalent programming positions– especially if you don’t have a PhD. This parallel tracking is actually a mind-fuck; the more clueless engineers see top-1% engineers at the same level as mere Directors and form a false equivalence that makes the boss men seem more impressive than they actually are.

Making VP after age-40/four-years-onsite (whichever comes first) is the default for manager types. Making Principal Engineer or Chief Architect is rare.

[F]ocus on trying to make it on your own rather than as an employee if you are a skilled programmer.

I would agree. I’ve given up on programmers figuring out a collective course of action that might offset the diminishment of our professional status and our compensation. “Agile” has convinced business types they can run all programming functions on low-grade commodity talent, and they’re sort-of right… the products suck, but no one who matters (from their perspective) gets fired.

It’s probably different if you’re a research engineer at a think tank or in academia, but if you’re a commercial programmer and you got in after 2000, you bought high and you’re likely to sell your career capital low.

Girls of Reddit, what’s the best pickup line someone used on you?

Perhaps I’m showing my nerd colors, but I don’t see it as unbelievable that he would mean a literal robot. Lots of people get super-enthusiastic about something, especially if it’s something they’ve built and what to share it with everyone.

The Republican Party Stands for Despising Brown People and Not Much Else

We have a party for non-racist, non-psychopath, rational conservatives: the Democratic Party.

What do you believe is 100% true but cant prove?

Light has no rest mass, but it also is never at rest. (Photons do have mass.) Even though it is perceived to move slower through glass, water, or even air, the light is actually being absorbed and re-emitted. Its speed is constant.

The Lorentz factor at c is infinite, which is why massive objects can never travel that fast. A photon below c would, however, have zero mass or energy (which means it wouldn’t exist).

What do you believe is 100% true but cant prove?

I believe that E=MC2 but I can’t prove it

I think the easiest way in to relativity is to ask, “What is time?” We measure time by its effects: clocks ticking, atoms decaying, bacteria multiplying, and our own perception of it. If we could slow down all effects of time, then we should effectively being slowing down time itself, since there’s no reason in all of physics to believe in an absolute reference frame (and plenty of reason to discard the notion).

If you’re in a train moving at 0.6c (relative to the rest of us) and I’m stationary, then we will both perceive light as moving at the same speed, but I will perceive that a photon in your train moves longer in the same time interval than you will, in the same way that in a car, you see your watch’s second hand as moving around in a circle whereas I see its speed as oscillating from 69.99 (when it moves backward in the car’s direction) to 70.01 miles per hour.

Since force-carrying particles are based on the speed of light– gravitational and electromagnetic interactions propagate through (rest-)massless particles at that speed, although the massive particles that mediate the nuclear forces are slower– this turns out to be true.

Length and distance turn out to be indexed to the speed of light; in fact, the definition of the meter is based on it. We don’t actually perceive that a meter stick is 1 meter long in any absolute sense, but that it’s about 3 light-nanoseconds long.

Mass has similar relativistic properties. Because a baseball moving at 0.9c, falling toward Earth, is experiencing less time in its own reference frame, it feels more gravitational attraction toward the planet (it is accelerating faster from its perspective) and thinks the Earth is heavier than we do. To us, earth’s rest mass hasn’t changed and therefore, from our perspective, the baseball has become heavier.

Inertial mass (resistance to force) and gravitational mass (“weight”) turn out to be identical. So we wouldn’t observe any difference in gravitational interactions: the increased resistance for force and increased weight cancel out exactly– this is also why a 10 kg object and 100 kg experience the same acceleration due to gravity. However, electromagnetic forces are produced by charge rather than mass, so we can measure mass changes through those.

The result is that changes in kinetic energy result in mass changes as well. So do changes in potential energy, which is why atoms’ masses are less than the sum of their constituents’ masses: the (negative) potential energy makes them less massive. This has been observed: compressing a spring makes it heavier, although not by much, because the c2 is a huge number in terms of the units we’re familiar with: a 1 J change in energy is a mass change of about 10-17 kg. That’s imperceptible at our scale– our reference kilograms (the lumps of metal in France) diverge by about 1 part in 10-12, because macroscopic objects’ masses are constantly changing due to chemical reactions not only with air but with themselves, but can be observed in subatomic particles.

In other words, it’s not so much that mass “is energy”. In fact, we have no practical way to “convert”, say, a bucket of water “into energy”. It’s more accurate to say that energy demonstrably has mass through its interaction with what we perceive as time.

What do you believe is 100% true but cant prove?

Too soon.

What do you believe is 100% true but cant prove?

E doesn’t equal MC2 .

The full formula is E=sqrt((mc2 )2 + (pc)2 )

E still equals m*c2 – the mass increases as velocity / momentum does (Lorentz factor). As kinetic or potential energy are added (or subtracted) mass changes accordingly. Inertial mass (resistance to force) and gravitational mass (participation in the attractive force all massive particles have) both follow this principle.

For example, a particle moving at 99.5 percent the speed of light is 10 times its rest mass in our reference frame. From its perspective, its mass is unchanged and everything in our world is 10 times more massive.

These changes are usually imperceptible at our scale, because the speed of light is a big number in our familiar units, and because the only things we can get anywhere near the speed of light are tiny particles whose gravitational interactions are negligible, but the theory has been verified. For example, if you compress a spring (add potential energy) it becomes more massive. This is also why an atom has less mass than its constituent protons, electrons, and neutrons: the negative potential energy decreases its mass.

Why does having kindness as part of a persons character lead to career success?

If you’re forced to throw someone under the bus, meet them in a coffeeshop and tell them (obviously, this is if you can trust them not to narc on you) what magic incantations they need to say in order to get a real severance instead of a bullshit, short-fuse PIP. If you need help on this, PM me. I never hesitate to help a good worker beat a rich, shitty company.

A long, long time ago I was aware of someone’s impending doom (which wasn’t his fault; he was just socially inept and disliked by someone in upper management) and managed to get him a 4-month severance plus conversion of his PIP into another 20 days. And then I gave him a reference even though I wasn’t a manager and only worked with him on a one-week project (which he did a great job on). Fuck companies that do this shit.

Why does having kindness as part of a persons character lead to career success?

what they don’t tell people is that they are forcing managers to limit the number of “meets expectations”

It’s one thing to lay people off for legitimate business reasons– that just happens– but to do it for no reason, and further to disguise it as a performance issue instead of owning up to it… that should get executives “held accountable” (to use their slimy passive-aggressive phrase, which I’m using ironically because it’s time to drop the “passive” part, for the good of society) and the public ought to be educated about jury nullification because that is a perfect case for it.

A sold-out house for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in San Francisco proves she’s touched a national nerve

Neither New York nor San Francisco are “ultra-liberal”. New York is full of Wall Street Ayn Rand acolytes and centrist limousine liberal douchebags who only lean left because they see faux-liberalism (bread and circuses) as a way to put their classism ahead of their richness. San Francisco is unaffordable to normal people because it has been sold out to overseas money launderers, and it is on the northern edge of the emerging Fascist heartland: Silicon Valley.

There are a lot of serious progressive people, and a lot of really good people, in New York and San Francisco, but they are not the hotbeds of liberalism they’re made out to be.

Why does having kindness as part of a persons character lead to career success?

In general, it doesn’t. The corporate world, writ large, is no more evolved than the prison yard or middle-school lunchroom.

That said, there are a few decent companies out there. You may have found one.

Typically, the executives get to hand out the goodies and give inspiring speeches, while middle management has to implement the nastiness (and take the blame for decisions that executives made). I’ve been the middle manager in that situation– I had to be the asshole– and it’s no fun. Often we hate these shitty decisions as much as the workers, but have to pretend there’s a good reason for them.

There are very, very few companies in the private sector where human decency is positively correlated to success. In 90+ percent of corporations, it’s the other way around. If you find one of the exceptions, consider yourself lucky and stay there as long as it stays good.

Old Manager Thinks I Trashed the Company on Glassdoor

lastly, never sign anything like that ever again.

It’s a standard term in a severance agreement. If it’s a real severance– 3+ months, not that 2-week bullshit– then you should take it unless your company was truly evil. You don’t really gain anything by bad-mouthing them in the public anyway.

Is it turning to a researcher from a software engineer a good way to avoid facing ageism after my 35?

There’s a ton of ageism in software. The whole point of the open plan offices and “Agile” is to kick out the oldsters who remember when things were done correctly and quality of the product actually mattered.

Most of the 40+ programmers I know who are happy are those who’ve found their ways to other things but who still get to use code at their daily jobs. Perhaps they’re maintaining websites for lifestyle businesses instead of using cutting-edge SpunkBomb 7.0 dot JS, but they’re happy with the work. You pretty much have to take ownership of your career after 30– that’s the age at which you recognize that no one’s going to take you on as protege (you weren’t born into the right social class) and that you must pay yourself first, always.

Is it turning to a researcher from a software engineer a good way to avoid facing ageism after my 35?

Honestly, the vast majority of private-sector “research” is as political and superficial as regular development. You have longevity after 35, but not into your 50s. So you’re kicking the can down the road if you’re getting the PhD just to avoid ageism. That said, there are other reasons why you might want to get it. Although the odds of getting a legitimately interesting software job are low for PhDs, they’re near zero for non-PhDs. And, who knows? You might open up a track you don’t hate. There is a lot of research in academia and government. You won’t make $500k as a GS-1x at NIH, but chances are, you don’t need that much to have a life you don’t mind.

My advice: try management before you decide that you hate it. Try launching a small business on your own before you decide that it’s not for you. Every job has nasty details; you just have to pick the one whose nasty details you don’t mind, the ones that are merely boring chores like cleaning a litter box rather than humiliations that anger you.

Offer Rescinded While on Call Giving Notice

The joke is that at C-level everything is negotiated in great detail with candidates having lawyers, compensation consultants

It’s not a joke. The two-class system is disgusting. The already-rich, well-connected assholes– unlike the proles who will never really be in the running for those overpaid, low-accountability “executive” jobs– are allowed to look out for their own interests… and the rest of us aren’t.

Corporate America would fall within twenty minutes if the people stuck in its lower and middle layers stopped buying in to the collective delusion that the higher-ups see them as capitalists-in-training rather than a permanent class of subordinates.

The “ghosting” in this industry is very deflating

Oh, I absolutely agree. This shit only passes because of our imploded job market. If companies in the 1990s pulled the shit that goes on today, no one would want to work at them. Their reputations would be wrecked and they’ve have absolutely no talent. Twenty years later, the job market’s been shitty for over a decade, and top talent is no longer essential because tech companies have figured out how to run on low-grade commodity talent (Agile, Jira) so companies get away with all kinds of shit.

Are there CS unions, and are they worth joining?

Jira is a decent bug tracker but when it becomes a performance-surveillance tool, it’s time to unionize because all of the bad things that would come from forming a union (to wit, more bureaucracy) have already happened.

What unions do is acknowledge the commoditization of labor and make sure it happens on fair terms. If you’re lucky enough to have an employer who doesn’t view you as an interchangeable commodity, you may not need to unionize; if you’re doing to Jira tickets at work, you have nothing to lose.

Are there CS unions, and are they worth joining?

Usually, the engineers who favor their own education and progress get in political trouble if they’re caught doing it. People end up resenting the ones who invest in themselves rather than their company-assigned roles.

Offer Rescinded While on Call Giving Notice

Do not name and shame. At least, not yet. You can likely turn the rescinded offer into a severance payment (~2–3 months, which is still better than nothing). That gets harder to do if you blow that wad in the public. PM me if you want to talk about how you’d make it work.

I’d need to know more about what “too many concerns” means to make a diagnosis, but my guess is that they filled the position with someone younger and cheaper who didn’t know his rights. People who don’t take bullshit– who actually negotiate and ask questions– are seen as dangerous. That also means that once you’re 35+, you’re either threatening (because you have your shit together and won’t take abuse) or pathetic (in the opposite case). We oldsters need to know which one to play at which times.

If it helps you feel better, about 2 years ago I had an offer “strongly discouraged” (although technically not rescinded, which also meant I walked away without severance, but that was OK because I was actually employed) because I listed on a prior invention document that I’m writing a novel (which, of course, has nothing to do with programming work– there is literally no conflict). They didn’t want people who had external interests that weren’t code.

Are there CS unions, and are they worth joining?

The only reason programmers don’t unionize is that so many of them are young white males (I’m a white male myself, but we are quixotic fuckers) who think their bosses see them as proteges/capitalists-in-training rather than subordinates.

By the time they’re fully adults (~26–35, depending on the person) they’re “overexperienced” and either move into huge companies/government or leave the industry entirely.

Are there CS unions, and are they worth joining?

Here’s the way to do it:

  1. Establish an exam-based meritocracy like what the actuaries have. No require85+d higher education; self-study is ideal. If a 16-year-old’s smart enough to pass the tests without formal education, he gets in.
  2. Get enough of the most talented programmers to take these exams. Perhaps sell the opportunity to take them (and gain credibility) at a loss for a while. Get a lock on the top talent for the next 20 years.
  3. Part of being a Fellow of Professional Programmers (or whatever we call it) is only working at shops where 85+ percent of software engineers are enrolled (i.e., have passed at least 1–2 exams) and pay dues.
  4. Use the difficulty of the exams to prevent labor oversupply/scabbing and kick out the mediocrities for whom that Agile Scrotum shit was designed. Make this a job for serious professionals instead of Jira Jockey frat boy douchebags.
  5. Make it really unpleasant for people who try to replace us with low-grade commodity talent. Have overseas friends, forty at a time, GlassDoor the companies trying to replace serious programmers with cut-rate, commodity Jira Jockeys.
  6. Once we have the bulk of the decent programmers, we can push back against open-plan offices, unpaid overtime, and Agile Scrotum. It’s always best to start first on the things that annoy everyone (no one likes open-plan offices; even middle managers hate them; the only people who don’t are the execs who spend ~2 hours per week in them).
  7. Provide programmers with free education on the actual likelihood that a regular engineer becomes a founder or venture capitalists. No need to make it full-on propaganda– the stats and the truth tell our story well enough. Ultimately, corporate capitalism only works because so many people believe their bosses see them as capitalists-in-training/proteges rather than subordinates.
  8. Focus on reputation protection and managerial adversity prevention– i.e., how do we ensure that a programmer under a bad manager gets transferred rather than fired?– rather than compensation negotiation. Programmers are well-enough compensated if you ignore the fact that it’s a ~10-year career for most, so you won’t win on that vector. But most people have been PIP’d at least once and will privately agree that, in a better world, they’d have had some serious muscle/boots in their corner.

We want a professional society, rather than a single-company union, so it follows us as we change companies. We don’t want it negotiating compensation except to set minimums; if a programmer can get $400,000 on the market because she’s legitimately that good, no one should stop her.

The “ghosting” in this industry is very deflating

It’s unprofessional and passive-aggressive, like most of corporate (and especially corporate software) culture. And, yeah, it has become the standard practice, even at Big-N companies. It’s the most riskless approach. If they send you a reason why they rejected you, they’re afraid you might get angry and post it. If all they do is ghost you, then what do they have to worry about? It’s not illegal, and you can’t really demonstrate the absence of communication.

If it makes you feel better, it’s not going to deflate your confidence less to get a after-the-fact, half-true-at-best reason. It may make things worse, if you act on bad information.

Kim Jong Un sent Trump a “nice letter” — so Trump is ignoring North Korea’s new ICBMS

This guy is the typical corporate executive. Kiss his ass, and he’ll give you the world.

We keep saying we want “CEO Presidents” instead of public servants with no private-sector experience. No we fucking don’t. Sadly, if we didn’t learn our lesson about CEO Presidents under Harding, Hoover, or Bush, I don’t know how long the lesson will stick with Trump.

‘We need to reclaim this party:’ Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez fires up progressives in San Francisco

Dems need to articulate why people should vote for them and it can’t just be “we’re not Trump”.

Yes! I absolutely agree. Democrats have for far too long been smug, centrist, and corporate because they’ve been the one-party system for sane people. We’re all sick of “It’s us or the other guy”; we’re sick of corporate centrists about whom the best thing we can say is “He’s not Bush” or “He’s not Trump”. The people in the Jobless Interior aren’t stupid– they see this, and they know they’re going to be out in the cold either way– so they make the “insane” choice because it feels good. They’d rather vote for the guy who says “You’re fired” on TV, than vote for the person who wants them to be slightly less poor but who’d rather drink bleach than let their kids into (for example) elite colleges, important publications, or the most prestigious industries.

I’m a huge fan of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: a smart person from a legitimate working-class background with a heart and a brain. She seems to work hard and have a great message, and the “dirt” that has been flung against her has been so minor I suspect that she’s a good person– of course, good people sometimes make mediocre politicians, as we saw with Obama– as well. We need more people like her to end up in charge.

The Bullshit Web

The blind servitude you mention is not towards technology.

Correct. Thanks for making this clarification. I did not mean servitude to technology, but the subordination of technology to the anachronistic, simian dominance games of the largely useless class of private-sector bureaucrats and social climbers called “corporate executives”, “product managers”, and “venture capitalists”.

The Bullshit Web

The OP hits it on the head.

Twenty years ago, the pretense (at least) was that startups were the nobler, simpler, nimbler efforts that’d slay the inefficient corporate behemoths. Now, of course, technology is the source of this largely useless complexity (although, and this I note because it’s important, it is hard after the fact to know precisely which complexity is useless).

These days, we mostly use the Internet for junk and waste. Programmers write code; PMs generate tickets; businessmen generate requirements and make brag reports to higher-ranking businessmen; and at the end of this, nothing useful gets built. The only coherent motion we’ve seen in technology over the past 15 years has been this: jobs get cut and replaced with shittier jobs.

It’s astonishing how much work of zero- or negative-value our society performs just because people need an income. The janky, slow web isn’t a tragedy of the commons; it’s a predictable emergence from blind technical servitude.

Trump’s two-track strategy: The rich get richer and the poor get distracted

Poor Trump supporters see people like my family making a few hundred thousand a year as the liberal rich enemy. I just wish I could convence them we are on the same side getting screwed by the investment class in the US.

All true, and most of these Trump supporters aren’t poor. The average Trump voter makes about $75k per year. That’s not rich but it’s certainly not poverty. They’re angry because they see us as condescending and exclusionary. They conflate “coastal liberals” with an insufferable and not that liberal 0.1% of left-leaning people who live on the coasts. It’s like they think that everyone in Manhattan has access to this romantic-comedy life that they’ve been deprived of, and of course that isn’t remotely true.

My theory is that our visible, not-that-liberal cultural elite is permitted to exist by the economic elite because it makes the left look bad to have a bunch of smug, elitist, and largely ineffective assholes represent liberalism. Every time some left-leaning Hollywood millionaire says something insufferable about the Midwestern town he grew up in (never mind that his parents moved to California when he was 10) it works to the benefit of our right-wing economic elite.

Trump’s two-track strategy: The rich get richer and the poor get distracted

They see the $250k household in a majority working class town as the ultra rich

Right, and this skews perceptions both ways. They tend to lean conservative (and think the country would be better if the “coastal liberal elite” backed out) because they think of “rich people” (the good rich people) as scaled-up versions of the neurosurgeon who’s worked her ass off since she was 7. They tend to conflate leftists with intellectual leanings with a small elite (mostly in media and publishing, and not getting rich through their work) that isn’t even that relevant anymore, while ignoring that many of us “coastal intellectuals” have no money either; we went to reinvent ourselves in the cities because we’re tribeless, not because we’re elitists.

they don’t see the generational wealth that exists in some parts of the country.

I grew up in Central Pennsylvania, comfortably middle-class– even upper-middle– by the local standard. It amazed and disgusted me how corrupt our society really is. I never cared about people having “more money”– I always knew there were people with a lot more walking-around money, but my thinking was, “Who cares? I’ve got enough”– but I’m now 35 and I’ve seen so many mediocre people get their careers bought for them, and their mistakes wiped away by mysterious generational forces, while I’m 30 IQ points smarter and have had to pay multiply for every mistake I’ve ever made.

The existence of extremely rich people never bothered me. What I wish I had known 15 years earlier– I would have committed to corporate capitalism’s overthrow– was how thoroughly corrupt the whole “career” game is. I actually think it’s better for society to have an idle rich. Force the rich to work, and then steal all the top jobs and everyone else is doubly fucked: not just cash-poor, but opportunity-poor as well.

Make no mistake: The U.S. is at war with Russia


We are in no way at war with the Russian people, nor they with us. I do not think the average Russian wants us to fail or suffer; we do not want them to fail or suffer. I highly doubt that either they or we want any sort of violent conflict between the countries. That would be a disaster for the whole world.

Russia is losing the big war, the only war that really matters, the Class War; it’s becoming a kleptocracy and the billionaires (the ones who had pre-existing criminal networks during the late Soviet years and were prepositioned to dominate the era afterward) seem to be winning. We seem to be losing the Class War, too– the personification of Corporate America managed to become President.

I don’t think it’s fair to put Putin on “Russia”. Global kleptocracy/plutocracy/corporatism has metastasized and state-level malfunction rarely correlates with the ground-level inclinations of the people. Usually, countries fall for authoritarianism when it promises them jobs and roles– that’s literally how fascism wins hearts and minds, is to give jobs when they are scarce [1]– but perhaps we should consider the overthrow of a system that allows such a small number of people such control over these “jobs” we’ve trained ourselves to value so much.

[1] Actually, this one’s more complicated. The alchemy of fascism is that it achieves something no free system can: it unifies masculinity (which is important to most men and heterosexual women) and subordination (on which systems like corporate capitalism and war-machine statism rely). As long as people have to subordinate to survive, we’ll be at perennial fascist threat. Which is why democratic socialism is the best way out.

What social norm is actually really messed up?

Historically speaking, most of us are vastly over compensated in very comfortable jobs.

I doubt this. Compensation hasn’t gone up since the 1970s. Relative to cost of living, we’re probably back into 1950s–60s territory. As for comfort, physical labor and cold/heat are nothing compared to being visible from behind in a job where you have to think.

Having your fight-or-flight response fucked-with, and knowing that it’s intentionally being done because your bosses don’t think you’ll work unless subjected to open-plan surveillance, is a lot more damaging than having to be outside on a 40 °F (4 °C) day.

What social norm is actually really messed up?

Automation has tripled the value a person can provide through work, but the parasites at the top of society have taken all the gains.

Work doesn’t need to be miserable in 2018. The scarcity and pointless compete-to-suffer shenanigans are artificial and could be overthrown– and there’s no good reason not to do it. Even if it involves people getting hurt in the short term, it has to happen for the good of the long run.

Does the world need people to work? Sure. Do people need to spend the bulk of their adult life in pointless work that exists to keep power relationships in place and that holds no productive value (because the productive work is all being automated and no longer pays)? No.

A homeless man in Silicon Valley was handing out copies of his resume

All those urban myths about homeless dudes once being doctors, lawyers or professors are bullshit. You never hear “See that homeless guy? He used to be a factory worker” which is infinitely more likely.

False dichotomy.

Some people go from the professions to homelessness. Yes, however; it is more likely that a specific homeless person was a factory worker than a professor, but they both happen.

Have you seen what happens to professors’ careers if they don’t make tenure? It’s ugly.

A homeless man in Silicon Valley was handing out copies of his resume

Found the Boomer.

History buffs of Reddit, what is one of the most fascinating stories you’ve learned that no one seems to talk about and can’t be found in textbooks?

Never trust an opiate user: they’re full of shit.

Throwing things at power lines

Cameras (and to a lesser degree, the human eye) respond to relative light amounts (contrast ratio) rather than absolutes. The electric arc is extremely bright: anyone who was physically there probably has eye damage from the UV if nothing else.

Throwing things at power lines

You’re on the right track, fire is plama. An electric discharge such as lighting or a high voltage powersource is actually another “higher” state of matter known as quark-gluon plasma. Basically theres wayyyy more energy in this type of plasma than in just your regular ion plasma.

I suspect that it’s regular plasma at high temperatures (probably 10000–30000 K). It’s probably not quark-gluon plasma, which starts in the 1012 K range. If anything macroscopic were heated to that temperature level, you’d be killing people hundreds of miles away. Lightning is about 25000 K (but the bolts themselves are thin) and the atomic bomb fireballs– which caused third-degree burns from several miles away– were in the 106 K range.

There’s QGP in the Large Hadron Collider but I’m guessing that the plasma discharge there is a regular old electric arc– still enough to vaporize someone.

‘Who Is America?’ town accuses Sacha Baron Cohen of ‘baiting’ local residents into making racist comments

I’m actually kind of surprised they ended up using that segment in the show.

I’m glad they did. Not that this is science, but it would be anti-scientific and disingenuous to show only the clips where people acted terribly (or, worse yet, only the clips where conservative people acted terribly). The fact that some people pass SBC’s tests, at the least, leaves me feeling more confident that he’s not pulling fast ones and that the failures are legit too.

‘Who Is America?’ town accuses Sacha Baron Cohen of ‘baiting’ local residents into making racist comments

She’s an idiot. He outed her as an idiot.

There are a lot of rich idiots in the art world, but I wouldn’t be so quick to judge her. She’s on camera, she’s dealing with (as far as she can tell) a deranged stranger, and she probably doesn’t want to make him feel bad. It’s not like she agreed to buy $100,000 of paintings from him.

‘Who Is America?’ town accuses Sacha Baron Cohen of ‘baiting’ local residents into making racist comments

I think the woman at the art gallery came off looking pretty good. She was polite and open-minded, and handled a bizarre character well. I don’t think she was humiliate.

‘Who Is America?’ town accuses Sacha Baron Cohen of ‘baiting’ local residents into making racist comments

Also, I didn’t come away from the show thinking “all people from Kingman are racist idiots”. I grew up in Pennsylvania, where you can definitely find people like that (although they aren’t the majority). I assumed there was some sort of selection process.

The lesson here isn’t, “Kingman is awful”; it’s “Wow, it’s not that hard to find people with terrible views in red-state America these days.”

What’s something your employer did that instantly killed employee morale?

It’s like watching in real time as workers are devalued into expenses, with a helping of shortsightedness

It’s time for unions to come back in a major way.

There is one downside of unions: once you unionize, you’re admitting in most cases to commoditization of the work– that you’re not special, that you’re trading time for money, that your interests and management’s do not always align. If you’re a CEO’s protege, you’re probably not a fan of this evolution.

However, given the way management behaves in most US companies, the work has already been commoditized and everything bad that would come from unions (e.g. more bureaucracy, slower raises) is already in place. If the work shall be commoditized, it’s best to have it done in a way that is fair to the workers (unions) rather than in the more typical unfair way (aggressive management).

What’s something your employer did that instantly killed employee morale?

How can management be this colossally stupid?

Corporate executives like seeing what they can get away with. They push boundaries until someone or something pushes back. That’s also why there’s so much sexual harassment (and why it will never go away until the whole corporate system is blown to bits).

Power makes people careless and stupid. It’s part of why people are so attracted to power– it lets them in on a life where (most of the time) they don’t have to think about things.

What’s something your employer did that instantly killed employee morale?

Unions have a bad reputation in the US because of decades of anti-union propaganda.

The media isn’t “liberal” nor “conservative”– it is status quo corporate.

What do you miss about high school?

A dietary calorie is 4184 Joules; so 209 kJ times 365 equals 76.3 MJ. The energy content of body fat is about 33 MJ/kg. So we end up at 2.3 kg, which is about five pounds.

Over time, one’s energy consumption rises: it costs more to move around if you’re heavy. So it’s not common for people to gain 200 pounds over 40 years. However, the fact is that we’re not built to be precise calorie counters, and slight daily surpluses result in long-term weight gain.

There’s a lot of random stuff that we still don’t understand that goes into it. It’s not realistic to count calories down to tens and ones. (In fact, calorie counting can be unhealthy because caloric content is more precisely known for processed foods than fruits and vegetables.) It’s possible, for example, that obesity is influenced by problems with people’s gut bacteria.

To be honest, I’m astonished that we haven’t found a medical solution for this problem. It’s surprising to me that obesity still exists in 2018. I don’t think it’s useful to blame or shame people for being fat– nature built us to like eating more than, in today’s context, we should– but it seems that speeding up the human metabolism– or finding a safe, affordable mechanism that dumps the unneeded calories– would be a lot easier to do than it seems to be.

What do you miss about high school?

having a good metabolism vs a bad metabolism is mostly a myth and they only really vary by a few hundred calories at most unless something is wrong, I don’t think they change with age either lol

50 calories per day = 5 pounds of fat per year. Small daily errors add up. Evolution didn’t build our bodies to count calories at the kind of precision one needs to stay healthy, without conscious effort, when there’s a lot of caloric food around.

That said, it’s more complicated than to say that a fast metabolism is good and a slow one is bad. If you have a fast metabolism but your body has programmed itself to get hungry a lot and crave unhealthy foods, you’ll get fat. One of the reasons why few people lose weight by exercising is that, while they speed up their metabolism, they also eat more to compensate. It’s what we’re programmed to do.

What do you miss about high school?

Is America really this way? Like, are there actually people that are that poor?

Yes. In the US, the bottom is atrocious. It’s pretty common for people to skip medications because they can’t afford them. I’ve hired software engineers who had been “isolated” from the company for the first 2 months because they couldn’t afford their meds while they were between jobs.

Late-stage American capitalism is fucked. There’s a lot that’s good in our history, and there are aspects of American culture I like, but in the 21st century, our society sucks; I don’t see why anyone would want to copy our work culture or our health insurance system. There’s literally nothing good about either.

there are kids that do not have as much money as others, but they never really have been bullied

It happens a lot, and at all levels. The only-somewhat-poor pick on the destitute, and “trailer trash” was one of the worst insults growing up in (moderately depressed but not destitute) central Pennsylvania. That said, the social gaps are usually more subtle than that. But it’s pretty awful for the poor in a country where wealth is equated with moral value, even though kids had nothing to do with where they were born.

Child raising is also ridiculously competitive and focused on the parents more than the kids. College admissions aren’t really about academic merit, and 17-year-olds don’t really care about getting in to stuffy institutions– rather, they’re the yardstick by which parents measure whether they did a good job of setting their kids up. So the rich parents push their kids to have internships at investment banks, art galleries, and publishing houses in high school– and this is really only available to the 1 percent– and the kids who have those opportunities tend to look down upon those who bagged groceries for gas money as unambitious losers, even though from an adult perspective, that’s absurd.

America surely has similar projects?

It does, but a lot of people fall through the cracks. For example, there are a lot of people who are mildly disabled and can’t get hired, but not disabled enough to qualify for disability. Also, most of the American poor have jobs– they just have shitty ones that don’t pay well or come with health insurance.

What activity is socially accepted but actually borderline psychotic?

I don’t disagree with you, but the generational household is never coming back. We live in a country where to even exist, you need to make every job search national. You don’t really get to pick where you live, unless you’re rich. Worse yet, the places where there are decent, upwardly-mobile jobs (assuming those still exist at all, which is very much in doubt, because technological automation, though desirable and inevitable, will put a downward pressure on the labor market for as long as I can see) are also unaffordable places to raise a family… which means that almost everyone ambitious gets yanked out of their hometown in their 20s, possibly to settle in some other small town or mid-size city once they have a family. It might be good for society, to have people move around a lot– it’s part of why we have a national culture rather than diverging local ones– but it makes the generational household impossible.

What activity is socially accepted but actually borderline psychotic?

Do you know any CEO’s or business owners? Speak with them. Ask if you can job shadow them.

I wasn’t born into the kind of connections where I could call up the CEO of Goldman Sachs or Google and ask to be his protege for 3 months.

A CEO can care about his employees and still rank them.

You don’t know what stack ranking is or how it works. Whoever ends up on the bottom (and it’s mostly political) gets fucked. Either they get fired outright, or they get the worst assignments and can’t transfer. The purpose of stack ranking is to wipe one’s dick off on one’s employees. Nothing more complicated than that.

What activity is socially accepted but actually borderline psychotic?

Work-wise, the 1960s were better. Programmers didn’t have to interview for their jobs every day (“scrum”) and if you worked an honest day, you were “a go-getter” and you’d be put on a career fast track. If you were still in the office at 6:00 on a regular basis, you’d be CEO within a few years.

Racially, the 1960s were pretty bad. Gender-wise, the same. I don’t think anyone decent wants to go back to that.

We can have the best of both, though. I’m a liberal white man; we didn’t lose our economy because women and minorities came in and “took it from us”. That never happened. We lost our economy because the rich, and I’m talking about the 0.1 percent, took everything for themselves. Instead of investing in R&D and creating jobs, they started buying back their own stock. That’s why every recession has been more brutal than the last (even if numerically mild) and every recovery has been jobless.

Incidentally, the left has a much better shot of making America “great again” than the right, because when America was great, it was economically far to the left of where it is now.

What activity is socially accepted but actually borderline psychotic?

The stress of running a business of 200 employees is immense. Also, many CEOs feel responsible for their employees. They feel responsible for hundreds, if not thousands of peoples lives and incomes. Imagine the stress of feeling responsible for so many peoples incomes. The idea of screwing up means that people lose their homes.

That may have been true of a previous, noblesse oblige elite. It’s not true now. If it were, then why would stack ranking exist? Why would wages and working conditions continue to decline while executive compensation goes up?

The simpler explanation is: the powerful are looting the system, because they can.

What activity is socially accepted but actually borderline psychotic?

No one really has a problem with work. People’s hobbies are more work-like than the subordinate nonsense they do at their office jobs. They go hunting, or fishing, or they write, or they paint, or they go on long hikes. We now do work that doesn’t need to be done– gardens for vegetables we could cheaply buy, lifting weights and setting them down again– because as humans we crave this sense of agency and purpose. It’s how we’re built.

But, as automation advances, the opportunities for well-paid work-like work get rarer– the demand for human labor is destined to collapse– and the things people have to put up with to stay in the game become more onerous.

UBI wasn’t practical or necessary 100 years ago. We’re 20 years from it being so necessary that we’ll question how we got so far without it.

What activity is socially accepted but actually borderline psychotic?

The stress of executive jobs comes from the political efforts necessary to remain an executive. Do they stress themselves out? Yes. Do they appear to work very hard? Yes. Do they do much for the companies they run? Not at all. It’s not a feet-up-on-the-desk easy job, but the non-virtuous nature of this kind of “working hard” leaves me less-than-sympathetic to it.

Also, their jobs aren’t more stressful than those of the people they manage.

What activity is socially accepted but actually borderline psychotic?

now that they are older love to tell most of us youngins that we are lazy because we dont want to spend the majority of our time working…I dont get it

Also, the nature of work was different.

For the Boomers, “work” included a 2-hour lunch with your boss, who treated you like a friend rather than a subordinate. If you were still in the office at 5:30, you were a “go-getter” who’d get every promotion. Shit, if you actually worked one honest day each week, you’d get every promotion.

It was a much less stressful game than what it is now.

We tech people didn’t mean to, but we fucked the world by allowing this execrable surveillance infrastructure to exist. Now we have a world that can run on very little work, so there’s a constant high-stress cat-and-mouse game between executives looking to cut “costs” and workers stressing themselves out in order to appear more necessary than they actually are.

What activity is socially accepted but actually borderline psychotic?

The purpose of UBI isn’t to eradicate work. It’s to fix work.

That said, it’s not enough. People need to feel useful, and UBI isn’t a panacea. We still have to unfuck the labor market, and that’s an even harder problem. UBI is just a start.

What activity is socially accepted but actually borderline psychotic?

Yeah there’s a weird trend on reddit of fetishizing the ‘good old days’ and how fucked the millennials are going to be in the future.

The “good ol’ days” existed, but you don’t want to go back before about 1950. Everything you’re saying is correct about the time before that. Nostalgia is driven by an apex fallacy.

people here make it seem a lot more dire than it is.

Decline is scary. Accelerating decline is scarier still. It’s better to be alive in 2018 than 1918, but most of us aren’t making that comparison. We look at the world the Boomers inherited, and compare what we got, and we realize how much worse everything has gotten. This is also the age when Millennials would typically be inclined to have children, but there are so many ethical reasons right now not to want to do so.

What activity is socially accepted but actually borderline psychotic?

Up until a couple generations ago, no one retired.

Retirement– involuntary retirememt– has always been the old-age norm. Only the rich can get jobs that you can still do in the last years of life. What we call retirement is a euphemism for “fired for age and unable to get back in”. Working older people had to live off their kids.

That was why people had large families: if you had 4 kids, you were diversified because you’d have at least one who could support you. But in the olden days, we had a poor-but-improving society. Now that we’re a rich(-ish) declining one, most of us rightly deem it unethical to bring a person into such a world.

In the unfortunate event that corporate capitalism continues, I’d rather blow my brains out at 70 than have it on my conscience that I had created a person, solely to feed him to this monstrosity, just to live a few years more.

What activity is socially accepted but actually borderline psychotic?

Yep, I can’t wait for the day companies wake up and learn that these types of managers aren’t actually successful and are really just toxic and harmful to the company.

They are cancer cells. They’re individually fit– at the expense of the organism.

The thing is: they do fine. The system rewards that sort of behavior. Self-serving managers scare people into supporting their reputations. They can burn entire companies down and land on their feet.

What activity is socially accepted but actually borderline psychotic?

It makes more sense when one realizes that the executive’s motivation is not to do what’s good for his company, but to remain an executive at any cost.

Reddit, what do you wish was more socially acceptable?

A lot of people don’t even get that. And many who do get it don’t use it because taking time off is an easy way to get passed up for a promotion in a competitive environment.

Isn’t it amazing how easy it is for the elites to set the proletarians (and that’s 99.9 percent of us) against each other– to use tiny promotions and insignificant gifts to prevent us from working together and, instead, competing over nothing like a bunch of children?

Marx observed that the only tribal/class distinction that mattered was between a small elite and the governed– he was right then and he’s right today. The difference is that, because of technology, that elite can be even smaller. The nobility of Europe was 1–3 percent; the nobility of global capitalism is about 1.5 million people (0.02 percent).

Here is some real bismuth if you guys wanna see that.

Truly (but only very slightly) alpha.

Is 3 months too early to look for a different job at the same company?

Formally apply? I doubt it. It shouldn’t be a problem to transfer at 3 months– most people know before that when they landed in the wrong place, but it usually is. Many companies won’t allow it at all, and many managers will rape you during performance review season (making it doubly hard to transfer) if they see you as a flight/transfer risk.

If execs perceive a performance issue (there doesn’t have to be one for that to be the case) then the first hostage killed is going to be the one who was dumb enough to make it clear that he wanted to be on a more interesting team.

By all means, chat up people on your target teams, but know that it’s going to be a long process, in part because so many people are secretly trying to the same thing (and if they want to survive, they’ll keep it secret).

It shouldn’t be this way, but it is. It’s harder to move internally than to get a better job externally, most places. The manager of your target team has to worry about the politics of the organization (e.g., not pissing off your manager) which means that an equivalently qualified external hire will usually win. It’s fucking stupid, but welcome to Corporate America.

In general, it’s a bad idea to “put in” for a transfer. Either you get requested, or you plan on external promotion. These days, that seems to be the default.

The open-plan office is a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad idea

Open-plan offices began as backdoor age and disability discrimination– and I don’t think that this has changed.

Except in cases where it’s essential, these offices shouldn’t be legal. Their entire purpose is to humiliate the people who have to work in them. It shows that a company values surveillance over productivity. The problem is that, now that the important work has either been automated (if it’s unpleasant) or gets hogged by executives and their rich-kid proteges (if it’s creative or interesting), there really isn’t important work for 95% of private-sector software engineers to do, so these fishbowl offices will probably never go away.

I’ve never met anyone whose opinion I respected who liked these horrible things. I also don’t think they’re going away. If I could do it over again, I never would have gone into tech. I should have stayed in finance; I’d be retired by now. Fuck tech and would somebody please drop a nuke on Silicon Valley (you’d move the people, of course) for it all has done to destroy work not only there but everywhere.

I’ve been put on a performance improvement plan, and I have an in-person the same day I’ll probably get fired. Should I call in sick anyway? Also, how do I endure my current coworkers pressuring me to finish important work deadlines, even though I’ll be gone soon?

Call in sick. Don’t let your current company and the PIP poison you. Your priority is your interviews. Fuck their deadlines.

Plus, even though my PIP period is supposed to end tomorrow, I keep getting assigned more work.

They assign PIP’d people more work than otherwise; they’re setting you up to fail. That’s what 75% of PIPs are. The decision was already made. The other 25% are managers “storying” you– that is, the boss marking a high performer as a low performer so he can “fix” him and have an additional brag point.

I don’t know if I can endure an entire week of people giving me flack because I’m way behind schedule and probably won’t be able to complete my work by those deadlines.

Yeah, don’t. Do as well as you can on your interviews. The smoke will clear on Monday. There’s a 90+ percent chance that the decision has already been made. And being sick for 3 days isn’t going to make it worse for you (it probably won’t make it better, either).

Should I just quit so I can focus on interviews?


I don’t really need the unemployment money

You don’t know that yet.

I also don’t want to tell future employers that I’ve been fired before.

Unless you’re applying for a government security clearance… lie, lie, lie… unless you have the rare firing story that you can turn (e.g. 10 years ago you got fired because you refused to sell subprime to grandmothers).

If anyone checks references and finds out you were fired, then sue. You have a headache disorder and dissemination of the circumstances of your termination was discriminatory.

Will the couple of extra days of being employed make a difference?

If you call in sick, you’re still employed.

I’ve been put on a performance improvement plan, and I have an in-person the same day I’ll probably get fired. Should I call in sick anyway? Also, how do I endure my current coworkers pressuring me to finish important work deadlines, even though I’ll be gone soon?

No, he’s worried that when he tries to get another job and they check his employment history, he’ll be reported as ineligible for rehire, which is a red flag for many employers and a disqualifying condition for some as well.

I know this happens but it’s pretty rare. Usually, they just give name and dates, which is all most companies really give anyway.

Here’s what you do if you some company is painting you with “ineligible for rehire”. Document the shit out of everything. Have a friend do the reference call and take notes. Better yet, use a third-party reference checking service that documents everything.

If that’s illegal in your state, you’re done. If you have a solid argument that it’s illegal, you’re done. If you can argue that your placement on the list was discriminatory even if your firing wasn’t, you’re done. If you think the company values its reputation, they may settle anyway. They probably don’t want it getting out that they’re shitting on former employees.

If you don’t have them on that, then start the process of suing them for something else. A weak case becomes strong if there’s character evidence, because he-said/she-said cases usually get resolved on other behaviors– the misdemeanor 3 years ago leads to a murder conviction, that sort of thing. Once you have them trashing you on the record, you can burn them even if they didn’t do anything illegal. They’ll settle.

Do you give recruiters references if you are currently employed?

Never, ever, ever give references to a recruiter. Ever. If you have to choose between doing that, and copulating with a cactus, then go with the cactus. There are a million reasons why recruiters engage in this practice and they’re all incredibly fucking shady.

You give references when you have it in writing that you are the final candidate and will be offered the job if your references check out. (Conditional offer.) Not before. That way, if you get burned– and it could be someone a reference mentioned but that you didn’t volunteer– you can get the lawyers involved.

If you give references to a recruiter and he doesn’t like what he finds and ghosts you, or does a half-assed job pushing you, you have no legal recourse. You can’t prove it happened. You probably won’t even know. Don’t end up in that position..

The Bulk of Software Engineering in 2018 is Just Plumbing

I think it probably has less to do with the social skills of programmers and more to do with the fact our profession is still brand new.

It’s not, though. It’s older than 95% of us. Besides, professionalization emerged in the late 19th century. It’s not that old. We’ve had plenty of time.

Also, if programming went from a field anyone could enter to one where you have to have expensive degrees and certifications to get into, I would see that as a downside.

That’s why an actuarial-style exam system is the way to go. As long as you can pass the tests, it doesn’t matter where you went to school, nor whether you’re 17 or 79. I’d also support project-based entry as an alternative option– because some people (although it’s rare) have disabilities that legitimately make them bad test-takers.

The important thing is: once you’re in, you’re in. You don’t get chucked out of the profession at 33 because you can’t tolerate the open-plan, Agile Scrotum, hot-desking bullshit or whatever new fad replaces it.

The Bulk of Software Engineering in 2018 is Just Plumbing

It’s not unique to the programming field that most of the work that needs to be done is the boring, reliable kind. Arguably, that’s a good thing. You’d burn out as a doctor if you always got the Dr. House cases.

The thing is that doctors and lawyers had more collective intelligence– some of us are individually intelligent, and we’re a damn sight smarter than the MBA fucks who colonized us, but we have no collective intelligence because too many of us are socially inept– and managed to professionalize in order to keep their social status, wages, and working conditions up. Even though most doctors only deal with common, boring situations, they can self-sort: the ones who want to be neurosurgeons and are willing to work 80-hour weeks can, while the ones who want to be pediatricians and working 30 hours per week in Alabama can do that. There’s nothing wrong with either life.

We, however, did such a shitty job of managing our own social status and professional image that we deal with: open-plan offices, daily interviews for our own jobs as a standard practice, and two-week iteration nonsense which means we’re constantly in fear of bad things happening because we missed some arbitrary deadline set by a pie-in-the-sky “product manager”. Oh, and we let our MBA-toting colonizers flood the market with unskilled young mediocre replacements, too, which is why we’re making the same money in dollar amounts we were in the mid-1990s, despite inflation.

This isn’t a problem with “programming”. This is a result of our failure as programmers to acknowledge that most of the work is commodity work and to collectively commoditize it in a fair, intelligent way– rather than having it done to us on evil terms.

The Bulk of Software Engineering in 2018 is Just Plumbing

There are solutions to this problem. We should have professionalized (which is the same thing as a union, but don’t tell the AMA that) a long time ago. We didn’t, and we also let the bad guys figure out that they could replace us with open-plan Scrum mediocrities, not even old enough to shave– so they did. And now we’re fucked.

Meanwhile, even though many lawyers and doctors spend most of their time on the boring aspects of the profession, the ones who aren’t vying for exciting positions (which are competitive, and do require long hours, especially early on) can downshift to jobs with low expectations, short hours, and a high degree of professional respect– and still make more than we do. That’s because they protected themselves. Meanwhile, despite our individual intelligence we are collectively such idiots that the bad guys can shove two-week iteration nonsense and open-plan offices down our throats and enough of us are naive morons who see it as a perk.

Duterte says he will resign as soon as someone proves god exists.

God exists. So does Zeus. Greek mythology exists and Zeus is a prominent figure in it. The Christian Bible (as well as the Hebrew one, the Quran, and the Book of Mormon) exists and God is a main character.

Holden Caulfield also exists. So do Calvin and Hobbes.

As for whether there’s a supreme conscious being we meet after we die, well… we won’t know about that question until we get there (or not). The literal gods of Bronze Age fiction (believed-in as well as now-literary) almost certainly do not exist in the sense of being corporeal beings one can interact with. But, we have not defined “God”, now have we?

What movie ending actually made you say “what the fuck?”

Mother– I am denying it its fucking pretentious exclamation point and lower-case title– was a terrible movie. It cared more about being pretentious and edgy and over-the-top than anything else.

The hole in the floor… it’s a vagina! Why? Because edgy! Plot, what’s that? I dunno; let’s eat babies for no reason!

All those fucking obnoxious house guests. There has to be artistic value if I’m going to spend 2 hours of my life watching obnoxious people. In the Era of Trump, assholes aren’t unusual; they’re exhausting.

What movie ending actually made you say “what the fuck?”

I found the ending improbable as well. It’s certainly not a steady state they’re in. It was one of those “This is the end?” moments– not that the ending sucked, but that I really thought there was 20 minutes left.

What movie ending actually made you say “what the fuck?”

Hereditary is the film analogue of a literary author– a good one, because I don’t mean to imply all literary authors are great– doing horror and refreshing both genres. Genre-crossers tend to get negative reviews from people expecting one or the other. In its own right, though, it’s quite good. Is it a traditional summer horror film? Not at all; it’s a lot more.

What movie ending actually made you say “what the fuck?”

The fucking accident.

That’s a movie we’ll remember in 30 years. Really fucking good.

Republicans Are Terrified of What Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Started

These are the same people who had a fit when they found out that 99% of poor U.S. households had a refrigerator.

That’s because conservatives live in the past.

I’m writing steampunk dystopia. These guys want to LARP it.

Companies buying back their own shares is the only thing keeping the stock market afloat right now

Knowing my luck, another recession will probably completely fuck us over.

These aren’t normal recessions. Not anymore. They’re numerically mild (and engineered to be such) but the devastation they bring to normal people is far worse than the numerically more severe– and more common– recessions of the 1940s to ’70s.

Companies buying back their own shares is the only thing keeping the stock market afloat right now

Enjoy hitting the market at the same time as tons of people who already have experience and connections.

It’s no more fun for the people with experience, I can assure you, and these days no one has significant connections unless born into them.

If you’re experienced, you’re assumed to be too expensive and to already come with your own ideas (as one should hope) and so young people can have an advantage– but the truth is that it sucks for everyone. No one wins (except the 0.1%) from the shit going on in our country.

Mexico leftist vows no tolerance on corruption after historic win

The world is undeniably better off in 2018 than even twenty years ago. Which should give us hope. The global picture has improved on the whole.

For the US, it’s been a terrible start to the century. That has nothing to do with the world coming up (it’s not zero-sum) and everything to do with the fact that our rich have been looting society in newer and more vicious ways, which trickle down (fewer jobs, more workplace surveillance, less money at the bottom). We’re headed toward (if not already beyond) 1920s levels of inequality and getting close to the French 1780s.

Europe and Canada, I think, are feeling similar pressures to Americans but in lesser degrees. They point to our economic situation (unaffordable medicine, housing, education, child care) and say, “Let’s not become like that.” Meanwhile, they too have a lot of corrupt politicians who are pulling them toward our style of society– and trust me when I say that they don’t want that.

The main issue of course is that we’ve let the global rich pit the 99% against each other, which is why Middle Americans think their jobs are being “shipped overseas” when in fact they’re being automated out of existence (which would be a good thing, responsibly done, e.g. basic income).

Who in history is looked up to as a hero but is actually a terrible person?

Haven’t seen the movie about Ted K. yet

They made a movie about Industrial Society and its Future?

Oh, I think you’re talking about a different Ted K.

Who in history is looked up to as a hero but is actually a terrible person?

He was batshit crazy too. […] He went on an “organic binge” where he didn’t shower for months on end

Not surprising. His death was essentially a suicide; he turned down treatment in favor of alternative healing.

Apparently he also used to absolutely rage at people when something very minor didn’t go right. He made it a point to show how brutally he could fire someone.

What I’ve heard and read is that he was brutal to executives and at Apple, but not so bad to working people or at Pixar. It seems like the one thing he really brought was the ability to burn complacent execs. Sometimes the antidote for incompetent assholes is a competent asshole.

Great inventor

Disagree. Good marketer, though. The ideas came from places like Xerox PARC and Bell Labs, but none of those people knew how to market their conceptions, whereas Steve Jobs was good at it. The other thing he used well was Apple’s underdog image in the 1980s and ’90s during the age of the “Wintel Duopoly”. Giving Apples to schools was also a smart play.

Minimum wage? It’s time to talk about a maximum wage

Yeah. They’re like that. But if the smartest few percent ever decide to go Westworld on their asses, it becomes a different (and better) world in a week.

What high level job do you think you could lie your way into with no experience and no one would notice?

“I’m a Senior Director of Relations.”

“No, you’re Willy Loman.”

What high level job do you think you could lie your way into with no experience and no one would notice?

Any corporate executive job. The less you do, the better your operation runs, because instead of getting in the way of people who do the actual work, you sit back and relax, while the people under you are grateful to you for not bothering them.

The Millennial Socialists Are Coming

Eh, I would contend most of these Millennials are just Nordic-model social democrats, or will be once they comport their political ideals with reality.

Of course. Corporate capitalism is bad. But command-economy left-authoritarianism is so bad– so much worse– that it failed 30 years (1989) before corporate capitalism did (and the meltdowns are surprisingly similar). No one looks at Communist China, the Soviet Union, or Venezuela for inspiration.

Capitalism actually worked well during the Cold War period. The corporate system doesn’t work at all now, and it can’t really be fixed.

The Millennial Socialists Are Coming

Thanks for posting this. It galls we when people make the mistake of associating Nazism with socialism because of the term “national socialism“. It has about as much to do with socialism as socialismo (meaning favor-trading, not socialism) as used in Cuba.

It is true that Nazism and Italian Fascism turned toward command economies (which do not work, and which today’s Millennial socialists do not want) over time, especially as they geared up for war. But the ideologies of Fascism and Nazism were staunchly anticommunist and antisocialist– which is a big part of why the wealthy (including many wealthy Brits and Americans) supported them in their time.

The Millennial Socialists Are Coming

I don’t think all Baby Boomers are terrible. The “Boomers had it easy” narrative ignores black Boomers, gay Boomers, and dead-in-Vietnam Boomers. Furthermore, the worst-hit victims of today’s economic stagnation are working-class Boomers who got pushed out of the job market by ageism, and who won’t have time to recover.

The Silent/Boomer 1-percent, though, have been a national calamity. No doubt about that. I think it may have been inevitable. The 1930s humbled our national elite. But then in the ’70s, rich people from our country (who might have made $500k/year, and had to follow traffic laws) met Arab oil sheikhs, third-world despots, and (later) ex-Soviet kleptocrats and realigned. The old national elite still sucked in many ways, but they saw themselves as leaders of a country and it would embarrass them if said country went to shit; our current rich sold us out to join the global elite.

The Millennial Socialists Are Coming

I’m 35. We haven’t really been allowed adulthood. We’re in this weird twilight state. Most of the jobs are shitty and lead nowhere but further subordination. Houses are expensive. A lot of people are paying off student debt. Education costs are obnoxious. Our society doesn’t invest in our own people, and our business/corporate environment has third-world levels of corruption. Most of my friends aren’t interested in having kids until they have $500,000 net worth (for education, mainly, and contacts, in order to set their kids up not to be workplace subordinates– since that would only perpetuate misery and humiliation) per child, and very few people get to that in any honest way.

The U.S. was an upwardly mobile society from 1932 to 2007. That was a good run, but unless we undo a lot of Boomer Damage– I’m talking about radical restructuring of employment, basic income, and real estate nationalism under which nonresident speculators/launderers have 90 days to sell or lose their houses– it’s over.

I don’t think we’re gearing up to be a lost generation, though. I feel like something’s about to blow, and that the pressure has only strengthened us and increased our force, and I hope I’m right.

The Millennial Socialists Are Coming

Honest question: what does he think of the Alaska oil dividend? Is he against it? Does he send it back?

Minimum wage? It’s time to talk about a maximum wage

Whether this is right is one debate. What we do know is that it wouldn’t hurt society. We can establish that by looking 40 years back to when our economy actually worked.

In the 1970s, CEOs made salaries that would be moderate today, and more often than not, they managed their companies for the long term. They wanted their firms to succeed. They at least tried to manage in good faith– something you don’t really see today. Today, we pay at least an order of magnitude more for CEOs and executives– and we get a dogshit product. We get horrible people in upper management and, because the short-term benefits of looting their own companies are so high, they do terrible things. Imagine if cars cost $250,000 and 5 percent of drivers got killed (fired) every year; that’s where we are in terms of executive compensation.

Paying more for something only results in an improved product if one or two conditions hold: (1) more resources can be invested in the product at a higher price point, or (2) superior players come in to the market, enticed by the higher price point. Neither of those apply to executive compensation: (1) doesn’t apply because we’re talking about a single person (not, say, an assembly process); (2) doesn’t apply because corporate executives are a closed social elite and no one upper-middle-class or lower has more than a 0.0001% shot at getting those jobs. Empirically, we pay more and get less.

Personally, I think we should set a maximum wage– including stock benefits– on companies when they’re getting rid of people. And if you disguise a layoff as a “performance” firing the way tech companies do now, you go to Federal PMITA Prison for defrauding the public. Whatever a person thinks about the overall morality of a maximum wage– I’m not personally comfortable saying I know exactly where the right level would be– I think it’s just common sense that executives’ wages shouldn’t go up when their companies are firing people.

Donald Tusk, the European Council president, warns to prepare for “worst-case scenarios” as relations with the US rapidly deteriorate – Senior EU officials are anticipating a new American doctrine in which there are “no friends, only enemies”

It’s astonishing how much damage one person can do. Thanks, billionaires and religious nutballs, for dismantling our democracy, social safety net, and productive economy over the past 40 years and letting it come to this.

As an American, I hope most people in the world can hold faith that this man is at least somewhat of an aberration, and doesn’t represent who we are or what we’re becoming. I’m trying to; it’s not clear what the other option is.

Startup Interviewing is Fucked

The way you describe corporate engineering is on point. It doesn’t require a lot of intelligence, and most of us are way overqualified for the actual work. It’s unpleasant to acknowledge that all this time we spent building skills, starting in school, was sharpening knives when– except for 1 percent of us, who end up with elite PhDs and spend time in research labs– we’re going to be balancing spoons on our noses in our real jobs.

And startup interviewing that dings people on not remembering the intricacies of radix exchange sorting, or trivia like which sorting algorithm performs best on Shakespeare’s collected works, is totally counterproductive to hiring those people.

That’s there for one of the same reasons for the ageism. Engineers want to feel young again. They want to remember the days when all the cool stuff they learned in college about compilers and machine learning seemed to actually matter… and forget that, in reality, they’re corporate coders who haven’t done a new thing for years, who interview for their own jobs every morning and call it “standup”, and who’ve bet their careers on an industry where (except for a small number of people in the Bay Area, where houses still aren’t affordable if you work an honest job) wages and status have gone down for decades.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Says Donald Trump Should Be Impeached Over Emoluments Clause Violations From Day One Of His Presidency

“No, we can’t be negative, we shouldn’t be talking about Trump, but we should campaign on what our ideas are.”

Establishment Dems having ideas, even that would be a step in a new direction.

UW CS Lecturer Explains “Why Women Don’t Code”; Chaos Ensues

There are several reasons for this.

  1. Look-ahead. Your average 22-year-old girl has dated men in their mid-20s or, if she hasn’t, she’s got friends who have. She’s probably got at least one girl who’s dated a guy in his mid-30s and knows what a shitty career software is compared to medicine or business. On the other hand, your average 22-year-old guy hasn’t dated anyone much older than him, nor have his friends. Women understand social status well enough to know that someone who has to interview for his own job (“daily scrum”) every day at work is not going to advance on the salary scale, even if he’s in a decent spot, for his age, now.
  2. Women are better judges of character. They have to be, or else very bad things can happen to them. They have to start worrying about older, dangerous men when they’re 14 or so. Women have already been offered “free” airfare and concert tickets by 35-year-old men, so when they run into the startup founder (the same guy) offering “equity” (0.05%) but expecting 80 hours, they know to walk away.
  3. They can’t waste time. Fertility peaks around 27. They can’t throw away years to chase some silly dream in Palo Alto. They have to start thinking about their careers– and private sector software is not a career; it’s a sick joke– right out of the gate.
  4. Maternal poisoning risk. Relatedly, it’s a bad idea to subject a developing fetus to the stress hormones that open-plan offices induce. This is not in any way a “women are weak” argument (they are not) because men’s bodies and minds get just as fucked up by those horrible places. (Most of people “leaving tech” is psychiatric attrition: open-planic attacks and the like. What we call “burnout”, which we just assume happens every few years, is clinical depression and rare in real careers.) It’s just that pregnancy can make the effects of extreme stress permanent.
  5. Sexual harassment. There is so much of it. Most decent men don’t see it, because of a “lensing” effect. If there are 10 men per 1 woman, that means women will participate in 10x as many man/woman interactions than each man. The predatory types (only about 5 percent, but they do a lot of damage) behave themselves around civilians (most decent men). But it happens. A lot. And it ruins careers– those of the victims, not the perpetrators. (I don’t care what happens to the perpetrators.) The corporate world is run by people to whom the notion of an “abuse of power” doesn’t exist; what we call “abuse”, they call “power”. What purpose does power have, the executive asks, if there are limits on it?
  6. Nepotism. Ultimately, advancement in the tech industry comes down to who you know, because the what-you-know is a commodity. And with so many reasons for women to look at the tech industry and say “No thanks”, the “just like me” bias– people promoting people similar to themselves regardless of merit– ends up favoring men.

Ultimately, women don’t avoid the tech industry because they can’t hack it. They absolutely can. They stay out of this mess because they’re smart. Individually, there’s no difference between the genders, but they have a lot more common sense and, more importantly, collective intelligence. Their superior collective intelligence is, in fact, a big part of why tech bosses want to keep them out

What do mature people do that immature people don’t?

Challenge opinions they agree with.

Ted Nelson on What Modern Programmers Can Learn From the Past

If I had known how little interesting work there was in software (it’s less than 1%) and that getting intellectually stimulating projects required as much political skill as climbing a management hierarchy, I never would have gotten into this mess of a career. The problem is: I was a young kid who believed in meritocracy.

In private-sector software, high intelligence (starting at 135 if not lower) is practically a disability. You’re at high risk of boring out on most of the work they’ll have you do, and the people who control the strings and assign the work resent you for being so different from them. Quant finance and research have their own problems, but at least they aren’t as talent-hostile at the 140, 150+ level.

Ted Nelson on What Modern Programmers Can Learn From the Past

This isn’t a “conspiracy theory”. What I’m talking about isn’t even hidden.

Ted Nelson on What Modern Programmers Can Learn From the Past

> Luckily nowadays, most companies here in the Bay Area have added parallel tracks for ICs.

In a way, that makes things worse. It’s orders of magnitude harder to make Principal Engineer at a GoogFace than to make Director. You have to be half-decent just to make Staff, whereas if you’re on the management track, you can ride the glass elevator up to VP without any impedance as long as you don’t make any waves. And people who have the right connections can do it in a few years, working 11-to-3.

Companies don’t create those “parallel tracks” to be nice. It’s a mind trick– a way of making the engineers think their bosses are more impressive than they actually are, because it is legitimately difficult to become a Director- or VP-equivalent engineer.

Ted Nelson on What Modern Programmers Can Learn From the Past

Thank you for posting that. That was a brilliant eulogy and it really captures a certain passion– a desire to actually see the world better, rather than just using “a better place” as a marketing slogan– that hardly exists today. It reminded me that I’m not alone.

> I wonder how many modern programmers really understand his anger and grief at what was lost.

I’m in my mid-30s but I feel it. I’m a rarity in my generation, though. For every one of me, there are 20 open-plan jockeys who’d shank their colleagues just for a chance at a management role. There are as many good people, in general, in our generation as in any other… but they don’t seem to end up in the tech industry.

Tech used to be an industry for hobbyists that led to reliable moderate wealth (meaning, upper-middle-class) but involved hard work, and it drew in the best. Now it’s an industry for snake oil salesmen that draws in the worst.

Yesterday’s sunset over 42nd Street in Midtown Manhattan

No, probably not. May 28 (and July 13) is when the sun sets in alignment with the grid. In this picture, the sun hasn’t set yet. It’s still a few degrees above the horizon and will set slightly to the north of the gridline, which is what you’d expect in mid-June.

It’s a legit photo, but it’s not “Manhattanhenge”. Manhattanhenge is when the sun sets (or rises) exactly on the grid– not if it crosses the grid line.

Whats a word or phrase that people use that you can’t stand?

Alpha particle: two protons and two neutrons– or a helium-4 nucleus– kicked out by heavy elements like uranium. Slow (by radiation standards) and heavy. Ionizing, so they can fuck you up if they get inside (e.g., radon that you breathe in) but can be blocked by the skin or a sheet of paper.

Beta particle: high speed electron. Small, but fast (> 0.5 c) and also ionizing. Can be stopped with aluminum foil in most cases.

Gamma particle: extreme high-frequency photon. No rest mass; pure energy. Same principle as UV light. Not charged, and would not be ionizing but for its high energy. Tough to shield against; can go through several inches of lead.

Miss Israel and Miss Iraq met in Jerusalem after the selfie controversy. They called for peace between Arabs and Jews.

What you’re saying is true, but I would add that the expulsions of Arab Jews started long before 1948. Many of the Jews who settled, in the first half of the 20th century, in what was then Palestine had literally nowhere else to go. Even the US and UK– a shameful fact of American history that we tend to overlook now– turned away Jewish refugees (in the most notable case, from Europe) during the 1930s and ’40s.

What small, menial things do you often do to ‘stick it to the man’?

you only hear from people who had a really bad or really great experience.

More like, “You only hear from people who had a really bad experience– and HR responding to bad reviews with good ones.”

I’m a writer. I have as good a sense as anyone of authenticity– probably not 100%, but quite high– and most positive GlassDoor reviews are written by shills. That’s not to say that there aren’t people who are happy at those companies, but people who are doing well at organizational politics generally prefer to keep silent.

What are some of the biggest flaws in the human body?

In my 2 months of working there I witnessed at least a dozen back injuries lol

I don’t know about UPS per se, but in a lot of jobs like that, people have “piece counts” to meet and will get fired if they don’t. The back injuries at blue-collar jobs aren’t because people don’t know how to lift; it’s the pace of lifting they have to sustain to keep their jobs that causes them to lift unsafely.

Turns out evil management and surveillance aren’t limited to office jobs.

You’re never too old to learn to code

I pick things up more quickly now than I did when I was young. I think, though, that it’s easier to get discouraged and be impatient. Back then in the fooling-around days, when time felt infinite, we didn’t get discouraged if it took a while to figure something out. And we tend to forget the study and frustration and remember the high points– another reason why we seem to have picked things up faster in the past.

Auditory language acquisition plummets in adulthood– that’s why we picked up our native language so fluently, and have a harder time with new foreign ones– and that’s the example that a lot of us take to be far more general than it actually is. The instinctual takes longer as you get older; the abstract and symbolic gets easier to pick up, until you’re about 60 in most cases. Of course, it’s highly individual. If you were writing code every day at 30 and hadn’t touched a computer in a decade by 60, you’d learn new languages faster at 30 for that reason… and vice versa. And most of the post-60 dropoff is due to physical health issues– the decline isn’t inexorable, as I know people who are 80 and as sharp as they ever were– so to some degree it’s preventable.

All of this said, I think it’s hard to adapt to undesirable social changes when one is older. If you’re used to having your own office, you’re probably not going to tolerate (and you shouldn’t) an open plan setting where random people look at your screen all the time. And, of course, if you’re used to having a bit of professional autonomy, you’re going to hate that Agile Scrum bullshit that’s designed to make marginally employable drones out of the mediocre and inexperienced. There’s a lot of ageism in this industry, but the other thing that’s kicking out the old is that it’s getting a lot worse– salaries are dropping outside of an incestuous network of a few companies; workplace autonomy has gone to zero; workspaces are invasive and disrespectful; and the management has gotten more inexperienced and callous with each year. The 22-year-olds don’t remember that it used to be better, whereas we old geezers know that Agile Scrotum is a bunch of nonsense we don’t need or want.

You’re never too old to learn to code

I agree. I think that older people can actually ramp up faster, especially if they have other quantitative and scientific interests. If you start at 40, you can be an expert by 45; whereas almost no one who starts at 20 is an expert by 25.

This said, it is way harder to get hired when you’re older. I’m already experiencing ageism, and have been for years, and I’m only 34. I don’t think that it’s because older people are less intelligent– the nonsense about declining fluid intelligence, I don’t put much faith in, because we really don’t know all that much about what intelligence is, and because most of those findings were picking up Flynn Effect. In fact, it might be the opposite; we tend to be more well-rounded and better organized, which makes us harder to take advantage of.

A big part of the problem is that hiring managers don’t look for reasons to say “Yes”; they look for reasons to eliminate candidates. Perhaps it has to be that way, because the unqualified people are on the market for longer and sent out far more CVs, and they just need quick filters like “Worked at a company I don’t like” or “Was at previous job for too long/short”. When you’re 22, there isn’t much to reject. When you’re 42, there’s a lot to reject. Worked as a game designer? Well, there’s going to be some guy in your hiring loop who thinks all game designers are assholes and blocks you. Too many jobs? Job-hopper. Too few jobs? Probably stale. No management experience? Didn’t make the cut. Spent 5 years in management? Totally outdated. Et cetera.

Can a 40-year-old, or a 60-year-old, learn how to code? Yes, of course. Can someone at that age get into this ageist, sexist, tribalist, and increasingly fascist industry that has oriented itself around mediocrity and inexperience (Agile Scrum)? I have my doubts. And is it a good idea? Not if you’re giving up a real career (which, in your 40s, you probably are) because you think you’re going to be in that ~0.2% who can retire on his startupbux.

Why 95 Percent of Software Engineers Lose Nothing By Unionizing


Also, one of the reasons tech bosses like the young male monoculture is because older people (and more diverse hires) might bring organizational skills that threaten them. Unionbusting isn’t the only reason for the ageism, but it’s a big one. Adult programmers, in terms of productivity/salary ratio, are a steal… but tech bosses don’t like them, because they have opinions and know an idiot when they see one.

Donald Trump claims he has ‘absolute right to pardon myself’

To be honest, I hope he does.

I dislike Trump, but I care far more about what happens to the country than whether Trump goes to jail for any of his dumb shit. It’s not about vengeance; it’s about fixing the country. Obviously, if all his cronies also get off, and then go on to make billions of dollars, that would be distasteful. I want his people in jail; I don’t care if he pardons himself.

A self-pardon is something I’ve hoped for because it would absolutely humiliate the plutocracy. That’s about the most we can hope for, politically; we’ve elected far too many “CEO Presidents” and we haven’t learned our fucking lesson.

The best-case scenario here is that we have a below-average (but not catastrophic) presidency, but that Trump does something so flagrantly offensive, stupid, and self-serving (but also relatively harmless) that we finally resolve to take our country back from the 0.1%– and to stop letting them divide and conquer us using red-versus-blue tactics.

Why 95 Percent of Software Engineers Lose Nothing By Unionizing

In 2018, acknowledging reality is “arrogance”. Beautiful.

Why 95 Percent of Software Engineers Lose Nothing By Unionizing

I am more in favor of the sort of structure that Americans would call a professional organization– e.g., what doctors and lawyers and actuaries have. Something like the AMA, ABA, or SOA is still a union, but it’s been given a less blue-collar name.

I’d like enough barriers to entry that the unqualified– the open-plan Scrum drones who also force us to deal with open-plan offices and Scrum– can’t get in. Not everyone should be a professional programmer.

Why 95 Percent of Software Engineers Lose Nothing By Unionizing

job productivity as well as wealth distribution and compensation usually follows power law distributions.

Also, a lot of people here fallaciously believe that because they’re in the top 5% in terms of productivity and capability (which I’ll assume to be true) they will end up in the best-compensated 5% (which they often don’t).

First of all, 10X is context-dependent as it is. If I have to use tools I’m not familiar with, I’m not a 10X programmer– at least, not from the start. Much of “10X” comes from the fact that if you send an inexperienced person to do a specialist’s work (which is common, because MBAs think we’re all fungible) then you get 0.1X results relative to the specialist. So, while the 10X phenomenon is real, it’s not always the same people.

But, second and more importantly, people who are 10X at making managers like them are usually -10X at everything else in life. So it’s rarely the 10X-productive who get the 10X salaries.

Why 95 Percent of Software Engineers Lose Nothing By Unionizing

Doctors have the option of becoming PCPs and making “merely” upper-middle-class salaries. That’s better than what programmers get when they downshift or, God forbid, get old (meaning 35).

When it comes to abuse of their time, most doctors complain more about insurance asshattery, and that’s another topic.

Why 95 Percent of Software Engineers Lose Nothing By Unionizing

Right. And this is something programmers desperately need to do. Keeping out the open-plan Scrum drones will help us restore wages and work conditions to decent levels (as we saw in the ‘90s) but it also means the quality of what we produce will be better. Everybody wins.

Why 95 Percent of Software Engineers Lose Nothing By Unionizing

If you are a top performer, you’re not necessarily insulated from managerial adversity, either. The safe place to be is in the middle.

Why 95 Percent of Software Engineers Lose Nothing By Unionizing

So you’d rather work with people who were promoted because they sucked up to managers and went to the right prep schools?

Why 95 Percent of Software Engineers Lose Nothing By Unionizing

Management has been replacing good developers with Agile Scrum/open-plan commodity programmers for the past decade. It hurts companies, but not managers’ careers. So, it won’t change unless we fight it.

Why 95 Percent of Software Engineers Lose Nothing By Unionizing

It seems that everyone in this thread seems to think that if they were in a union then they lose the right to negotiate their own salary, is that always true in the US?

No, it’s not. Professional athletes have unions but can negotiate their own salaries. Same with Hollywood actors and writers.

Why 95 Percent of Software Engineers Lose Nothing By Unionizing

Software engineers– the good ones, at least; the bad ones don’t belong, and a well-structured collective arrangement could keep them out– are usually a lot smarter and more creative than the people giving the orders, and generally would be a lot more useful to the company if they called their own shots.

What celebrity has skeletons in their closet that we have all just seemed to forget about?

I wouldn’t say that a 21-year-old in a relationship with a 17-year-old is necessarily an “ephebophile” either.

The reason there are close-in-age laws is specifically to acknowledge the fact that it’s not perverse, or even unusual, for an 18-year-old guy to find a 17-year-old girl attractive.

That said, when it comes to close-in-age cases, context matters a lot. A 21-year-old who finds out that his college-freshman girlfriend is 17.9 hasn’t done anything wrong; he wasn’t trying to take advantage of someone’s youth or inexperience. I don’t think we need a word (“ephebophile”) for that.

On the other hand, a 21-year-old who hangs around high school kids trying to score underage (even if close-in-age) sex is a dangerous creep… and I would say that men who skulk around looking for young, naive girls are a brand of pedophile.

That said, phase-of-life is at least as relevant as chronological age. So much happens in the first year of college that I think it might be worse– at, say, age 20– to be dating an 18.0-year-old high school senior than a 17.5-year-old college freshman. (For my part, I’m 34, at which point neither is acceptable. I doubt I would stay friends with someone my age who went after college seniors, let alone freshmen.)

What celebrity has skeletons in their closet that we have all just seemed to forget about?

So apparently not paedophiles, but “ephebophiles” or “hebephiles.”

I’m tired of people making this distinction. Just as necrophilia doesn’t mean that the person has sex with dead people– anyone who has sex with a nonresponsive person, such as a coma victim or a blacked-out drunk, is a rapist and a necrophiliac– I don’t think we should give “ephebophiles” a separate term. A pedo is a pedo and pedos are dangerous perverts.

What celebrity has skeletons in their closet that we have all just seemed to forget about?

Hollywood knows about Polanski but they give him a “Manson pass” because Sharon Tate was his wife. Frankly, I don’t see how it could possibly be an excuse.

What celebrity has skeletons in their closet that we have all just seemed to forget about?

a lot of successful wealthy people seem insane. I wonder what the connection is.

A couple factors. One: people don’t usually go through what it takes to become ultra-wealthy (beyond “don’t have to work” rich, into dynastic levels) unless they’re a bit unbalanced or what to be able to do things that are socially unacceptable. Two: power goes to people’s heads and they push boundaries. Sometimes, especially if drugs are involved, this includes pushing up against the boundaries of reality itself (which, in general, does not give a fuck who you are).

Power and wealth attract the broken and make them worse.

Without revealing your actual age, what’s something you remember that if you told a younger person they wouldn’t understand?

If you didn’t explicitly save your high school homework, you could lose pages of work. Fatal exception errors (blue screen of death) occurred twice a day if you were unlucky. “Abort, retry, ignore, fail?” was a decision one actually had to make on occasion.

What immediately makes you suspicious of someone?

People who complain about “drama” are those who minimize other’s emotional needs, who not surprisingly tend to be sources of what they call “drama”. Unless they mean that their friends have an annoying habit of breaking out into song or soliloquies, because that Mark Antony shit gets tiring after the 37th time. Iambic pentameter at the dinner table gets old, and obviously an unhealthy obsession with Oedipus goes nowhere good.

When people talk about “drama”, it’s like when a corporate boss says “There’s no politics here.” What “no politics” means is, “I get my way all the time.” It’s all those other people wanting different things that is annoying “politics”, but he as supreme source of merit and truth could never stoop to being “political”.

What immediately makes you suspicious of someone?

When someone makes easily verifiable lies.

In 2017–2021 (I hope not longer) the term for that is presidential.

What immediately makes you suspicious of someone?

Or, in the business world, any use of the term “team player”.

First, “team player” sounds like a euphemism that an elementary school teacher would use. “Your kid… well, he’s more of a team player than a captain.” It’s the sort of term one would use to break the news that one’s kid isn’t slow (allowing a parental virtue mantle of special needs) but is also not going to rock the world some day.

Second, an actual team player (in a non-pejorative sense) in the typical workplace would unionize the bitch, and we all know that that’s not what management means.

To the Redditor that suggested inflatable dinosaur costumes as a good “man gift”, I thank you. It was a complete hit with my husband and daughter.

No, the flammable ones all went extinct.

What has really lost it’s charm as you’ve gotten older?

Post-2008 Corporate America is like post-1980 Soviet Russia. The open question is how long the system has left before it falls apart completely. I think it’s more robust than the last failed authoritarian economy– the Soviet one– and for that reason it might be able to circle the drain for another 10–15 years before it finally goes down.

What has really lost it’s charm as you’ve gotten older?

Indeed. I’m in my mid-30s when one starts to think about having children. The main ethical question is, “Will this fucking system be overthrown in 25 years?” There’s no pleasant answer. Overthrow– preferably peaceful and cultural/political, but probably violent in many countries– of a complex, global economic system will undeniably have short-term costs even if it’s the right call for the long term. On the other hand, if one believes the system will evolve in the same way that it has, then having children becomes ethically indefensible.

What has really lost it’s charm as you’ve gotten older?

Tech industry. Not even once.

AI winter is well on its way

It never really ended.

Federal funding for basic research has tanked, the odds of getting of a tenured professorship– this is for the good students who play by the rules and don’t make any mistakes– are terrible, and without a strong public sector research presence, there’s really no need for the private sector to compete in order to get good people. You have a few famous self-promoters who can make $500,000 per year hawking this stuff, but the reality is that 99% of “data science” is regular business-oriented statistics. And the bulk of these “artificial intelligence” startups are doing a lot more manual work than they’ll ever admit, or tried neural nets or gradient boosting once and barely beat logistical regression, but keep the complex model in so they can tell investors they “use machine learning”.

Today’s AI Spring is a total scam. I already covered what happened to the public sector, and in the private sector, for every 1 programmer lucky enough to do real work– usually a celebrity whose compensation package includes the right to work on his own projects and publish papers– there are 500 peons trying to debug Hadoop configuration errors and drinking their way to an early grave.

Reddit, what does our culture over-value?

In the current US, there’s a serious ethical case to be made for not having children, the odds being so set against children having it better. Technological unemployment is the time bomb we know, but technological surveillance (by employers) is even more dangerous, because (1) it’ll affect almost all of the jobs that still exist, and (2) it will keep getting more onerous until either we institute UBI or have an all-out civil war. Being poor and unemployed isn’t going to make people take up arms, as long as they’re not starving; being watched and humiliated by an increasingly easy-to-use, employer-friendly surveillance system, on the other hand, leads only one way in the end.

Reddit, what does our culture over-value?

You used to have to be pretty remarkable to be famous. Now you just have to be.

I disagree. The previous path to fame was to drive to California and do unspeakable, disgusting things. The new path to fame is to upload videos on Youtube and promote yourself relentlessly. Both models enabled mediocrity to rise.

We are drowning in excessive self-publicity, but this produces better art in the long run than the casting couch model.

Fame is overrated, and there are a lot of people and things that become famous without merit– or because of an egregious but hilarious lack of merit– but the emerging new system is, on the whole, better than the old one. Of course, it’s still flawed, but it involves more people and less self-interest and will, over time, converge to some notion of quality.

You see this in the literary world, too. The ease of internet self-publication is allowing crap to take wing (50 Shades) but, on the whole, the new system’s going to be better, even for literary fiction. There will be always be people who lack talent or the work ethic but have a preternatural ability to hack the system; but the entire reading world is a harder system to hack than a closed network of literary agents and sausage-makers in Manhattan.

Reddit, what does our culture over-value?

It’s like people have tied their self worth to their social media, because others expect that of them.

Social media is similar to the amotivational effect seen in some cannabis users. Just as cannabis can trick the brain into feeling the reward that comes from hard work, these internet microapprovals (which can become psychologically addictive) become a stand-in for the feeling of accomplishment that white-collar work– where projects are never really done and power relationships matter more than the quality of what is produced– can’t deliver.

“Personal brand” is overrated. What focus on a fucking personal brand says is, “I’m a status-obsessed douchebag.”

Reddit, what does our culture over-value?

The AMA is effectively a union.

The definition of a profession is that there are ethical obligations that supersede managerial authority. If your superior tells you to kill a patient, you don’t do it. This can only exist with a professional board that vouches for each individual’s credibility– and, realistically, it requires barriers to entry (otherwise, wages will go to zero and employee autonomy will follow suit). And what do we call something that prevents labor oversupply and that backs employees under managerial adversity? Oh right. A union.

The problem of overworked doctors is largely one created by the AMA. They’ve been restricting supply by limiting medical school slots, which means there are too few doctors to go around– especially as people get older and sicker– and that’s a big part of why they’re often overworked.

What’s legal now, but probably won’t be in 25 years?

Many things one can do with drones. They won’t be banned, but they’ll be highly regulated.

I’m going to guess that the US will also, for good reasons, crack down on military-grade firearms and explosives. I don’t think owning a handgun for self-defense will be illegal (nor should it be) because of the Second Amendment, but once there’s a Youtube video of a drone firing an AR-15, I would hope that people would have the good sense to realize that these things belong on the range only.

What has really lost it’s charm as you’ve gotten older?

American work culture loses its appeal once:

  • you stop getting 20% raises per year,
  • you realize that no one’s mentoring you; most bosses just slag unwanted work of zero career benefit, not even worth doing,
  • you start facing age discrimination, usually in your early 30s, and
  • you realize the dysfunctional post-2008 labor situation is “the new normal”.

What I wonder is: do today’s 22-year-olds start out disillusioned? Or are there still kids who (like I did) believed the corporate system had value and pockets of meritocracy? The age of innocence is certainly getting shorter; it used to take 30 years for people to get jaded, and in my time (born ’83) it was closer to 10. What happens when it gets to zero, when kids start taking the corporate red pill in college, and the system runs out of eager young kids to exploit?

What was cool in 5000 B.C. that’s still cool now?

Soma, also the namesake of the futuristic opiate of Brave New World. However, no one’s sure exactly what soma was.

Mushrooms (psilocybin and amanitas) are as old as history, but not for the faint of heart. I believe amanitas are legal, but you have to be extremely careful because there’s a bunch of toxic shit (ibotenic acid, if I recall correctly) in it, and apparently most people find the trip unpleasant.

Cannabis is more debatable because wild cannabis has very low THC content; on the other hand, we know that potent-enough cannabis existed at least as far back as the Golden Age of Islam.

What’s your “it’s expensive but it’s worth it” product?

What I’ve learned from this post is that almost everything is better when you pay more money.

Expensive does not always entail high quality– there’s plenty of expensive garbage that trades on brand and reputation; you have to be careful of Veblen goods– but cheap things are usually of low quality– unless they’re free.

Besides, there are a lot of things not worth paying for, unless you’re in a small set of the population. For example, my wife and I spent a lot of money on our diving gear, because that stuff keeps us alive under 100 feet of water, but there’s no sense in spending $100k for a car that can drive in 200 miles per hour since, unless you’re on a track, it’s illegal, dangerous and wrong to do so. People who live next door to a track and go after work might have different thoughts about that, though.

Food is an area where the quality/price curve levels off pretty fast. Beyond about $35 per person, you’re paying for presentation and ambience. The vast majority of the population– including most professional wine tasters– can’t tell the difference between a good $15 bottle of wine and a $1000 bottle.

Non-French redditors, what’s something you want clarifying from our culture, language?


Perhaps that’s why their food is bad; they made it that way, so you guys would let off.

Non-French redditors, what’s something you want clarifying from our culture, language?

Subjunctive exists in English, too. That’s why you say “I wish I were” instead of “I wish I was”. Subjunctive gets confused with past tense sometimes, but it’s different. Imperfect doesn’t exist in the neat single-word sense that French has, so we use past progressive (“I was walking to the store”). We don’t have their neat imparfait, but they don’t have present progressive (“I am walking” versus “I walk”).

Non-French redditors, what’s something you want clarifying from our culture, language?

The interesting thing about language is that the most common verbs tend to be ridiculously irregular– English has more irregularities than French. That’s probably because linguistic evolution beats irregularities out of infrequent words– a collective attitude of “Nope, we’re not going to remember that shit for a word we rarely use.”

Non-French redditors, what’s something you want clarifying from our culture, language?

I had to look up “Poutine”.

From the discussion here, Macron seems like the inverse of Duterte in the Philippines. A lot of Filipinos I know love him, because the economy’s doing well and because, compared to the leadership they’ve had before, he’s lower on the corruption scale. (That’s not saying much.) However, his global image is quite negative (and for good reason).

Non-French redditors, what’s something you want clarifying from our culture, language?

Europeans tend to have a realistic attitude when it comes to corporate work: they realize that it’s not going to make them rich, and that they’re unlikely to get promoted over the people who went to the most expensive schools, and so there’s rarely a point. If you want to optimize for time and low stress, a shorter workweek is an obvious win; but if you want to get rich, the odds are better striking out on one’s own, which means a shorter workweek (until one can ditch the day job) is ideal and an American-style oppressive environment gets in the way.

Of course, the reality of the American work environment is: a 10-hour workweek that takes up 50 hours… and that makes everyone miserable, because pretending to work is a lot more stressful than actually working, but the true believers hog the genuine projects and everyone else is stuck having to hide that they’re not that necessary.

What IS as bad as people say it is?

Do they have drugs for that, to block your flinch and blinking reflexes? Or do you have to sit there using every ounce of willpower to stay still?

Chelsea Clinton: ‘I’ve had vitriol flung at me for as long as I can remember’

Rush Limbaugh is a disgusting, drug-addicted bag of boiling meconium. It’s amazing that he still has a following.

I forgot about him until one of my writing projects involved research of affirmative consent policies, an issue on which he said, “no means yes if you know how to spot it”.

Am I mean for suggesting that perhaps his issue with affirmative-consent policies is that he’s probably never had enthusiastic consent? Does it make me a bad person to point that out?

What’s the ugliest part of your country?

Only when it makes them feel unsafe. And, of course, it’s not socially acceptable for them to admit they enjoy watching peasants suffer.

That said, I think 99% of why the upper class likes poverty is to scare the middle classes into working– not to feel better about themselves, but because the think their whole system would fall apart if people stopped slaving away at pointless jobs.

Hypothetical: Would you rather hire an average CS graduate, or someone who had worked independently through SICP?

The “analysis-by-synthesis” view of SICP — where you build a larger system out of smaller, simple parts — became irrelevant. Nowadays, we do programming by poking.

That’s goddamn depressing. It seems like they’re admitting that programming is, for most of us, a loser corporate job where one fights with existing systems instead of an architectural endeavor where making the right decisions matters.

Dealing with a poor performance review despite positive feedback.

Change jobs. First, the company is run by scumbags– you got lucky in drawing a manager who seems to be a decent human being, but the executives are human garbage if they pull shit like that. Second, the reason managers are forced to force review scores to bell curves is that the company is planning to get rid of people and every manager’s expected to “chip in” and throw people under the bus… sounds like you were a good performer on a team where no one was expendable. Usually, this shit happens when a company’s in serious trouble.

What is something that almost everyone wants to do in their life time but most never will?

Fifty years ago, there were all sorts of stereotypes about Americans being uncultured, not because we’re any worse or better than anyone else, but because our middle class could travel intercontinentally, whereas only the rich of other countries could. Thus, the “Ugly American” stereotype was born.

Now we’re in a situation where very few Americans can afford to travel two states on more than an occasional basis. I’ve heard that only about a third of us have passports. Even the people with money often get assfucked on time by employers who only offer 2–3 weeks vacation, from which they deduct sick days (yes, that’s a real thing).

American decline is depressing.

What is something that almost everyone wants to do in their life time but most never will?

The problem with “retirement” is that it’s a bit of a euphemism: it’s not always voluntary. In most cases, it’s not.

After a certain age, no one will hire you for any job you’d want to do, and that you can actually live on. It’s wrong, it’s ugly, but it’s how our society works. I’m only 34 and I’m facing a lot of age discrimination in software– not so much that I can’t find work at all, but enough that it pisses me off and I secretly can’t wait to see the whole industry crater to teach it a lesson.

We’re going to have a major social crisis when late Xers and Millennials, who planned on holding six-figure office jobs into their 50s–70s like their parents could– these are people who don’t mind work, and plan on doing it forever, up until the very end– find there’s nothing out there for them. I hope they’re still hardy enough to take to the streets and fight.

What’s the ugliest part of your country?

I agree. Donald Trump is bad, but the forces that brought him into power are what we have to worry about.

My concern about Trump is not that he’ll blow up the world (it’s a nonzero but low probability) but that the stock market will continue to rally, the recession will be numerically mild or not occur (while jobs continue to disappear and be replaced by technologically-surveilled bullshit)… and that, therefore, we won’t learn our fucking lesson about “CEO Presidents”. Hoover was too long ago, and we didn’t learn it from Bush; unless there’s serious economic pain that goes to the top, we won’t learn it from Trump. Which would leave us prone to an actual fascist out of Silicon Valley, one who can do more damage than the incompetent, odious-but-probably-not-fascist, embarrassment we got this time.

What I want out of Trump is maximal humiliation of the plutocracy. I’d love to see him pardon himself (and then go to jail on state charges anyway). I don’t want him to do permanent damage (though he already has set us back quite a bit) but I want this administration to fail so badly that we get rid of the plutocrats in both parties and fix the country while we still can.

What’s the ugliest part of your country?

Paris is odd too in terms of being an expensive city where it’s impossible to make money, which is why so many Parisians end up working out of country.

New York is expensive, but you can make $100k there straight out of school, and even skilled working-class jobs pay more than they would elsewhere (e.g., public school teachers at $90k, bakers at $80k). It doesn’t counterweigh the cost of living, but it helps.

Paris is in this uncanny valley where the prices are 3/4 of NYC/LON/ZRH levels, but where professionals make Southern European salaries.

I would assume that, like Vancouver, London, and several coastal American cities, Parisian real estate is driven up by failure at real estate nationalism.

What’s the ugliest part of your country?

I think the rich of San Francisco like the homeless being there.

First, they enjoy seeing crushing poverty and remembering that, even though they got taken on the house they bought, and even though they have asshole neighbors with 10 times as much money as they do, someone is worse off.

Second, the real reason the corporates and super-rich like poverty is to scare the shit out of the middle classes, and get them to work hard at jobs they’d otherwise not care about. It’s not that they hate the poor; it’s that they want to terrorize the people in the middle into compliance. So, it makes sense that Silicon Valley employers– who take fuckery to an even higher level– would want their engineers passing through a poverty pit to get to work.

What’s the ugliest part of your country?

I’ve been to Florida a few times for diving. Key Largo is beautiful, and the lifestyle there seems to be pretty laid back: no better or worse than any other tropical, middle-class place. Miami is “meh” and Orlando is boring. I’ve heard a mix of reports on Key West, and I’d love to see the Everglades.

I don’t think you can compare the entire state of Florida to the most depressed parts of the US.

As for Oakland, CA, it’s gentrifying because San Francisco is so obnoxiously overpriced. So there are part of Oakland that I’d imagine are middle-class and perfectly safe.

What’s the ugliest part of your country?

I stopped in Gary, Indiana to ride out a panic attack once. I thought I’d get lunch there, to put some money into a depressed economy. Nothing was open– it was a normal Saturday morning in the summer– and the place had this creepy post-apocalyptic vibe.

Nothing bad happened, but I have no interest in going back there.

Perhaps “Better Than A Panic Attack” can be the city’s new slogan.

What’s the ugliest part of your country?

I have to agree with this. I went to the Philippines in 2014 to meet my wife’s family and the country, on the whole, was beautiful: great diving, caves and jungle. Cebu and Palawan are absolutely gorgeous. I also wish I could go up into the mountains where the Philippine Eagles are, but as of 2014 it wasn’t safe.

The air pollution in Manila was intense and made the humidity feel worse– it was hot everywhere, with 32°C temperatures and 27°C dewpoints, but only in Manila did it feel oppressive. In the rest of the country, it felt like slightly-more-humid summer weather; but in Manila the air was so sooty and stagnant I had no desire to be outside.

[Serious] What’s the one thing you wish you never learned?

It doesn’t bother me because it supplanted a system where the rich owned all the land and there was no social mobility

Actually, there was plenty of social mobility in antiquity and the medieval era. A freed serf could go to the towns, become a merchant, and become wealthy. It wasn’t common, but it happened. Most of the richest people were city merchants, not manorial lords, and the original meaning of bourgeois was “middle class”, referring to the self-made merchants.

True social mobility was rare, but that hasn’t changed.

Perhaps the time of highest social mobility was after the Black Death. The sudden depopulation led to full employment and high leverage for workers (which is not the historical norm). Quite a number of serfs or peasants were able to buy their freedom, move into the towns, apprentice with older merchants or in the guilds, and climb the ladder.

[Serious] What’s the one thing you wish you never learned?

I don’t understand what’s so dystopian about this? […] If you want to live you have to work.

You need to read David Graeber’s book, Bullshit Jobs.

It’s actually pretty natural for people to work. The problem is that there’s so little real work to go around, because our society is run by incompetents, that it gets hoarded.

The evil of the system isn’t that it forces people to contribute– in fact, it just as often denies people the ability to have a positive contribution to the world– but that it forces them to subordinate to an increasingly toxic, parasitic elite.

True Incel Tears: A Modmail tale

I got banned by r/braincels for a joke about my cat. Rejected by the ultimate rejects; #AchievementUnlocked.

Found this piece of art on r/justneckbeardthings, thought it belongs here

Dating has created de facto harems, and if some men are having sex, it means they won’t have children.

80–90% of women either don’t have casual sex or did it once or twice and didn’t like it. So, while this isn’t fully untrue, it’s not especially relevant and it probably wasn’t created by “dating”. It has probably always existed.

What’s the WORST book you’ve ever read?

I saw a pretty good article once that summed up what I thought about 50 Shades: it’s not sexual porn, it’s wealth porn with sex scenes.

Spot on. It really taps in to our society’s resurgent royalism– the willingness to take abuse if it’s “the right” person doing it– more than anything else. It’s not really about BDSM; it doesn’t even portray that community correctly. And while a good sex scene shouldn’t be left out of a book, there’s no point for the most part in paying for written porn, because what prose does better than video isn’t (in the common sense) pornographic.

What’s the WORST book you’ve ever read?

This is an interesting analysis. I largely agree.

I think both are extensions of our society’s obsession with virginity, with the note that men tend to focus on sexual fidelity and women tend to focus on emotional fidelity (not to imply, in any way, that non-virginity is correlated in anyway to infidelity, since it’s a fact of life that relationships break up and it takes several tries to find a match). The male obsession is with being her first (and only) sex partner; the female is with being his first (and only) love (because the bad boy, per trope, never really loved any of those other women).

Taken to the extent of pedophilia, the male pattern is obviously a lot worse, because… well, it’s child abuse, and that’s evil. That said, if we compare the lust of some men for adult virgins (on the assumption that their virginity equals naivete) to the lust of some women for bad boys, I think they’re equivalent in creep factor.

What’s the WORST book you’ve ever read?

Well, I suppose I should say that one cannot create a romantic partner from scratch… unless one is taking the Craster route, which only takes the abusive male pattern described above and adds incest.

Daily Reminder: Incelism is a cult, and they make sure they continually enforce their worldview.

It’s a post-2008 thing.

In the 2000s, the male grievance culture had a misguided self-improvement angle to it: lift, work on your career, build your social skills, and (here’s where it goes off the rails) accept these notions about women derived from the biased sample of those who respond to cheap tricks. At least the self-improvement aspect had value: most of these guys just wanted girlfriends, and once they achieved that, most of them (not all) would learn that the PUA worldview was bullshit.

Incelism really took off as the economy fell apart. See, it’s always been hard for an under-25 guy to get laid. The supply/demand balance does not favor young men. In the past, though, there were these things called jobs and careers– real jobs with purpose and a future, if you had a college degree, as opposed to the subordinate bullshit of today– and that one could focus on. There were other things to do than stew about things that weren’t happening and feel like life was passing you by. In our Perma-Recession (in terms of the job market) these men are aging but stuck in permanent adolescence– of course, the economic injustices hurt women just as much, but these guys don’t have the empathy to see that, or even perceive their predicament as economic– and freaking out.

What’s the WORST book you’ve ever read?

That makes a fair amount of sense, and I don’t disagree with you.

Likewise, I think a lot of men read Lolita curious about what would happen– will he get away with it? what happens when she grows up?– even though 99 percent of us have no interest in “relationships” with underage girls. And, of course, Breaking Bad was fun to watch but no one wants to be a meth dealer with cancer.

I read The Bestseller Code, in which the authors made the argument that it wasn’t the smut but the emotional volatility of the characters that made the book successful. (All being equal, sex scenes don’t improve book sales– perhaps in part because few authors can write sex scenes well.) Most hack authors have a fairly monotonic emotional profile, whereas 50 Shades went up and down constantly, like you’d see in a thriller, but in a genre where this sort of volatility was unfamiliar. So it was that “random” mutation that made it an all-time bestseller despite the artless writing and terrible characters.

Millennials born in 1980s may never recover from the Great Recession

If we think we can play by the old rules, we’ll be crushed by the gears of history. None of those nice-guy principles apply to economic life after 2008. There is no corporate ladder.

That said, if we overthrow the current corrupt system, we’ll be remembered as a generation of heroes for centuries– the ones who shook off the Corporates, and the reason people called “executives” no longer terrorize regular folk in their daily life. We have to get off our collective asses, though; not everything we need to do can be done behind a computer screen.

Millennials look like shit in popular culture (Mark Zuckerberg, Lena Dunham, Evan Spiegel, Elizabeth Holmes) but that’s because the Millennials getting the most exposure are those who were promoted by Boomers– of course most of them are shitty. The real people in our generation are just beginning to gain prominence.

Our 40s is the critical decade, that will reveal us as heroes or failures, but we ought to start getting ready now.

What’s the WORST book you’ve ever read?

I thought that was deliberate- the book is written from the point of view of the massively narcissistic protagonist and if I remember correctly, there are a few passages where he interacts with other people and we get to see from their reaction how unsettling or repulsive he actually is, such as his interactions with the nurse.

Oh, absolutely. Nabokov was an excellent writer and knew exactly what he was doing. I just find it odd that some people gain sympathy for a character who was, in my opinion, designed to be loathed.

What’s the WORST book you’ve ever read?

I have a controversial theory about “bad boy” romance novels.

Creepy men with control issues fantasize about extremely young women they can “create” from scratch. Tabula rasa. This behavior is rightly vilified. It also doesn’t work. They become adults, and develop their own identities, and the controlling man often loses his attraction and resentment grows within the pair (as seen in Lolita). Mature men, of course, would rather go the other way and prefer to date and marry fully adult women who know what they want and whose personalities have stabilized.

The female analogue of this isn’t the tabula rasa but the teardown: the experienced, powerful man whose rotten personality can be razed by magical vagina powers and reformed by the female lead. Of course, that doesn’t work either, and mature women realize that inveterate assholes aren’t worth their time.

There’s something in us as humans– most of us grow out of it, of course– that is so controlling that it fetishizes the idea of creating a new person from scratch as if one could actually do that. (Of course, it’s not possible, or desirable.) We rightly abhor the more typically male version of this, but the female tear-down fantasy tends to get more of a pass. And I’ve seen it damage people: I’ve seen women date and marry losers thinking bad guys could be changed, and I’ve also seen unsuccessful men intentionally develop negative traits (the “nice guy” who turns into an asshole) as if there were a subconscious desire in them to be rescued.

What’s the WORST book you’ve ever read?

Lolita was good, but I never found myself sympathizing with Humbert Humbert (as some people say one does) because of the quality of the prose. Perhaps because I’m a writer (and I don’t think I’m a bad one) I would never make the mistake of correlating prose quality with moral value of a person. I found the protagonist hideous and without redeeming traits: his French affectations, in particular, I found irritating.

That’s not to say that Nabokov wrote a bad book– he didn’t. Humbert Humbert captured very well the mid-century European nihilist as he preyed on sweet-thing Americans during the same era. It’s a great book for its capture of a certain character, but I never found myself feeling anything for H.H.

As for the weirdness, part of what makes Lolita groundbreaking (and unsettling) is that it captures the reality of a style of relationship– middle-aged man, underage girl– that conservative America has valued for a long time. The same people who won’t let two 40-year-old men marry seem to have no problem (and this was more true in the ’50s) with teenage girls getting married and knocked up. Nabokov deserves credit for giving us the actual mentality of a child predator and demolishing the nonsense around cradle-robbing “romances”.

Incels discover the true nature of (((Jordan Peterson)))

The sad thing about life under corporate capitalism is that it’s impossible to tell. One can never be sure if someone is authentic.

Peterson’s charisma comes from the fact that he seems authentic: an eccentric professor, conservatively dressed, who speaks his mind about everything and isn’t afraid to go outside of his expertise. In today’s commercial world, though, one never knows who’s authentic and who is not, because most authentic people are thrown into obscurity and most nominal authenticity is manufactured.

Theory: “Chad” is basically a comic book supervillain

If they had any insight, they’d realize that “Chad” is what some feminists call “the patriarchy” (which is also problematic, because it demonizes fatherhood): entitled white male douchebaggery.

Chadness has more to do with socioeconomic status than physical attractiveness. These guys are raging at other men whose parents had more resources and time– to make sure they developed socially, played sports in school– but they don’t realize it, because they’ve convinced themselves that it’s all about bone structure features that can’t be changed (e.g., canthal tilt). Perhaps this is a defense mechanism; they’d rather have been played by “Mother Nature” than patriarchal corporate capitalism.

Incels discover the true nature of (((Jordan Peterson)))

Jordan Peterson would be a political moderate by US standards. (Perhaps that says more about us than anything or anyone else.)

I don’t think he’s as terrible as those on the left make him out to be. When he said “enforced monogamy”, he didn’t mean forcing women into marriage or sex; he meant cultural changes that discourage certain behaviors. (That said, monogamy doesn’t need to be “enforced” when 90 percent of women already prefer it.)

He puts his foot in his mouth sometimes and he gets a lot wrong– and the cultish devotion he inspires is a bit weird– but he isn’t remotely in the same category as these alt-right figures. Many of his ideas aren’t controversial in evolutionary psychology (the legitimate field, not the “red pill” pop nonsense) and anthropology. For example, no one would argue with the claim that monogamy (although it is never perfectly observed) makes societies less violent and more healthy, especially for women and children.

Yes because these men view women as more than just walking vaginas

99 percent of Incel mentality is projection. They think women are the shallow, manipulative, living-out-porn psychopaths they imagine themselves being if they had courage.

What is the most absolutely mind-fucking thing you’ve ever thought of?

Since we have no idea what space’s long-form topology is, it’s possible that (if you could travel faster than light) you could set off in a direction and loop back around to where you were.

Ok, that’s fairly pedestrian. It’s no more mind-bending than the Earth being round, which most of us have known for 2500 years. So, let’s step it up a bit.

We also can’t rule out non-orientability; for example, space could be “glued” to itself with a “cross-cap”, like a Mobius Strip or Klein Bottle. (There needn’t be a specific location “where” this happens. It’s more accurate to say that space would behave as if the gluing and cross-cap happened, though it would be a seamless manifold and look like a Euclidean 3-space at each point.) This would mean the same as the above, with one modification: when you returned, though you would not perceive any change (because you would only have moved) you’d be a mirror image of yourself (and would experience the world as a mirror image of itself). All of your left-handed proteins would become right-handed proteins, and drugs would operate on you as their chiral opposites do now. You’d almost certainly be unable to reproduce with the people here… unless you made the same trip again.

Hey, people who haven’t lost the game in years, what does it feel like to lose now?

There’s some pride, since I played a role in its popularity (although I didn’t invent it; it goes back to the early 1990s).

I was one of the group that brought it over to America– and also moved it out of British pub culture, and into the mainstream– in 2004. It was probably deleted and rewritten on Wikipedia several times, but the first person to put it there (to my knowledge) was me. (Around the same time, I was pushing my card game, Ambition into Wikipedia, because I was an obnoxious, self-promoting cunt.) Glad to see it lives on and that people are still losing every day.

When I see incels talk about feminism and women

Thank you for that clarification. I did not know that, and that’s a extremely important distinction (I’m a fiction writer myself, and would hate to have a pathological character’s quotes attributed to me). Sorry for getting it wrong.

I am trolling /r/braincels. Please assist so this doesn’t get downvoted to oblivion.

He’s the best. Don’t think he’d do well in the wild, though. He and the other cat (Henny) worked together and between the two of them it took 10 minutes for them to kill a fly.

When I see incels talk about feminism and women

I don’t even know you. So I’m not judging you. And being “involuntarily celibate” is surprisingly normal for men under 25. It sucks, but it’s a transient problem. Most guys outgrow it, and no one worth his salt thinks less of you for not having sex.

I fell into that male grievance culture (MRA, pickup artistry) 15 years ago and outgrew it. (I’m a 34-year-old married feminist normie.) I forgot about it, till Rodger and now the Toronto attack, and I’ve been reading up on it, and it’s a lot more virulent than the stuff that was around in the 2000s. And yes, the Elliot Rodgers are rare and “crazy”, but that’s something that should never happen, and it’s pretty worrying that he has a fan club. He was a racist, misogynist, murderous psychopath, and he’s fucking dead. If he had cleaned up his head and ditched the insane racism and sexism, he’d be 26 now and probably not a virgin. But he’s forever a loser, and he lost against himself, but what’s most unacceptable is that he took 6 people down with him.

How can I help stop my friend from becoming an Incel?

This is hard. There are many things you can tell a young man who’s in danger of being taken in by the male grievance culture, but that doesn’t mean he’ll believe you. Sometimes you have to plant seeds and except that it may take years for the underbrush of wrong beliefs to burn away.

Tell him to read more: read more feminism, read more about human sexuality, read more fiction from various genres and historical periods. That might help open his eyes up to how the world actually works and keep him from falling prey to the incel nonsense.

It might also be helpful to tell him that he’ll probably have his best sexual experiences in his 30s and 40s. There’s no time pressure. It won’t hurt him if he loses his virginity at 18, but it’s not going to matter when he’s older whether he lost his at 16 or 26. What will make a huge difference in the quality of his life is the kind of person he marries– a bad marriage is far worse than being single, a good marriage is amazing, but it’s the person and not the marital status that makes or breaks it.

Getting annoyed over small things seems like normal teenage moodiness. I wouldn’t necessarily worry about that.

When I see incels talk about feminism and women

Andrea Dworkin (“all sex is rape”) Some radical feminists did a lot of damage to the dialogue, but she never killed anyone, while Elliot Rodger fucking killed 6 people who did nothing to him. So yeah, the worst incels/MRAs are worse than the worst feminists. By far.

Edit 5/21/18: Opinion falsely attributed to Andrea Dworkin. See reply by /u/changhyun .

a few Jordan Peterson posts already, but here are some “highlights.” I honestly feel bad for everyone who thinks their third eye has been opened by this guy.

Right. The anti-feminists believe that they’d fare better under patriarchy, because they think they’d be the upper-middle-class pipe-smoking fathers of 1950s TV (never mind that this was a decade when people got fucking lynched). In reality, they’re mostly better off in a feminist society with low economic inequality. It’s patriarchy that’s making them incels, not women. If women didn’t live in fear– because of a culture where most rapists get away, and where one ill-advised sexual encounter can ruin a woman’s reputation– more women might approach these guys; most of them aren’t even ugly.

Patriarchy asks men to carry guns and kill or be killed by strangers. Feminism asks men to do more of the housework.

Well, it’s official, anyone who uses this sub but likes Jordan Peterson can kindly see themselves to the door

You can read my blog and buy Farisa’s Crossing when it comes out (expected April 2019).

As I write this comment, I’m working on a 3500-word post about the incel phenomenon and the cultural forces that led to it. I find it disgusting but also fascinating, that something as staid and buttoned-down as corporate capitalism would, in the end, produce such a destructive force.

Show this image to any of our incel visitors instead of engaging

You have no idea how disgusting this guy and his organization (Y Combinator) is. The more you learn about him, the creepier he and that army of pedo-proteges called “Y Combinator” get.

Show this image to any of our incel visitors instead of engaging

Fuck that diagram.

The content isn’t unreasonable, but it was invented by Paul Graham, who founded Y Combinator, which is an institution literally dedicated to misogyny (and ageism, and classism) in the SF Bay Area.

I’m all for pointing out incels’ logical fallacies and shortcomings– ad hominem, begging the question, apex fallacies, ignorance of their own confirmation biases, attribution errors, etc.– but citing a guy who literally founded a monument to misogyny is not the way to do it.

Actually, the 1 Percent Are Still The Problem

I had mixed feelings about the Atlantic‘s take-down of the 9.9 percent.

I’m angry (and liked what the Atlantic had to say) because there are a lot of Uncle Toms in my native social class (the less-rapidly-declining upper-middle-class, the 9.9 percent) who serve as useful idiots, writing the code that powers Weapons of Mass Unemployment, ratting out their coworkers to bust unions, etc. Without us, the 0.1% would be stopped dead in their tracks. No one would run their shitty companies and write the code. So that’s on us, and I was glad to see the Atlantic saying, “It’s not only evil rich people who are doing this”; there are plenty of evil people in the middle, as well. Prop 13 NIMBYs in California (mostly, upper-middle-class) did far more damage to their state than the billionaires.

That said, even the chart in the article didn’t bear out the case that we were somehow winning from our vice. We 9.9 percenters are the problem, sure, because most of us (especially in the godforsaken tech industry) are morally weak, but we’re not benefiting from this arrangement. We’re losing only slightly less than the rest of society. And even if you’re 97th percentile, a health insurance denial can still ruin your life. No one is safe from this terrible system.

The truth is that almost everyone is “the problem”. In most social classes, people with the courage to fight evil– I’ve been blacklisted in Silicon Valley for antifascism, so I’ve earned my stripes– are the minority. Most people will hold up an evil system just to make their days go a little easier, and that’s true from the bottom to the top.

Actually, the 1 Percent Are Still The Problem

Not to be contrary, but inherited wealth levels near all-time lows. The overwhelming majority of people joining the millionaire class were not born there.

There are social class effects in there– well-connected but middle-income families now cashing in– but even still, what you’re saying isn’t entirely false. We used to be an upwardly mobile society. There are a lot of people who were born in 1950 and got rich through earnest hard work. But it’s not going to happen, barring major social changes, for any of us. These days, the kids winning the corporate game are the ones with parental lift; hard work and talent don’t matter for shit, these days.

Actually, the 1 Percent Are Still The Problem

just wait until their spawn inherit all their money without ever having worked for anything

Actually, I think our culture should support the rich being idle. They do more damage when they go in to the workforce and, because of their superior connections, take all the good jobs. It doesn’t piss me off that much that some people have undeserved material wealth and I don’t– it’d be a bit silly for me to resent them because I was born with slightly less unfair luck in my favor– but I hate having to go to a workplace and pretend they’re smarter than I am.

You want a society where the very rich don’t work and live a comfortable lifestyle while declining into irrelevance, slowly enough that they don’t care. That way, the competent non-rich can step up and fix things.

A reminder: Jordan Peterson has been peddling incel ideology for a while now, and has been more direct about it.

Jordan Peterson is right about the negative psychological health effects of casual sex, on men and women both, at least as practiced in high school, college, and the young-professional scene, as I’m sure he saw in his clinical practice.

Casual sex, at least as practiced in our culture, erodes respect between the genders. I would blame this on patriarchy rather than feminism: it’s patriarchy that creates the key/lock narrative in which sexual activity raises the man’s social value and lowers the woman’s. And most of these angry young men don’t have the insight to see that slut-shaming (and stud-worship) helps to create the situation where women have less desire to have sex.

Anyway, what one observes as societies become more feminist is that they actually become more (not less) monogamous. The fringe academic feminists (who rail against monogamy) don’t really speak for the movement; most women just want political and economic equality, and their revealed preferences show more monogamy than you’ll see in patriarchy. Beta males like me do better under feminism. The 1950s were actually full of infidelity, dead bedrooms, and failed marriages– it was just kept under wraps. The divorce rate is dropping and, in terms of sexual morality, society is healing on its own– because of feminism.

Where Peterson and I diverge completely is on his radical suggestion that the government needs to “do something about” casual sex. (What even is “enforced monogamy”? Monogamy is a good thing, but enforced monogamy sounds nightmarish, especially if it means people can be compelled to marry incels.) People making free choices are doing a decent job of regulating themselves. This casual sex epidemic is a nonexistent problem. The vast majority of women either (a) never have casual sex, (b) do it once or twice and don’t like it, or (c) are misled by a man (the loathsome creatures we call “players” or “pickup artists”) into believing a real relationship is there. Only about 10–15% of women enjoy casual sex (and about 25–30% of men)(= and that’s not a large enough percentage to create this “can’t find a wife” problem the incels/MGTOWs rail about.

What is worth attention, sadly, is that we may end up at state tyranny because of angry young men. I’m sure the far right is thrilled to see “incel culture” rising. The upper class has been dividing people against each other– white versus black, red states versus blue, old versus young, 9.9% versus 90%– forever and gender gives them another place to drive a wedge. In fact, what we need to do is the opposite– stop letting the people at the top divide us, and work together to replace corporate capitalist patriarchy once and for all.

a few Jordan Peterson posts already, but here are some “highlights.” I honestly feel bad for everyone who thinks their third eye has been opened by this guy.

First of all, the idea that patriarchy exists because men are better at running things is ludicrous, and I can use Peterson himself against this.

He said in the interview with Camille Paglia that there’s an undertone of violence in all male/male interactions. That’s false, and terribly so, but there is an undertone of violence in many male/male interactions, especially if adversarial. (This is especially true in business; if you’re going to ask someone to favor your career goals over his– or tell him to his face that he’s a fucking moron if he doesn’t fund your startup– it helps if you could end his life in 10 seconds. That’s why tall, large men become CEOs, even though physical fights almost never happen.) The reason for patriarchy is simple and obvious: even though physical violence is rare, and even though modern weapons make even a 6-year-old girl threatening, women get slower promotion in the corporate world simply because they aren’t physically imposing. Add network effects and the “just like me” biases, and you get patriarchy for a reason unrelated to competence– and, really, for no good reason.

Second of all, moderate feminism produces more monogamy than corporate capitalist patriarchy. Patriarchy wants polygyny and infidelity, because it thinks that makes men work harder. Patriarchy (not women) wants the men at the bottom of the heap to be miserable incels. When women are free to choose the guys they like, beta males do better than we do under patriarchy.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that every man is guaranteed a wife under any system. It doesn’t work that way; you can’t force people to date, sleep with, marry, or even like people they don’t want. And woman-haters who would likely be abusive should not be matched. Even with “enforced monogamy”, most women would prefer to be single over marrying some guy who calls women “femoids”.

What’s causing this problem isn’t feminism. And women didn’t do this to incels. The problem is corporate capitalism. Decades ago, when you could talk your way on to a job anywhere in the country with an hour of conversation, men had things to do other than stew about things that weren’t happening (or weren’t happening fast enough, from their perspective) in their lives. But now that there is nothing left for most guys but shitjobs where they subordinate to other men, we’re seeing all sorts of late-stage capitalistic pathologies, including this disgusting incel misogyny.

a few Jordan Peterson posts already, but here are some “highlights.” I honestly feel bad for everyone who thinks their third eye has been opened by this guy.

And he’s achieved all this without starting with any “real” political power, resources, or backing from a major power, simply by regurgitating a mixture of predigested wisdom and controversy bait. He may be a hack, but he’s successful hack, and he may be going on to greater things.

He’s a staunch anti-nihilist in a consumer-corporatist culture that’s on its last legs. Some of what he says is good; some of it’s hackish and a bit weird. But our society craves authenticity right now, and even though he’s wrong sometimes, he is authentic (e.g., standing up for what he believes in, willing to think deeply).

Incels Are NOT Ugly | Rating Incel Looks | Incels.me

These guys are all really normal looking… honestly the more I’m exposed to incels over the past year the more I’m convinced that it’s majority mental illness affecting these men and the worse I feel about reading the shit they write.

This sort of deranged male grievance culture always existed, but the despair didn’t hit a critical mass till recently. I think the economic situation has a lot to do with it. These guys are humiliated in their economic lives and have no career prospects, and nothing to do with themselves but stew about things that aren’t happening, so they fester and fall into this echo chamber where they radicalize each other.

I’ve tried to explain to incels that it’s corporate patriarchy (not feminism) that did this to them, because I think their energy could be useful in the overthrow of global corporatism, but of course they don’t listen.

A comment on braincels. I really, really hope not every guy can relate to what is said there.

Incels ruined weird boys for me. All the guys I would have dated have become serial killer fanBoys. And abusive and rapey.

I don’t know. I think there are a lot of weird guys who aren’t that kind of weird. I’m a bit out of touch with the youth these days, but I can’t imagine that more than a small percentage– I would hope far less than 1 percent– worship Elliot Rodger.

You’re right to be scared, though. These guys are disgusting.

Jordan Peterson states women not having sex with the Toronto incel made him kill people. Says we need “enforced monogamy”

I don’t think he wants women to be enslaved, but the term “enforced monogamy” is a bit troubling, only insofar as I don’t know how it would be enforced. In fact, the more feminist a society is, the better monogamy does. The 1950s had lots of infidelity and dead marriages.

I agree that monogamy is better (and most moderate feminists agree, too) because very few people can make polyamory work, but I sure as hell don’t want the government getting into bedrooms. There’s been enough of that for one human history.

Jordan Peterson states women not having sex with the Toronto incel made him kill people. Says we need “enforced monogamy”

If by “80-20”, you mean that some people are considered more attractive, or are considered more attractive by some people, than others, then that’s hardly a revelation. Yes, a 6’2 man is, all else being equal, going to have an easier time dating than a guy who’s 5’5. That doesn’t mean all women hate short guys. Blonde women get 3 times more attention than brunettes, who get a lot more attention thn black women women, but no one’s saying “it’s over” if a woman isn’t a 5’9 white blonde.

Are there men who are more attractive than others? Of course. Are there are some attractive men who are douchebags? Yes, obviously. Does this mean that 100.00% want the same type of guy– the aggressive, overbearing, self-indulgent douchebag archetype known in the manosphere as “Chad”? No, not at all.

Well, it’s official, anyone who uses this sub but likes Jordan Peterson can kindly see themselves to the door

The irony about “enforced monogamy” is that there’s more monogamy under (moderate) feminism than under patriarchy. Most feminists I know don’t want to destroy marriage; plenty of them are married or in long-term couplings.

Patriarchy stokes the fires of male entitlement because it’s a way to manipulate the young into working harder for the corporate masters. No one would work that hard– to the detriment of the things that people might want money for, like family and hobbies– for their corporate masters, except for the promise of the “PDA” (panty-dropping apartment) in a 53rd-floor penthouse. Male and not getting laid at 22 (which is actually more normal than people think)? You’re a failure! Work harder!

These men are falling into despair because of a culture that patriarchy, not feminism, created for its own benefit. Feminists don’t believe men are garbage if they aren’t promiscuous investment bankers at 24; that’s something the corporate masters put out.

The more economic freedom women have, in fact, the less likely they are to choose “Chad” (who tends to be a lousy lover, and is often abusive) and the more attracted they are to stereotypically beta males. But you’d never hear an incel make that argument. They’re stuck in a zero-sum mentality where something bad for women (a return to corporate patriarchy) must be good for men. But that’s bullshit.

Jordan Peterson states women not having sex with the Toronto incel made him kill people. Says we need “enforced monogamy”

people crave authenticity, because there is so little of it in this barren wasteland of hive mind-corporate-commercialism.

This is why I’d like to get Farisa out before too much longer. I feel like this is a time where the demand for authentic expression is sky-high, and I’m one who has actually suffered– I can’t get a job in Silicon Valley, because of my vocal antifascism– for authenticity, so this seems like a prime time to strike.

Jordan Peterson states women not having sex with the Toronto incel made him kill people. Says we need “enforced monogamy”

Yeah, I did feel like she was cherry-picking, and that got on my nerves. The media seems quick to dismiss him based on problems within his following, when he actually makes nuanced arguments. He still gets things wrong, but this idea that he’s an alt-right MRA dude is off the mark.

Jordan Peterson states women not having sex with the Toronto incel made him kill people. Says we need “enforced monogamy”

I’ve watched plenty of Jordan Peterson’s videos. He knows his domain well, and he has a lot of insights, and I like that he stands up against nihilism (even though I see the right-wing corporate nihilism as an existential threat to our democracy, whereas left-wing politically correct academic nihilism is just annoying).

That said, he gets economics hilariously wrong. He focuses on an internal locus of control which is useful for therapy but an inaccurate representation of human life, especially under oppressive corporate capitalism. (It is useful to believe in an internal locus of control; it is not true.) He treats male dominance hierarchies (which do exist, and which rule the corporate world) as innate rather as than pathological relics we ought to get beyond. He also puts his foot in his mouth on gender. Does he get taken out of context? Yes. Does the media cherry-pick him to make him come off more radical/regressive than he is? Yes. But, some of his ideas are still wrong.

Jordan Peterson states women not having sex with the Toronto incel made him kill people. Says we need “enforced monogamy”

I don’t think Jordan Peterson’s charisma derives from his ideas, either, so much as his staunch anti-nihilism.

Here’s where it gets weird. Most people suffer under the right-wing, militant nihilism of the corporate system. They’re watching global capitalism eat the culture and society, and they’re rightly disgusted, and they probably don’t see it as a right-wing assault. Peterson’s fights are with the already-dying left-wing nihilism that lingers on in academia. People feel like there’s a similarity in the fight. Is there, though? It’s hard to know.

There are few people standing out against nihilism as staunchly as Jordan Peterson, and this is a big part of why people want to follow him. Of course, that doesn’t mean that he’s right. On many issues, he’s not.

Jordan Peterson states women not having sex with the Toronto incel made him kill people. Says we need “enforced monogamy”

What the conservatives miss is that their patriarchy is actually undermining what they claim are their own values– and that revealed female preferences actually tend more toward monogamy than “boys will be boys” conservative patriarchy.

Incels blame women for having a biological attraction to “Chad”, but that’s not true. (Some women do, but no more than men are attracted to mean girls.) Patriarchy is what traps women with abusive men and produces what these guys call “alpha widows”.

Who were the biggest perverts in the antebellum South? The white masters raping their slaves. (Slavery was an obvious economic loser by 1850, but held on because of the illicit sexual access it provided to elite men.) What caused the divorce epidemic in the late 20th century? Mostly, male philandering in the ’50s and ’60s (and continuing on).

Fuck this blaming of women. American-style corporate capitalist patriarchy is a shitty system and it victimizes low-status men as much as it does women, but the idea that women are somehow at fault for a system that hurts them just as much (and, later in life, even more) is absurd.

Jordan Peterson states women not having sex with the Toronto incel made him kill people. Says we need “enforced monogamy”

Jordan Peterson is hit-or-miss. He’s an intelligent, thoughtful man, although some of his ideas are kooky. I enjoyed some of his lectures; others, not as much. And sometimes he gets it wrong.

His fan base, on the other hand, has some (for lack of a better way to put it) credulous young men in it who’ve become cultish.

What is just a placebo effect but most people don’t realize?

This is the nocebo effect (or, the evil placebo effect) and it’s real. MSG for some reason triggers a lot of people, perhaps because the name sounds “chemical” (whereas monosodium chloride, we just call “salt”).