Monday, March 31, 2008

survival instinct

Older folks are shocked by the exhibitionism of the "show-me" generation, but what if it is a natural psychological response to the post 9/11 culture of surveillance?

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Psychological truth

It is interesting that Hillary's mismemory of her Bosnia adventure is getting her into trouble. I have no reason to doubt the veracity of the psychological conjuncture that informed her fantasy, namely that Bill wanted both Hillary and Chelsea dead, and would eagerly send them into the line of fire.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

A few comments on software

1. Until recently, I could never understand why good programmers could write terrible software. It is very easy for management to structure things so one person can be productive, but, often, unless they are very careful, when they try to structure things so that three or four people can be productive, they end up creating a context with very little productivity at all.

2. Consultants make terrible employees. Consultants are trained to seem to add value from the first day forward. A software development team is an organism, and a person needs to understand how the organism functions before they can add value. As a consultant, they can make suggestions that the organism can either follow or ignore -- but when they are introduced into the organism, they inevitably have an exaggerated sense of their own importance are fundamentally disruptive.

3. When I started in programming, people who were interested in speed wrote in assembler code. About six years later, a new generation started writing in C. The assembler language programmers said, "there is no way that C can ever be as fast as assembler, C is just a fad". To which the C progammers replied, "while it is theoretically true that C will never contain as few instructions as assembler, C allows people to reach a higher level of complexity and take more things for granted, and as a result, large scale programs will be almost as fast, and five times quicker to develop". Then six years later, the assembler programmers were completely gone, and C++ showed up. Now it was the C programmers turn, and they defended their turf, saying "there is way that C++ can ever be as fast as C". To which, of course, the C++ programmers responded, "that may be true, but C++ allows a higher level of abstraction than C, and consequently, will reduce development time, and since it requires less explicitness, will ultimately run almost as fast as C." Like clockwork, around six years after C++'s ascendancy, C# came along. Now it was the C++ programmers' turn to defend the theoretical speed advantages of their platform over C#, and the C# programmers' turn to extoll the advantages of higher levels of abstraction. This is only interesting because we are now about two years away from c#'s ascendancy, which means that a new paradigm will be coming very soon.

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Monday, March 10, 2008

Is Hillary playing Hide-the-salami?

Hillary knew she would be running for President, so her tax returns are doubtless a non-issue: the Clintons are probably withholding them in order to dominate the news cycle, and will release them three days before the Pennsylvania primary. If Hillary is world-class ruthless, rather than a mere dime-store villain, those returns will show that she gave a large sums to worthy charities, and in her press conference, she will say: "I try to live the Sermon of the Mount, and give secretly, but my ruthless opponent insists that I expose my benefactions."


The missing piece

Nobody tells me anything!

I only just learned that David Axelrod is a former Chicago Tribune political reporter: This is relevant because, of course, it was the Tribune Company's relentless repetition and investigation of Blaire Hull's humanity that cleared the Illinois primary for Obama, and it was the Chicago Tribune's lawsuit that unsealed Jack Ryan's divorce records. To put it in raw political terms, it was the Tribune's mudslinging that allowed Obama to take the high road to victory in his Senatorial election.

I also notice that nobody has drawn an explicit connection between Mayor Daley's apolitical totalitarianism and the Barack's promise of bipartisanship, despite David Axelrod's connective influence.

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Friday, March 07, 2008

cross-overs are not always good thing

Hillary brags that she attracted traditionally Republican voters in Ohio, but what if those votes were sabotaging the Democratic party?

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Monday, March 03, 2008

What do John Maynard Keynes, Warren Buffett, and George Soros have in common?

What do John Maynard Keynes, Warren Buffett, and George Soros have in common? Their liberalism is not a simple case of "kicking away the ladder after reaching the top": An anti-capitalist perspective gives them the psychological distance to exploit the capitalist system more effectively than people who have a quasi-religious veneration for market economies.

Prescription for prayer

We've always suspected a hipster's negativity to be as unhealthy as his galloise cigarettes, and that "counting your blessings" could be more effective than Zoloft, but it is nice to see more and more research in support of a medieval world-view.