- A smile is a hammock for your face
- I tried to order an extra large T-shirt from Rome. I received forty shirts.
- Bitcoin is a commodity whose foundation is the artificial scarcity of numbers.
- When @realDonaldTrump said he'd drain the swamp he didn't tell us that the effluent would flow into the Potomac and then into Chesapeake Bay (re: this story)
- Chuck Berry transported listeners to a simpler world where we pursued our crushes, drove fast cars, and the week ended with a rockin' dance.
- Imma let you finish @NCAA, but the March Hare and Mad Hatter are the best #MarchMadness team of all time. #DownTheBasketHole
- The 2010s surge in white nationalism is in large part a reaction to a century of white internationalism.
- Hypothesis: Trump thinks girls have cooties. (re: not shaking Angela Merkel's hand)
- Odd that we live in a culture that stigmatizes seeing a psychologist but not seeing a pastor. They do similar work with different specialities.
- If your house is too big of a landslide risk you can in theory get a new house. If you have a chronic disease you can't move to a new body. (re: America's model of health insurance)
- Sets to the left of me, sets to the right / Here I am, stuck in the middle with ∪ / #MathHumor
- alice@rabbithole> cd wonderland
- When you gaze into the void, the social media ranking algorithm answers back.
- The tyranny of Daylight Saving Time is not that you lose an hour of sleep or an hour of sun. It's that you let a clock decide when you act.
- More people lived in Kentucky in 2010 than lived in the US in 1790. Constitutional suspicion of federal power should apply to state gov't too.
- I'm more confused reading #Perl6 docs as an experienced programmer than Learning Perl as a novice: "Why'd you make the sausage that way?"
- Don't defend the status quo. Describe a better system and work to make it happen. Legislators gonna legislate–ensure they enact your vision.
- Regardless of the benefits of "like a business" governing, Trump's management style isn't fit for leading a country.
- None of us are as strong as all of us are.
- Best part so far of a two-week liquid+purée diet? Eating a bowl full of mayonnaise. #TastyRecovery
- A good approach to cleaning up public discourse on the Internet: you must listen before you speak. (re: a Norwegian news website's new policy)
- There are no high-paying jobs at family ethnic restaurants, but it's a crucial role played by immigrants. #JointAddress (re: proposed immigration policies that focus on high-paying tech jobs)
- For every war we start, we must end two more.
- The best way to stop drugs from coming into America is to grow marijuana in the U.S. #JointAddress
- Key change in gay marriage support was folks knowing more gay people. Let's create opportunities for Americans to meet ordinary scientists.
- Biologists are pro-birth, pro-life, and pro-death.
- Framing: refugees and immigrants are freedom seekers. They're willing to give up even home and family ties to pursue American values.
- Freedom isn't free. It's made possible by hard work and generous support from taxpayers like you.
- Hapless Hank wanted to be the "go to programmer", but instead became the goto programmer.
- Don't want to be subject to any government? 2000+ sqkm between Egypt and Sudan are claimed by neither.
- Honk if you fly south for the winter.
- “I'm not racist, I have black friends!” “This bill isn't homophobic, several closeted legislators voted for it!”
- I don't declare war on xenophobia. I declare peace. May it rest there.
- It's a travesty that America will have to navigate the era of alternate facts without George Carlin
- You can't keep evil out of a country; it doesn't travel on a plane. Evil casts its spores through ideas, sown in a heart fertilized by hate.
- Don't just make art. Be art.
- Humans are my ingroup.
- Obama sought dissenting opinions and input from experts. Trump surrounds himself with like-minded people and thinks he knows everything.
- Hey @POTUS, while you're making it harder to hire foreign workers, please invest in US education system so there are good Americans to hire.
- Halal food in NYC doesn't come in meal deals. It's Allah carte.
- If I told you that you tested positive for antibodies, would you hold them against me?
- Flotsam and jetsam are the mass noun equivalents of odds and ends.
- Pancakes crêpe me out.
- Just to keep things surreal @realDonaldTrump should nominate Hillary Clinton for Secretary of State. She's got experience and is unemployed.
- Strange times when a populace, concerned about decades of job loss, votes in a president whose catchphrase was “You‘re fired”
- Folks advocating for unfaithful electors in next month's electoral college have moved past shock, denial, and anger and are on to bargaining
- Two generations ago, GOP was the party of education, business, & taking blacks for granted; Dems the party of labor & southern xenophobia.
- 2020 campaign promise: free electoral college tuition for all Americans
- To tap into the wisdom of the crowd, maybe pollsters should ask respondents who they think will win their state and the electoral college.
- Next time can we choose the greater of two goods?
- To pay a parking ticket, I have to click "Add to Basket" as if I went to the Municipal Justice Store and browsed around for a nice citation.
- Maybe Republicans would get serious about #climatechange if we called it "Recapitalizing snow and ice banks."
- "Wake of the Flood" was the tidal track of the Grateful Dead's 1973 album. #pun
- Atlas Hugged, in which John Galt attends Burning Man.
- What do you call a really cute cephalopod? Squeed!
- I know I'm not going to eat half the food I bring to @burningman. I just wish I knew which half.
- I'm into second-order psychedelics. I don't take drugs myself, but I thoroughly enjoy consuming the output of those who do.
- When God closes a door He goes to the window, opens it, sticks His head out & yells “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!”
- Thank you Mario, but the princess is the protagonist in her own feature film!
- Mallard abduckted. Fowl play suspected. #terrible #pun
The turn will come… when Americans, in hundreds of communities throughout the nation, decide to put the man in power who is pledged to enforce the Constitution and restore the Republic. Who will proclaim in a campaign speech: “I have little interest in streamlining government or in making it more efficient, for I mean to reduce its size. I do not undertake to promotte welfare, for I propose to extend freedom… And if I should later be attacked for neglecting my constituents’ ‘interests,’ I shall reply that I was informed their main interest is liberty and that in that case I am doing the very best I can.”– Barry Goldwater, The Conscieence of a Conservative, "The Perils of Power"
Folks on the left are often surprised when Republicans support economic policies which negatively impact a majority of their constituents. Some folks use this observation as a rhetorical barb (e.g. these tweets). But for politicians inspired by Senator Goldwater and the last half century of conservatism, policies which favor liberty (freedom from) at the cost of opportunity (freedom to) are the goal, not an accident.
Programs are a major problem for attempts at unity. As soon as a policy is made specific, the differences must be addressed. Progressives tend to talk about policies and programs. But policy details are not what most Americans want to know about. Most Americans want to know what you stand for, whether your values are their values, what your principles are, what direction you want to take the country in. In public discourse, values trump policies, principles trump policies, policy directions trump specific programs. I believe that values, principles, and policy directions are exactly the things that can unite progressives, if they are crafted properly. The reason that they can unite us is that they stand conceptually above all the things that divide us.– George Lakoff, The All New Don't Think of an Elephant!, “What Unites Progressives”
Having those shared values, largely unconscious and unspoken, is not good enough. They have to be out in the open, named, said, discussed, publicized, and made part of everyday public discourse. If they go unspoken, while conservative values dominate public discourse, then those values can be lost–swept out of our brains by the conservative communication juggernaut.
Don't just read about these values here and nod. Get out and say them out loud. Discuss them wherever you can. Volunteer for campaigns that give you a chance to discuss these values loud and clear and out in public.
Put another way, values, principles, and policy directions are how you build a movement. Policies are how you implement the vision once the movement has critical mass. When building a movement you don't worry too much about folks with a drastically different world view; you're just trying to find all of your friends. But when it comes to policy, it's important to work with folks from “the other side.” A policy which is supported by many members of some movements has a better chance of surviving than a policy which is supported by all and only one team.
Unfortunately, all too many progressives have been taught a false and outdated theory of reason itself, one in which framing, metaphorical thought, and emotion play no role in rationality. This has led many progressives to the view that facts–alone–will set you free. Progressives are constantly giving lists of facts.
Facts matter enormously, but to be meaningful they must be framed in terms of their moral importance. Remember, you can only understand what the frames in your brain allow you to understand. If the facts don't fit the frames in your brain, the frames in your brain stay and the facts are ignored or challenged and belittled.
When George W. Bush arrived, we got "compassionate conservatism." The Clear Skies Initiative. Healthy Forests. No Child Left Behind. … This is the use of Orwellian language–language that means the opposite of what it says–to appease people in the middle as you pump up the base. … Imagine if they came out supporting a "Dirty Skies Bill" or a "Forest Destruction Bill" or a "Kill Public Education" bill. They would lose. They are aware people do not support what they are really trying to do.
Orwellian language points to weakness–Orwellian weakness. When you hear Orwellian language, note where it is, because it is a guide to where they are vulnerable. They do not use it everywhere. It is very important to notice this and use their weakness to your advantage.
– George Lakoff, The All New Don't Think of an Elephant!
The scientific community assumes the same rules of communication are always applicable and rational, that people are attentive, open minded, persuaded by facts and believe that those who are presenting information are people of goodwill, and not deliberately trying to manipulate them. But none of those things are true.– James Hoggan, I'm Right and You're an Idiot: The toxic state of public discourse and how to clean it up, chapter 1 with Daniel Yankelovich and Steve Rosel
Yankelovich and Rosell have identified a process that they call the public learning curve that describes maturing public opinions, where people's views evolve from poorly informed reactions to more thoughtful conclusions. The three-stage process begins with building awareness and consciousness (where advocates and the media typically do a good job). The seecond stage involves working through wishful thinking and denial, resistance to change and mistrust, grasping at straws, deliberate obfuscation and lack of urgency (which is where dialogue comes in). The third part of the learning curve is when people come to resolution (which is handled by decision-makers and government institutions). "Much of our work focuses on improving the 'working through' stage, which our society does not handle well and where critical issues like climate change can get stuck for years or decades," said Rosel.
It is not a wise strategy to define a situation as inevitable or out of control. "This is a negation of politics–because you don't do politics with inevitability," explained Latour. If you send a message to people that there's no other possibility, that it's too late–the result is inaction. Latour suggested that the message must give them the will to find a way out of the dilemma.– ibid., chapter 7 with Bruno Latour
That’s why I think the idea of computer literacy is such a rotten one. By computer literacy I mean learning to use the current generation of BASIC and word-processing programs. That has nothing to do with reality. It’s true that a lot of jobs now require BASIC programming, but the notion that BASIC is going to be fundamental to your ability to function in the information-processing society of the twenty-first century is complete balderdash. There probably won’t be any BASIC in the twenty-first century.
It's the 21st Century now, and the surviving BASIC dialect is Visual Basic, which is more different than mid-80s BASIC than it is alike. The heart of BASIC is to make it easy for people with a strong computer background to write programs. Depending on your perspective, this may be good or bad; BASIC and Visual Basic have been home to some truly groan-worthy code, but also let people accomplish many straightforward tasks more effectively. As the number of computer users has grown exponentially in the last few decades, the percentage of people who know a programming language has dropped significantly. In the 1970s, perhaps half of computer users in academic or research environments could write a program and most businesses that owned a computer had someone who could program it to some degree. Today, we've realized that programming well takes a style of thinking that doesn't come naturally to a lot of people in addition to an investment of time in understanding the ins and outs of specific systems. We've shown that it's more effective to have experts in programming learn new domains and write programs targeted to those than to have experts in domains learn how to program.
Lampson's bigger point is also insightful, but in a way it's wrong. It's true that the details of almost no program used widely in 1986 is relevant today. The specific syntax of Microsoft BASIC, the keystroke shortcuts of WordPefect for DOS, and the location of hidden items in King's Quest are all irrelevant today. But folks like me who learned how to use computers before we learned how to drive have a cognitive model of computer interaction that's a lot more flexible and successful than folks in my parents' generation who get confused about the web and have no hope for social media. The medium is the message.
 Amusingly enough, this isn't as true for programmers. The C programming language, the vi and emacs text editors, and Unix-like operating systems have all evolved significantly in the last 25 years, but if you knew how to accomplish something back in the day, you can still do it now. Not to mention COBOL, the illness in the sleeper zombie army of legacy code.
Make Your Own:
1 - Name of band: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:
2 - Tile of album: last four or five words of the last quote on http://www.quotationspage.com/random.
3 - Album cover: third picture on http://www.flickr.com/explore/
4 - Assemble in photoshop or paint or whatever
1 came from Stetson University Campus Historic District. I assume the band formed while in school and wanted a name that would make people say "That's a weird name for a band."
2 is the end of "A loud voice cannot compete with a clear voice, even if it's a whisper." -- Barry Neil Kaufman
3 is from nikkiethh and is a great fit for the album title.
4 was the GIMP because GraphicConverter didn't have very crisp text when flattening.
Audience participation: Pretend you just listened to this album. Write a review!
That's from today's Planet Money episode on NPR and in the New York Times. It's one of the best "How does the global financial crisis become local?" bits they've done.
You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat.
-- Albert Einstein
I also got a spam message today from an address @portlandhottub.com. While I assume that domain is owned by someone who sells hot tubs in Portland, the first thing that came to mind was every person in Portland, OR lounging in a very large hot tub. Now that would be my kind of city.
I want a second career in prostitution. I'll call myself Microsoft and promise everything, but in the end I'll only go down, suck, and make you wonder if you got a virus.
-- Mark Twain
Last week (4/8-4/12) was my absolute favorite week of the year. I laughed much more than usual. My brain got stimulated in unusual directions. I got up before 9 am for five days straight. What provoked this? The 54th Annual Conference on World Affairs. This brain dump is somewhat after the fact, because I put off everything that could be put off last week, so had a major crunch the past four days. What follows is a collection of notes (some to myself), insights, humorous or thought-provoking one-liners, and stories from memory. As a reward for reading through the whole thing, you get to learn second-hand about lots of details in Mulholland Drive.