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Mudanzas Mundiales: 82 days to move things from Costa Rica to Texas

This is to record, for posterity or otherwise, that Mudanzas Mundiales took 82 days to move about 15 boxes of our household items from San José, Costa Rica, to Texas.

We hired them for this move because we previously used them for a move within San José, and they did a great job then. This time, we hoped it might take 1 week. We were told 2 weeks. But actually, they packed our things September 14 – and they arrived December 5.

The boxes were not stuck in customs. They arrived in Miami November 20, just before Thanksgiving. From this point to delivery, including customs, took 15 days.

For around 66 days, the boxes were stuck in a warehouse in Costa Rica.

For the first 2 weeks after they packed our things, they didn't even respond to our emails and phone calls. We had to reach out to someone who knows the owners. Only after, they responded.

It still took as long as it did. Their explanation was that they experienced "problems getting a quote", and they had been moving thei…

Left vs. right: reason and compassion vs. blind principles

What's left and what's right in political terms is hard to define from an international perspective. The Overton window can shift so much that what's left in the US is right in France. In countries with a socialist past, where the main issues are economic, the left may even seem more repressive, and the right seems progressive and liberal.

There are some trends we can identify:
The right tends to be economically permissive, but restrictive of personal freedoms.The left tends to be economically restrictive, but permissive in personal freedoms.The overarching theme, though, is this:
The right claims to value principles, and can tolerate any suffering to uphold them – especially if it's other people's. Yet when out of view, rightists often do what benefits them, not what they say in public.The left tends to think this is cruel and evil.This pattern can be seen in all areas of disagreement:
When it comes to abortion, the left wants to minimize suffering – of the child, of…

The "woo" of physicalists

From time to time, I have exchanges with people entrenched in physicalism. I usually find great opposition trying to explain that their mindset is, also, a faith. A faith in how the world must be, because the belief brings them comfort, and it's how they prefer it. It's not infrequent that people grow up intellectually oppressed by religion – as did I – so this escape into a vision of a material universe – Completely material! Completely! I tell you! – is understandable, even if frustrating. It is an existential issue, so minds on this are hard to change.

These types of people like to accuse those of us who are less orthodox as believing in "woo". Woo is anything that (A) threatens physicalism, and (B) is not 100% supported by extremely rigorous studies. But none is rigorous enough, d'oh!

This level of evidence is, naturally, understood as unrealistic when it comes to most things. It's mostly just expected for claims that offend physicalism. This is conveyed …

IBM Trusteer Rapport is crap-ware

IBM Trusteer Rapport is the worst piece of software I have had to install recently. I resent that so many banks are requiring their customers to install it – just so as to be able to access certain types of e-banking.

I get it – departments like accounting easily fall prey to phishing, and even sophisticated users make mistakes, and there exist attacks that fool them. But Trusteer Rapport has exactly the effect I expected from a compulsory piece of software. It slows down the system by about a factor of 5. Directories take centuries to browse, documents take epochs to print, and files take a long time to open. And the only way to fix it is... ta-daaa – to completely uninstall Trusteer Rapport.

The product constantly consumes CPU, even when the computer is inactive, but you wouldn't know it. It doesn't consume CPU in its own components, you see. Instead, it causes high CPU consumption in WmiPrvSE, a Windows component. This regularly jumps to 100% of a single CPU core while Trus…

For sale: 4-bedroom condo in San José, Costa Rica!

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After 5 years in Costa Rica, we have moved to the US. We are selling our condominium apartment on the fifth floor of the Metropolitan Tower, overlooking the Sabana Metropolitan Park, next to the National Stadium in San José, Costa Rica.

Our asking price:
USD 539,000This price has been reduced substantially, and is an attractive price for this property.

OverviewLiving area:230.27 m2 – 2478 sqftTotal with parking and storage:272.07 m2 – 2928 sqftFirst moved in:September 2013 – we are first ownerLayout:4 bedrooms, balcony, utility room, maid quartersBathrooms:3 bathrooms, 1 washroom, 1 bathroom in maid quartersParking:2 parking spaces in underground garage, protected entryStorage:approx 11 m2 – 118 sqft crawl space, next to parkingViews:peaceful treeline view toward Sabana; Stadium viewNoise:some; but well-insulated windows compared to areaTower amenities:Nearby:staffed front desk24/7 securityfully equipped gymdeck with swimming pool and hot tubconference and meeting roomchildren's pla…

On the Google vs. James Damore controversy

As an introduction, the following are some publications covering various aspects of the Google diversity controversy:
First and foremost, James Damore's original diversity memo. First intended for a limited audience at Google, it was published after a first internal and then public uproar, and his resulting firing for expressing this opinion.The Guardian: Google employee fired over diversity row considers legal actionMegan McArdle, via Bloomberg View: As a Woman in Tech, I Realized: These Are Not My PeopleCynthia Lee, lecturer in computer science at Stanford: I'm a woman in computer science. Let me ladysplain the Google memo to you.I liked the article by Megan McArdle. However, I was asked to express my opinion about the last article, by Cynthia Lee. Cynthia's point of view appears to be representative of the uproar, and is phrased in a cogent and non-extreme manner.

Broadly, my views are as follows:
Throughout centuries, society has historically done an extremely poor job a…

"It's hard work to suffer."

I recently found this interview very insightful. It's mostly about Roger Linden's experience of non-duality. He's pleasant to listen to. But the most meaningful, to me, was this part, from 2:04 until 8:04:

Roger: "I think in all the years that I practiced, which is over 30 years now, I don't think I've ever met someone who's understanding and belief about what their problem was... their understanding was always wrong. They were never right about what the problem actually was. I think, because if we really knew what the problem was, it would have evaporated. So I see the work – a lot is helping people to appreciate what's really happening; or what's really causing pain, or suffering, or frustration, whatever it may be."

Iain: "And what is that in most people that's causing the pain and frustration?"

Roger: "Well, fundamentally, the sense of self, and the contraction that goes along with that, that in life happens when we're …