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Showing posts from 2006

Unsophistication of the iTunes UI

Larry O'Brien comments about the crashing problems and other strangeness he has experienced with iTunes.

I haven't had such problems with iTunes on the 3 or more computers I've used it on in past years. However, I think the iTunes interface is a lot less polished than what a Windows user is used to. The music library interface in particular is idiotic - things just don't work the way they're supposed to.

When you pick a different column for sorting, iTunes puts you at the top of the list instead of at the song that was previously selected, which means that if you have the library sorted by song and now you want to sort it by artist to get other songs by the same artist, you have to find the artist again after changing the sorting column. In better designed programs, such as Outlook, your selection is remembered and you don't have to do this.

This is just one example where the iTunes user interface is lame. If all Mac software is like this, I don't know how a…

The iron shirt of tax code

Referring to Joe Stiglitz's proposal of a reward system for new medicine discoveries, which I mentioned in my previous post, one spontaneous idea is that someone like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation would be ideal to manage such rewards. I agree - if the tax system made it possible!

It is my understanding that the U.S. tax code requires non-profit foundations to give away at least 5% of their endowment every year to maintain their tax exemptions. The Gates Foundation already has trouble meeting this criterion, because they cannot find enough good projects fast enough. They probably could do rewards on the side, and I agree it would be a great idea, but the U.S. tax code makes it impossible for a foundation to exist that does this primarily. Given the government requirements, what happens if in one year there is no breakthrough and you don't spend the necessary 5%? You lose your tax exemption and pay a lot of money to the government in tax, that's what.

You probably alr…

Scrap the patent system entirely?

We know that patents are bad for the software business. The whole reason patents exist is because it is thought that giving a time-limited monopoly to people who invent things promotes progress by encouraging, well, people to invent things. This doesn't work in software because:patented software ideas are generally obvious to practitioners of the area the patent is about;the length of a patent monopoly (17 years) is way out of proportion with the speed things move in software;barriers to innovation in software are intrinsically low to begin with - anyone can innovate and no incentive in the form of a time-limited monopoly is necessary to encourage people to do so;arguably most potential innovators in software are individuals and small companies, who can hardly use the patent system because they can afford neither the time to file the patents, nor the money to fight infringements;progress in software is intrinsically cultural and incremental, not epochal - people gradually improve …

War on Terror: the board game

I don't usually play games or board games, but if I did, this is a game I would play. (Via Schneier)

Secunia's Software Inspector

Do this now.

Secunia's Software Inspector is a browser-based Java application that scans your machine for vulnerable software based on their vulnerability info. Before I ran this, I thought all my bases were covered, but now, heh, guess again.

Edited to add: older versions of the Macromedia Flash Player can be very difficult to remove. They are not removed automatically when a new version of the Flash Player is installed, leaving your system potentially open to the vulnerabilities in the older versions. You might find this link of use - you actually have to download this uninstaller from the Macromedia site and run it to uninstall Flash. Talk about easy removal...

For one of the old Flash versions I had, not even this worked, so I eventually removed it by manually deleting the file.

United States led by incompetent prudes

John McCain is now officially a technologically clueless populist idiot.

Losing weight

I'm not sure if it's really a common myth or if it's just my imagination, but it seems that there's a meme going around about how difficult it supposedly is to lose weight.

Well, it isn't difficult at all. It is easy. In a nutshell: you'll lose weight if you eat less. Or, like a doctor once said bluntly to a patient who kept complaining how she cannot lose her weight: Nobody was fat in Dachau.

The key to losing weight is really very simple. If you want to lose some weight in a given day, you have to eat less calories than your body burns during that day. If on a given day your body burns 2200 calories, and you eat 2000 calories, you will lose a bit of weight. If you eat 2400 calories, you will gain some. And 3500 calories (kcal) are about 0.5kg.

It is nearly impossible to eat in one day exactly the amount of calories that your body burns during that day. You are either going to eat more, or you are going to eat less. If you want to keep your weight level, you have…

Bjarne Stroustrup Interview

MIT Technology Review publishes an interview with Bjarne Stroustrup, the original designer of C++. He reflects generally on the quality of software and the design philosophy he used with C++.

Put an end to bottom-trawling

Get this: Not only do ocean-floor-scraping fishermen ruin whole marine ecosystems; governments pay them subsidies to do it, because it otherwise would not be economically viable!

This is criminal conduct on behalf of the fishermen, the fishing companies and the governments involved. There is no excuse for it. People who make their living based on such disregard for what they are destroying, do not deserve to make that living.

General solutions (when programming)

Here are two of denis's rules of programming (learned the hard way).

Rule #1: It is good to avoid working on complex solutions for problems that might not exist.

Rule #2: It is good to postpone implementing solutions until you really understand the problems.

It follows from these rules that:One should avoid creating reusable code (solution) which will not necessarily find much use (problem).One should generally avoid writing reusable code (solution) until such time as one understands the problem inside out (has solved the problem the tedious way many times).If you do not adhere to these rules, you will create more solutions than there are problems to solve, and the solutions you create will not be entirely appropriate to the problems that actually exist. Thus, the solutions themselves become part of the problem.

General-purpose solutions are hard to do right, and one shouldn't generally start implementing such solutions just because there might be a problem. You only start impleme…

Shit, it's raining!

My favorite, poignant quote for the week:"They call this war 'a cloud over the land'. But they make the weather, and then they stand in the rain and say - 'Shit, it's raining!'"As memorably interpreted by Renee Zellweger as Ruby Thewes, Cold Mountain.

The Final Solution (to Spam)

I used to receive 400-500 spam emails per day. At first, I just deleted the spam manually. When this overwhelmed me, I looked at various solutions.

I tried an anti-spam challenge-response program. This is software you put between your email client and your mail server. It constantly checks your mail server and sends challenges to senders that are not in its white-list. Major disadvantages: legitimate senders often won't bother to prove they are human; many legitimate senders are in fact automated; and finally, sending the challenge emails themselves gets you listed as a spammer, so outgoing email that you send gets lost.

So I quit the anti-spam challenge-response system, and tried an email program with a Bayesian filter. This didn't work quite so well either. Most of the spam got sorted correctly, but an unacceptable amount of legitimate email got classified as spam. I had to download all of the spam emails, and then I still had to browse through all of them sporadically to fish…

What your taxes are spent on

This is why I think the income tax is a morally reprehensible act. It's all wasted on ridiculous projects like that. It's not the government collecting a modest tax to pay for commonly needed infrastructure. It's the government taking your money and stuffing it into the pockets of people who excel at collecting it. It's all wasted like that.

I have no idea why almost no one else is rebelling against that.

Elton John: Ban organized religion

Here's a guy I respect saying something I've been saying for ages: personal religion is fine, and everyone needs some kind of answers to unanswerable questions of existence. But why do these beliefs need to be coordinates by mullahs, L. Ron Hubbards, and popes? Why does there need to be a global para-state based in Vatican that owns something like a quarter of the world - just to coordinate what fictions people choose to believe in?

All of this is unnecessary, is manipulative and causes hurt. The world would be served well if organized religion was banned, and everyone just had to find their answers to unanswerable questions for themselves. Whether that means picking them up from the bible or the koran is up to you - but no one should be telling anyone that they are the 'only true source' of knowledge on these issues, because it's really just a method of deceit, manipulation and exploitation.

False gods? Just say no.

The fabled distinction between animals and humans

New Scientist reports that scientists want to create part-cow, part-human embryos for research aimed at treating diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. However, there's a problem. These days, they have to ask permission from people who have no clue about anything. Here's what Calum MacKellar of the Scottish Council on Human Bioethics has to say about it:"In this kind of procedure, you are mixing at a very intimate level animal eggs and human chromosomes and you may begin to undermine the whole distinction between animals and humans."The idiots! There is no distinction between animals and humans. When will everyone finally come to terms with that eating meat means killing living beings, and that murder is something we all participate in on a daily basis? That doesn't necessarily mean that it's bad, but please, let us stop pretending.

There is no such thing as a single human race either. Everyone is genetically different. Some people are genetical…

The appeal of C

I've been learning Scheme lately, on and off, an evening here and there, when I take a bit of time off of my immediate development requirements. Scheme is a very elegant language, which I admire for its beautiful syntax. Here's an RSA decryption program in Scheme:(write (number->string
(let
((msg (string->number "0FB78CC9...283E9F69...9AA34BC1" 16))
(mod 4847438932...5371616465...9691290563))
(remainder (expt msg 17) mod))
16))Simple, eh? The variable 'msg' receives a big fat RSA ciphertext in hexadecimal, the variable 'mod' receives the modulus of the RSA public key, and the public exponent (17) is just keyed in. The code computes (msg**17 % mod) and prints the result as a hexadecimal string. It executes in a blink using the Petite Chez Scheme interpreter, which Cadence Research Systems kindly make available for free. (They make money on the compiler, which I hope one day I'll have a good reason to purchase. I'd like to contribut…

The non-threat of terrorism and its causes

We've seen misled idealistic young men do several horrible acts since the beginning of this century.

20 of them hijacked 4 airplanes and tore down the World Trade Center in New York, killing some 3,000 people overall. Several more blew up trains in Madrid a year later, and four British-bred young fanatics blew up some trains and a bus in London, a year after that. Terrorist explosions also killed hundreds of people in Bali and other places as well.

Meanwhile, in the United States alone, there have been some 17,000 murders every year, and some 95,000 rapes. Each year, there were some 45,000 deaths in motor vehicle accidents. In the UK, there are every year some 8,000 alcohol related deaths.

Given these figures, one might ask, why not start a war on cars? A war on roads? A war on booze? Oh, wait - our great-grandparents tried that.

We all know why. Because we think we can control these risks. We think we won't die on the highway, when in fact the issue is to a large extent out of ou…

Saddam Hussein sentenced to death

I don't think Saddam Hussein led a very enlightened regime, but a few observations are in order:There was no civil war under Saddam Hussein.Saddam Hussein did not support terrorism and indeed prevented it within his country.Saddam Hussein indeed killed many people and oppressed more with the aim of stabilizing his regime. But stabilizing his regime prevented a civil war with a potentially much larger death toll.Saddam himself didn't kill nearly as many people as the embargo imposed against Iraq by the United States, which caused the deaths of millions of children.Now that Saddam has been removed, Iraq is in a civil war that has so far cost 400.000 or more lives - many more than in Saddam's regime.Now that Saddam has been removed, Iraq is a genuine terrorist haven.It is realistic to expect that things are only about to get even worse.Who, then, is the real criminal? Who is responsible for most of the deaths that have happened in Iraq in the past 20 years?

Is it Saddam Hussei…

There is AIDS

In my previous post, I linked to sites that question the assumption that HIV causes AIDS.

I have since looked at what the mainstream proponents of the HIV->AIDS theory have to say about the arguments of those who are against it, and I have so far found the following good resources:Avert.org's Evidence that HIV causes AIDS;these articles by Jon Cohen from 1994 made available by Science.If you're aware of more factual responses to the claims made by Alive & Well and others that dismantles their claims based on solid research data, feel welcome to comment.

There is no AIDS?

We all assume that the HIV-causes-AIDS theory has been proven beyond reasonable doubt, since otherwise, why would we be seeing so much material that takes it for granted, right?

Well... It turns out the HIV/AIDS theory might not have been proven, ever. At all. It might be, in fact, that it is only the result of mass hysteria and a long game of "telephone".

Or, as it says on the website of one Peter Duesberg:On the basis of his experience with retroviruses, Duesberg has challenged the virus-AIDS hypothesis in the pages of such journals as Cancer Research, Lancet, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Science, Nature, Journal of AIDS, AIDS Forschung, Biomedicine and Pharmacotherapeutics, New England Journal of Medicine and Research in Immunology. He has instead proposed the hypothesis that the various American/European AIDS diseases are brought on by the long-term consumption of recreational drugs and/or AZT itself, which is prescribed to prevent or treat AIDS. See T…

Dawkins and the drive against religion

In this post, James Robertson discusses Richard Dawkins's drive against religion, which drive I generally agree with, but I think it misses the point in some ways.

It is not necessary to teach people not to believe in God, but it is necessary to convince them that reason comes first. Faith is not a problem if the believer is willing to adapt when confronted with facts that conflict with his faith. But faith is a problem if one isn't so flexible - when one puts faith ahead of reason in one's value system. This leads to fanaticism, terrorism, abortion clinic bombing, dressing up women in burqas, female circumcision, and so on.

It is very necessary that the school system develops the students' rational analysis skills, to give youngsters trust in their reasoning abilities. Beyond that, teaching them not to believe in unicorns or witches is pointless, because what else is more interesting than what you aren't supposed to do, think, or believe.

Religious fundamentalism is around us

Most "normal" people are so insufficiently aware that things like these are taking place in the world every day, and it is "normal".

I grew up in a light version of this - my growing up was full of conflict with a Catholic fundamentalist parent. I've also been upclose and personal with Network 21 (the strongest group of Amway distributors) who run an indoctrination system that's in many ways similar to this.

This is really evil, and people usually fail to understand that when I say that I'm against organized religion, this means that I'm against cults and indoctrination systems like this. They are a real disease that perpetuates itself in society, and even large and generally less fundamentalist organized religions have lots of nooks and crannies which are fundamentalist in this way. I've seen those nooks and crannies and people who perpetuate this on the Catholic side, and I can confirm that indeed these patterns are evil, and furthermore that th…

What's the right amount of social friction?

James Robertson argues in response to my recent thoughts about dress code:
In social settings, politeness exists to reduce friction. People who don't get that are - whether they realize it or not - increasing the social friction between people.There is of course truth in this, but there are two sides to this medal, and as far as dress code is concerned, I responded in a comment under James' post.

As far as social friction in general is concerned though, I find it worthwhile to express these thoughts:

It could be argued that, in a situation where you're a lemming in a group of lemmings heading over a cliff, it will "reduce social friction" if you just go along and don't resist the flow of your peers. Likewise, it could be argued that if you were living in Nazi Germany, it would "reduce social friction" if you just didn't complain about the treatment of the Jews. (*) In fact, you are quite correct that "reducing social friction" is just the…

Iraq death toll between 400,000 and 950,000

New Scientist reports:Critics commenting on the study say the number of deaths in the families interviewed – 82 reported before the invasion, 547 afterwards – was too few to extrapolate to the whole country. But the researchers insist they have made statistical compensations for their sample size to pre-empt these criticisms.

They estimate that there were at least 392,976 excess deaths – those that would not have occurred, has there been no war – in Iraq since 2003, and possibly as many as 942,636. The research confirmed the results of the same group’s 2004 study.Even Saddam Hussein didn't kill as many people.

Suppose the Iraq war had anything to do with protecting the United States from terrorism. Which it did not, and the United States are now supposedly more at threat than before. But anyway.

Suppose that, a few years ago, George W. Bush had told you that his plan of getting rid of the terrorist problem would cost the lives of between 400.000 and 1 million Americans.

What would you…

Join me in my country!

Here's what a country governed by denis will look like.

1. No flat democracy. Flat democracy is when two wolves and a sheep get to vote on what's for dinner. It leads to dysfunctional populist policies and totalitarian states. Hitler was voted into power. So were Putin and Ahmadinejad.

People don't know what's best for everyone. They can be manipulated at will and they won't ever know any better unless there's an external correction.

Just look at how long the income tax has persisted. Look at how bureaucracy worldwide has ballooned. People can't get elected unless they're good at lying and manipulating. If any improvement is to be done, it can only get done by a skillful politician who can do it not because of, but despite the public.

This is no way to govern a state.

For their own sake, power is not for the masses.

But even more importantly, power is not for the crackpots: Kim Jong-il, Stalin, Ceausescu. So where shall the power reside?

2. An enlightened, con…

Visual Studio 2005 Configuration Manager Bugs

The programmer who created the Visual Studio 2005 Configuration Manager should be hung.

The Configuration Manager just doesn't work. It's so quirky you would think that they shipped it without even a minimal test. Suppose you remove a configuration; rename a different configuration to match the name of the one you removed; close the Configuration Manager; open it again; and both configurations reappear.

Heck, forget about renaming anything. Just try to remove a configuration from a project. Close the solution and open it again. The removed configuration is still there. If I want to achieve anything, I have to edit the .vcproj files manually.

Not to mention that, as you switch the active solution configuration, all of the settings sometimes just seem to flip and then you have to reset them again one by one, manually.

The Visual Studio 2005 IDE, overall, is such a crappy piece of software. It is better than Visual Studio 2003, not to mention 2002, which was impossibly buggy. But it…

America's rigged elections

I tend to believe that all this is true. It is uncanny how chummy Diebold executives are with the Bushes, and how conveniently ignorant the company is when it comes to the (non-)security of their voting machines. Add to this how Fox is de facto controlled by Bush relatives, and the "small" election irregularities that kept popping up after recent elections...

Even from across the ocean, it's quite clear what is actually going on. George Bush senior - the only ex-president known to still daily be reading his CIA memos - is the conniving architect who, with the help of his powerful network of friends, installed his easily-manipulated idiot son as the US president and has been keeping him in office through deceit and outright manipulation for the past 6 years. This is all being done in bad faith and these are acts that, altogether, amount to treason. The truth doesn't come out partially because (1) these people control a major portion of the media, and (2) it's incon…

Dress code

A commenter recently posted this on James Robertson's blog:bigz, if you come into my office wearing torn jeans and a t-shirt, I will be offended. You are not showing respect for me or yourself. That is simply the way the world works. And yes I teach my child respect. I learned it from my parents.My instinctual reaction to this is, "If you're so uptight about clothes, I don't necessarily need to do any business with you." The person who wrote this is essentially a traditionalist - a person who perpetuates certain patterns of behavior "just because", not because there's necessarily any good reason for it. Being a traditionalist is fine as long as you don't force it on others. Forcing it upon others, though, is what the words "cultural imperialism" are about.

If I come into your office in jeans and a T-shirt, I'm not disrespecting you, because wearing such an outfit doesn't mean disrespect in my world. It's an outfit I like to …

Evil in Russia

This is despicable. It's worse than George W. Bush and the Iraq war. Dubya, at least, comes across stupid enough to give him the benefit of the doubt that perhaps he actually believed Iraq had something to do with Al-Qaeda. Or even if he was well aware that the link was tenuous, he might have been deluded enough to think that an intervention would actually result in a "beacon of democracy" and such things. It's a stretch, but - at least his stupidity makes it potentially conceivable that he didn't act overtly in bad faith.

This cannot be said for Putin. What he has been doing lately is so egregiously evil - first Yukos, then Ukraine, and now Georgia - that it cannot be forgiven on any moral grounds. Bush may be an idiot surrounded by self-serving men; but Putin is truly evil.

The world needs to stand up to this man. Something needs to be done about him.

But with America now exhausted from the war in Iraq; with its international goodwill wasted; its superpower status…

Meta-programming vs. the mental gap

Boris Kolar wrote favorably about meta-programming in his comments to my previous post.

Meta-programming is, by definition, writing code that writes code. The very need to write code that writes more code is something that should be avoided - pre-empted - at the time of programming language design. Show me an example where you need to use meta-programming, and I will show you a language that lacks an essential feature for which your meta-programming is a workaround.

The essential problem of software development is not that programmers cannot churn out code, and so they need tools to help them churn out more code automatically. The essential crisis of programming today is that all code written nowadays has severe deficiencies in security and reliability. The problem is not that programmers are unable to create software. The problem is they are unable to create software that really does what they wanted it to do.

You see, all programs are perfect. All programs are complete, and they do exa…

Function calls considered harmful

Everyonenowknows how the many-core processor era is upon us, and how this challenges existing methods of software development because current mainstream development methodologies are inappropriate for a new environment in which most software will need to be parallel if it is to take advantage of many cores.

The problem is not that existing languages make parallel programming impossible. It is that they don't make it simple.

This is similar to the problem of manual memory management in languages like C and C++. It takes years of discipline before you learn to write programs that will not leak memory or misuse it in some way - and even when you do, memory management still takes a considerable portion of the time you spend programming. Contrast that with platforms like Java and .NET which cut the red tape and allow you to simply specify what needs to be done, and the platform takes care of the memory management.

It is also similar to the problem of security in language like C and C++. …

Currency: interest, sources and sinks

Vorlath recently wrote:
I think you need to re-evaluate your reality. The money system is a failure. It's a joke. Lump all the loan agencies together. Everyone else has to borrow from these organisation (yes, if these people so choose). Where exactly do you propose the borrowers get MORE money than they borrowed to pay the interest if there's none available? You can't pay back what doesn't exist. The system is made so that at least some MUST fail. Even if you do everything right, you may still fail because there's a process of elimination at work. I know that's a simplistic view, but it doesn't make it any less true. So if you have more money than others, you too can loan it out and do nothing except for one fact that you have more money. That's BS and is why no money system will ever work. No system that requires failure will ever get my support. I find it funny how much suffering and failures there are around the world because of money, yet there are s…

David Cameron's "Universal Mush"

The BBC has quoted David Cameron as saying:
"I don't want a world that has become a kind of bland universal mush where our distinctive cultures and histories and identities have are gone. I want India to be India and Britain to be Britain."Who's David Cameron to want things about people's cultures and identities? I don't agree with bland, but the only way the world is going to be a more harmonious place is if it does turn into a universal mush. All of the individual characteristics that Mr. Cameron may find peculiar and interesting about India vs. England are, to the extent they cannot sustain themselves, counter-productive and must go. The only way that the lifetime of counter-productive features of different nationalities can be extended is by political fiat - forcing people not to do things, curtailing their freedom so as to extend the lifetime of what is pointlessly perceived as a national 'self'. That's what leaders like Mr. Cameron propose - …

WikiLaws

[English translation of my original post published in Slovene.]

An essential problem of modern parliamentary democracies is that, with time, the scope of bureaucracy and the complexity of laws tend only to increase, which encroaches on free initiative and suffocates the economy. What is the essential reason for this problem, and how could bureaucracy be trimmed and the complexity of laws be limited to reasonable boundaries?

A fundamental reason for the overwhelming complexity of laws is simply that they are too easy to pass. To pass a new law, support of only half the legislature is usually sufficient; to change the constitution, the crucial document on which the stability of a country is based, only two thirds are usually enough.

Consider this. The function of laws is that they prohibit or proscribe action by the citizens. Therefore, every law fundamentally restricts the freedoms of the citizens. A law that does not do this is an empty law. And such - frequently arbitrary, stupid and/or…

Principles of Programming: The Wisdom of Being Neutral

An inexperienced programmer frequently tries to make every single thing as complex as his understanding allows him to make it. But he must not. If one makes things as complex as that, they will be unmaintainable, unenhanceable and too complex to use.How complex is a screw?

What does a single screw do? Does it hold books?

No, but it can be used in a bookshelf that does.
How complex is a rivet?

What does a single rivet do? Does it transport oil across oceans?

No, but it can be used in an oil tanker that does.
How complex is a single lego block?

Whatever does a single lego block do?A single screw or a rivet or a lego do nothing special on their own. That's why they are so versatile: because they're neutral.

Everything one writes in code, every single function or component or class, needs to be neutral like that, too. Reusability of your code does not come from what it does. It comes from what it doesn't do. It comes from what it consciously avoids doing so as not to interfere or res…

In response to Vorlath - Steal The Free (2)

In response to Vorlath's response to my response to his post:

"The majority of people on this planet live in poverty."

If you mean people in undeveloped countries, that's their problem. It is not the responsibility of the western states to develop other countries. Many of these countries cannot even be developed because the average IQ in these countries is below 70 (Race Differences in Intelligence, by Richard Lynn). Civilization is a state of mind in the population. This is inachievable by chimps, and likewise it is inachievable by some humans. We are not equally capable.

"Over 12.6% of the US lives in poverty. They make less than 10K/year."

That's faulty statistics.Lots of these people are just people exploiting the system. Developed countries run a system where it costs to be earning money (in a way that can be measured anyway), but it pays to be poor.

Hence, people pretend poor. I read that the same group of people in the United States whose measured ann…

In response to Vorlath - Steal The Free

In response to Vorlath's recent post, Steal The Free:

I don't see how there is a money issue in the world that needs fixing. The patent system is broken, yes. We don't have a reasonable solution to the copyright problem, yes. But money works. What makes people poor isn't the money. The money makes nations richer, and it does uplift the poor as it does the rich. This might seem tedious and a cliche, but I have observed it in practice when, several years ago, working as a successful programmer in Slovenia, I earned less per month than a disabled single mother in California and her kid got in social security benefits. They were calling themselves poor while the kid had a digital camera and a laptop. That isn't poor to me. If that's what poor is, then there aren't any poor people in the States. Most people in Slovenia are still satisfied to get that amount of net income, and the prices are no lower here.

There is a tax system problem that needs solving, yes. Look…

Zakaj so poroke prenehale biti smiselne

[Prvotno objavljeno na forumu slovenskega Cosmopolitana]

Poroka v tradicionalnem smislu (mišljena kot obljuba dosmrtne zvestobe) je zastarel koncept. Ne zastarel v smislu, da zaradi starosti same po sebi ni več dober, temveč v smislu, da je zarjavel in škripa in propada in je na tem, da bo pravkar razpadel.

Monogamna poroka je bila funkcionalen režim v času, ko je bila pričakovana življenjska doba posameznika 40 let, posameznice pa 35, ker je verjetno umrla med kakšnim porodom. Doživljenjska poroka je smiselna v okolju, kjer ni kondomov in zdravil in je življenje kratko. V takem primeru je smiselna za žensko, ker ji moški s poroko obljubi oskrbo do konca življenja, kar pripomore k uspešni razširitvi njenih genov. Zato se tradicionalno lahko ženska loči od moža, če je ne more preskrbeti ali je neploden. V istih okoliščinah je poroka smiselna za moškega, ker mu obljubi zvestobo partnerke: čas in energija, ki ju bo vlagal, bosta pripomogla k razplodu njegovih genov, ne genov drugih na njeg…

The US goes Iranian on gambling

In Iran, the government thinks it right to uphold "morality" by dictating a dress code women are required to adhere to.

In the United States, the government thinks it right to uphold "morality" by disallowing its citizens from gambling over the internet.

The United States have just arrested a non-US citizen while he was transferring between international flights on US soil for the crime of running an internet gambling business outside the United States that, while being 100% legal where it's based, took online bets from US citizens.

Many things are illegal in China that are not illegal elsewhere. Is China entitled to enforce its laws worldwide? Is it entitled to jail foreign citizens for providing Chinese citizens with online access to things that are prohibited in China?

Suppose that China took upon itself to enforce its laws internationally and jailed Google executives while on visit in Beijing. Suppose China sentenced Larry Page to 30 years in jail for the crime…

Jesus Christ Superstar

If you ask me - and I'm no expert on Slovenian culture, which would be because I have a prejudice that there isn't much of it worth talking about to begin with - but if you ask me, the single greatest Slovenian contribution to worldwide culture is Laibach's edition of Jesus Christ Superstar.

This song - no, this... work of auditory art - is just so powerful, so awe-inspiring, so strong and so well-executed, I just can't get enough of it. And, don't get me wrong - this is no piece to listen at room volume, or without a solid bass. It's a piece to play at full volume, as loud as you can risk when you're at home alone and most neighbors are away.

Laibach has a bunch of other stuff which I find interesting and OK, but Jesus Christ Superstar I think is very much their best. Then again, that is only my own taste and opinion.

Circumcision as an adult, part 3

In my previous posts about being circumcised (part 1 and part 2) I described my actual circumcision and the first days of healing.

Six weeks later, now that I have had some new sexual experience, I think I can say quite safely that the sensations are way better. Previously, my sensations on penetration were limited to the glans penis and immediately below it when inserting the penis, and very little sensation at all when retracting it. This is because the foreskin would attach itself to the walls of the vagina, where it would mostly stand still - the so called gliding action. Regardless of what it says in the linked Wikipedia article, this gliding action sucked. I have a pretty average width penis, perhaps even a bit below average. Therefore, if the woman had a normal-sized pussy, because of the gliding action, I would feel very little sensation when penetrating, and almost no sensation when using a condom. Because of the lack of sensation, it could be difficult to maintain a hard erec…

Elastic tabs

A really neat source code editing idea:
"Rather than saying that a tab character (a "hard tab") will move the cursor until the cursor's position is a multiple of N characters, we should say that a tab character is a delimiter between table cells..."

We need to invest way more in space

Finally, a recognized figure speaks out about something I wrote about on my previous blog, years ago: the dire need for colonies in space to improve the chances of human survival.

The CNN article contains a comment about how science won't be up to the challenge in 50 years. But that misses the point. The science won't be up to it because countries spend ridiculously little on space research compared to how much they spend for social transfers, armies, and pork.

Here's a snippet from the estimated US federal spending for 2005:Total federal budget: $2,479 billionMilitary spending: $466 billionIncome security transfers: $313 billionSocial security transfers: $456 billionFarmers' subsidies (a complete waste of money): $31 billionGeneral science and basic research: $7 billionNASA: $15 billionHave you ever wondered why so much technology (like the Internet? GPS? airplanes?) is developed for the military first, and then seeps out to find use in the public?

Just take a look at…