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Showing posts from August, 2015

Apple design is anti-nerd

I figured out why I dislike Apple, and the average person loves it.

The Apple design is anti-nerd.

It allows people to use technology without being ashamed that their skill is rudimentary. It puts regular folks on equal footing with skilled users. It is the intent of the product that its uses are limited and basic. By design, it lacks advanced features and flexibility, so that it cannot be used more effectively by being good at it. It's not just the low skill threshold; it is the low skill ceiling that makes people want to use it. Some uncool, nerdy person can't outskill you at iTunes.

Then, it's pricey and stylish, and therefore a fashion statement: something nerds don't know how to use.

It turns the table around on nerds. Therefore, normal people love it. Genius. :)

Science, spirituality, and the limits of the materialist paradigm

"The first gulp from the glass of natural sciences will turn you into an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you."This is a quote attributed to Werner Heisenberg – a pioneer of quantum mechanics, known for the Heisenberg principle of uncertainty.

There are a number of my friends who oppose religion; for good reasons that I also used to champion. Such people are very much miffed by Heisenberg's mention of "God". They argue the concept means nothing; that it's useless. "God" and "spirituality" are just labels we put on things we don't understand. Anything we don't yet know, science will eventually explain. Until it does, it is useless to guess.

I would argue guessing is an essential part of the scientific process. Most progress started first by guessing. However, more than just this – I wish to address the assertion of spirituality being useless.

The materialist paradigm exists for a reason. If it's what …

The ethics of non-consensual monogamy: coercion and dead bedrooms

Here's a hypothesis.

Monogamy is only ethical if both partners continue to choose it. Not just once, but every day; and without guilting each other into it. Each of the partners has to continue to choose it, and the choice has to be truly free; without conditions or attached strings.

Folks have begun to warm up to the idea that open relationships can sometimes work, for a few weird people. However, even among people accepting of this – even among those who are poly – the idea of physical loyalty remains sacrosanct. The idea remains dominant that, if you made monogamous vows, it is your duty to uphold them. No one respectable should cheat. Cheaters are literally worse than... racism.

Consider this, though.

Monogamy boils down to the expectation that you won't use your genitals in a way that isn't useful to, and approved by, your partner.

This is objectification. It is abrogation of each partner's individuality. It is dismissal of a person's independent sexual nature.…

How the Yugoslav army dealt with liabilities

This is an anecdote told by my wife occasionally.

Jana and I are from Slovenia, which used to be part of communist Yugoslavia. My wife's grandmother had a sister who used to work in Belgrade, in the headquarters of the Yugoslavian army, as an assistant or secretary. She was close to where important things happened.

As a hobby, she was into sewing / tailoring / knitting, and for this reason, she purchased West German magazines which were ubiquitous at the time – thick, heavy catalogs for people into this hobby; Burda was one of them. The army supervised people working in its headquarters, so they knew about her reading these magazines, and this was suspicious. She was interrogated about it more than once.

Eventually; some time in her middle age years – not soon enough for retirement; she wanted a change of scenery, to go live back home, and quit. At this point, she became untrusted and a liability, and the way they dealt with that is that they had her interned in a psychiatric hosp…

Ossification and Hawaii: Impressions of a C++ working group

I've recently interacted informally with the mailing list of the ISO C++ Working Group. I've tried to float the following ideas.

Aggregated exceptions. I think I came up with a neat and complete proposal, but it's too ambitious for an existing language, given the changes it proposes and its relatively niche concern. We've migrated to VS 2015, so I've begrudgingly accepted noexcept destructors. And since C++11, lambdas provide a practical way to solve problems where one might previously want to use complex destructors.

So I guess we can live without multi-exceptions. Okay.

I then tried to float an is_relocatable property. A shortcoming of C++ right now is that it allows object content to be moved; but it doesn't allow movement of objects themselves. Even though anywhere from 50% to 100% of the objects we store in containers can be moved with memcpy — formally, this is undefined behavior. This is a problem for container resizing, and requires inefficient deep copy…

Love and function

Someone asked the following conundrum. This was asked in the context of whether it's "shallow" for a person to refuse another as a partner, based solely on that they aren't sexually compatible:

"If your love is predicated on sex then is it really love or is it just two people using each other?"

Loving someone, and being useful to them, are not opposites. The two work together. To love someone is to offer yourself to be useful to them. It is to serve them gladly, with the expectation that this will be appreciated and returned. To accept being loved is to welcome this offer; to return it, and appreciate it.

Love is a willingness to serve: without coercion, and without feeling coerced.

"Love" and "relationship", though, are different things. Every one of us can love everyone, hypothetically. However, we can't have functional relationships with people who can't meet our needs.

Relationships are love + function. If you take away the fu…

"Good, traditional" traits

I find that "good" and "traditional" don't exactly go hand in hand.

If it makes sense, it's not called tradition. It's called common sense. If it's called tradition, it means that at some level, it doesn't make sense. It's being practiced despite it.

It does not make a person good if they follow imperatives that violate sense. It makes them compliant.

Being compliant makes sense, to an extent. However, being overly compliant makes you a tool. At best, you're a tool for nonsense. At worst, you're a tool for perpetuation of suffering and hardship.

Attractiveness is not shallow

There are large groups of men online — they're mostly men — who consider themselves unattractive, and adopt this as their identity, and an embittered perch from which to carp about life.

If you're an unattractive man — or woman — stop the lifestyle that makes you feel and look that way.

Most people can look great if they invest the effort. You aren't going to get taller, and you aren't going to grow a bigger penis. But you can fix almost anything else - lose fat, gain muscle, develop a sense of style, develop self confidence due to the results you have achieved.

None of this is beyond anyone's reach save a handful of really unfortunate people. Chances are that you're not one of those. Chances are that, if you think of yourself as unattractive, it's a result of a lifetime of ugly thoughts leading to disrespect and neglect of yourself and your body.

Now tell me. Who wants a person who chooses a lifetime of these ugly thoughts? Who has the option to invest the…