Seth on hate with respect to love

Love and hate are both based upon self-identification in your experience. You do not bother to love or hate persons you cannot identify with at all. They leave you relatively untouched. They do not elicit deep emotion.

Hatred always involves a painful sense of separation from love, which may be idealized. A person you feel strongly against at any given time upsets you because he or she does not live up to your expectations. The higher your expectations the greater any divergence from them seems. If you hate a parent it is precisely because you expect such love. A person from whom you expect nothing will never earn your bitterness.

In a strange manner, then, hatred is a means of returning to love; and left alone and expressed it is meant to communicate a separation that exists in relation to what is expected.

Love, therefore, can contain hate very nicely. Hatred can contain love and be driven by it, particularly by an idealized love. (Pause.) You "hate" something that separat…

Pura vida, my ass: 5 years in Costa Rica and all I got was this lousy T-shirt

We are back to our regularly scheduled programming where I complain about things that were nice to me, but turned out to be sort of unbearable. In this installment, the nice country that delivered our son and let us live there for 5 years.

To start – there are nice things about Costa Rica:
Unlike the United States, it has accessible and high quality health care. It is a mixed private and public system where gringos like me can take a toddler to the ER at a private hospital and pay $150 to have him evaluated, sedated, and extract the foam he stuffed up his nostril. Meanwhile, everyone else also gets decent service at public hospitals and clinics, perhaps without luxuries like air conditioning (which is quite optional in Costa Rica's climate).Unlike most countries, it does not tax foreign income. This, it turns out, is less a feature and more a predicament.Unlike the United States, it has a reasonable immigration process.These factors contributed to us moving to Costa Rica in 2012, h…

We already live in a society based on love

I often see people proposing that an ideal society would do away with money. It would instead be based, say, on love.

Money is a method of social accounting. There are those who abuse it. But for most, it's what compels us to do lots of boring things that we're good at, which help others; instead of fun things we're not so good at, which help only a few.

We already have a society based on love. The fact is that the love of other people is not easy: the sacrifices it requires are hard. Money is a measure of how many boring, unfun things we've done to help other people, as if we loved them, for little benefit to us. Anyone who wants to do these things out of love, can already do so and collect payment as an afterthought. Since most of us don't actually feel this much love for others, money motivates us to do this work for those we do love.

What people are actually proposing is an economy based on fun. This would create about as much material well-being as a child cre…

denis tries to teach foreign policy

If pseudonymous claims on Reddit can be believed (narrator: "Usually not"), this was the culmination of an exchange with someone who claimed to be "much more than a voter": a holder of a master's degree in international relations, an active participant in the Intelligence Community, and (from many comments I won't reproduce) a holder of a low emotional quotient. The following started with my suggestion that the US bombing weddings in the Middle East is a bad thing:

It seems it hasn't occurred to you that "Look at all this power!" isn't an ethical reason to be in the region. Fighting the commies might have been, but that is over.
"Much more than a voter":
This isn't about ethics. No one cares about your subjective beliefs. Please look into international relations. Here's what some say is the predominant school in it, but the truth is that it has subsumed all other schools of thought within it. Poke around a bit in here. …

Reinventing wheels: A better, sliding-matrix diff algorithm

A week ago, I posted about a simple diff algorithm which works, produces tolerable results, but is ultimately a toy. I wanted an algorithm that produces excellent results while keeping consistent worst-case performance.

I didn't want to implement the Myers algorithm because:
I find it hard to understand. I'd need a better understanding to implement it.It uses recursion. This is unfit for production. I would need to understand the algorithm even better to fix this.It has worst-case performance O(NM). This is unfit for production. I would need to understand it completely, inside-out, to figure out how to implement a compromise between optimality and performance.My capable colleague already attempted all of the above, suggesting a different approach is worthwhile.I was inspired by this excellent visualization from Robert Elder's page about the Myers diff:

I built on the core idea from my simple diff, the unique unit map, to devise a sliding matrix algorithm:
Instead of a full m…

Reinventing wheels: A straightforward, two-pass diff algorithm

For over two decades of writing software, I was scared of writing a diff algorithm. It seemed so formidable, like something an impressively bearded inventor of Unix might do, while the rest of us are doomed to fail and suffer in our cluelessness.

If you want to be discouraged, just look it up! Instead of finding a simple algorithm anyone could implement, you'll find that diffs are a special case of the Longest Common Subsequence problem. You'll learn this is a difficult problem. It's NP-hard. You'll find solutions that are mathematical and arcane and recursive, with horrible worst-case performance. There will be suggestions of wisdom along these lines:
How to put N grains of sugar in coffee: - If N=0, stop algorithm. - Otherwise, pick first grain of sugar. Mix it with coffee. - Repeat for remaining N-1 grains.When I needed a diff algorithm, on two separate occasions, in two separate decades, I hired two separate people to do it. They studied the same literature, found t…

My beloved aunt and her All-Adoption

Across the ocean lives my superficially kind, perfidiously manipulative aunt. Before I talk shit, I must note she was a second mother figure for me growing up. My actual mother is not quite a functional human, and my dad came to see me every two weeks. The occasional visits I had from my dad, along with visits to my aunt, were invaluable to me. It helped me grow up less screwed up than I could be. I needed that, so I am eternally grateful.

My aunt has also gone out of her way to help me. Most recently this year, she spent quite a bit of effort on a favor I asked, while refusing compensation beyond the costs. Back in 2007, she contributed awesomely at Jana and I's wedding with games*, poetry, and singing. Overall, in my life, she has been a kind, if subtly calculating presence.

She comes across as the nicest person. Practically a saint. That makes it disconcerting when you realize she finagles her way to be everyone's friend – only to smugly judge and diss them when they'r…