Monday, December 27, 2010

I finally got an iPhone, but ...

My experience has been almost entirely wonderful, but of course it's a single annoyance that motivated me to write this post. My single annoyance? I can't enter a phone number and have my phone automatically tell me the matching contacts. I can't even figure out how to search contacts by phone number.

It sucks to lose a feature you didn't even know you loved.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

If economists were so smart ...

This is from The Non-economist's Economist, a review of The Affluent Society & Other Writings, 1952-1967, a collection of writings by John Kenneth Galbraith:
At the 1955 stock-market hearings, Galbraith was followed at the witness table by the aging speculator and "adviser to presidents" Bernard M. Baruch. The committee wanted to know what the Wall Street legend thought of the learned economist. "I know nothing about him to his detriment," Baruch replied. "I think economists as a rule—and it is not personal to him—take for granted they know a lot of things. If they really knew so much, they would have all of the money, and we would have none."

Friday, September 17, 2010

What if the only way to be happy was to lie to everyone you ever loved?

Would it be worth it?
Where would the balance fall for me? As I am regular of melancholy, I'd guess I'd side with truth.

At some point, everything can't be blamed on "the media"

Especially if the complaitant is a blogger! At what point will Brad DeLong and Kevin Drum be members of "the media"? I certainly read their writings more than any 'journalist' members of "the media". And when oh when will they shut the fuck up about "the media"? The incessant meta-level discussions are annoying (and pointless). You're both part of "the media" now! Raise the bar (and stop calling me stupid, assholes)!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

The real nemesis of the Autobots ...

... is the doppleganger of Optimus Prime: Pessimus Subprime!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

You're already bearing the burden of the truth

People can stand what is true,
for they are already enduring it.
-- Eugene Gendlin

Weird Pandora coincidence

I added a band (Crystal Castles) to Pandora and it started with the song that was currently playing in my tab for the MySpace page of the same band.
I just realized that it's just a coincidence. Or rather, I felt how much mundane of a coincidence it really is. It's so mundane I'm ... still going to post it, but I'll always almost regret doing so.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Humility is not boasting of modesty

Great slogan derived from the article on Less Wrong: The Proper Use of Humility:

Humility is not boasting of modesty.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Less Wrong: Religion's Claim to be Non-Disprovable

I was reading Religion's Claim to be Non-Disprovable when it hit how much religion is simply the form that (almost) all cultural transmission (i.e. spread of ideas, songs, pottery, etc.) took throughout much of human history.
There simply wasn't anything like law, or history, or biology for a long time.
Religion was it. It was everything.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Poem – Threads

All threads begin somewhere
And each one somewhere ends.
Voices unheeded crying out
against the life we, heedless, spend.
Counting, dying, watching, waiting,
for life we hunger never sating.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Guacamole – Delicious

I modified this recipe as follows:

  • 4 avocados instead of 3 (and I left the pits in; a friend says that slows the color change of the guac)
  • 1 lime, juiced [I did so by hand]
  • I used an unknown (but significant) amount of nice garlic salt instead of salt (or minced garlic; see below)
  • I used a red onion (still half of it)
  • I used almost certainly 2-3 times more cilantro and I pureed it with a food processor
  • 2 roma (plum) tomatoes, diced [I think I actually matched this]
  • I didn't use any minced garlic aside from the garlic salt mentioned above
  • I used a jalapeƱo (including the seeds) but no cayenne
  • I also added dice cucumber, using about a third of a decent sized cucumber

Just combine everything and mash the avocados – I used a spoon and that worked just fine.

It's a little spicy, particularly when you get a jalapeno seed (or several) in a bite. The cucumber provides an extra coolness lost often otherwise lost in the creamy textrure of the avocados, but the original recipe was pretty solid to begin with.

It was (and still is) delicious. And four avocados makes a surprisingly large amount of guacamole apparently.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Institution deaths are 'real'

One apparently puzzling aspect of recessions or depressions if you listen to or read economists is that 'aggregate demand' falls so much more sharply than one would otherwise expect.
But what if the death of instiutions themselves, both large and small, are the real reason recessions and depressions are so asymmetric with respect to their corresponding booms?

Another great band name

The Irreverends

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Linux?

On superuser.com, a question and answer site for general computer topics (i.e. installing programs, troubleshooting devices, etc.), there are 4029 questions tagged 'windows' and there are 3335 questions tagged 'linux'.

It wasn't quite easy enough the last time I tried. Windows was far better for Internet than any Linux setup I could configure.

But maybe it's better now.

Monday, May 17, 2010

An Important Benefit of Free Markets

Prices provide signals to make possible the continuous provision of something desired.

Subsidies, tariffs, and all the milder distortions too, merely mismatch our aggregate desires and our own incentives to fulfill them.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Minimal guacamole

I own Betty Crocker's Best oh Healthy and Hearty Cooking and I've been using it to do calf raises – it's a fine sturdy surface for such activity. On a whim, I decided to look thru it for something to try my hand at, and lo and behold I am inspired by the very first recipe – guacamole.
But as I'm scanning the recipe, the number of ingredients seems too many for such an innocuously simple-looking item. And that got me to thinking about a minimal guacamole recipe.
The lowest-hanging answer would be simply mashed avocados. But is that too simple? Would that not more properly be best described as just "mashed avocados"? [I am ignoring the chips for the sake of this post; the ubiquitous existence of the phrase "guacamole and chips" supports its independence anyways.]
Some ingredients from Betty's recipe we can safely exclude: tomatoes, jalapeƱos, and pepper. These are definitely optional in my experience.
The contentious ingredients in regards to a minimal recipe: onion, garlic, cilantro, lime juice, and salt.
Starting with just the mashed avocados, which would we add to our skeletal recipe first?
A tentative list:

  1. Salt
  2. Lime juice
  3. Cilantro
  4. Onion
  5. Garlic
Now I need to perform the experiments and collect the data. Who wants to help?

Saturday, April 17, 2010

"Something for the Pain"

The book is Something for the Pain: Compassion and Burnout in the ER – by Paul Austin. It wasn't particularly surprising or eye-opening – it's common knowledge that medicine is difficult and stressful. It wasn't outstanding, but it was readable.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

What? You don't *want* me to install Internet Explorer 8?! OK ...

Apparently I can't install IE8 – I have IE7 currently – until I upgrade Silverlight from version 2 to the latest version 3 build. But, apparently the Silverlight website is convinced my computer is a Mac. OK, fair enough. I'll just install the latest Firefox version. All so I can file my taxes on turbotax.com (their website doesn't like Chrome).

Monday, February 15, 2010

Clean Your Balls!

I was reading this post about an $800 lamp you break (to let out the light) and I spotted this Axe ad – touching!

South African painter Mustafa Maluka

Tyler Cowen again with the ill links – some images of the art of South African painter Mustafa Maluka.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Reassurance about the State of the World

I was reading this post about the bad economic outlook in Greece, and it occurred to me (in a similar fashion as is transcribed below):
How nice it is that this person, and his wider community, can coordinate the exchange of information about all this activity – it's important that someone is paying attention; someone is fact-checking the numbers; someone is watching all the moves of all the players – it's great that there is now more of a connected audience for this little piece of the universe.
A lot of smart people I know are pessimistic about the world. Their actions betray their true beliefs, but this is what they maintain rhetorically.
I don't buy it.
We will fail to forestall all of our problems, but we will quietly prevent almost all of them.
And I'm reassured by the breathtaking diversity of thought I encounter every day.
Thank you thinkers!

Why do Unions Over-bargain?

Tyler Cowen at Marginal Revolution links to this New York Times article about the acrimonious negotiations between the NBA team owners and the players union in the months leading up to the expiration of their current agreement.
First, why the hell does the NBA have a player's union? Why isn't there a union for investment bankers too? [Is there?]
Second, why do unions always seem to over-bargain? The auto-worker's union(s) also had the quixotic habit of negotiating deals that were not in the long-term interests of their members. What are the dynamics that produce this behavior? Is it a lack of business knowledge on the part of the unions? Are they forced to negotiate the best short-term deal because they're feigning ignorance of the actual business conditions? Is this ultimately a result of the ignorance of the workers / union members?
Why isn't the nature of unions, and the legal protections they enjoy, more frightening to people? They're essentially employment agencies with a legal monopoly granted (in perpetuity?) for any companies they successfully organize – an employment agency that you can't quit save by finding another career, or being lucky enough to live in a right-to-work state (such as my home state, Florida).

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Lala is not a backup service

I like Lala.
They have a program you can install called Music Mover that will download and upload music. Music you upload can be listened anywhere (from which you can browse the web [with sound!]). But you can't download music you upload.
And even more frighteningly, you can't re-download music you've already downloaded!
Oh wait – that's what iTunes does too.
Hmmm.
Time to invest in a backup procedure for my files? That's probably long overdue.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The web life of 'chilax'

Or rather google's history thereof. What happened 2001?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

At Least Some Risk ... May Keep Us Safe

I've got Wireshark and I was thinking about whether I could use it to spot evil code (e.g. viruses, worms, etc.) using the WiFi connection. I could, but could some of these code-villians bypass this monitoring? Maybe most evil-code-doers already were.
It's almost certainly possible for them to bypass the tool that captures the network traffic (WinPcap), though it would involve manipulating the network devices outside of the operating system commands.
This is a stark example of the inevitable fallibility of any passive defense. But I realized that that fact is also a blessing, despite it being most remembered a curse. Walls are made to keep people in too. Freedom is abused by the vicious, but it's the only way to survive some evils we visit upon each other.
I've been reading Little Brother by Cory Doctorow about a near-future 'anti-terror' near-police-state San Fransisco and I'm appreciating the good that may be being done by people otherwise overloading our inboxes with spam.

"Photography is like reality getting ready for a fancy dress party"

Awesome quote from this mini-interview. I found the quote on ilovethatphoto, and I found that site from flavorpill.
Looking at the photos on that site, I wondered anew how the hell it is that photos are art (or artistic)? It must be the same way the world itself seems like art sometimes.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Awesome band name 17

so ... what did u really think of my hat?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Friday, January 01, 2010

A justification (rationalization?) for gift-giving

I was just struck by the realization that I value providing specific experiences to people. Yes, I could give simply give my friend $5 – but I much more enjoy buying him a graph-paper notebook for his song lyrics, laundry lists, and engineering diagrams. But am I just acting selfishly, paying for the chance to know or say that I contributed or caused these 'wonderful' experiences? Would it be better to simply give $5?

The inevitable feedback-spaghetti of signaling games makes my head spin. What a precarious balance and never really achieved!

[If none of the above makes sense, go read Robin Hanson @ Overcoming Bias. He's always providing great examples of signaling in action.]