Java Zen:Thinking Out Loud Sunday, 2017.02.19
I am a friend of the working man, and I would rather be his friend than be one.

		Clarence Darrow

2008.06.27

Mythological Facts In Dispute

I’m not a believer in astrology, in the sense that I find it at all useful for solving problems. But it is entertaining and kinda fun. Stumbled upon this entry in Wikipedia this morning, actually captures the essence:

It’s the “factual accuracy” that is disputed. I’ve been wanting to ask an astrologist what happened to the art when Pluto was downgraded? Or what about the other planets that were discovered in the galaxy. And arn’t they neglecting the influence of other large objects moving about in vacuums like astroids and Michael Moore?

I’m just askin’…

2008.04.19

Right Wing Nuts

I had excellent chemistry teachers and professors in high school and college. They were tough and thorough. What I learned there paved the way toward being a successful computer programmer. Writing software is easy. Writing successfully software is a challenge. Successful software is resilient, durable and stable. To get there, a developer has to be exceptionally adept at debugging. Finding a bug often comes down to recognizing what isn’t happening.

This is probably true for any complex field. Tracing network hardware issues can depend on noticing where date is isn’t being routed, fine tuning a medical diagnosis may depend on noticing which symptoms aren’t present. I find it can also be true of people’s beliefs. The things they don’t say often reveal how thoughts are being process inside their head.

An example of how this “insight by absence” idea is reflected in people came by way of one of my friends who remarked that another friend had noted “all those right wing nuts” in my blog roll.

Busted.

They’re there all right.

Hmmmmm. But what about these?

  • Advice Goddess
  • Ann Althouse
  • Daily KOS
  • Democratic Underground
  • Eric Umansky
  • Huffington Post
  • Lawrence Lessig
  • Liberal Oasis
  • TalkLeft
  • Truthout

Interesting filter in play. The sites bulleted above are also in my blog roll and are anything BUT right wing. So presumably, they are not “nuts.” But by including the “right wing nuts” I’ve revealed myself as a “right wing nut?” I’ve just learned a great deal about this particular person – how they perceive the world, where they draw lines, how they discriminate, what bothers them.

Well, my friend, you are not alone in such criticism. I’ve also been dinged for “polluting” my blog roll with “left wing nuts.” Forming such at-a-glance beliefs is dependent upon not actually reading this blog. Doing so would reveal I throw stones at both sides of the aisle. I’ve stated more than once on these pages I’m a registered Independent, preferring to listen to both sides, dive deeper to find the source facts (or lack of them) to my own satisfaction and form my own opinions. That may sound like work, but it’s much easier than towing any party’s line.

Alas, you can neither teach nor expect people to step back for the bigger picture.

The greatest obstacle to discovering the shape of the earth, the continents and the ocean was not ignorance but the illusion of knowledge.Daniel J. Boorstin

[Edit History]

2008.04.12

Oooops. Took “Protein Wisdom” off the bullet list. Didn’t intend for that one to be there.

2008.03.17

Life B.T. (Before Television)

When the younger generation asks us elders, “What did you do before there was television to keep entertained?”, it’s a difficult question to answer. Not hard difficult, but embarrassingly difficult:

We had the The Swing Wing:

“It’s a what?” It’s a Swing Wing! Because “Self-induced Whiplasher” just wouldn’t sell as well, you know.

But that’s not all! We also had Clackers! What fun! What hilarity when those things busted into pieces and flew in all directions. More thrilling than lawn darts! And they say only video games cause brain damage.

[Edit History]

2008.03.17

James Lileks elaborates.

2007.11.10

Run, Legacy Media, Run!

Glenn Raynolds’ wrap up from Blogworld Expo in Las Vegas:

It really underscored to me how big and diverse the blogosphere has become. There were lots of big bloggers I barely knew of, because they’re in areas I don’t follow. Some tech folks were telling me that they liked it because, going to the tech conferences, they saw the same people every time. I think a lot of political-blogger types felt the same way. There was plenty of cross-fertilization.

But the bottom line is that the blogging pond has gotten very big, and there are a lot of big fish in it now. I think that’s a huge success for the blogosphere.

I would agree and I believe the blogger’s effect on news and information is still defining its self. Just two years ago there were a handful of blogs I kept up with on a daily basis and of those I pretty much kept up with all the posts and comments. Of that handful, just two remain that I follow that closely: Instapundit and Tim Blair. I still tune in now and again to many of the old favorites, such as Althouse, Hot Air, Gateway Pundit, Iowahawk, The Anchoress and the Advice Goddess. But the time that had been spent keeping up with the second tier blogs has been supplanted by time spent at a variety of excellent blogs related to my business and industry. Two years ago, there wasn’t much out there in the blogosphere related to my business. At least not much beyond the posting of code samples, requests for technical support and rants against Microsoft and such. Today, there are a number of excellent blogs related to software design, development and security. Joel Spolsky and Bruce Schneier are no longer such lonely examples in the blogosphere.

The adaptability of the blogosphere, where evolutionary rules prevail more so than the revolutionary, is not its only advantage over the legacy media. The blogosphere, I believe, will host a diversity of which the politically correct congregation cannot even conceive. When an environment of diversity exists without fear of reprisal or repression by guilt, there can be true dialog and understanding.

In the blogosphere there are no suicide bombers to be fearful of, entitled, unfocused hunger strikers receive the collective yawn and laughter they deserve, lies are exposed, and justice prevails. In the legacy media, you’ll find support of terrorists tactics (bombers, snipers, use of human shields), exaggerated importance of trite stories, fabrication, lies, bias disguised as journalism and efforts to incite lynch mob frenzies among their readers. True, you may find this among bloggers. But other bloggers will expose such bloggers. Legacy media does not do this to its own.

I have great faith in the general population’s distaste for being duped like this and judging from the falling circulation and stock prices among the major US papers as well as the anti-war bombs being cranked out by Hollywood, I’d say the general population is catching on to what a shabby product the legacy media is producing. And for those that see, the blogosphere is there to catch them.

2007.09.25

Marcel Marceau

I had to dig to find this, but it was worth it. It’s the autographed program from when I saw Marcel Marceau perform here in Denver in 1980 (click for larger image):

Marcel Marceau 1

I studied French for 5 years and used it only twice in my life for actual conversation. Once while traveling through Canada and once after waiting near two hours at the back entrance of the theater for Marcel Marceau. I told him, in French, that I thought his performance was fantastic and asked for his autograph (Yes, I have spoken with the mime!), which he gave. Still a memorable performance and an inspiration after more than 27 years.

I was saddened to hear of his passing.

2007.06.25

The Soul Full Cup

That’s where I am, at the moment. The “Soul Full Cup” coffee house on Market Street in Corning, New York. It has it all – ambiance, WiFi, and most importantly, excellent coffee. A special shout out to my nephew, David. This is his favorite place to enjoy a cup of java and many thanks for sharing the wisdom. At 20, the man has soul. True, dat.

Soul Full Cup

2007.06.20

O’Hare + CNN = Mini-Hell

I’m waiting for my connecting flight to Rochester and United is delayed because of some sort of system-wide computer glitch. I have yet to get through this airport without a delay. CNN is spewing info-filth into the waiting area. So far in the “news”: Firemen are dead, a mother and baby are dead, a truck plowed into pedestrians, an ambulance crash was caught on tape and there has been a raccoon rescue.

Not feeling particularly informed here.

One thread of solace, via GPRS I can connect to the real world.

[Edit History]

2007.06.20

Hey, things just improved! A lady sat down next to me eating McDonald’s with her mouth open. At one time I used to think that stuff smelled good. Or maybe it always smelled like crap and I just had no relative reference. Bonus! There’s a kid just behind me throwing popcorn around (occasionally eating some with his mouth open.)

2007.06.27

Got this email from United, send last Friday:

************************************************************
We apologize if your travel was disrupted
************************************************************

On behalf of United, I want to express our sincere regrets
for any disruption to service you may have experienced when
flying with us on Wednesday and Thursday this week. We know
you expect us to take you where you want to go with on-time
departures and arrivals. We failed to meet your expectations
on those days.

As you may be aware, a computer outage, due to human error
during routine system testing, significantly impacted our
operations systemwide. Working as a team, we were able to
get our airplanes and crews back on schedule…and our
passengers on their way.

We greatly appreciated your patience and know that we will
make every effort to keep this type of situation from
occurring in the future.

Your satisfaction and business mean a great deal to United,
and we look forward to our next opportunity to serve you.

Sincerely,

Barbara Higgins
Vice-President
Customer Experience
United Airlines

Hmmmmmm. Do you suppose anyone lost their job?


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