node created 2019/09/29
Everything is worse in these authoritarian countries, not just the freedom. That is another thing people generally don't understand. There is nothing to catch up to. We just have to make sure to not get worse ourselves. And to actually use the advantages we had. That is why I am saying that it is the West that is defeatist. It is we that are changing our ways, to a large extent from our post war ideals.

If you want the feature of democracy you have actually be democratic. Which many areas of our societies increasingly aren't. It is nice to be able to say whatever you want, but if no one is listening there is no effect. The point is that something should happen, otherwise we are just cargo culting ourselves and being jesters for those in power.
Each new generation of programmers creates new tools to replace the 'complex' ones that came before without even bothering to understand them.

In my 25 year career I've seen it multiple times. We are all going downhill.

Attention spans in the smartphone era might be preventing people from reading the f*ing manual.

This means that any system or library which has an operating model that must be understood before it can be effectively used[1] simply can't be understood by the majority of programmers today.

[1] The currently popular things in software world are mostly the type of system that lack such a model and which can be 'mastered' by asking discrete questions on stack overflow. This lack of complexity causes a loss of expressive power.
A bore is someone who deprives you of solitude without providing you with company.
The issue today is the same as it has been throughout all history, whether man shall be allowed to govern himself or be ruled by a small elite.
Where once corporations could impose their advertisements on us through television, we now have PVR which can block TV ads. Where once corporations could impose their advertisements on us through websites, we now have browser plugins that can block those ads. It would almost seem as if we have the power to determine how much content we are fed by corporations and how much content we genuinely want to pay attention to.

Except we don't, because it's still accepted that when a corporation creates an advertisement that does something 'neat' or 'cool', it gets reproduced and transmitted through various mediums without any critical appraisal, just because it's different and original. Corporations know this; they know that they have to go above and beyond merely putting a billboard on a highway to attract eyeballs. They know that it's not enough to beat their rivals at pure visibility. They know that they have do something 'different', something 'cool', something 'unique', something 'neat', something that will make it through to those eyeballs and minds that have become desensitized to all those tired, traditional means of advertising.

The companies that create these advertisement (not companies like British Airways, but the PR and marketing companies that they hire), are acutely aware of the fact that the number of people that will look at these kinds of billboards are no higher than the number of people that will look at any other similarly aesthetically pleasing (given contemporary style and taste) billboards. But they do know that if they offer something else, something that piques a viewer's curiosity, a viewer's sense of inquisitiveness or fascination with technology, or a viewer's eye for novelty and originality, then those people will spread the word. They will tell others about this cool and unique and original advertisement. They might not go right up to their friends and say: "Did you see that cool new British Airways advertisement?" because they might be just the kind of person who wouldn't spread the gospel of corporations so directly, but they very well might be the kind of person who would post to a social media site that has millions of anonymous viewers.
Unpopular ideas can be silenced, and inconvenient facts kept dark, without the need for any official ban. Anyone who has lived long in a foreign country will know of instances of sensational items of news — things which on their own merits would get the big headlines-being kept right out of the British press, not because the Government intervened but because of a general tacit agreement that ‘it wouldn’t do’ to mention that particular fact. So far as the daily newspapers go, this is easy to understand. The British press is extremely centralised, and most of it is owned by wealthy men who have every motive to be dishonest on certain important topics. But the same kind of veiled censorship also operates in books and periodicals, as well as in plays, films and radio. At any given moment there is an orthodoxy, a body of ideas which it is assumed that all right-thinking people will accept without question. It is not exactly forbidden to say this, that or the other, but it is ‘not done’ to say it, just as in mid-Victorian times it was ‘not done’ to mention trousers in the presence of a lady. Anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising effectiveness. A genuinely unfashionable opinion is almost never given a fair hearing, either in the popular press or in the highbrow periodicals.
The political divide about surveillance is about whether or not the ends justify the means. I believe they don’t, or rather that those who focus on the immediate benefits of surveillance are myopic to its other effects on society. Those people by the way are well meaning – always keep Hanlon’s Razor in mind : never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity. What it means about surveillance is that we don’t need to have intent to create a fascist regime – we can just sleepwalk into it.
Most wars in the 20th century have started as a result of lies. Amplified and spread by the mainstream press. And you go, well that is a horrible circumstance, that is terrible that all these wars start with lies. And I say no, this is a tremendous opportunity, because it means that populations basically don't like wars and they have to be lied into it.
Solomonoff induction, taken literally, would create countably infinitely many sentient beings, trapped inside the computations. All possible computable sentient beings, in fact. Which scarcely seems ethical. So let us be glad this is only a formalism.
An efficient and valuable man does what he can, whether the community pay him for it or not.
Pleasure is a by-product of doing something that is worth doing. Therefore, do not seek pleasure as such. Pleasure comes of seeking something else, and comes by the way.
Contrary to previous understandings, posts with negative, even vitriolic, criticism of the state, its leaders, and its policies are not more likely to be censored. Instead, we show that the censorship program is aimed at curtailing collective action by silencing comments that represent, reinforce, or spur social mobilization, regardless of content. Censorship is oriented toward attempting to forestall collective activities that are occurring now or may occur in the future --- and, as such, seem to clearly expose government intent.
No less insidious is the cry for 'revolution,' at a time when not even the germs of new institutions exist, let alone the moral and political consciousness that could lead to a basic modification of social life. If there will be a 'revolution' in America today, it will no doubt be a move towards some variety of fascism. We must guard against the kind of revolutionary rhetoric that would have had Karl Marx burn down the British Museum because it was merely part of a repressive society. It would be criminal to overlook the serious flaws and inadequacies in our institutions, or to fail to utilize the substantial degree of freedom that most of us enjoy, within the framework of these flawed institutions, to modify them or even replace them by a better social order. One who pays some attention to history will not be surprised if those who cry most loudly that we must smash and destroy are later found among the administrators of some new system of repression.
"American Power and the New Mandarins" (1969)
He who joyfully marches to music rank and file, has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice. This disgrace to civilization should be done away with at once. Heroism at command, senseless brutality, deplorable love-of-country stance and all the loathsome nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism, how violently I hate all this, how despicable and ignoble war is; I would rather be torn to shreds than be a part of so base an action. It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder.
Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.
What really hurts me sometimes is that there’s not a lot of consciousness in their music. There could be a whole lot more. Rapping is communicating-it should be an instrument for our liberation. We don’t have time to talk about being players and hustlers and gangsters. We didn’t come off of the slave ships that way. We need to become proud Africans again and stop running around in Shirley Temple curls talkin’ ‘bout how we’re pimps and players. A lot of the symbols that are in rap records and videos are indications of decadent consumerism and in a very real sense, those gold chains, hundred-dollar sneakers and T-shirts with a designer’s name on it underline how much they’ve become enslaved by the consumer mentality in the United States-consumer slaves.
Mortal lovers must not try to remain at the first step; for lasting passion is the dream of a harlot and from it we wake in despair.
Another belief of mine: that everyone else my age is an adult, whereas I am merely in disguise.
We feel free to express ourselves because we are ready to fade into emptiness. When we are trying to be active and special and to accomplish something, we cannot express ourselves... So we have enjoyment, we are free.
"Not Always So"