node created 2019/09/29
When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism and militarism are incapable of being conquered.
If the teacher, if anyone, is to be an example of a whole person to others, he must first strive to be a whole person. Without the courage to confront one's inner as well as one's outer worlds, such wholeness is impossible to achieve. Instrumental reason alone cannot lead to it.
It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.
Unanimity of opinion is a very ominous phenomenon, and one characteristic of our modern mass age. It destroys social and personal life, which is based on the fact that we are different by nature and by conviction. To hold different opinions and to be aware that other people think differently on the same issue shields us from Godlike certainty which stops all discussion and reduces social relationships to those of an ant heap. A unanimous public opinion tends to eliminate bodily those who differ, for mass unanimity is not the result of agreement, but an expression of fanaticism and hysteria. In contrast to agreement, unanimity does not stop at certain well-defined objects, but spreads like an infection into every related issue.
Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.
What is to be done? The answer is easy. It has always been easy. Stop saying "not in my name" and start saying "over my dead body". That's what we did. It works. Do it.
Now this doesn't exactly answer why people tolerate this shillery. Probably because people genuinely aren't bothered by being nothing more than walking cash reserves for corporate entities, which makes sense, at least in America, seeing as we now seem to be breeding our kids to be cool with this from birth.
They [governments and corporations] take whatever is available, and in no time it is being used against us, the population. Governments are not representative. They have their own power, serving segments of the population that are dominant and rich.
The conversation took a turn towards how should we handle harassment at our events. During this discussion, a fairly well-known member of the programming community joined the open space. This person, who had not participated in the first half of the open space, quickly took over and steered the conversation. He stated that if put in a similar situation, he would stand up for himself and tell the harasser to leave him alone. Not only did he state that he would do this, but he also felt this was the responsibility of any person being harassed.

At this point, I felt it was relevant to explain that a white male prominent in the programming community is not being put in the same situation as a woman attending the conference. The privilege and power differentials are completely different, and it is bullshit to act like they are the same. I was then yelled at by another man in attendance for “making assumptions” about the speaker. At the time, I apologized to move things along and avoid derailing the conversation, but I find this deeply problematic. Despite popular opinion to the contrary, pointing out someone’s privilege in a situation is not an insult.

It’s privilege that says it’s the victim’s responsibility to make a harasser go away, and that the situation will turn out well if they try to do so. What may be reasonably easy and safe for one person may not be for another. Women are often socialized differently than men to handle conflict, and the harassment they receive does not always take the same form. If you want to get an idea of what women often deal with, try reading @EverydaySexism. It isn’t exaggeration. This is the daily lived experience for many women. The situation is not the same, and claiming so is misguided in the best of cases and harmful in the worst.
All the guys at the bar, Jimmy, all the girls; they don't show up at your wake. Not because they don't like you. But because, they never knew your last name. Then a month later, someone tells them, "Oh, Jimmy died." "Jimmy who?" "Jimmy the Cop." "Ohhh," they say, "him". And all the people on the job, all those people you spent all the hours in the radio cars with, the guys with their feet up on the desk, tellin' stories, who shorted you on your food runs, who signed your overtime slips. In the end, they're not gonna be there either. Family, that's it. Family, and if you're lucky, one or two friends who are the same as family. That's all the best of us get. Everything else is just...
"The Wire"
Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations.
The story goes that Thamus said many things to Theuth in praise or blame of the various arts, which it would take too long to repeat; but when they came to the letters, “This invention, O king,” said Theuth, “will make the Egyptians wiser and will improve their memories; for it is an elixir of memory and wisdom that I have discovered.” But Thamus replied, “Most ingenious Theuth, one man has the ability to beget arts, but the ability to judge of their usefulness or harmfulness to their users belongs to another; and now you, who are the father of letters, have been led by your affection to ascribe to them a power the opposite of that which they really possess.

For this invention will produce forgetfulness in the minds of those who learn to use it, because they will not practice their memory. Their trust in writing, produced by external characters which are no part of themselves, will discourage the use of their own memory within them. You have invented an elixir not of memory, but of reminding; and you offer your pupils the appearance of wisdom, not true wisdom, for they will read many things without instruction and will therefore seem to know many things, when they are for the most part ignorant and hard to get along with, since they are not wise, but only appear wise.
Phaedrus, 274e
When you get more experienced most of these things make me laugh or cry (depending on the siuation); it does not matter what companies like FB, Google do; people on HN or Reddit will take it and do it to the extreme: we now ‘need to’ use React for everything; if it does not fit, just beat it with a hammer until it does. Kubernetes and microservices must be used for every tiny little part if the app even if it causes a lot more overhead in performance/memory use (computers are cheap and fast!) or debugging. Abstract almost everything! (Java + OOP, Javascript and the npm mess) to Abstract almost nothing! (Go w/o generics), Make everything reusable (left-pad), Rewrite everything in JS!, Rust!, Go! etc etc. Everyone is running after eachother and doing it more extreme and the end result is just as shit as if you would not have done that at all and just thought about it bit before opening some IDE and codegenerate you million lines of boilerplate with the instable and slow framework-du-jour. As an older coder I sigh when a codebase is taken out of the ‘mothballs’ even 6-12 months after creation and people cannot get it running because everything they used is outdated because the framework and library authors move fast and break everything all the time. And ofcourse it is in an outdated language / framework(Ruby on Rails is soooo pase) so noone knows anything , it uses the 358 most popular DSLs (350 unmaintained since january) at the time so unless you drank the same coolaid it is a nightmare spelonking adventure.

At least Dijkstra had sound mathematical reasoning for his arguments and wrote about them eloquently (and with good humor I may add); most of what is peddled in the hipster coding circles is a smooth talk by a gifted social media frontman that has no solid basis in anything besides that the person is popular. I do not even understand how people dare to put their name on complete messes like npm or one line npm packages unless it is a joke. I assume things like leftpad are in fact a joke; if they are not I would have to cry myself to sleep every night. So I just lie and say it is funny.
We should be building eternal, public archives of all the cultural and scientific knowledge of humankind. Instead we're building vast secret archives of everyone's tweets, lunch appointments and credit card transactions.
It is part of the general pattern of misguided policy that our country is now geared to an arms economy which was bred in an artificially induced psychosis of war hysteria and nurtured upon an incessant propaganda of fear. While such an economy may produce a sense of seeming prosperity for the moment, it rests on an illusionary foundation of complete unreliability and renders among our political leaders almost a greater fear of peace than is their fear of war.
Speech to the Michigan legislature, in Lansing, Michigan (15 May 1952)
Stand up for what you believe in even if you are standing alone.
The received wisdom in advanced capitalist societies is that there still exists an organic “civil society sector” in which institutions form autonomously and come together to manifest the interests and will of citizens. The fable has it that the boundaries of this sector are respected by actors from government and the “private sector,” leaving a safe space for NGOs and nonprofits to advocate for things like human rights, free speech, and accountable government.

This sounds like a great idea. But if it was ever true, it has not been for decades. Since at least the 1970s, authentic actors like unions and churches have folded under a sustained assault by free-market statism, transforming “civil society” into a buyer’s market for political factions and corporate interests looking to exert influence at arm’s length. The last forty years has seen a huge proliferation of think tanks and political NGOs whose purpose, beneath all the verbiage, is to execute political agendas by proxy.
Companies do not act on the basis of the best evidence. They merge even though much research shows that mergers destroy value. They use forced-curve ranking systems for performance reviews even though extensive evidence documents the harmful effects. There is no reason to believe they would behave any differently with respect to their human capital.
I should say a few words here about the curious way the protests are organized. The protesters learned in 2014 that having leaders was a weakness. Once the leadership was arrested, the heart went out of the occupy movement, and it lost momentum. So in 2019, there is no leadership at all. The protests are intentionally decentralized, using a jury-rigged combination of a popular message board, the group chat app Telegram, and in-person huddles at the protests.

This sounds like it shouldn’t possibly work, but the protesters are too young to know that it can’t work, so it works.
I'm kind of sick of the whole "bias" obsession. It's everyone's go-to counterargument these days, and it's a shallow, poorly developed one. It's like everyone's lost critical reasoning skills, which require delicate attention to the particular strategies and propositions deployed in a given argument, and found these set of stock biases to use instead. In fact it's impossible to purge an argument or line of thinking of all so-called biases (though these don't actually exist in arguments, they are deduced from arguments)--if it were, it wouldn't be an argument or thought.

The goal of catching our own mistakes is an admirable one, and I'm not advocating people stop doing that--I just think it too frequently bleeds into trying to find so-called biases in arguments (whether written or verbal). In fact, this is more or less a fool's errand. What people are actually trying to point out in arguments are logical fallacies which are traits of the argument. Biases contrarily occur at the individual level and are operational flaws, they only occur during the thought process, and it's only meaningful to talk about them in these terms (that is, as they manifest in the ongoing practices of a person)--they are not properties of a line of thought's encoding (the written or spoken argument). Fallacies or viewpoints expressed in an argument may hint at the biases of the author, but it's a non-sequitur to start talking about them (when critiquing an argument), as the only way one could actually confirm this is by observing the author at work in daily life. To say, such an such an author is biased, is useless. It doesn't contribute meaningfully to a critique of the argument, and it would need to be verified through observation of the author.

Demonstrating to someone that they have developed/fall prey to particular bias frequently and working to rectify that one-on-one is a totally different story, or trying to catch biases operating in yourself is a totally different story.