node created 2012/06/17
last changed 2013/02/04
Sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice.
When did mediocrity and banality become a good image for your children? I want my children to listen to people who fuckin' ROCKED! I don't care if they died in a puddle of their own VOMIT, I WANT SOMEONE WHO PLAYS FROM HIS FUCKIN' HEART! "Mommy! Mommy! The man Bill told me to listen to has a blood bubble on his nose" SHUT UP AND LISTEN TO HIM PLAY.
Order is not pressure which is imposed on society from without, but an equilibrium which is set up from within.
If I get the call to come in and fix engineering issues, I immediately try to seek out the people who are clearly disgruntled or have already confirmed that they are finishing a 30-day or 2-week notice due to employment elsewhere. If I'm able to identify that they are correctly disgruntled, and simply not causing havoc, I'm going to feed you your employees’ own knowledge. And I'm likely going to charge more than it would have cost for you to simply listen to your employees.

When you do not listen to this relaying of information, and you are still set on hiring outside forces to solve your problem, I will do whatever engineering is required and absolutely shock you in terms of how productive one engineer could be. In reality, this is not because I'm a super genius high-level engineer, it is because I am leveraging your team's engineering against you because you are too fucking thick to see otherwise. This goes back to my writing of "Learn from Your Mistakes." I will give you every tool possible, and perform to the best of my ability, to help you prevent making the same mistakes. If you are not willing to learn, I am more than willing to charge extra the next time you call me.

It is important to note here that I am not trying to take advantage of your situation. Charging more is a direct response to being tired of lessons not being learned. Conversely, I do in fact lower my rates and increase my availability for companies that have proven to learn from their mistakes and adapt. This is because while they still may have a problem or are facing a situation caused by outside forces. Working with those who understand growth both as an employee and as a company simply feels good, and that is exactly what I want to do.
People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.
Meaningful writing has a purpose beyond that of simple entertainment or of generating conversation. Its purpose is to improve society, to improve our life, by teaching us certain truths that the author has learned. John Ruskin puts it well in his essay on books, Of Kings' Treasuries, by saying that good books give us sight. By teaching us what to look for, and the value of those things, we learn to tell apart the good from the bad, to pass better judgements using our sharpened vision. We grow and become wiser. And that is the only sort of writing that ever improves us as people because all the rest, information and entertainment, it just passes by and leaves us in the same state that we are when we first come into contact with it.
What is the point of this ever expanding “long boom” if we leave so many behind?

What a shallow victory we will have wrought if so many suffer so greatly while we benefit so exorbitantly.
Since no one is capable of forming his own opinion without the benefit of a multitude of opinions held by others, the rule of public opinion endangers even the opinion of those few who may have the strength not to share it. This is one of the reasons for the curiously sterile negativism of all opinions which oppose a popularly acclaimed tyranny. [...] public opinion, by virtue of its unanimity, provokes a unanimous opposition and thus kills true opinions everywhere.
There is a goal, but no way; but what we call a way is hesitation.
"Reflections on Sin, Suffering, Hope, and the True Way", #26
All good things have something casual about them and lie like cows in the meadow.
Talent hits a target no one else can hit. Genius hits a target no one else can see.
Nationalism is power-hunger tempered by self-deception.
I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with senses, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use and by some other means to give us knowledge which we can attain by them.
I make a statement. Then another. Soon, more follow; truncated by pauses, commas, contemplative line breaks. The flow is shallow, stagnated. The words stop as quickly as they start. Another sentence. They are interminable, needlessly pithy reminders of a point I'm trying to bore into your skull. They are obtrusive. Some time later - though not so much later, in this instance - I break my cadence with a qualification blocked in hyphens. It is expository, important, essential to the rhythm of the piece. You can tell that this is intentional. Another sentence. Then another. This one, slightly longer, though not much. My points are considered; important. Take heed of this gravitas.
When I observe that there are different ways of surveying, my employer commonly asks which will give him the most land, not which is most correct.
The only way to live on this planet with any human dignity at the moment is to struggle.
"Committed To Life" by Asian Dub Foundation
Those who build a back door into their life will one day use it as main entrance.
For the idea of humanity, when purged of all sentimentality, has the very serious consequence that in one form or another men must assume responsibility for all crimes committed by men and that all nations share the onus of evil committed by all others. Shame at being a human being is the purely individual and still non-political expression of this insight.
"Organized Guilt and Universal Responsibility"
So what I’m proposing is that finance, and indeed consumer Internet companies and all kinds of other people using giant computers, are trying to become Maxwell’s demons in an information network. The easiest way to understand it is to think about an insurance company. So an American health insurance company, before big computing came along, would hire actuaries to set rates. But the idea of, on a person-by-person basis, attempting to decide who should be in the plan so that you could only insure the people who need it the least on an individual basis, that wasn’t really viable. But with big computing and the ability to compute huge correlations with big data, it becomes irresistible. And so what you do is you start to say, "I’m going to..." — you’re like Maxwell’s demon with the little door — "I’m going to let the people who are cheap to insure through the door, and the people who are expensive to insure have to go the other way until I’ve created this perfect system that’s statistically guaranteed to be highly profitable.”

And so what’s wrong with that is that you can’t ever really get ahead. What you’re really doing then is you’re radiating waste heat. I mean, for yourself you’ve created this perfect little business, but you’ve radiated all the risk, basically, to the society at large. And if the society was infinitely large and could absorb it, it would work. There’s nothing intrinsically faulty about your scheme except for the assumption that the society can absorb the risk. And so what we’ve seen with big computing in finance is a repeated occurrence of people using a big computer to radiate risk away from themselves until the society can’t absorb it. And then there’s some giant bailout and some huge breakage. And so it happened with Long-Term Capital [Management] in the ’90s. It happened with Enron, and we saw a repeat of it in the events leading to the Great Recession in the late aughts. And we’ll just see it happening again and again until it’s recognized that this pattern is just not sustainable.
It is not a man’s duty, as a matter of course, to devote himself to the eradication of any, even the most enormous, wrong; he may still properly have other concerns to engage him; but it is his duty, at least, to wash his hands of it, and, if he gives it no thought longer, not to give it practically his support. If I devote myself to other pursuits and contemplations, I must first see, at least, that I do not pursue them sitting upon another man’s shoulders. I must get off him first, that he may pursue his contemplations too. See what gross inconsistency is tolerated. I have heard some of my townsmen say, “I should like to have them order me out to help put down an insurrection of the slaves, or to march to Mexico;—see if I would go”; and yet these very men have each, directly by their allegiance, and so indirectly, at least, by their money, furnished a substitute. The soldier is applauded who refuses to serve in an unjust war by those who do not refuse to sustain the unjust government which makes the war; is applauded by those whose own act and authority he disregards and sets at naught; as if the state were penitent to that degree that it differed one to scourge it while it sinned, but not to that degree that it left off sinning for a moment. Thus, under the name of Order and Civil Government, we are all made at last to pay homage to and support our own meanness. After the first blush of sin comes its indifference; and from immoral it becomes, as it were, unmoral, and not quite unnecessary to that life which we have made.
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"
[..] there's some line that divides games that are beneficial from games that are harmful. It's not really my business to draw that line today, I don't wanna try and convince you exactly what's beneficial and what's harmful, because again, that is up to the opinion of every designer and in fact the opinion of every player. But what I would like is for people to have an opinion about it. When people design a game to think about what that game is doing, and when people play a game to think about what that game is doing. And people don't, right now. They think about how it has cool graphics and a lot of levels and, like, they love the story about killing the bad guy. Which is not a very self-aware place to be standing when you're consuming something that affects your life for so many hours and therefore affects your mind for so many hours. And that bothers me. That makes me feel bad about being a game designer.
We have to create culture, don't watch TV, don't read magazines, don't even listen to NPR. Create your own roadshow. The nexus of space and time where you are now is the most immediate sector of your universe, and if you're worrying about Michael Jackson or Bill Clinton or somebody else, then you are disempowered, you're giving it all away to icons, icons which are maintained by an electronic media so that you want to dress like X or have lips like Y. This is shit-brained, this kind of thinking. That is all cultural diversion, and what is real is you and your friends and your associations, your highs, your orgasms, your hopes, your plans, your fears. And we are told 'no', we're unimportant, we're peripheral. 'Get a degree, get a job, get a this, get a that.' And then you're a player, you don't want to even play in that game. You want to reclaim your mind and get it out of the hands of the cultural engineers who want to turn you into a half-baked moron consuming all this trash that's being manufactured out of the bones of a dying world.
As many critics have pointed out, terrorism is not an enemy. It is a tactic. Because the United States itself has a long record of supporting terrorists and using terrorist tactics, the slogans of today’s war on terrorism merely make the United States look hypocritical to the rest of the world.
"American Hegemony: How to Use It, How to Lose It" (2007)
All fine architectural values are human values, else not valuable.
"The Living City" (1958)
The aim of totalitarian education has never been to instill convictions but to destroy the capacity to form any.
When confronted with situations for which such routine procedures did not exist, he [Eichmann] was helpless, and his cliché-ridden language produced on the stand, as it had evidently done in his official life, a kind of macabre comedy. Clichés, stock phrases, adherence to conventional, standardized codes of expression and conduct have the socially recognized function of protecting us against reality, that is, against the claim on our thinking attention that all events and facts make by virtue of their existence.
"Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil"