• 84 Posts
Joined 4Y ago
Cake day: May 15, 2019


Every time the US tries to ask Israel to show restraint, Israel tells the US to not “interfere with internal affairs”. Sounds good to me. In that case, the US should stop sticking out its neck on Israel’s behalf. We’ve done so for far too long.

This could be positive, but it shouldn’t be premature. As-is, Russia is occupying part of Ukraine. A “peace” that leaves Russia with a sizeable chunk of Ukraine tells Russia that invasions will be rewarded. A peace created by rewarding bad behavior is not a peace that will last.

I love seeing post/comment language tags!
It's a good reminder to use the language feature.

I’m not too upset about the ones inside Russia. Russia is waging a bombing campaign that is killing civilians across Ukraine. Propagandists are an integral part of Russia’s war effort. They have made themselves a legitimate target. No one is safe in Ukraine, so why should propagandists in Russia expect anything different?

I am more upset about reports of targeting of people who have alleged sympathies toward Russia in areas that have been retaken by Ukraine. Regardless of what happened, it’s more important that Ukraine set itself up for unity and peace. Punishing people for alleged collaboration sets that goal back.

A liberal democracy is an electoral democracy plus:

…judicial and legislative constraints on the executive along with the protection of civil liberties and equality before the law.

Closed autocracies are defined as:

No multiparty elections for the executive; absence of fundamental democratic components such as freedom of expression, freedom of association, and free and fair elections.

They have more on their criteria here. But based on that criteria, it’s pretty hard to argue that the country that’s unabashedly responsible for the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre and built the Great Firewall allows freedom of expression or freedom of association.

How consequential is this? In the US, student body elections are barely impactful inside the higher education system, let alone having an impact on broader life.

I keep hearing how valuable a simple locking door is. Having nothing but a tent means there’s the constant stress that anything you don’t have literally strapped to your body can be taken at any time. A locking door means being able to leave possessions at home and reasonably expect they will be there when you come back.

Our local newspaper did a great piece on some of the successes of a “safe rest” program that the City of Portland has been working on. The article isn’t shy that the central example in the story has struggled with Xanax addiction, but is improving with help. It also discusses another safe rest area purposefully placed next to a methadone clinic. The local businesses were maybe not so happy, but what of it? Better some well organized tiny home villages than the mess of ugly tents in our parks and on our sidewalks.

There’s not really that much you can do about it if you’re on a cell phone. Your phone is connecting to the cell tower, and at that point all bets are off on how metadata gets used.

It’s also notable how widely prison rates vary, from a low of 96 per 100k in Massachusetts to a high of 575 per 100k in Mississippi.

Which he are you talking about? This is the leading opposition candidate who is claiming Russian interference.

Cars blow…

…pollutants in my face when I bike.

I hope Erdoğan gets his ass handed to him in these elections. He was a positive force for Türkiye once upon a time, but that time has passed. Now he just fuels inflation, not to mention his lax building code enforcement was a large cause of the poor building construction that led to high casualty rates in the recent earthquake. He’s become increasingly autocratic, including changes that allow him to rule by decree. It’s time for someone new.

I don’t see this as a problem. Governments are going to naturally put the well being of their citizens first. If that means keeping the US at arm’s reach but growing closer to other regional powers, great. As long as China is kept in check in the region to a reasonable degree, it’s all good.

I’m still frustrated over the withdrawal of the US from the TPP, as was mentioned in the article. It was an insanely self-destructive act by the Trump administration, much like the withdrawal from the JCPOA (Iran deal). Both have allowed other powers to step in and assert themselves while failing to achieve the goals set out. They cast the US as fickle when presidents have historically made an effort in foreign policy to keep some level of continuity with their predecessor.

Reading. Really. I was a huge book worm. I could have stood to have spent more time with friends, though. And I wish that I had figured out earlier that I was gay (aka not been in denial) and started dating.

Video games are fun, but I’m kind of garbage at them so that makes them less enjoyable. Phones didn’t really change entertainment that much. I use them as a more convenient music, audiobook, and podcast player. Most of my social media is Reddit and Lemmy, and those don’t lend themselves to virtual keyboards.

That’s a weird comparison to make because the US economy is so massive. Any given spending statistic is likely to be much later than other nations. If you look at the US’s spending as a percentage of GDP, it’s lower than 15 other nations including Russia.

Why crab apples? They’re small and don’t taste very good unless cooked. It’s food security only in the very loosest sense of the word. Asian pears are easy to grow and very tasty. Wash 'em off and you’re good to go.

But long multiplication and software development are two different breeds. Long multiplication is just one set of very mechanical behaviors. Software has to be highly specialized to the task at hand.

Take a project I maintain, an access request system. I had to:

  • Get a concept of what was needed
  • Review the access request system that I was replacing
  • Model the database
  • Draft email templates
  • Make REST API calls to systems for provisioning access
  • Handle authentication and authorization
  • Fill in a tree of requestable items
  • Work on a deployment process

All this required that I have a very deep understanding of this specific application, how it works with the rest of our systems, and how it works with our business processes. Access request systems are a dime a dozen, but getting it honed to our specific requirements took precise knowledge and some creativity.

That’s not really what it’s doing, though. It’s mimicking what it’s seen before and producing something that looks like it fits with the query. It has no conceptual understanding of what it’s doing. It will likely be an aid, not a replacement.

I’m skeptical about any large impact on software development above the code monkey level. At least with today’s AI, it’s a statistical model based on its training set. It will spit out something that might work, so it can be useful for autocompletion and snippet generation. But when you’re trying to architect a system, gather requirements, or conceive of how data routes through a system then AI won’t help at all.

I’m not going to say college affordability isn’t a concern, but some of the claims they make are misleading or false. Take this claim:

The assault sees elite schools, where tuition can run as high as $80,000 a year, cater to the wealthy and the privileged, locking out the poor and the working class.

That’s using the sticker price only, which most students don’t pay either because of scholarships or needs based aid. See this statement from Yale:

Families whose total gross income is less than $75,000 (with typical assets) are not expected to make a financial contribution towards their child’s Yale education.

Or from Harvard:

If your family’s income is less than $85,000, you’ll pay nothing.

I’m a staff member at a public university. While I’m not directly involved with financial aid, they try to work with students to make tuition affordable. That might be through regular financial aid or through special programs like one that is directed towards students that are the first in their family to attend college.

VanillaOS has a very basic core system (currently Debian) and builds a completely vanilla GNOME desktop using Nix, .deb, Flatpak, or AppImage. Various package managers can be used to build an application inside of a container. I haven’t used it yet, but I’m planning to give it a try.

Edit: I wasn’t completely correct. It relies on Flatpak or AppImage for the desktop, but allows you to install packages from Arch and Fedora in containers that get exposed to the host OS. Nix is not yet supported.

Huh, that’s funny.

Edit: Nitrous oxide aka laughing gas…

Huh, the South Koreans don’t seem to have much noticed how evil their American occupiers are. 84% approval rating of the US from one typical poll I found.

First, Russia is already in a proxy war with the US and winning.

Russia is engaging with its own troops. NATO is only working on supplies and support. Given that Russia has already had its newest tanks defeated and is relying on museum pieces, I wouldn’t exactly call it a great success.

high command knows that the DPRK will be difficult to provoke

There is no scenario where the US pursues a fight with North Korea. The US gets nothing out of it and it stirs a pot that could get really nasty. For that matter, the US doesn’t particularly want Kim Jung-un dead because of the power struggle that would cause. Given the already fragile state of North Korea, that would lead to a massive refugee crisis.

The most likely scenario is instead that a series of small escalations lead to all-out war.

While the peninsula as a whole is Korean, sure. Doesn’t mean the North Korean government has any legitimate jurisdiction over South Korea or grounds to complain if South Korea invites US troops to be stationed in South Korea. And if North Korea wanted to claim that it was peaceful, maybe it wouldn’t have artillery trained on the world’s 4th largest metropolis, no?

The US is there by invitation of an allied government. North Korea can have the official position that the whole peninsula belongs to it, but that isn’t worth the paper it’s written on in the same way that Taiwan’s claim of all of China has no practical worth.

For starters, how useful is that army? The US has a smaller force, but far better equipment. North Korea’s equipment is decades out of date. The army also takes time to call up. Ultimately, it would be a slaughter.

I don’t think Russia, Iran, and Syria would be in any position to help. I think the fighting would be over fast. Remember the initial invasion in the 2003 Iraq War? It was over in three days; the following civil war and occupation was what lasted so long. That’s what wars look like when the US is off its leash, especially when it’s been training for this scenario for decades. Meanwhile, Iran and Syria are thousands of miles away and while Russia technically shares a border, that far from Russia’s economic and military centers. None of them would be well placed.

Your comment lacks substance. Try harder please.

North Korea has relied on dug in artillery pointed at Seoul to act as a deterrent since the end of active hostilities in the Korean War. The US would instantly see everything via satellite and both retaliate and eliminate the artillery. It would be too late for the 26 million residents of Seoul.

Nukes are more about threatening targets outside artillery range like Japan and US territories.

I… what? What are you basing that on? North Korea’s decrepit old air force? Its submarines that are of greater danger to their own crew? The US’s air force, which if broken out into separate branches would have 4 of the top 10 branches worldwide? And don’t think China’s going to swoop in and help if North Korea picks a fight with the US. It’s going to be pure situation containment mode from Beijing.

On the upside, better than South Korea building their own, assuming this is a geopolitical move to assure South Korea of the US’s commitment. But outside of that, it seems weird. The US could flatten North Korea like a bug using purely conventional means. Why get the complexity of nuclear weapons in the mix?

Could you clarify? I think the US has bungled its relationship with Cuba since the revolution.

There is an intersection in Portland near a rail yard that is crossed by one of the main bike corridors leading to downtown. Trains regularly get stopped for half an hour or more. Not as long as this town, but enough to force someone to make hard decisions if they’re going to be late. Fortunately there is now an elevator-bridge structure, but that still leaves a popular roadway and two popular bus lines at the mercy of the trains.

I wonder how things would change if the US dropped its futile embargo (not a blockade). The Cuban government seems to largely justify its existence by invoking the US. What then if the US had normalized relationships and treated Cuba as a trading partner? I know it would piss off the Cuban diaspora, but it’s going to need to happen at some point.

A Visit to Denver
I just got back from a business trip to Denver. I thought I'd give my prospective on the city from the point of view of a Portlander who usually only uses bike and transit to get around. The transit was pretty solid, at least for downtown and inner suburbs. I took a light rail train straight from the airport to downtown. I had the option to jump on their Mall Bus (will get to that later), but I decided to walk instead. My only complaint was that the ticket felt a bit steep at $10.50 when traveling from the airport. I'm used to a $2.50 flat fare, which both encourages use of transit and is far less confusing for a traveler new to the area. The Mile High City has a mile long downtown mall that is exclusively pedestrian, bicycle, scooter, and the mall bus. The mall bus is frequent and free. Retail of various types lines the mall, both chains and local retail. To show the contrast between your typical North American stores, there was a Taco Bell that took up maybe 800 sq ft (74 sq meters) at most and was rapidly serving customers. That contrasts with a Taco Bell in Portland that gets similar traffic, but is spread over 25,000 sq ft when the building, landscaping, and parking lot are included. Now, my two "fuck cars" moments. They have ridiculously overbuilt their roads. Downtown has four lane roads through it. Seven lane stroads (three lanes each way plus turning) are common. These dwarf Portland's roads, even though Portland's metro population is almost identical. The second was when I was doing a little traveling around the area. Density drops off considerably when you exit the urban core. There doesn't seem to be any effort to keep the city constrained from sprawl. Go out just a few miles and you hit the soulless suburbs with little apparent effort at urban design or infill.