Beating Trump

– … how can I help but see what is in front of my eyes? Two and two are four.
– Sometimes, Winston. Sometimes they are five. Sometimes they are three. Sometimes they are all of them at once. You must try harder. It is not easy to become sane.
― George Orwell, 1984

Yesterday, for our National Disgrace du Jour, we watched Trump argue with the media over the size of his… inauguration turnout! Yes. That was a priority for POTUS on Day 1. Even Chris Wallace of Fox News dared ask “how does this [argument] help the American people?” Some Trump tweets followed today, this time about the inauguration TV ratings.

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Power and Democracy

Bob sat hunched over his little laptop: red plaid shirt, jeans slightly torn, cowboy boots, black baseball cap. His beard, a couple inches long, covered most of his face: darker at the roots, silvery towards the edges. “What’s the damn WiFi password here?” I obliged. I saw him open up the green-on-black terminal window and start typing things in. “You’re using the fucking terminal to connect to WiFi?” I asked giggling like an idiot. He laughed back: “Yeah this new UI, it used to be possible to spoof your MAC address but then they just silently removed that feature. No documentation, just stopped supporting it. Horrible.”

– You spoof your MAC address?
– Yeah a random one every time. You have to, otherwise they can track you.
– Huh. Well you might as well just use Tor…
– No, I think Tor’s an NSA project. I think they made that specifically to track people
– You think NSA has back doors into Tor?

He continued typing away at his wireless settings, talking quietly: “No one tells you what’s going on these days anymore, you know. I like to know what’s going on…”

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Obama Out

I voted for him twice and I will miss him. But I try not to idolize and there are things that don’t click. He spoke. I teared up at times. I watched him cry too. I believed. But Gitmo is still open. And the ACA was a bit of a mess. And the drone strikes he ordered have killed  between several hundred and several thousand non-terrorist civilians: women, children – does anyone have a precise fucking number or what?

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Patriotism has got to go

Borders are scars on face of the planet
~ Gogol Bordello

Honestly – I thought patriotism was a 20th century thing that surely should’ve gone away after the Cold War. For some reason it’s still stuck around. Atheists keep going on about how harmful religion is. I keep pointing out to them that nonreligious ideas can be just as bad. Patriotism, for sure, is one such moronic idea. Those “God bless America” posts everywhere – forgive me – just too fucking annoying not to point out.

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Libertarianism and Communism: Same Coin

Or, rather, opposite sides of said coin; both ideologically pure ideas that haven’t so far been implemented. Though USSR was regarded as communist in the west, Brezhnev himself called it socialist, allegedly in the process of “building communism” as late as the 1980s, not too long before it all went kaput. Both communism and libertarianism are great, well-intentioned ideas. Communism suggests a government that embodies our empathy: let’s create a state that efficiently implements our desire to help each other, wisely assigning jobs to the best-qualified workers, planning production efficiently, making sure everyone’s needs are met and no one is left behind. Libertarianism responds by claiming that a central planning authority will never be as efficient as the all-knowing market and no free man should be forced to sacrifice himself for others. Libertarianism says that sharing is all good, but it must be voluntary, never forced! So, instead of a giant state, let’s celebrate the free individual working towards their sacred potential, which, conveniently, tends to help everyone around them; for crying out loud, keep the state out of people’s way. Simply put, it’s all government versus all market. Continue reading

If this doesn’t work out

When it comes to the Matters of the Heart I cannot claim any expertise or mastery. But sometimes I have utterly no idea what people mean when they talk about relationships. Surely you’ve had this conversation at some point. Your S.O. looks you in the eye, your foreheads touch, you’re holding each other, there’s the most peaceful silence, you feel their warm breath on the skin of your face:

You know… if this doesn’t work out…. I honestly wish we can still…

Still whatever – still be friends, still play music together. Still something. But – it struck me – I have absolutely no idea what it means for a relationship to “work out.” What does that mean? Continue reading

The Good, the Bad, and the Existing

You know what sucks? Models that are too simple. Take, for example, the basic gravity thing that we all experience. This article captures very neatly how the model evolved over time. First there was Aristotle, then there was Newton, then there was Einstein, now there’s weirdo quantum stuff. At every phase, some smart person suggests a new model – a new description of how things are. We start with a very simplistic view. As we learn more, we realize the model actually sucks. Then we get a better model and then we say “aha this is it! It must be so!” And then the new model is shown to be incomplete as well. And, of course, every time someone suggests, merely suggests, that our worldview might be incomplete, there’s a raging mob that screams “heresy!” As I wrote before, there are dogmas everywhere – even in the respected scientific circles. Why is that? Our models of Physics, Chemistry, Biology, History, Relationships – you name it – keep evolving all the time, and yet we cling so hard at every iteration, so afraid that we might be incorrect. That’s one of our greatest fears isn’t it? Public speaking, being disliked and being wrong. Heavens forbid!

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