Sunday, December 27, 2020

Favorite Guitarists?

I was asked about my favorite guitarists... and I've never really been good with names of groups, artists, actors, etc... but now we have google to help.

Cliffs of Dover - Eric Johnson - My friend Scott Trost introduced me to a whole new level of what is possible on Guitar

Jimmy Hendrix - Star Spangled Banner - Deconstructed and reconstructed it

Woody Guthrie - This Land is your land

Arlo Guthrie - You can get anything you want, at Alice's Reasturant

Slash / Izzy Stradlin- Guns N Roses - Welcome to the Jungle / Paradise City / November Rain

Ritchie Blackmore - Deep Purple - Smoke on the Water

Billie Gibbons / Dusty Hill - ZZ Top - La Grange

John Lee Hooker - Boom Boom

George Thorogood - Bad to the Bone

Jimmy Page - Led Zeppelin - Heartbreaker

Steve Cropper - Dock of the Bay

Walter Payton - Devo - Working in a coal mine... that bass rhythm is amazing

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Advent of Code 2020 - Day 23, the Crab and the Cups from Hell


Part 1 - loop 100 times across these 10 elements... 

Me: oh.. these instructions don't make sense... eventually get it

Part 2 - loop these 1000,000 elements 10,000,000 times!

Me - ugh... question my self worth... this is going to take days to run!

Insight - oh.... rewrite code....

Runtime  0.248 Seconds!

And now THIS song is stuck in my head, for Day 23 of Advent of Code 2020

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

New Security Incident, New variation on this post

This time, they hacked almost every company and agency in the US.

 For the last 15 years, I keep pushing information about Multi Level Secure Systems every time another incident like this happens. The fact that we haven't been using them since the 1970s everywhere drives me nuts!

Their are Operating Systems in existence which could prevent this and almost every other breach. However, most technical people aren't even aware of the fact that they CAN exist, and actively believe the opposite.

Hopefully will have something useable for the average programmer like me, in a year or two, and I can use that as an existence proof.

Also, there are Data Diodes to help restrict what goes where.

I think we'll finally get our act together in 2025 or so, 50 years after the first Multi Level Systems were finished.

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Mappers vs Packers, now with StoryTelling!

 Long ago, about 1997, I learned about "mappers and packers", which is a theory that there are two main ways of remembering things... as a map of how everything works, where you really need to keep everything consistent... or as a pack of things you really need to know about X.

I'm a mapper... but I worked with packers... they were great as long as you could give them a list of unambiguous instructions that always worked (computers aren't consistent, even though people think they are)

So, today I decided to see if anything new was out there... and I find that there as a new way of thinking to be added... Story Telling... 

Whereas mapping and packing is all about how you organize your own ways of thinking, story telling is about tying it together in a package that can convey a set of facts, in spite of the different ways the listener might hear the details

I found this article about it quite interesting.

Friday, November 27, 2020

The tool I want

 I would like to store ALL actual text I ingest from the world, it wouldn't be that big. It would be immune to the unreliable nature of the web. I'd trigram index it as it went in to enable better search. (I read somewhere yesterday that's the way to do it)

I'd also like all the audio and video I hear/see to have a transcript of any spoken words, with a recording, and timestamps. Video is huge, so that would need to be managed a bit.

Given these requirements, I can see a need to start riding along with Moore's law again. Text is well within our capabilities, we can't read that fast, so it should be quite feasible to store it all. The need for more storage and processor than my laptop has comes in to play with audio and video, especially transcription and storage.

Having stored this content, I want to be able to search it. I want some form of content/sentiment analysis to allow search by concept and association.

I also want to be able to rate it, not just in a single dimension, but in an arbitrary number of them. Something can be funny, insightful, literally false and metaphorically true, a bit racist, somewhat political, and in English. The thumbs up/down or limiting to a single 1-10 scale works well for forcing into a single database field, but not for actual real world use.

Every single piece of stuff fits into multiple orthogonal hierarchies, you can't store that information in any single rank system without information loss.

As for sharing, it has to be something I pay for, or host myself, with possible federation. Ads corrupt.


Implementation - The first step is to simply tap the stream of web traffic I see in the browser, and train a classifier to recognize text/not text. It is important to link it back to the source.

Once I have a reliable stream of text, I think the rest starts to align.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

The day that changed the country forever.

 57 years ago today, a Senate hearing was scheduled to investigate Bobby Baker, an associate of the Vice President of the United States, for influence pedaling, in the afternoon.

The previous day, Richard Nixon, of the opposing party predicted that same Vice President would be dropped from the upcoming Presidential Ticket. The morning paper read "Nixon Predicts JFK May Drop Johnson"

Plans changed forever that day, as the President of the United States was assassinated.

The previously doomed Vice President was suddenly thrust into power. The investigation was paused, and did not expand to include the newly installed President.

That influence pedaling has only grown and taken over both parties and continues to this day.

Friday, November 20, 2020

On Truth, Reconciliation and the 75'th anniversary of The Nuremburg Trials

Beau points out that today is the 75's anniversary of the start of the Nuremburg Trials. He then makes the case that perhaps it is time for Truth and Reconciliation in the US. I think he's right. I suspect I might be willing to dig a bit more into history that he was intending (or maybe not?)

There are sooooo many things I'd like to know the Truth about, and address...

The Tuskegee Airmen

Plutonium experiments on people

The Radioactive Reserve

Agent Orange and the treatment of Veterans

The Viet Nam war, and why were were there

WTF really happened with the CIA, Kennedy and the Bay of Pigs

The Senate hearings about LBJ and corruption that were scheduled for the afternoon of November 22, 1963

The Assassination that took place on the morning of November 22, 1963

Nixon's drunk tenure at the White House

The Petrodollar, is it moral?  I think not

The lies that lead to Irag and Afghanistan

The numerous countries we've overthrown

The systematic dropping of people off of welfare

The corrupt influence pedaling Duopoly that infests DC with the revolving door between government, and industry

Why the US doesn't have socialized medicine

The Swamp that so poorly represents the US population they elected Trump to try to drain it, even though they knew it was a Hail Mary plan, at best.

Why do cops so often shoot first and as questions second?

The 500+ kids who have no parents, WTF?

That's off the top of my head, I'm sure there are a few hundred more things that need attention.

Monday, November 16, 2020

Building a better Social Media Platform - a flurry of ideas

 The solution is obvious, build a better platform for connecting to friends and families and things you find interesting.

Support the fact that we all have multiple identities and personas and roles in the world.

Support the fact that any given piece of content can be judged in an infinite number of dimensions... not just a few emoticons.  Especially relevant these days, truth, politics, humor, cute are all orthogonal. Let the user make up their own ratings.

Support the fact that we don't want to share everything with everybody all the time.  In fact, we don't want any new friends to automatically be able to dig back decades to stuff we shared with our friends back then.

Do NOT ever show me a photo of my dead pet, friend or relative in order to try to get me to recycle old posts.

If you really want to be ambitious, support capabilities... so I could give you a pass to look at photos of a project I'm working on, and you could forward that pass to whoever, and they wouldn't even need an account to see it... the pass is the key.  The pass could be revoked at any time, if abuse happens.

Just some ideas... I'll build it, if a sufficiently large interest appears.

[Edit] Bonus points: Build a set of APIs that allow it to be accessed like imap folders are in email... with a number of clients and a federation protocol.

Sunday, November 08, 2020

Covid-19 is far worse than you think.

Something like 80% of people who have had Covid have long term health effects, even if they were asymptomatic. Let's assume, in a way similar to smoking, we estimate it takes 5 years off your life, on average.

In the United States, we've had about 10 million cases. This means we've already lost 50 million years of potential human experience.  If we let it keep going to the point were the 330 Million of us all get it, we're talking about giving up more than 1.5 BILLION years of life.

Stay at home
Wear a mask
Wash your hands.

Saturday, November 07, 2020

Detecting Anisotropic Speed of Light by measuring ballistic trajectory of photons in Vacuum

Derek Muller of Veritasium posits that it is not possible to measure the speed of light in one direction only. I believe it is possible, but just barely.

Here's a thought experiment/grant proposal that I think might settle the question.

Assume a laser and a mirror in perfect alignment in vacuum, 20 Kilometers apart.

Travel to the center of the experiment, examine the relative position of the two beams, they should be co-linear. If the speed of light is anisotropic, the time of flight would be different from the left or right portion of the beam If the time of flight is different, the ballistic drop is different. The drop of a photon on the surface of the earth in 10Km is about 5 nanometers, so detecting a 10% shift in the speed of light would require finding an offset of 0.5 nanometers. It's possible... but outside my budget.

Thursday, November 05, 2020

The medium is the message... it's also a choice.

I missed this post last year by Doc Searls.  I missed it because it was s behind a paywall. I've started cross posting my comments that grow into mini-essays from here onto my blog, and twitter... so that they don't disappear into the Facebook memory hole, and so that I have a place to point to later if the subject comes back up, and so that I can find it again, and save myself the work.

I think this type of cross-posting is an adaptation to social media, I see it as the "survivalist" way of preparing for a collapse, not of society, but of any given social network. It is my theory that if enough of us old school bloggers did this, it wouldn't cost us much in terms of time, but it would help keep the blogs alive, as a viable backup, and way to route around social networks.

What do you folks think?   I expect to get replies to this across time, a slower, but more meaningful web of replies in opposition to the quick "like" of social media.

BTW: Here is the Facebook post by Doc that kicked off this thread.
Sad: The Internet Archive capture of the above post by Doc also blocks you until you sign up for Facebook.

For what it's worth here is a screen shot of the Facebook post in question.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Computing History, as I understand it

 In the beginning, Computers were people who computed things.

Then mechanical adding machines came along and made them more productive, but demand kept up.  A phase change

Then tabulating and sorting machines, along with storage on cards brought formal methods of managing data to organizations. A phase change

Then electronic computers were put into place to start to do the computing.  The humans who previously computed were in demand elsewhere.  A phase change

There was 1 programmer... Alan Turing... then 100, then more... the rate of doubling about every 5 years, on average since then.

Computers were expensive, and it took time to learn to get the most out of them. Over time, libraries of code began to be commonly used, and operating systems were born.  A phase change

As the price of computers went down, and the amount of programmers and data went up, there were punch card operators, who transcribed handwriting to punched cards.

The computers still required maintenance, tubes to replace, circuits to adjust, etc... they were kept away from everything else in their own rooms. Operators were the priesthood that emerged to care for them.

Every new computer was faster, but incompatible... requiring frequent rewriting of applications to be compatible with the new systems. Most programs had a life of less than a decade.

Then IBM broke the rules, and the 360 could run 1401. Backward compatibility and legacy code were born, a phase change. Programmers didn't need to rewrite code, but by accident this created the Y2K problem.

Online teletype printers and time sharing allowed programmers and users to directly access the machines. Cardpunch operators were no longer needed.

Programming got a lot faster, and complexity went up.

Then Minicomputers came along, and were easier for end users, another phase change.

Then Microcomputers came along, and everyone had their own computer... you needed about 1 Administrator for 20-50 PCs, to fix the problems, and keep things going

Then things got more reliable, and went to the cloud, so administrators got outsourced, another phase change

It is now possible for a single person to deploy thousands of computers from a batch file.

The future is uncertain.... look back on the history, What makes any of you really think that there won't be another phase change?

As for why there aren't many old programmers...

Every 5 years the number of programmers doubled.... so most have less than 5 years experience.   There are about 120 times more programmers now than when I started, 7 programmer doublings ago.

We may, or may not, have a phase change that devalues programmers, developers, devops, architects, whatever you, dear reader, care to call yourself.

I myself did programming, then electronics technician work, then 15 years as a sysadmin, then 5 years making Bevel I'm diving back into programming.

The future will have many changes... most of them productive. 8)

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

I reject the content of a stupid meme

 Recently, this poster showed up elsewhere in a social media walled garden.

I reject the underlying message whole heartedly.  As I said elsewhere

"I reject this anti-western, anti-science propaganda. I will not give up critical thought just for the sake of fitting in. I will not let someone else tell me what to believe. I will not let someone else tell me what books to burn, or what knowledge is forbidden.

As for this, in detail:


So, if it turns out Covid-19 escaped a lab by accident, what then?

Or if we find out someone from Antifa set at least one of the fires in Oregon?

Or if turns out that jet fuel doesn't melt steel beams, but building inspectors were bribed a few times? (Construction, after the bombing in 94)

Or Epstein was murdered?

5G is a stupid idea, they can't deliver what they promised with available funds and technology

Mattress Firm shows the stupidity of the market... at one point, in Hoffman Estates, there was a single corner where there were 5 visible Mattress Firms from the center of the intersection.

Aliens didn't build stone henge... the archeologists aren't inventive enough to figure out how they did it.

Government Made diseases ; We have Bioweapons research labs, we also have labs where people make mistakes and let shit slip that shouldn't.

Subliminal Messages: Isn't consumerism a message that results in everyone wanting far more than they need?

Who made the author of this chart Omniscient?

I reject the thesis of this chart. I reject its politics.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

ImgBurn to the rescue... twice!

 I've been on a Retro computing kick lately. I hit a few walls because I couldn't figure out how to get things into the VirtualBox machines (the OSs involved were so old there were no file/network sharing things I could get to work).  Then it dawned on me that I could make .ISO files, and insert them in the virtual CD-ROM drive.  ImgBurn did the job under Windows 10.

Here is Forth/2, which I wrote, and Brian Mathewson documented, back in 1992-1994, running under OS/2 4.50

Next up we have STOICAL, a next generation FORTH system which has some promising features I'm interested in exploring. I had to get Debian 3 up and running to get it installed via dpkg

Jonathan Sachs initially wrote STOIC for the Data General NOVA machine, then moved on to write Lotus 1-2 3.
Jonathan Liles wrote STOICAL to run on Linux, then moved on to write NON.

Here is STOICAL running under Debian 3

Observations about the Pope doing a TED talk.

I find it amazing that the technology exists that I, along with most of humanity, can watch this leader of a large faith, read a speech, but more importantly, see his gestures when he wants to drive a point home... despite language barriers, time, and space.

What is even better is that it serves all of us fairly equally. There is nothing technical stopping anyone, anywhere, from doing the same.

I agree with his message, we all need to work together to make civilization more sustainable, and distribute opportunity more fairly.

Friday, October 09, 2020

Why is X such a hot-button issue in the United States?

 The corrupt influence pedaling duopoly (RNC/DNC) needs to keep their customers happy (The donor class). Their Donor class stands in direct opposition to what most of us want (because they are hoarding power and opportunity)

The strategy is to keep us angry at each other, while ignoring them. These are the "hot-buttons"... any time they find a new one, you bet they'll exploit it.

The social media platforms seek to maximize "engagement" which as a side effect, maximizes for "hot-buttons"...

It should come as no surprise at all when you see "hypocrisy" from either side getting played up... it just maximizes our distraction, and keeps the donor money rolling in.

This applies to pretty much any issue you care to mention.

Tuesday, October 06, 2020

STOICAL - the journey continues

 As a result of a few recent Forth threads on Hacker News, I first heard of STOIC on September 29th. (1 Week ago) Intrigued at the novel way it addressed the shortcomings of Forth which limited its use... I tracked down STOICAL. It really got me motivated, and I decided to download it and dive in.

At that moment, I had almost zero of the specific bits of knowledge required to make it work. I only used Linux sporadically. I never programmed in Linux. I actively avoided C for the last 40 years. Yet, I dug in.

Last night I got it compiled enough that it now starts up, and then hangs. This is a vast improvement from 2 days ago. I now have WSL installed, with gcc, automake, and all manner of stuff required to make it go. I still use Notepad++ and windows to edit the source (as the /home/mike folder is visible as a network share) I've even got git/github going.

I know I'll get it up and running in short order. Then I'll start banging away at it until it matches my ideas of how it should work. My goal is to produce a Forth-ish compiler that doesn't get people intrigued but then run out of steam.

STOIC checks all the boxes, it's Imperative, Structured, Object Oriented, Functional, Concatenative and HomoIconic.

And right now.... it doesn't even boot... but it will! That's programming!

My responses to a Doc Searls live stream

 Doc Searls mentioned that there were some good responses in the chat log, so I saved them to a file.

Here are mine, I left others out to respect copyright, etc.

Me To All panelists and at...1:48:13 PM

There is a cure for social media... it's to chose your sources wisely, and stop maximizing for BUZZ.

We're the product being sold, and the platforms study our actions and shove us towards a rabbit hole to keep us on their platform, no matter what the cost to us or society.

Me To All panelists and at...1:55:54 PM

From the societal and non-commercial view of the world, we need to pull our attention back, and channel it ourselves. RSS and Blogs still work... and we can use them in parallel with the walled gardens.

The Prepper of the Social Media world is someone who cross-posts to Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, and their own Website

Me To All panelists and at...2:00:43 PM

I just picked up a project someone else put on Sourceforge in 2002 and forgot about... it was an adaptation of STOIC, which was an adaptation of FORTH, that Jon Sachs wrote before he wrote Lotus 1 2 3

Me To All panelists and at...2:01:30 PM

With Open source, ideas, tools, and code can persist like books, the allow ideas to live well past their authors.

Monday, October 05, 2020

Wherein Mike undertakes an audacious quest he is woefully unprepared for, but full of pluck.

 This is, by far, the most ambitious programming project I've taken on in decades. I'm picking up a program written in 2002, in C, a language I've actively avoided for 40 years. It runs in Linux, which I've never programmed for, though I have used. I have almost zero experience in this particular tool chain, it's all new to me.

Why? Because the documentation I read 4 days ago, hinted that there was a very powerful programming language buried inside. 

So, now here I am, with an idea, and enough tools to realize it, and a rough but interesting road ahead.  

As of now, the program prints this text when run:

Welcome to Stoical.

Segmentation fault in:

stack: (empty)

context: (:) 'def Segmentation fault

I'm pleased that I've gotten to the point that it compiles. 8)

You too can watch in real time as I struggle to come up to speed on gcc, autoconf, m4, Ubuntu, WSL, and C with tons of pointers, through the magic of Git and GitHub

Here is the GitHub repository

Friday, September 25, 2020

Computers are horrible

 When is the last time leaving your keys in the car caused your house to suddenly slide 10 foot southwest?

When is the last time you flipped a light switch, and suddenly your pool disappeared?

Have you ever had French doors appear in your dining room because of a "Windows Update" on Wednesday morning?

Have you ever had to wait for half an hour for your house to boot later on that same Wednesday?

When is the last time you closed a door, and were killed by a hailstorm of bowling balls?

At least with a light switch, you know it's very unlikely to cause structural issues, or plumbing issues, or drain your bank account.  Computers are singularly horrible in the ways things can fail.

The totally non-partisan reason I hate the Clintons, and always will.

Long, LONG ago... I saw a news story, which I think was 60 minutes, explaining the "Whitewater Scandal".... the politics of which held no interest to me.... it was how normal people got screwed over that pissed me off and made me hate the Clintons forever.

Recently it came up in a thread elsewhere.... I tried to find the story, and some very good scrubbing of the 
net seems to have happened since then. Here's what I wrote in response to that thread

"I don't give a rats ass about the high-level wrangling and fraud that happened... all politicians do that... what got in my craw, and stayed there forever, was how they screwed over ordinary working folks.... a lot of the truth is behind paywalls, but I was angry enough to dig for an hour to find this scrap, to give you a clue as to the evil they pulled...

Basically, they bought land, divided it up into "vacation lots" and sold it to people, and if you were even a tiny bit late with your payment, no matter how good the reason, you lost all of your investment.... I remember an example of a property being resold 5 times.

Yet they still "lost money".... like Trump does all the time. Whatever...

Those ordinary citizens were fucked over in this.... THAT is why I hate the Clintons."

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Productivity Tips

Giving up on WxBuilder and Python for a project, and switching to Lazarus saved me boatloads of time getting a GUI application built.

GIT/GitHub is way better than making ZIP files of source code and saving them to floppy disks.

Looking things up on Google is way better than Altavista, or a trip to the book store.

Turbo Pascal was way better than GWbasic

MS-DOS is way easier to deal with than having to write your own BIOS for CP-M

Floppy disks are way better than paper tape or punch cards.

If you do have to punch cards, have them auto-sequenced at column 73, Fortran will ignore it, and you can use a card sorter should they get dropped. Also, put a line diagonally down the side of the stack, should you have to sort them by hand.

Charles Babbage has designed a "difference engine" that can compute many of the commonly used references by the power of steam!

Gutenberg has made the copy and distribution of texts much easier than older manual processes for large numbers of duplicates.

Monday, September 21, 2020

We should teach American History, not America Myth

President Trump delivered a speech at the National Archives.

From the transcript, it sounds like a good speech... and 2 out of 3 isn't bad for Trump. Antifascism and Antiracism, the twin faces of left extremism need to go.

We should teach History in school, instead of Myth. We can be proud of who we are, and how we've always strived as a people, to do better.... but we're not perfect, and we never were.
Let's skip the propagandist fairy tales of a perfect past, and instead tell the truth, to warn the next generation of all the things that can go wrong, so the can be better prepared when it happens again.

The history of America wasn't inevitable, nor was it a miracle.... it was the result of countless people who strove to make America better, in spite of her flaws. Our ideals, Liberty and Justice for All, are what make this nation great, and our common belief in those ideals are what will continue to make America the shining city on the hill, the light of Democracy and Government of the People, shining over the rest of the world.

I pledge allegiance,
to Liberty, and Justice,
for All.

Sunday, September 06, 2020

Resolving "Device not migrated" error in Windows 10

 I had a Blue Yeti Snowball ICE Microphone which when plugged into a PC, gave the error "Device not migrated error" among others with "Device not Recognised", etc. in Windows 10. The red LED did work.

It had been dropped many times... both ground wires going to the USB connector were broken. Re-soldering them and re-assembly resulted in a fully functional microphone.

I strongly suspect this applies to almost any USB device giving similar errors.

Saturday, September 05, 2020

The problem with narrative driven news.

 When I was a kid, there were newspapers, and TV news... they all covered the same stories, and told the same facts.

We are now in a far different world. As President Obama said in an interview with David Letterman:

People no longer agree on facts — and that's something foreign governments, like Russia, could exploit.

Even in that quote... you have facts, and a narrative he's trying to convey.

We still have the 3 TV Channels that mostly report the same news, which is nice.  However, most of us get our information online, where you can get wildly different facts and narratives.

Regardless of reasons, most online sources are forced to push a narrative, and treat actual journalism as a cost, both in terms of finance, and in terms of the possible upset (and loss) of viewers when facts get too close to straying from narrative.

We've all gotten comfortable with our sources, and grown to suspect that the "other side" is all made up bullshit.  In some cases it's mostly true (I'm looking at you, Fox "news"), but the reality is a bit trickier, and sucks a whole lot more as a result.

Narrative driven news requires "cherry picking" of facts and massaging them carefully to fit the narrative, while excluding all else.  It's only when stories that are big enough to be broadcast on the remaining 3 TV channels, that some accommodation has to be made, lest the hole in coverage make the narrative too obvious.

A clear case of this accommodation is when you see "Mostly Peaceful" or "Fiery" protests, while carefully avoiding terms like Riot, Arson, Looting, which would break the narrative, from the supposedly "Liberal Media".


Coping Skills for the Internet Age

People have always been pushing a narrative.  The age I grew up in was a bubble... a golden age, when market forces and government regulation compelled most of the news sources to tell an objective truth most of the time, because the airwaves were only on loan to broadcasters as part of a grand bargain.

Here we are with the internet, and we're back to the way it was before. Many sources pushing many narratives.

My narrative is to try to tell the truth, as I see it, as a service to help others. I'm biased, and try to point those biases out when I notice them. I'm also willing to loudly and publicly sound off when I've been wrong about something.

The first way to deal with this is to carefully curate your news sources.  Understand the biases they have, drop them when they are deranged, and seek out new ones all the time.  This is how I deal with it.

Your friends can be a good filter, if you treat them the same way. If you avoid triggering each other, you and someone who gets their news from the other side, can seek out details that might be of interest to each other, to help you both get a better understanding of reality.

It is especially important to be on the lookout for things you say, that your friends take time, effort, and emotional energy to clarify. You don't need to agree... but you would be well served to keep an eye out for details that fit with the other view... especially when you detect the accommodation of non-narrative truth that sometimes happens at your favorite sources.


Well, that's enough for now... comments and questions welcome.

Thank you for your time and attention.

Friday, September 04, 2020

We're all crew mates, and it's time to start acting like it.

 I read this story by an Internet friend, Dave Rogers. As I was reading it, it dawned on me that there were strong parallels between service in the Navy, and Citizenship in the United States (or your Country, Dear Reader from afar).

When I went to school, long, long ago... there was almost zero focus on the rights and responsibilities of a citizen.  We learned how the system worked, the basic structure, and a rough idea of how the parts went together.  We learned a bit about how the system came to be.  We learned the myths of our country, not the facts, as I later learned.

I didn't realize it at the time... I didn't realize it until about 5 minutes ago... there was a huge gaping hole in my education... which Dave just filled, by analogy.

We, the citizens of the United States... are all serving a lifelong tour of duty. Almost every single person you meet day to day is on our team.   We're all working towards a set of goals, which we have failed to reach, but we always keep trying to get there.

Unlike life on a ship, our chain of command is inverted.... on the US America... the crew is in charge.  We decide who will take watch, following a set of rules set up long ago, by shipmates long past.  We change the rules when we need to, to adapt to challenges, or when lessons are learned. We should never forget who is in charge, and insubordination should be dealt with harshly!

Anyone who does not follow orders when put on post, should be punished.  Someone who expects to remain on their post after clearly failing to follow orders, is a fool, and likely deserves to be put in the brig.

I'm not a veteran... I hope I didn't make any asinine or offensive assumptions or statements about those in the service.  I thank Dave for his sharing of his experience, and wisdom, time, and a profound new view of my life.

Tuesday, September 01, 2020

The Story of Evil Marketing - A Conspiracy Theory for 2020

Ok folks, it's Conspiracy theory time.  

Long ago, Soros, The Koch Brothers, Davos, Qanon, the Knights Templar, whoever.... hired a company


This group was very very good at marketing. They had a process, evolved over time, that worked well, delivering quality product with a minimum of work on the client's part.  They made the person who hired them look good.

The process is simple... the customer supplies a few pieces of very important information, and then they go to work, show a version for approval, and then the product is given to the client for use.

Item #1 - Who do you want to listen to your message  - The Target Market
  Client:  The 99%, those who want to take our wealth and power

Item #2 - What are the top 3 messages you want them to remember
Their neighbors are not like them
Their neighbors are stupid
Their neighbors are evil

Item #3 - What are signs we did our job so you can prove it to your boss? - Metrics
Increased division
Increased violence
Ignoring us completely

Item #4 - What are your goals for this campaign? - Goals
Divide the 99%
Divert attention from us
Social Media Profit

The team went away... and came up with a brilliant strategy to accomplish the goal.

They came up with a few simple phrases that sounded a bit odd, but contained different meanings, depending on the audience. Turns out, you can test this.... tell the phrase to a sample from each target market, and see how they interpret it. If the answers diverge, you're on the right track.... if the answers oppose, you've hit the mother load.

But that wasn't enough for Evil Marketing... they had a better idea, and had to explain it to the client.

In this campaign there are 2 phases, in phase 1 we'll spread specially crafted phrases. "Received Words" - These are phrases that have an obviously evil meaning, and a plausible good meaning. To help explain it, we'll use Alice, Bob, Carol, and Dave as examples.

Alice is a well meaning person who will first use the phrase when talking with her friend Bob, who has heard it before and agrees. Alice and Bob now recognize each other as allies.

Alice them talks to Carol, who is unfamiliar with the phrase, and asks a few questions because it sounds a bit strange. Alice and Carol invest time so that Carol now understands the phrase in the same way as Alice.

Carol later talks to Dave, who also asks questions, but rejects the phrase because the evil meaning is too much for him to swallow. The seeds of resentment are sewn between Carol ad Dave.

Dave later talks to Elaine, who decides she agrees with the Good meaning.

Later Dave is talking to Fred, who agrees with Dave on the Evil Meaning

The client understood how little effort it would take to spread, and nodded in understanding

Phase 2 begins when a critical mass of people are reliably using the phrases we supplied.

Now that Alice, Bob, Carol, and Elaine have invested energy in the phrase, they are strongly oppose to changing it. The phrase practically defends itself from change and dilution.  Dave and Fred also share an understanding that the others are allies, with an easy to recognize flag.

You, and your associates now begin to use the Evil intent of the phrase to accomplish your goals.  Alice, Bob, Carol and Elaine now feel forced to support this new (to them) meaning. They are trapped.

Dave and Fred now think that the others support the Evil intent of the phrase. They are fooled.

So, as you can see... this campaign will be highly effective, dividing and distracting your target market with almost no cost.

The clients loved it, and would be happy to use Evil Marketing again. The Metrics are off the chart!

So that's the story, and 
here we are... in an country about to rip itself apart, where nobody at the top dares actually lead because admitting mistakes is political suicide, throwing these phrases at each other over and over and over, and expecting that eventually we'll get different results if we try hard enough.

It's as if the phrases all have a good message in them, trapped in an evil spell... if you change the words, you break the spell.

We all have to admit our mistakes because our leaders wont.

I'm just a cranky old white guy with both liberal and conservative views.... actually their neither... they are MY views of the world.
I am more than ready to change my views and admit fault while doing so, publicly. Our "leaders" can't do that.

Please stop using the phrases as given... change a word or two, eliminate the double meaning. Please also be willing to lead us out of this mess by admitting the mistakes of our side as you see them.

Let's all be adults, and snuff this conflict out before it destroys our country.

E Pluribus Unum - One of Many - United We Stand, Divided We Fall.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Let's REALLY go metric, America!

 I favor passive-aggressive adoption of Metric. If we're going to get dragged into this thing, let's really make it hell for the rest of the world along the way!

All weather reports to be in Kelvin, the temperature scale of science. - It's 296 degrees outside right now, for example.

All mass should be measured in Grams/Kg, etc.  If you step on an old fashioned doctor's scale... you should be able to move the "weights" into balance, and determine your mass in Kilograms.  The average adult American male has a mass of 89.6 Kilograms

All WEIGHT, on the other hand, is a force, which should be measured in Newtons.... a NEW doctors scale should give your Weight in Newtons, which can then be converted by dividing it by the locally measured gravity field.   The average adult American male has a weight of .... turns out you can't say.... because it depends on local gravity.

Fortunately, I've found a site that shows you how to estimate that in only 3 minutes...,32.174%20feet%20per%20second%20squared.&text=Measurements%20that%20may%20be%20influenced,Force

oh, speaking of Minutes, they need to go.  We should only use seconds since 1/1/1970 now, as it is one of the most widely adopted time scales on the planet.

A few moments ago, the time was 1598429919.

All road signs need to be re-calibrated in meters per second.

All "speedometers" need to be re-calibrated in RPS (Rotations Per Second) measured at the the wheel.  The diameter of tires change dynamically, and thus you can't reliably calculate speed.  The use of GPS might allow for actual speed measurement, if coverage allows.

Latitude and Longitude need to be expressed in Radians.  We can keep the Greenwich Meridian, as moving it to the proper new location presents too much of a political challenge... Beijing, Apple Headquarters, The Pentagon, see the trouble?

Astronomical measurements need to be updated as well. The 'parsec" needs to go, as it is earth-centric and arbitrary.  Light years are an unacceptable measure of distance as interstellar gas may effect the local speed of light.  Distance MUST be expressed in terms of meters.  All angles MUST be expressed in radians.

Americans have ignored this issue for far too long... let us lead the world to this better Metric Future!

Sunday, August 02, 2020

Lies about Antifa

This meme is a lie that omits most of the bad actors from the story.

1) Just because the terrorists in Portland call themselves Anti-Facists, doesn't mean they are nice people. They belong in jail because of the crimes they committed, including terrorism.
2) Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler also belongs in jail, for aiding and abetting enemies of the United States. He allowed this to continue for political gains.
3) The Governor of Oregon failed to act, a federal criminal investigation should be started, if it hasn't already. It his this inaction which gave an opening to Trump to use this for political gains.
4) Trump - what can I say. Trump belongs in prison too, for many crimes even before his Presidency, and his betrayal of our Country while in office. Crimes against humanity charges should be pressed for his deliberate mishandling of the plague.
5) The Federal troops who obeyed illegal orders, like the Nazis after WWII need to be charged with crimes.

5 groups of bad actors, all belong in jail awaiting trial.

Meanwhile, Americans are dying at 1 per minute due to Covid.

Meanwhile the Rich get Richer.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

#SundayMorning - A hashtag and call to respectful adult action

My friends... Please read this, and act accordingly.
Facebook, and all the other social media we all consume, feeds off the words we write, and the anger we vent. Due to human nature, we all ignore the reasonable, and keep on scrolling until we get to something we love or hate.
We need to fix this... we can... if we're adults about it.
Let's take back social media, but just a little piece of it... we're going to have to fight against human nature to do it...all of us.
#SundayMorning is a battle flag, virtue signal, call it what you will. Raise this flag when you want to express something longer than a sound bite, something that has more than one intellectual bite to it. When you see this, take some time to read the whole thing, and ponder it before responding. Like this post about #SundayMonring for example.
I'm not sure the best way to show appreciation for such a post... but my smarter friends will have some ideas. The main goal is to offer a way to carve out a small piece of our collective consciousness that is focused on things we all believe and thoughts we share. We need to all become one again,
At a first guess, if you agree with this, and see ways to make it better, Edit it, put it in your own words, and let us know how you feel about things in the same respectful adult way. I for one will take the time to read every one of the posts I find with that flag, and respect the time taken to compose it.
Thank you for your time and attention

Saturday, July 18, 2020

LOADED TERMS - a Conspiracy Theory / Deconstruction

This is my first ANTI-RANT... I hope you find it worth your time
Here's a conspiracy theory that has an unknown shadowy villain, a new weapon, how it works, how you've been attacked with it, and a simple common sense way to identify the weapon, thus avoiding it, saving yourself and your friends grief. All self-contained in this version 0.01 post.
An UNKNOWN SHADOWY VILLAIN is supplying TERM USERs intentionally LOADED TERMS that don't quite fit their common usage, These LOADED TERMS are a cleaving tool.
LOADED TERMS can be interpreted in more than one way, depending on who hears it, and how conditioned to hearing/using it they have become. In the case of those already accustomed to it, it signals virtue or vice. A puzzled reaction flags a possible recruit to either side.
Here are a few examples of LOADED TERMS - with my first crack at defusing them a bit
White Privilege - Lack of Racial Oppression is not a Privilege
Micro Aggression - Feeling slighted does not mean someone is trying to oppress you, nor does it imply overt racism, nor that it was aggressive.
AntiRacist - Anti-Racism is Racism in disguise
Defund the Police - No sane person wants to leave a power vacuum in society.
Black Lives Matter - Of course, but they don't matter more.
Why I see these as LOADED TERMS
If you were trying to convey meaning clearly, none of the terms above would be a natural choice. These are all very poor choices of terms from my relatively neutral (in terns of the left/right scale) position. Now enough of them are out in the public domain that I was able to see a pattern emerging.
Simple Common Sense Solution
If you use these LOADED TERMS... please stop. You're just dividing society for no good reason.
If you are targeted by these LOADED TERMS, choose your own course of action, with all the above in mind. A helpful phrase might be "just what do you mean when you say LOADED TERM"?
If you see these LOADED TERMS used by people you disagree with, remember they probably don't mean it in the way you hear it, and have been co-opted by UNKNOWN SHADOWY VILLAIN

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Words that don't sound quite right, Antifa, and Racism

A year or two ago, I listened to my friend Paul Traynor's podcast "Race Bait", learned quite a bit about race relations... but some things bothered me about it.... eventually I realized why, and stopped listening.
The step too far:  The continued use of the term "Microagression"
A the propaganda term used to assert intent - Implying that any time a non-white person is made to feel uncomfortable, it is an overt racist act, instead of the social faux-pas that it truly is 99%+ of the time.
In the meanwhile, I started outting myself as an "old white guy" defensively. I'm willing to admit that as an old white guy, there is a lot of slack given to me that others don't get.
This past week, I've been reading, listening, and watching from a range of viewpoints. The warnings from Bret Weinstein, who experienced the wrath of Antifa 3 years ago at Evergreen State were most instructive.
I'm now fairly certain that there are some traps being set up, and I refuse to fall into them... concerning language, privilege and guilt.
Certain words are being used, and being excused as meaning something else.  I now refuse to go there.
For Example: If you say "Defund the Police" I am not going to let you explain your way out of it... either change your words, or lose my support.  This is a strong recent shift in my position.
From here on out, I'm calling out the Maoist insurgency on the Left wherever I see it. Just as I have been calling out the Fascist stuff on the Right.
The shit that's going on in Seattle is evidence of a part of a bigger trend, the result of the takeover of the institutions by Maoist insurgents under the guise of "Post-modernism" and "Political Correctness".
Things in Seattle aren't going to end nicely.
Back to language, and it's use:
Of course Black lives matter.... but "Black Lives Matter", in their About page says "We are working for a world where Black lives are no longer systematically targeted for demise."
I do not believe that black people are being systematically targeted for demise.
I believe it is an accidental effect of a Police system doing what it was designed to do... keep the poor down.  Racism is a side effect.
I do believe that the Police need oversight and restraint that has been lacking.
I do believe that the Police have been cast into the role of an occupation force, a role they are not supposed to hold.
I believe most of the Police don't want to be an occupying force. I believe that some of them do, and they shouldn't be Police.
I do believe that racism is real. I do not believe that all Whites are automatically racist.
I believe that the "Defund the Police" movement is a trap. Most people agree that the police need reform.  Only a very small number of (in my opinion) very foolish people actual want to do away with Police departments entirely. To eliminate law enforcement is to invite anarchy.
I believe that the Donor Class (who buy Senators and Congressmen in bulk) are very happy to see all of us mad at each other, as it gives them cover while they try to offshore and hide the $500+ Billion they stole while we were all worried about Covid.
I believe I've rambled on enough... and want to hear what you think.

Monday, June 08, 2020

Look - over there!

I saw this on my Aunt’s facebook feed...  my rebuttal is below
--------   Text designed to make you angry follows ------
Pretty much.. Scare people with a virus. Place them in quarantine. Count the number of dead every second of every day in every news headline. Close all businesses. 40,000,000 out of jobs. Peak unemployment. Remove entertainment: parks, gyms, bars, restaurants, sports. No dating. No touching. Mask people. Dehumanize them. Close temples and churches. Create a vacuum. Let depression and anxiety and desperation set in. Then... ignite hatred and civil war. Civil unrest. Empty the prisons because of the virus and fill the streets with criminals. Send in Antifa to vandalize property as if they are freedom fighters. Undermine the law. Loot. Attack law enforcement, but tell government to order a stand-down. We are all being bated by adversarial governments who want to destroy America - China, Iran, Russia. Have the Far Left abuse the racial wars to fuel the fires. And, in an election year, have Democrats blame all of it on the President.
This is what modern warfare looks like.
(Copied from a friend.)
--------  End Text designed to make you angry -------

Wow... a great distraction for all the people on the right to agree with, and to make the left angry.  A distraction meant to keep us from noticing things.... things we might actually agree on across the political divide

Here's how I see it...

Get elected as President.  Set about dismantling every positive action of the previous administration, including the provisions set in place to handle a novel respiratory virus. All mentions of facts inconvenient to business are removed (climate change for example).  Spend all your spare time trumpeting your own greatness, in spite of any evidence to the contrary, while you erode confidence in the institutions built by society when their actions don't suit your fleeting needs of the moment.  Your bombastic flair provides a great distraction to all from anything going on behind the scenes.
Get early and ample warning of the novel respiratory virus that your predecessor INSISTED was the most important danger to the nation, and thus the FIRST THING he briefed you about during the transition.
  Publicly: You ignore all this evidence and hope it goes away.
  Privately: You and the rest of the elite dump stocks that will be effected, and set plans in motion to maximize profit from the coming crisis.

  When the public becomes aware of it, start denials and deflections, and have some more rallies and go golfing for a month, meanwhile solidifying plans for maximum private profit with your cohort on both sides of the aisle.

You eventually form a task force, You place a man who doesn’t believe in science in charge of the task force.  This is your response to the biggest public health emergency in a century.  When there are doubts expressed as to who is actually in charge, you duck the question and leave the room

Eventually - State Governors are forced to act (Honestly, think of just how dire a warning would be required to force ANY politician  to: 
1) Risk the destruction of the economy
2) and their future political and lobbying career)

When these Governors were forced to act, you bully, denigrate and accuse them of over-reaction.

Privately, your plans are in motion, secret “government agents” "appropriate" (steal) desperately needed PPE, sometimes directly out of hospital store rooms.

Refusing to properly organize a response, you instead send the states into a bidding war for those supplies through one of the newly formed corporate "clearing houses" you've "hired" to manage the "appropriated" supplies.

You and your friends and frenemies in Congress do the bidding of your corporate overlords and send Trillions of dollars their way, making sure to throw a small bone to the public to throw them off the scent.  Meanwhile the civilized governments of the world guarantee the income of those with jobs by paying their employers to keep those jobs open, and make a quicker recovery happen when it is safe to do so. You and your friends have a far better (more profitable) plan.

Your friends in the corporate media strongly suppress all notions of the upstart socialists who insist that the working class needs regular payments... as you need them poor for the false choice you and your class will need soon. Make sure your "enemies" on the other side of the aisle do the same.
When the news isn't about you for a while, and you begin to worry your prospects of re-election might actually be affected by the deaths of 100,000+ of the citizens you were sworn to protect (but didn't)... you then push for an end to the "lock-down", in spite of evidence that it is far too soon. You and your side work tirelessly to promote the view that the virus was a hoax set in motion by your "opposition". Meanwhile your friends on the other side can paint you as anti-science and politically motivated. 

The political theater helps keep the public divided into factions and keep them mad at each other, so they notice the $500 billion dollar theft you and your friends helped orchestrate while they weren't looking.
The media will report all of this,  once again deflecting any notice of the foolish "socialist" notion that health care shouldn't be optimized for maximum profits.
It is now time to spring your trap on the working class, you're going to force them to work.
You now spring the FALSE CHOICE on them...
  A) stay safe at home until science actually says it's safe, and testing is available while getting kicked off of the temporary support you provided just long enough to appear to care OR
  B) Go back to work, even though it is likely to cause a second wave of unnecessary deaths, and a new round of emergency stay at home orders
And then there there are the bonus points
  C) Your banker friends now get to swoop in and buy up all sorts of properties at fire sale prices from all the people lost jobs or wages and couldn’t keep up with payments
  D) Your corporate friends find themselves with a broken labor class, who have no choice but to accept less than starvation wages

A police officer killing a civilian who clearly wasn't a threat (one of many, police are the perpetrators 10% of all violent homicides in the US) allows you to divert attention again. You do nothing to help calm the situation, but instead hurl insults and exacerbate the situation and try to blame it on the far left.  You and your friends make darned sure to hide the trail to the source of those piles of bricks.  ;-)
You focus all attention on the racial divide in the nation, suppress any notion that it might be anything other than race relations that is the root of the policing problem.  This will continue to distract while the grift continues and your friends profit even more than normal. Meanwhile you and your friends set up future false choices for the public to encounter, and for your future profit.

Well.. that’s about how I see it... comments welcome.
Mike Warot - June 2020

Monday, April 13, 2020

My first CNC cut

Tired of the endless scroll, I decided to get my little LinkSprite CNC Engraver going.

Here's the result, which is amazing to me, though it is total crap.

Why is it amazing?  Because I have unlocked some potential in a new tool. I need to figure out clamping to this thing, for this pass I simple held down the foamcore while the machine moved it around... it slipped a bit, but it worked.

I've got the tool chain working
I've managed to create a document and make it carved into something.

A little bit of sunshine in the endless stay at home.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Propylene Carbonate - Dielectric of the future?

I'm interested in electrostatic actuators, which require a working fluid with a high dielectric constant and low dissipation. It seems non-toxic enough, and a dielectric constant of 64 seems pretty good for the things I want to try.

Here are two companies I suspect both use it in their products:

I think there are a lot of interesting things that can be done with a 6kv power supply, conductive ink, a heat sealer, and a liter or two of Propylene Carbonate.