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Showing posts from 2022

Misdirecting the disenfranchised

 Socialism has practically become a meaningless term. To the extent that it involves collectivism, all modern societies are 'socialist'. It is just a question of how well they do it. The historical context within which these concepts grew is no longer applicable. It is pointless to define the class struggle around the means of production when that is no longer the point of control. You can access every bit of the world's knowledge online for essentially nothing. The only thing stopping you is the artificial construct of 'copyright'. It allows some to claim 'ownership' of the right to say who can access what things. As automation spreads, the same type of situation will apply for tangible things like electronic devices. Already, as of now, only about a fifth of the selling price of a smart phone is required to make them. More than half of the rest is captured by the entity 'owning' the right to have them made.  The cost to create goods will eventually

Canada should be much better than it is.

This was prompted by a (closed) call for public input into Canada's federal budget. The people at the top in government seem to be way in over their heads. Crucial things that affect us all seem almost entirely ignored or bungled in ways that are hard to believe. Below is a list of observations in response.  A lot of people and entities profited handsomely from our COVID pandemic. We should investigate how and why they did so. We should reverse gouging that is too outrageous, and otherwise put them on a 'naughty list'. Encourage entities that pitched in to help, rather than those who did so just for profit. It may be impossible, but I would like to see an effort to identify and remove harmful narcissistic sociopaths from positions of power. They cannot work in our interest because they do not nearly understand our needs, nor do they care to. Those in power that care should realize that struggling citizens do not have the time to represent their interests like lobbyists do.

Suicide as an adaptation

As I was driving home one day, it occurred to me that suicide might be adaptive. I was surprised to find that this has been investigated and the answer is "yes, suicide can be adaptive". Notice that I say, "can be" rather than "is". Being an evolutionary dead end is extreme. It is a bad idea all-round. Two related things appear to motivate suicide in terms of inclusive fitness: 1) Ideation that reproductive success is negligibly probable. 2) Ideation that one's continued existence is a burden on kin and negatively impacts their reproductive fitness. The first can come from isolation, few friends, and no partner. Likely depression is both cause and effect.  The second is about resources and the impact of the individual on those resources. As above, a link to depression is likely. People feel ‘useless’ to kin, that they are just taking up space, and they are, or will come to be, a burden to kin. In genetically related groups, self-removal may increase ov

Signing a Virtual Appliance (.OVA)

I was working on VirtualBox VMs to publish as virtual appliances (.OVA files). When I was testing the import into VirtualBox, I found that there was a warning message that the appliance is not signed:  I was able to muddle through a work-around. The workaround involves getting a tool from VMWare (ovftool.exe), which seems a bit strange. It allows the import of the OVA, showing the certificate and marking it as 'safe'. It still has a couple of issues. One is an annoying warning message issued while creating the signed file, for which I was unable to find a cure. The other is that it does not seem to contact a time server to timestamp the file. Presumably that means that when the signing certificate expires, you get warnings again when loading.  I would still like to know how you are supposed to do it properly according to Oracle. Surely Oracle is not using VMWare's software to sign their Virtual Appliances.  This is my journey under Windows 10. At the end, I have publishable

Abolish copyrights. Make the world a better place overnight

Abolishing copyrights will create billions of dollars of wealth overnight. Without copyrights standing in the way, every one of the (soon to be) eight billion people on earth will be able to access all the media we have. Abolishing patents will ultimately reduce the cost of material wealth to the cost of energy and materials. As with copyrights denying media access to all but a few who will pay, patents will arbitrarily deny the creation of material wealth that would otherwise be available. The entire patent and copyright systems are net destructive and need to be scrapped.  I am in a situation where I communicated privately to a company a technique from my research. Without my knowledge, they patented it. I can prove that I communicated that precise technique to them prior to their patenting of it. I am now in a position where I would be sued if I publish the thing I invented -- a fundamental part of a body of research started thirty years ago. I can definitely prove that they pat

Using older people as a guide

Someone was giving sage advice that you should look at older people and how they got where they are and take their path if you want what they have.  They got this backwards. You should look at people a decade or two older to get an idea of what an older person wants. You will be that older person one day. As you should have noticed by now, your tastes and priorities change over time. My kids do not sport tattoos. It was all the rage when they were younger. It is still a thing now. I cautioned them that as an adult they would not likely want a child to choose a permanent mark on their skin. If you still think it is a promising idea to get that cartoon character on your ankle or still have an infatuation with that boy band guy when you are in your thirties, then you can still get it. You might be able to get it changed or alter your skin, but you cannot un-get a tattoo.  If you make a long-term commitment to pay for that thing you want now, you commit your future self to living with the


Putting ASCII table here because ugh copyright Bob Trower -- License: Copy and use as you please  Image here, but text below.   ASCII Table Non-Printing Characters Printing Characters                             Name Ctrl char  Dec  Hex  Char Dec  Hex  Char Dec  Hex  Char Dec  Hex  Char null ctrl-@ 0 0 NUL 32 20 Space 64 40 @ 96 60 ` start of heading ctrl-A 1 1 SOH 33 21 ! 65 41 A 97 61 a start of text ctrl-B