Sunday, December 9, 2018

Machine Learning and Nebulae

draft
Damn this machine learning can be fun! The images are definitely getting better and I think it would be petty to complain that the "generated" images dont look much like the input "real/training" images. That would be the concern of small minded people and everyone here I am sure operates on a higher level. Oh yes, also, the "metric" of good vs bad (error, incorrectness, what have you) also seems to have no relationship whatsoever to the images being "judged". 

Again, we must rise above such nonsense!

Nebulae, who needs nebulae?












Noteworthy Brief from the FBI about Cohen

draft

I have not read the brief that Mueller has filed but I have read about it and seen a few excerpts that seemed so noteworthy as to bring it to the attention of my friends.  In this paragraph, the Special Council's office makes the following point about Michael Cohen, esq.

While many Americans who desired a particular outcome to the election knocked on doors, toiled at phone banks, or found any number of other legal ways to make their voices heard, Cohen sought to influence the election from the shadows. He did so by orchestrating secret and illegal payments to silence two women who otherwise would have made public their alleged extramarital affairs with Individual-1. In the process, Cohen deceived the voting public by hiding alleged facts that he believed would have had a substantial effect on the election.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Mercury is so retrograde

I am writing this blog post from my smartphone. Retrograde is what Mercury is, like I have never seen. I am so pissed off I'm ready just to give up on the whole damn thing.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Notes to Reviewers I (Schools)

draft

These are the schools I plan to apply to so far.

I recognize that there is work associated with each additional school (even if you are just cutting and pasting which is what I would do).  So I have tried to minimize the list and I am also completely cool with the idea that if you consent to do any of these, that you may prefer to do one or two rather than the whole list.  You will let me know, etc. 

Additional notes:  1. The goal is to get a PhD but it really doesnt bother me to get a masters first because I have a lot to catch up on and because I think it lets people get a look at me first (which may help and it may hurt).  2. There is at least one foreign school on the list, I would like others, too.  Maybe Canada?  Maybe Europe?

Computer science: Stanford (because of Pat Hanrahan), Columbia (excellent computational biology), something in Israel (TBD).

CMU?  MIT?  Illinois?  Berkeley? You tell me.  NYU is too close to home.  It would be fine otherwise.

Public Policy: Rand Graduate Institute, something at Georgetown.



How you know things are really bad

draft

When you invest vast time in describing how much someone's feelings concern you and suggest some ways to change the relationship to better take into account their feelings and they respond "YOU DONT CARE ABOUT MY FEELINGS".  

Right or wrong, this is a subtle sign of a serious disconnect.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Helped A Homeless Person (maybe) Destroyed Two Relationships (maybe)

draft

I may have helped a homeless person today.  Maybe.  It was so clear that her current dilemma / nightmare was something she had caused.  She was totally able to get that and I think it makes things worse.   I think she will face a week of very challenging adversity and then be OK.  She needs an address to get her disability card, then get an ID and then find a place to live with her disability.  Its all doable, but its all challenging when you are homeless.

But this can be hard to do even when you are not homeless.  

And two other friends may have disavowed me.  This always makes me sad.  What is funny sad is that a friend thinks that I am all rage, and he cant take that.  I try to explain to him that rage and anger is my personality (along with a few other emotions) and he should just adjust to it, but he hates me for saying this because he thinks I dont acknowledge his feelings.  

What surprises me, and which I dont know how to process, is that this is something new?  Weird.  I have been like this for two decades.

There is also some interesting, insulting material about my medical issues, but its not something that can be discussed here.  I am such an idiot sometimes.


Let Me Explain Why You Are Going to Jail

draft

You are not going to jail just because you were part of the criminal organization of Donald Trump, although, admittedly, that should be enough.

You are going to jail because when Donald Trump became president, if he did become president, he did not grow into the job, but instead worked to be the most incompetent, the most dishonest, the most racist, the most idiotic fucking nutcase that we have ever had, in conjunction with nutcases like Ryan, Nunes, Grassley and McConnel.  Racist nutcases.  Assholes like the Koch Brothers and the Mercers.  Obvious criminals like Pruitt.  

You are going to jail because Trump put a rapist on the Supreme Court and a right wing nutty boy as well.

You are going to jail because people hate that fucking son of a bitch so much that they are even willing to enforce the law, something that we normally only do to poor people, not rich people.

That is why you are going to jail.


Thursday, November 29, 2018

What the Constitution Means to Me

draft

It means that Dershowitz and Kavanaugh can borrow a private jet from one of their rich Wall Street friends and go on a rape party in Georgia secure in the knowledge that there will be no fair elections and no legal reprecusions, then fly back to Washington and laugh at videos of political refugees being teargassed and beaten.

Thats what the Constitution of the United States stands for today.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

In Response To Comments From A Wonderful Friend

draft

What a nice person you are to care.
Pablo Picasso was never called an asshole.
Listening to the sound track of Repo Man.
And somehow it seemed appropriate.
I am not likely to suddenly become a nice guy.
I appreciate your words, your experience and your help.
But I advise you to limit your expectations.
How many psychiatrists does it take to change a lightbulb?
Only one, but the lightbulb has to sincerely want to change.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

When Some Moron Says Trump is Not Impeachable


draft

I dont have any pro-Trump friends any more, at least not on FB. I might have some friends in real life with whom I do not discuss politics who might be Trump supporters without my knowledge, and that is fine. But for those of you who have Trump supporters as friends, here is a nice concise response from the New Yorker about what to say when they say "What!? What has he done that impeachable!? Nothing!". When some idiot says that, here is at least one reply:



Over its first 20 months in office, this administration has produced what would have, heretofore, passed for a presidency-defining scandal on a near-daily basis. There is, of course, the president’s ongoing campaign to undermine the independence of federal law enforcement; his apparent use of U.S. military deployments as a campaign tool; ostensible violations of campaign-finance law; shameless profiteering off the presidency; gross violations of information-security protocols; use of mass child abuse as a tool for border enforcement; personal business relations with a Saudi government whose murder of an American resident he has enthusiastically apologized for; lackluster response to the hurricane crisis in Puerto Rico; and failure to so much as staff many key federal offices; among many, many other things. Meanwhile, just about every major Cabinet official has seemingly committed at least one major ethics offense.


From the New Yorker.


http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2018/11/house-democrats-trump-investigations-oversight-maxine-waters-moderates.html

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Real Clear Politics, Republicans and Georgia

draft

According to Real Clear Politics (a Republican news aggregator), Stacey Abrams hurt Georgia business because of "sour grapes" after a lost election.

You see, this is why Republicans are evil.  There is no thought in their twisted little minds that Kemp did not win the election, that Kemp is a racist who stole the election.

Are the Republicans really that stupid?  No.  They are just lying to steal the money, always have been, always will.

Lock him up. Lock Kemp up, period.




Things Learned On the Road to GANs (Generative Adversarial Networks)

draft

Miscellaneous things learned working with Tensorflow/Keras and machine learning to generate images.

1. Use Containers to install Tensorflow

Containers are virtual machines - lite, and it is the least annoying way to install tensorflow on Linux/Centos 7.5.  

2. For CNNs, the GPU is many times faster.

Its true what they say, at least in part.  For convolution neural networks, the GPU speeds things up by at least an order of magnitude and possibly two.  With containers, you only need to install the Nvidia driver on the base machine / OS and use a different container.

3. It is not at all clear how the CNN relates to real convolutions as we know them from image processing, but it does seem as though using larger filters as we increase resolution avoids the problem of the picture subdividing into lots of little squares.




Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Letter to My Congressman Salud Carbajal

Dear Congressman Carbajal

Congratulations on your re-election to Congress!  You're victory in these difficult times is a testament to your energy, your knowledge and your accomplishments.

I am new to your district and I am sure I will sound a little strident in this email, but I am extraordinarily unhappy with the events of the last two years as so many Americans are. 

Please do everything you can, and be as vocal as your position permits, and make it clear that (among other things) racism is any form is abhorrent to Americans, voter suppression is not acceptable, that the supreme court and federal judges must be ethically excellent individuals and not be right wing fanatics, and crime in the government must be investigated. 

Stand strong for us, sir, if you would.

Sincerely,
Michael Wahrman

The Democratic Response

draft

I want the Democrats, my party of choice, to make some clear statements.  At this time, at this place, now, not later but now.

Here is what I want them to say.

Racism is not acceptable in America, in politics, in how we treat each other, in how we vote.  Under any circumstances, it is not acceptable.  But most of all it is not acceptable in our public officials.

The people who are nominated to be a federal judge and especially the Supreme Court must be superior ethically as well in terms of their knowledge of the law and in their judgment.  They must represent all Americans, not just the extreme right wing and religious right, no matter how much they might wish it.  The abuse of this system by the Republican right has endangered our entire system.

Republicans need to learn that crime is wrong and will not be tolerated. You want to spend a year studying an email server, lets investigate racist motivated voting suppression, obstruction of justice, money laundering and treason.

Monday, November 19, 2018

The Democrats Must Stand Firm Or They Will Lose

draft

Being rewritten, please try back in a few hours!!!

This is what the Democrats have to do going forward.  And let me be clear, any failure to do this will mean that they Democrats will lose at the next election. They have one chance, in my opinion, to redeem themselves from decades of accomodation and of longing for an America that sadly no longer exists.

They must throw out any idea of "bipartisanship" but must stand firm and unyielding and execute a policy based on principles.

Forget legislation, legislation can be dealt with after the right wing Republican nuts have been exposed for the traitors and criminals that they are.

The American people have been subjected to an astonishing array of crimes against their government and the people of this country and of the world.  It is time for the Democrats to make clear that this behavior has to stop. 

Here is a short list of things the Democrats *must* do to maintain any credibility.

In the following I really dont want to hear any stupid whining about how "why bother to impeach if the corrupt Republicans will just turn their back on truth and justice.  Yes, the Republicans are corrupt and will betray America again, but that is not excuse for not  impeaching him.  Leave the Senate to the Senate, let the House execute its responsibilities for once.

In no particular order.

1. Trump must be investigated for his crimes, or at least a goodly number of them.  If appropriate, those crimes may be referred to relevant state departmens of justice for prosecution.  If appropriate, Trump must be impeached.

2. Kavanaugh must be investigated and if appropriate his crimes referred to proper authorities.  it may also be that he should be impeached.

3. Gorsuch is a right wing nutty boy.  He needs to be reviewed by the house, and also, if appropriate impeached.

4. Why was Nunes allowed to betray America and why was he not removed from his position as chair of the Intelligence Committee when the DOJ and FBI begged Ryan to do so.  This must be investigated.

5. Why have N. Dakota and Georgia been allowed to use obviously racist measures to disenfranchise voters?

6. Why has Florida failed to be able to reliably hold an election and count votes?

7. Why is the Senate continuing to approve right wing nutty boys for the judiciary as if that was acceptable?  The judicial system is being destroyed.

8. What was Pruitt saying behind closed doors for which no notes were kept and the American people are not allowed to know.  Let him testify under oath and let those he spoke to testify under oath and let them pay for their crimes.

All of these issues must be addressed before another budget is approved.  If that means the government stops then I am all for it.  Better we get this cleared up right now, first, before continuing some injustice or abomination.

There are other things as well.  Your list may differ.  This is all the House should do. If any of them are not dealt with, then as far as I am concerned we, the nation and the House has failed.

The nature of the crisis will be further discussed in a later post.



Why Group Sourcing is Obviously Stupid

draft

At various times people talk about "group sourcing" on the internet, or of learning from the internet from the sources that people provide for free or even for a fee, as if it will just be there.

This is not only wrong, it is stupid, it is even obviously stupid, as anyone would know if they had actually tried it to learn something seriously that way.

The reason is that the noise to signal is wildly out of balance.  And there is no way to judge noise from signal in the general case without a vast amount of time and effort.

Group sourcing is obviously not as good as a credible source with information that has been vetted.

Duh.

I guess the people writing about the Internet dont know what they are talking about or maybe they are just lying to steal the money.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

We Must Help Our Elected Representatives

draft

Our elected representatives need our help to understand what we want done. Figure out how to contact him/her and let them know.  I will be making a list on this blog.  You should do the same.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

How to Contact Glassner & Blinn

draft

To my astonishment, both Andrew Glassner and Jim Blinn are easy to contact, as they maintain web sites with a contact form.

https://www.glassner.com/

http://www.jimblinn.com/contact/

What Everyone Who Studies Intelligence Knows about Wikileaks

draft

Many Americans don't like what they think is the "intelligence" business.  There are good and bad reasons why this might be, but its sufficiently important that I think that people should know more about it so that they can make more accurate or possibly nuanced judgments about it.  It is, after all, *their* intelligence community and is genuinely working, for the most part, in what they believe is the nation's interest as ordered by the POTUS and the relevant committees of Congress.

Even though there is a lot we can not and will not know about the world of intelligence there are lots and lots of things that we can know by paying attention and knowing the history of these things.

And so, in light of this, here is one comment on current events.

It has been obvious for years, certainly at least a decade and possibly more, that whatever else Wikileaks may be, it is probably also a tool of foreign Intelligence.  From the material released and the timing of that release it is likely that Wikileaks has been chosen as the "public mouthpiece" of materials collected by foreign intelligence agencies that have collected the material from one source or another, and are looking for a way to get this material into the world at a time of their choosing to influence some political process ongoing in the West.  This has been completely obvious, and if it is not true, a lot of people will be surprised. But what does it mean?  What should we do about it? And what does it not mean?

It does not mean that the people running Wikileaks are insincere or believe that they are doing anything but what a freedom loving person of the world should be doing. They may be completely uncompromised in their goals.  Nor does it mean that they have necessarily committed any crimes, although they may have.  But even so, be aware that a crime in one country may not be a crime in another.   On the other hand, I think it is likely from what little I know that they very well may have knowingly committed some crimes that are in fact illegal in this country, but that is to be seen.

All I am really saying here is that you should not be so naive as to think that Wikileaks is a completly independent, do-good-for-the-world, totally disinterested organization.  They serve a very useful purpose for people who are not friendly to this country.  That said, they may provide a useful service for the rest of us, that would depend on your point of view on many other issues.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Notes on Building My Servers

draft

At the end of the day, I ended up with two servers.  One running Linux for rendering, machine learning, and other image processing.  The other for using the Samsung HMD for VR that my friend Ken Perlin sent me.  They are both running the Xeon Silver 4108 8/16 CPU with lots of memory.

Their were two major issues on this build.  I kept getting bad parts, many CPUs were bad and much of the early memory was bad.  Now I buy the memory directly from Kingston and whatever I was running into with CPUs seemed to be fixed.  I also had a bad PSU.  It was just endless.

At the end of the day, we settled on memory from Kingston, chassis from Chenbro from Newegg, power supplies from Supermicro directly, Samsung SSDs from Newegg, Nvidia GPUs from Newegg, and Supermicro motherboards from 3rd party vendors through Newegg.

From now on, always test a new power supply for a build, and stay away from two socket motherboards, always going for a single socket and a more powerful processor if necessary.

Never install Windows on a machine with any other kind of data or OS anywhere near.

The built in graphics on the Supermicro motherboards work great for consoles, and it is recommended you have a VGA display of some sort so you dont have to go through a VGA->HDMI converter.  All systems are still on the USB ethernet connection which works fine for what I need to do.  Ultimately, we will use the onboard ethernet.  All systems have a USB3 bay added to the front.

This is the first time I have had reasonable computing that is appropriate for the work in maybe 20 years.  It makes a difference.


Donald, Why Dont You Shut Up

draft

No one believes you Donald, so why dont you just shut up.  We are definitely into the next period of play.  I dont know what will happen but I doubt old Donald is going to make it.  At the end of the day he is not immune to all the laws of nature and politics although he thinks he is.  How this will play out, and how long it will take, and what it will take to fix it if it can be fixed, is of course a mystery.  It is for the Democrats and the Resistance to lose.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Lessons on the Path to Righteousness and the Installation of Tensorflow on Centos

draft

Tensorflow is one of the open source solutions to a machine learning back end.  That, with a Keras layer on top, is one of the more popular machine learning environments out there. Among other things, it supports both central and graphics processing on most operating systems.

As in so many things in life, a clever or lucky choice can achieve a goal with no effort, but a similar choice can result in weeks, years or even decades of hell.

There are a number of surprises involved in installing these packages on your operating system of choice, and this note is intended to help you, readers, avoid shooting yourself in the foot or the head as the case may be.

1. Never, never, never try to install from source no matter who advises you to.  It is perfectly possible to install from source on a bare metal machine without any virtual environments, or you could just hit yourself with a large hammer for a few weeks.  Who knew that there were so many different ways to install Python, or that there were so many Pythons?  And that is just the tip of a very nasty set of icebergs.

2. So whenever you are given an opportunity to isolate yourself from the real world by using a virtual environment, whether in Python or anywhere else, take it.  In particular, for the Windows 10 version, a choice of the python virtual environment and a precompiled version of Tensorflow/Keras will result in a cpu only version in an afternoon.  For some of you, you are done and can move on.

3. For those of us in Linux world, you now have to choose between a few specific versions of Ubuntu and everything else.  You who would compromise your integrity and have no aesthetic sense are welcome to use Ubuntu.  Go, it is there for you.

4. For the rest of us who might use an adult version of Linux, my operating system of choice is Centos / RHEL 7.5 which is the most recent version.  I thought I had to compile from source, but this turns out not to be the case.  What turns out to to one of the best paths through this jungle is to use the Docker (container) version as follows.

5. Install Docker by registering as a free user of the Community Edition.  Having registered, and installed the preferred package from the preferred repository, you are now eligible to use containers that have been registered with Docker.

6. Tensorflow creates a new version more or less every day in a variety of flavors (no GPU, GPU, etc) and puts them out on the Docker registry with such adjectives as "latest" or "stable" for example.

7. Using these magic words you can create the name of a container you want to run.  You use one of the magic containers and it loads that part of the container whose layers are not already local, and if you so specify, you are in a shell, in a container, in which you can go into python, load tensorflow and keras and you are off to the races in a cpu version of Tensorflow.

8. Of course, at this point you are now using containers and you will need to spend a day learning about container file systems and other nuance.  Its not too bad though.

9. For those of you who foolishly also want to use GPU acceleration, you have chosen a slightly more difficult path.  You will have to install a different version of the "docker" program from Nvidia and Github.  But once you do, and once you install the GPU driver on your Linux (a bird of a different feather) you can now use a container with GPU from that list mentioned above.

Good luck!

Friday, November 9, 2018

The Big Lebowski and Carter Burwell

draft

This will be old news to many of you, but it was new to me.

I am slowly developing an appreciation for the movie The Big Lebowski (1998) by the Coen Brothers.  I realize it has been out for a while and I am late to see its value.

What I had not realized was that computer music pioneer and composer Carter Burwell did the original music.  Carter is distant cousin to my friends Carter Emmart and Jimmy Carter, and its really nice to see just how well he has done.  He has worked on a movie that is sure to last as long as movies from our civilization last.




https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0118715/

Monday, November 5, 2018

Its Nice to Know Where You Stand


draft

An old friend is taking the day off work to go walk the precinct for someone he claims is the first openly bisexual candidate in the history of the American Republic, which I doubt.  I think that is great, but do I really care if someone is openly bisexual? 

He has not had the time to visit me, or for me to visit him, once in the last 10 or is it 12, or more, years.

Its nice to know how much our friendship counts.

No Free Speech on Twitter


draft

Apparently only the Orange Moron is permitted to express their opinion on Twitter.  I am still keeping my account, but probably wont tweet much, too afraid of violating the rules.

Remember the Fifth of November


draft

Time to blow up Parliament.  Oh, too bad!  No patriots around here.  Just rapists on our Supreme Court! 

A First! A Browser Attack on Safari and the Mac

draft

Well, at least its a first for me.  Safari tried to tell me that I HAD A VIRUS and I HAD to do some stupid shit, etc, etc, you know the drill.

Our right wing FBI and Orange-Sack-of-Shit President is too busy putting rapists on the Supreme Court to try and catch these criminals.  Hell, the Trump-ola is probably making money off the scam.

Who is More Stupid, Democrats or Republicans

draft

Sure the Republicans are evil swine, but the Democrats never learn.  I read in the Daily Beast that if/when the Dems take the House they immediately should get in a fight over Nancy Pelosi (yawn) and then be nice to the Republicans.

OH, they say, dont dare go after the Republicans for their crimes.

Idiots, morons, swine.  Put the Republicans in jail.  All of them.  Start with the Orange Bag of Shit and his rapist justice.


Sunday, November 4, 2018

Holy Moly This Hollywood Bullshit Makes Me Mad

draft

Dear Friends, or not as the case may be.

I dont want your hopes and prayers.  I want the money you owe me for getting so much done which you based your enitre careers upon.

Thank you!

Saturday, November 3, 2018

What if We Met The Caravan with Open Arms


draft

What if it was all a joke and Trump means  to have the immigrant caravan met by the US Military with open arms, housing and humanitarian aid!? 

Then we would be the angel of the international scene and not hated (as much).

For those who say this is not practical, they are probably right.  On the other hand if this country had not welcomed immigrants, I would not be alive.


Oh That Hollywood Insincerity


Ha Ha!

Another example of a dear friend proving what a shallow and insincere person he/she is.  Who knows. Managing expectations is the key, and my expectations have been way too high.

Obviously.

Why do I even bother?

Friday, November 2, 2018

Election Predictions Midterms 2018

draft

What a clusterf*ck this has been.

It has been excruciating to read the mainstream press the last few months as they agonize over numbers that tell us nothing.  I have literally read every possible prediction contradicted by some pundit within days.

1. Dems take the house by 20 or so votes.  Anything more than that is a victory that makes it harder for the republicans to spin.

1.1 But the Dems need a minimum of 40 votes majority to spin it as a Blue Wave and who knows if they will get it.

1.2 The people who claim that young people will vote, will vote Dem, and who say that women will vote Dem as a block will be wrong.  The Women Vote will be mostly dead (except as a slight majority, not a block) after this election.  That is my prediction.  You will still hear about the youth vote and the women vote because there will be stupid lefties who cant get it out of their heads, but it isnt real.  Sorry.

2. Reps pick up at least one seat in the Senate, maybe two.  Beto is defeated by Cruz.

3. The Georgia race is too close to call.

4. Dems win Florida governorship for a net gain of several governorships.

5. Nunes and Hunter are reelected.

6. Trump declares victory and voter fraud in the House.  He uses that as an excuse to ignore subpoenas.

7. Dems in the House unleash hell but it does them no good, not really.

8. Because the Senate is firmly in Trumps hands and does his bidding.

9. Trump and the Senate continue to place stupid right wing thugs in the judiciary.

10. The Supreme Court starts fucking with our freedoms.

11. Violence increases.

12. The Trump revolution is pronounced real and not an aberration.

13. Most Americans still fail to understand that they live in a dictatorship and that most of the constitution has failed.

14. Mueller indicts Stone and the Wikileaks asshole but what he does beyond that is a mystery to me.

15. Voter Repression goes full force.  Right wing courts uphold most of it.  Voting rights, fuck that, this is Trump Country now.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Should I Alert the Humane Society

draft

A woman I know in Oakland sets traps for animals, castrates or neuters them, and then has them killed.  Should I alert the humane society?  Why bother?  They would just attack me for telling them about it. They approve of that kind of thing.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Notes on A New Civil War I


draft

A few notes on the upcoming civil war. Time to step up to the line and make predictions, kids.  Of course it is all fiction, since nothing like this could ever happen.

1. Civil wars are the most ugly and destructive type of wars that we know of.  Expect it to be ugly. More ugly than most people I know can imagine.

2. Just because we live in a new century with new technology does not mean all the old rules are gone. Most of my friends think that.  No offense or anything, but I dont agree.

3. Not all Trump supporters are armed or trained in hunting or warfare, but many of them are, and the ones that arent are, in general, not averse to being so trained.

4. On the other hand, I have not met a single non-Trump supporter who knew the first thing about firearms.  I dont think I know the general case, however, I think there are many who live outside S. California who are armed or know something.  They may not be NRA members, but that is OK. However I would guess that the ratio is 5 - 1 (armed vs unarmed).

5. The tools of surveillance are with the local police forces, and again, I think the ratio of Trump supporters is high, perhaps 5 - 1.

6. So when things come apart, you should presume that the right / Trump supporters will have control of the surveillance systems, and will be heavily armed, and that in general, the left will not be.

7. I have not said a thing about what the armed forces will do.

8. Of former armed force members, it is not clear what the ratios will be, but in general they will be armed, or very knowledgable (they have to be), but not necessarily pro-Trump (although in some parts of the US they will be).  I need to do more research on this.  For what it is worth, I have not met more than about 5 lefties out of maybe 5,000 who know the first fucking thing about the US armed forces, although I have met many who think they do.

No offense or anything.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Looking for Amie Slate


draft

If anyone reading this happens to know how to contact Amie Slate, could they please get in touch?

A documentary is being done on Mike Gribble (of Mike & Spike Animation fame) and they are hoping that Amie might have or know where there is archival footage of the Electronic Theatre of Siggraph in 1988.

Thank you.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Notes on Installing Windows 10 and Google Tensorflow (CPU only)


draft

This is the third time I have installed Windows 10.  These are my notes from the experience.

1. Based on previous disaster, all other disks were unpowered when installing this OS.  The only disk it could get to was the one that it was to be installed on.

2. Based on previous disaster, this disk is connected by SATA because the poor little piece of shit, Windows, cant install on  USB (a marketing decision we are sure).

3. You need a Microsoft account to do this.

4. You sign an agreement which says in so many words that you are stupid for running MS software and if anything goes wrong you should go fuck yourself.

5. It reboots itself without telling you to remove the USB boot disk.

6. You must give it a device PIN.  

7. You do have the option of turning off Windows Cloud, Cortina and weird non-privacy options.

8. It does not let you change the resolution on your screen.

9. When you install Firefox, it complains and tries to make you use its own stupid browser because of course it does.  This is Microsoft.

10. Even though you turned Cortina and MS Cloud off it is still running, because of course it is.

11. When you download the Nvidia driver you have no choice but to load the "GEFORCE Experience" and wait 20 minutes while it downloads. The driver itself is at most a 1 minute download.   Hey dont worry, my time doesnt matter.

12. One of the things I find fascinating is how slow it is.  It is running on 8/16 fairly fast processors and essentially infinite memory, on an SSD drive at SATA 3 speeds and it is still slow.

13. Installing the NVIDIA driver was trivial, but ... here I am waiting for it to reboot.  Will it reboot?  Will it ever leave the SETUP screen?  Oh Oh.  Second reboot and it comes up just fine on the Nvidia card.

14. Must sign in with PIN.  Weird.  No way to turn it off that is obvious.  Whatever they think they are doing with their control panel settings, it isnt helping.  I cant find anything.

15. Now to install VLC for Windows (my preferred video player) and then we get to the good stuff.  Tensorflow and Unity.  OK VLC worked but forgot to turn off metadata download.  Later.

16. Tensorflow ... two versions... CPU only and w/GPU.  It says that beginners should only do CPU.  So I install pip, virtual env, follow instructions for virtual env (one mistake in doc), run virtual env, load tensorflow via pip, run it and it fails!  But wait, it fails because I skipped a step, the "MS Visual Development blahdy blahdy blahdy".

17. So I sign up for visual developer, which means a c/c++ compiler I think, and it also has a python development system and it tries to download 2 GBs.  So I pause it, cut off everything but what I need the core and python, and that is a mere 380 MBs.  Fine.  Installed.

18. Reboot.  Need to reboot twice to get Windows to run. Second time this has happened weird.

19.  But now when I run tensorflow (cpu only) in python, in virtual environment, it works!  Yay!

20. Installed matplotlib.

21. OK we are almost where we were a month ago.

22. Science Marches On!


Saturday, October 27, 2018

Buddhist vs Ultra Reform Jewish Response to Trump


draft

A Buddhist friend of a friend on Facebook says we must not be angry about Trump and his stupid followers but must follow a path of non-engagement.  Or something like that.

My response was:

I am a former wanna-be Buddhist (never really a buddhist, but aspired to be as a youth, read books, you know the usual jewish white boy contrarian shtick...), but now I have returned to my Virginian ultra-reform assimilated Democratic nonJewish Jewish roots, and I call for the Tetragrammatron to smite them with a lightning bolt of patriarchal vigor!

Tensorflow on Hold After Weeks of Wasted Effort


draft

Time that could have been spent learning machine learning has instead been spent trying to get Tensorflow to work on Centos 7.5.  Its been a neverending nightmare, a labyrinth of conflicting requirements, installation programs, neurotic programs that require specific versions, complications of using a GPU and so forth.  I feel like I am living the Reagan "Star Wars" nightmare of software that is one bridge too far.

Let there be no doubt I made this worse for myself in a variety of ways.  This computer has to serve a lot of purposes, not just one.  Google Tensorflow makes a precompiled version for Ubuntu, which I despise, and makes the source available for other Linux's including Centos (Centos == Redhat for those of you outside that world).

Without doubt, the biggest problem here involves Python and its wacky Pip installer.  Look, I know that if you are immersed in the Python culture that this all works for you kids.  But I am not immerse, I want to use Keras and Tensorflow, Python is just along for the ride.

I had it working for normal CPU work and it was painful but not impossible.  When I went to use it with a GPU, though, it all fell apart and now I can not get back.

The good news is that I do have CUDA working, which is a non trivial accomplishment.  Of course, X is broken.

This nightmare has to end.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

The Supreme Court Crushes Freedom

draft

Any question you may have about whether or not the Supreme Court is just a right-wing tool of oppression should now have been answered.

1. Roberts has said that the Secretary of the Commerce does not have to answer questions about whether he lied to congress (perjured himself) during his nomination process.  

2. Gorsuch is planning to assist the destruction of the census.  The census feeds into everything else this country does when it comes to helping people.  It is far, far more than a census in a simple sense of that word.

3. Roberts has stayed the progress of the children's crusade on global warming.

4. The supreme court has refused to act to end the insanely illegal violation of voting rights in Georgia, N. Dakota and other states.  This means that the upcoming midterm elections will be invalid.

5. And of course, the right wing thug Kavanaugh lied to congress, is a complete shit, and was confirmed for the supreme court.

That is the end of the matter.  Do what you will with this information, this is not new, this is just overt.  There is no valid justice system in this country.



What I Dont Understand

draft

I do not understand why, after the last two years of hell, the Democrats are not crushing the Republicans at the polls.  I do not understand why they are not expected to win the Senate back. This is causing me to lose my faith in the American people.


Friday, October 19, 2018

Constitutional Failure, What Changes Should We Make?


draft

Since the constitution has obviously failed and we are living in semi-dictatorship, or moving in that direction, (see note), it seems reasonable to discuss how we can change the constitution to improve it and prevent such things in the future.  But since our elected leaders and political elite have failed to step up to this challenge, I will do it for them.  For those of you who say I am completely unqualified, my response is "too f*cking bad".  I have endured two illegal presidents in my lifetime and now we have a bunch of right wing thugs in the judiciary and while that is obviously OK with you it is not OK with me.

You want a country?  You want a democracy?  You failed to do anything and your opportunity is over. Now lets see what someone else can do.

As Putin has said, paraphrasing here, "America has made too many mistakes" and he is right.  Our first mistake was to allow the Republicans and Fox News to exist.

Note: OK, if it were a true dictatorship, it wouldnt matter what I said, and of course it doesnt matter what I say, now does it? See!  But seriously folks, we have one fucked up country here and I am not seeing our political elite responding in a coherent and holistic way.


Thursday, October 18, 2018

Roberts Claims the Supreme Court will be Independent

draft

Roberts claims that the supreme court will be independent of politics and just do the right thing. See for example see this article in Politico.

But he is, of course, lying.  Remember, it was Roberts who voted to put their right wing thug, George W. Bush into office over the obviously elected Al Gore.  The ostensible reason, if you recall, is that there can not be bad delays in determining this vote.  Oh, really?  No voting rights for this court, I suppose.

But now today when we have overt voting rights suppression in at least Georgia, Florida and N. Dakota, notice that the Supreme Court does nothing.  The legitimacy of the election system is being challenged in a very real and overt fashion, but the Supreme Court does not act.  Why not?

Could it be because this suppression helps the right wing Republican Party exert their control over the majority?  Could it be that the right wing thugs on the Supreme Court are just playing the partisan game and just paying lipservice to the idea of doing the right thing?

As of Kavanaugh and the huge number of right wing thugs put at all levels of the Federal Judiciary, justice is over in this country until these people are impeached. Let me repeat that, in case I was vague. There is no justice in this country until further notice.

Which leads to my first platform promise: if elected, I will work to impeach all the right wing thugs put on the judiciary by the Republicans and replace them by honest lawyers who have the country's interests at heart.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

In Response to a Post by Mary Lou Jepson

draft

Mary Lou Jepson asked if there was something you could tell your younger self that might change your degree choice or your path, what would it be.

So I said:

"Right now, people are treating you well in spite of your lack of credentials, but that is a temporary phenomenon, sadly. There will be a time when people will judge you based on what is on paper, and by then there will be those who like you and those who dont. Therefore, you are encouraged to get the best credentials you can now, while you have the cachet and while the various advantages society makes available to those in this stage of their career are available. If anything goes wrong, you will wish you had those credentials".

A Suggestion for the Justice System

draft

You see, here is the problem.  When you destroy the justice system with your right wing goons, like Kavanaugh, Gorsuch, Roberts, Thomas and a whole slew of nutty boys in the Federal system whose names we may not even know, then when a judgment happens that is obviously unjust, such as the one that just happened against Stormy Daniels, then we assume that the fix is in. We cant assume that justice was done because we dont trust the justice system.

You leave us no choice but to put as many of our partisans on the court as we can, as a countermeasure.  Yes, you fucked it up.

Dont complain when it comes back to bite you in the ass.

Footnote: The day after the defamation suit against Daniels is dismissed, Trump calls her "Horseface".  Dont you love justice in America?


Monday, October 8, 2018

Voter Disengagement or Brain Disengagement

draft

Some friend of a friend on Facebook tells me that I am a part of "Voter Disengagement" and that I am part of the problem.  This is in response to me saying that I might vote, but what I really wanted was a plan that was going to work.  We voted, I pointed out, we won and it didnt work.

So he calls me part of the problem.

My point is, we cant win with stupid assholes like this.  We have just encountered a right wing coup d'etat and he says I am part of the problem for pointing out that voting did not help.

I mean like, what the fuck?

The Little Baby Jesus Gonna Rip Their Heads Off Now


draft

The little baby Jesus gonna rip their heads off now!
The little baby Jesus gonna rip their heads off now!
The little baby Jesus gonna rip their heads off now!
The little baby Jesus gonna rip their heads off now!

Gonna Rip McConnell's Head Off Now!
Gonna Rip Grassley's Head Off Now!
Gonna Rip Kaveneauh's Head Off Now!
Gonna Rip the Orange Zit's Head Off Now!

The little baby Jesus gonna rip their heads off now!
etc.

Prediction #1 In Post Democracy America

draft

Their mothers died
Their daughters learned the arts and sciences on their own
so they did not have to rely on men
so that the back room could be under their control
fuck the law
we do not live in a confuscianist society


Burn It Down and Dont Ever Tell Me to Vote

draft

We did vote.  We won.  But thats not the way it works in a right wing dictatorship.

"Burn it Down" in Harpers Bazaar

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Before You Predict The Future, A Few Notes on Technique


draft

So once upon a time, in sixteenth century France, a third generation converted Jew took a pen name, Nostradamus, and made a living writing popular non-fiction, that attempted to predict the future.  If we look more closely at his body of work and at why he has maintained the interest of many people over the years, there are some lessons to learn.

His most important non-fiction, from the point of view of making a living as an author, was, I think, his Almanacs.  If you think about it, an Almanac is  a collection of knowledge about the past intended to be of use to those whose livelihood is based upon events in the near future.  Anyone in the classic business of agriculture would fall into this category. What is the best day for planting? When do the rains come?  When is the Summer Solstice?

But of course his notoriety comes from his more obscure, long term predictions that have been used to predict the end of the world, etc.  There are some lessons from his work that I think are of interest to anyone who might want to predict the future.

First, some basic "facts", if anything about this work is factual.  They were written as entertainment. They were written as 4 line poems, quattrains.  They were not written in the French of the time, although many people do not realize this.  They were written in an obtuse language that seemed like French but was actually a well known esoteric language known to alchemists and others. This was a useful way to avoid getting burned at the stake, by the way. And finally they were intended to not be usable to predict an event before it happened (which would be sorcery,  perhaps) but to be sufficiently detailed that when an event happened, you might believe that he had indeed predicted it.

This is a tricky business and not all that easy to do.  But here is an example made up on the spot.  Suppose I wrote a poem that said "The king will be killed.  The assassins bullet will strike home, who knew a library could be so evil?, the people mourn".  From this, you could not predict JFK was the subject.  But after the fact, you would say, "How did he know about the book depository?"

So going forward, as you predict things, keep that in mind.  Be specific, but in an obscure way.

The Best Way to Avoid Being Accused of ManSplaining


draft

Was just accused of mansplaining again. OK, fine. No more of that. The best way to avoid it is to not be in a position where I have to explain anything to insecure and unknowledgable women. Too fucking bad, I just wanted to help.

I guess I get what I deserve, or maybe not.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Do Vaccines Cause Alzheimers

draft

You have got to be fucking kidding me.

1. They dont know what causes Alzheimers.

2. So when you get some notice that taking a flu vaccine causes Alzheimers, you know right there that it is bullshit.

3. Where does this shit come from?

4. Why does anyone believe it?

Because people are stupid.

OK America, Make Me Proud

draft

Since the minority right wing will put their nutty boy on the Supreme Court today, there is no rule of law in this country.  So there is no law against killing politicians.

I checked with one of my favorite lawyers. It is absolutely within my rights of freedom of speech (if there were any law at all to matter) to say that I hope some patriot will kill some of these right wing senators.

Or maybe just kill their children.  After all, they dont care about our children, now do they. They are stupid but they do not know how stupid they are.

Too bad, it was a nice country once.

Letter to Sheila who Lives in London



draft

Dear Sheila.

1. America has always been a hypocritical and weird state, and completely unaware of it. Sadly, this has accellerated until now it is undeniably going to rip itself apart. The best scenarios are not good, and the worst are on deck right now. 2. As for a failed state, I think so, although few Americans might agree with us. The self denial is astonishing and worthy of many PhD thesis. 3. The failure however comes from many things, that is what would make it so interesting if I had even the slightest patience of desire to look at it objectively, I now want to discuss the concept of train wreck. 4. Train wrecks can be really great, all that momentum, the concept of going off the rails, the tragedy of all those dead people both on the train and merely nearby, the cars flying off in all directions to whack people hundreds of yards away. 5. Will we take others down with us. Already have, and more to come. Yes, the post WW2 order was going to end anyway, but the Russians and Trump have accelerated it by an order of magnitude, 6. As for global wahrman, let me say that controlling it was a long shot anyway, what I was hoping for was may yet be achieved: which is global disaster in my lifetime. Fuck all those people to come, I want to see Miami under water, I want to see the Potomac wash over its banks. Sure a few extra hundred million people will die but that is a small price to pay to shut those fucking global wahrman deniers up. 7. As for blaming me personally. Let me tell you, I have been crying like a prophet of old and no one has listened. I went to protest in Nov 2000 where were my friends. 8. But best of all is worst of all. They think they have won. They have no idea what the fuck they are doing. If I may give an example from American history, you might look up a famous date (famous to some of us): Dec 20, 1860. Those who voted on that day had no fucking clue how bad it was going to be and how many people would die because of their stupidity. 8. And that is the word I want to leave you with. Stupid, but they dont know they are stupid.

How are the kids?  When will you visit me?

MW



Friday, October 5, 2018

To My Friend Who Has Ghosted Me

draft

On the occassion of the right wing coup d'etat that is completed as of tomorrow, and since I dont feel I can in good conscience hold onto money you lent me, I plan to donate it to the political opponents of our new Republican masters.

Not sure who that will be, but probably whoever it is that is running against that fucking fascist Nunes and the nightmare from Maine, Collins.

I dont think you will mind if I do that although I might get a little extra pleasure if you did.

(Three donations: the opponent to Ted Cruz, Nunes and Collins).

The Metaphor of Pie, Slices of

draft

From a discussion with MK Haley in which she presented her metaphor that each of us was given slices of a pie, some larger than others, some smaller etc.  My response was.

I feel like I came late to the diner and all the pie was gone. When will you have another pie, I asked. She just shook her head. No more pie for you.

Now that McConnell has Destroyed The Justice System

draft

Republicans do not seem to understand that what is about to happen tomorrow is as significant as when secession from the Union happened. 

McConnell is using a bug in the constitution that says that he can say that he can put someone on the Supreme Court with a majority, but only 2/3rds can impeach a justice.  And they know that is nearly impossible.

Well, thats just not going to do for me.

So now what?

Well, we dont have a working justice system, so we need to look at ways that may technically be against the law, but in fact, are ethically well within our rights as citizens.

Too bad, huh.  I guess they fucked it up.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

I Will Always Be Treated Badly

draft

Recent events have convinced me that, with one or two very important exceptions, people will always treat me badly.  Without these exceptions, I would be homeless or dead, so I am very grateful, believe me.

But everyone wants to be liked. Everyone wants to think that they are seen as valuable.  No one wants to be an impoverished outcast. 

It seems it does not matter how much I help, how nice I am, what I have contributed, what I might contribute, nothing.  People will treat me like shit.

I will try to help people understand things they clearly do not understand, and be as honest and as well meaning as I can be.  No doubt this will earn me another kick in the head.

If not for one or two people I would be homeless today.  I do not deserve being treated this way.


Tuesday, October 2, 2018

What It Means When People Treat You Like Garbage

draft

There is nothing like being in a position where people think that you can not help them, or that they do not have to be nice to you because they might want something from you.  Because under those circumstances you may find out what people actually think of you, or maybe you will learn something even more nasty: that many of your friends were shallow scum who get off on abusing people when they think they can get away with it.

And there is something about the last six months that has really brought out some of the most outrageous behavior.  But I think you will be OK.  I doubt I will ever get back into a position of success such that you might regret your actions.

But I am sorry to have to learn how arrogant and how self-entitled so many people I know turn out to be.  Yes, I am a little trusting but this is beyond that.  This is really an indication of how fucked up our society is.

This makes me sad.

Good luck to you guys and gals.


Monday, October 1, 2018

Windows 10 and Why I Hate Microsoft

draft

I am trying to install Windows 10 Home Edition on a USB drive.  I am installing from a USB flash drive.

The install program claims it will not install on a USB drive.  This is just fucking bug nuts by the way.  Linux has been able to install to a USB drive since soon after USB was invented.  I mean, what the fuck?

I called MS Support and "chatted" with two very nice people of the Indian subcontinent who really did try to help.  But the situation was way too far outside their comfort zone so no progress was made. MS Support thinks that if I partition the USB drive that it might work.  I cant imagine why and I have no particular way to do that here that would give me any confidence that I would do what it is that they need.

So my questions are:

1. Is there a way to install Windows 10 Home Edition on an unformatted USB drive.  2. Would another edition of Windows 10 be able to do this?  3. If I install Windows 10 on this drive as a SATA drive, take it out and put it in a USB enclosure, will Windows 10 be able to boot successfully from it?  (BTW, this has nothing to do with the BIOS/UEFI so far as I know).

I am going to try a few experiments tomorrow and then I am going to give up on it, because I really dont need to run stupid software.

The Unitarian Resistance Movement

draft

As mentioned below, when my local Congressman's office had no idea why I would be concerned about the collapse of democracy in America, or why I would bother them, my elected representative with the issue, they sent me off to the Unitarians.  Go to the Unitarians, they said, maybe they can help you.

Well, it turns out that I live two blocks away from the Unitarian Church in town and they had a nice office with someone working and she thought the story was funny.  Well, she said, we do have a mailing list of people who are interested in doing things politically, and I can put you on that list if you like.

For those who like their history American, the Unitarians have pretty much always been a hotbed of progressive political activity in this country.





Saturday, September 29, 2018

Natron: The Open Source Compositor

draft

I asked around for an open source compositor and no one knew of anything.  So much for my friends in the motion picture industry.

I looked on the Internet and found one.  It is called Natron.

Now the good news and the bad news:

1. Good news is that it seems to be very complete.

2. Good news is that it is easy to install on Centos.

3. Bad news is that the documentation sucks.  My guess is that there is a forum somewhere you are supposed to use, good luck finding it and using it.

4. My feeling, before much use, is that this is a very annoying but interesting tool and we are lucky to have it.  I recommend you download the source and keep it around because god only knows how long it will be around and "supported".

5. I am not going to add a link here because it will probably be out of date within nanoseconds.  Look it up yourself and good luck.



Friday, September 28, 2018

My Local Congressman

draft

Just for fun, I go to my local Congressman's office. As you can see, the notice on the door indicates that the door is locked at all times. So I knock and talk to a very confused woman who did not understand why I would be bothering them about this supreme court thing. We have nothing to do with that, she explained, as if to an idiot. I said I was concerned, she said, so? I wondered if they were organizing any protests. Now I could tell she was really worried. For all she knew, I would become violent at any moment. She redirected me to local Unitarian church, I guess her attitude was that it was stupid to approach one's congressman. I guess they were just too busy to worry about what a constituent thought about their government.






Monday, September 17, 2018

Gainful Employment, Society is At Fault

draft

Fragment of a larger essay.

I had the misfortune of working at RAND as a college drop out and being part of the early ARPA community, and that set expectations for the workplace which have not been met. Symbolics (an MIT AI Lab spinoff was part of this enlightened conspiracy, so was the MIT Media Lab in its earlier Architecture Machine form). I blame society because I was treated so well to begin with.

No Single Cause of the Disaster

draft

Every month or so since November 2016 I have read an analysis of why Trump (did not) win the election and each time someone says that "this is the true and only reason".  But it is almost certainly the case that no one reason can be identified for the simple reasons that (a) Trump won on a technical having lost the popular vote by a lot and (b) there were so many anomalies.

I maintain that nothing is clear, there was no single cause of this disaster. A failed constitution, right-wing voter fraud, independent and democratic voter indifference, a condidate who utterly failed to connect to an important part of the democratic base, the destructive influence of social media, russian intelligence disruption of the civic discourse, and of course collusion between the criminal right wing candidate with the foreign intelligence services all conspired to create a situation where a flawed constitution could be used to install a right wing thug as president. It was not one thing.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Gainful Employment, The Backstory

draft

Several friends have expressed concern about my lack of traditonal employment (or non-traditional employment) and have offered to help.  I appreciate their offer very much.  Its just that the situation is complicated and there are many things, boring things, that they do not or may not know.

But I want to thank everyone for thinking of me.  Yes, its important.  Yes, pretty much all my friends and certainly those who have volunteered to give me advice have probably done better than I in so many ways.

So lets go over some of these issues.

1. I made choices that resulted in taking risks.  Those risks did not pan out, and combined with unexpected health related issues, means that there are non-traditional gaps on my resume. The generic job opening can not accomodate this without special pleading.  Applying over the internet in some anonymous fashion will not work.

2. In fact, applying for a random job over the internet has never worked.

3. I generally have to think about a job before I apply for it.  Its important to me to feel as though, were I to get the job, that I would do well at it. But this approach does not match the "internet clusterfuck apply in quantity and pray" strategy.  That is right, it doesn't.

4. For better or worse, there are health considerations and not every job can accomodate these things.

5. Money has never been important.  What has been important has been the people I work with and the organization I work for.  Think RAND Corporation, Symbolics (MIT AI spinoff), MASS ILLUSION or the American Museum of Natural History. It can be hard to predict these things I admit.  I had a wonderful time consulting to Viacom in various guises, but that had to do with special circumstances and special people.

6. Its hard to be quanititative about this, but quite a few of my work experiences have involved being abused by management or my fellow workers.  But that would never happen in an elite place like RAND.  So it behooves me to work in such a place and avoid places where management does not protect its people.

7. You can learn technology all you want on your own, but being employable in a field means full time dedication and resources to learn and keep up with that specific field.  So you are not just going to be a web developer, you are going to dedicate your life to web development if you want a job in it. I dont want a job in it.

8. Regarding entrepreneurial activity.  I decided I did not want to try that again with out money.  Now that I have learned that getting a job is impossible, I may as well have abused myself through stupid attempts to be entrepreneurial without money.  It would have been more fun.  Live and learn, I guess.

I could go on, but there is no point.  If you want to help, the best way to do so is to introduce me to someone who might have some project or position where there might be a fit.  A few friends have tried this and it has almost worked, or worked for short periods.  But sadly it has not worked in the long run.

I appreciate your time very much.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Further Thoughts on the Google / DOD / AI Controversy

draft

On further reflection, I am taking back my criticism about the whole Google/US Military kerflop (if thats a word).  I thought it was odd for employees of Google to refuse to do an AI military project given the role of the US Military (aka DARPA) in inventing and supporting AI and in particular computer science at Stanford.  But now I think they have a very reasonable point to make, or might be making, since after all, I dont really know what people at Google think, since what I know comes from the news media and has not gone into much depth.

Several people who know at least as much as I do about the history of AI and post war computer science dispute my assertion(s) about the role of the military elite in the creation of those fields, and the fact is that all I have are my impressions, not the result of serious research into the details of what I think I know on the subject.  So often in the past my impressions have been entertaining but by no means the whole story.

But even if I have a minor point to make about the history of science and technology, other considerations far outweigh this.

These considerations include (a) Our military has been voluntary since Vietnam, so it should certainly be the case that wherever original funding may have come from, people should be able to choose whether or not they work on a military project.  (b) When they chose Google there was absolutely no reason to think that they would be involved in such a project (directly at least, indirectly is another kettle of fish), (c) Google is an international company and their reputation and success may depend on not being perceived as being directly involved with the military, any military, given the bad reputation such militaries have, (d) Other companies that work for the federal government directly (e.g. by taking contracts with the IRS or the DOD) generally set up a separate company or division to deal with such things.  Thus their employees can make the conscious choice to work with such a company or division or not.  I am sure that not all such choices may be entirely voluntary (e.g. we have a project for you over here, you can take the project or be unemployed) but even so, it gives people fair warning about what is up.  And last, but not least, (e) As much as I respect our military, it is the tool  of our political elite, and our elite has been involved in questionable military adventure after adventure in my lifetime.  However much I may respect various aspects of our military, which is iteslef a long discussion, there can be no argument that they are often put to the most appalling use and it is completely reasonable to try and live ones' life without out being involved in such things, at least as much as is possible given that we must all swim in the same ocean.

Finally, and last but not least, to the best of my knowlege, Google has been very open about their work and research, and there is nothing preventing another company from doing this sort of work.  In fact, since working with the US Government is such a complicated thing to do, it is likely that this other company (whether new or existing) might do more of what the DOD really needs.

In other words, even if I maintain (provisionally) my point about the history of technology, there are plenty of other reasons for Google to abstain from this work if their employees so request.

This post is just a work in progress and its very clear to me I dont know the whole story.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Droll or Not I Plan to Continue

Draft

Whether or not I am droll, or mean spirited, or whatever I am being called these days, I am sorry to have to report that I plan to keep on expressing myself.  Yes, I knew it was a danger that people would actually get to know what I am like, but that was known going in and so here we are.

I seem to attract people who want to abuse me because of my good nature.  And yes I have been damaged by such people.  But I will keep speaking out, anyway.  Why not?

I definitely get treated badly.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

The Horror of Counter Intelligence Under Trump II

draft

Can you imagine the horror of being in American Counter Intelligence and realizing that the people you work for, the President and the Congress, are made up of traitors who are working with a hostile foreign power to destroy your country?

Scarlett.Magnolia

draft

Names are very important to me, as are concepts and symbols.

I have named my new server for machine learning Scarlett, after Scarlett Johannson.  The local domain is named Magnolia, for the complex I am living in here in Santa Barbara.

Scarlett.Magnolia.

The Horror of Counter Intelligence Under Trump I

draft

The role of counter-intelligence is to prevent the work of foreign intelligence agencies to gather information or take hostile action against our country.  For example, when Russian manipulated and threw the 2016 election to that traitor Trump, this was a failure of our counter-intelligence.

And they know it.

But they also know that they work for Congress, and that Congress is run by Republicans and Republicans in Congress are well known to be traitors who want to destroy this country and throw elections to the people the Russians want.

This is the nightmare of any intelligence agency.  What if their bosses are traitors working for the enemy.  If you did not know this, read Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy by John LeCarre.

So we are fucked, and they know we are fucked, because of the Republicans.

Monday, August 27, 2018

The Driver Safety and the GRE

draft

For those who care about my progress, we have two updates.  The first is that the DMV Driver Safety office reports that they have received my "doctor evaluation" but there are no notes yet.  It takes two to three weeks of business days to reply and they received the notes on August 15.  The second is that I registered for the GREs and discovered (a) Santa Barbara does not give these tests, but that they can be found in Ventura and Santa Maria and (b) Ventura is nearly sold out for the month of September, so I am likely to go to Santa Maria (which is an hour away).

Sunday, August 19, 2018

What I Learned From My Trip Where I did Not Enter Canada or Attend Siggraph

draft

This post will be added to over the next few days as I assembled my notes.

1. Only those who are working or have a sponsor can attend Siggraph.

2. Canada has some very reasonable rules for those who would cross their borders.  Sadly I did not know those rules.

3. The US Border Patrol was also unhelpful and much more rude.  (Canada was very polite while they were f*cking me).

4. The rules for crossing into Canada used to be having a passport and a good attitude. Today those rules include but are not limited to having a whole bunch of money on you (I use ATMs), having a clear plan for when you are returning and having that plan on paper (I was not sure when I was returning), having a clear plan for where you were staying (I planned to find the least expensive hotel at the last minute, like everyoene else).  Etc.

5. So they fucked me, and the implications of that go on and on.  Shame on me for trying to attend my professional conference.




Sunday, August 12, 2018

Maybe Write A Letter / Email to Grassley

draft

Perhaps today or tomorrow would be good time to write a letter to Sen Grassley (R-Hell) and remind him that since the Republicans lost the popular vote, they dont really have a mandate to turn the Supreme Court into their private retro-fascist 1930s America. And that he should think long and hard about what is good for America and not just what is good for his rich friends. 

Because when Kavanaugh goes on the court there is some possibility that this whole house of cards comes down. Keep it up Republicans, you are sowing the wind and you will reap an impressive harvest.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Notes on Samsung Tab E

draft

I bought a Samsung Tab E 9.6 inches with 16 GBs of internal memory and 128 GBs of external storage.  These are random notes on setting up and learning how to use the device.

1. The battery charges amazingly fast and lasts a long time.

2. Setting up WiFi is easy.

3. The thing has a desire to set up every application with the most lenient privacy, guaranteeing that you will be exposing yourself to the world.

4. The desktop is filled with applications I do not want, do not use, and can not get rid of.

5. I try to increase the volume of the Amazon Music player and someone (the app? the OS?) tells me that it could damage my ears.  Jesus.

6. After a day of using I am impressed with the hardware but think that Samsung or whoever made the software for this thing needs to choke back their greed and let the user choose the software they want.


Wednesday, August 8, 2018

The New Flag of the Republicans

draft

I understand that the Republicans are considering running their candidates in November under the flag of Imperial Russia.  The double headed eagle is the heraldic symbol for power and empire, two of the most important guiding principles of our Republicans.




Double Headed Eagle on Wikipedia

Monday, August 6, 2018

This is the Fate of All Traitors

draft

I want to be one of the first, if not the first, to regret that we still have the death penalty on the books in America in the context of the manifest treason in Washington.

Yes, its true in America, at least, we generally only apply the death penalty to the poor, the people of color, the disenfranchised, to punish them for being poor, or Black or Latino, etc.

How ironic, then, that the classic legal punishment for treason that results in the death of an American is the death penalty. Will Trump and Pence go to the chair? How about Nunes, Ryan, McConnell, Grassley?

"This is the fate of all traitors."

OH! If only they had not betrayed their country! If only we did not still have the death penalty on the books! Its too late now, whats done is done. Justice must take its course.

SAD!

Sunday, August 5, 2018

The LeBron James Incident

draft

The latest Trump abomination has helped me to understand one of the great mysteries of our country: how such an incompetent, racist buffoon can keep his supporters.  So many supporters, what do they see.

The LeBron James incident should have been enough to get Trump impeached.  To recap, Trump attacked Mr. James and called him a "stupid n*gger".  Just about, not quite, but just about.  LeBron James is not only a self-made person, he has personally put 1,100 people through college.  Paid their tuition.  What has Trump done?  Inherited wealth, working with the deVoes criminal to destroy education for all but the rich.

Here is the theory.  The Trump supporters are those people who were angry that they did not go to college, and are resentful of the smarter people who did better than they.  And they racist as hell.  And Trump delivers for them, every day.  Every goddamn day.  Trump is a racist moron, just like them.

And they like it.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Getting Our Spineless Representatives To Grow a Backbone

Draft

Its fun to read about our spineless Democratic representatives terrified of speaking up for what they believe in, unless of course they dont believe in anything.

What we need is elected representatives who are willing to stand up to the right and demand freedom and sanity for us, their constituents.

Should we all be learning to use assault weapons and to make IEDs?  I go back and forth on this one. Since the supreme court has said that black people's votes do not count, what difference does it make if we vote?

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Writing up Helpful Notes


Writing up a collection of notes for my friends of how to deal with the complete failure of the constitution and the collapse of our government.

I think I can do a very good job at convincing people to work within the system mostly if we can (a) change the constitution and (b) remove the scum from the judiciary.

Problem is, I dont think we can do either.

But dont worry, all it means is that about 100 million americans believe they live in a right wing dictatorship, and obviously our govenment could not care less what those Americans think.

Monday, July 30, 2018

When Did Amazon Become Insulting?


First it said you cant buy it because you are not Amazon Prime.  Then it said I could not buy it because this was reserved for carts of $25.00 or more.  Then it said that you had to type in your credit card number again because this is the first time you have ever shipped to an address.  It isnt. Then they said, hey look, you can save $6.00 on shipping if you sign up for something you dont want.

And of course there is no way you can contact a human, and it doesnt matter because big is beautiful and nothing will dislodge Amazon from destroying retail.

But what is extra weird about this little unhappy shopping experience is that I routinely, and I mean maybe twice a week, buy a kindle book and there is no problem.  None of this.  I think these people are weird and maybe just a little out of control.


Sunday, July 29, 2018

Read What They Say

draft

A few years ago, the various blogs and forums were filled with Russian trolls.  They were usually identifiable once you realized what was going on which is one of the reasons I knew about Russian state sponsored interference long before the news media or Congress figured it out.  (Footnote: I have no idea when the intelligence community (IC) figured it out.  I hope it was before people like me did, but who knows).

Today, however, although the Russians are making heavy use of social media, they are either using a lighter touch, or not quite as obvious as they were, except in a few extreme cases.

My first point is, the Russians dont have to do much.  We already have a lot of right wing nuts without their help, nuts that are made even nuttier by deliberately false news outlets like Fox.

My second point is, before you tell me I am overreacting or being paranoid, may I request that you read for yourself what these people say.  I have spent a very modest amount of time doing so and I can tell you that whatever planet they are on, it isnt the planet that anyone who reads this blog is likely to be on.

You really have to read this for yourself.


Friday, July 27, 2018

Our Future Civil War with the Right

draft

Apparently it is commonly believed in right wing circles, or some of them, that a civil war is likely in this country as the "Left" attempts to destroy the Trump presidency.  I know this only because I keep seeing references to this meme when I check out various forums, blogs, news aggregators and because of opinions expressed on Facebook.

What they believe seems to be remarkably uniform given the random-ass nature of my exposure to them.  They all seem to believe that (a) the left is going to become irrational and violent, (b) the poor well meaning right wing is going to have to defend themselves and American values and (c) without doubt the right will crush the violent and irrational left in that war (in other words, the Left will all be shot or beaten to death).

Whether or not you or I believe them is probably not germane, we should certainly take them seriously. We all should know by now that the right wing has been corrupted by false news and bizarre beliefs and they could well act on their beliefs.

So it seems logical to me that we should all learn to use the standard weapons in order to defend ourselves. You know, handguns, rifles, rocket propelled grenades, mortars, radios, armored vehicles, basic small unit tactics in urban settings, stockpile weapons, that sort of thing.

But my friends tell me that this is old fashioned thinking and that none of this will be important in a future civil war, because, well, they are so old fashioned. My friends do agree that the Right is likely to become violent, and that civil war is possible, but that there is nothing to worry about.

I think my friends are too smart for their own good and are somewhat delusional.

In a future post I will describe some things I think we should be doing to prepare for this eventuality, which I think has a non-trivial probability of happening.

One Interpretation of Facebook's Loss of $150B in Two Hours


Facebook lost 150 Billion $US in two hours on Wall Street which, we are told, is the single largest loss of a company on Wall Street in history.  Whether or not that is true, it is natural to speculate what was going on in the minds of investors.  Obviously, they were responding in part to the loss of users, and other issues involving privacy which would result in lower revenues from advertising. But what does it really mean?

Well, one thought is that Wall Street had responded well in the past to Facebook's strategy of exploiting its users in the most crude and vulgar ways, working hand in hand with foreign powers to destroy democracy by emphasizing contradictions, spreading right wing propaganda, and assisting polarization.  When, unfortunately, Facebook was identified as a primary agent of Russian destabilization and had to start toning back its worst and most shallow exploitation in order to keep users and avoid regulation, Wall Street naturally and regretfully had to downgrade FB's value. It just wont be like the good old days, at least not for a while. Still Facebook will try to find more subtle ways to exploit the people who have, in the past, trusted them, so all is not lost and Facebook still retains tremendous value.

[Shel Kaplan reminds me that this apparent loss in value is actually just appearance, that FB's long term value has been monotonically increasing for years. So this apparent setback may be nothing more than a tempest in a teapot and a headline created by shallow analysis. So what else is new?]