Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Notes on A New Civil War I


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


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)


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


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


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


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


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?


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


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


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


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


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


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!

Prediction #1 In Post Democracy America


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


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


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


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


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


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


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?


Friday, October 5, 2018

To My Friend Who Has Ghosted Me


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


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


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


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


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


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


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.