Thursday, May 30, 2019

Ghosting Times Two

I have ghosted and been ghosted.  I have been befriended and unfriended.

I have decided to cut off contact with two long-term friends.  Both are interesting people, talented in their own way, and committed to living a life that has some integrity in ways that may not make them popular.  

One is a hard core right wing Republican who thinks that trolling "the libs" is fun. And I qualify as a "lib" and am therefore on the troll list. The other is a pure and extreme left wing ... something ... who does not know the very complicated history of a region but presumes to judge and does so with violent propaganda that I find offensive.

Let that be a lesson to me, no relationship is so strong that it can not be terminated.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

The Congressional Database and the Townhall Meeting

Apparently all our elected representatives, at least on the national level, have a database system to track their constituents.  They are required to select from a list of preapproved programs because of security issues.

I call my representative, Carbajal of CA 24, once a week to find out what his position is on impeachment and on removing rapists from the supreme court.  The phone is answered promptly and there is always a nice person who takes my message and says that someone will get back to me, but they never do.  

But this time it was different.  First, the nice person at the office told me that he was at a "townhall meeting" with Carbajal last March and that at the time that Carbajal was cautious on the whole topic but had not made up his mind either way.  That was not what I wanted to hear, of course, but it was helpful because the primary goal here was to find out what my representative thought.

Second, just for fun, I asked the person in my Congressman's office if he could tell how many times I had called.  And he could!  I had called 8 times plus today, for a total of 9.  

I think that this is mostly good.  They are supposed to keep track of what their constituents think, and it should be computerized in this day and age.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Anita and Willem Lijpers from Holland

On my way back from Big Sur, I stopped to look at an astonishing view and ended up talking to a nice person who was doing the same. Her name was Anita, and with Willem her husband, she was on a cross country trip. They are from Holland, they visited their son in Virginia, and drove across country ending in Los Angeles in a few days. These pictures do not do them justice. They flagged me down 10 miles down the road to offer me coffee. Isnt that nice? This is what I used to get from travelling, meeting new people. It makes me sad that I am unlikely to see them again. No, I dont know why they look so sad, but I think it is an artifact of my bad photography.


I so enjoyed meeting them and it makes me sad I am unlikely to see them again.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

What is the Value of Sponsoring Research Early


Imagine the following situation.  A company is spun off of a major university computer science department.  The company has many core technologies, but it is primarily in the area of searching very large databases and machine learning. The key technology that enabled the success of this company was original to the graduate students when they were at the University.

But it turns out that this university was the recipient of decades of grants in these areas and others long before these areas were practical.  And because of those grants, the University had a stellar reputation and a faculty second to none, all of which was a benefit to the graduate students that started the company.

So.  Did that long term research, those grants long before it was practical, contribute to the success of this huge new company?  Or was that company sui generis and without any debt whatsoever (morally speaking) to those who came before? 

This question is not about money.  I couldnt care less about the money.  This question is about the intellectual history of the field and the value of doing long term early research.  

I thought I knew the answer, but a good friend with much better research credentials than I am likely to ever have says that there is no debt whatsoever.


Sunday, May 5, 2019

Remembering Those who Betrayed America

It can be very difficult to remember later the details of events like we are experiencing.  So I will from time to time write about these events/things/whatever even though I have nothing too profound to say about them.

One artifact of this collapse of the American government is that whenever something happens, there is some seemingly sane person who writes an editorial saying the most ridiculous things, but saying them with a straight face.  These editorials masquerade as news and are published straight faced in Politico, the Hill, the Wall Street Journal, Lawfareblog.

And they say things like this.  "The Russians didnt help Trump.  Obama betrayed us to the Russians, not Trump.  There are no grounds for the House to request anything from Trump. Mueller totally exonerated Trump."  

All of these things are lies, and they know it.  Why do they do it?  Here is one theory.  They are demonstrating loyalty so they can be appointed as a Federal Judge and then maybe the Supreme Court.  

It worked for Kavanaugh.