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New Personal Record: 17:37

Old PR: 17:45

That's with no angry ex-con pool boys. I made two fast lights, missed two, and got caught behind the bus into the entrance gate. Also cranked up the hill at 20 MPH for long sections. Now I think 17:15 might be possible if everything went right.

I was warm from having gone to the gym and running up the hill at the top of Lake with the pooches. 60 F. Probably didn't hurt.

Yet another reason why I don’t donate to NPR

Today I was listening with half an ear as I didn’t go to the gym, and heard this:

“One thing most of us didn’t expect was the Iranians [going] from zero to 60 in about eight months,” Lewis notes. “China, Russia, these are responsible countries. They’re not going to start a war. How comfortable do you feel saying that about the Iranian Revolutionary Guard?”

I dunno, Mr. Cyber Expert James Lewis of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, maybe it has something to do with the unprovoked cyber-attack upon Iran about three years ago? You see no connection there? Turn in your Cyber Expert card, James Lewis.

And the NPR host saw no need to bring it up, to ask the next question, the hard question [1]. They never do.

The war drums beat. Everything Iran does is unexpected and unprovoked and everything we do is forgotten. The DJIA is at a record high, so now we can turn our attention to drumming up another Middle Eastern war and reducing the deficit, never mind that unemployment (the real U6 number) is still above 10%, and that the banking system is still broken. The bubble has been reinflated and that’s all that matters.

[1] I tried to use a link from NPR, but Stuxnet turns up zero hits on the NPR website. Yet Another Reason why they’ll never get a dime from me.

NPR, Network, and opinions-on-the-shape-of-the-earth-differ reporting

So Andrea Seabrook is unhappy with her experience in DC. Tired of being bald-faced lied-to by politicians. So she's mad as hell and not going to take it anymore. Except the whole time she was there at NPR, putting their lies on the air, she could have stood up and called them on it. Could have used her time to expose the lies, and hold their feet to the fire. Except she didn't. Was that because her corporate masters at NPR wouldn't let her? Or because access would be cut off if she did? Probably both. But she didn't say why in this interview. And in a classic example of my biggest problem with NPR, Bob Garfield didn't ask the next question, the hard question – why? Why didn't she point this out when she had a chance, before a large audience?

So why does she think starting a blog where she tells the truth is going to change things? She had a chance to change things, for more than a decade, and didn't. Maybe she tried. Maybe she rammed her head against the walls and quit when it got bloody – but she didn't say that in this interview. Rather the opposite.

The example that she gave in her interview was damning though. As an example of the equivalence of both sides, she compared a blatant out and out factual numerical lie by one politician, to a statement of opinion (and a reasonable one, to me) by another. Let's guess which party lied, and which had the opinion.

Ha. That's not fair. The R lied, of course. But just the fact that she somehow thinks that these two things are equivalent says a lot about why I won't be reading her blog.

Politics is the conflict of human nature. It's unreasonable to expect that it won't get mean and ugly, and your opponents won't impugn your motives. Fine. But there's a difference between impugning motives, and just making up numbers which are false. One can be fact-checked. And exposed in the media. But rarely is.

So I won't be reading her new gig, as even now, she still seems to think that reporting opinions-on-the-shape-of-the-earth-differ, both sides are equally bad, is okay.

 

NPR fail

Why is NPR interviewing a theoretical string physicist, someone as far removed from experiment as it’s possible to be and still in be in physics, about OPERA’s new experimental FTL neutrino results? ¬†Arrgh.

Lest you think I’m a total Apple fanboi

This is iOS 15 Safari dark mode. White text on white background. Does no one at Apple even use their own hardware/software? [1]

Let’s zoom in:

Yeah, no. Not even light gray on white. White on white.

 

File under the same heading as:

  • Innumerable screenshots of my lock screen because the buttons to do that are so stupid
  • Siri being completely useless
  • The complete inability to delete or rearrange podcasts
  • iTunes Music automagically and inalterably rating every song on an album five stars if any are, thus screwing up any kind of star-rating smart playlist sorting.
  • iTunes Music automagically and helpfully removing all the album artwork carefully curated over the many years, and a complete inability to find a replacement on iTunes Music even if the album is there [2]
  • MacOS Mail deciding it needs to redownload over 2 million messages from 20 years of work, with attachments, over and over and over, killing the battery and using 2 CPUs full time [3]
  • The complete inability to ever dismount a disk once attached without rebooting the machine [4]
  • Oh yeah, here’s a new one that’s bitten me twice in the last couple of weeks. When installing a mandatory (zero-day) security update, Apple decided I wasn’t really serious about all but three of the Safari pages I had open, and just threw them away, along with all the tabs on them. Now, yeah, I might have been a bit excessive and had maybe 300 tabs open (maybe more), but if that doesn’t bother me, it shouldn’t bother the ghost of Steve Jobs. Apple Bookmarks are a PITA, and impossible to search through, so saving things as bookmarks is like writing the line on a piece of paper, putting it in a bottle, and throwing it off the Santa Monica Pier. Useless, dangerous, environmentally unsound, and equally likely of finding it again. This happened on both my work and home machines within a week of each other. [5]

 

[1] Eat your own dogfood, as the kids say? Or not kids since that saying has got to be going on 40 now
[2] And you think I’m ever going to let iTunes Apple Music ever in a million years have read/write access aka Match aka Sync Library to my terabyte of music? Hahahahahaha. Some of that stuff is irreplaceable and not on any streaming library
[3] One for Mail, one for mds
[4] Because fuck you, that’s why
[5] Helpfully Safari left all the now empty Safari windows open, in different Spaces than they originally were, so Apple-tilde does nothing for Safari until you find them all and kill them with fire

There used to be all these Safari extensions that saved the state and resurrected it because Apple would regularly lose everything because you restarted, crashed, or failed to buy anything from iTunes for a month. I let them all go because they were also unreliable in unpredictable ways, and it seemed like Apple had fixed this finally. For about a year. I wonder if they are still around since they were sherlocked.

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1811

Not quite a PR, but close. Slowed by a Saturn, a guard, and a couple of missed lights. The old bike is faster than the new bike!

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Biked

I got a new bike. Not really because I wanted to1, but because it’s basically impossible to get replacement parts for the groupset on the old bike2, and replacing the groupset would require new wheels, and… for want of a nail, etc. At some point maybe it’s just better to put that money into a new rig. So the G&T said anyway late one night when I was surfing the intertubes and came across almost3 the bike I wanted for 20% off.

It’s a nice bike! I really enjoy riding it. Disk brakes are pretty awesome. As is a suspension on my old butt.

But the old bike is faster! I looked down today and saw that I was cranking up the hill at 90 rpm and 18.5 mph. Which is pretty fast for me and that hill. Usually I only hit 17 on a good day4. This is consistent. Me on old bike faster than me on new bike. It’s not double-blind but mostly I’m concentrating on not getting killed, and only marginally on how fast I’m going. Of course I’m always shooting for a new PR. But those are few and far between – it’s hard to beat that since it depends on traffic and lights.

I thought it was because the new bike with the big tires and the big wheels and the disk brakes and the monster wide frame5 are heavier. But data says the old bike is 8.13 kg. New bike is 8.30 kg. Not that much! Same amount of crap appended to both for the daily driver. The old bike has better wheels than stock, and a carbon seat post and drops, so maybe it’s a pound less than spec. The new bike sure feels heavier in the hand. But I guess I’ll have to find a different reason why the old bike feels faster. Maybe is faster, except Garmin has decided to stop updating the old Mac app and now I gotta go to the cloud to compare data. Fuck that.

I mean, the old bike was a Nice Bike, BITD. Maybe only one level down equivalent from the new bike, which is a Really Nice Bike, but not the Nicest6. But even only Kinda Nice Bikes these days are the equivalent of the old bike. Bikes are one of those things that have gotten way better.

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Traditional

I keep running into self-designated “trad” [1] climbers at well-known sport crags. They make their disdain of this bastardization of their religion clear [2] but so many of their friends do it, and seem to have fun, they grit their teeth and give it a try. But never let you forget that this isn’t “real” climbing, and they’d rather be in Yosemite [3]. Even if they’ve never been to Yosemite.

Never mind that every single person in the last three decades who has pushed trad standards higher has been a serious sport climber. Start with Piana/Skinner (Hueco, Wild Iris), Hill (World Cup Champion), Huber(s) (possible first 9a), etc. etc. etc. [4]. Jeff Lowe, one of the finest alpinists ever, was the first person to bring a sport climbing comp to the US, fer crissakes.

Just this week, I heard “But they don’t know how to place gear.” Again. [5]

Sigh. You have trouble placing gear, because you are weak and don’t know how to climb. If one can climb 5.15, and onsight 5.14, and the highest standard of trad climbing is low 5.14 but mostly way (way) less, then placing gear on anything less than that is not the thing holding one back. Anyone that good can learn to place gear, better than you, inside a few days in Yosemite.

“But they don’t know how to climb cracks”. Sigh. Climbing 5.13 cracks (8a) is just not a big deal if you can hang onto 9a or V14.

The truly strange thing about all these “trad” people slumming about Europe is they don’t really know how to climb trad. At least as far as I can tell from watching them sport climb. Liebacking is a lost art. It seems like they’ve never been taught to stem. They’ve clearly never climbed in Tuolumne or Tahquitz, because footwork is completely missing. Watching them try to smear up a delicate slab is like watching a duck paddle up a hill. Underclings are a complete mystery to them.

They mostly can’t even clip a quickdraw efficiently. Talk about knowing how to place gear – that’s the simplest part of trad placements when you’re pumped out of your mind and about to whip – can you get the fucking rope into the fucking carabiner.

God help them, they don’t know how to manage a rope so it doesn’t get fucked up, the most basic skill of moving fast on a real trad route – mountain, alpine, or wall.

Though often they have a permanently attached daisy chain [7] and a belay knife just in case a sun-bleached sling shows up at the top of a sport anchor – they’re 100% equipped to 100% handle that situation 100% of the time. Never mind that that will never happen in Siurana or Ceuse where they are slumming.

 
 
 

[1] Mostly they are self-defined as “trad” climbers because they don’t do anything else, not because they do it particularly well.
[2] To wit: “Sport climbing is neither.”
[3] Which the sport-climbing of trad anyway. Come on. The Nose is a 15 minute hike from your #vanlife. They never say “I’d rather be in the Dolomites” (or Alps or Patagonia or Alaska) – you know, where there is serious real trad to be had. If you can pay your dues.
[4] Yes, all those folks had serious trad experience. But they got strong by sport-climbing.
[5] You know, despite the evidence of Ondra coming and making short work of the Dawn Wall [6]. And Verhoeven the Nose. And, and, and…
[6] Not that Ondra didn’t have some serious trad experience – this wasn’t his first rodeo. But come on. Aside from a rainstorm, he almost onsighted the Nose. With his dad. As a warmup.
[7] What’s a daisy chain, ahem, “personal anchor system (PAS)”, most useful for? Signaling that this a person with whom you don’t want to climb. See also: belay knife, rappel device (esp. figure 8), prussik, and gym card.

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40 hours

“A fracture occurred” is how the powerpoint read. Meaning that working alone on a Sunday afternoon, the contractor broke the glass, leading to another check for $500k to the contractor – cost-plus, don’t you know.

Proof again, that will be totally ignored, that working more hours doesn’t save you money – it costs you money.

Even logical scientists who take on faith dark matter and dark energy and inflation and big bang cosmology on the a string of evidence that takes years of training to be able to rationalize the Rube-Goldbergian structure of, can’t look at both simple studies, and nation-state size statistics, and accept the evidence that working more than 40 hours per week is not only not productive, but counterproductive.

“Those studies don’t apply to me! I have years of practice working more than 40 hours! Also, I can multitask, not like those other unproductive suckers.”

In other news, all of us are better-than-average drivers. And lovers. And good to drive with two drinks.

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Missing the point

For years, decades, we’ve had only individual stories of cops shooting people. Michael Brown. Tamir Rice. Just go look.

Then one reporter decided to tabulate statistics. Get numbers. Collate data. Then what did RadioLab do? Did they analyze the data, get more data, make plots, do correlations, etc.? Any of the usual data analysis techniques that hadn’t been done before?

Nope. They ignored any big picture stuff, and decided to do two podcasts on individual stories. They even said straight out that here are the statistics and we’re going to ignore them and do Yet Another Human Interest Story (or two).

So much for Science.

Not that every individual that’s on the wrong end of an “officer-involved shooting” doesn’t deserve to have their story told! But we had that before. It’s called “the daily newspaper.”

We didn’t have statistics before.

But these guys, being 1) NPR and 2) data-ignorant, decided to not report on the data, because that’s hard, and requires thinking, and skill, and just go back to what’s easy.

Dammit. Missing the point.

Just what the doctor ordered

The so-called liberal MSM [1] hires another conservative from the WSJ to write op-eds.

His greatest hit? Stop hitting yourself!

Reason #423 in a list of thousands why the NYT will never receive another dime from me…

[1] There is no such thing of course. All the Sunday newsprograms are dominated by conservatives, all the daily newspapers op-eds are also conservative with a sprinkling of go-along/get-along (with the conservatives! Bernie is far too liberal to be taken seriously) “centrists” (meaning Reagan conservatives), and NPR interviews far more conservatives, far more kindly, than big-L Liberals.

Peak story – or peak podcast?

I can’t decide if we’ve either reached peak story, or peak podcast, when I hear the same guy telling the same story that I already heard on TAL, Snap Judgement, the Moth, TED, and Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me.

Are we really out of new stories to tell, and new people to tell them?

Yes, I just spend 10 hours driving. I can’t decide whether it’s a good thing that I can now just turn on the local NPR app and get the live feed for the whole way. No more searching through the airwaves to find something to listen to. It’s good in that it lessens my exposure to right-wing talk radio; it’s bad in that it lessens my occasional exposure to right-wing talk radio*.

* and I am no fan of NPR. It’s just usually better than the alternative, and Pacifica is just too full of BS woo.

Voting

I would love to be a more involved voter. I live in one of the biggest cities in the world, in one of the richest, most populous, and educated regions on earth – one of the most influential has ever existed on earth in the history of homo sapiens sapiens.

And it will all be over by the time anything I can do will influence it. I’m not a billionaire, so I can’t influence it by donating money. I don’t live in Iowa or New Hampshire, so the primaries which select the candidates, will have been decided by the time I get to vote in the primaries.

Same for the actual election between the candidates that we didn’t get to choose. Other than the fig leaf of not calling the election til the polls on the Left Coast close, it will already have been decided by the time the polls close on the Left Coast.

It’s somehow far more important that a bunch of superstitious hog farmers and racist hicks from the flyover states decide the candidates and the election than it is that the population of 80% of the country do. The candidates can deride New York morals and Silicon Valley ethos and Hollywood ethics, but this is where the country lives. New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. Everyone who comes to the Rose Bowl on New Years Day ends up wanting to live in Pasadena. No one lives on farms anymore, and no one in their right minds wants to.

When I meet someone who tells me they dream of moving to a small town and live on a farm, I back away slowly, same as I do the fellow telling me about Tower 7. And he’s far more likely to be right than the god-botherers from Iowa, or the honest-labor-back-to-the-earth idiots who imagine that getting horseshit kicked into your mouth at branding time somehow imparts wisdom.

And I meet those kind of people all the time. They are quite literally divorced from reality. Their grandparents sweated blood to get away from the smalltown gossips in Bumfuck OH and slopping pigs, and their idiot grandchildren want to get back to it? Except not really – they’re never going to do it. They’re never going to be that far from a Whole Foods. They just romanticize it and allow the idiots in Iowa to select the people who are going to run the country. Not with good results.

Those are the kind of people determining the candidates, and that’s why a short-fingered vulgarian and a serial dissembler who was stupid enough to use a personal email server are the main candidates for Leader of the Free World.

You can talk about how to increase voter turnout. Impose fines for not voting, as Australia. Make Election Day a holiday, as the rest of the world. But as long as the candidates are selected by two of the smallest non-representative hick states, and the elections are determined before the polls in the richest and most educated region in the world close, it’s all bullshit.

I drove an hour this morning listening to election coverage from public radio. And not a word was said about the candidates differing stances. It was all just horserace this-candidate-ahead-five-in-this-bullshit-poll, and the-other-ahead-three-in-the-other-bullshit-poll. Fuck you Don Ganje and Mara Liasson NPR. Another reason why you’ll never get a dime from me. I hope the Republicans, when they control both the House and Senate, cut your funding to zero. Although I don’t know why they would, given the sloppy blowjobs you give them every time they’re on your station.

Still doomed

Nurse who attended ebola patient gets on a commercial flight with a fever. CDC tells her it's okay. The hospital she worked for fails at even basic PPE measures, as does the county health department, who send unprotected LEOs and others to quarantined apartment. MSF doctor returning from attending ebola patients takes NYC subway and goes bowling. MIT CS graduate sends username and password in email.

These are the smart people. We are basically jumped-up savannah primates, instinct tops intelligence every time, and our brain makes up stories to justify the stupid things our bodies do after the fact.

The way evolution works is to make things just good enough to be better than the rest (it should be called survival-of-the-just-a-little-bit-fitter), but absolutely no more, because 2nd law of thermodynamics. It takes energy. So we are just exactly as smart as we need to be, and not even a little bit more.

Yep, still doomed.

 

Failed again

It turns out that the US tried to rescue James Foley, but failed because their intelligence was bad.

Huh. Maybe the NSA should spend less time on spying on citizens, and more doing its actual job. At which it fails almost every time.

Or we could just burn it to the foundations, salt the earth at Langley, and cast into exile everyone who has ever worked there.