Three links

Making versus hacking

“Some projects are started purely to get the project done. That sounds simple enough, and of course there are many steps along the way from idea to finished work, but the prototypical Maker-mode project can be planned out in detail from the start, accomplished with ‘normal’ tools using skills that you’ve already got, and not a place for yak shaving. For these projects, the biggest obstacle to success is just doing it.”

“Hacker-mode projects are a lot fuzzier from the start. A hacker mode project often starts out with a new piece of gear, and a vague idea that it can be made to do something interesting.” — Yak Shaving: Hacker Mode vs Maker Mode, by Elliot Williams

Scott Adams on persuasion

“Take a look at what Clinton did to change her message. It changed from, ‘Hey, I’m experienced and he’s not — which is not terribly persuasive when people want the outsider anyway — and it went from, ‘Hey, he’s not such a good businessman,’ to, ‘He’s dark, he’s scary, he’s crazy, he’s mentally unstable, he’ll have the nuclear codes.'” — Trump, Dilbert, Wizards, Fear, and Testosterone — Rob Harvilla interviews Scott Adams

“Go ahead, throw your vote away”

“Some of us are persuaded that human acts need not be judged by their political impact.” I can never remember whether Kang is the racist and Kodos is the hitler, or if it’s the other way around.

The clock

This Is Ahmed Mohamed’s Clock.” The boy didn’t build a clock, he took a clock apart, wired it up, and then put it in a box. There is no way a reasonable person would think this was merely an innocent electronics project.

UPDATE 19 September 2015: Says Jerry Pournelle, “There was no reason to handcuff him, but we had that in Los Angeles 20 years ago: officers had discretion on handcuffing people, and got pummeled because they handcuffed more Blacks and Latinos than White, and the Department took the discretion away: now everybody gets handcuffed, even though the cops find it absurd in many cases. On the other hand, there are plenty of cases where it’s a wise precaution, so if it’s handcuff everyone or handcuff no one, it has to be everyone, absurdities or not. I suspect it’s that way in Texas, too. One of the joys of diversity.”

Random Updates

The upgrade from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10 went okay. It took a minute or two to go though “custom” settings and select more sensible options than “express” offers. The only thing so far is the mouse pointer often goes into its “working” blue-circle state, and it’s even more pesky and intrusive than 8.1; just now it was bugging me about logging onto their X-box scheme so I could play solitaire. On my other machine I have Lubuntu, which has been trouble-free.

I’ve been using SpiderOak in preference to Dropbox for a while now. It works well and has better privacy features, though it is a bit slower. They say everything is encrypted, but I don’t think all of the source code is available for audit and review. They also have a password manager, Encryptr, but I’ll stay with Keepass for now.

Finished Seveneves by Neal Stephenson. It’s solid hard science fiction, mostly excellent, but I kept thinking to myself, “five thousand years is a long time.” I have no complaints about the physics or biology, but the anthropology and sociology strained my capacity to believe.

This gingerbread was not hard to make, and came out well.

The exercise program for the summer has mostly been swimming laps, lifting weights, and mowing the yard every four or five days. Last winter I hit a heavy bag once or twice a week. It’s a good cardio and strength workout, but too hard on my hands to do year round.

Bees have built a nest out back, in the underground remains of a tree stump. They haven’t caused any trouble except when I have unknowingly run the mower over them. I’d rather not exterminate them if there’s a way to live with them.

Doc Rampage has a thought-provoking post up about anti-Christian religion, Science and the post-Christian trinity. Lately I’ve been going the Baptist church, with occasional visits to the Episcopal church. This suggests some incoherence in my understanding of theology. Maybe next week I’ll see what the Methodists are up to.

Here’s something to think about: Look at the schools, the federal government, the mainline churches, the news, the movies: except for the UN, have liberals made every institution what they said it was in 1968?