3 days Ago

Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe (1719, read in 2020)

Published by marco on in Books

Disclaimer: these are notes I took while reading this book. They include citations I found interesting or enlightening or particularly well-written. In some cases, I’ve pointed out which of these applies to which citation; in others, I have not. Any benefit you gain from reading these notes is purely incidental to the purpose they serve of reminding me what I once read. Please see Wikipedia for a summary if I’ve failed to provide one sufficient for your purposes. If my notes serve to trigger an... [More]

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2020.6

Published by marco on in Movies

These are my notes to remember what I watched and kinda what I thought about it. I’ve rated 1540+ movies and series (IMDb) so far, but they’re not absolutely comparable to each other—I rate the media on how well it suited me for the genre and my mood and. let’s be honest, level of intoxication. YMMV. Also, I make no attempt to avoid spoilers.

Wilder S02 (2020) — 8/10
Rosa Wilder (Sarah Spale) is back with Manfred Kägi (Marcus Signer), this time investigating a triple-murder in the fictional town... [More]

4 days Ago

Learning from History

Published by marco on in Quotes

The original quote is shown below.

“Was die Erfahrung aber und die Geschichte lehren, ist dieses, dass Völker und Regierungen niemals etwas aus der Geschichte gelernt und nach Lehren, die aus derselben zu ziehen gewesen wären, gehandelt haben.”

The following is my best attempt at a direct translation, which I hope imparts just how balky the original is.

“But what experience and history have taught, is that society and governments never learn anything from history and acted on lessons from which... [More]”

1 week Ago

Six feet

Published by marco on in Miscellaneous

According to What is the origin of the saying “six feet under”,

“The phrase “6 feet under” originated in London, England in 1665. It came about as London was being ravaged by the Bubonic Plague. […]
The mayor of London at the time issued a decree that all plague deaths had to be buried at least “6 feet under” to help halt the spread of infection.”

355 years later, another plague has made the expression “six feet” au courant, at least in those countries still using the imperial system of... [More]

The sunken cost of being conned

Published by marco on in Quotes

“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.”

2 weeks Ago

Sanders is too good for this worldcountry

Published by marco on in Public Policy & Politics

I found this truly excellent comment by Remember-The-Future (Reddit) on /r/bestof—and it truly is one of the best things I’ve read on Reddit.

The entire comment is well-worth reading, but I’ve liberally selected the bits I liked the most.

A democracy cannot function without actual citizens.

“I think most people would be very unhappy if Sanders supporters put the blame where it truly belonged. Because the real problem with America is, and always has been, the quality of its people.

“[…] the truth is that there is no... [More]”

COVID Info (Single Source)

Published by marco on in Science & Nature

The interview The Tip of the Iceberg: Virologist David Ho (BS ‘74) Speaks About COVID-19 (Caltech) includes the following:

Why different symptoms? Mutated strains?

No.

“This virus is mutating but it has mutated very little so far. There are differences but probably they are functionally not important, so that’s not the explanation for why you see different disease courses among the infected.”

Can you get re-infected?

No.

“Only one study was formally done and it is not a human study. It’s a macaque... [More]”

Surviving in a failed state

Published by marco on in Finance & Economy

The article How to Survive End Times by Ted Rall (CounterPunch) discusses what kind of people are needed once society collapses or changes significantly, based on experience in Afghanistan.

“You make yourself useful in a failed state exactly the opposite of how you do in ours. In the United States in 2020, it pays to have excellent skills in one or two areas, to be the best at what you do in your specialty. Not in Afghanistan in 2000. Dangerous places work best for people who are renaissance men and women, those with a... [More]”

More Book Recommendations from Amazon

Published by marco on in Books

I wrote Book recommendations from Kindle in October of 2019. Since then, the recommendations have not gotten any better.

The following three recommendations have been haunting me for a month.

 How to Retire on Dividends Her Cowboy Billionaire Best Friend Devious Lies

None of these makes any sense for me whatsoever. None of them comes even close to matching my reading history.[1]

The bodice-rippers are just generic recommendations; the investment book is particularly laughable right now, in our time of COVID-inspired free-fall and an attendant complete reworking of... [More]

Mordillo Idyll Puzzle

Published by marco on in Miscellaneous

That’s six hours of quarantine time for 1000 pieces. We still have more puzzles of the same size, plus a pretty big lego kit (10242 − Creator: Mini Cooper).

3 weeks Ago

Getting started with D3.js

Published by marco on in Programming

 The programmable notebook Introduction to D3 by Arvind Satyanarayan (MIT Visualization Group) is part of a full course at MIT about Interactive Data Visualization.

The linked notebook uses D3.js, but previous classes in the course have dealt with Vega, which is,

“[…] a visualization grammar, a declarative language for creating, saving, and sharing interactive visualization designs. With Vega, you can describe the visual appearance and interactive behavior of a visualization in a JSON format, and generate web-based views using Canvas or SVG.... [More]”

Rust: from zero to pretty-well-versed in 30 minutes

Published by marco on in Programming

I found the article A half-hour to learn Rust by Amos to be extremely helpful in learning the syntax and mechanics of Rust.

It starts out with the absolute basics:

let introduces a variable binding […]”

then takes you through

  • Modules
  • Blocks
  • Conditionals
  • Matches
  • Options
  • mutables
  • Copy/clone semantics
  • Traits
  • Generic parameters
  • Constraints
  • Macros
  • Enums
  • Lifetimes and borrowing
  • Generic lifetimes
  • Statics vs. owned vs. referenced
  • Slices and range literals (Index and IndexMut)
  • Results
  • Errors, panic and unwrap... [More]

“Flattening the curve” is only for rich countries

Published by marco on in Public Policy & Politics

The article Why the Developing World Cannot Flatten the Curve with Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Beyond by J.P. Linstroth (CounterPunch) addresses the global inequality—not just that between classes/strata in first-world societies—that will doom many to the worst effects of COVID.

“when we speak of epidemics, and even pandemics like the Coronavirus (COVID-19), we must understand that medical care is unequal in our world today. We must understand that “power structures” control who gets medical care and who does not. We must... [More]”

Quick Link: On the Peace Accord in Afghanistan

Published by marco on in Public Policy & Politics

The excellent article The Art of the Phony Peace Deal by Nicky Reid (CounterPunch) expresses strong suspicions that the co-called peace deal with Afghanistan that should see the removal of US troops is instead chock-full of the standard caveats and conditions that US loads upon its vassal states. The only real fix for America’s hyper-militarism begins at home, with its people no longer supporting it.

“Look, dearest motherfuckers, I don’t like to be the killjoy here, I really don’t. But when you cut deals with an empire... [More]”

The Long Weekend (An Optimistic Take)

Published by marco on in Public Policy & Politics

Much of the world is in an unprecedented lockdown that has completely changed the face of the global economy. The gossamer castle of globalization has been put on ice—perhaps temporarily, but hopefully for good. We can at least hope that the extremely unequal and cruel form that it had doesn’t return.

An unprepared populace

This is a particularly trying crisis for a world full of people who don’t even understand the minimal basics of how their world even works. The world works smoothly... [More]

1 month Ago

Quino 2020 Roadmap

Published by marco on in Programming

Now that Quino 8.x is out the door, we can look forward to Quino 9.

Quino 8 is a very solid and stable release that has already been test-integrated into many of our current products running on Quino. We don’t anticipate any more low-level API changes, though there will be follow-up bug-fix releases.

There are a few larger-scale changes improvements and enhancement, outlined below (and noted in the roadmap).

Ready for Change

With this release, we’ve got more coverage than ever. Excluding... [More]

2 months Ago

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles (2016, read in 2020)

Published by marco on in Books

Disclaimer: these are notes I took while reading this book. They include citations I found interesting or enlightening or particularly well-written. In some cases, I’ve pointed out which of these applies to which citation; in others, I have not. Any benefit you gain from reading these notes is purely incidental to the purpose they serve of reminding me what I once read. Please see Wikipedia for a summary if I’ve failed to provide one sufficient for your purposes. If my notes serve to trigger an... [More]

Unauthorized Bread by Cory Doctorow (2019, read in 2020)

Published by marco on in Books

Disclaimer: these are notes I took while reading this book. They include citations I found interesting or enlightening or particularly well-written. In some cases, I’ve pointed out which of these applies to which citation; in others, I have not. Any benefit you gain from reading these notes is purely incidental to the purpose they serve of reminding me what I once read. Please see Wikipedia for a summary if I’ve failed to provide one sufficient for your purposes. If my notes serve to trigger an... [More]

A lucid summary of the 2016 and upcoming 2020 U.S. Presidential elections

Published by marco on in Public Policy & Politics

The essay Hillary, Donald & Bernie: Three Who Would Make a Catastrophe by Nicky Reid (CounterPunch) is an extremely lucid and accurate summary of the 2016 and upcoming 2020 U.S. Presidential elections. Reid is an excellent and entertaining writer.[1]

The overall thrust is to present what she terms “conspiracy-theory-like” histories of the 2016 election, extrapolating to the 2020 election, which stars many of the same characters (e.g. Bernie and Trump). She starts with a warning that history isn’t fact and that entertaining... [More]

Quino v8.0.0: ASP.NET Core, Web Client 2, Culture/Language improvements

Published by marco on in Programming

The summary below describes major new features, items of note and breaking changes.

The links above require a login.

Highlights

When [NotNull] is null

Published by marco on in Programming

I prefer to be very explicit about nullability of references, wherever possible. Happily, most modern languages support this feature non-nullable references natively (e.g. TypeScript, Swift, Rust, Kotlin).

As of version 8, C# also supports non-nullable references, but we haven’t migrated to using that enforcement yet. Instead, we’ve used the JetBrains nullability annotations for years.[1]

Recently, I ended up with code that returned a null even though R# was convinced that the value could never... [More]

Eco on Writing

Published by marco on in Quotes

“Writing is a way of revealing the contradictions of life that one would like to resolve. Writing fiction, like poetry, means simply to display those contradictions but not necessarily to resolve them. In fact, the reader, through his interpretive cooperation, decides what the story means.”

Queen of Chaos by Diana Johnstone (2015) (read in 2020)

Published by marco on in Books

Disclaimer: these are notes I took while reading this book. They include citations I found interesting or enlightening or particularly well-written. In some cases, I’ve pointed out which of these applies to which citation; in others, I have not. Any benefit you gain from reading these notes is purely incidental to the purpose they serve of reminding me what I once read. Please see Wikipedia for a summary if I’ve failed to provide one sufficient for your purposes. If my notes serve to trigger an... [More]

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2020.5

Published by marco on in Movies

These are my notes to remember what I watched and kinda what I thought about it. I’ve recently transferred my reviews to IMDb and made the list of around 1400 ratings publicly available. I’ve included the individual ratings with my notes for each movie. These ratings are not absolutely comparable to each other—I rate the film on how well it suited me for the genre and my mood and. let’s be honest, level of intoxication. YMMV. Also, I make no attempt to avoid spoilers.

The Irishman (2019)... [More]

Configuring .NET Framework Assembly-binding Redirects

Published by marco on in Programming

After years of getting incrementally better at fixing binding redirects, I’ve finally taken the time to document my methodology for figuring out what to put into app.config or web.config files.

The method described below works: when you get an exception because the runtime gets an unexpected version of an assembly—e.g. “The located assembly’s manifest definition does not match the assembly reference”—this technique lets you formulate a binding-redirect that will fix it. You’ll then move on... [More]

3 months Ago

The Politics of Nativism on This is Hell!

Published by marco on in Public Policy & Politics

The 1-hour podcast episode The politics of nativism by Daniel Denvir (This is Hell!) is well-worth a listen[1]. Both Chuck Mertz (the host) and Daniel express themselves well. Here’s one thought from Daniel about the pervasiveness of both overt and implicit racism, from about 50 minutes into the podcast:

“I think it’s a typical failing of liberal analyses to define racism as bad thoughts in people’s heads. This is why liberal elites in wealthy suburbs whose entire lives are organized around providing segregated, wealthy, white... [More]”

2019/2020 Movie Binge

Published by marco on in Movies

As part of my standard year-end movie binge[1], I watched over 60 movies and seasons[2] in the last 5 weeks.

They spanned the years 1927–2019. I didn’t see any correspondence between year and quality—older movies aren’t necessarily better or worse than newer movies.

As expected, I liked movies with a good (or unique) story or characters—or something interesting that pulled me in. Terrible or stilted dialogue threw me off the most.

I watched everything in its original language—English,... [More]

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2020.4

Published by marco on in Movies

These are my notes to remember what I watched and kinda what I thought about it. I’ve recently transferred my reviews to IMDb and made the list of around 1400 ratings publicly available. I’ve included the individual ratings with my notes for each movie. These ratings are not absolutely comparable to each other—I rate the film on how well it suited me for the genre and my mood and. let’s be honest, level of intoxication. YMMV. Also, I make no attempt to avoid spoilers.

American Me (1992) — ... [More]

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2020.3

Published by marco on in Movies

These are my notes to remember what I watched and kinda what I thought about it. I’ve recently transferred my reviews to IMDb and made the list of around 1400 ratings publicly available. I’ve included the individual ratings with my notes for each movie. These ratings are not absolutely comparable to each other—I rate the film on how well it suited me for the genre and my mood and. let’s be honest, level of intoxication. YMMV. Also, I make no attempt to avoid spoilers.

Margaret (2011) — 9/10... [More]

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2020.2

Published by marco on in Movies

These are my notes to remember what I watched and kinda what I thought about it. I’ve recently transferred my reviews to IMDb and made the list of around 1400 ratings publicly available. I’ve included the individual ratings with my notes for each movie. These ratings are not absolutely comparable to each other—I rate the film on how well it suited me for the genre and my mood and. let’s be honest, level of intoxication. YMMV. Also, I make no attempt to avoid spoilers.

Army of Shadows (1969)... [More]