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Geek’s view

Written By: - Date published: 9:40 am, June 28th, 2008 - 24 comments
Categories: articles, blogs, humour, interweb - Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Lynn PrenticeOn the odd occasion I have time to read outside of the confines of The Standard and its ever increasing brawl of entertaining comments. I noticed we don’t have a external reading list, and it is within the range of my writing skills, so here are my oddities for the slow weekends….

From quote of the day on the Linux test box. It shows a correct appreciation of the art of development.

Scott’s second Law:
When an error has been detected and corrected, it will be found
to have been wrong in the first place.
Corollary:
After the correction has been found in error, it will be
impossible to fit the original quantity back into the equation.

Toms Hardware (great site) has a article 10 Ways to Beat the New Hands-Free Laws for the toy freaks on hands-free cellphones for cars. I loved the description of users…

..in recent years, headsets have acquired a nasty stigma. Depending on your point of view, Bluetooth headset wearers might either look like cyborgs, telemarketers or simply jerks.
If you already wear one, don’t take this personally. It’s just that some people have been holding out for as long as possible to avoid looking like unstable people that talk to themselves.

Not only do I get frustrated with microsoft software to the point that I don’t use it – it turns out that Bill Gates has the same kinds of problems. Full text: An epic Bill Gates e-mail rant. Very entertaining and I’d hate to moderate the comment stream on that site.

On a more serious note I dug around my favorite site at the Economist to find this gem. Down and dirty on an alternate approach to geothermal energy. We live on top of a slow nuclear reactor called the Earth where heat is generated from the slow breakdown of uranium and other heavy isotopes. Why would you bother with all of the problems with fast nuclear reactions when you can push down pipes in a variation of the mohole project to tap geothermal energy. It is a well known under-utilized technology set that doesn’t have a lot of gotcha’s.

Over at Adding Noughts In Vain, Andrew D has been having a look at a submission about nuclear energy done in the 1970’s. Nuclear Power for New Zealand? which is part of a series. The most interesting thing as he points out is how little things have changed in 30 years across the whole energy debate apart from the expected rate of energy use.

Do read Gordon Campbell’s posts at Scoop08 What a National Government May Entail and part two. These are a thoughtful look at the Kremlinology of National party policy.

For pure entertainment peek at the ‘sodBlog (and Billy). I particularly liked the bickering commentary in Billy’s ‘Sod to Billy: ‘Pull your weight!’. Tane was right – they did need to get a room together. I’m afraid to ask the ‘sod how in the hell he got the text to go in upside down and right to left. I did have a peek at our code to see if I could do it….

For sheer unadulterated wincing (at least by me) I’d recommend reading Feminist gets a wax, anaesthetises crotch with feminism at The Hand Mirror. Be warned that this is a very effective look at the art and issues of waxing. It made me resolve to never ever do it for ANY reason.

I was happy to see Jafapete reporting on Roger’s lost his pull about Rodger Douglas. Frankly I do not have a great deal of time for Act’s policies – their time has been and gone. But I suppose at least they put some policy out.

Talking about economics, I enjoyed this piece on the interesting The endowment effect – It’s mine, I tell you. This has been a bugbear of mine for a while. I see rational economics getting foisted by this evolutionary effect all of the time. Perhaps TVHE could have a look at this?

When digging through the people linking to The Standard I dug out this short entertaining piece How do you tell when a politician is lying? at Not PC talking about John Key and his cap on core public service. Truthseeker had a good piece NZ Herald nakedly anti-Labour on the Granny’s editorial policy.

The Media Law Journal had a good post on Suppression unsuppressed about the use of final suppression orders. It looks like these are less common than you’d ever believe if you listen to the msm.

Lynn

24 comments on “Geek’s view”

  1. monkey-boy 1

    IrishBill says: Lee, please don’t paste posts from you blog in our comments section.

  2. monkey-boy 2

    Sorry for any offence – I used a thread which deals with other blogs, so thought it was ok. I can appreciate your concern, and I won’t do it again. I thought what I posted was good advice. I actually do think that your strategy of attacking Key is not working as well as you have expected it to – isn’t it the case that negative electioneering usually back-fires on the perp?
    You may respond ‘Ah well Ntional do it all the time’ and that is true, but they are being allowed to get away with it, because in my opinion, Labour are letting them.

    Cullen’s work of late, if I am to put the most positive outlook on it has been excellent. Ok, I personally can’t stand the geyser, but as Armstrong has pointed out he is hardworking, evidently keen to make a real mark on history, and has had real impact in terms of Treaty Negotiations.
    The tone of recent commentary here has completely overshadowed those achievements, and has denied Labour a real PR coup.
    That’s what I think anyway.
    I’ll settle for a case of Aussie wine today

  3. lprent 3

    Lee: I’ve been wanting to find what browser and version you (and Brownie) are running with the captcha problem. Need to fix that.

  4. lprent 4

    Damn – I was going to answer Lee. I’ll can it as it makes no sense without the original.

    I pasted the comment onto Lee’s blog (right blogs on the left).

  5. monkey-boy 5

    ps you should be grateful for the posts looks like I’m the only one here today! Public Sector all at home?

  6. higherstandard 6

    IB

    Lee’s original comment was both pretty reasonable and astute – perhaps a link to it on his site would be more appropriate than complete censure.

    [lprent: Nope that was appropriate. We’re not into cut and paste where linking will do. Lee is capable of putting a link in. Just read the FAQ]

  7. lprent 7

    It is always quiet on the weekend. I have run rough analysis of the comment and lurker origins.

    Most of the comments seem to originate from work systems. And no, the proportion of comments that originate from public service IP’s and URI’s is far lower than their proportion in the workforce. Even the proportion of lurkers is lower.

    Most of the public service addresses seem to originate from the political and educational areas rather than the front face and policy areas of the public service. It is something that I’ve been quite pleased about because, to me, it indicates that the public service are maintaining their neutrality.

    I’m afraid that is just another right dog-whistle.

  8. r0b 8

    Hey Lynn, I like “Geek’s view”! Do you think it might become a semi-regular weekender?

    Normally I’d leap right in, but I’m a bit distracted at the mo…

  9. lprent 9

    Yep. The moderation load is down under control. I have time to write it during the week.

    The weekend is outside the usual political time frame – see above comment. I figure I’ll start colonizing the weekend with posts that aren’t directly political.

    You interested in doing something?

  10. r0b 10

    You interested in doing something?

    Well if that question was directed at me – then thanks I’m flattered – but probably not at this stage. I don’t have a blog, I don’t want a blog. Outside of what is necessary for work I have almost zero internet footprint and that’s the way I like it.

    I watched online forums develop from usenet in 1986 to what the net is today and I never once participated anywhere (except occasionally to answer technical questions). I chose to join in on The Standard for particular reasons, and I spend far more time here than is healthy – I really don’t have time! So I’m not looking to increase my unhealthy addiction. (Also, at the end of the year I will be travelling for months in parts of the world with very unreliable internet access, so I will disappear from here for a bit).

    So – maybe one day (if the offer is still open!) but not soon.

  11. ¡Ê‡sod ɐ buıop noÊŽ ǝǝs oʇ poob (Êžuıɥʇ ı) sdn ǝɥʇ ɹoÉŸ sÊžuɐɥʇ – uuÊŽ1 ıɥ

    [lprent: why thank you]

  12. r0b 12

    ‘Sod – I can’t believe you missed a chance to call on the possessive apostrophe! “Geek’s view” surely. Are you losing your touch Sod?

    (Plus – OK – how do you do that upside down thing?)

    (On second thoughts, maybe it’s a good idea it the method remains proprietary!)

  13. LeeC, “ps you should be grateful for the posts looks like I’m the only one here today! Public Sector all at home?”

    Yes, it’s very quiet today, everywhere. Any ideas why? It’s not like the All Blacks are playing.

  14. Draco TB 14

    .dneirf ruoy si elgooG .lasrever txet od ot drah taht ton s’tI

    I liked the article on the Endowment effect – proof that humans aren’t rational. Must have some economists spinning in their grave 😀

  15. lprent 15

    Draco: But upside down as well!
    Economics tends to be an loose aggregate approximation of reality rather than a description of reality.

    Jafa: It is pretty much the same every weekend. We do seem to get weekends where I have problems scanning the comments. But they’re few and far between. I guess that people are forced to be at a computer on weekdays, and it is optional on the weekends.

  16. Draco TB 16

    d: ¿É¹ÇÊ‡Ê‡Çq sıɥʇ sı

    Economics is, IMO, trying to explain why people trade. To do this they’ve made a few assumptions to simplify the theory. One of those assumptions was that people were rational. Unfortunately it was a major assumption and now that people have been proven to be irrational it kinda throws a spanner into all those theories 😀

  17. lprent 17

    That got it. I’m going to have a look at the database to see what it is. Interesting effect… Wow UTF-8 and external editor? Cool.

    There have been a number of these types of effects showing up in evolutionary biology over the years. It is going to be interesting when the markets start to build the effects into their systems.

  18. Lew 18

    People are rational enough that basing theoretical models on their behaviour still yields valuable results.

    The other thing is that rationality is complex. If you consider rationality to include not only people doing what is objectively best, but what they think is best or most importantly what they feel is best based on imperfect or flawed information derived from experience, their own calculations, messages (true and otherwise) from vested interests, and ideological factors, then you begin to get a useful definition of rationality. All too often people stop at the first bit: what is objectively best, and then get confused as to why people don’t do that every time.

    L

  19. bill brown 19

    Re: economists, interesting story in sst this morning:

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/sundaystartimes/4601286a6871.html

  20. Falafulu Fisi 20

    Draco TB said…
    One of those assumptions was that people were rational.

    Yes, it still holds true today, since it was proposed about 40 years ago by pioneers such as Harry Markowitz , James Tobin, William Sharpe and others. Those pioneers had won the Nobel Prize in Economics for developing the portfolio optimization theory. There are modifications to the theory today to deal with situations where it falls short on, however the backbone of its assumptions still stand.

  21. Julie 21

    Thanks for the linky love for Tak’s post Lynn 🙂

  22. lprent 22

    Julie, it was one of the most eye-watering posts I’ve read. I was wincing in sympathy before I was half-way through. I had to find some pain killing substances myself to read to the end.

    All of a sudden the daily shave seemed like less of an imposition than usual.

  23. lprent 23

    ff: I think that the assumptions are generally correct. But they do need to get extended a bit. Research keeps finding behavior that is rational but not economically rational.

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