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Awesome News

Edward Snowden on the Joe Rogan Experience Podcast

I’m not an avid Joe Rogan watcher. I know he’s done some notable interviews with famous people and that has gotten him and his show a lot of attention over the years. I just never bothered to watch it.

He recently interviewed Edward Snowden, who released a new book called “Permanent Record”. The interview is a long one, and fascinating to listen to. If you care at all about this country, you owe it to yourself to listen to someone who was, basically, exiled because he spoke truth to power.

Categories
News Politics Rants

Might Makes Right

I normally don’t like being involved in politics. Confrontation is something I avoid and politics is usually full of it (instead of compromise from both sides). Last night, however, I was thrust into it by some of my classmates in college. Needless to say, they have some kind of questionable beliefs that make me genuinely scared for the future.

Child Abuse

The night began with discussing some casual child abuse. Now, we have laws in this country about how you’re allowed to treat a child. After all, the child is unlikely to be able to know the full ramifications of it’s actions, nor defend itself when attacked and generally makes an easy target for excessive aggression. The fact that we’ve codified this as a specific set of laws should be enough for people.

However, it appears as though many people are still, at least outwardly, okay with casual child abuse. My professor was wistfully talking about how the nuns at his childhood school would routinely beat up the students there and that his fear of nuns is deeply rooted due to it. He also described how his coach on various sports teams would rough him up, to the point of black eyes and whatnot. Both of these accusations seemed not only normal to him, but acceptable and the proper course of action when dealing with children.

Many of the students in class seemed to think this was an acceptable solution to what they perceive as the current issues with children misbehaving. Instead of understanding what the problem is, working through it and finding a solution to the problem. Like an adult. Corporal punishment is a savage and backwards way of making children behave, in fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if it made problems worse later in life.

Trump

According to my class, not only has he done nothing wrong, but other than some minor slips of the tongue, he’s been great. Despite the laundry list of things that he has done in the last few months that will likely take decades to fix, if they’re ever fully fixed. Despite the very public and very obvious character flaws that both he and his VP have, especially when dealing with women and minorities. Despite all this, they want him to stay.

I wish I could say that this is an abnormal class and that there are still people who don’t think child abuse is acceptable, and that being a toxic personality on the international stage is not very presidential. However, there many more people around me that believe the same things. There are even public officials at the tax office who have been caught failing to register people to vote if they identify democrat.

I know it’s not all broken. I know there are people out there who are not blindly following this strange 50’s-esque mentality of might makes right, let the men do the talking and women and minorities need to get back into their proper places. I know these people exist… but I feel disheartened and discouraged. I’ll vote, but I’m so tired of trying to fight this that it’s almost easier to just give up.

Categories
Feelings News Politics

RMS and Abuse

Content Warning: The following article contains reports of sexual abuse, including rape. If you’re not comfortable with that, then I’d suggest just finding a summary, which I hope to do some of here. Also, it’s on Medium, which does not respect your privacy, so… take it how you will.


There is a rather angry article making the rounds in the Open Source world, today. It centers around the MIT/Epstein clusterfuck and the GNU/FSF director Richard Stallman, usually known as “RMS”. He has strong ties to MIT, where he worked in the Artificial Intelligence Lab back in the 1970’s and likely knew or worked with Marvin Minsky who, allegedly, had sex with one of Epstein’s sex slaves. RMS also started the Free Software Foundation and the GNU Program based on some of the work he did while at the MIT AI Lab.

In the article, RMS replied to a question from a student, and basically danced around the idea by questioning terms and generally acting like someone who doesn’t know how to read the room. That doesn’t really surprise me. The guy is odd, as a person. He’s publicly stated some pretty wild stuff about the age of consent and pedophilia, all centering around picking at the technical reasons or laws surrounding it. I’d really like to see him apologize for his statement or clarify. I imagine he won’t. He’s probably too close to the subject to have an objective viewpoint. His Alma Matter is being attacked and a man who was probably one of his (deceased) colleagues is being run through the mill. His only defense is probably one of picking apart the argument itself.

The whole dumpster fire around Epstein needed to happen. As painful as it is, we need to get it out in the open and deal with it. It’s going to hurt the reputation of Open Source, GNU and the FSF, but there are ways of mitigating it. I hold no allegiance to RMS. He is a man and has made mistakes and should apologize. I disagree with some of the things he says, but agree with many others. He’s done great work and I’ll continue to use and contribute to that work in what ways I can.

The author then goes on to state:

I am ready, now, to join others in calling for burning everything to the ground.

Selam G. – Remove Richard Stallman

So, is this how we deal with problems now? Tear it all down and try and start over again? I think this is an overreaction. If we take this problem solving method further, we’d never accomplish anything. The author should have reached out to RMS directly. Talked with him like a rational human being and see if there is something she’s missing or point out the same to him. Now she’s plastered all over the F/OSS world, with some rather pointed questions levied at her, especially regarding her jab at her and RMS’ former school. I don’t envy her.

Categories
Computers Misc News

Work and the Web

As many of you probably know. I have a bit of a passion when it comes to web design. I see how it works and I see how it can be optimized and made to be into something incredibly efficient as well as enjoyable to work with and use.

Which is why it depresses me so that our web site is so poorly designed. It was written with the mindset of people who learned the bare minimum of HTML and went to town. Complete with tables for layout and javascript image rollovers. Welcome to 1990.

Which is why I was so excited when one of the higher-ups announced to the community that they would be taking suguestions for a site redesign.

Huzzah! A chance to prove my worth in yet another arena! One that I feel I was more than adequate at. I would finally enact a change that I could feel proud of.

Except. There is the problem that is the current web administrator. The one that designed the current table-laiden monster.  He is the man behind the door, he is the one with all the keys to the web.  To do anything about the website, you have to do so with his blessing.

It’s about this time I realized my folly.  Sort of like falling down because of untied shoe-laces on the best day of your life.  I was so drained by the fact that no matter how much zeal I put into this, no matter how much factual data I back it up with, it still has to be approved of by the Web Administrator and the rest of the Seinor IT staff.

Sigh.

I know now why most companies are the way they are.  Slow, inefficent and all but ground to a halt.  Because intrenched ‘IT’ people have the seniority and therefore the say. No matter how much you want to change the world, or make something a little bit better, unless you are sitting on a large heap of cash, you’re better off shutting up and getting paid to do what you do.

I’m so depressed.

Update: There is also an independant group of students coming together to manage the various student-based orginization web sites.  I might go to that, too.  But I’m really not going to get my hopes up.