Blog Index


The Favored Mindset

In Stop Waiting To Put Your Stone In I described a method of personal development where you focus on competently executing progressively larger projects instead of jumping into the deep end. A lot of people read this advice and say “Well that’s great JD but, where do I find these small projects to tackle?”. Indeed for most people the idea of starting anywhere is daunting, there are so many possibilities and so few of the things that immediately come to mind are anywhere near your level of skill and commitment. Help stop global warming? It’s hard to know where to even begin with that. Round up clothes for the local charity store? It’s something but you know you can do better. This post is about how.

Read More..
Forget Tenure: The Rise Of Intellectual Proxies

Getting people fired from their jobs over politics is far from a new tactic. However, the recent surge in this behavior enabled by the Internet has created an environment where expressing even ordinary political opinions in public has become increasingly dangerous. It used to be that ordinary people had no easy ability to reach a lot of people at once with their ideas. Mass publishing, television, radio, and other mediums required capital to make use of. Even a mimeograph required effort and money to distribute leaflets.

Read More..
The Incredible Shrinking Political Universe

Epistemic Status: A hypothesis, but a hypothesis that seems moderately supported by evidence.

Read More..
Start With Value

Usernames and passwords are the most egregious violation of “don’t make me think” left on the modern web. This might sound like an extreme statement, but when you think it over it’s really just obvious. On basically every website that handles accounts you have the same bottleneck at sign up, you have to think really hard twice to come up with a good name and then a good password. It’s such a pain point that there are entire applications whose purpose is to manage it like KeePass and 1Password. People keep trying to solve it with centralized identity schemes and weird hardware, or even just plain bizarre amalgamations of grab bag authentication methods. It essentially constitutes a UX tax on every web service, that for the service to survive it must generate enough value to pay.

Read More..
Tumblrism: The Injustice League

One of the distinguishing features of the red tribe is its paranoia that sympathy will be exploited to make the world worse. There’s no shortage of illustrative examples: Giving money to the homeless is an exercise in futility, they’ll just buy drugs and alcohol. Being nice to your children when they misbehave does a disservice, they’ll learn that misbehavior is an acceptable way to express themselves. If you give mercy to criminals they’ll just victimize someone else once they’re let off. The red tribe believes in something like a no free lunch theorem of morality: All mercy given results in injustice somewhere else. As a result you should punish immediately and harshly so that at least the universe directs consequences where they ought to go.

Read More..
Stop Waiting To Put Your Stone In

The question things come down to for ambitious young people with few connections and fewer resources is “What’s the cheapest, fastest interesting thing I can do?”. It’s not how to make the most money, avenues for making lots of money aren’t available to those who don’t already have some. It’s not necessarily about the most important thing, the really long term important things in life probably haven’t even been figured out by a young person yet. Even if they have, it takes resources to get there that generally aren’t available for youth. It’s about the cheapest, most immediate concrete contribution that proves someone is capable of doing something.

Read More..
[Synthesis] Advice To The True Seeker

“No theory, no ready-made system, no book that has ever been written will save the world. I cleave to no system. I am a true seeker.” - Mikhail Bakunin

Read More..
How To Set Up Emerson Lc195emx Monitor On Xubuntu 16.04

My second monitor has been broken since I installed it. It’s one of those nagging little issues you convince yourself doesn’t matter but significantly hobbles your productivity. I just fixed it after finally investing the time to figure it out. Any time I have an issue that takes research effort to fix with my system (rare these days, but it happens) I like to write down a tutorial for others.

Read More..
Fake Everything: Towards A Logistic World

After the massive push to brand heretical outlets ‘fake news’ following Donald Trump’s election, I figured it would be the latest left-wing witch hunt. Such a witch hunt would let us avoid confronting the serious questions about why Democrats lost this election season. I thought that this outlook was pessimistic but likely to be correct. However the wildfire takeoff of ‘fake’ and related terms like ‘debunk’ in the new zeitgeist humbled me. I clearly had not been nearly pessimistic enough. Black and white thinking obviously isn’t new, but it feels like it’s been massively accelerated since the start of 2017.

Read More..
What is The Matrix?: An Existential Quest

This is an essay I wrote for a college class. While I don’t usually post my college essays this particular one is an incarnation of a thing which I had been trying to write for a while.

Read More..
On Virtue Signaling

The following is adapted from a post I made on an online forum in reply to someone using the phrase ‘virtue signaling’ in the painful way that has become common recently which strips it of meaning. I decided to delete that post on second thought since reading their words more closely the use was defensible and it’s not kind to call somebody out in public like that. However what I wrote is something I would like to be able to link people to in the future so I’m putting it here.

Read More..
A Bibliography Of The Word 'Hacker'

Right now I’m writing a post on the etymology of the word ‘hacker’, and it’s taking a lot longer than I’d like it to. I think this information is important enough that I don’t want to wait to have something polished to put all of it out there, so here are the highlights of that post so far along with a collection of interesting resources I’ve found on the subject.

Read More..
Belligerence And Racism In Everett

As the bus pulled in, you wouldn't have even known there was a Trump rally. Cars on the main street of Everett were sparse enough for us to weave past and into town. There were no signs and no advertising for the event, all the work in that department had been done by the local news which announced Trump's arrival far in advance. Decorating the town to draw in a crowd would have been redundant. The first real world evidence of existence was when the bus driver kicked us all off early.

Read More..
How To Emulate Unix V7 Using Simh (2015)

Unix v7, released for the PDP-11 line of minicomputers in 1979 is one of computings classics. Just a year before The C Programming Language had been released in its first edition by Bell Labs. In this release is the first appearance of pcc, the Portable C Compiler which began C's ascendancy as the de facto systems language in use today. This is the same year that Bill Joy stepped down as lead developer of vi. Many of the programs you use on a daily basis can trace their ancestry here.

Read More..
How To Setup A Common Lisp Web Environment (november 2015)

The software versions we will be using for this tutorial are:

Steel Bank Common Lisp (SBCL) - 1.3.0

Quicklisp - "2015-01-28"

Hunchentoot - 1.2.34

caveman2 - 2.4.0

Read More..
On Building A Library Part Two

In 2014 I wrote a post about building a library from the pile of disorganized books at my high school. In it I went over how the books were indexed by setting up a ‘scanning’ station consisting of myself and a camera. I also discussed how the books were indexed by ISBN number using a 3rd party service, and how to check the validity of ISBN numbers entered by hand or a bar code scanner. I included scripts to do these things, but left out the critical portion of what to do with the data once you have it. This is a followup post to correct this omission and finish what I started.

Read More..
On Building A Library

I was introduced to Issac Asimov’s Foundation series in the summer between my Freshman and Sophomore years of High School. Certain books are so widely agreed to be excellent that you’ll have heard of them long before you read them, at least vaguely. Foundation was in this category for me, and what compelled me to read it over anything else I might have done at that time was it’s immediate availability in my local school library. However, it would be a misnomer to say I ‘checked out’ the book, as this library has no check out system, no tracking, and no index of what books are available.

Read More..
The Halo Mapmakers Guild

A game I made in which zombies have to form up by the door to run past a turret, most being mowed down in the process.

Read More..