June 10th, 2008

Semiformalishmaybe

Om Nom de Plume

Thinking about political frustration, inspired by recently watching Wag the Dog and Bulworth too close to each other. As they're both films that prod playfully at political problems in the USA (and accidentally other cultures - these are human problems rather than being specifically American ones), Collapse )

To tiptoe a bit further into politics in this post, I think this guy's criticism of Libertarian thought, at least the kind that I was involved in when I was younger, is mostly on par. It's unfortunate that he chose such an inflammatory title - it probably descends from internet tradition (flaming that is not flaming)..

Recently I've been playing a bit with searching public political campaign donations of people I know..Collapse )

I would be very pleased if CMU would talk to me about some of the jobs I've applied for soon, although I'm starting to apply for jobs at MIT now too (and probably will at UTAustin, should I see ones that look particularly cool (incidentally, I discovered that TAMU has a branch campus in Mexico. Life is sometimes strange)). I am also weirded out by how little money I seem to spend - it seems that my current savings/spendings might permit me to go jobless for another year or two if I wanted to. That would probably be a terrible idea though.

I should spend some days at the Beehive...

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Semiformalishmaybe

The Herr We Leave Behind

As a sysadmin, I've often inherited ugly bits of infrastructure that really needed replacement/reworking (often, but not always, some website someone was foolish enough to write in php connected to a poorly designed database designed by the same person - poor filesystem layouts are also common). I'm embarassed about the things I never got around to replacing, either because I became busy or because I was working on a replacement in my personal time (so I would feel ok reusing the work for my own purposes) and became distracted - I know other sysadmins do this because a lot of the time these ugly bits were several sysadmins old, and often the people between included some highly clued people.

I suspect that antispam will be an increasingly important focus for technology and employment in the future - we'll start to see wikis, blogs, and other sites that use increasingly sophisticated means (and better moderation systems) to cut spam, and companies offering these things will start to employ teams to monitor, search for, and remove spam from their sites. It's a pity that this looks like it'll be yet another technological arms race, and that instead of moving back towards notions of responsibility for our networks we have people pushing tor and other anti-responsibility tools - if neighbourhoods worked that way and masked people were dumping junk on my lawn, and whenever I swung a stick at them I were scolded because someone might be borrowing someone else's body to do it, I would be very pissed (with a very dirty yard). Being told that I should encase my yard in 30 foot yards like I'm living in mexico city is not a solution - CAPCHAs are cool, but they're only technologically cool as they're still a sign that our attitudes towards responsibility are broken. Perhaps if we had a more sensible attitude, the great firewall of China would cut off chinese botnets and do productive content filtering (spam email) rather than prevent people from being exposed to the idea that because the Republic of Taiwan has been politically, governmentally, and militarily independent from the People's Republic of China for over 50 years now and that calling them a renegade province at this point is laughable. If active network monitoring and filtering is used to kill spam rather than to block porn, I'm all for it. I would be equally happy if people took vigilante action against spammers, which may be more effective. Given how many robogenerated spamblogs I've spotted on my TV and gotten closed by reporting them to LJ folk, I'm playing with writing software to automagically recognise them, get approval from me (a kind of reversed usenet moderation for the modern day), and then automatically submit them as abuse to the lj abuse team.

I wonder what an ideal system for dealing with pregnancy in the workplace would look like. Lassiez Faire (as usual) sucks, and I don't think the current system is ideal. Maybe a general income tax should pay for a number of costs associated with a person's first two pregnancies and missed work, as part of a programme managed by local social workers in each locale?


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