Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

Ship of Estate

With continuing evidence of data corruption giving me a "mental itch", I decided to try an alternative to contacting tech support on my HD - using twitter. I've learned that big tech companies seem to really care about their image, and sometimes people get good results tweeting their problems at the official contact point. In this case, I got a request to email a person in support, so I summarised my problems in great detail and he suggested I do some slightly voodoo-ish things to reset and upgrade the drive to see if the problem goes away. Sounds good, but this voodoo means I'll lose all my data, sooo... I went to order a new external HD to replace my old "not-so-portable long-term-storage" external one (I have a semi-portable external HD too that often travels with me). Visiting NewEgg, I see that finally HD sizes have nudged up a bit and prices have dropped further - ordered a much larger HD for my TV-PC (which has been hovering nearly full for a long time, preventing me from ripping more of my DVDs) and a nice external for that backup. This means I'll be doing OS upgrades for both.

More abstractly, maybe it'll make companies more responsive to public opinion when they're immersed in some of the same waters that help shape reputation. I have no idea how this would scale as hundreds or thousands of people contribute in such a loosely-structured medium as Twitter.

On that topic, it being almost-winter means that my not-so-great apartment is having problems staying warm again - this morning my landlord came by with some people who installed a shiny new thermostat - hopefully I won't have another weekend where big parts of it are spent shivering under blankets while the air is under 50°F.

(For those of you with accounts on my home/TV-PC system, it'll be down for a bit later this week and then will have Fedora 14 and a lot more disk)

I am sometimes amused when big software systems break at work and they can be fixed by a single well-chosen line (in this case, setting the program's UID to its EUID).

I am trying to get in the habit of understanding coffee tastes - compared to tea, I still think that most coffee is very nasty while bad tea (provided it is not oversteeped) is generally not all that bad. Very good coffee is pretty decent, and the place that used to be Arefa's (in SqHill) has some nice varieties. My exploration of coffee is not necessarily because I like coffee so much as I like the adventure in exploring that world of tastes. I have some of the terminology down (and have picked up some terms for some drinks that I lump together with coffee for no good reason, like Masala Chai) but have a lot to learn about the associated tastes and bean varities.

Thinking a bit more about Švankmajerの「Lunacy」 - I've been reading reviews on it, and a topic brought into the foreground by one review is that Š was making an argument that was partly economic - that the injustices in western free-market systems are on a similar level to those of more controlled societies (question: should Milan Kundera, also Czech, be viewed in the same light?). Is this true? We might compare the abuses under the Marquis under that of Doctor Murlloppe - a careful eye finds a kindness and truthfulness under the Marquis, mixed with a number of human failings and lack of concerns for growth or avoidance of any but the most physical types of harm, while Murlloppe's forced austerity is both stifling and protective. Neither is a realm I'd like to inhabit. The difference between the Marquis and true anarchy is also briefly shown during his absence. Is Marquis very representative of a "true" free-market (let's temporarily set aside the nuances of there being both many forms such a system would take and the notion that it's scalar, not binary)? I think there's considerable weight to the criticism, although it doesn't align squarely with me because compared to the theoretical moderation or strong order Murlloppe represents, the kind of societal order/engagement I advocate is aligned in a different direction - if Murlloppe is forced austerity and christian goodness, I would suggest a live civilisation wrapped in some kind of liberal socialism, where security forces and police are used in levels not broadly different than what we see today, and where the formality of law is balanced with civic engagement of an enlightened people. Is the free market really that oppressive or hellish? It is, compared to what we could or should be, and that its logic and shape makes it hard to see or criticise directly does not mean that we should cease to blame it when its logic suggests we should blame actors under it. In the abuses it explicitly permits, its hands are not clean - when these abuses are preventable, our form of capitalism merits the same joint and full responsibility for them as a system with an author would bear were it to make the same decisions. We trade autonomy for consequences - it is a project to try to find some reasonable way to lay out a society that balances our interests between Murlloppe and the Marquis.

The question: what new do we get from the film? Does it just invoke the existing struggle or does it add to it? Does it represent part of the French Revolution?

  • Perhaps it's a warning to those who try to fix things to be careful with the forces with which they tinker - our hapless main character sees horror in one order and mistakes it for another, seduced by Charlota
  • The forces are older than our main character, and they both know what the other represents better than he does - their instinctual trust of him is necessary for the story - he might represent the people, their trust in him reflecting their belief that they represent the best interests of the people, and his lack of clear direction, manipulability, and various forms of enslavement and freedom representing the kinds of nudging that any societal order must do to frame the lives of its people. His freedom is not possible except within some framework - the concept is meaningless (attempts to define it outside such a concept show how meaningless such a task is)
  • Order has rough edges just as libertine order does - not a lesson new to me

Hmm. None of this is really new - perhaps it just adds imagery and fuel to an existing perspective. There are a lot of smaller messages and metaphors in other areas too..

For the curious, the process I used to figure out what files were corrupted by my SSD (not likely super interesting to most people):

  1. Write a perl script (I called it "lose") that, given a filename as input, outputs its md5sum, a space, its size, a space, and its filename back out
  2. Go to the top directory of the media I want to compare on both boxen, and do a "find . -type f -exec lose \{} \; > ../musiclist.txt"
  3. Make a sorted version of that: "cat ../musiclist.txt | sort -k 3 > ../musiclist.sorted.txt"
  4. Copy the versions of that file from multiple systems to the same place (being careful with naming them so my copies don't overwrite one copy)
  5. vimdiff
I was at least a bit careful to make sure that if I had fixed the vorbis/id3 tags on one, that wasn't what led to the bad matches.

Recently been thinking about the controversy over former MP Woolas in the UK, who was dismissed from Parliament (and ejected from the Labour party) for making things up about his opponent. It's interesting to contrast the claims of the chilling effect on political discourse with the idea of high standards - it's another "do we really want discourse lower than this standard or not?" - is it democracy at work to either set rules or to depend on people to see through rubbish? To me the answer is not entirely clear, although I am leaning on the side of demanding standards and to have structured elections that are written with awareness of how people operate. Restricted election seasons, a press bound by some notion of best practices, and rules for candidates seem likely to me to produce a more reasoned democratic process (presuming that's what we want) than one that places a higher cognitive burden on the people than we have any reason to expect (and that have empirically proven to be unreasonable expectations).

My project to do a brain dump of all my encyclopedic knowledge into a (currently private) wiki: going slowly, but quite satisfying. Here's my article on our planet so far (inner links stripped out because otherwise my blog software will assume them to be real wikilinks and add them to its list of wikipages to be created on its builtin wiki):

Terra is the third planet orbiting the sun Sol. It is the origin and home of humans, along with many other kinds of life, and is the only confirmed location of life in the universe. Colloquially, it is often known as Earth.


Terra's atmosphere extends upwards a few miles towards space, with its different layers having different characteristics. The solid surface of the planet lies beneath the atmosphere and is composed of biological and other sediment riding on continental plates. These plates are separated from the atmosphere in places by bodies of water, both in oceans and in lakes and rivers. The continental plates float on a sea of lava (magma) deep beneath the surface (mantle) of the planet - this in turn lies above a solid core.</p>

The solid surface exposed to the atmosphere is divided into continents, separated from each other by oceans. While the oceans are collectively a continuous body of water, the distances involved give them a partly-separate identity from each other, and functionally for humans they have been notationally divided into separate bodies. Likewise, while some of the continents touch each other, when the connections are thin (or sometimes for other reasons), connected bodies of land may be considered more than one continent. The listing of oceans and continents used here is not the only one traditionally used. Also, continents and "regions" do not line up precisely.


  • Atlantic Ocean
  • Pacific Ocean
  • Indian Ocean
  • Arctic Ocean
  • North America
  • South America
  • Australia and Oceania
  • Eurasia
  • Africa
  • Antarctica
Well above the atmosphere orbits Luna, a moon of Terra - it is believed to have originated from the planet in the distant past as a result of collision with some other body.

==Shape==Terra is a sphereoid, differing from a sphere from the small scale to the large. At the poles, it is flattened somewhat, and at smaller scales the solid surface is shaped largely by the exposed portions of tectonic plates. At smaller scales yet, chemical and other physical processes have led to local variation in shape.

==Climate==The orbit of Terra around Sol is, like all planets, eliptical. The planet wobbles in its orbit, creating seasonal variation, although there is a diameter around the sphereoid, the equator, which on average gets the most light. Light from the sun contributes a significant amount of heat on the surface of the planet - the equator is thus on average the hottest part of the planet. The poles of the planet, by contrast, receive considerably less average light and so the regions around them are among the coldest on the surface. Elevation, geothermal sources, oceans, and weather patterns all also contribute to regional variation in temperature, although broadly speaking the temperature is shaped in bands stretching around the planet ranging from the equator to the two poles. Climate variation decreases sharply as one descends below the surface of the planet.

==Life==Life exists in various forms all over the planet. While certain temperatures are most suitable for the predominant kinds of life, some kinds of life, extremophiles, are specialised for more unusual environments.


==In Culture==

Been in a weird emotional place for the last while. Understandable, not necessarily easy, but not disasterous. Life is complicated.

Tags: tech

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