TheJach.com

Jach's personal blog

(Largely containing a mind-dump to myselves: past, present, and future)
Current favorite quote: "Supposedly smart people are weirdly ignorant of Bayes' Rule." William B Vogt, 2010

Side project energy

As a certain political persona might say, I'm kind of low-energy.

Take a look at my Github. It's gotten better. Take a look at this very blog. It's gotten better. 2015 was a rough year.

Ever since around the start of 2012 (we'll say this post) I haven't really been happy with my productivity. It's been ok for work related stuff, I survived school, but it's still not where I want it to be overall. And my side projects are all on life support, and that's where they've got more to them than just some ideas in a local readme.

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Brief history reminder

Remember the man named https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maximilien_Robespierre

This is basically my response to http://blog.dilbert.com/post/145456082991/my-endorsement-for-president-of-the-united-states which I can't help but interpret as hilarious for its framing and sad if there is a shred of sincerity to it. If there is to be another glorious revolution (and we all know what side of the spectrum it will come from) there will be a lot of heads for the block, backs to the wall, and general in-group vs. other in-group killing. And as the bloodlust consumes all not even the ringleaders have a good chance of surviving.

All I'm saying is that if all you have is a paper saying "See?! I endorsed your side!" you in fact have nothing. Make better contingency plans than paper if you're legitimately worried about being a target.

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Nim is a cool language

If you haven't heard of Nim, you're missing out. Just google it -- there are some great blogs about why it's amazing. I found another one the other day, and thought it was an interesting topic to continue for myself. That blog is "Nim is the best programming language!" which I don't agree with, but that post is more about what the author looks for in a new language, and what is totally irrelevant. My views differ and yet we both came to love Nim.

I wrote a comment a while back summarizing what I thought are the "hooks" of Nim. The tldr quoting myself a bit is that Nim is fast (at or faster than hand C), supports all three of optional, tunable, implementation-swappable garbage collecting with access to malloc/free, easily embeds C or asm directly, has easy C interfacing, has static typing (mostly downside or me) but usefully inferred so it's often out of the way but also has useful builtin types like sized ints, plus it has distinct types, there are lots of compiler pragmas (common one being inline), user-defined compiler demands to make optimizations via term-rewriting macros, flexible name and calling semantics so that people can use their style preferences even when using third party libs, and finally Nim has an awareness of and support for many higher level language features enjoyed by other languages plus uses its not-exactly-Haskell-level static typing smartly unlike some languages that begin with g and end with o.

OK, so that's really the things that drew me into Nim, but the blog I linked earlier lays it out in a different manner of explicit non-criteria and criteria for whether he looks into a language or not. Let's do the same.

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There is no victory

With a few, minor successes fighting back against the people who don't want the rest of us to go about our lives without sticking politics (of any sort) into everything, against the people who find the idea of "live and let live" (to any extent) abhorrent, some (like Milo) on the alt-right are encouraged and feel like now is the chance to defeat the crazy extreme left and that if they are defeated at the height of their power they will never come back.

lol.

I'm not going to try and argue why this sentiment is obviously silly. Instead I'll just muse about what is to be done, given that victory cannot be achieved.

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No white pride here

I originally had a decent write up on this subject last month, but I lost it due to a PEBKAC issue. Anyway, I've felt the urge to write it up again, at least in part, so let's give it a shot... I'm afraid it's turned out somewhat worse the second time around, so like most of this blog reading will probably be restricted to myself in the future. Loosely structured ideas don't make for great reading by others. :)

First, to the supposed person who feels "proud" to be white (not talking about white supremacy, just ethnic pride in general), what do you mean by "white"? Because "white people" are pretty varied ethnically (just as Africans and Asians and Middle Easterners are). Are Saxons white? Are British white? And Normans white? Are Italians white? Are Greeks white? Are Croatians white? Are Slavs white? Are Russians white? Are Finnish white? Do these divisions make sense, what about others? Where do you stand on Jews? And what about "purity"? According to 23andMe I'm 100% European -- 98.5% of which is Northwestern European, and 63.1% of that "British & Irish". So, pretty white. But if you're only, say, 80% European, but your skin is more fair than dark or olive, are you white enough that you can have no problem feeling white pride?

I read the excellent A Field Guide To White Trash about a week ago and that helped spur me to write this. Just in America, there is a variety of ethnic groups of pretty different white people, who in the past fought each other in what we'd now call race wars. I'd like to go back in time and ask them if they feel "white pride" or something more specific like "Italian pride" sometime, or whether the concept of pride in their race just seems like an absurd idea to them, as it does to me, for reasons on what it means to feel pride. In any case, we must conclude that "white" is this generic ethnic cluster blob correlating with fairer skin. This is sort of okay because we're also clustering other ethnicities (like "blacks") into big ethnic blobs, though there is a caveat that in America, "black" is a much narrower subset of ethnic variation (due to slavery and subsequent mixing) than "African".

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Apple should form its own country

Just watching the shenanigans continue to unfold, my opinion from http://www.thejach.com/view/2016/2/apple_should_bow_to_the_court has changed a bit. Fuck the FBI.

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Apple should bow to the court

Unlike most of the internet, I'm in favor of the Feds compelling Apple to "unlock" the terrorist's iPhone. This is because I'm a proponent of Order and because I'm familiar with the technical details.

On the side of Order, I find myself aligning with Trump. The federal government has given a US company an order, and the US company is fighting it. (Amusingly they weren't planning on doing so until another judge suggested it.) Generally speaking, when the entity in charge gives an order, the subordinates should follow it. This is the Way to keep good order and established hierarchies. There are precious few scenarios where it makes sense to rebel instead, and I don't think this is one of them.

On the side of the technical details: even if Apple does what the feds want, that doesn't necessarily help the feds. This is because all they want Apple to do is disable the wipe-device-after-n-passcode-attempts feature, and maybe to also delay any artificial time limits between attempts that aren't inherently due to the key derivation scheme. All this so that they can have an easier time brute-forcing the device. In theory. Yeah they can hire some kid to try 0000-9999 for super cheap, and if that fails inserting a device under the touchscreen to quickly try 000000-999999, but if the passcode is a lot longer, or text-based, then it can quickly become as difficult as brute-forcing "Zero reverberate business digital work most failure offset!" -- that is to say basically impossible. A strong passphrase is immune to Apple working with the feds or not, because Apple has already done the right thing by not storing the plaintext anywhere.

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