Sunday, December 04, 2016

Another day, another article criticizing Conservatives from the NYTimes.

Thanks @NYTimes

This time it's for conservatives trying to understand the historical and philosophical roots of their movement.

What I particularly loved was this little bit of irony -

These are safe spaces for conservatives who think little has changed since William F. Buckley scorned the “ne plus ultra relativism, idiot nihilism” and “hoax of academic freedom” at Yale in the 1950s. Participants pride themselves on civil disagreement — which is easy when there are rarely any liberals in the room.
Instead of mocking conservatives’ ideological echo chambers and self-regarding fantasies, progressives should learn from them. For one thing, higher education should include a bit of self-regarding fantasy. It allows 20-year-olds to turn off their phones, try on the ideas of civilization’s greatest minds, and practice interacting as adults. (Academic gowns aren’t such a silly idea, either: They are a great equalizer. One may be a prince or a pauper underneath.)

Conservatives are routinely criticized by progressives as anti-intellectual, but then when an itellectual movement takes hold they are mocked for participating.  And then the liberal establishment and papers like the NYTimes wonders why Rural Americans and Conservatives feel divorced from the rest of the country and vote for someone like Donald Trump.

I know it's ridiculous of me to try and defend the intellectual tradition of Classical Liberalism (as it is called in Europe) / Conservatism.  I am way to stupid to try and defend the likes of Locke, Smith, and Hayek, or the intellectual underpinnings of the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution.

So I won't try.

Instead  I will just say that I am a pretty typical conservative.  Smart enough to get by but not a genius, but every conservative I know knows that there is an intellectual tradition behind what we believe.  We may not always be able to express it but we know it exists.  I am glad these camps exist. I hope they expand.  I have suggested similar plans before.  I want people who believe in the Western Intellectual Tradition and the Scottish Enlightenment leading this country going forward.

In short - screw you Molly Worthen  (and yes I know after she attacks the rights intellectual echo chambers she suggests the left should establish similar programs, but even there she implies that because it is "progressive"  it will be "better")



16 Bill Gates ( @BillGates ) Approved Books To Give For Christmas

shamelessly stolen from Inc.  who probably stole it from Bill Gates twitter account or blog -

1.  The Big Short - Michael Lewis - Michael Lewis examines the causes of the 2008 financial crisis and those who were able to foresee it and profit from it.  Read the book and enjoyed it.  Enjoyed the movie more because:


2. Business Adventures -John Brooks - Written in the 70's (?) Gates calls it the best business book he has ever read.  I agree but then again I think it's the only business book I have ever read.  Still it's interesting.  The stories are insightful and I found they related well to my personal experiences inside a variety of companies.  Downside, no Margot Robbie so we will make due with the most accurate depiction of American business ever


3. Behind the Beautiful Forever - Katherine Boo - haven't read this one but it's about life in the Annawadi slum of Mumbai. (Bombay for us old heathens).

 4.  Brain Rules - John Medina - another one I haven't read

5.  The Bully Pulpit - Doris Kearns Goodwin - I have this one haven't started it yet.  About Roosevelt and Taft in the progressive era.

6.  Creating the Twentieth Century - Vaclav Smil - a historical account of how technology transformed the world.  Haven't read this one either.  I am sensing a trend.

7.  The Rise and Fall of American Growth - Robert J. Gordon - Yay, one I have read.  Super interesting.  I have held the same premise for years, ever since China really exploded onto the world market with double digit growth numbers, that the reason developed nations seemd to be lagging in growth was because we had already built out so much of our infrastructure.  Gordon agrees with me so he must be a super-genius.  Since I read this one here's a video of factory workers doing what factory workers do:


8.  How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking - Jordan Ellenberg - and after a brief reprieve the streak of not reading continues.  :-(.  Title kind of explains the premise.

9.  Hyperbole and a Half - Allie Brosh -  This one doesn't even look halfway interesting to me.

10.  Mindset - Carol S. Dweck - explores the traits and consequences of fixed and growth mindsets, which determine the way you approach a task or a problem. The streak continues, God I suck.

11.  Moonwalking with Einstein - Joshua Foer -  not what the title led me to believe.  It's a memory improvement book.  Guy's don't buy this for wives or girlfriends - they remember enough already.

12.  The Rosie Project - Graeme Simison - Asperger's dude is more successful at talking to women than I am.  Depressing (to me at least).

13.  Seveneves - Neal Stephenson - A post cataclysmic novel exploring how humanity would respond to the moon blowing up.  This and The Mongoliad are the only Stephenson books I haven't read.  I just can't get into the cataclysm thing right now.  Still adds to my enormous suckitude.

14.  The Road to Character - David Brooks - an examination of character from one of the last men I would look to for such a trait. 

15.  Tap Dancing to Work - Carol Loomis - Hey another one I read.  Not the greatest Buffet fan here but Gates likes him so here's one of his songs:


16. what if? - Randall Munroe - Serious answers to absurd questions. (I think he stole that from my blogs tagline but I am too lazy to look. Someone check. If he did I may need to call my lawyer, even though he usually deals with my drunk and disorderly and paternity cases (kids denying I am their father) I'm sure he'll do a bang up job. But, I digress) Another one I have read so I am 5 for 16.  My ignorance knows no bounds.  Oh well I don't have anything else so here are pretty girls dancing to music:

Saturday, November 26, 2016

8 Books Security Pros Should Read (well 10 really but who counts anymore)

Blatantly Stolen From Dark Reading

1.  Applied Cryptography - Lots of praise for this book.  I personally am not a fan of the author but as far as I know this is considered THE go-to.
2.  Threat Modeling : Designing for Security -  Out of 27 reviews 3 are pretty negative.  I jumped around using the surprise me feature on Amazon.  I didn't see much that was that impressive.
3.  The Practice of Network Security Monitoring - I actually read this one and found it useful.
4.  Cyberwar - Another one I have read.  Interesting but not earthshaking.  I found it to be a little grandstandy but then again I think it was one of the first serious non-fiction books dealing with the subject.  Might be worth a read just for historical perspective.
5.  Cyberspies - I can't say I know anything about this one.
6.  Security Engineering: A Guide to Building Dependable Distributed Systems.
7.  The Web Application Security Hackers Handbook 
8.  The Art of Software Security Assessment -

To this I am going to add two of my own choices -

9.  The Grid - Critical infrastructure seems to be the rage at the moment.  This book is a good exploration of the grid and why it is both so vulnerable and so highly resilient.  It definately has shortcomings but it is a good exploration.
10.  Lights Out - Lot's of criticism for this one, in large part because Koppel wrote a cybersecurity / cyberwar book without talking to any cybersecurity experts.  I include it because it highlights public perceptions of issues.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Compare and Contrast


Can everyone stop freaking out for five fucking minutes please

Yes, yes, I know, the man Adolph Hitler looked to for genocide lessons and Nero looked to for lessons on good governance with follow-ons by Caligula for probity and Napoleon for humility was just elected President.

I know, the republic is going to collapse, Gays, Blacks, Jews, Mexicans etc will be rounded up into work camps and tortured.

The two minute hate will be a daily ritual and finally only Trump brand products will be sold in stores.

It Armageddon!

Except it's not.

First off, we have a 73 day transition period.  Trumps policies will start to flesh out then.  If they are too onerous start protesting then.  Shit, if they are too onerous I will join you.

Second, there are still tow house of congress and the courts he has to get his policies past.  Maybe you haven't noticed but Trump isn't super popular among GOP congressional memebers.

Third in two years there is a mid term election, that offers both an opportunityto take legislative seats and will also constrain members of congress and the Senate.

In other words, America will prevail.  The founders were pretty smart and set thing up to make it hard to establish a dictatorship.  If people stay vigilant and stop pissing people off the is a blip on our countries radar.

(Plus look at Trumps actual political record outside this campaign.  Yeah he is a birther and a 9/11 truther, he has also been pro-abortion, anti-gun, anti-freetrade (still is) so you Clintonistas have hope still just bring him back to his roots)

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

The ladies of "The View" are retards

Heard from Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar:

"“What scares me the most... is that not since George W. Bush has there been a White House, a Senate and a House of Representatives all from the same party.”

First off not since implies an extended period of time - NOT one President ago.  Secondly it's wrong:


2001 House - R Senate - D Pres - R
2003 House - R Senate - R Pres - R
2005 House - R Senate - R Pres - R
2007 House - D Senate - D Pres - R
2009 House - D Senate - D Pres - D
2011 House - R Senate - D Pres - D
2013 House - R Senate - D Pres - D
2015 House - R Senate - R Pres - D

Third - they act like this is uncommon but since 1901 (57th congress) til now (114th congress) 31 of 57 congresses (62 of 115 years) have seen unified political branches.


Oh, BTW

I didn't vote for Trump but this funny or die video with @feliciaday and a bunch of other actors I don't recognize almost made me flip.  I don't know why it pissed me off so bad since I basically agree Trump shouldn't be President but damn I was steaming.

I'm not being condescending you ignorant hillbilly I am just pointing out your racism OR why Donald Trump won the election

First off I'm not going to try and pretend I predicted this result.  I though Hillary was gonna win. While I personally find her repugnant, and would never vote for her, I find Trump's pre-election rhetoric dangerous and also refused to vote for him.  However, once the votes started coming in I wasn't surprised.

People are angry and Trump was an angry vote.  Back during the primary when Bernie Sanders was running I pointed out to one of my friends that he and Trump were drawing from the same well -People who felt abandoned by the system.  At the time he told me I was nuts, that Sanders voters wanted economic and social justice.  Trump voters were racists who hated Mexicans (and later Muslims).  My response was listen to what they are actually saying.  They aren't saying we hate Mexicans (or Latinos in general) they are saying we hate illegal aliens who are coming to the US and displacing workers, "from jobs no American will do" (which as I pointed out here is bullshit).

Same thing with Muslims, I don't know anyone,and I know quite a few Trump voters, they kind of proliferate where I live, who is honestly saying keep all Muslims out.  What they are saying in my opinion, is we don't want Muslims from an area controlled by a group hostile to the US (ISIS) admitted without screening.

This predates Trump going back to when the Obama administration was planning on admitting Syrian refugees.  The administration ignored the concerns of the unwashed masses and Trump picked it up as one of his campaign points.  And as I recall it stayed way until reporters kept goading him on the point and he popped of with don't let any of them in.

Bam! Trump supporters are racists.

The same pattern follows when rust belters bring up the fact that their jobs and way of life are disappearing - fuck you hillbilly the economy is doing great.

When people express concern about vast numbers of temporary foreign workers being brought into the country and displacing Americans at their jobs - "Well if Americans weren't so dumb and lazy facebook would hire them"

When Christians don't want to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple - "Homophobes, we'll sue and make you love us"

And it's always the Trump voter who is presented as the villain.

Over and over.  People are just fucking angry about it.  So what do they do?  They vote for the guy who listens to their issues and promises a solution, while acknowledging their "greatness".  If you look I bet you could find a couple historical parallels, but in this case we have Trump.  In truth the guy doesn't even reflect most of their values, but at least he is listening (and before Hillary and her crew sabotaged his campaign so was Bernie).

Bing! Bing! Bing!  We have a winner.  Donald Trump 45th President of the United States.

And we have hand wringing

Certainly, they have a great deal to be angry about, and a great deal that Hillary Clinton and her husband ignored, and have ignored for almost a quarter-century now. They destroyed the old Democratic Party of liberal economics, and replaced it with nothing but a hope and a promise too far for much of the country to ever attain.
The trouble is that this new, American version of the disinherited has squandered their voice on a dyspeptic scream, a retro turn to racism and sexism, without anything resembling a plan, or a new vision for America.

I would dispute only Mr. Schmidt’s silly assertion that this was a deserved response to our “condescension.” Far from condescending to anyone, everyone I knew was mostly hoping desperately that Mr. Trump’s voters could not possibly hate the rest of us so completely that they would vote in droves for the most irresponsible and openly bigoted candidate ever to gain a major-party nomination.  

"How can they hate us so much?"  Because you hate them!!  It's a simple proposition.  You can only kick a dog so many times before he turns mean.  America used up it's kicks.

(I'm not saying I agree with any of the justifications for voting Trump, as I pointed out I refused to, but this is a summation of what I have heard from people supporting him and my own personal observations.  I am also not going to try and deny that other factors were involved in Hillary's defeat (still so torn on thanking God for that) but this is the bedrock foundation of what drove Trump voters)

Thursday, November 03, 2016

I like to think of myself as fairly well read

but actually I'm not:

This is a list of the top 10 books assigned by each of the top 10 colleges combined into one list  out of the 84 separate books I have read 16 and dabbled in a few others:

Count
Text
Author
106
The Clash of Civilizations
Huntington, Samuel
88
Republic
Plato
87
Leviathan
Hobbes, Thomas
87
The Prince
Machiavelli, Niccolò
76
The Elements of Style
Strunk, William
69
Leadership without Easy Answers
Heifetz, Ronald
60
Letter from the Birmingham Jail
King, Jr., Martin Luther
57
Principles of Corporate Finance
Brealey, Richard
52
Wealth of Nations
Smith, Adam
51
The Communist Manifesto
Marx, Karl
44
Thinking, Fast and Slow
Kahneman, Daniel
43
A Primer for Policy Analysis
Stokey, Edith
43
A Theory of Justice
Rawls, John
40
The Metaphysics of Morals
Kant, Immanuel
39
Thank You for Arguing
Heinrichs, Jay
37
On Liberty
Mill, John Stuart
36
Quarterly Review
Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis
33
Macroeconomics
Blanchard, Olivier
32
Confessions
Saint Augustine
32
The Social Contract
Rousseau, Jean-Jacques
31
Learning and Teaching
Sheridan, Harold James
28
Lectures on Macroeconomics
Blanchard, Olivier
28
The Politics
Aristotle
27
“The Problem of Social Cost”
Coase, R. H.
27
Calculus: Early Transcendentals
Stewart, James
27
Capital
Marx, Karl
27
Introduction to Econometrics
Stock, James
27
Oedipus
Sophocles
26
A Short Guide to Writing About Art
Barnet, Sylvan
26
Civilization and its Discontents
Freud, Sigmund
26
Heart of Darkness
Conrad, Joseph
25
Economics
Krugman, Paul
25
Japanese, the Spoken Language, Part 1
Jorden, Eleanor Harz
23
Ethics
Aristotle
23
The Evolution of Cooperation
Axelrod, Robert
23
The Tragedy of the Commons
Hardin, Garrett James
21
Autobiography
Franklin, Benjamin
21
Econometrics
Hayashi, Fumio
21
Nicomachean Ethics
Aristotle
21
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
Kuhn, Thomas
20
The Art and Architecture of the Indian Subcontinent
Harle, J. C.
19
Analytical Politics
Hinich, Melvin
19
Canterbury Tales
Chaucer, Geoffrey
19
Globalization and its Discontents
Stiglitz, Joseph
19
Statistics with Stata 3
Hamilton, Lawrence
18
Cyborg Citizen
Gray, Chris Hables
18
Persuasion
Austen, Jane
18
The Logic of Congressional Action
Arnold, R. Douglas
17
Foundations of Statistical Natural Language Processing
Manning, Christopher
17
Macroeconomics
Barro, Robert
17
Public Finance
Rosen, Harvey
16
Code and other Laws of Cyberspace
Lessig, Lawrence
16
Macroeconomic Theory
Sargent, Thomas
16
The Learning Center
Brown, Robert
16
The Technological Society
Ellul, Jacques
16
The Transparent Society
Brin, David
15
“Creative Writing”
Stegner, Wallace
15
Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy
Schumpeter, Joseph Alois
15
Diplomacy
Kissinger, Henry
15
Office Hours
Foster, Norm
15
The Peloponnesian War
Thucydides
14
A Social History of American Technology
Cowan, Ruth Schwartz
14
Ethnic Groups in Conflict
Horowitz, Donald
14
Frankenstein
Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft
14
Illuminations
Benjamin, Walter
14
Robinson Crusoe
Defoe, Daniel
14
Simulations
Baudrillard, Jean
14
The Discourses
Machiavelli, Niccolò
14
The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism
Weber, Max
14
To End a War
Holbrooke, Richard
14
Understanding Media
McLuhan, Marshall
13
Artificial Intelligence
Russell, Stuart
13
Rethinking the Public Sphere
Fraser, Nancy
13
The Control Revolution
Beniger, James
12
Two Treatises of Government
Locke, John
10
Invisible Man
Ellison, Ralph
10
The Odyssey
Homer
9
Anthropology
Boas, Franz
9
Democracy in America
Tocqueville, Alexis De
9
Let Us Now Praise Famous Men
Agee, James
9
Zapata and the Mexican Revolution
Womack, John
8
The Anti-Politics Machine
Ferguson, James
8
The Iliad
Homer

If you look at just the 10 most assigned books I do a little better - I have read 5 of 10 there.  Now whether I actually understood any of what I read is a matter for debate.


I have nothing - What I am Reading 11/3/2016

Ars Technica - The Ars Technica science fiction bucket list—42 movies every geek must see -

Seen just over half and honestly movies like Zardoz and  Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind aren't high on my list of things to do.

Dark Reading - It's Time To Address The Cybersecurity Gender Gap Before It's Too Late -
It's well known that women are underrepresented in technology roles. While women make up 47% of the workforce, only 34% of tech industry professionals are women. Within the cybersecurity sector, the numbers are even worse. Only 10% of IT security workers are women, contributing to a projected 1.5 million unfilled positions within the industry by 2020.
I'm all for more women in the cybersecurity workforce, but this article really doesn't give a compelling reason why it's important other than"because..." which may be part of the reason there is a gender gap - in my opinion anyway.  There has to be more of a case than women make up 50% of the population so they should be 50% of the cybersecurity workforce.  Make a decent case for women to be there and they will start to show up.

Cyberseek.org - Hack the Gap: Close the cybersecurity talent gap with interactive tools and data -

To help close the cybersecurity skills gap, CyberSeek provides detailed, actionable data about supply and demand in the cybersecurity job market.           
Sponsored by CompTIA, Burning Glass, and NIST.  I'm betting there may be a product / training bias.

Real Clear Politics - Latest Polls -

Not looking that great for Clinton, although not spectacular for Trump either.  Clinton still holds the upper ground in my opinion because she is likely to carry the counties that will really determine electoral votes but she has to be sweating it a bit.  And... I bet those idiots trying to tie electoral votes to national popular vote are pretty happy they failed at that about now.



Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Donald Trump Truthspeaker - What I am reading 11/2/2016

NY Times - Trump's Inconvenient Racial Truth -

 (I)n his speeches, Trump was speaking more directly about the particular struggles of working-class black Americans and describing how the government should help them more than any presidential candidate in years. Let that uncomfortable truth sink in.
Whatever his motives, Trump was talking about the black working class in a way that few national politicians do. 
...
Trump is not wrong when he says that black Americans have suffered in a particular way in blue cities and blue states. (Of course, they suffer in red states as well.) The most segregated cities have long been clustered above the Mason-Dixon line and are Democratically run. Some of the most segregated schools in the country educate students in New York, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Milwaukee. Efforts to integrate schools in these cities have met resistance from white progressives. Democrats did as much to usher in the era of mass incarceration as anyone else. And in these cities, with their gaping income inequality, black communities shoulder a terrible burden of gun violence, high unemployment, substandard schools and poverty.

Lot's of Republicans have said this for a long time.  It's too bad it took Trump to get it noticed.  Don't mistake me a lot of Republicans (and Democrats for that matter) also believe that family and the culture of work in Inner cities have degraded, but honestly the two aren't incompatible.

 Washington Post - Election maps are telling you big lies about small things -


In 2012, about the same number of votes were cast in these 160 counties as were cast in the rest of the country. But, your run-of-the-mill election map won't show you that.      

And this is why a Trump victory is exceedingly unlikely. 
       

   

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

California goes all extra double stupid - What I am reading 11/1/2016

NY Times - California Today: A New Target of Gun Control Advocates — Bullets -

Under Proposition 63, ammunition purchasers would be treated similar to gun purchasers. Before a Californian could buy even a single bullet of any kind, he or she would need to pay a fee of up to $50 and wait up to 30 days to obtain a four-year permit.

Ars Technica - Bizarre leaked Pentagon video is a science fiction story about the future of cities -

Despite the terrible delivery, however, the movie does some good science fiction world-building. The premise is that we’ve mastered urban warfare, but our tactics only work in late 20th-century cities. Megacities, which are usually defined as urban areas with more than 15 million people, will change the game. The movie explores what social life will be like in such places, especially after climate change has made them more dangerous and the separation between rich and poor has been magnified beyond belief.