Sunday, February 19, 2017

Zuckerberg's Letter

I just read Mark Zuckerberg's 6000 word facebook manifesto and all I could keep thinking about the whole time was the creepy cult social network in "The Circle".

Secrets are Lies
Sharing is Caring
Privacy is Theft

In case I am not being clear - not a fan of Zuckerberg's vision of a global community.  Anymore I am not even sure if I am a fan of the internet.  I like the convenience and instant access, but that same instant access means we are always on, and I really dislike the way the net drives cultural and social norms.  I don't want a global community.  I want America to be America and Japan to be Japan and the various African countries to do their thing.  I want the heterogeneity not homogeneity.  I want the worls to be big and exciting again not the ugly little ball of sameness we are trying to create.


I want my business to be my business, not facebook's, not googles, not the various goddamned governments.

So in short: Screw Zuckerberg's letter.

Monday, February 06, 2017

Huffington Post on H-1B Visas - Trump Is Right: Silicon Valley Is Using H-1B Visas To Pay Low Wages To Immigrants

Somewhere dogs and cats are living together... in sin.

This stranglehold on foreign workers enables firms to pay low wages. Academics with industry funding claim otherwise, but one can see how it makes basic economic sense: If a worker is not a free agent in the labor market, she cannot swing the best salary deal. And while the industry’s clout gives it bipartisan congressional support concerning H-1B and green card policy, Congress’s own commissioned report found that H-1B workers “received lower wages, less senior job titles, smaller signing bonuses and smaller pay and compensation increases than would be typical for the work they actually did.”
 also noted is the programs role in age discrimination, and how the wage deflation actually drives American students out of the Computer Science field.


Saturday, February 04, 2017

I just registered for ICS410

at SANS Orlando 2017.  Let me tell you it was physically painful.  The cost for these things is out of bounds.  Since this will be the only security conference I will ever be able to attend it better be worth it.

Friday, February 03, 2017

Fareed Zakaria and I agree on this at least...

In fact, while I find much of Trump’s worldview alarming, I generally agree with some important parts of his program — tax reform, infrastructure investment, deregulation, civil service reform. But the larger question I keep asking myself is: Does Trump want someone like me to agree with him? 
It's not enough to make me an actual Trump supporter, especially given his treatment of some of our allies and the ham handed way he instituted his executive order regarding travel from Iraq, Sudan etc. Not to mention Seven Bannion and the constant demagoguery.  But there are moments of agreement, and of course it has made twitter endlessly entertaining.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

A Venezualan Anti-Chavista Offers Some Advice on Resisting Trump

So immediately after offering my advice on the best way to disarm Trump and his populism I come across this article:  How to Culture Jam a Populist in Four Easy Steps.

Written by an anti-chavista it attempts to apply lessons learned in that effort to resisting Trump.  They are:

Don't Forget Who The Enemy Is:  Populism can only survive amid polarization. It works through caricature, through the unending vilification of a cartoonish enemy. Pro tip: you’re the enemy. Yes, you, with the Starbucks cup. Trump needs you to be the enemy just like all religions need a demon. As a scapegoat. “But facts!”, you’ll say, missing the point entirely.

Show No Contempt:  Your organizing principle is simple: don’t feed polarization, disarm it.  This means leaving the theater of injured decency behind.  The Venezuelan Opposition struggled for years to get this. It wouldn’t stop pontificating about how stupid it all is. Not only to their international friends, but also to the Chavista electoral base itself.

 Don't Try To Force Him Out:  The people on the other side, and crucially Independents, will rebel against you if you look like you’re losing your mind. Worst of all, you will have proved yourself to be the very thing you’re claiming to be fighting against: an enemy of democracy. And all the while you’re just giving the Populist and his followers enough rhetorical fuel to rightly call you a saboteur, an unpatriotic schemer, for years to come.

Find A Counter-Argument (No, Not The One You Think):  Don’t waste your time trying to prove that this ism is better than that ism. Ditch all the big words. Why? Because, again, the problem is not the message but the messenger. It’s not that Trump supporters are too stupid to see right from wrong, it’s that you’re much more valuable to them as an enemy than as a compatriot.

The problem is tribal. Your challenge is to prove that you belong in the same tribe as them: that you are American in exactly the same way they are.
I don't think this contradicts my earlier advice, but it is a lot more complete while still being succinct.

Samizdata: #GamerGate - the canary in the coal mine and my thoughts

Perry de Havilland wites:

Looking back, it’s hard to overstate the cultural significance of GamerGate: it marked when the Left suddenly and unexpectedly lost control of social media, right at the point where the influence of social media actually started to matter.
 So certain was the Left that they had won the culture war, so confident with the established media under their effective control that ‘truth’ was theirs to declare, motivating them to gave up on any pretence of objectivity.
And in his (her ?) opinion this lack of introspection / misreading of the populace is what cost the British establishment the Brexit vote and America (both Right and Left) the Trump vote.

I agree.

Chris over at Carnifex,org and I have discussed this a few times at our Friday night games. GamerGate was a warning sign that everyone missed.  (I don't think I have actually convinced him), it was the first time in recent memory that a group wasn't cowed by the collective press.  The gaming press would say "You're a bunch of racists and sexists" and GamerGate would respond with a "No, were not.  Fuck you" and double down.

That is exactly what happened with Trump and there were people (I am proud to say I was one, although I underestimated Trump's chance of winning greatly) who were pointing it out:

Anyway, she responded that London had voted against Brexit too, and then followed up with something on the order of , "Only bigoted ignorant rubes voted for leaving the EU", a couple seconds passed and she followed up with, "The same bigoted ignorant rubes from places like the south that are voting for Donald Trump".  Everyone laughed.  (Those are paraphrases not actual direct quotes but they are pretty close). 

I looked over at the guy who was sitting next to me and he was looking kind of quizzical too so I said "Do you think that constantly being referred to as bigoted ignorant rubes might be one of the reasons people are voting for Trump?"
Now we have Trump and an Immigration ban that people find to be the worst outrage in the history of moral outrages and people still aren't catching on.  Protest all you want, you are strengthening Trump's power in his base.  Call his supporters racists, homophobes etc.  They will wear it like a badge of honor.  

I'm not saying don't engage, I'm saying engage his supporters, not the policy.  In the words of Alinsky (probably taken out of context but it will work) Isolate the Target.  Personalize it.  The make Trump supporters live up to their ideals.

1.  Ask if they know anyone affected by the ban?
2.  If they say yes, ask how it is affecting them.  If they say know introduce them to someone who is.
3.  Make them justify the ban as applied to those individuals while linking it back totheir sense of community and charity.

That's specific to this case, but in general that is how you are going to beat Trump, not with noise and disruption.  
(also if you really want to beat Trump get Ivanka on your side, instead of insulting her (Joss Whedon) appeal to her.)

Saturday, January 21, 2017

A good question from Instapundit

A FORMER STUDENT, HERSELF SUCCESSFUL AND UPWARDLY MOBILE, WRITES: “When I was growing up, people my age who were enjoying the fruits of their success and focused on being even more successful were called yuppies. It’s not a thing anymore. We have millenials, hipsters, but no term for the young newly upper middle class with good jobs and nice homes. Is that because success is shameful now? Are there not enough of these people?”

It's a good question, and as I have stated before part of what drove Trump's (and Sander's unsuccessful) campaign.  People who know me know I am a free trade advocate, but it was supposed to be trade which implies a two way street.