December 2nd, 2018

(no subject)

A blog post by some random dude reminded me of my dislike of the stylistic trend which I am not really sure when I started paying attention to. Which is the use of emoji to graphically summarize what a list item says.

Some elements of this can be seen in the screenshot of Andre Staltz's twitter feed I posted recently, but in this guy's blog post every heading ends in emojis.

This is like inserting funny gifs in presentation slides — a technique that has some merit, because, well, a funny gif can be an apt metaphor for the point the speaker is trying to make, — but which is now atrociously abused. Too often I see people speak in front of a slide with the same gif running over and over again in a loop. Instead of reinforcing the message, it distracts from it.

I remember, in the mid-nineties people discovered PowerPoint animated slide transitions. I clearly remember one of our professors presenting something or other about evidence-based medicine using PowerPoint with animated slide transitions likely set at random. I remember noticing that I wasn't paying attention to his talk, but was just wondering how the next slide will appear. I also remember thinking that no-one should ever use random slide transitions.

Since then people have gone much easier on slide transitions. I hope they will dial down on animated gifs as well (or at least learn how to stop the loop after one or two runs). Then, hopefully, the time will come for emojis.

(no subject)



I don't know why, but if I worked at Google, I wouldn't have had the slightest compunction about the censored version of their search engine for China. If Google wants to cripple its search capabilities in order to operate in China, I can't see why anyone should have any objections to this. If they have to report rebellious users to the government, that's another story, and I can understand the moral argument made on this basis. But withholding information (is this not the meaning of the word censorship) because you aren't allowed to show it is just meh. Lots of links to free copies of copyright-protected materials are already being removed from Google in an act of censorship.

(no subject)

Tucker's opening of yesterday's show:

...Yes, Russia. A remote country in Central Asia with the median life expectancy lower than that of Honduras; a place with an economy about the size of that of the state of Texas; a vodka-soaked icescape whose shuffling workforce can't seem to build a reliable airplane — that's Russia. But nevertheless it's the place that somehow, against all odds, manages to dictate election outcomes on the other side of the world, using a crack team of secret agents so stealthy we still don't know their names after more than two years of investigating it.

...

If you are looking for a country to fret about, forget about Russia; the Russians may pose a threat to Montenegro and Ukraine, but Phoenix and Buffalo remain safe. The real danger to this country is China.




I feel this (the part about Russia, obviously, not China) doesn't get repeated often enough. Although in the wake of Muller's indictment against 12 Russians, saying that the secret agents are "so stealthy we still don't know their names" sounds disingenuous.

(no subject)

Theresa May is immeasurably more articulate than Trump, but her message in this 2-year-old speech is just as nationalistic. It could also have been delivered by a Soviet party member during the campaign against cosmopolitanism. I missed this speech when it happened, so I did not recognize the references to it in e.g. Michael Sandel's discussion titled Citizens of Nowhere. Unless her "a citizen of the world is a citizen of nowhere" is a quotation from someone else (as well it could be, by the sound of it).

(no subject)

An interviewer, talking with Martin Fowler about the second edition of his Refactoring:

The first thing that should jump out at anyone that is familiar with the original version of the book is the new version uses JavaScript for the examples. I am kinda curious, why. I mean, is it the ubiquity of the language? Surely, there is a few languages out there that are maybe a little bit easier to demonstrate refactorings.

...

But it's a nice point, to point out that when it was initially written with Java, very object-oriented language, and now JavaScript, a kind of prototypical-based language, which, with ES6 you can get to objects, but still it's very much a different style of writing...


Even the first paragraph sounds stupid (refactoring is a universal idea of transforming one version of code into a less crappy one; the language shouldn't matter for this that much), but the second paragraph is just atrocious. JavaScript allows for programming in several different paradigms and has done so for a lo-ong time. It has a concept of objects; must have had it since inception. It has the "new" keyword and could pretend it has regular inheritance also since forever. Saying that "with ES6 you can get to objects" is a crime against anyone with a basic knowledge of the language.

(no subject)

Bernie about Trump:

But the thing that galls me the most is that he [Trump] is doing what no president in my memory has ever done, and that is quite intentionally, for cheap political gain, he is trying to divide the American people up based on the color of our skin, based on the country we come from, our religion, our sexual orientation, our gender.




Huh? I remember Trump being divisive towards Muslims (although primarily foreign), in which perhaps Richard Dawkins or Sam Harris might agree with him, and toward the media (fake news, enemy of the people, etc.), also not entirely baseless, but what are these other divisive attempts Bernie is talking about? Also, isn't identity politics, the way of thinking that divides people up on the grounds Bernie enumerated, an instrument of the left?

(no subject)

A bit of Internet memeology. Source of the surprized Pickachu face meme I've been seeing frequently lately is the Pokemon episode Bulbasaur and the Hidden Village, as can be seen here at 4:10