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September 2016
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So yeah, like I was just saying

It’s pretty obvious now that Trump knows he’s going to lose, and lose badly, so all there is left to do is generate a lot of publicity in the meantime and keep saying utterly outrageous shit that keeps him at the top of the headlines. That’s pretty much all he’s good at. And cause as much damage as possible, so that Hillary inherits as scorched-earth a cultural and political landscape as possible, so he can spend 4 years heckling her and say “see? you should have elected me.”

So predictable, and so pathetic.

And by the way, on the 2016 US presidential election

While we’re talking about it…

So in a few months, as I said long ago, Hillary Clinton will be elected president. Trump managed to win the Republican nomination, to the aghast horror of most of the world, showing how empty the Republican party is. He is a media creation; there is a clear, straight line between right-wing media outlets mainstreaming tacit support for racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, and abandoning reasoned discourse for bottom-feeding shouting that rewards sensationalism over substance, to Donald Trump, who embodies all of this absolutely perfectly. You reap what you sow.

Now: he’s going to lose. And here’s the thing: DONALD TRUMP NEVER LOSES. He constantly lies, but I honestly don’t think he knows he’s lying. Raised in sumptuous wealth and privilege, the golden child of a rich and powerful man right out of the cradle, all he’s ever known is sycophants who tell him how great and smart he is. The only problem with the world is that it doesn’t have enough Donald Trump in it. The only reason he loses is because someone cheats. He’s already started claiming that the election will be rigged (with no evidence at all, of course – he’s just creating truth by speaking). The presidency is his, because he always gets what he wants, and so the only way it won’t happen is if the world conspires against him. So that’s next.

What will NOT happen is a graceful defeat, where he congratulates his opponent and fades into the background. The question is: how much damage will he do on the way out? Is he going to foment a civil war of the ignorant and easily led (which are legion in America) against everyone else? Probably. He will say it was stolen from him by “the system” which opposed him from the start, over the will of “the people.” It’s going to be bad.

Again… nothing I’d love more than to be wrong.

2016 Olympics… here we go again, BBC

So once again, the Olympics are upon us, and once again, there’s no way I’m watching any American coverage, because I have a brain in my head and I want to maintain it in good working order.

And once again, I look to the BBC’s excellent coverage, wallet in hand. How do I pay the BBC to let me watch their coverage from overseas? Surely by now they’ve figured it out.

…nope. Still no.

So, once again, I’ll be streaming using various simple technologies, and the BBC doesn’t get the money that I would LOVE to give them to do it above board.

For further news on this story, tune in again in 2018.

More horrifying mass murder in America

Just another horrific massacre against civilians by fanatics with legal military weaponry designed to slaughter human beings with exceptional efficiency.

Cue the NRA telling us, in response, that the problem with America is: not enough guns.

How my cell phone works now

  1. Unknown number calls.
  2. I ignore the call.
  3. I block the number.

*sigh*

Not all Trump supporters are racists…

…but if you’re a racist, you’re probably a Trump supporter.

What's going to happen

This is what’s going to happen.

Hillary Clinton will win the democratic nomination and the presidency. There is no way the democratic establishment is going to let Bernie Sanders win, with or without the popular vote; the heavy machinery will come out if needed, with the mainstream media set to cast doubts on his candidacy to exactly the extent that his election seems plausible. It’s already happening.

I cannot predict whether or not Donald Trump will win the republican nomination. Everybody except his supporters are panicking. In any event, he will simultaneously lose and win. He will either lose the nomination or the presidency, and then he will declare victory, because DONALD TRUMP NEVER LOSES. He will take credit for changing the national dialogue, and for talking about the things nobody wanted to say out loud, and say that that was his intent all along, and he achieved everything he set out to do.

Regardless of who the republican candidate is, they will lose the presidency (again) because they’re all nuts. Trump is openly running on bluster, fear, and externalizing blame; he thinks that Mexicans are to blame for the opioid crisis, and all we need to do is build a wall, rather than face the frightening truth that many Americans just really love heroin, and stare deep into the national soul to find out why. Ted Cruz is a terrifying evangelist who would love nothing more than to run America by the Bible, and define his enemies by who agrees with him and who doesn’t. If I had to bet, I’d pick Marco Rubio to win the nomination, despite his various shortcomings of, at a minimum, experience, because the republican establishment is desperate for an alternative to Trump, and they will eventually close ranks behind whoever is most plausible and unify the (currently) 70% of republicans who don’t want Trump. It’s also true, however, that Trump is completely bomb-proof and immune to the “say one stupid thing that sinks your campaign,” the Rick Perry “…oops” moment, because of the sheer volume of stupid things that he says, and his supporters eat it up. He can say anything at all, grab fresh headlines, and then laugh it off the next day with no consequences whatsoever if it plays badly. He said he could shoot someone in the middle of the street and not lose any supporters, and he’s right about that. He’s telling people that the American decline is not their fault, and all we have to do is get the Bad People under control and everything will be fine. Who wouldn’t want to be told that? Who wouldn’t want to believe it?

The only republican left in the field with a shred of moderation and common sense is Kasich, but the republicans are running on bombast, volume, and a race to the edge of every extreme, and unfortunately he doesn’t stand a chance.

The only way Hillary Clinton loses the presidency is if Michael Bloomberg jumps in with a monstrously-funded independent campaign. He could actually win, despite being yet another billionaire trying to buy his way in, because he’ll be far less nuts than the republican nominee (and actually has governing experience), and his negatives are lower than Hillary’s. Could happen.

The republicans will hold fast and block President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, who will be impeccably qualified, and in so doing expose themselves as the most obstructionist congress in history. They will pay for it in the fall and lose senate seats, and possibly control of the senate.

The American decline into oligarchy will continue, as the 0.1% continue to maintain their unassailable grip on power and resources. Nothing will change. The expanding masses will continue to get poorer and stupider, while the rich reinforce their fortresses. There will be a new Trump every election cycle, telling us it’s all someone else’s fault. Eventually one of them will win and we’ll have a scary brush with actual fascism.

My sincerest hope is that every single thing I’ve said here is wrong. My fear is that it’s all correct. We’ll see.

Meanwhile, I will vote for Jill Stein, just so I can die with a clean conscience.

Donald Trump

Congratulations, America. Donald Trump represents the absolute victory of confidence over knowledge, bluster over substance, and impulse over reason; and, if given power, puissance over law. Bringing humanity right back to the Dark Ages. And you’re eating it up.

You will get exactly what you wish for, and deserve.

Another mass shooting, and we’re fine with that

Another mass shooting in the USA today… it’d been a couple of weeks… or had it? No, there was that latest Planned Parenthood shooting last week, right? Who can remember?

Anyway, yeah, we’re fine with this. It’s the price of FREEDOM. Now and then we have mass slaughters of innocent people by maniacs with military weapons, but their blood protects us from government tyranny.

We’re fine with this because, as always, absolutely nothing will change. We were OK with children being gunned down at Sandy Hook… we decided nothing needed changing after that, the status quo was fine. Actually, the loudest voices in that short discussion were shouting that the problem is that we don’t have ENOUGH guns in America. MORE guns will make the situation better. If everybody’s packing heat, we can all be cowboys and action-movie heroes and stop the bad guys in their tracks. Or, maybe gun down fleeing shoplifters at Home Depot, or let survival of the fittest determine who gets that last bigscreen TV at Wal-Mart on Black Friday.

So anyway, yeah, we’re fine with the mass slaughter of innocents, as evinced by the fact that we’re not going to make any changes to gun laws in its aftermath. We’ll forget about this one in a week or two, and then we can crowd around CNN for the next one, probably before Xmas. Life is exciting, for those of us who survive!

The hallmark of 21st century programmers: fail silently.

The title pretty much says it all and barely needs elaboration. I’m not sure I trust any programmer born after 1970.

You never wrote assembly language. You never wrote C. You never had to malloc space for an array or check for a return error code. You never did any of the hard shit yourself. You just linked to libraries and frameworks. You never thought how your code might be called one day in contexts beyond the immediate problem you’re trying to solve. “Bulletproof” doesn’t mean anything to you.

If a library you call a function from returns an error code, you can ignore it and just crash. After all, if the library generates an error, the user probably has bigger problems than YOUR code failing, so why bother trying to handle it gracefully? Just assume everything will work. Most of the time, it will, and it’s so much easier. And besides, you’ve got so much to do.

So a gigantic company like Adobe with armies of programmers all over the world cranks out the unimaginably complicated Creative Suite. Muse is for building websites – far simpler than the insanely arcane world of Photoshop. It provides a friendly interface – sort of – for putting graphics on screens and adding hyperlinks (as long as you can figure out which layer of said interface hyperlinks go in). A friendly checkbox lets you specify that the link should open in an external window. A friendly preview mode lets you examine your page as it will appear and test it. You click your hyperlink to test it in the built-in browser, and nothing happens. You assume you made an error and you spend a long time digging through your project files trying to figure out why the hell nothing’s happening. You can’t find anything wrong. After a while, you try it in an external browser and it works fine. You realize that the built-in browser can’t open things in tabs or external windows, but rather than inform you of this with, say, an error message or info window (“This browser cannot open links in new tabs”, say), it just silently fails. Just ignore the return code – if there’s even one to ignore. The user will figure it out. Or maybe not. Who gives a shit, anyway?

This is in hour one of my work with Muse. I expect there will be many, many, many more instances of silent failure. Working with other people’s code – or their products – in the 21st century is pretty much a case of assuming it’s filled with bugs, careless bullshit and implicit assumptions based on knowledge that you don’t have, and trying to hunt your way through it by trying to figure out the way you think that THEY thought it should work. Rather than how it looks like it should work.

Don’t even get me started on things like “read the documentation.” There isn’t any documentation, or it’s out of date and was never updated and will send you down an even worse dead-end than the one you’re trying to escape.

Fuck 99% of 21st century engineers.

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