ISIS

by bauer on August 31, 2014

I really need to get this off my chest. President Obama has taken a lot of heat for not having a strategy for ISIS - Islamic State in Syria and Iraq (although I prefer ISIL - Islamic State in Levant for its accuracy). It was the simpleton thinking like getting rid of Saddam Hussein that got us into this mess in the first place. From a cold, real-politik perspective that thug kept these lunatics at bay. Now we have to deal with an ideology bent on world domination. The piece in the New York Times on the use of media by ISIS shows just the surface of the real battle being waged here - a battle of ideologies that dwarfs even the Cold War. That was a conflict over economic systems; this is a conflict over the very definition of humanity. For all intents and purposes these aren’t even Earthlings to me - they are Aliens challenging the very definition of being humans. And as that piece points out, they are wielding the most advance weaponry brought to the planet - virtual mind control (and if you think they’re advanced on the social media side, imagine how advanced they must be on the clandestine side). We honestly have nothing right now to fight back against this. Frankly, the notion that fueled the thinking behind the Iraq invasion - “Freedom and Democracy” - doesn’t have the same visceral appeal of 72 virgins and a single world under a god and some messenger. What I’m looking for is something, actually someone, who can embody something greater than some 7th century fantasy that’s spreading a metastasizing cancer. The President is looking for this something; trying to cobble together something real to stand up to fantasy. Of course, maybe some on the right who are simpleton thinkers might just be right here for a change. Just nuke em. I’d personally prefer a 21st century messiah with no connection to the sons of Abraham.

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Nielsen Regression

by bauer on June 5, 2014

nielsenregression1

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Cranes

by bauer on April 6, 2014

Long field trip last week to see the Sand Hill Cranes. Saw the Sand Hills, then the cranes, then I realized the cranes were named after the hills. Oh well. Was 3am.

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Needle in a Caldera

by bauer on March 21, 2014

I was just trying to do a little calculation on the challenge of finding #MH370. The most recent report has the search area “narrowed” to 13,000 square miles. With an average depth in the Indian Ocean of 12,000 feet, this comes to about 30,000 cubic miles of water or about 123,000 cubic kilometers. If you shrunk a 200 foot plane to the size of a 1 inch needle, with about 2400 inches in 200 feet you get a ratio of .0004167 or there about. Using that ratio applied to the total volume of water to be searched you get about 52 cubic kilometers. A search for something of that volume comes up with the Tambora Volcano

Tambora Caldera

Tambora Caldera

- site of the largest volcanic explosion in recorded history. Apparently, this led to the 1816 “Year without a Summer” (and apparently also the inspiration for The Scream by Edvard Munch).
The Scream by Edvard Munch

The Scream by Edvard Munch

I only say all of this because if the plane was the size of a needle, you’d be searching in a haystack with a base the size of this caldera and total volume of the top that was blown off. Check my math but it feels right (thank you Wolfram).
Tambora Caldera with Haystack

Tambora Caldera with Haystack

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CNN Software Coverage - Good Thing or Bad Thing

by bauer on October 30, 2013

In keeping with Jon Stewart’s parody of CNN reducing everything to #GoodThingBadThing, I’m going to review #CNN Software Coverage with #GoodThing, #BadThing to keep it simple for the journalists. Let’s start with the fiasco of Laurie Segall’s (@lauriesegallcnn) coverage of the healthcare.gov site’s problems. She ends up citing every problem any large software system could have except the real one - a last minute feature request from the product owner. If there’s a problem with software, it must be the fault of the developers. Couldn’t possibly be the customer’s fault, the system’s fault, or god forbid the user’s fault. Of course, this doesn’t apply to anything built by “Silicon Valley”, that modern-day version of the Catholic Church - an apparently infallible, disembodied entity, most recently represented by the guy who inflicted the software world with Wordpress. We’ll call this #BadThing.


Contrast this with Chris Frates (@frates) coverage of the Common Application software for applying to post-secondary institutions. Similar set of problems cited for this system (can’t login, applications lost, users frustrated) but Frates doesn’t go on the witch hunt that Segall does. This is probably because it’s not a government-run program, doesn’t have an Obama prefix, and isn’t about healthcare. We’ll call this a #GoodThing for now.


Then we come to Catherine Rampell (@Crampell - nice handle) and her speculation that Apple has built-in planned obsolescence into their products. As @ChrisCuomo points out, thankfully as a lawyer, that she has no evidence whatsoever to support her claims, it’s apparently OK for CNN to give her air time for this, because, she’s, like, an economics reporter and she, like, works for the New York Times and that. Add in that Kate Boulduan (@KateBoulduan) didn’t know that “planned obsolescence” was a defined term (she should check her job description) and you get an overall #BadThing on this coverage.


And now we come to Brianna Keilar (@brikeilarcnn) with exclusive access to a report of “eye-popping”, “glaring”, “red flags”. The report on the healthcare.gov cites “no access to monitoring tools”, “inadequate time for performance testing” and “occasional outage of hub services”. Really? You could attach that report to practically every software project across the entire planet - BEFORE they even start. It’s a TODO list. Don’t think the President of the United States needs a TODO list. He should have been told that his product owners were making unreasonable last-minute feature requests. Giving this a #BadThing.


So, overall I’m calling #CNN Software Coverage a #BadThing up until this point. I’m not quite sure why I’m so passionate about this but I am. Actually, I am sure why. Software is being woven into the fabric of society and needs more sophisticated treatment. #CNN really needs somebody with some deep knowledge about technology to sort the wheat from the chafe. Being able to point out pretty buttons and channeling some mysterious “Silicon Valley” ghoul isn’t cutting it.

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CNN Software Coverage

by bauer on October 25, 2013

Had some time to reflect on your comments, @lauriesegallcnn, about the 5 million lines of code would need to be rewritten for the Affordable Care system. I called you out on it on Twitter, and you said that you knew that the number of lines of code weren’t relevant, that you put this into context on the air, and that you had no idea what I was talking about. Well, I reviewed the tape. I don’t think saying that a programmer writes about 100 line of code a day is putting this into context. That’s like saying your average musician writes about 10 lyrics a day. This shows an even deeper dis-connect with the subject. And, sorry, but dropping in “Silicon Valley”, like you would “Catholic Church” isn’t helping either.


I think you’re heart is in the right place but you need some help. Seriously, #CNN, you need to make some investment. The real issues here are with the basic procurement process itself (god help any small software developer try to get a government contract), a congress that doesn’t think it could possibly be to blame in all of this (the ones who setup the rules in the first place), and news outlets who’s only competence in explaining complex systems is when somebody points to a hole in a big red swirly thing in the middle of a bigger blue thing and says “bad”. We’re encountering more complex problems that require more sophisticated solutions and more nuanced explanation.

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Rationality Required

by bauer on October 1, 2013

I’ve had it with this government shutdown over the Affordable Care Act (I refuse to call it Obamacare anymore). From what I can find, the arguments on the right have revolved around the notions about being “right”, or about “morality”, or “America”. These are emotional drivel. They have no meaning whatsoever. I can just as easily say you’re wrong, evil, and Nazi. None of these arguments have any validity. They don’t get us anywhere. To me, this is coming down to being RATIONAL. It’s about producing evidence, supporting hypotheses with logical arguments, and simply knowing what something like “statistically significant” means. If you are incapable of producing such, you have no standing to participate in serious discussion. Provide evidence, work within the system, and act like human beings. If you’re worried about something, make your case. You want to change my mind, do that. Otherwise, go get your guns, come on over to my house, and put me out of the misery of having to deal with you, because I’m sick of it.

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Lunaticistan

by bauer on October 1, 2013

lunaticistan-small

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Far Right Intervention

by bauer on September 27, 2013

Am wondering if it’s just too late for this but I’d like to see a call for an intervention on the far right. Honestly, I’m worried that deep-down, the right has simply going insane. I don’t quite know what to do but have really progressed from anguish to outrage to fear. Reason, rationally, and reality have long-since gone by the wayside. Obamacare has become worse than slavery; if you don’t agree you’re either Nazis, Commies, or Redcoats; you take a reasoned approach to healthcare, you’ll take away our guns, our family, and our American way of life. It’s sick and needs professional intervention. Of course, will have to wait till the first of the year but there is hope.

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Steward of Internet.Org

by bauer on August 21, 2013

I thought of myself as the “steward” of Internet.org. As the original domain name registrant of internet.org (@internet_org) I had evolved a vision for the domain name to further Internet Freedom, Openness, and Access. Hope the new initiative around the domain will help realize that vision. Am excited for the future.

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