Random: #191

Relevant?

Technical

Poem

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

 ~ Martin Neimoller

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Random: #190

Miscellaneous 

Technical

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Random: #189

Miscellaneous

Technical

Quote

  • The greatest teacher, failure is. Luke, we are what they grow beyond. That is the true burden of all masters.” – Yoda in “The Last Jedi” (2017)
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Random: #188

Miscellaneous

Technical 

Quote

  • Scientific thinking necessitates clarity, including clarity in writing. In turn, clarity hinges on accuracy in the use of specialized terminology.” – (source)
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Random: #187

Fascinating Potential

Miscellaneous

More Miscelleanous

Technical

 

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Random: #186

Miscellaneous

Technical

Quote

  • “If she’s amazing, she won’t be easy. If she’s easy, she won’t be amazing. If she’s worth it, you wont give up. If you give up, you’re not worthy. … Truth is, everybody is going to hurt you; you just gotta find the ones worth suffering for.”

    – Bob Marley (image)

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Random: #185

Miscellaneous

Technical

Quote

  • “What one programmer can do in one month, two programmers can do in two months.” – Fred Brooks (image)
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Random: #184

Miscellaneous

Technical

Quote

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Random: #183

Miscellaneous

Technical

Quote

  • The world needs new leadership, but the new leadership is about working together. As a business person, I want the world to share the prosperity together.” – Jack Ma (Alibaba CEO)
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Random: #182

Miscellaneous

Technical

Quote

  • The apple 🍎 sure doesn’t fall far from the orange” – various
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Random: #181

Miscellaneous

 

 

Technical

 

 

Quote

  • RE: modern american politics – “…it’s more of a sports game than anything, and the goal is winning. How do you win? By beating your opponent. Who’s your opponent? Americans with slightly different opinions.” – paraphrased from an online comment by reddit user Elubious
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Random: #180

Goals

Risks

 

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Random: #179

Miscellaneous

Technical

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Random: #178

Miscellaneous

Technical

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Random: #177

Miscellaneous

Technical

 

Quote

“An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.”
– unknown, multiple sources

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Just one example…

I verified this was an accurate quote here. I originally found it here with the clearer formatting.

Quote:

Look, having nuclear (my uncle
was a great professor and scientist
and engineer, Dr. John Trump at MIT)

good genes
very good genes, OK
very smart

the Wharton School of Finance
very good
very smart

You know, if you’re a conservative Republican
if I were a liberal (if, like, OK)
if I ran as a liberal Democrat
they would say I’m one of the smartest
people anywhere in the world

—it’s true!—

but when you’re a conservative Republican they try

—oh, do they do a number—

that’s why I always start off: Went to Wharton, was a good student
went there
went there
did this
built a fortune

—you know I have to give my like credentials all the time,
because we’re a little disadvantaged—

but you look at the nuclear deal the thing that really bothers me
—it would have been so easy
and it’s not as important as these lives are

(nuclear is powerful;
my uncle explained that to me many
many years ago the power
and that was 35 years ago
he would explain the power
of what’s going to happen and he was right
—who would have thought?

but when you look at what’s going on with the four prisoners

—now it used to be three, now it’s four—

but when it was three and even now
I would have said it’s all in the messenger; fellas
and it is fellas because, you know,
they don’t
they haven’t
figured that the women are smarter right now
than the men,
so, you know, it’s gonna take them about another 150 years

but the Persians are great negotiators
the Iranians are great negotiators
so
and they, they just killed, they just killed us.

Try to figure what he meant to say.  If unable, I think a reddit commentor got it close with this:

“Nuclear weapons are dangerous. It doesn’t take a genius to know that. The Iranians are brilliant negotiators and they managed to cut a deal with us that heavily favored them and their nuclear program. I wont make mistakes like that.”

I’m starting to buy in to the idea that he has the early signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s. His style has always been rambling, but in the more recent appearances where he not reading from a teleprompter, his lack of coherency is astounding.

But these are just my thoughts. ~64 million Americans voted for him last November, and many of those still support him.

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Random: #176

Miscellaneous

Technical

 

Quote

“Why talk about what we want? That is childish. Absurd. Of course, you are interested in what you want. You are eternally interested in it. But no one else is. The rest of us are just like you: we are interested in what we want.”
– Dale Carnegie

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Random: #175

Excellent

  • Did China Eat America’s Jobs? – Freakonomics Podcast
    • …beware the punditry, no matter how well-degreed they are, or well-spoken, or well-coiffed. Don’t assume they can know the future any better than you do; and don’t assume you’re such a genius either.
  • How to stop an autocracy – Ezra Klien
    • Donald Trump is a paper tiger. But the US Congress is a tiger that we pretend is made of paper.

Miscellaneous

Quote

  • I’ve never yet a moron who didn’t think he was a genius.
    – online commenter
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Random: #174

Miscellaneous

Technical

Quotes

“When fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in the flag and waving a cross.”

– unknown, possibly Sinclair Lewis

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Misc Thoughts

I’m finding that sometimes it helps to write these things down. I suppose I could get the same benefit writing it down in a private paper journal and not publishing it. But that feels pointless. I highlighted “feels” because in the end the same number of people will read it. I’m okay with that.

1 – How does everyone believe so strongly that they are in the right?

We often over simplify people in to two sides. Examples:

  • Trump vs. Hillary
  • Democrat vs. Republican
  • Conservative vs. Liberal
  • Christian vs. Muslim
  • Abortion vs. Pro-Life
  • Hitlers vs. Non-Hitlers

Doing so can make sense at a macro level, but it often doesn’t make sense at an individual level.  Yet I see so many attacks at an individual level using blanket labels. I often wonder if it’s somehow due to some facet of human nature that requires argument and confrontation.

More importantly though, how is it so many people are so confident in their position?  I often think about Nazi Germany ahead of WWII.  These days we consider Hitler as if he was evil incarnate, and rightfully so.  But Hitler did not steal power in Germany. The people elected him.  And though maybe controversial to say, I believe many of the political messages Hitler was spewing would resonate well in today’s America.  And so back to the simplified decision of “Hitler vs. Anyone Else”, many, many people chose Hitler. I believe they were unaware to what extent he intended to act on some of his beliefs, but regardless, they chose Hitler vehemently. To the extent that they bullied others that had reservations about that choice. How is it that people can be so confident in their stances that they forget history, and that the world is almost never black-and-white?

2 – Too Gentle to Live Among the Wolves

I bought a book of poems a long time ago when I was ~20 years old:

There Are Men Too Gentle To Live Among the Wolves
by James Kavanaugh

I really liked it, though a bit sappy in parts and sad in others.  However, the title and signature poem always stuck with me, and bothers me even to this day.

I am generally considered quiet. I’ll avoid confrontation unless there’s good reason to do otherwise. I am not a type A personality. I’m sure the vast majority of people meeting me would put me in with the sheep.  But I am not a sheep, and I refuse to be a sheep. I’ve seen the world, and the wolves are in control.

Does that make me a wolf in sheep’s clothing? I feel like an ass saying it, but if it ever comes to it, then the answer is yes.

3 – Christians and Muslims

This has been discussed ad nauseum, but this is my outlet, so I’ll write my thoughts anyways.

These two religions share more in common than they do not.  If we admitted the conflict was usually because of resources (land/oil/money/fear/etc), then I would understand it. But such major conflict because of subtle religious belief differences? It makes no sense.

I suspect one reason people are spouting religious intolerance is because we’re rarely precise in terminology. Some facts:

  • Islam is not an intolerant religion. Only some of the minority fringe denominations are intolerant.
  • Radical Muslims should be called terrorists, and they are in the minority. They represent a fraction of a percent of all Muslims.
  • Saying these fringes represent the core of Islam is like saying ISIS represents all Muslims like the Church of Scientology represents all Christians.

I suspect another reason, and perhaps the stronger one, is that America (and many other world powers) are shifting back towards isolationism and protectionism.  It’s not going to work, but for now, “make USA great, and only USA” is the prevailing sentiment of the people in control.  In terms of race/religion/background, it the same as saying “make people like us great, and only people like us”.  We live in a global world now, more so than ever before in history, especially in terms of macro economics. Perhaps we could go backwards on that for a while. But unless we destroy ourselves in the meantime, I believe an eventual shift back to globalization is inevitable.

Many of same people spouting a fear of Muslims seem to believe America should be a Christian nation, and are unaware of the many important reasons for separating church and state, regardless of religious beliefs. I can only guess that they’ve never had to deal with a government that changes its religious leanings to something they disagree with. Either have I, fortunately, but I have read history books.

Another reason I’ve heard is that it’s for security: No muslims, no terrorists.  The statistics don’t support the logic of that argument, but it hones in on a fear for many. Especially those with minimal exposure to people of different ethnicity and religious backgrounds. These are often the same people that pulled themselves up in life, are fiercely independent, and believe in the need to protect themselves and their families. All valid and commendable. Except for the part whereby they don’t understand that the vast majority of people anywhere in the world want the same thing they do. Fear is a strong motivator. Maybe the strongest. And it doesn’t matter if it’s unfounded.

I have some friends in the military that are coming out strongly in support of the blocking of refugees and immigration from certain parts of the world.  If the only Arabs I ever saw were trying to kill me, I’d probably be biased too. It still doesn’t make it right.

I don’t put much stock in popular religious figures, or manuscripts written thousands of years ago that have been rewritten numerous times to fit current prevailing views, but I do find this excerpt from Muhammad’s last sermon to be relevant:

Hurt no one else so that no one else may hurt you.
All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor a black has any superiority over white except by taqwa and good action.

To be clear though, I’m not a pacifist. There are times when war and violence is required.  But not often, not without serious consideration, and not because of petty religious or cultural differences. As has been demonstrated through human history and at every level of society, violence begets violence. In the current case, people didn’t wake up one day and decide to be terrorists, no matter how convenient that might be if it were true.  Two of my favorite quotes regarding war:

“I must study politics and war, that our sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy.” – John Adams

“Life is simply shades of grey. War is the greyest conceivable shade.” -Iian (online comment)

4 – Religion Customization

I find it interesting that many people will customize their religion to fit with their own personal beliefs.  I’ve noticed this since I was a kid. A great modern example is the current Catholic pope. Many conservative Catholics do not like him, and so they pick and chose which of his teachings to follow and fully support. I’m not saying they shouldn’t. I just find it interesting.

A much darker, and more extreme, example is ISIS.

5 – Infinite Greed

This is a thought that I haven’t been able to fully work out even for myself yet. It’s the idea that greed is subtlety driving many beliefs and motivations. I’m starting to think it’s almost at the same level as fear.

It’s a recurring thought I have while looking at Trump’s cabinet picks. I have a special interest in observing the actions of Andrew Puzder (Labor Secretary pick). I’ve been told by someone close to him that he’s a good man, a humble man, and I believe that was told to me with real sincerity. But his public views sound like self preservation to me, and at best, he seems out of touch with most people’s reality.  The only thing I can see his proposed policies doing is to help the rich get richer, and poor poorer. I strongly believe that free market capitalism has limits in its ability to support a stable society and we’re close to reaching them.  I don’t get the sense that Puzder would agree with me.

So on a more relevant level, I’ve been wondering how greed and fear are driving some of my closest friends. And perhaps, even myself.

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