Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Been noticing something for a while, wasn't sure if it was a definite tendency or just a personality quirk of one or two people. As of this week, I've seen it consistently enough to be sure it's a tendency.

Here it is: In tech-oriented forums, the first 10 answers to EVERY question are bullying aggressive non-answers. The first 10 answers always reduce to "Why the fuck would you want to do that?"

These bullies pop in every time EVEN THOUGH the original poster has always explained carefully why he needs to do that.

I'm shaping up a new computer after my old one got twitchy as a result of a lightning-related power surge. (Fortunately I'm pretty strict about backing up important data, so nothing meaningful was lost.)

One of the programs that I reinstalled brought in Java Runtime 7 automatically. I knew that 7 wasn't needed, and I knew that Java 6 was needed by another program. So I tried to roll back to 6 and ran into all sorts of obstacles. Looking up each of these obstacles** online, I saw the same pattern in every forum. The OP explained the situation, which was often similar to mine. Sometimes it was a much bigger problem, as in a company with lots of legacy progs running on Java 6, making a complete switchover prohibitive.

No matter how big or small the reason, the techbullies always swarmed in with their insistence that YOU MUST ALWAYS USE THE LATEST SUB-VERSION OF EVERYTHING. You must auto-update everything to the latest millisecond via GitHub and SourceForge. If you are not up to the millisecond, you are trash. Legacy programs are trash. Anything that keeps you from Running With The Milliseconds must be tossed into the Memory Hole. It doesn't matter if you're managing IT for a large company that will collapse if you follow our fashions. You SHALL follow our fashions.

This is an exact parallel to the bullying in political and cultural realms. If your words and attitudes are not PRECISELY in line with the Kardashians, if you are not fully evolved into chaos and sodomy and mass slaughter and wild-eyed hyperlunacy, you are trash. Any person who prevents an organization from Running With The Milliseconds must be tossed out.

Do these attitudes coexist in the same people, or are they just accidentally similar phenomena? Is a tech bully also a political bully? Ask Brendan Eich.

= = = = =

Now let's see if we can stretch the analogy to the breaking point.

In technology, every specific program or mechanism has a peak version. It improves steadily up to the peak version, then declines as its developers feel the need to add more crap and complexity. When you're aware of this curve, you watch carefully to find the peak, then stay with it regardless of fashion. When your technology is crucial to life or existence, you stick even harder. Medical technology, bridge engineering, and air traffic control are prime examples. The techbullies can complain forever, but a device or technique that works well is not going to disappear easily. Same in culture, except that culture has been developing VASTLY longer than tech. The long process of experimentation and improvement peaked around 4000 years ago. Every change since then has been either pointless or backwards. Since 1914 the West has been accelerating downward, and now we're way beyond the point of recovery.

Russia has been vastly more cautious. Orlov explained it perfectly in the tech realm. Soviets stuck with "inefficient" streetcars and vacuum tubes because they are repairable. When your tech is both durable and repairable, you're more self-sufficient and you have more jobs for ordinary people. When you zoom forward into non-repairable and delicately balanced equipment that depends on software and constant Net contact for updates, you are no longer self-sufficient. You are jobless and hackable.

Russia has also been more cautious in the cultural realm. Christianity remained strong, traditional rules determined by millenia of experimentation remained in place. Crazy theories like feminism and globalism and Die-Versity never gained traction there.

And of course the Islamic world has stuck with experimentally proven and data-driven culture as well.

The West is currently making war against both Russia and Islam, aiming to smash the entire world with our wicked and completely disproved GitHub theories.

Russia will survive because of their long-standing and consistent self-sufficiency. They know what they're doing, and they're lucky enough to have a leader who rules with their consent.

I'm not so sure about Islam. It's decentralized, which makes the conqueror's job much harder; but it doesn't have the technological prowess to withstand the tech side of our war.

There's a third front in this war, the financial front. Goldman dba USA wants to make the world safe for derivatives and index bets. On this front Islam has a better defense than Russia. Islam has always used real-value economics, laid out by Mohammed and repeatedly proved by 1300 years of experimentation. Everything in sharia law is designed to resist Goldman's GitHub innovations like derivatives and CDS and MBS.

Russia resisted the 1930 depression because it was decoupled from Morgan and Rockefeller, and is resisting the current set of sanctions the same way. But Russia doesn't have its own economics. Soviet central planning wasn't a system, it was just an ad-hoc way to keep things running. Jeffrey Sachs replaced it with a parody of Goldman banking, which has enriched a few men tremendously but still isn't a system.

= = = = =

** Footnote on the Java question: There are plenty of suggestions that may or may not help, but what finally worked for me was deleting all instances of java*.exe from all parts of the computer. Uninstall all Java; then remove java.exe, javac.exe, javaws.exe, and all similar items; then install the desired version. The uninstallers do not remove these exe files, and their presence seems to confuse the installers.

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Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.

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