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The Latvian Radio Choir singing Rachmaninov's All-night Vigil, Op. 37 "Vespers". The best music for crying and programming, both at the same time. Here I am, tears streaming down my face, thinking about getting data into a Postgres database. And I keep thinking: this is the time we live in. Crying, chagrined, as the world slowly turns into a swamp. And yet. Music is going to turn me into a believer, yet. "For his mercy endureth for ever. Alleluia." We are all in desperate need of it.

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"I’m feeling small because all these giants are standing on my shoulders!" – me, when thinking about copyright

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A reminder of why I think deleting old posts on social media is important: "I don’t think they have much value going back months and years. I never read through years of tweeting history! This only benefits your enemies, never your friends." alexschroeder.ch/wiki/2017-04-

More perspective?

The global energy consumption in 2017 was 22.3 terawatt hours.

If we moved all financial transactions over to Bitcoin, we'd require over 1000 terawatt hours... each day(!) for Bitcoin transactions alone(!).

That doesn't even factor in that Bitcoin's energy consumption will be exponential to the amount of transactions.

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Mark Nelson. One of the best audio book narrators out there -- and his work is free on Librivox. He mostly covers the "classic" science fiction genre.
If you're frustrated by Audible's limits, give Mark and the other great readers on Librivox a try. No limits. No cost. No kidding.
librivox.org/reader/251?primar

Also, visualwebsiteoptimizer.com sounds extremely suspicious.
And indeed, that gets redirected to vwo.com, which is blocked by uBlock Origin.
Thank you, Peter Lowe, for your block list.

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Why are there government sites that cannot be used when surfing the web in full armour?
Here's a screenshot of the Swiss "debt collection information" application where I have to order a document to prove to a client that I'm safe to work on banking software. Hello ajax.googleapis.com! Yes, I have to enable you in uBlock Origin, I know. I guess I'm free to get up and visit their offices in person. Or am I, in these pandemic times? 🤔

@zpojqwfejwfhiunz I wonder if Wiener ever envisioned a future with me clicking on so many damn crosswalks and stoplights in order to shame robot cars into not running me over.

Reminder that machine learning algorithms do not make novel or accurate predictions about the true state of the world. They simply reflect back the pre-existing biases of whatever data sets are fed into them.

_GPT-3 is the world’s most powerful bigotry generator._

> “ OpenAI and the machine learning community at large are heavily invested in combating bias – but there’s currently no paradigm by which entrenched bias in a system like GPT-3 can be removed or compensated for. Its potential for harm is limited only by how much access humans with harmful ideologies have to it.”

thenextweb.com/neural/2021/01/

people say that free software is too hard to use, but what about what they picture as the alternative??

whatsapp will not send PNG images, and neither will it let you record video on, say, whatsapp web. it also won’t let you start video conversations without a facebook account. it will also not let you record video to send as a message on whatsapp web. also, you need to have your phone on in order to use whatsapp web.

on top of these lack of features, it also hocks your metadata to private corporations for money. it is also owned by the psychotic mark zuckerberg and the silicon valley corporation facebook.

i have sometimes been accused of ‘punching downwards’, ie. abusing the people i claim to want to help, by being anti-silicon valley, but doesn’t this judge too quickly? i am constantly installing free software on my community’s computers, and giving free tech support and guidance.

wouldn’t you rather trust a community of volunteers, like the BSD and GNU crowd, than a silicon valley IT corporation boss?

@LiangSijie

holy shit dude, you have got to see this

https://book.wy-lang.org/

if i understand correctly, this is a book explaining how to code using a dialect of ancient chinese literature, in chinese!

For people interested in having their blog mirrored on the fediverse, without doing the full ActivityPub dance and importing comments and likes from the fediverse into the blogosphere (and updating them when the likes and comments are deleted!) – I'm using a simple bot written in a few lines of Python, call it once a day from a cron job and it does the rest:
alexschroeder.ch/cgit/rss-bot/
Result: @alexschroeder

If you ever wondered what Iggy Pop thought of The Decline and Fall of Roman Empire, he reviewed it for this academic journal.

jstor.org/stable/25528281

I started watching DS9 with my wife. Since we're both ignorant of everything Star Trek except for the ambient knowledge, it's weird. Klingons are always angry. Big ear small dudes are mercenary. Picard is leaving, that's unexpected. And I'm reminded of the Forehead Friday series on the Goblinoid Games blog when Dan was working on Starships & Spacemen.
goblinoidgames.blogspot.com/20
drivethrurpg.com/product/10810

The values of Emacs, the Neovim revolution, and the VSCode gorilla - An interesting article on community values and their implications … which are Tryton values?
murilopereira.com/the-values-o

I think of this throwaway line from the Calculords tutorial often when I'm trying to think of a justification for some mechanic or bit of strange worldbuilding in a game

Of course, space treachery. What more explanation do you need? You gonna try to argue that space *isn't* treacherous?

Covid idiot language, German edition 

It's amazing how quickly I have learned to spot them. It's like they learned a dozen fancy words and are using them everywhere, copying them from each other. It's both a sign of being "in" – just as my urge to ridicule them, no refuse the use of these words, is a sign of me wanting to stand apart.

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Covid idiot language, German edition 

How to spot covidiots:
Narrativ
diffamieren
renomiert
namhaft
!!!
Plandemie
Bill Gates
5G
Microchip
Güterabwägung
Diktatur
mundtot
Urkantone
Schlafschafe

Lady Murasaki and Sei Shonagon (author of “The Pillow Book”, 枕草子, makura no soshi) were contemporaries and although they were not acquainted, they knew of one another. However, in her diary (紫式部日記, Murasaki Shikibu Nikki, also translated by Royall Tyler), Lady Murasaki was rather snide about Sei Shonagon:

“Sei Shonagon is very arrogant. She thinks herself so clever and litters her writings with Chinese characters, but when you look at them carefully you will find many errors. Those who want to behave as if they were superior to others will lower their reputation. Will their future be brighter?”

What I found really surprising is that in the Tale of Genji, Lady Murasaki criticized Sei Shonagon in a more implicit way. In chapter 20, Asagao (Tyler translates this as “The Bluebell” although Seidensticker’s “Morning glory” seems more correct), Genji says:

“More than the glory of flowers and fall leaves that season by season capture everyone’s heart, it is the night sky in winter, with snow glittering under a brilliant moon, that in the absence of all color speaks to me strangely and carries my thoughts beyond this world; there is no higher wonder or delight. Whoever called it dreary understood nothing.”

According to ichinen, this text invokes a poem by Sei Shonagon’s father, Kiyohara no Motosuke (清原 元輔). He was a famous poet and praised the winter moon in his poems, but his daughter says in her Pillow Book that the moon in winter is tasteless.

This anecdote and in fact the Tale of Genji as a whole illustrate to me how universal and timeless humanity and human behaviour are: although constrained by very different circumstances and cultural and societal parameters, Lady Murasaki’s stories and observations of the people from the Heian era are very recognisable for us today. That is of course one of the reasons for its enduring appeal.

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