tim: text: "I'm not offended, I'm defiant" (defiant)
[personal profile] tim
I'll be turning 35 on December 18. If you would like to celebrate with me, please make a donation to the National Network of Abortion Funds (NNAF) and let me know. Since I'm turning 35, I suggest a $35 donation if you can afford it, but any amount matters, even $1.

NNAF is a network of local, grassroots organizations that provide direct financial aid to people who need abortions but can't afford to pay for the costs (which often include the costs of traveling to a remote location, since in many parts of the US, the closest facility that performs abortions is hundreds of miles away). Local abortion funds exist in 42 states of the US, and you're welcome to donate directly to your local fund, but NNAF helps get the money to where it's most needed.

Right now, why NNAF's work is necessary should need no explanation. Outright violence against clinics, with the goal of scaring people who provide abortions into stopping, has been happening consistently for the past 40 years. This campaign has been accompanied by a more respectable campaign of legislative violence aimed at making abortion as hard to obtain as possible, including but not limited to the Hyde Amendment, which bans Medicaid from covering abortions and effectively prevents low-income people from getting abortions except with the help of nonprofit groups like abortion funds.

I agree with NNAF's statement: "every woman needs to have the ability to make her own decision about having a child, no matter what her income is." I would go further and say that the same is true about every person who may become pregnant, no matter what their gender.

My goal for this year is for 40 people to donate; in 2013, 36 people donated to the Ada Initiative (which has since shut down) for my birthday, so I think I should be able to get 4 more donations this year! So, if you donate, please let me know. If you don't let me know, I won't be able to know if I reached my goal, and I'll be sad. You can let me know by commenting on this post, tweeting at me or commenting on my Facebook wall, or -- if you prefer to be private -- emailing me (catamorphism at gmail.com) or sending me a private message on any of the services I use. Also, I will assume it's okay to thank you in a public post by the name or pseudonym that I know you by unless you tell me otherwise. You don't have to tell me the amount that you donated.

By donating you'll make me happy, piss off the religious right, but most importantly, help make sure nobody has to go through a pregnancy and give birth because they're short $100. So do it now! NNAF is a nonprofit 501c3 organization, so if your US employer matches funds, please request a matching donation from them so that your money goes even further.

Thanks to the following people for donating:

  1. [personal profile] emceeaich

(no subject)

Nov. 30th, 2015 04:01 pm
owlectomy: A squashed panda sewing a squashed panda (Default)
[personal profile] owlectomy
There is one program I'm applying to (fortunately it has a February deadline) that actually requires a 10-20 page critical essay.

If I had a paper from undergrad, I would use a paper from undergrad. Or even the werewolf paper I did in grad school, substantially revised! But I do not. And it's not going to be easy to write a paper from scratch; I no longer have access to any databases beyond what I can access through NYPL, I don't have access to scholarly journals. NYPL is good but not a patch on a good university library. I guess I should be able to put something together if I start putting Interlibrary loan requests in NOW, but I can't get journal articles through ILL.

(It occurs to me that if I really wanted to do a good job on this, I should take a week off and see how much research I can get through at Duke and UNC -- both of which are pretty generous in giving access to people outside the university, unlike Columbia and NYU. But this is my 'well, if I don't get into any of the super-selective programs I'm applying for, maybe I can at least spend two years sitting by myself in a northern forest' school, so I'm not inclined to put TOO much effort into it).

Universities like it when you have taken some years off for Life Experience after undergrad, but the application process is so much easier if you actually still have access to university resources.

Oh well! I think I at least know what I want to write about now! It is body horror and reproduction in Yoko Ogawa's "Pregnancy Diary." (Or other stories too! I should read Ogawa's Revenge, and see what's out there on the general topic...)

I always need to read more Carol Clover.

(Note to self:
Managing the monstrous feminine : regulating the reproductive body
Knowing Fear : Science, Knowledge and the Development of the Horror Genre.)

The Christians and the Pagans: Part 3

Nov. 30th, 2015 10:23 am
tim: text: "I'm not offended, I'm defiant" (defiant)
[personal profile] tim
This post is the last in a 3-part series. The previous parts were "Husband, Father, Christian, Fascist" and "Jesus as 10x Engineer".

Elitism as Insecurity

The preoccupation with hacker-as-identity sets the field of engineering back. It's also anti-meritocratic preserving the quasi-religious or homosocial-bonding-based cult of the hacker doesn't do much to advance the field of software development. Being able to be chummy or weird with your bros doesn't have much to do with getting work done. (I like to make in-jokes with my friends too, but I don't carry with me a feeling of entitlement to make those in-jokes a union card for my profession.) Homogeneity makes people work worse, not better.

The idea of escape from adulthood, with its relationships and feelings and messy truths, is a strong temptation for many engineers, including me. Don't we all want to be the king, the one who is revered above all others? As I wrote about in "Killing the Messenger at Mozilla", the "lone genius" story appeals to Archetypal Engineers; they enjoy talking about how one person developed JavaScript in ten days more than they enjoy showing how many, many people working together over years to make incremental additions to it made it as useful as it is.

The primacy of this temptation is why the anti-SJW moral panic is the face of fascism in technology. It's about the fear that if nobody can be the king, then you never can either. It's about the fear that if you're not worshipped like a quasi-deity, you are nothing. If you think "fascism" is taking it too far, then I recommend [personal profile] graydon2's article "The EntitleMen: techno-libertarian right wing sockpuppets of silicon valley".

"Elitism grows out of arrogance mixed with insecurity. Elitists aren’t interested in sharing knowledge, they’re interested in being the source of the knowledge. Elitists are only interested in disseminating their knowledge to the larger population if they are the authority."
-- Cahlan Sharp, "Software Developers’ Growing Elitism Problem"

The group that Sharp calls "elitists" and that I've been calling "J. Random Hackers" are anti-SJW because they are insecure about their own lack of understanding of people, social groups, and cultures that they regard as unimportant (but fear might be important). When an elitist says "SJW", they mean someone whose knowledge makes them feel threatened. Elitists attempt to respond to this threat by devaluing knowledge possessed by SJWs and by discrediting SJWs as engineers. After all, if you could be both a good SJW and a good engineer, and if to be an SJW means to be in possession of facts and truths that could be useful, what room would be left for the elitists? They could learn more, but as Sharp wrote, they don't want to learn -- they want to be the source of knowledge for other learners.

Against Pollution of Agency

As I wrote in "The church of the hacker, or fake geek girls and outside agitators", "To say, 'It doesn't have to be this way' is to expose yourself and your reputation and credibility to every kind of attack possible, because 'it doesn't have to be this way' are dangerous words." The danger that elitists perceive from SJWs is that elitists will both lose their comforting, safe space built in apparent absolute truths and formal systems and lose their socioeconomic status if forced to compete with people who don't match the Archetype.

When ESR writes that SJWs must be expelled from tech, he is polluting the agency of people he feels threatened by. In fact, pollution of agency is the primary, perhaps the only function of the term "SJW".

This is what “SJW” means. Everything, nothing. A bogeyman, a strawman. And so the only thing it can really mean is an adamant refusal to consider a certain kind of idea — a staunch emphasis that a certain kind of idea is not even worth consideration. It’s a kind of shorthand for loudly and proudly sticking one’s fingers in one’s ears. It exists to save people the trouble of thinking; it exists to give people something to stay angry at.

“SJW” is the ink used to draw lines through which a distasteful ideology need not pass. To put it bluntly, it defines the boundary of a safe space.
-- [twitter.com profile] eevee, "Words mean things, unfortunately"

J. Random Hacker says he's apolitical, but uses his social capital in order to weaken the cognitive authority of ideas that threaten his interests. He says he's non-ideological, but he's so worried that his ideology can't succeed without the use of force that he cannot fathom it succeeding on its own merits. He says he rejects safe spaces, but he uses words like "hacker", "SJW", and "meritocracy" to demarcate a space in which he and his friends can feel safe. He says he believes in evaluating contributions based on merit, but has no definition of or metric for "merit" that doesn't depend on the names and faces of the people making those contributions. He says that his approach results in the highest quality of outcome, but doesn't know how to measure quality. He says he believes in free speech, but uses bullying words like "SJW" to silence people he disagrees with. He says the groups he belongs to comprise the best people, but is terrified of his own mediocrity. He says his claims are backed up by evidence, but asserts without proof that definitionally, SJWs can't also be competent engineers with technical contributions to make. He says SJWs are wasting his time by bringing irrelevant concerns into tech communities, but wastes his own time by patrolling the borders of those communities rather than tending the gardens inside them. He exemplifies what George Orwell wrote about in his 1946 essay "Politics and the English Language".

Political language -- and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists -- is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.

We have to recognize and name pollution-of-agency attacks for what they are: on a moral level, in order to protect the truth and defend the use of words to convey meaning rather than to leverage power. And on a practical level, we need to call pollution-of-agency attacks what they are in order to assert our right to use our talents and to work at jobs we can do.

Finally, isn't it more fun to learn and grow than to cling to one's rigidity? While the work of inclusion doesn't happen on its own, including people still takes less effort than fighting off people who want to join the party. The small amount of time it takes to use inclusive language and to consider what you say before you say it is an investment in the future health of your project. The time it takes to fight off SJWs, on the other hand, is time spent self-sabotaging. Why would you even consider forking a project based on fear rather than an irreconcilable technical disagreement?

Isn't it more fun to write code than to guard social borders in the name of Jesus, 10x engineers, or J. Random Hacker? What are you really achieving when you spend your limited time on a witch hunt rather than on reviewing pull requests? I guarantee you that hunting witches won't make your code pass more tests, patch its security vulnerabilities, or help anybody switch from proprietary to open-source software. If all bugs are shallow with enough eyes, encouraging people to turn their eyes away from your code will permit bugs to thrive. If the bazaar model works better than the cathedral model for development, then joining forces with people who share your goals is more effective building a walled garden into which only the ideologically pure can enter. And if the usefulness of code can be measured with no knowledge of its author, then you should be striving to remove barriers of entry into your project that filter out code solely on the basis of who wrote it.

"Where does magic come from?
I think magic's in the learning
'cause now when Christians sit with Pagans
only pumpkin pies are burning."

-- Dar Williams, "The Christians and the Pagans"
Do you like this post? Support me on Patreon and help me write more like it.

You must think it's very odd of me

Nov. 30th, 2015 09:38 am
[personal profile] yendi
In a bout of insomnia last night, I finally started reading The Traitor Baru Cormorant, which is living up to its hype (decidedly unlike another book I'll write about this week, if I find the time).

But I'm annoyed by one small thing, a personal pet peeve of mine when I read fantasy.

In this second world fantasy, we see people referred to as "sodomites*."

(ETA: We see the word used by the country that invades Baru's and destroys their way of life; its use is never to actually condemn the act from an authorial or reading perspective.)

Look, I get that all second-world fantasy is essentially run through a very good** magical version of Google Translate. No one in this book, or on Middle Earth, or in the Star Wars movies, is speaking English. I get that. But there are certain English words -- either eponyms like "maverick" and "mesmerize" or mythology-derived ones like "Achilles tendon" and, yes, "sodomy" -- that jump out at me. I realize that there are a ton of words in these categories, and not all of them stand out even to really good writers (even I'll overlook "shrapnel"). But when they stand out, they have a habit of throwing me out of the work. Since almost all second-world fantasies also give us a flavor of the native language as well, it seems like a great opportunity to coin some new words.

This is entirely my own pet peeve, and it's not realistic to expect authors to change (although there is a natural limit -- don't you dare put a Bowie knife into your fantasy, and I'll side-eye you if you can't refer to a hairstyle by any name other than sideburns). Unless an author is explicitly making a linguistic statement (the Ancillary series, for example), getting things in "plain" English is fine***. It's just something that for some reason I notice.

The other, even less rational, issue I have? I keep seeing "Baru," and expanding it to "badtz maru" for some reason, and now I want a book about The Traitor Badtz Maru, in which we see the entire Sanrio empire taken down.

Anyway, the book's great so far.

*This happens in chapter 1; if you're the sort of person who will complain about spoilers when talking about the first three percent of a work, you're probably not reading the right LJ.

**or not-so-good, if you're talking about someone like John C Wright.

***And yes, not taking an explicit linguistic stand is also a stand. I get it.
[personal profile] yendi
Every year, I gripe that Cyber Monday is an outdated concept, since most folks don't have to wait until Monday to go into work and get online to shop. But Amazon (and everyone else) ignores me every year. Ah, well.

Anyway, there's a ton of daily deals and lightning deals today. I won't link all of them, but a few highlights:

The Blu-Ray Nakatomi Plaza Die Hard Collection is $64.99 (50% off), and totally awesome looking and something I wouldn't say no to as a holiday present.

The pre-order of the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase 2 Collection is $184.99 (26% off). Still a great price, but also a chunk of change. This includes Blu-Ray, 3D, and digital copies of the movies.

The various Harry Potter Movies are on sale as a bundle for $25 on DVD, $35 on Blu-Ray, or $90 on Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital with a bunch of extras. All are 65-68% off.

There's a huge Kindle Book Sale, with over 800 Kindle books on sale for under $5, including ones by Michael Connelly, Harper Lee, Stephen King, Stephen Ambrose, and more. The Drunken Botanist at $1.99 is a steal.

Kindle Unlimited -- basically Amazon's Netflix-like all-you-can-eat service for books and audiobooks -- is on sale for 25-40% off (depending on the length of the subscription).

A bunch of Dark Horses Graphic Novels for the Kindle are $2.99 each.

The KitchenAid KSM6573CER 6-Qt. Professional 6000 HD Bowl-Lift Stand Mixer is $249.99 (42% off, about $140 below other deals).

There are about 88 different Hasbro toys on sale for up to 50% off, including Nerf, Playskool, My Little Pony, Risk, and more.

That's the Cyber Monday deals. Other stuff:

Both the 30% off any book deal and the deal on assorted Kindles expire today. Harry Potter: The Character Vault at $25.26 (44% off) is a great item to use that coupon on.

In kitchen goods, the Cuisinart WMR-CA Round Classic Waffle Maker is $26.99 (50% off, about $9 below other deals), while the Presto 03510 FlipSide Belgian Waffle Maker is $37.29 (25% off, about $5 off other prices).

The Crock-Pot SCCPVL600S Cook' N Carry 6-Quart Oval Manual Portable Slow Cooker is $29.99 (40% off, about $16 below other deals). I consider slow cookers to be essential items for kitchens. Our Thanksgiving stuffing and our mashed potatoes were both done in the cookers, and it saved so much stress.

In board games, The Castles Of Burgundy is $24.99 (40% off, and about $3 off other dealers).

In movies, the Fast & Furious 6-Movie Collection is $24.99 (69% off) on Blu-Ray. That's barely more than $4 a film, and also includes digital copies.

Twilight Forever: The Complete Saga on Blu-Ray is $20 (73% off), exactly $4 a movie, with tons of extras. Note that this deal is only for Prime members (the first such deal I've seen; apologies if I've listed others and not noticed this).

The Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital version of Machete Kills is $4.25 (88% off).

Doug: The Complete Nickelodeon Series on DVD is $12.99 (57% off). I always wanted Weird Al to do a Trent Reznor parody called "The Perfect Doug," but alas, it never happened.

The DVD combo pack of Snow Queen and Hogfather is $5.01 (50% off), notable mainly because it's cheaper than buying Hogfather on its own. Hogfather is a holiday-time staple at our place, and is just wonderful.

In video games, Psychonauts for the PC (and possibly the Mac, since it's a Steam unlock) is $.99 (90% off). And Wolfenstein: The Old Blood for the PS4 (as a digital download) is $6.60 (67% off).

And finally, in toys, the LEGO Star Wars First Order Snowspeeder is $32 (20% off, and $8 below other deals).

What is hacker culture?

Nov. 29th, 2015 12:00 am
[personal profile] mjg59
Eric Raymond, author of The Cathedral and the Bazaar (an important work describing the effectiveness of open collaboration and development), recently wrote a piece calling for "Social Justice Warriors" to be ejected from the hacker community. The primary thrust of his argument is that by calling for a removal of the "cult of meritocracy", these SJWs are attacking the central aspect of hacker culture - that the quality of code is all that matters.

This argument is simply wrong.

Eric's been involved in software development for a long time. In that time he's seen a number of significant changes. We've gone from computers being the playthings of the privileged few to being nearly ubiquitous. We've moved from the internet being something you found in universities to something you carry around in your pocket. You can now own a computer whose CPU executes only free software from the moment you press the power button. And, as Eric wrote almost 20 years ago, we've identified that the "Bazaar" model of open collaborative development works better than the "Cathedral" model of closed centralised development.

These are huge shifts in how computers are used, how available they are, how important they are in people's lives, and, as a consequence, how we develop software. It's not a surprise that the rise of Linux and the victory of the bazaar model coincided with internet access becoming more widely available. As the potential pool of developers grew larger, development methods had to be altered. It was no longer possible to insist that somebody spend a significant period of time winning the trust of the core developers before being permitted to give feedback on code. Communities had to change in order to accept these offers of work, and the communities were better for that change.

The increasing ubiquity of computing has had another outcome. People are much more aware of the role of computing in their lives. They are more likely to understand how proprietary software can restrict them, how not having the freedom to share software can impair people's lives, how not being able to involve themselves in software development means software doesn't meet their needs. The largest triumph of free software has not been amongst people from a traditional software development background - it's been the fact that we've grown our communities to include people from a huge number of different walks of life. Free software has helped bring computing to under-served populations all over the world. It's aided circumvention of censorship. It's inspired people who would never have considered software development as something they could be involved in to develop entire careers in the field. We will not win because we are better developers. We will win because our software meets the needs of many more people, needs the proprietary software industry either can not or will not satisfy. We will win because our software is shaped not only by people who have a university degree and a six figure salary in San Francisco, but because our contributors include people whose native language is spoken by so few people that proprietary operating system vendors won't support it, people who live in a heavily censored regime and rely on free software for free communication, people who rely on free software because they can't otherwise afford the tools they would need to participate in development.

In other words, we will win because free software is accessible to more of society than proprietary software. And for that to be true, it must be possible for our communities to be accessible to anybody who can contribute, regardless of their background.

Up until this point, I don't think I've made any controversial claims. In fact, I suspect that Eric would agree. He would argue that because hacker culture defines itself through the quality of contributions, the background of the contributor is irrelevant. On the internet, nobody knows that you're contributing from a basement in an active warzone, or from a refuge shelter after escaping an abusive relationship, or with the aid of assistive technology. If you can write the code, you can participate.

Of course, this kind of viewpoint is overly naive. Humans are wonderful at noticing indications of "otherness". Eric even wrote about his struggle to stop having a viscerally negative reaction to people of a particular race. This happened within the past few years, so before then we can assume that he was less aware of the issue. If Eric received a patch from someone whose name indicated membership of this group, would there have been part of his subconscious that reacted negatively? Would he have rationalised this into a more critical analysis of the patch, increasing the probability of rejection? We don't know, and it's unlikely that Eric does either.

Hacker culture has long been concerned with good design, and a core concept of good design is that code should fail safe - ie, if something unexpected happens or an assumption turns out to be untrue, the desirable outcome is the one that does least harm. A command that fails to receive a filename as an argument shouldn't assume that it should modify all files. A network transfer that fails a checksum shouldn't be permitted to overwrite the existing data. An authentication server that receives an unexpected error shouldn't default to granting access. And a development process that may be subject to unconscious bias should have processes in place that make it less likely that said bias will result in the rejection of useful contributions.

When people criticise meritocracy, they're not criticising the concept of treating contributions based on their merit. They're criticising the idea that humans are sufficiently self-aware that they will be able to identify and reject every subconscious prejudice that will affect their treatment of others. It's not a criticism of a desirable goal, it's a criticism of a flawed implementation. There's evidence that organisations that claim to embody meritocratic principles are more likely to reward men than women even when everything else is equal. The "cult of meritocracy" isn't the belief that meritocracy is a good thing, it's the belief that a project founded on meritocracy will automatically be free of bias.

Projects like the Contributor Covenant that Eric finds so objectionable exist to help create processes that (at least partially) compensate for our flaws. Review of our processes to determine whether we're making poor social decisions is just as important as review of our code to determine whether we're making poor technical decisions. Just as the bazaar overtook the cathedral by making it easier for developers to be involved, inclusive communities will overtake "pure meritocracies" because, in the long run, these communities will produce better output - not just in terms of the quality of the code, but also in terms of the ability of the project to meet the needs of a wider range of people.

The fight between the cathedral and the bazaar came from people who were outside the cathedral. Those fighting against the assumption that meritocracies work may be outside what Eric considers to be hacker culture, but they're already part of our communities, already making contributions to our projects, already bringing free software to more people than ever before. This time it's Eric building a cathedral and decrying the decadent hordes in their bazaar, Eric who's failed to notice the shift in the culture that surrounds him. And, like those who continued building their cathedrals in the 90s, it's Eric who's now irrelevant to hacker culture.

(Edited to add: for two quite different perspectives on why Eric's wrong, see Tim's and Coraline's posts)

The Christians and the Pagans: Part 2

Nov. 29th, 2015 08:21 am
tim: A person with multicolored hair holding a sign that says "Binaries Are For Computers" with rainbow-colored letters (binaries)
[personal profile] tim
This post is the second in a 3-part series. The previous part was "Husband, Father, Christian, Fascist".

Hackers and Christians

I've so far argued that discourse like ESR's blog post reflects an assumption that no "SJW" can truly be interested in doing engineering work, whereas within the same discourse, it is a given that Christians can be good engineers. I've also argued that the distinction made is a distinction between marked and unmarked ideologies. But I still haven't answered the question of why it is that Christianity (and the set of assumptions that come with the public declaration of oneself as "Christian", distinctly from e.g., "Catholic", "Methodist", "Anglican", or "Baptist") came to be an unmarked ideology within Anglophone software engineering culture (forthwith, just "tech") whereas the "SJW" label came to be a marked one.

A lot of us SJWs never wanted to be ideological ourselves; we embarked from a place of just wanting to do the work, sincerely believing that we would be seen and judged on the basis of our work output rather than our gender, race, or other identities that aren't strictly relevant to doing work. Or, if we didn't totally believe that was how it was going to go, at least we hoped so. Some of us believed that "show me the code" was sincere and that if we just leaned in, paid our dues, and contributed, we would be recognized and accepted as members of a community of practice.

For many of us, then, our ideological convictions arose out of self-preservation, when we realized that meritocracy was a lie and that in fact, the tech in-group was more interested in maintaining its power than in doing the highest-quality possible work. When you harass people who are trying to do their jobs, or support that harassment, or fail to speak out against it, you're not interested in building the best thing you can, because to build the best thing you can you have to include everybody who wants to and can work together on it and contribute. Pushing away people who have something to contribute is an exercise in purity-based morality, not a sound business or technical strategy.

At the risk of stretching a metaphor, then, I posit that Christianity (again, the exercise of publicly self-labeling as Christian rather than a particular set of beliefs, since that exercise tells you nothing about what someone believes or does and everything about how they want to be seen by others) meshes well with the J. Random Hacker archetype because both worldviews are monotheistic. It's just that the deity that J. Random Hacker offers the most praise to is the abstractions of empiricism, rationality, and objectivity, not as tools for thought but as fundamental principles that afford fixed interpretations. Ontologically, Christianity and science -- the version of science that software engineers believe in that mostly involves flagging as a person who "fucking loves science" rather than actually doing science -- are two great tastes that go great together, at least when you define "Christianity" and "science" right. Acolytes of J. Random Hacker impoverish both science and Christianity by casting them as forms of textual literalism that prioritize obedience to a higher authority (whether that's God, or objective truth) ahead of relationships with equals.

Both Christianity and science can mean a lot more than that, and I think that both are better when they aren't reduced to fundamentalism. Myself, I like a rich sauce to season my thinking better than the sticky, burnt residue left when you boil away everything that can't be formulated as a rigid system of rules. The point, though, is that both Christianity and science, when conceived of by J. Random Hacker, have more to do with the burnt residue of absolute truth than with the flavors or nuance of conversation, trade-offs, and conditional truth.

Paganism, then, also at the risk of stretching a metaphor, is the archetype to which haters of "SJWs" truly appeal. (No, the irony of ESR, a self-identified neopagan, calling for an anti-SJW witch hunt isn't lost on me). If somebody calls you an SJW, what they're probably saying is that you think we have to balance multiple concerns in order to lead a good life; that maintaining and nurturing egalitarian relationships comes ahead of adherence to rules and worship of a higher power; and that your mind can admit multiple conflicting truths.

It's tricky to use identities you don't subscribe to as metaphors, and that's what I'm doing. But I think there is something to the tension between focus on private religious practice and personal salvation ("Christianity" as such) and focus on collective action and, indeed, justice ("what love looks like in public", cf. Cornel West), that can be identified with Paganism. Indeed, to rise to power, Christians (historically) had to discredit and threaten Pagans; that's exactly what's happening in the struggle between SJWs and JRHs.

In tech, like "white", "Christian" actually means very little as a label other than "not in the oppressed class". In a white- and Christian-dominated society, to advertise one's pride in either one's whiteness or one's Christianity has nothing to do with pride in a genuine identity and everything to do with contempt for somebody else's identity. "White pride", like the broad concept of Christian identity, is a threat concealed as an identity.

Jesus as 10x Engineer

How does the tension between private and public action, between absolute and relational ethics, reflect other realities about engineering culture? Maybe it explains the currently-fashionable focus on technical skills, so-called "10x engineers", and individual genius and its attendant deprioritization of collaboration, teamwork, and the work it takes to create healthy organizations.

Maybe it explains the attribution of messaianic qualities to "great hackers", something that seduced me when I read the King James Version of the Jargon File (which is to say, the version that ESR edited) as a teen. Keeping the girls out of the treehouse looks childish when 28-year-old senior engineers are doing it, so recasting the struggle as the protection of the temple from invaders lends the scene a nice epic quality, like a popular video game or fantasy movie series.

Maybe it explains hostility to flexibility in process, to moral relativism, to anything that might break the embrace of strict, rigid rules for how things and people do and should behave that makes the tech industry a safe space for J. Random Hacker and his followers.

Maybe fear of SJWs is fear of genuine connection with other people, of interruption of the communion with machines that J. Random Hacker claims to be all about. He says this communion is more important than community, even though the only entities he truly ever communes with are the people, living and dead, who designed and built the machines.

I think "Christians vs. Pagans" maps well onto "Hackers vs. SJWs" because what self-identified Christians and Hackers (even non-Hacker Christians and non-Christian Hackers) share is a desire for absolutes, for unambiguous formal specifications, for clear meaning, for single answers; they share a fear of complicated questions, nuance, emotions, empathy. Of course, formal specifications can be useful tools and some questions do have right answers. Humans really are changing the climate, and vaccinations really don't cause autism. But there's a difference between use of formal specifications as a tool, or as an idol.

Maybe this is also why some people (including myself a few years ago) are so obsessed with preserving the meaning of the word "hacker" as a special kind of engineer. It's not enough just to be an engineer, to have an occupation. "Hacker" goes beyond that, and is an identity, a group you can feel you belong in (if you look like the right kind of person). Sort of like a church.

For "Hacker" to remain special, for that word to retain its mystical or priestly qualities, it is necessary to keep those who are believed to see engineering as "just a job" from claiming it, and also for Hackers (sometimes called "10x engineers") to retain social status that engineers as a group lack.

To be continued!

Edited to add two other perspectives on why ESR is wrong:
[personal profile] yendi
One of the Deals of the Day offers 75% off winter jackets and coats. Possibly useful if you're way behind in planning for the season. Another offers huge discounts on Panasonic personal electronics, including headphones, shavers, breadmakers, and more.

The Mr. Coffee SJX23 12-Cup Programmable Coffeemaker is $13.99 (61% off).

The Authoritative Calvin and Hobbes is $9.87 (67% off), and you can use the 30% off any book coupon on it, of course (or on something else).

For kids, the new TMNT movie is $4.99 (83% off) on DVD. Ditto The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out of Water.

For horror fans, Warm Bodies is $3.74 (63% off) on DVD, and the Blu-Ray combo pack of When a Stranger Calls / Happy Birthday to Me is $5.30 (47% off).

The Spider-Man Trilogy Blu-Ray box set is $9.49 (79% off).

In really underrated movies, Live Die Repeat: Edge of Tomorrow is $7.99 (78% off) for a Blu-Ray/DVD combo pack. It's one of Tom Cruise's better movies in years, and a really solid action film. Other cheap Blu-Rays: Source Code for $5 (50% off), Evil Dead 2 for $7.00 (53% off), and Inception for $7.50 (50% off).

In board games, King of Tokyo is $19.86 (50% off), while 7 Wonders is $22.40 (55% off). Pandemic is $22.49 (44% off).

And finally, the Amazon Echo is on sale for $149 (17% off, $30 off the regular price), for folks looking for a holiday gadget. There are still deals on most other Amazon devices (Kindle/Fire/etc) that run through tomorrow.

The Christians and the Pagans: Part 1

Nov. 28th, 2015 08:56 am
tim: "System Status: Degraded" (degraded)
[personal profile] tim
This post is the first in a 3-part series.

When I worked at Mozilla, my co-worker "Bill" (not his real name) emailed me on my personal account to tell me that I would be less angry if I found Jesus like he had. At the same job, when I was on my way out, another co-worker, "Ted" (also not his real name), told me that "people here think you're only interested in politics and not in code."

I thought about Bill and Ted when I saw Eric S. Raymond (ESR)'s latest hot take: "Why Hackers Must Eject the SJWs".

What unites Ted and ESR is the belief that interest in "politics" precludes interest in engineering -- or, perhaps, interest in the wrong kind of politics. What unites Bill and Ted is the assumption that there are some outside interests that are acceptable for engineers to have (like being a Christian, and converting others to one's faith) and others that are not (such as social justice).

As per Joanna Russ's system of categorization for tactics used to silence women's writing, the rhetorical strategy that Ted and ESR shared is that of the pollution-of-agency attack:

Pollution of Agency attacks use a woman's character or traits attributed to her considered to be negative to deny the quality or importance of her work. Sex and sexuality, mental health status, or physical attractiveness are common traits or actions used in a pollution of agency attack.

-- "Russ Categories", Geek Feminism Wiki

While pollution-of-agency attacks are disproportionately used against women, they're also used against anyone else who threatens conservative control over a particular domain of cultural production, whether it's science fiction writing or engineering. The script that both Ted and ESR followed is that having the wrong political views (specifically radical or progressive ones) devalues an engineer's work, regardless of any intrinsic properties of the work (indeed, may justify ignoring that work altogether). ESR's attack was particularly effective because it used the term "SJW" ("social justice warrior"), which has become shorthand for that group of people whose work must be either attacked or ignored because they hold political views that challenge your own stronghold on prestige and power.

What unifies all three stories is the question of what it costs to hold a particular ideology in tech. Being seen as an "SJW" has a cost: the effort it takes to contend with pollution-of-agency attacks. Being seen as a Christian engineer does not have this cost; while people may disagree with your views, they won't question your competence or the legitimacy of your work just because you are a Christian.

Husband, Father, Christian, Fascist

The reason why Bill and Ted could coexist at the same organization -- why my right to be there was questioned because of my interest in "politics" while Bill was welcomed despite his constant efforts to use the workplace as a forum for religious evangelism -- lies, I think, in a certain archetype about what it means to be an engineer. ESR himself described one version of this archetype in "A Portrait of J. Random Hacker", an appendix he added to the Jargon File. Subsequently, using ESR's term, I will refer to this archetypal engineer -- a fictional person who many engineers are anxious about emulating as closely as possible -- as "J. Random Hacker", though my characterization of JRH will depart from his.

J. Random Hacker identifies as an apolitical man who also isn't religious in a way that would set him apart from his underlying culture. He could lack religious views altogether, or he could subscribe to the religion that is dominant in his culture. Although I'm going to be using Christianity as a metaphor for monoculture in this essay, I could just as easily have used atheism. The important thing isn't the specifics of the belief system so much as that J. Random Hacker doesn't rock the boat when it comes to views outside a narrow construction of "technical" discourse. Likewise, JRH certainly isn't apolitical, since he participates in society and therefore takes part in power relations -- but he holds a set of political views (such as the view that it's desirable or even possible for a person to be apolitical) that support existing power structures rather than challenging them.

In other words, J. Random Hacker presents himself as non-ideological. Ideology, he says, would only get in the way of getting work done. But without ideology, we wouldn't know what work is worth doing or what methods are acceptable for getting that work done. J. Random Hacker is just as ideological as any SJW; the difference between them is the broad acceptance, or lack thereof, of their ideologies. J. Random Hacker knows that he is ideological, and lives in terror that his secret will get out. He is uncomfortable around SJWs because he fears that any engagement with other ideologies will highlight that his own beliefs are not necessarily normal, natural, logical, or rational, but rather, continge on the needs and desires of the interest groups to which he belongs.

At Mozilla, I saw the Hacker and SJW archetypes clash during the Planet Mozilla Controversy, and later, from a distance, during the Gamergate coordinated harassment campaign when a member of the Mozilla ops team expressed concern about whether Mozilla would appear to be "supporting misguided Social Justice Warriors".

The first debate was about whether hate speech against people in protected classes is a normal, natural thing for J. Random Hacker to engage in, or whether it needed to be highlighted as harmful to the community. Disagreeing that hate speech harms the community amounts to consensus that the community doesn't need people who don't match the J. Random Hacker pattern.

The second conversation reflected the double standard applied to "Social Justice Warriors" vs. harassers: to appear to support "misguided Social Justice Warriors" would contaminate the purity of Mozilla as an engineering organization, whereas supporting harassers of women would not, because, indeed, women themselves are a threat to the purity of the J. Random Hacker archetype, and thus misogynist harassers do the work needed to protect the in-group from contamination. Gamergate strengthens the archetype by continuing to ensure that it won't be spoiled by what women might have to contribute; "SJWs", on the other hand, would harm it with the introduction of ideology (but really, of foreign ideology).

It is a truth universally accepted among some of us who use Twitter that the substring "husband, father" is a red flag in a bio. Sometimes the substring appears as "husband, father, Christian". You might protest that I shouldn't be assuming things about people just because they're husbands and fathers, but that's precisely my point: I'm not. I'm assuming things about people who feel the need to foreground their identity as husbands, fathers, Christians ahead of descriptors that mean something. There is nothing especially unique about being a husband or father; knowing that someone is a husband and father tells you very little about them (for example, it doesn't tell you whether they're a loving or a controlling husband, or whether they're a nurturing or an abusive father). Someone who needs to tell you that he is a husband and father, who describes his identity in terms of the women and children he feels he controls, is doing something more specific: he's flagging the purity of his identity. Which is to say, at least from his point of view, his lack of identity; his lack of ideology. Don't you just hate "identity politics"? It was easier when politics was only about advancing my identity.

Some people would see me as a Christian because of the religion I belong to, and that's fine, although I don't identify as one. I'm also not especially attached to the label "SJW" other than that it's a fun form of alchemy to reclaim terms used to attack and use them as terms of pride. I'm less interested in accepting or rejecting either label for myself than in asking what "SJW" signifies within the cultural context of Anglophone engineering culture, and likewise for "Christian". I think that it's important to some people to identify as "Christian engineers", and important to them to maintain the conditions under which nobody blinks at that, because to identify yourself as Christian (within the scope of the broader interest groups that the tech industry serves) is to unmark yourself, to assert yourself as in the majority or dominant group. "SJW", on the other hand, is a catchall for whatever the in-group doesn't want polluting their air.

Whether somebody is self-identifying as "husband, father, Christian" or declaring that we must eject the SJWs, their concern is with the maintenance of in-group purity and the consolidation of power. Professing disdain for ideology and a preoccupation with the purity of one's identity -- whether it's husband- and fatherhood or fidelity to the J. Random Hacker archetype -- are aspects of fascist ideologies. To declare oneself as a husband, father and Christian reflects fascist-influenced thinking: it is predicated on a choice to distinguish oneself primarily on the basis of a single identity (that of the technically meritorious engineer), and to organize one's other life choices around minimizing the edit distance between oneself and J. Random Hacker. Of course, these choices aren't exactly choices, since we don't choose our genders, among other things. That's the point of the "husband, father, Christian" avowal: it's an avowal that you are a person who has the privilege of opting out of marginalization.

Part 2: Jesus as 10x Engineer
[personal profile] yendi
There are tons of deals, shockingly enough. I won't try to link everything, for the sake of my fingers.

For the crafters, a Deal of the Day nets you the SINGER 7258 Stylist Award-Winning 100-Stitch Computerized Sewing Machine with DVD, 10 Presser Feet, Metal Frame, and More is $124.99 (58% off, a good $80 below normal pricing).

The best Deal of the Day offers the ESPN 30 for 30 Five-Year Anniversary pack for $59.99 (70% off) on Blu-Ray. That's an amazing collection of documentaries.

The Akira: 25th Anniversary Edition Blu-Ray/DVDCombo Pack is $9.99 (71% off).

Divergent on Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital is only $5.99 (80% off). Insurgent is $13.49 for the same combo pack, "only" 63% off.

Step Brothers is $5 on DVD, $7.50 on Blu-Ray (both 50% off).

Furious 7 is $6 (80% off) on DVD, $9.99 (71% off) on Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital combo pack.

Gone Girl is $3.99 (80% off) on DVD.

For fans of obscure art-house shows, Season 1 of The Walking Dead is $4.99 (83% off) on DVD, $9.99 (75% off) on Blu-Ray. Season 1 of Empire is $7.99 (80% off) on DVD, $14.99 (70% off) on Blu-Ray.

And there's a HUGE selection of hundreds of under-$10 Blu-Rays. Highlights include John Wick, Ex-Machina, Fight Club, The Princess Bride (which we just ordered to finally replace the DVD version we've been showing every Thanksgiving), The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, and a lot more.

In books, remember that the ridiculous 30% off any book (including sale books, but limited to $10 off) is still active! And the ridiculous Transformers: The Covenant of Primus is already on sale for $59.99 (40% off). The coupon will pull it down another $10.

In board games, the original Munchkin is $7.99 (79% off, and a good 50% below what most stores sell it for).

And finally, in toys, there's a sale on a bunch of K'Nex and Tinkertoys sets, with some of them (like the roller coaster) more than 50% off.
[personal profile] yendi
We've got houseguests and I've got things to do today, so a smaller post than in previous years.

But Amazon's offering an extra 30% off any book! That includes things already on sale. Note that you can only save up to $10 with this deal, but that's still kind of awesome. Books!

The Jurassic Park Collection (with all four movies) on Blu-Ray 3D/Blu-Ray/Digital is $24.99 (72% off)!

For folks with patience, there's a huge list of Black Friday Lightning Deals including Mad Max, James Bond, and other stuff.

There's a similar one on video games, including LEGO, WWE, Disgaea, and more.

Agatha Christie's Poirot: Complete Cases Collection on Blu-Ray is $122.99 (69% off).

Oh, and who doesn't want all four seasons of Star Trek Enterprise for $149.99 (63% off)?
[personal profile] yendi
Off to pick up the kid from college soon for baking day, but a few deals hit on the Day Before the Day Before Black Friday:

One Deal of the Day is on three Batman bundles. You can get Batman: Arkham Knight for the PS4 or Xbox, along with all three Christopher Nolan Batman movies on Blu-Ray for $61.98 (59% off). Better yet (imho), the original Batman series is on sale on Blu-Ray for $99.99 (63% off).

And the DVD Deals of the Week get you either Parks and Rec ($55.95) or Parenthood ($47.99) for 60% off.

And in recent animated movies, you can nab the Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital combo of Home for $9.99 (73% off), and the combo pack of Book of Life for $6 (85% off).

A Video Games Daily Deal is on Just Dance 2016 and Disney Dance Party for 40-50% off on every system.

In toys, the Hot Wheels Race Rally Water Park Playset is $11.99 (48% off).

A bunch of Kindles are on sale for $20-30 off.

And finally, in kitchen goods, the Pyrex Smart Essentials 6-Piece Glass Mixing Bowl Set is $12.38 (64% off, and about $9 below other sellers).

Super hilarious 2nd Sabriel book

Nov. 23rd, 2015 06:45 pm
badgerbag: (Default)
[personal profile] badgerbag
Re-reading Lirael. It's even more hilarious and indulgent feeling than Sabriel. The first 10% of the book is all 14-year-old Lirael sulking and contemplating suicide because she hasn't gotten her special talent and doesn't fit in and no one understands her.

Then she gets to be an assistant librarian, creates a magic companion dog, and learns three shape-changing shapes: ice otter, russet bear, and barking owl.

Barking owl... bwahahah!

I love her adventures in the library.

I'm reminded of some other teenage librarian book but can't remember what it was.

Note that she also basically has selective mutism (because it is traumatic that she can't talk about the special skill that everyone else has that makes her not fit in)

(no subject)

Nov. 23rd, 2015 08:01 pm
owlectomy: A squashed panda sewing a squashed panda (Default)
[personal profile] owlectomy
Popular media where the twins are written like actual twins:

1) Fangirl
2 1/2) They had some twin-tropes I wasn't crazy about and my view is heavily colored by the sheer amount of twincest fanfiction, but OK, the Weasley twins in Harry Potter

Popular media where the twins are either unrealistically the same person, unrealistically total opposites, or seem to have some troubling psychosexual stuff going on:

Literally everything else.

(I am sure there are actual twins who have troubling psychosexual stuff going on but. Um. It still feels to me like a Weird Twin Trope).

This post has been brought to you by Jessica Jones, which I otherwise am enjoying very much.

Parents, don't name your twins Ruben and Robyn. Give your twins names that are ANYTHING ELSE BUT A MATCHED SET.

Fantastical journey

Nov. 22nd, 2015 09:09 pm
badgerbag: (Default)
[personal profile] badgerbag
I got through all this running around on trains and cabs and staying out all day beautifully just on the one tramadol in the morning and some coffee. I did also have a beer with dinner. No vicodin necessary. Pleased! I am not destroyed. This is a good sign for my ankles.

Moomin's play was very amusing. They all looked great in kilts and knee socks. Moomin curses the kilt for being confusing to put on and take off with pins and the shoulder strap thing and some mysterious underneath part. (They all wore shorts). Brigadoon is very sexist and a bit stupid. There should be a Brigadoon 1,000,000 A.D. fanfic where the characters from the future present (while the Brigadoon people are 30-years-from-their-beginning) are intelligent giant rats and squid-roaches and Brigadoon is tropical and covered in active volcanoes and they instantly die from inhaling the pure methane atmosphere or something or if not, fall in love with the giant squids.

(no subject)

Nov. 22nd, 2015 07:13 pm
grrlpup: (rose)
[personal profile] grrlpup

sign on fence: BARKING DOG

I walk by here all the time but have never encountered this sneaky dog. For some reason, the sign always reminds me of the one at the Convention Center:

Attention: Bell Will Ring Without Warning

photo by Eric Fischer

This post also appears at read write run repeat. Comments read and welcomed in either place!

Forging onwards!

Nov. 22nd, 2015 11:36 am
badgerbag: (Default)
[personal profile] badgerbag
Very bad ankle pain since Paris, not really getting better. But I am reasonably functional most days with the walking casts. By mid to late afternoon though I start crying and feel incapable and just waiting for when I can take ambien and sleep. At best that happens more like 7pm so I get through my work day. But, i am getting out of the house at least once every few days. Not painkillering up too much, at least, not every day. I am about to start putting a little painkiller ration into a weekly pill box so I will know how much I'm taking, if it's every day, etc. And a written record too.

Yesterday, both kids were here which was just lovely (and won't happen again until January, or maybe a Fakemas afternoon). I try to appreciate it when it happens even if they are just hanging out playing minecraft while I feed and clean up after them. Only 1.5 years more of Moomin living at home (!!!) I am starting to pray atheistically that he will go to Berkeley.

Anyway, we dug up the new dirt around the front yard tree with trowels, put in our tiny palisade edging, and planted things. It looks super nice. Satisfyingly!!! they were not complaining or lazy and were both kind of into it. Zond7 came out and dug for a bit too. I am aiming for everyone feeling somewhat invested in keeping the sidewalk looking nice. I have some evil plans to build another little bench on the north side of the tree with 2x4s and make it super nice!!!

So, then, despite my plans to chill out and then cab to berkeley to buy a mattress....complicated timing of everything.... we instead all four piled in a cab to my sister's. I took a tramadol in preparation for more car riding and going up her giant steps. Up the steps, lovely time with family, her 3 cats bopping around, everyone bustling or loafing as their temperaments require. My sister came with us to buy the bed, since she has had a great mattress for the last 10 years from this place!!! Zond7 and I decided pretty quickly and got a bed frame which i'm super excited about as it is especially pretty. The headboard is a section of a giant madrone log and has a sort of line where the young sapling must have been. Or maybe madrone tree vascular systems just look like that. It looks like a network diagram or some sort of electronics circuit and also made me think of the napoleon's march chart in the Tufte book. I think it will make me happy every time I look at it. The bed was $4000 total which is basically my quarter's bonus (yes.... raking it in) Every quarter I think I will save the bonus, and instead this year I went on 2 vacations and bought a mattress. WORTH IT. This time of my life I am living high. So!!!!! New bed, super comfy, I practically live in the bed so it better be good!

We then had to haul ass home (another 30 dollar cab ride) so Moomin could go off with his dad to be in the 2nd night of the school musical. I was crying in pain again, and drank half a beer and took 5mg vicodin and 100mg gabapentin. This helped quite a lot and I felt cheerful for the first night in weeks, and was even hobbling around without the boots a little. I fell asleep easily and stayed asleep until Dashboard the Foster Cat brought a mouse up into our bed at 6am. Oh cat. Please kill the mice. Food not toy.

Dreamt that I was in Paris suspected of blowing things up and could not explain since I can't speak French. At the same time I had a sort of cinematic view of a guy who was really blowing things up with a giant radio antenna he would stick out of his window. I was doing a lot of having to quickly pack my suitcase but it taking forever in the dream. Anxiety dream I guess.

Reading, I went through a book of Garth Nix short stories and really enjoyed them. Better writing than Sabriel. I went back to read Sabriel again anyway, and it's making me laugh super hard as it is so indulgent feeling of gothy teenagerness! I love that! Even though I don't really like Sabriel herself or any of the characters, and am not gothy. But it cracks me up. Really.... you are basically in handbell choir and have a demon cat and can sense death. OK. A bandolier of handbells. LOLLLLLLLL. I admire the setup of being condescendingly best at everything in boarding school and then just breezing off from school with everyone's total permission, then going back to be the hero of everything (and dramatically killing off some of your schoolmates and favorite teacher as you suck the magic out of them or whatever.) And, getting royalty and swords and sorcery PLUS a sort of romanticized bunch of ... happy and ready to die World War One soldiers. Plus a sentient glider plane. What. Also, the villain turns into two extra demon kittens that barf up more magic rings. What an excellent use of kittens. Can't remember if they ever turn up again in the sequels. Didn't her magic boyfriend or husband die at some point but they stay married and even have zombie magic babies? I am going to have to re-read the whole thing now. None of it really makes any sense and that doesn't matter at all.

I was reminded while re-reading this (as there is a minor character named Horayse) that it took me till I was like 35 to realize that Horace (greek) = Horus (egyptian god). Mind blown! Doesn't it seem amazing and weird that thousands of years later, in the US halfway around the world, people still get named after Horus?

Today I went out to get cat litter and some groceries, happily blew up ingress portals, and then laid in bed recharging all my portal keys. I am not too far away from finally leveling up to level 12. I think in December or early January. It's absurd how much I still enjoy this game.

Ada and I placed more bricks from my sister's house and she helped me bring up laundry and groceries. Then I rested some more (this blogging counts as resting) with my feet up.

Now, for a bath, compression socks, walking casts, and we Caltrain down to Moomin's school to see the play. we are meeting my parents and sister there. I plan on another tramadol and then when I get home a vicodin and ice.

Work pissed me off on friday afternoon as someone emailed a giant public list with a thing that on one level is a reasonable question, but didn't need to go to everyone and the not-very-subtext of it was that what i do all day in my job is useless and a bother to everyone. Uh yeah fuck off. So cue a bunch of dudes abstractly batting around that my entire team's work is pointless. Oh, I'm pissed! But, I am trying to keep level headed and take from it whatever turns up that may be useful, in expressing the frustrations of developers who want a faster release process, which on the whole I agree with. and what we do is somewhat more intuitive than otherwise and a bit scrambly because our test automation has not kept up with actual development. (no one's fault really). And I think what I do is quite helpful. I'm just annoyed because I have felt this position has got me more respect and now that is undermined in a stupid way. I also thought this particular guy and I had a fine working relationship. NOt sure if it is worth explaining anything to him now. Maybe after a couple more days. He sees a good bit of his part of the process but not the scary overview my team sees.
erika: Lucas from Empire Records with text:  who knows where thoughts come from?  They just appear. (movies: ER: thoughts)
[personal profile] erika
Something was poking me when I sat down.

It was a sharpie.

Where did it come from? I genuinely do not know why I would want to have a sharpie in my pocket today.

More disturbingly, I vaguely recall picking it up and thinking "no reason to carry this around!"
[personal profile] jazzyjj
Yup you read that right. About a week or so ago I got a voicemail from
some random guy at ObamaCare headquarters. This call was to inform me
that enrollment for ObamaCare was once again open. This guy provided 2
phone numbers for me to choose from in order to get connected and
enrolled. One of these numbers was 1-800-FUCKYOU, which used to be the
number for Pilgrim Telephone. But it now connects the caller to a menu
containing 3 choices. Choice 1 is for a chat line called "Intimate
Connections." Choices 2 and 3 are for ObamaCare, with choice 2 only
being the toll-free number and choice 3 actually being direct to
ObamaCare. I won't bother translating the phone number for fear of any
retaliatory measures being taken against me. However, for some reason
I just can't help but find this rather amusing. When you really think
about it though, is it not kind of illegal? I mean, you've got the
number for and a direct line to ObamaCare listed right in the same
menu as a chat line. It might not be illegal, but it certainly makes
one stop and wonder who in the hell chose to do that. But anyway, I
just had to post this amusing anecdote. Should any of the Dw staff
and/or volunteers read this and wish me to take it down, I will gladly
do so at once.
owlectomy: A squashed panda sewing a squashed panda (Default)
[personal profile] owlectomy
Saturday morning pre-GRE Hamiltunes: My Shot, Guns and Ships, Yorktown, Non-Stop. Because correlation is the same thing as causation, I have to give Lin-Manuel Miranda all the credit for my getting a significantly nicer score on the computer-scored portion of the GRE than I expected.

(And nobody cares! The only place I'm applying to that even wants GRE scores is Iowa, where they're optional! But if I don't get in this year, I'll be able to apply to Minnesota next year with these scores.)

Afterwards I had time for a teeny Hamilton walking tour, past Fraunces Tavern and the Hamilton gravestones at Trinity Church.

I need to be putting things in boxes, but I feel very tired and may have a cold or something coming on.
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