Friday, 14 September 2018

Carrot and Stick


You get why the donkey does not move?
 Everybody knows the tactic of "carrot and stick" - a carrot is tied to the point of a stick and dangled in front of a mule.

The mule pulls trying to reach the carrot.

When he misbehaves, a rapid motion of the wrist puts the carrot on a safe trajectory while the stick is used as a baton.

Simple and effective, we are inured to think. 

But, at times, the donkey stops seeing the carrot as a carrot - (s)he sees it as what it - all too often - really is.
A small-sized, pre-owned, not-washed dildo. 

The mule stops. 

Raise your head.

Look at the carrot they dangle in front of you - getting a degree, a good job, starting a family etc. 
Look at it long and hard.

Yes, it is a pre-owned, not washed dildo. It was, has always been, and always will be one.

Now, it may be your thing.

In which case, feel free to pull long and hard - not that they are really ever going to let you get it, anyway.  If you did, you may declare yourself satisfied and stop anyway. 

If it is not your thing, though, it may be better for you to just stop now.

Thursday, 6 September 2018

Fear

Apparently, Trump's administration has a number of members trying to manage Trump behaviour through underhanded tactics, like hiding documents he asked to get readied to be signed, because they think that he is mercurial, unprepared, reckless and incapable and unwilling to learn.

Why they don't just step away from the guy and voice for invoking the 25th amendment?

Because they can use him as a tool to get what they want - the tax cut, repeal of anti-pollution rules, the dismantlement of the Financial consumer protection bureau etc.

Also, the 25th amendment takes time;  It is a slow process, who would not remove Trumps' powers for - likely - some months .

Trump still has unfettered access to the "nuclear football";  In four minutes, he can launch a massive nuclear attack and be rid of the judgement of history because - as you may know - history is written by humans that have the luxury items required to write on storable media.

A nuclear Armageddon should eliminate most of the firsts an virtually every of the seconds.

He seems like a raving lunatic in his best day, and has shown a morbid fascination for the USE of nukes as the last embodiment of macho swaggering.

- "Why can't we use them?" , he asked (three times) while they were briefing him on the nuclear attack procedures -

Now, imagine him looking down a removal from power for unfitness - humiliating - or a Clinton-esque impeachment process - more humiliating?- followed by a raft of civil and criminal trials of members of his administration - most of them seem as bent as a three dollars banknote - and staff of his private enterprise - it is not exactly a mystery that many foreign governments and political figures shovel money to Trump concerns as a way to mollify the big guy... efficacious for them, but does not really smell legal, right? - included, maybe, of some of his family.

"Après moi, le déluge" reads very Trumpian, I think. 

Now you feel it?

Fear.

Friday, 31 August 2018

Failed Bayesian Statistics Forever

Admit it: You wish I was making porn here, instead of talking about it, right now.


Consider, if you will, these two links:

All Men Watch Porn (spoiler alert: from when they are 10 onward, on average - bummer, I thought I was a precocious sod).   

Boys who watch porn think sexual harassment is acceptable

Now, raise his hand who, on the light of the first article, thinks that the authors of the second failed Bayesian statistics forever.

All of you? You are not as daft as them, then.

If the first statement/article is true, then it segues that

Every Boy That Thinks That Sexual Harassment Is Unacceptable Watches Porn.

and

[Some] Boys who watch porn do not think that sexual harassment is at all acceptable, in any circumstance. 

Or, in other words,

Watching porn is hardly much meaningful, when talking about men's views on sexuality. 

It is, really, just background noise.

Note that the same "reversed" statistic inference has been used to "prove" that anything with serious mass appeal was dangerous/damaging youths - almost every single kid in the 30s read comics, then they grew up and as some became criminals, Harry Wertham arrived and "discovered" that comics had a nefarious influence. Comes the '90s, it's videogames.


To be honest, I kind of suspected it.

We may still wish that porn was done better and more intelligently, possibly with more women and "minorities" (LGBTQSM) in directing/producing stuff because - being honest - the "heterosexual white man's gaze" prevalent in it at times feel a bit monomaniacal and boring. 

But it's exactly as we wish Sci-fi flicks were done better and more intelligently, possibly with more women and "minorities" (LGBTQSM, black, Asian, French and physicists) in directing/producing stuff because - being honest - the "white man's navel gaze" prevalent in it at times feel a bit monomaniacal and boring.

And I am back at equating porn and science fiction...  

Monday, 20 August 2018

Fred Rogers



For reasons known to no one but the squirrels in my head that spin the wheels and gears of my subconscious, I cry a couple of days like a 12 years old girl - one whose 13 years old cat has just died - every time I make the mistake of re-reading the page of Tvtropes.org about Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.

It is a mystery to me as, being an Italian that has never gone outside the EU, I also have never seen the program.

I suspect that it's that: - "I'm proud of you, just the way you are" - that he used to say, that punches me under the belt.

OK, I found my emergency stash of Kleenex - production of possibly under-age extreme gorn porn will resume momentarily.

I hope.

(Nope - it took a week more)

Sunday, 19 August 2018

85%

OK, this is going to be just a fun little wank.

Do you know how speed limits are set, in civilized countries? Of course you do.

Traffic authorities place an "informal" speed detector, that measures the number and speeds of vehicles that passes on a given road.

Why did I write "informal"? For a number of reasons.

This detectors sensors are not invisible radars or infra-red beams, but usually  just two tubes laid on the road's mantel, in plain sight.

While their distance is set pretty much accurately, there is not need for it to be certified and checked by external authorities in cases of contested results, as they are not - can not - be used to issue tickets or the like. 

No matter what speed they may read, the sensors are not designed to record the vehicle that was running it - they have no cameras, nor do they have any mean to inform authorities of the fact.

They only read, and store in an internal memory of some type, the speed at which the two tubes are stepped-on by the first axle, and the number of vehicles.

(kind of... pretty sure there are plenty of technical details I do not know enough about).

The fact that these recorders are "informal" is important, as otherwise they would influence the behaviour of drivers on that road, which is what they are intended to record.

Once the recorder has accumulated enough data, this is examined and the speed limit of that road stretch is set as the one that is "respected" by a given percentage of the drivers.

In the U.S. and other countries where this system is used, the percentage chosen is usually 85%.

Long and windy preamble, I know - bear with me.

Seeing things as they go, here in Spain, I would say that the locally used threshold seems to be well-chosen: I have seen few places where the speed limit was ludicrously low (when I used to live and drive in the North of Italy, there were a lot more places with oddily low limits, as they were selected pretty randomly and often lowered in response to a single accident, as a way to "placate the populace").

However, here is the funny part:

Once the vast majority of cars will have adaptive cruise controls able to read speed limits cartels (and maybe check their readings against Google maps or something, just to stay safe; a DMV-MOT service for this would be pretty nice), and most people will use them (limiter function on by default? why not... who wants a speeding ticket if it can be easily avoided?), will this system still have a meaning?

What when - if - autonomous drive will become the normal one?

Probably not (unless the threshold climbs to, say, 95%), yet I can clearly see some authorities take their sweet time recognizing it, and pretty much arbitrarily lowering limits more and more till reaching "arbitrarily absurd" values, and grumbling protests will start.

I forecast funnily annoying times for drivers in, say, 15 years.