The Facebook Folly

July 17, 2010

So that troublemaker @artistikem was going on about how her husband — who is older — went to his class reunion and was shocked to find old women there. His classmates.

She kept going on about this and my wee brain got it into my head to search for some people I used to know.

As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.

Proverbs 26:11

This is an exercise in stupidity I’d commit at least once a year, several years ago.

And it always came up with zero results. So I stopped.

Ah, but we live in the Age of Facebook now. Who the hell hasn’t heard of Facebook, right?

Let me explain something first. Just about everyone I knew as a kid grew up with advantages I didn’t have. I won’t enumerate these but just let me say that any sociologist would recognize that my life had plenty of deficits compared to their childhood lives. Plus, I was never a good student and always had crappy grades. Everyone else always got better grades.

This was the case both for my elementary school and high school years.

(I skip my college years because that’s another case entirely and some of those people I don’t give a shit about at all, plus I generally know where some of them wound up.)


So, my upbringing compared to theirs always led me to believe that all of those people would go on to make a significant mark in this world. That I would someday see their names out there in public. Hell, one of them is even related to Senator Al Gore!

But the years have passed and … nada!

Without going into details, because I don’t want to give a frikkin resume here, I have been the one to make a damned mark. Me, the one who wasn’t the most popular, the one without the best grades, the one without all the advantages all the rest of them had growing up.

Yeah. I go WTF? all the time over that too!

So anyway.

Facebook. I wind up finding several people from my childhood years who have never before popped up in my past searches! One became a lawyer. But, for all know, this could be a real estate lawyer, not something really important. Another became a gardener(!). Another went to a Theological Seminary(!!!) — and his picture makes him look like his father! Another worked for mass transit and his picture makes him look like an old man! One other person I found on Facebook too, who I will discuss separately. I found some scant information about an old girlfriend outside of Facebook. She’s married and moved away. I found someone else with the same name and it looked like the same face as an old girlfriend, and she’s married with kids.

Now that other Facebook person. Back when I first got cable TV in the 1980s, CNBC had this nightly show on at 11PM EST. It was a show about sex. One night I was shocked to see this person on that show. She was a childhood neighbor with many of the advantages I didn’t have. She was also considered one of the smartest people of our cohort. And you know what she was on that TV show talking about? Her job: writing pr0n movies! — and under a pen name!


If she had the writing gift, what the bloody hell was she doing wasting it on that?!

So, anyway.

I kept searching for more names from my past and basically that was it. Everyone else isn’t there to be found. I wound up with the same feeling I had all those years ago during similar fruitless searches: As if a giant hand had come along and just wiped away all of those people.

I’m not contacting any of the ones I found. I really don’t want to hear about their kids or their failed dreams or broken marriages or news about how many others — including our teachers — have died (and worse: how they died).

You can’t go home again. And as I told someone on Twitter earlier this year, once you leave home, it ceases to exist.

This dog is finished returning to his vomit.


The Braying Of Moron Coders

July 17, 2010

What an absolute self-centered imbecile!

But whatever you do next, you’ve shipped. You’ve joined the club.

And the next time someone produces an antenna with a weak spot, or a sticky accelerator, you’re more likely to feel their pain, listen to their words and trust their actions than the braying media who have never shipped anything in their lives.

Yeah, because, you know, doing a several-times-daily TV newscast or daily newspaper or monthly magazine, those aren’t “shipping.” You imbecile!

The Squatters In Your Mind

July 17, 2010

Over at Loud, Baldur linked to this post: Why Parents Hate Parenting

This is the salient bit:

It would be a pointless act of euthanasia to criticize the article, except that these popular press articles are more than bathroom reading, they are the template for how to think about these social issues, in the same way that you can’t think about Obama without resorting to language implanted by CNN or the New York Times. Try it. It’s impossible.

These articles offer you the freedom to argue about the conclusions, but trick you into accepting the form of the argument.

Oh yes indeedy. This is a neat trick and it’s very easy to fall into that trap.

I immediately thought of an episode of The Prisoner and thank god someone posted a good bit from it (not the bit I wanted, but close enough) on YouTube:

[Note to Tumblr Followers: For some odd reason, the embedded YouTube is not appearing in the Dashboard. Click through to the post itself to see that. It’s worth it.]

I concluded this years ago: We spend the first half of our lives having our head filled with shit by other people and the last half of our lives trying to track down and evict that shit.

What’s squatting in your head?

July 17, 2010

…and that’s exactly how you make people forget – keep parsing the facts in half while folding in newer, harder to understand information until no one piece of data serves as a salient point anymore. Think of it as dispersant on a mental oil spill.

Excerpt from a blog about BP that I never got around to writing. (via jhnmyr)

July 17, 2010

It’s great to have a place where people can gather, where you’re not bombarded by media or consumerism,” said Shannon Herrick, who was outside the new library last week with her 5-year-old, Oliver. “There’s fewer and fewer places like that.

Shhh! New library opening in Walnut Creek

July 17, 2010

Basically, I’m not interested in doing research and I never have been. I’m interested in understanding, which is quite a different thing. And often to understand something you have to work it out yourself because no one else has done it.

David Blackwell, 91, Statistician and Mathematician, Dies – Obituary (Obit) –

There is an error in most photography scaling algorithms. All software tested (August 2007) had the problem: The Gimp, Adobe Photoshop, CinePaint, Nip2, ImageMagick, GQview, Eye of Gnome, Paint and Krita. Also three different operating systems were used: Linux, Mac OS X and Windows. (Software that don’t have the problem are listed in the Solutions chapter.)Photographs that have been scaled with these software have been degradated (see the examples). The degradation is often faint but probably most pictures contain at least an array where the degradation is clearly visible. I suppose this happens since the first versions of these software, maybe 20 years ago.
I tried this with the software I use — the free Photo Toolkit. Yep, it has this flaw too!

July 17, 2010

Gamma error in picture scaling