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Cobb
LOS ANGELES, CA
Dad. Architect. Writer. Entrepreneur.
Interests: gaming, bourbon, gadgets, big data, multitouch interfaces, game theory, theology, political & analytic philosophy, computer augmented decision support, spycraft, creole cuisine, asian jazz fusion, bbq, electronica, historical fiction, beef cattle, fast cars, and anything that fits into a 19 inch rack.
Recent Activity
There is a marvelous kind of awareness that emerges in the years beyond ambition and mastery. I am in the midst of that new prime, and it is more than cool and more than lovely to be in my mid... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Cubegeek
For the first time in memory, I watched the Oscars. What happened to Billy Crystal? I have no understanding of the nuances of celebrity. They all seem to be pallid frail cute cutouts of what's cool now. Nothing seems so... Continue reading
Posted Apr 27, 2016 at Cobb
So I've got the bug. This happens when I have a little downtime in between gigs. So I'm thinking about Fintech and banking and what it would take to build up a new kind of bank from scratch. So here's... Continue reading
Posted Apr 26, 2016 at Cubegeek
(from the archives - June 2003) I have given a lot of thought to the matter of reparations and I'd like to be blunt about my conclusions for the sake of brevity. The answer is that blackfolks will settle for... Continue reading
Posted Apr 22, 2016 at Cobb
Well, here's one that I cared a little about and hoped it would go a particular way. Hey it did! I'm not a particular hater of Andrew Jackson, but I am a particular lover of Alexander Hamilton, and that's going... Continue reading
Posted Apr 20, 2016 at Cobb
I started this debate with my father and I made a specific distinction between the 'farmer' and the 'king'. I think the bourgeois model applies to Americans and theirs is the message to the king, but we fail in our responsibility as kings. In other words, I was trying to make the clear distinction between the appeal of Jesus messages on the Sermon on the Mount across his listeners. What Jesus did not do, so far as I ever learned, was to ask people in the crowd to give a tithe of their loaves and fishes, because that crowd was the meek, as in 'blessed are the meek'. Also, in the parable of the Good Samaritan, the Samaritan was as wealthy as the other two who passed up the desolate stranger. So I am saying explicitly that Christian ethics holds a class-aware standard of behavior. Further I am saying that being a good neighbor and the rules of hospitality of any society are not really up for debate by Christianity. The Church itself does not attempt to substitute its economy for the world's economy, its canon law for the world's law, its sense of justice for the judgment of men. Not in the details, but only in the broad sense. If it were the case then Christianity failed upon the failure of Christendom, and exists no more. But specific to the moral hazard let me take the context of something else I wrote - because what I really want to get at is the credulity of today's 'farmers' in light of the moral posturing of politics in secular society (vis a vis poets, priests and politicians).... read this: Just because Ferguson fails doesn't mean Los Angeles fails. Just because Compton fails doesn't mean Koreatown fails. Just because Compton failed yesterday doesn't mean it fails tomorrow. I have the benefit of seeing Ferguson as an isolated whatever. No matter what extremity is revealed there, it doesn't make me believe that the sky is falling. I can accept without hesitation that it is what it is, because nothing exactly like it is happening elsewhere. So fine. Let it be what it is. I don't pretend to be affected when I'm not. I just see what I see. My preparation is necessary for me because I understand how cheesy the digital world can become and has become in certain areas. It is a kind of cheese that is easily spread and I am particularly loathe of that kind of dishonesty. So I am finding (whilst being honest in the digital realm) alternative ways to express contributions to society, particularly in emergency services. I'm the guy who knows firemen and cops and Boy Scout leaders in his city. I know what they do because I have been trained to do some of their work. I suspect I'll get on with nurses and air traffic controllers next. Quite basically, I am separating myself out of the bullshit job economy. People keep complaining about how hard it is to get 'a job' while so many skills are lacking. These are the jobs and skills that can never be outsourced and never go away. You can call that survivalist training. I ask everybody with a keyboard and an opinion, "Who is your Leviathan". Everybody on the internet thinks they can say something, wish something, vote something into being if their meme is virulent enough. I call bullshit on that. I look at what it actually takes to pull levers, cut steel, lay bricks, stop bad guys, put out fires, pour cement, fly planes, set broken bones, grow crops, tend herds. That's a very different business than retweeting, posting, coding, voting, critiquing cultural productions, socializing concepts, raising awareness, supporting causes. Hard physical skills vs soft verbal skills. Whether or not democratic institutions fail, the former are more important than the latter. I spent the first 50 years of my life feeding myself with the latter, and it's important that I get busy with the former. I'm thrilled. Just thrilled to find so much satisfaction in learningthe hard physical skills, having sufficiently mastered the soft ones. It is the corruption of the soft skills that make democratic institutions fail. Dishonesty. And millions of Americans are just helpless suckers because they have no hard skills and expect the soft ones to have integrity automatically. It's a great deception which is part and parcel of the Digiital era. And most people do not have the mental discipline to work that soft verbal properly. So we have expanded markets into the territory of bullshit. Once upon a time, it took Stan Lee and a couple of his co-workers all of their imagination to come up with Spiderman comics, and that was pure gold. Now in America you have a billion dollars worth of Spiderman multimedia which is mostly bullshit. Once upon a time you had Paley and Friendly at CBS who made one national news channel worth watching. Now you have 1000 channels and bullshitters like Jon Stewart 'informing' the masses. When you build a bullshit dike, a hurricane will make it fail and people will drown. When you build a bullshit network, it too will be compromised. Except that people don't drown. The soft bullshit is sustained, like all the meaningless conversations and viral memes around Ferguson which fund millions of dollars of pop-up ads. When all those ideas fail, people will stop thinking they are pundits and experts. They'll realize they don't have the skill, and they'll try something simpler. They'll realize that they can't express themselves in any meaningful way. Hmm. Maybe they'll burn shit down. I have lived among the effete wordsmiths who cannot function in the physical world. They expect that MLK speeches will turn people's actions, decades after MLK is dead. They cannot deal with violence or physical hard skills - they are poets, priests and politicians. I see millions of common folk helpless to their charms. And those phonies were and probably still are in authority over the democratic institutions of Ferguson. In the moment of violence, when the bullshit words and institutions built on bullshit words crumble, when the wolves come out, every human being looks to the sheepdog. I'm not under any illusion that the bullshit can continue indefinitely. I know human beings too well. I've watched the blogosphere rise and then disintegrate. Compare the comments here to those at the Huffington Post. You already know. I'm not going to be Digital forever. I don't need society to fail, it fails in tiny parts every day. One tiny part is Ferguson. It's just another lesson I'm ready for. Is there, was there, an orthodox Christian response to Ferguson? Were Christians united in their opinion? I doubt it. And yet there were very strong incentives for everyone to have a moral opinion on the matter. Everyone's two cents were collected and aggregated. People took sides and very very few people put actual flowers on actual graves. So what I see is this moral economy in which few opt out, and there is a hazardous cost. There's a man going round taking names, and everybody keeps volunteering their name because they think their are moral stakes to be won.
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You are going to need the kind of systems we build. Continue reading
Posted Apr 8, 2016 at Cubegeek
So a farmer and and optometrist walk into in a bar. No. In fact a farmer and an optometrist meet on Facebook. And you now have a society where everything is negotiated through third parties. So much so, that people I talk to cannot even imagine that the farmer I've been talking about lives in a community and knows which of his farmhands has a kid with a broken ankle, for whom his wife bakes a cherry pie and takes it by. Urban society is not comprised of neighborhoods, per se, because nobody does much of that neighborly stuff. And that is why they generate demand, out of generic human kindness for these third party organizations to manage morality budgets. Alms and charity are signifiers, they are not simple neighborly acts. They are manufactured community. But most people on the planet don't live in manufactured communities, and I'm skeptical that the bourgeois model, in which you give at the office, is sustainable.
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You make a narrow case for a subset of Christian evangelism. But I am talking about (which I might have stated more clearly) the moral case to be made from Socrates' model of society in which he posits that society is best when the farmer farms, when the soldier soldiers, when the bricklayer lays bricks. I thus argue against the seduction and deflection of a person away from ordinary kindness by poets, priests and politicians is a moral hazard. My scenario is Sally Struthers intercepts the farmer on his way back from selling his goods at market. He has a pile of cash in his pockets and has every intent of investing it back into his farm, because he believes, as Socrates believes, that his best contribution to society is by minding his farm. Sally Struthers says ah no, and says that his bargain struck at the market is morally inferior the a bargain he can strike with her. Instead of using 5% of the money he made today to plant 5 more acres of farmland, it would be morally superior for him to donate that 5% to her charity. She will reward him with a gold ribbon he can proudly wear to show that he has Struthers Awareness, which is the sacrament of her religion. The poor farmer knows nothing about Sally Struthers, but he is moved to sympathy by the pictures of large eyed children he is shown by Sally Struthers. Or Toms Shoes. Or Autism. Or Social Justice. Or Wounded Warriors. Or March of Dimes. Or Global Warming. Or Greenpeace. Now I want you to consider how much actual blindness we have cured..Do you see what I'm getting at?
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Sanders and socialism. https://www.evernote.com/l/AAYIvlrhyydEApLC-EyfUQj1-ULa5IU2i0I
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Ephialtes of Trachis knew he wasn't a soldier worthy of King Leonidas. If he were an honest man, he would not have fell for the flattery sold to him by the enemies of his King. But those Persians had a... Continue reading
Posted Apr 5, 2016 at Cobb
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It feels like I have a dead brother. When you have a dead brother you fear death because your own death now means you leave fewer behind who knew you. It's the anonymous, empty, what was he all about anyway... Continue reading
Posted Mar 26, 2016 at Cobb
The simple fact of the matter is that during the 1950s and 60s, angry black Americans, especially those men who served in WW2, were just about fed up with foot-dragging on the Civil Rights front. And even though things were... Continue reading
Posted Mar 25, 2016 at Cobb
Q: What is the difference, in layman's terms, between a relational database and a columnar database? A: I have a great analogy for you. Imagine that you are at a football stadium. There are 100,000 fans in the seats. Obviously... Continue reading
Posted Mar 11, 2016 at Cubegeek
I just came across this information on the interwebz. The past's vision of the future always looks awkward from the POV of the actual current future. These are all applications I could pretty much build single-handedly on Full360's Data Platform... Continue reading
Posted Feb 24, 2016 at Cubegeek
One of the key things Fryer notes is that excellent principals are like excellent quarterbacks. Secondly notice how precise all of this is and how much it costs. The problem is staffing. https://youtu.be/TTUMxqNu6KY?list=PL7aDI-QkzqBe-Q1mNVmzVCWbe15nG87i8
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No, I don't trust Apple. Nor do I trust Northrup Grumman, or Schmoocon. I don't trust anybody. That's the point of security. I don't *have* to trust anybody and I shouldn't worry about being compelled to trust anybody. I understand the job of CounterIntelligence. It is one of FBI's missions. Their job is to follow engineers around Northrop Grumman, for example, to make sure no coercive agents are trying to get the secrets of their technology. How ironic. Every IOS jailbreaker on the planet including those of foreign intelligence services are frothing at the possibility of this hack getting out, and attempts will be made to get it out. If anyone can be compelled to know what this secret is, then the entire fleet of IOS devices is at risk. That's the point. Let the government cut their own set of keys. Because in the end what they want is a key to every door and Apple should not be compelled to contribute to such dirty business. What is the object of this search? The FBI won't say because if they said that they were looking for the bosses of the SB killers, then it would be transparently clear that there's not much to be found. Any captain in any army on the planet is capable of orchestrating such a raid as the SB killers carried out. So who is going to admit that they're just looking for a couple AQ lieutenants? OK make it 12 lieutenants, assuming AQ isn't actually using cells. That's still not worth putting a billion devices at risk. As for the 80ms, the point is that the calculation is *supposed* to be slow so as to make the OS less vulnerable to multiple rapid attacks. There's your memo from the Department of Duh. When you ask a team of engineers to explicitly break what they've invented to be unbreakable, that's a special case. So essentially this demand is for Apple to build the exact thing they built to stop jailbreaking their devices. It's exactly like demanding that the FBI break the security at Quantico because Aldrige Ames existed. There are other ways to solve the problem, and if they can't think of ways to solve that problem why must it be Apple's fault and a design flaw in the very idea of securing mobile phones? SIGINT is overrated, which is why the 2nd Amendment matters. If you want to kill the bad guys, go kill the bad guys. Don't fuck up American commerce and undermine the security of cell phones.
Toggle Commented Feb 19, 2016 on Obligatory Seriousness on the IOS Backdoor at Cobb
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Socialism isn't bad, but America is already socialist enough. The original socialist impetus was moral as was made clear to me in my reading of George Orwell. His excellent book 'The Road to Wigan Pier' made the case for socialism... Continue reading
Posted Feb 18, 2016 at Cobb
I do not trust the FBI to keep a lid on their acquisition of IOS cracking tech, if Apple fails its legal challenge to their request. In short, the way into a defeated IOS is too valuable a prize. I have zero confidence that an IOS hack would not be shared with other Federal agencies. I have zero confidence that details of the process to crack IOS will not be leaked or figured out by IOS jailbreakers. Just like I have zero confidence that the FBI can indict Hilary Clinton in a reasonable period of time. NO. People have to accept that the Fourth Amendment applies, and that Apple should not be compelled to break their own product.
Toggle Commented Feb 18, 2016 on Obligatory Seriousness on the IOS Backdoor at Cobb
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Yes. I think I may go from thinking about The Idiot-Proof City to "The City is a Fiction". http://cobb.typepad.com/cobb/2013/10/the-idiot-proof-city.html
Toggle Commented Feb 18, 2016 on On Regulatory Capture at Cobb
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The answer for the FBI is no. Let me say it in Spanish. No. Backdoors are just bad news for everyone, and I think Tim Cook nailed it when he said, We can find no precedent for an American company... Continue reading
Posted Feb 17, 2016 at Cobb
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Let us start with an analogy in the music business. Imagine that you could read and write music. That you could sing, dance and have mastered an instrument. Let us say further, that you have managed to become a rather... Continue reading
Posted Feb 15, 2016 at Cobb
No my point was that Colombia survived a criminal enterprise that cowed the government into submission for a decade, that descended to a level of corruption so deep that the Supreme Court building was bombed and the criminals who did so burned all of the government evidence against them. If a country can survive that and ultimately have a civilization that outlasts that of Venezuela, then there is hope for democracy under the worst of circumstances. We are suffering a society so impoverished that the average man is afraid to speak up for and elect decent politicians. I don't believe we will succumb to corruption at the level of Venezuelan government or of Colombian narcoterrorism, but I see suffering ahead. I see suffering now. But I think there is also a reasonable adjustment in our standards of living that are commensurate with our standards of working and thinking. We dont' want to work hard, we don't want to think hard, then we will lose the two bathroom houses, and we will deserve to. We are seeing the winnowing of the easy careers. The hungry programmers will indeed replace the retail clerks, cashiers, accountants and real estate agents. Robots will drive semis. There is no more low hanging economic fruit for America only. The post war Western standard of living is ubiquitous and it is now static. Two cars are not better than one. Two cars are a luxury. So get used to one, or a smaller one and a bus pass, like they do in Bogota. We will fail, build, fail again and rebuild. But we will only build to the 20th century standard. There will never ever be flying cars. The upper classes who didn't migrate are no great shakes. They are simply the educated and the prudent. They don't get paradise. They get security.
Toggle Commented Feb 1, 2016 on Bogotanos at Cobb
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I don't know much about Bogotanos or Bogota, but I like what I know. Then again I don't generally take much time to get to know what I don't like. But I have reignited some thinking about South America and... Continue reading
Posted Jan 30, 2016 at Cobb
(A Chinese gent asks Cobb how is it that Americans get used to seeing people of different colors and backgrounds all as Americans.) There is a great book by Thomas Sowell called Ethnic America. (Ethnic America ) It describes how,... Continue reading
Posted Jan 24, 2016 at Cobb