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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
I am particularly fond of the term bodewash, for what it's worth. Yet I think that there are appropriate axes of shit that should be navigated with some care. The other night, as my clan-mates and I were engaged in... Continue reading
Posted 8 hours ago at Cobb
People have been asking about the proper means test for national gun registration. I've been thinking about panoptics a bit lately. It's part of the subject of my novel. So this is what strikes me today. First a couple headlines:... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Cobb
On racial unity. Let's say you're a Thai and you love civil engineering, but you live in California and there aren't many around you. You find the best engineering school and join the Thai Civil Engineers. Now you're surrounded by... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Cobb
Sorry. As I'm writing my novel, I am coming to recognize the difference between writing extensive notes to myself and something that other folks can read. The lacuna between persuasive speech and responsible power is symptomatic of the the problem I call 'aggregation'. I've probably written around that topic without giving an adequate number of explanations. So let me (write for myself and) describe what I mean. I mean that American culture has, in its relationship to democratic politics, a fundamental premise is that, taken from the millions, nickels and dimes can add up to something substantial and powerful. (Woolworth said so and proved so). I've tended to express it as '17 million dollars of respect'. You can get $17 from a million people or $1,000,00 from 17 people. You will be a lot more responsive and responsible to the 17 than you would from the million. I first came across this specific thought when the rapper 50 Cent went platinum with his album Get Rich or Die Trying, which is kind of a sick joke on his 'fans'. The persuasiveness of the marketing that sells 50 Cent requires as much thought as the lyrics in the album, something as pithy as can support a million juvenile fans who spend two hours of labor in all of their young lives to afford to be the proud owner of the album. They become part of the base to whom he shouts out whether they be 'real niggas', 'bitches', 'hos' or 'sucka mcs'. Surely in Getting Rich, there will be no lyric saying that any of those motherfuckers get a refund. And yet the million have created a phenomenon and a genuine star, and he gets the audience he deserves, all those who wouldn't dare ask for their $17 back. This is a mass market of convenience which is ultimately susceptible to corrupt deception. It's not Tylenol, which, when defective reveals a world of painful recourse. The problem with aggregation in markets of convenience is its fundamental irresponsibility. All Obama ever had to be was 'first black President', and he wins. The American electorate? Those motherfuckers ain't getting a refund. I am distinguishing the difference between those aggregations that only require very little thought and effort on the part of the masses, which take long bets on positive change, whether that is voting for Obama or buying shoes from a man who promises to feed the hungry in Africa, or buying a ribbon to put on your car's antenna that promises to cure cancer. The distance between the expertise of the audience that the responsible capability of the performer is vast in this kind of irresponsible aggregation. And I'm saying that the democratic voting system, the American political process has become exactly this kind of infernal engine. You listen to Fox News for free, you rant on Facebook for free, you vote once every four years for free. It is a kind of Stockholm Syndrome in eternal process. "Power to the People" is completely lost. This is the lacuna between persuasive speech and responsible power. They don't even need to be connected for the system to continue operating. Moreover the revealed corruption has no immediate consequence. As somebody wrote yesterday, Hillary Clinton could be videotaped steamrolling a line of ducklings and still be loved and adored but most importantly retain her office for the protection of wildlife. All 'mistakes' can be minimized, when the true path of recourse has only to deal with the 17 and not the million. So whatever the sophistication of the performance, it has nothing to do with the material responsibility. That is why Obama has no business presiding over funerals. Unless...
Toggle Commented 5 days ago on Benzon on Authentic Eulogies at Cobb
1 reply
Several years ago I read about something called limited liability identity. I thought it was one of the best ideas I'd heard in a very long time, so I wrote about it. I heard it from one of the partners... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Cubegeek
Several years ago I read about something called limited liability identity. I thought it was one of the best ideas I'd heard in a very long time, so I wrote about it. I heard it from one of the partners... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Cobb
So this is the first moment I have read through these comments, and it is reminding me of the power of speech and the deep level at which it takes place in me thoroughly blackified and whiteified as well as frenchified via old New Orleans. I have restarted writing my second novel, the science fiction one, and I'm likely to do some interesting tricks with language, but it won't be a major theme of the book. Nevertheless I will be having some powerful figures as characters in the book and I will be examining the lacuna between speech and power, or should I say persuasive speech and responsible power. Humans only assume their connection in politics which is, in the end, a very clever recipe for intellectual comfort food. I could roll like that, but as Hemingway says, a book is your best friend. Politics is your worst enemy chock full of seduction and betrayal. Trump is making that kind of speech right now, whereas before it was Christie, and Palin before him. Rick Perry, I don't know. But this is the current postmodern definition of 'presidential', the ability to sell ice to Eskimos, disarmament to Iranians, restraint to rogues and brotherly love to Americans. Americans hate Americans more than anyone else could possibly hate us, and our two parties bear this tremendous burden. So they cannot and do not govern. They placate and throw bombs. It's a drama triangle. Obama has no business, as President, eulogizing symbolically, except that he is a postmodern president elected by those who wanted exactly what he is. A man who can rhetoric away war. "Yes we can". You won't hear the straight dope of logical accountability debunking his Presidency, only those in the opposition have the opportunity for that kind of straight talk, which should they execute they reveal their own gross hypocrisy. Ruling America is not about progress, its about the process of eliminating the opposition from positions of power. Policy is the mushroom that grows in the aftermath of mudslinging. So who wants to be a history major? Ha. Fukuyama was right in a way he didn't even understand. We are at the end of history bearing any resemblance to facts supporting logical interpretation. So Obama is whom Obama says he is. And everybody goes broke betting on the truth of his words, expect those using political currency. So we are engaged in a war between political currency and economic currency. Donald Trump is objectively rich. It is the turn of the rich to rule America. We can only be thankful that Colin Powell gave us all this opportunity and that John McCain is lame in more than one dimension. Otherwise we would be electing President Petraeus in the twilight of the Republic.
Toggle Commented 7 days ago on Benzon on Authentic Eulogies at Cobb
1 reply
Right now I'm sitting in my comfortable leather chair listening to the new Bad Plus + Joshua Redmond album on my Jambox. The music is good, really good. I know it's good because I have good taste in music, and... Continue reading
Posted Jul 16, 2015 at Cobb
I was born and raised in the modern world. In the 20th Century, before the panopticon of the NSA and global social media, we used to not know a great deal about people we didn't actually talk to. We simply... Continue reading
Posted Jul 15, 2015 at Cobb
Ouch! Ouch! OUCH!. Dayum! Bill is the best kind of hermit. It's funny and a little bit scary that I am beginning to see something of a pattern. More later.
Toggle Commented Jul 14, 2015 on Benzon on Authentic Eulogies at Cobb
1 reply
i'm going to assert that blogs remain and will remain the literature of the internet. There is no better way for a single author to produce work and respond to criticism than through the blogging paradigm. If we must make an example, let it be Andrew Sullivan in his modest moment of triumph which is actually social, not legal or political. That's why it's literature, it's social and that is appropriate. But we already know that virtual communities are not communities. They are collectives of writers and their evolution tends toward groupthink and meme amplification. If there were radio talk show hosts that were writers in addition to being speakers, the joint production might be very interestingly worthwhile. As for being a snob, I kind of think that if you're not smart enough to write a blog, you'll never be good. If you're not smart enough to have installed and run MovableType on your own server, you'll never be great. Squarespace is for tools.
Toggle Commented Jul 14, 2015 on The Computer Snob at Cobb
1 reply
(artlessly stolen whole cloth) Dear Glenn and John, if I may, I’ve been thinking about your most interesting conversation about Obama’s eulogy for Rev. Clementa Pinckney and it led me to thinking about Duke Ellington who, in a sense, figured... Continue reading
Posted Jul 14, 2015 at Cobb
(miley cyrus channels ethel merman) There's no loathing like self loathing like no loathing I know Every day I take a hundred selfies, every day I throw them all away I just always dream that I am wealthy but I... Continue reading
Posted Jul 13, 2015 at Cobb
Mr Robot presents us with a plausibly self-destructive young protagonist with a kind of concrete cast anti-social paranoia that most young people only wear as a mask. Still working out some very serious trust issues with his dysfunctional and dead... Continue reading
Posted Jul 11, 2015 at Cobb
AirBnB is worth less than Marriott because Marriott is a managed company in which people work and have loyalties and are thus employed as workers. AirBnB is an aggregation company in which the value accrues to a handful of coders that generated a market. So it's really a principled choice between aggregation financial work and people management work. If you stand against the over financialization of work, then you would value Marriott over AirBnB. Also I tend to thing of Aggregation money as lottery money. Same thing.
Toggle Commented Jul 12, 2015 on The Computer Snob at Cobb
1 reply
I'm not wishing for a better public, I'm just no longer participating in the scheme that says they can all be stronger, faster, better, simply because some coder makes it easier for them. I guess if I had to pick an enemy, it would be the person who is teaching people why Windows is so much better than anything else, or for better example why Sharepoint is better than the web. If I were a mechanic, I'd be a Porsche mechanic in a world of Pintos with no seatbelts. I'm not trying to see the freeways full of old Fords.
Toggle Commented Jul 12, 2015 on The Computer Snob at Cobb
1 reply
I'm turning the tide. I'm going back to what I used to say. I famously said to my father in 1993, "The internet is for me and for people like me. The rest of you can take the bus." The... Continue reading
Posted Jul 9, 2015 at Cobb
Bungie wields a dual-edged sword by sponsoring its community of crackhead gamers for the crack that is Destiny. Recently, one of the designers of the newest announce release 'The Taken King' has said that they have created player emotes that... Continue reading
Posted Jun 30, 2015 at Cobb
A couple years ago, when I was absorbing the wit and wisdom of Nutnfancy and developing my Peasant Theory (now mostly complete), I started The Downside Blog. The Downside Blog was kind of a prepperish journal of observing things that... Continue reading
Posted Jun 30, 2015 at Cobb
First Take So I hear that some 3-5% of Americans are now have legal blessing and sanction to do what they've been doing all of their lives. This is good news, presuming what they've been doing is good. I think... Continue reading
Posted Jun 26, 2015 at Cobb
When Nelson Mandela came to Los Angeles in the summer of 1990, I didn't go to see him at the Coliseum. But I do recall a couple things. The first was that all of the black gangs, the Bloods, the... Continue reading
Posted Jun 23, 2015 at Cobb
I'm not sure I have a point. I starting poking atheists with a stick a year ago because I was trying to find their soft chewy moral center and the result of my poking was that there was no center. So first of all this is a post that is actually from the archives and not representative of my front of mind. Nevertheless, I'm wanting to post to the blog more frequently these days so I'm repurposing stuff from Quora and cross-posting in here and at Facebook. So currently i use the term 'Small 'a' atheists' because I am convinced that the cult around Dawkins is small and unrepresentative. Most atheists I've encountered are lazy and have no philosophy and think of their atheism rather like one considers a tattoo, ie not indicative of anything but 'personal passion'. My original question was whether or not 'Atheists' would leave Christianity for the same reason they leave Buddhism, which is a question that nobody seems to consider. IE a disciplined rationale for debunking all religion on a similar basis. Nobody does that. Nobody even knows anybody who does. So atheism is rather like fashion, an off the shelf selection done in isolation. I expected more people to be as reasonable as Hitchens in their atheism. No such luck. Hitchens' atheism makes sense to me. The atheism I encounter in American conversation does not. I have particular reasons to consider the wisdom of theologists who at least have theology. But there is no parallel on the other side of the road, and this is what gives me fits - the total ignorance of theology by these small 'a' atheists and their consequent inability to make rational statements about religion (while they simultaneously claim to not be evangelistic about their cynicism).
Toggle Commented Jun 22, 2015 on Ten Atheist Fallacies at Cobb
1 reply
People tend to be unanimously favorable towards Bend, OR as well. Perhaps I conflate that with Eastern Washington.
Toggle Commented Jun 20, 2015 on Obligatory Seriousness on Charleston at Cobb
1 reply
1. The entire validity of a religion is premised on its ability to prove the existence of, and/or accurately describe God. 2. The dysfunction of any particular sect of a religion should affect one's perception of the entire religion. 3.... Continue reading
Posted Jun 20, 2015 at Cobb
Much appreciated.
Toggle Commented Jun 19, 2015 on Obligatory Seriousness on Charleston at Cobb
1 reply