Slashdot | Can People Really Program 80 Hours a Week?

November 25th, 2004 § 0

Link: Slashdot | Can People Really Program 80 Hours a Week?.


Intelligent healthy young people can spend most of their waking hours doing simple tasks which do not require exceptional creativity. The deffinition of work which can be accomplished in a sixty hour working week is therefore non creative and repetitive.

If you are working sixty hours plus a week, then you are not doing work which taxes your mind and you are wasting your talents. Of course its on offer and does pay the bills and therefore is not neccessarily a bad thing from a financial point of view. However it is bad for your physical, mental, spititual and social health.

Variety is the spice of life, all work and no play makes jack a dull boy, addicts do not make good friends – I can think of no aphorisms which praise spending excessive time doing the same thing. Why do you think Archimedies is reputed to have discovered the law of displacement of water being equal to the weight of a floating body in the bath – most insights are generated when you walk away from the task and see the whole picture whilst your mind idles. Maybe your job is so simple that your not even thinking about it half of the time and you can solve the interesting problems whilst “working” – in which case a machine should be doing that “work”. Thats how the industrial revolution changed the world of “work” and its comming to the world of software real soon now.

If sucess is just a question of working more hours then beware, because half the world is underemployed and they are a lot cheaper than you.

warburg | life at the bahnhof | fabien – photo of the day

November 16th, 2004 § 0

Warburg was a dismal grey place.


warburg | life at the bahnhof | fabien - photo of the day Continues »

Arts and Politics: Why entertainment industry endorsement of Kerry didn’t translate into votes – It did

November 8th, 2004 § 0

Chicago Tribune | When artists talk . . . does anyone listen?:

the Bush administration continuing to oppose the artistic and entertainment establishment. “What they’ve realized now is that cultural warfare not only works but it triumphs — that stigmatizing, demonizing not only is a device, it is the device,” Gabler said. “It is the way to govern the country.”

“The Republicans ran directly and very successfully against the arts here,” said Alan Woods, a longtime professor of theater and cultural history at Ohio State University. “In Ohio, Bush played the Midwest off against the culture of the coasts. I don’t think the arts are at all persuasive to people in Ohio anymore. Then again, I am not sure they ever were persuasive on a political level.”

All this is second-guessing. The massive endorsement of John F. Kerry by arts and entertainment personalities helped bring his candidacy back from the dead after the persistent slander he endured (Swift boat vets).

Moreover, those endorsements helped him carry an enormous majority of both urban and well-educated voters. And finally, he did win the election. The Bush team just had another more important endorsement from Diebold CEO Wally O’Dell.

Inflated and deflated numbers. Urban districts under serviced as well as undercounted (people couldn’t wait long enough to vote).

The last minute movement to Bush really isn’t credible.

Now we should believe that the Democrats should give up celebrity endorsement. What’s next? Democrats should be wooing instead the endorsement right-wing fanatical preachers? Read the Tribune article to understand how nonsensical this has all become.

Iraqis who take up guns to defend their homeland are terrorists. American soldiers who bring overwhelming firepower to civilian neighbourhoods from ground or sky are heroes and defenders of freedom. Endorsement of the Republicans by crackpot evangelicals is effective campaigning. Endorsement of the Democrats by the icons of the arts and entertainment world is alienating.

Orwell has arrived! Welcome to Newspeak.

Who attends Dance (in America at least): Expanding Dance Audiences

November 8th, 2004 § 0

Chicago Tribune | The selling of dance:

Who attends dance performances?

The Chicago Community Trust, with help from Prince Charitable Trusts, funded research that focused on the local dance audience. The profiling data, gleaned from the phone surveys and focus groups with arts patrons, are to be used to help dance companies gain broader recognition and boost ticket sales. A look inside the demographics of “dance attenders,” or those who have attend-ed one or more professional dance performances in the last year.

71% are female (29 percent male).

56 years old, on average.

77% are white (12 percent Latino, 7 percent Black).

63% are urban dwellers (37 percent live in suburbs).

59% took dance classes growing up.

60% do artistic or creative activities themselves.

The number in there which really surprised me is that sixty per cent of those who attend dance, practiced at one point or another. It’s true that there are always a significant proportion of current professional dancers, dance teacher, ex-prima ballerinas as well as a legion of young people presently studying dance in most given audiences.

Many times I have taken culturally aware people (who go to at least one of museums, theatre or art cinema regularly) to dance performances. Usually mixed results. They are not often sold on making it a regular part of their lives. They think of it more as a curiosity than anything else.

Oftentimes, either the music is alienating. Most of the classical ballet canon, apart from Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes pieces scored by Stravinsky or taken from Rimsky-Korsakov symphonies, are set to wretchedly banal scores, Swan Lake the notable exception. Even Giselle is maudlin. Or the modern stuff is just cacophonous. Or to sparse to be enjoyed (a single high hat being tinkled twice on the minute).

In modern dance in North America (and to a lesser extent in Europe) one suffers from the “anyone can be a dancer” train of thought, which considers that not personal beauty, stage charisma or dance talent should play a deciding factor in one’s ability to express oneself via movement in front of others. In classical dance in North America, audiences all suffer from the Auschwitz factor. The gentlemen who rule the roost have no great taste for the female figure. And so the female dancers are all young Adonis without rounded shoulder or bottoms or breast. Not a curve in sight.

These twig figures are hardly muses or and in many cases are barely recognisable as humans, let alone adult human females. Fortunately in Europe, the female dancers, depending on the company, are far more authentically proportioned. And thus more pleasing to the untrained eye. Perhaps it should not be a surprise that ballet enjoys wider favour among audiences in European cities.

So just how does one expand dance audiences? The eternal question.

In my particular case, take beautiful pictures of dance and publicise dance as widely as possible. Personal experience has shown this not to be enough.

More pleasing performers and consistently higher calibre music would help enormously. In any case, that strategy worked for Diaghilev.

But in general it would seem that answer would be to expand dance schools and train as many people as possible in Terpsichore’s art.

As a remedy for the general gracelessness of the world and problems of form, this would probably offer considerable both health and aesthetic benefits. Perhaps the Health Ministries should get involved.

A supple body and awareness of the body contribute mightily to a good intimate life. Perhaps the tabloids and the women’s magazines could join the effort.

Free or Not: the Case for and mostly Against Micropayments

November 7th, 2004 § 3

I hope this is not true, but it seems to be. In my own experience with Bitpass, it certainly seemed to be. I couldn’t find anything that I wanted to buy and when I did find a few things that I did want (music), the prices were the same as at the Apple store (75¢ to 99¢/track). And the particular music – quite frankly – was not worth it. At 25¢/track I would have made more of an effort to find dig through the dross. This is the sort of thing which keeps major record labels in business. In the end, Bitpass kept almost my whole $5 starter account unused – obvious winners. But I never added to that account – everyone loses. The whole independent online art and music commercial space needs to be revisited with better editorial and with prices that are more in line with the costs. Whoever gets this right will be Croesus. Nothing to envy to Bill Gates. Link: The Case Against Micropayments.

There is a certain amount of anxiety involved in any decision to buy, no matter how small, and it derives not from the interface used or the time required, but from the very act of deciding. Micropayments, like all payments, require a comparison: “Is this much of X worth that much of Y?” There is a minimum mental transaction cost created by this fact that cannot be optimized away, because the only transaction a user will be willing to approve with no thought will be one that costs them nothing, which is no transaction at all. Thus the anxiety of buying is a permanent feature of micropayment systems, since economic decisions are made on the margin – not, “Is a drink worth a dollar?” but, “Is the next drink worth the next dollar?” Anything that requires the user to approve a transaction creates this anxiety, no matter what the mechanism for deciding or paying is. The desired state for micropayments – “Get the user to authorize payment without creating any overhead” – can thus never be achieved, because the anxiety of decision making creates overhead. No matter how simple the interface is, there will always be transactions too small to be worth the hassle.

Exit Polls Contradict “Official Results”: Another Steal for Bush?

November 5th, 2004 § 2

Houston we have a problem.

The exit polls contradict the results in many States.

In how many and by how much the results are out of line will have to wait until the numbers for the extensive exit poll conducted by a consortium of six news organisations, including all major US broadcasters.

Television networks proceed cautiously with rebuilt exit polling system:
Although no major problems in the new systems were reported, the early exit polls caused concern.

When the 2004 results are completely known, the networks will look at whether this year’s exit polls overestimated Democratic vote counts, said Bill Wheatley, NBC News vice president….Those early numbers looked so positive for Kerry that Fox News Channel analyst Jim Pinkerton, at 3:30 p.m. EST, said, “I think it looks good for angry Democrats.”

I believe that the mandate of the Bush team was to keep things close enough that they would be able to gerrymander the election without getting caught out.

At this point, they have not succeeded as John F. Kerry has not conceded the election and I don’t believe he will until there is a clean bill of health for all the counts.

All the Democrats need to contest this election is a clear demonstration in even one state of foul play with the electronic voting machines or of discarded or incinerated ballots or of partisan ballot counts or of extensive disqualification of eligible voters.


Kerry has conceded. The democrats have not bothered to dispute the electronic vote. I maintain my position that the election results were doctored where necessary – by a small margin two to three percent.

Paper votes are difficult enough to count reliably, without attempting to rely upon computers. I work with computers every day – and most others like me who do – would never trust them with the voting mechanism of the state.

With Republicans in control of two of the three arms of political power and in a position to bring the courts into line, I expect this will be the last election where there is much hope of a free vote. The electronic voting machines will be so thoroughly entrenched by 2008 that the Republicans will be literally unbeatable.

The consequences ahead for America and the world from this failed attempt to wrest power from the insane military regime in the United States could not be more grave.

We are poised now in June 1914 in Europe or February 1917 in Russia or February 1933 in Germany.

The world is already in flames. Many in the American electorate have chosen to throw on gasoline.

The final sliver was stolen. The Republic is has come to an end, Empire has begun.

It ended badly for the Romans, it ended badly for the British, it will end very badly for the Americans as well. In the meantime, the pain to the rest of the world will be immeasurable.

The Election Lost: Everything Points to Diebold and Manipulation of Election Results

November 4th, 2004 § 0

Atrios – Edited Comments on the Election Lost: Everything Points to Diebold

If voters can be challenged, why can’t the machines be challenged? With all the lawyers available, it looks like the voting machines could be opened to examination in questionable exit poll/real poll precincts and thoroughly reviewed by software engineers (don’t go back to Diebold to get the source). There might not be a “software” trail but who knows.
fletch | Email | Homepage | 11.03.04 – 1:36 pm | #

The Election Lost: Everything Points to Diebold and Manipulation of Election Results Continues »

How does Karl Rove know that Bush would win in Ohio?

November 3rd, 2004 § 0

The New York Times > Washington > Election 2004 > The President’s View: Among Family and Friends, a Confident Bush Waits:

At a rally in Albuquerque on Monday night, Mr. Rove was asked how Mr. Bush would compensate in the Electoral College if he lost Ohio.

“We’re winning Ohio,” Mr. Rove relied. “And we will win Ohio.” Then he repeated it like a mantra, or a wish: “We will win Ohio. We will win Ohio. We will win Ohio. We will win Ohio. We will win Ohio.”

What does Karl Rove know that we don’t know?