Would have been fitting for 2020

A Hawaiian volcano displayed a smiley; would have been fitting for 2020 but it happened July 27th 2016.













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Cargo cults

I thought I had written about cargo cults before, but when searching through my archive I found nothing. Apparently I have only talked about it…

Cargo cult is an expression that is sometimes used to describe how we act, when we don’t know, and certainly don’t understand, the causality of an event; but we hope that if we repeat our actions the same event will occur.

If you work with modern day computers, you will have some cargo cult acts; the systems are so complex that even us professionals are sometimes flummoxed.

The important thing is to be aware of when you are acting this way so you don’t fall into the trap of actually believing that you know the cause-and-effect.

Cargo cult as an expression has a long history and was for some time used in a derogatory way to talk about “backwards” cultures, especially in Melanesia. On the Pacific islands, during WWII, some islanders observed how the American troops arrived on their island, cleared an area for a runway and then transport planes would arrive with supplies. After the Americans moved on, the islanders tried get more supplies by copying the behaviour of the American troops.

Cargo cults are more generally the belief that if you adhere to a certain ritual, a more technological advanced society will deliver goods.

But of course, the history of cargo cults is long and complex.

In our daily lives we do however act in much the same way, and I don’t think the islanders were stupid. It really is just variation on Arthur C. Clarke’s “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”












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Every time you prove you’re not a robot,

a robot becomes better at proving that it’s you.
Benjamin Boyce











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Fun on the beach

This is from 1896:


When we did this, more than a century later on a beach in Normandy, our dress was a lot less formal. But it was fun to catch shrimps this way and we even cooked some of them for dinner.








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Never interrupt

Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake
— attributed to Napoleon Bonaparte










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Krulak’s Law

The closer you get to the front, the more power you have over the brand

Named after USA General Charles C. Krulak, who was thinking about military leadership and training when he developed the Three Block War concept, paraphrased as:

Marines may be required to conduct full-scale military action, peacekeeping operations and humanitarian aid within the space of three contiguous city blocks

When applied to businesses, this is a reminder that the front-line employees are the face of the business, and this requires a high level of decision-making and autonomy at the lowest levels of that business.


The experience people have with your brand is in the hands of the person you pay the least.









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Deprecation is bit-rot

dep•re•cate: 3. To mark (a component of a software standard) as obsolete to warn against its use in the future so that it may be phased out.

bit rot: The inability to access digital data over time.

Google has a disease. Deprecation is bit-rot. If they keep deprecating everything, Google Cloud will never stand a chance.
Steve Yegge

This mirrors my experiences with backwards compatibility, and lack thereof. There can be good reasons to deprecate something, but in most cases it is simply done because the company no longer wishes to maintain a service or an API and therefore just stops.

Unfortunately this often leads to a lot of other companies having to, each on their own, use their resources to update their systems. These resources are spent but they gain nothing from it; it’s just expenses used on getting their systems to run exactly as they did before.

So a company that continually deprecates their services or breaks backwards compatibility becomes a company that is expensive to use.







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The idea of a planned society

Intellectuals are naturally attracted by the idea of a planned society, in the belief that they will be in charge of it.
— Roger Scruton, “Fools, Frauds, and Firebrands: Thinkers of the New Left”









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Selling out doesn’t always pay

The most recent example is Disney’s live-action remake of their animated Mulan movie, aptly named “Mulan”. China is a very important market for American movies, which is why many of the include at least short scenes in Chinese – or Chinese looking – cities. The last Hollywood movie that criticised China was “Seven Years in Tibet”; that movie meant that its star Brad Pitt was not allowed into China for 2 decades.

So Disney chose to adapt their remake to appeal to the Chinese market in many ways, and also chose China-born actors for starring roles.

Except, this new Mulan is shot in part in the province Xinjiang and since the claims of human rights abuses there have become known,

The Chinese government has ordered major media outlets in China to not cover the release of Walt Disney’s “Mulan.” Authorities ordered the ban as controversy broke out over the film’s links with China’s Xinjiang region, where China is committing mass human rights abuses against the Uighur minority population and others
— “China bans media coverage of Disney’s ‘Mulan’ in attempt to hide Xinjiang mass abuse

“Mass human rights abuses” is an understatement.











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Again, no. No to discrimination


The defining question is whether the discrimination is creating equity or inequity. If discrimination is creating equity, then it is antiracist. If discrimination is creating inequity, then it is racist. […]

The only remedy to racist discrimination is antiracist discrimination. The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination.
— Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist

The proper response to this is probably not sarcastic, but it does illustrate the point:

If breaking a few eggs makes an omelette, then it is antiracist.

If breaking a few eggs makes a soufflé, then it is racist.
Claire Lehmann

Because racism is racism, even though it’s being branded as anti-racism. So when New York University implements racial segregation in student dorms, it’s racial segregation. When companies implement quotas for ethnic groups, it’s just an absurdly politically correct way of doing racism.












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