Friday, March 13, 2015

The Inverse Relationship between Creative Genius and Noise

A few months back, I changed jobs.  My previous job was in a very noisy environment.  It did not need to be noisy, but I reported to a person that had the attention span of a retarded howler monkey.  He was always irritated at me for my desire for quiet.  I am a software developer (among other things), and software development is a creative activity that requires concentration.  I can keep my focus for many hours on end, provided I am not distracted by the sounds of other primates.  My concentration is so strong, I once drove from Los Angeles, California to Brownsville, Texas, alone, stopping on for fuel, food, and bathrooms - basically non-stop.

I was delighted to come across this article: Easily Distracted By Noise?  You Might Just Be A Creative Genius.  Laugh at my lack of humility, if you wish, but I am a creative genius.  However, what I loved so much about this claim is that it shows just how dull that howler monkey really is.


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Wealthy Have Less Empathy

The findings of this psychologist's research corroborate my own personal experience, both earlier in my life and recently.  As a child, I had a paper route.  Some areas of town that were on this route had wealthier people and other areas had poorer people.  I notice early on, and it remained true, that the wealthier tipped more poorly than the poor tipped.  The difference wasn't small, it was huge, on the order of several hundred percent.

More recently, I worked at an office where this phenomenon held glaringly true as well.  While the underpaid workers were mutually supportive and compassionate to one another, the upper scum of the company was exactly the opposite.  After I left, an employee of their parent company lost her apartment to a fire.  The wealthy upper scum of the child company attempted to recruit the poorer workers in an effort to donate to this employee of the parent company that lost all she had.  They did this because it would gain favor with the executive level of the parent company.  They pressured workers that had nothing to give into donating.  Meanwhile, the wealthiest of all, a man we nicknamed "The Suit", boldly donated coupons for discount travel, a product of the company, to the unfortunate employee of the parent company (at least that is what he said he did).  These donations cost him nothing.  Moreover, how could an impoverished person that just lost everything afford to travel, even with a discount?  It reminds me of a childhood joke, where students are asked by their teacher to write a story about a poor family.  A rich girl in the class wrote: "They were so poor that the maid was poor, the butler was poor, and the chauffeur was poor."

Clearly, The Suit has no empathy.  We all know what the psychological term for this is.
 


Friday, February 20, 2015

Rauðilækur

"Rauðilækur" is Icelandic for "Red River."  Obviously, a reference to the rivers of lava coming from Iceland's volcanoes.

Mammút - Til mín

Ég elska þessa tónlist.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Episode 2: The Adventures of Íþtard (Eeth-tard), American Hero Programmer


There are many ways of dividing programmers into two groups and one of those ways is to put all of the honest programmers in one group and all of the dishonest programmers into the second group.  An honest programmer is willing to admit the limits of his or her knowledge (OK, so I should have typed “his” because we know there are few female programmers, not because women are incapable of being programmers, but because the programming profession is dominated by immature macho attitudes created by the likes of our hero,  Íþtard, and women don't like to be surrounded by such social retards).   Íþtard is a member of the second group.   Íþtard knows everything.  He knows things he never heard of before.  He knows things that he doesn't even understand.  If there is a thing,  Íþtard knows it.  If someone describes something to Íþtard, something Íþtard does not understand, Íþtard glows with confidence and projects an assured mien, because Íþtard knows it. Íþtard needs you to believe he knows it.  He needs you to absolutely believe he knows it, because if you believe he knows it, you won't ask him any questions to verify that he knows it because, if you did, that would be awkward, since he doesn't know it at all.  His need that you believe that he knows it is so great he, himself, believes he knows it.  There is nothing Íþtard does not know.

Nevertheless, this causes Íþtard to be Mr. Obvious.  When Íþtard actually does know something, he behaves as if no one else knows it, and then attempts to demonstrate to others that he, Íþtard, knows this thing that everyone else knows but Íþtard thinks no one knows. While this may seem to be self defeating, it is not.  Well, at least at TravTech it is an advantage, and here is why.  On the other hand, I could explain why, but no one likes being lectured to and this discourse on Íþtard is getting too long winded, so let's get on with our story.

TravTech has a CEO, let's call him T-Rex and TravTech has a Director of Development, like most software development corporations, let's call him Jack Off. Íþtard, therefore, has a boss.  Íþtard's bosses are not bright.  You could say that when The Flying Spaghetti Monster was giving out meatballs, the CEO and Development Director ended up with the vegan dish.  They each were two balls short of a platter.  While Íþtard had just one ball, his bosses had no balls at all.  It was easy to deceive the two dunces above him.  What they could not understand, they could believe, provided it was said with confidence and the projection of confidence was Íþtard's forte.

And so our scene opens...  The CEO's door is open and the director is sitting in the room so Íþtard begins to explain to everyone what a loop is.  I know, you're thinking, “Duh, everyone knows what a fucking loop is in programming!”  You are right.  Everyone knows, but when Íþtard explains it, he explains it like he had an epiphany, and with that tone of confidence colored with a vacuous aire of insight, it sounds down right impressive to two men without balls.  The rest of the crew are sitting there releasing a chorus of mentally perceptual “Duhs”, but no one says a word because it's a small cramped room and the dunces without balls just might not know what a loop is after all.

Íþtard walks up to the white board, and writes:

while (condition) {
    statement;
    ...
}

And then says, “This is a loop.... blah blah blah blah blah blah................. blah blah blah bah..........”  Someone shakes his leg and the floor vibrates like a small earthquake. “Blah blah blah....”  No one is actually listening.  “Blah blah blah....”

This goes on and on.  Íþtard feels good about himself.  Finally he sits down.  People get back to work.  Jack Off, his boss, is impressed. Íþtard just might be manager material.

.... to be continued ...

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Adventures of Íþtard (Eeth-tard), American Hero Programmer

Testosterone driven, socially impaired, and hyped up on a mix of caffeine and ibuprofen, Íþtard arrives for his first day at his new job at TravTech, a wicked pissah and generally awesome computer software company targeting the travel market.  Clean shaven and attired in nerd appropriate shirt and pants,  Íþtard is about to start a new adventure in nerd domination.  He steps out of his car into the parking lot of the corporate digs, pulls up his flood-pants, grabs his well organized backpack, and strides forth into the great unknown, but generally predictable, world of software development.

Ascending the creaking stairs of the dilapidated old building, up into the rarefied realm of programming prowess,  Íþtard skulks into his assigned seat within the open office plan, in the attic of this stuffy New England barn/software development house.  Noisily his backpack thumps upon the floor.  He unzips it and pulls out the keyboard he ordered online, the one with the noisiest clicky keys he could find, and places it on his tilted desk, in a room that looks like the bad-guys hangout from a scene in an old Batman episode.  He plugs his keyboard in.  Opens the laptop.  Turns it on. Waits for it to boot.  When it has finished booting, Pow! Bank! Click! Click! Clickclickclickclick....click,  Íþtard is off an running, getting very little done, but making the world know that he is here.  Listen to him click!  Watch him go, building up a sweat as he clicks away.   Íþtard has launched!

… to be continued ...