Friday, August 28, 2009

My exaggerated eye-rolling muscles are in very good shape...

EyeballImage via Wikipedia

It was explained to me, at lunch today, that my response to ANYONE saying ANYTHING is an exaggerated eye-roll, followed by an animated condescending interrupting remark. My Baby-Love, my father, and my sister all had tears of laughter running down their faces as they saw my reptilian brain slowly realizing this was true. I found this out as we were all eating Mexican. I am horrified at myself. For my eye-rolling. It is so darn rude and lame. What a tool I seem to be.

Eyeball PyramidImage by Rammikins! via Flickr

I think I will ram some meat skewers through my eyeballs to prevent this. And wear a neck brace. And staple my eyebrows in place. And stuff a gym sock in my mouth at all times. Maybe this will help. With my compulsive eye rolling and rudeness. The fundamental problem is that I think everything anyone says is stupid, and I don't understand why they are talking. In my Aspergers mush brain, I don't understand why everyone isn't always silently reading a post-graduate statistics textbook every waking moment - reading for fun. So human talking annoys me, and I must interrupt it noisily and grotesquely, by shutting people down by showing them their stupidity. So I can go back to reading my post-graduate statistics textbook - for fun. My Baby-Love let me know she will happy to launch her fists into my eye sockets, closing my eyes under purple swollen bruised flesh, the next time I roll my eyes at her. So I have that going for me.

Black EyeImage by CTRL-F5 via Flickr

We will overcome this personal tragedy.

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The Associated Press: US senators discuss military equipment for Libya

The Associated Press: US senators discuss military equipment for Libya: "

Aug 14, 2009

TRIPOLI, Libya — A delegation of U.S. senators led by John McCain met with Libya's leader Friday to discuss the possible delivery of non-lethal defense equipment.

The visit and Washington's offer of military equipment was another sign of the improving ties between the former longtime adversaries.

'We discussed the possibility of moving ahead with the provision of non-lethal defense equipment to the government of Libya,' McCain said at a news conference. He gave no details on the kind of military equipment Washington is offering.


The American delegation also included Senators Joseph Lieberman, Susan Collins and Lindsey Graham.


Gheddafi # 4Image by Andy Ventura via Flickr

My comment: Wanted to save this before it completely fell into the Memory Hole. The whole Lockerbie Release is part of Western powers trade deals with Libya for oil and gas. Then there is the issue of Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi's guilt. As Libya and Iran jockey for western acceptance and trade, the other gets alternatively blamed for this bombing. The families of the victims get a front row seat for this sick and cynical game. The case is not strong against al-Megrahi, but there was a peculiar rush to pin all blame on Iran leading up to this release.
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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Dave Beazley writes more on Python's GIL

Inside the "Inside the Python GIL" Presentation
My comment: Thanks to Dave Beazley for doing some of the very best writing and research on Python's GIL. It removed much of my own stupidity on the subject.

A multithreaded process with two threads execu...Image via Wikipedia

What seems to be the answer: *** I/O bound threaded code - no risk of context switches swamping the CPU: For CPython's implementation, implementing the GIL using both a condition variable and an pthreads/OS mutex lock is the way to go, so that code can be developed on a single core machine, and not blow up on a multiple core machine (and vice-versa, to a degree). *** I/O bound threaded code - possibility of context switches swamping the CPU: As the number of "concurrent" events grows, there is a possibility of the CPU being swamped by the context switches involved in OS threading. The solution is, in pure Python, using event-driven multi-threading and deferred objects, using the Twisted library or rolling your own. You have the problem of avoiding writing blocking code, such as loops. And code that has the possibility of blocking must regularly check/pause to handle queued events. *** CPU intensive threaded code: 1) event-driven and deferred objects (using Twisted or rolling your own) - being careful to avoid loops and other long running code 2) "green" threads, implemented in pure Python - maintain your own stack of tuples of ("functionname", arg0, arg1) and ("continuationname", statevar0, statevar1), and dispatch on name from that stack - being careful to avoid loops and other long running code - if you have some code with a loop, break it up into more than one "continuationname0" "continuationname1" etc.

Die of an Intel 80486DX2 microprocessor (actua...Image via Wikipedia

3) message passing between Python processes 4) Python module multiprocessing - threading work-alike 5) combination of the above four 6) Why not modern shared mutable state threading like in Java and C#: the implementation in the virtual machines and the language and library constructs? Sweep away all the complexities of the above 5 with a single broom? I am prejudiced against general shared mutable state threading because it is brittle and non-deterministic. That makes it a non-starter: you are never able to make ANY guarantees about low-latency and performance after ANY change in the code, no matter how small. And to regain adequate low-latency and performance, your implementation could get very hairy very quickly. Of course, the penalty paid by my suggested approach is a hairy implementation right off the bat - I have to be honest about that. It seems to me: any techniques adequate to handle CPU intensive multi-threaded code would be overkill for I/O bound multi-threaded code. So best to deal with the cases separately. [ Use Google books to find out about "shared mutable state threading in Java" ] The biggest missing piece: in a long running high availability application (a candidate for multi-threaded code), code reloading on the fly. Right now, a terrible solution is using Erlang as a thin layer of supervisor code, where the real work is farmed out to Python. The only advantage of this approach is avoiding predictable failure modes. Armin Ronacher blogged about this problem:
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Dragon tattoo on forearm, because I would go nuts if I couldn't see it myself

If I got a tattoo on my back, I would have a obsessive compulsive freak-out because I could not see it myself, every five minutes.
Tattoo in progressImage via Wikipedia
I would have the dragon oriented so I could see it properly when I am seated at my desk, typing.
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Am I talking to you, or am I talking to your defensiveness?

Golden masks excavated in Kalmakareh, Lorestan...Image via Wikipedia

If people put up a "fake face" or a bunch of social coping techniques, out of defensiveness, I try to pick up on this within the first few seconds. Then I exponentially escalate my own obnoxiousness until the whole situation explodes. I do this because I am a jerk about that. I could come up with some spiritual mumbo-jumbo to make believe I am so deep and so real, but the truth is that I enjoy being a jerk about that. Probably because I cannot handle multiple layers of duplicity in humans, because of my own social anxiety, so forcing the whole situation to explode is my technique to end the stress. I recommend it. You rarely miss out on much if you send defensive people running away shouting and angry at you.

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Oldest child, initially rebellious to father, a winning combination...

Oldest male child, so from there would come the tendency for conservatism.

Can I Stand As Big And As Tall?Image by drp via Flickr

I had an alcoholic and abusive father, so, along with my own aggression, comes a tendency for rebellion. Now, that I have reconciled with father, and I admire what he was able to accomplish with his life and provide for his family, I have a combination of both conservatism and rebellion, that I feel works well for me. Both conservatism and rebellious revolutionary progressivism can be unbelievably idiotic, in the extremes. The two together, holding the worst parts of both in check, is pretty good way to be, I feel. Obviously, it takes a personality that can handle being in perpetual inner conflict and ambiguity. My skin is already on fire with anxiety, so a little more conflict barely matters. Err, the quicker I type, the more I reveal of my, how can I put this delicately, "potential for hideousness". Would it soften your opinion of me if I tell you that my loved ones are quick to laugh at me, and I am quick to join in on their laughter?...

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Social anxiety and dating...

{{Potd/2006-08-30 (en)}}Image via Wikipedia

"Um, wanna go get some coffee?" If you are a guy, and suffer from social anxiety: 1) get over yourself - if you do nothing else than buy a girl a cup of coffee and flatter her with a few minutes of attention (and awkward conversation), you have done well and done enough.

"Uh, wanna see the free showing of Dances With Wolves on campus?" If you are a guy, and suffer from social anxiety: 2) If you worry about your "friends" approval of girls you date - don't date. Until you scrape together some more maturity, just concentrate on being a friendly guy in a friendly group. Give girls a friendly smile and a friendly quick gaze in her eyes, because girls deserve friendly smiles and friendly gazes.

Night Club and the Slot machines in Kharkov, U...Image via Wikipedia

"Uh, you want to dance? Oh, wait, this song is lame. Next song..." If you are a guy, and suffer from social anxiety: 3) Girls are interesting. Wait, wait, wait on trying to bed one of them. With the pressure off on trying to bed them, just soak in how interesting different girls are.

(Goth dance club) "Uh, you want I get you a bottle of water?" If you are a guy, and suffer from social anxiety: 4) Pertaining to the question of whether girls are attracted to jerks or not - forget it. Work on the assumption that you will be unable to conceal your true nature, and go ahead and wear your heart on your sleeve. You flatter yourself if you worry some girl will try to break your heart or take advantage of you - nobody cares enough to bother. Your "game" consists of bringing your whole self, and being brave enough to step ahead of shuffling crowd.

jtree.Image via Wikipedia

(After camping with a group of friends) "Uh, I drew you a picture of the camping trip we went on." If you are a guy, and suffer from social anxiety: 5) Learn to love rejection. Every rejection takes you closer to a "Yes". "Yes" only comes after collecting a requisite amount of humiliating rejections - enough to callous you to sense of rejection. The more scared you are of a particular rejection, more important to collect TWO rejections before next day sun rise.

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Thursday, August 6, 2009

Ten Habits of Incompetent Managers

Very well written and perceptive article by Margaret Heffernan ( via via Google Reader Rajneesh Garg ) Quoting Toni Bowers:
I came across a great piece about traits that incompetent managers share. Written by Margaret Heffernan for, this no-nonsense piece cuts to the chase and is about as true a list as I’ve ever seen.
Read the whole piece. Here are the ten:
  1. UbsnewyorkImage via Wikipedia

    Bias against action
  2. Secrecy
  3. Over-sensitivity
  4. Love of procedure
  5. Preference for weak candidates
  6. Focus on small tasks
  7. Inability to hire former employees
  8. Allergy to deadlines
  9. Addiction to consultants
  10. Long hours
Network of Executive Women Online, speaking about Margaret Heffernan's book The Naked Truth:
For those women who think "you can have it all," comes this contrarian view from business journalist and former technology CEO Margaret Heffernan. Heffernan interviewed more than fifty mostly female executives for this book and it delivers, as the title promises, some hard truths about the work and lives of women executives. Some women think even less of their own capabilities than their male counterparts do and often aim low from the very beginning. Many male executives continue to stereotype women ("geisha," "bitch") and try to hold them down. Toxic bosses and hostile work environments still abound. Sexual harassment, pay discrimination and hostility to the "mommy track" are not everywhere a thing of the past. But Heffernan and her interview subjects (many identified only by pseudonyms) aren't just doom and gloom. They offer real solutions to the challenges women executives face on and off the job. How to increase confidence, build relationships and reputation, create alliances and networks, mentor and be mentored, and avoid the familiar trap, "I'll do it myself."
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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Temptation: How much energy spent to guard against it?

Nice popular science writing "Research Shows Temptation More Powerful Than Individuals Realize" ( I read it through )
The study, led by Loran Nordgren, senior lecturer of management and organizations at the Kellogg School, examined how an individual's belief in his/her ability to control impulses such as greed, drug craving and sexual arousal influenced responses to temptation. The research found the sample, on average, displayed a "restraint bias," causing individuals to miscalculate the amount of temptation they could truly handle, in turn leading to a greater likelihood of indulging impulsive or addictive behavior. 8/3/2009 - The study will appear in an upcoming issue of Psychological Science. Nordgren co-authored the research with Joop van der Pligt and Frank van Harreveld of the University of Amsterdam.

Day #8: varying levels of procrastinationImage by j.lee43 via Flickr

This led me to think about Internet and other distractions in my life - dealing with those temptations. I can see that I have relied too much on just throwing myself into familiar situations, where I have succumbed to coping behaviors instead of doing the work that will help me long term. I have to think about the appropriate amount of energy to spend on maintaining a disciplined state of mind. I can see that my judgement always erred on spending too little energy to maintain a disciplined state of mind. And it is a skill - the capability increases with practice.

Posture Theory DiagramImage by bluelephant via Flickr

And the external appearance of discipline is important too, because the action and the feeling are linked, and the action call call out the fullness of the feeling. Even just a physiological posture can help.
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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

These are my actual daily-life inventions. Enjoy. Patent pending.

20090328 – we're all a bunch of NerdsImage by Debby A via Flickr

The Color-Inator: This invention is having a grown man carry around a Hello Kitty 5 color pen + mechanical pencil, so he can sign red-lines at work, and mark up notes in all his books, by some multi-color scheme of stars and brackets and arrows. Duct tape holding the pen together is a prominent feature. A critical part of the invention is being large enough so people are uneasy to make a comment. The Bowl-Inator: This invention consists of at least three water bowls in the backyard, so the dog always has at least one water bowl in the shade, and has extra bowls so when she dips her paws in her water bowl to cool them down, she still has others with clean water.

ComplicatedImage by m4r00n3d via Flickr

The Complicate-Inator: This invention has a large, twitchy, anxious man complicate everything he does, and makes every task take 300% more time, to the exasperation of his wife. After he exhausts himself from futile effort, he collapses in bed, to the exasperation of his wife. This invention is a cure for un-exasperated wives. The Chew-Inator: This invention is a way to continuously move food from the front teeth to the back teeth to the back of the throat, via gravity and skilled movement of the tongue and jaws. You can eat with continuous large bites, without pause. The semi-chewed food is continuously swallowed in massive gulps, and the plate is cleared at a shocking rate. This invention is a way to fascinate and horrify dining partners. The Pause-Inator: My invention solves the problem of people trying to communicate with you. Whenever somebody says "What?" or "Excuse me?", you wait three seconds before repeating. Then, if you are interrupted again, you pause again, adding three seconds more to the length of the pause. You fastidiously pause at even the slightest interruption, always adding three more seconds to the pause. A completely blank expression tops off the technique. People complain about

Getting Passive Aggressive @ WorkImage by heather via Flickr

passive-aggressive behavior, but isn't it better than aggressive-aggressive behavior? It is preferable to pushing people down stairs or over balconies. Not pushing people is also my invention. I call it the Non-Push-Inator.

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Monday, August 3, 2009

Long dark twenties

"Long Dark Twenties" was a song on the Kids In the Hall movie "Brain Candy" soundtrack. It had the lyric:

"He sized things up He was dismayed At how the years had flown by so fast He had a future He had a dream But all he really wanted was to have a past"

At 25, I thought this was talking about me. Now, I realize that I, personally, was deprived only of a certain kind of past, and I definitely had a past. I can remember it all, thankfully.

Tree of Life in Spring

(Erf.) I kind of missed out on my first quarter century of life. I was all wrapped up in protecting my fragile ego, and I had absolutely no energy left to live life. That plus depression. I finally had a breakdown at 25, and I sure would have appreciated having it earlier. But I cannot generate much self pity. The Raw Spot is embryonic compassion. The very best injuries are the ones that never fully heal, because now you have the prerequisite for authentic compassion. I hope to form that authentic compassion during the rest of my life.

November 15th 2008 - The Rope May Not Be Tight...Image by Stephen Poff via Flickr

The weirdest part is knowing that if I had a time machine, I doubt I could have pushed my younger self to a better place. It would have been like pushing on a rope. Maybe I am being too pessimistic. One of the nice things about the Internet is that it is collecting, for all time, stories about humans that are true and have happy endings, but which are completely unmarketable. If you want to write a story about human triumph that is completely unmarketable, put a long hard slog in the middle of the story, and end it with an internal personal victory, and an ambiguous external victory.


This image depicts the Tree of Life derived fr...Image via Wikipedia

Read and listen more about "The Raw Spot" - spoken lecture by Zoketsu Norman Fischer.

The title, "The Raw Spot," refers to the teaching by Chogyam Trungpa on embryonic compassion, which grows from the sore or raw or wounded spot in our bodies and hearts.

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