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Kaius  ·  39 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Useful Spy Books

Good ones.

I ran into another this morning:

Life: Health, Wealth, Freedom; In general most people only have two at any one time.

- Youth you have Health and Freedom but usually lack wealth to take advantage of the Freedom

- Mid-life you have Health and Wealth but lack Freedom due to responsibilities (job, kids)

- Old age you have Wealth and Freedom but may lack the Health to take advantage of the Freedom

Kaius  ·  39 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Useful Spy Books

From somewhere in the middle of this article:

    One is what I would like to call the communication triangle. Communications can be secure, easy to use or hard to detect. But seldom all three.

In the software world we have oft used anecdote: Cost, Scope, Time: pick the two you want, you can't get all three. You roll it out whenever someone asks you to build Amazon.com when they only have a Wordpress level budget or a two week deadline. I like it for its brevity and conciseness, its understood immediately and retained well. It also gives a nice insight into the difficulties of a particular technical domain, yet avoids having to explain anything technical at all.

Are there other examples of this in other fields beyond Software and Spycraft? I would assume Politics, Medical practice, Law, Criminal investigation has similar trade-off triangles.

Kaius  ·  41 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: ‘Never Forget’ Is Breaking America

I remember reading this David Foster Wallace article when it first came out (2007). His thought experiment was that America should not respond with rage, and instead the right approach was to view the victims of 911 as "democratic martyrs" as Wallace puts it. Over the years his sentiment has returned to me several times, usually when I take my shoes off in an airport.

Of course it is also an impossible response for a country to accept. Were the 88/12% split in the opposite direction, which it would need to be to be accepted; my guess is that the 12% would burn the country down in their grief and anger.


One thing that I am constantly amazed by is the "They hate us because of our freedom!" sentiment. I mean do people really think that some dude in Afghanistan hates a country 3K miles away because of their political system? I'd say its far more likely the fact that his grandmother was blown to bits by a drone strike is the root cause don't ya think. Or in other words, they might have good reason to hate.

Kaius  ·  69 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Lying with charts time edition

    Amazon absolutely tracks your cookies that tightly. I saved myself $80 on a hard drive a month ago by searching on Amazon, searching on NewEgg, searching on Best Buy and then searching on Amazon again.

Or waiting 2 days for them to email with "Oh hey that thing you wanted has surprisingly dropped in price 10%, click here to buy it..."

Kaius  ·  102 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Building a vision of life without work.

    Yer blogger seems absolutely gobsmacked that his girlfriend doesn't want to spend her life playing video games and going to museums.

    I dunno, man. This guy seems to utterly disrespect anything other than "doing nothing".

Right, which I think is the fatal flaw. He worked to free himself from the need to work, escaping FROM it but not TO something else apart from sitting around the house and taking a few trips.

I suspect that you have no problem filling time with interesting projects that enrich your life. I know I often look at the 40 hours a week spent working as a (mandatory) demand on my time which reduces availability to do other things, learning new skills etc. That is its a job. If retirement was an option, my approach would be "retiring from needing to spend 40 hours doing X every week, freeing me to do more of A-Z in the future", not "retiring to the couch to play Xbox 40 hours a week". In the last week I have spent my evenings and weekends fixing oil boilers, timber floors, water mains, painting, decorating, plastering... And its a blast, I enjoy learning and doing new things.

    Did he seem happy? 'cuz some people find their niche. They are to be envied, not pitied.

He was content, which is probably a less fickle state than happiness in the long run. I mentioned him as an example of the opposite extreme and maybe as an example of how people on the extremes can have lots of similarities; where the blogger wanted to leave work and had nothing else, my friend wanted to stay working as he had nothing else. Its one thing to work when you have to, another to continue working when it is no longer a requirement but you enjoy it; but to shut yourself off from all other experiences (which both extremes seemed to do) is best avoided.

In your earlier post you mentioned that people overthink all of this and I would agree. To me it all comes down to the time you have and how you spend it. Should you find yourself financially independent, if you like what you do and have no interesting in other activities then stick with it, in my case I suspect that the desire to learn something new that does not align with my current job (and may not be economically viable) would be too strong to not pursue.

Kaius  ·  103 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Building a vision of life without work.

See his follow up from 5 years later: https://livingafi.com/2021/03/17/the-2021-early-retirement-update/

I remember when I was in my early twenties chatting to two guys who were in their late 50's/early 60's and the topic of what they would do if they won the lottery came up. One said he would change nothing and keep working, which was a totally alien concept to me at the time. I couldn't understand how someone who had spent ~40 years doing a job, wouldn't jump at the chance to do something/anything different when given the option. His friend agreed more with me, and said he would do something (I think he mentioned Travel) to change his lifestyle. I left the conversation warning myself to never become like the first guy who seemed utterly devoid of any energy or curiosity of the world beyond his job.

Kaius  ·  158 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Shrek at 20: an unfunny and overrated low for blockbuster animation

Well.... I mean the Muppet show is arguably artistically more high brow than Shrek, but if someone tried to put on Kermit and Ms. Piggy during a Netflix and Chill session it would also indicate to me that things ain't gonna last... right? My point being that "not going to go well" is exactly the correct assessment to make for lots of movie selections from Shrek to Transformers if you are hoping to impress someone.

A lot of the popular movies now are shit nostalgia fests and all, but Shrek is intended for immature audiences, right? Most mature adults who saw it would have done so with their kids and laughed along at the fart jokes, the whole point is that it entertains the young'uns and is not too god-awful for the rest of us to endure.

For what its worth I tried to introduce my kids to Spirited Away, Nausicaa and a some other films like that about a year ago and they were bored, as the concept of a ghost representing time or whatever was not interesting enough to hold their gaze for long. They are also bored by the Marvel movies once the whizz-bang scenes are over...

Patrick Freyne is a top notch satirist and this article summed up the ridiculousness perfectly. My favourite bit is the commas around "also", its just perfect.

I had an argument with a friend recently, triggered by the Meghan interview (Meghxit? although surely now that Oprah and Beyonce are involved it should be Meghan-gate as the culture-court-case has been moved across the atlantic, clever move by the Sussexs PR team) on whether the Royal family was racist.

To me (whos great grandfather was shot by a clown), the royal family of a kingdom that has generated no less than 65 national independence days transcends the term racist. They are brought up to believe the blood of great kings flows in their veins, are surrounded by staff, and well... treated like royalty. Such a life does not help keep ones feet on the ground. It's a prerequisite for the job to see everyone who isn't family as "lesser", thats the whole fucking point of being royal. But "racist" doesnt cover it, I mean the now beloved (white,english,never divorced) Kate was a commoner who didn't pass muster with most Royalists some years ago.

My friend had a different view, and while they didn't go so far as to defend the Queen as a bastion of equality, they were ruffled by the overwhelming sense that Meghan and Harry are obviously ambitious celebrity types who are playing the situation for monetary gain. And its very hard for my friend to side with people who are dramatizing events (real or not) in their personal life for social/monetary gain; it goes without saying my friend has spent little time in America and thus is uneducated on the enlightened times we find ourselves in.

The following day I had a conversation with a British friend of mine who had taken umbrage with the couples belief that their child should have similar security as Prince Williams son, his point being that one was a "common" child and the other was "heir to the throne of England for gawd sakes!" and how ridiculous it was to compare them. When I (admittedly calculating his response, but feeling I needed to get one back for my poor dead great grandad who they shot in the haybarn) pointed out that both were "just kids" and should be seen as such, and that the real problem in my view was that fools believe one is more important than the other, his harrumphing could be heard in Worcestershire.

Its ALMOST like treating people differently because of who their ancestors were is an all round bad fucking idea.

Kaius  ·  273 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Investor anxiety mounts over prospect of stock market ‘bubble’

    Let me start out by saying that the pandemic has been useful to me in one regard: it has allowed me to ruthlessly prune my newsletter count. If I listened to you because you knew about markets? And as soon as things shifted in the markets you started talking about masks or remote work or (god help you) politics? Then you were doing nothing but grifting off your 20/20 hindsight. Behind me satan you can't guess at what will be you can only riff on variations of what was.

Would you include John Maudlin in the cull? He has tended to lean into discussing the pandemic but his recent newsletter did include some market direction calls for certain age groups.

Kaius  ·  273 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: One Year Alone in Forests of Sweden | Building Log Cabin like our Forefathers

You should check out "My Self Reliance" channel, Shaun builds a cabin in the woods single handed in the Canadian wilderness. Been following him for a few years as he has built and added to it.

Kaius  ·  278 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Trump predictions recap

Interesting, we should track some more under #predictions.

80% confident Biden survives his first term (given there are so many comments on his age/health).

80% confident that Trump is a major participant in a media organization by 2022.


Kaius  ·  278 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: January 20, 2021

It's a weird time.

I have lots to be thankful for, my family and I live in a big comfortable house in a small Irish village, we have a garden and all the conveniences of modern life. I work remotely from a quiet home office, and my wife is a homemaker which is wonderful, but is extra great in lockdown as she can help the kids with schoolwork. It's a nice simple life and we are very lucky, and we acknowledge it regularly.

For the last 12 months my days have pretty much a fixed routine. I get up, make a coffee, go to work, spend the morning answering emails and working on system designs, I eat lunch and chill out for 30 minutes, then back to work for an afternoon of meetings. After work I eat dinner, play with the kids for an hour or two, do some cleaning up, put kids to bed, and then sit on the couch reading, scrolling, or watching something for a while before going to bed.

That's it, wash rinse repeat for 12 months. I used to walk each day but can't really be bothered recently due to bad weather. To some extent life was always this monotonous but it was camouflaged by commutes, by different lunch locations, by different faces in different places. But now there is no colour to wash out the grey, no random variation to make the plain appear interesting.

I don't think I'm depressed, but I am fucking bored.

Kaius  ·  279 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Olivia Nuzzi: If Trump Doesn’t Keep You Up All Night, MyPillow Will

I have quite a large number of US colleagues and enjoy visiting the states (pre-covid) regularly. Watching from a distance what is happening is really painful, and the distance means that I only get ~1% of the experience so its pretty difficult to get a sense for what its like 'on the ground'. I don't pretend to understand any of it.

I could not comprehend how any country could entertain the though of electing Trump, let alone elect him AFTER the details that emerged during his campaign. I still cannot comprehend how he got 75M odd votes to come within a hairs breath of a second term given the daily shit show he ran. I have met people in my own country who praise him and, with zero skin in the game (he is not our shitshow to deal with), I've had long discussions with them to try and understand what the fuck is wrong with them, what is preventing them from seeing what is so CLEARLY obvious to me and most other people in terms of his shortcomings as a person let alone a world leader.

The QANON shit, its the same thing, I don't get it. People I work with revealing a considerable lack of reasoning ability, following some dogshit conspiracy theory down a rabbit hole, and being so sure about it that they post it on social media.

And its spreading, i've no doubt of that. The rest of the world absorbs quite a bit of American culture by osmosis, much of it good or at least neutral, but you can sense that the Atlantic wont be enough to hold back the crazy virus kicking off here in some shape.

The biggest revelation for me over the last 5+ years is, while most people are good kind and reasonable if given a chance, they can also be led astray very easily, and some significant % of the population were fucking nuts all along.

Kaius  ·  279 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Olivia Nuzzi: If Trump Doesn’t Keep You Up All Night, MyPillow Will

Are the Americans ok?

If its (TV, security cam, computer, whatever) connected to the internet then its only a matter of time before it is compromised.

Kaius  ·  287 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: What books are you reading hubski?

You should enjoy the last two as well, I certainly did. What was interesting is how Cromwell changes over time, but not in a way he Cromwell recognizes, but the reader will notice how he grows into the role and how it changes him.

I need to find an analysis of the work somewhere and dig into it again.