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goobster

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hubskier for: 1544 days

Writer by trade. I makes da words purdy.

My #meetHubski interview is here.

recent comments, posts, and shares:

Now I'm conflicted. Dana and Donald are absolutely shit-weasels who are dicking ever American they ever met.

But... Assange is a misanthrope of epic proportions, who keeps just enough of the libertarian ideal about him to keep his genital covered (mostly)... but is definitely someone who knows the power of information and how to manipulate the public with it.

Definitely a lot of assholes in this soup...

goobster  ·  21 hours ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: What are the best and the worst ever Beatles Songs?

Being for the benefit of Mr. Kite was absolute torture to listen to... so lacklustre and annoying.

Until Eddie Izzard completely reimagined it and made it .... SING!

But the best song? I really have no idea... I like their 'story' songs the best, Eleanor Rigby, and Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band both come immediately to mind, as ones that are shining examples of those, but they have a number of them, and I love the stories they tell...

Maybe that's why I like Izzard's "Mr Kite" version so much. It's got to much more verve and story to it...

goobster  ·  1 day ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Showerthought: Being a Republican today is punk as fuck

Right?!? And that exactly what the Trumpistani's think they are doing! They are "giving it to Man", and "owning the Libs" and stopping these rogue government agencies like the Fed and the FBI, and their being all anti-authority... while kow-towing to the exact authoritarianism they claim to be against!

Drain the swamp! (and install newer, more terrible creatures than the swamp ever had before)

When punk scene became performative (you weren't "punk" unless you wore the right clothes, or had the right hair, or like the right bands) it gave room for the rise of The Descendents, Black Flag, and the punk scene that wasn't the safetypin punks, but the geeks, and the skaters, and the whole west coast so cal punk scene...

The Trumpistanis see themselves as punks; the anti-authoritarians who are overthrowing the established (aka corrupt) power structures, and installing their friends and drinking buddies, and getting all their convicted felon friends from the 80's and 90's presidential pardons... they think they are righting wrongs and speaking truth to power... and that's punk as fuck.

I used to build balsa wood and tissue paper planes. Both free-flight, and R/C gliders with 2-meter wingspans.

From this:

To this:

I have replaced that hobby with motorcycles, I think. It's more gratifying to ride the final product, than to watch it crash when an errant radio signal causes you to lose control... :-)

goobster  ·  2 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Showerthought: Being a Republican today is punk as fuck

I think the line between Nihilism, Totalitarianism, and Republicanism has become so faint as to be demoted to a footnote.

goobster  ·  2 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Showerthought: Being a Republican today is punk as fuck

"Dude. Really? Rand Paul?! I was like, totally into Ron. Rand is a just a paper Republican. Ron was the shizz..."

... sips his Coors Light and watches the stock cars go by from the roof of his $300k rv ...

goobster  ·  6 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: February 12, 2020

Happy to chat about it, and help in any way I can.

But you need to understand this is never a TOOLS problem. It's not something the right software can address. You can use any of dozens of different software tools.

What it comes down to is the HUMANS who are pulling the strings in the background; the moderators.

Not many people have the skills/perspective/talent to be a good moderator, and without the right people, the tool you choose won't matter. It's almost like you are approaching the problem from the wrong direction - looking at the tools first - rather than figuring out how to make your existing community leader's job easier.

But yeah! Hit me up! Let's chat.

goobster  ·  7 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: To Crack the Toughest Optimization Problems, Just Add Lasers

So very cool... what a crazy device!

    The result is assessed in terms of the problem’s total energy, with the lowest energy state as the optimal solution.

Ok. Groovy. I got that.

    We repeat the whole process for each OPO pulse in the loop, and it can take tens to hundreds of trips around the loop for all the pulses to achieve their final phase states.

But... how do they know the final phase state? I mean, they are looking for the "lowest" and "highest" values, but these change over time as the signals pass around the loop again and again and again.

So how do they know what the "lowest" energy state is? Does it reach a state where subsequent loops don't drop the voltage any further? Or is there a lowest possible voltage the system can support, and when it hits that level it's called 'done' and that's the final state?

I love the detail of how the thing works, and the beam splitting and reference pulses, and how the FPGA is the thing actually making the calculation... but how do they know when it is done, or the problem is solved? What am I missing?

goobster  ·  7 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: February 12, 2020

Man... you have hit all of my areas of (mild) expertise...

Online Community. I've been moderating online communities since the mid-1980's. A good and positive community does not come without constant vigilant moderation, in subtle ways. (The Ban Hammer never works.) I have a facebook group of 2,500 people that we manage to keep polite and civil with a team of 6 moderators/admins. It is an art, not a science, and it is exhausting and requires constant tending. People who sit at keyboards are utter and complete dicks. Period.

Workflows. Taught myself Microsoft Flow (now called Power Apps), which is built in to SharePoint. If you are asking about Zoho and LMS's, then I assume your company has not bought in to the full Microsoft environment (Active Directory, SharePoint, Outlook, etc.), and therefore MS Flow (and other associated apps) will be useless. Zoho and ZenDesk and even tools like SmartSheet are often used to automate data collection and dissemination... all are basically glorified FAQs and knowledgebases. They are all the same thing: A configurable database of objects that tries to make associating different objects with each other simple, or automated.

There are three distinct branches here that each do different things, that you have conflated into one:

- workflows, which attempt to create 'wizard-like' interfaces for data collection;

- knowledge capture and dissemination, which are glorified databases, but are highly configurable environments where you build your own customized solution using the vendor's tools (Zoho, Smartsheet, ZenDesk, et al). The end result is never as good as the demos they show you, because you suck at designing with their tools (because you have never done it before) and will do it wrong, and before you can fix it, too many people at your organization will have already adopted it, and you will always be stuck with a half-finished solution;

- learning management systems, which are effectively glorified XML file creators, that allow you to create a series of steps and if/then decision trees that contain assets like images/text/video, then output those steps and assets in a standard file format so they can be imported into other LMS's (because most large companies have their own LMS, and don't want to use yours, but they want your content in their system.)

---

Effective online communities: 101

- Moderators are online 24x7 monitoring the system.

- New users are only allowed in after some basic vetting steps.

- Community rules are posted next to the commenting area.

- A core group of "high power/visibility" users are connected together and coordinating efforts in a separate online chat (usually WhatsApp) where they strategize about how to guide conversations or tamp down embers before they become flames.

- Any moderation is first done in private 1-on-1 conversation with the "problem user", discussing your concerns, and asking them to edit/update/delete their comment that caused the kerfuffle.

- Users are almost never banned, but when they are, it is permanent. No returns.

Note that none of this exists in Hubski. That's because Hubski doesn't follow the "rules" of community engagement; new people can't post, so they have to hang out for a bit and see the flavor of the place before they can interact with it. In every way, that is the "wrong way" to build a community... but look at us!

I am not aware of any community-building tool that is designed from the start to make it hard for new people to interact. It's counter-intuitive, and it works for this unique space we have. I do not see how it could work using any of the off-the-shelf community tools available on the internet today; they are built with a different purpose in mind.

Anyway. Yeah... those are my thoughts.

goobster  ·  8 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: February 12, 2020

A coworker who is really capable and smart has just gotten a puppy... and is a complete disaster as a dog-mom. She's completely freaked out (not sleeping, panic attacks, etc.) why her 8-week old puppy is scared and timid and unsure of herself, and why she knocks over her water bowl, and why she cries when she's left alone, etc.

We are in a "pod" of 3 people. Me and the other woman have had dogs all our life, and know dogs and puppies VERY well.

So when coworker brought her puppy into work, we took over. Played with the puppy until the adorable little fuzzball was so tired she fell asleep on the desk next to the keyboard. Took her out for walks. Talked dog-mom down and helped her understand that she's fucking this up from Day 1.

"The puppy STARTS with believing you are all-powerful and all-knowing. You need to BE THAT for her. Be confident, and authoritative, and let the puppy know you are the boss... but ALSO that the puppy is SAFE with you. If you freak out, if you stress out, the puppy KNOWS, and then realized THEY have to be the boss... and you've lost her. MAN UP and be a GOOD DOG-MOM."

That worked for a day.

Last night her uncle passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. She's a wreck. I do not have high hopes for the dog.

(I have given her the contact info for a very good friend of mine who is an EXCELLENT human-trainer for dogs. She works with the humans, trains them on how to be good dog owners, and makes happy, healthy dogs. Hopefully my coworker will call my friend. But...)

In other news, I am fighting again with InDesign, which keeps losing track of the more than 60 images I have in my file, and I have to relink them every single time I open the file. Grr. The issue is the way shared drives on servers are set up on our corporate network... but it's only Adobe products that can't figure out how to find file paths on the network. Everything else is fine.

Oh. And I bought a new bass guitar:

I was going to get a 5-string, with active electronics, in a more reasonable body design, with a less-silly paint job... but when I went into the shop and tried them out next to each other, I fell in love with this silly thing. And it was $800 cheaper.

I've got some recording to do this week for a couple of musical projects, and am looking forward to the tones I can get from this beast! It's good to be a Dingwall owner again...

goobster  ·  8 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Why Astrology Matters

    "... In the end, Boxer, like me, doesn’t think there is any reason to believe in astrology—but we are both Tauruses, so what can you expect?"

Love it! :-D

I've always thought that astrology was more a product of the seasons experienced by the fetus in the womb, than anything off-world affecting your daily life.

In winter, women are less active, more bundled up, more inside the home. Spring, Summer, and Fall all have similar patterns. It seems to me that, as the fetus develops, this is going to affect the environment, the chemistry, and the activity of the mother, which will impact the fetus as it develops.

But yeah... I'm a Libra, so I always try to find a middle ground where everyone is happy. :-)

goobster  ·  9 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Good Sci-Fi books for a fiction book club?

I gotta second KB's suggestion of "Earth Abides". Especially after seeing that "The Martian" was a favorite for your group.

While very different stories, the core is similar: you are deeply living inside the story, from the narrator's perspective, and the narrator is trying to process and understand what is happening around them and how to deal with these events.

Earth Abides is not exciting. And that's part of the beauty of it, and why it has stuck with me... the story lives and continues long after you have read it. The pace of the book is the pace of the seasons and the years. You FEEL the passage of time, but it doesn't get boring or need a big action scene to keep you interested.

I read the book for the first time several years ago, and I honestly think about it most days.

goobster  ·  14 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski, February 5, 2020

My friends started their own Super Bowl about a decade ago, I guess. The premise is that, because everyone - even the Bad Guys - are watching the Superbowl, superheroes can take the day off ... and go bowling.

The Super. Bowl.

So everyone shows up as their own made-up superhero, in their own superhero costumes, and they spend the day bowling.

The photos are worth it: https://www.espressobuzz.net/Events/2020/02-02-Supers-Bowl/

Meanwhile, my friend Michael Kovrig is being tortured by the Chinese in retaliation.

Or he's just been disappeared. Or dead. Nobody knows.

It's China.

goobster  ·  17 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Let's predict the 2020 Dem Iowa Caucus results

Yeah but ... yeah but ... we did that before, and it didn't work then, either.

(I still have my ticket from when I caucused for Bernie the first time...)

goobster  ·  17 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Vox endorses three Presidential candidates (kinda...)

Luck is all we have left. All the systems have been jacked by 50 years of careful and deliberate Republican shenanigans.

goobster  ·  17 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Let's predict the 2020 Dem Iowa Caucus results

    Why does Iowa go first...?

Becuz reasons.

Basically we don't want farmers to feel left out, despite the fact there's about 10x tech workers in America to farmers. (According to 2018 numbers, and farmers have fallen since then.)

goobster  ·  17 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Let's predict the 2020 Dem Iowa Caucus results

I am entirely baffled by why politicians are throwing their support behind Bernie, and not Warren. Especially people like AOC.

I mean, I get the idealistic vote. I do. I like the world that Bernie paints, too. But I also know that Republicans are not interested in democracy or our Constitution any more, and only in simply opposing whatever the majority likes.

They will oppose Bernie on principle, even more than they did with Obama.

Warren at least has the track record of successful legislation and programs to support voting for her, no matter what the subject. She can do it, and she clearly has a brilliant team of advisors working with her who have a Plan For Everything.

Bernie? He has like 4 ideas, the same 4 he's always had, and while they will surely be successful and produce the results he hopes for... they'll also take 15 years to bear fruit.

I'm all in on a Warren/Sanders ticket.

Or Warren/Klobuchar.

goobster  ·  17 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Hey Hubski, tell me a story about your dad

:-D

Friends of mine who are not sports fans started an annual event during the Super Bowl called ... the Super Bowl.

The premise being that all the bad guys are watching the Super Bowl, so SUPERheroes can take the day off and go BOWLing.

So everyone makes up their own superhero costume and story, and goes bowling.

It's epic.

goobster  ·  21 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Hey Hubski, tell me a story about your dad  ·  

Ok.

For those who have seen the movie Ford vs Ferrari that came out recently, my Dad is kinda involved in that.

The race in Southern California early in the movie, where Ken Miles is initially disqualified because his trunk is too small? And he takes a hammer to the inside of the trunk to stretch it out and meet the rulebook?

Carroll Shelby was in a race the same day, driving a 7-liter Maserati.

My dad was also racing his Corvette there the same day (not a photo of my dad):

The thing is that there were only 5 "modified" class vehicles like the Maserati at the track that day - not enough to have a full race of their own - so the track decided to add the 5 Modifieds to the Stock class that my Dad was in.

Now, there's no way a stock race car can compete with a modified-class car. For example, the Modifieds all arrive on a trailer and are not street-legal. The stock-class cars have to be street legal, like my Dad's Corvette; he drove his car to the race that day.

So the Track Officials told everyone that this was going to be like LeMans, where several different class of cars are racing at the same time, but there are actually different races going on... the Modifieds will have a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place according to their finishes, and the Stock-cars will have their own 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place trophies, regardless of where the Modifieds finish.

BY NO MEANS were the Stock cars to try to compete with the Modified class cars! It was dangerous and pointless, so the Stockers should look for the Modifieds coming up in their rear view mirror, and let them pass. DON'T TRY AND RACE THE MODIFIEDS.

At the second corner, Carroll Shelby was in first place with his Maserati, and my Dad was in 2nd place in his Corvette. Over the next two laps the two of them pulled away from the rest of the field, and were on their own.

The 7-liter Maserati was a MONSTER powerhouse, of course, and could do a billion miles an hour on the straights. But a 7-liter engine is HEAVY, and it was slow through the corners.

On the other hand, my Dad's Corvette was nimble and quick (the first production car with a fiberglass body, IIRC), and able to get through the corners fast, but did not have the top speed of the Maserati.

Willow Springs Race Track has two long straight-ish sections, and some nice tight corners:

So Shelby would come out of Turn 9 and push the throttle to Mach 10 as he came to the Start/Finish line, then have to brake hard into Turn 1, where my Dad would catch up and stay ahead into Turn 6.

Then the fire-breathing 7-liter Maserati would blow by my Dad up to Turn 7, feather it a bit to get through Turn 8, brake hard for Turn 9, and turn on the rockets again approaching the Start/Finish line.

Throughout the 20-plus laps of the race, the two diced back and forth like this.

But my Dad noticed that Shelby had to feather the throttle a bit and scrub off some speed to get through Turn 8. My Dad figured that if he could get through 5 and 6 quicker, he could stay closer to Shelby on 7, pass him in 8, stay ahead through 9 as Shelby had to brake hard, and possibly stretch it out enough to beat Shelby to the Start/Finish line.

Now, remember, they are two different class vehicles in completely different races, that just happen to be running at the same time on the same track. The two of them COULD HAVE just driven normally and both taken 1st Place in each of their races.

But NOOOOOOOoOooOooOoOOoooo... these guys are RACERS.

So they are 2 laps from the end of the race.

Dad makes his move.

HARD out of Turn 4.

Don't let off through Turn 5.

Shelby isn't even in his rear view mirror, as my dad comes in HOT to Turn 6...

... and runs wide, and clips the outside rail with his left front fender. No biggie. A little broken fiberglass. No structural damage.

And he guns for Turns 7 and 8...

... and it WORKS.

Carroll Shelby can't get past my Dad before Turn 9. My Dad is in the lead, carrying more speed into the corner, and comes out at full throttle ahead of Shelby on the front straight for the first time.

He crosses the Start/Finish line ahead of Carroll Shelby and passes the white flag (last lap indicator) first!!

THIS IS GOING TO WORK. HE CAN BEAT SHELBY'S MODIFIED-CLASS MASERATI IN A STOCK CAR!!!

As my dad passes the Start/Finish line he notices the flagger is waving TWO flags at my Dad... the white flag, indicating the last lap, and a rolled black flag, too!

He thinks: Black flag: eliminated from race! But wait... it was ROLLED... that means something... SHIT... what does that mean? Do I have to stop? Do I continue racing?!? WHAT DO I DO?!?"

He's still ahead of Shelby and coming up to the corners where he needs to commit to his previous stunt to stay ahead of Shelby, and cross the Start/Finish in first place overall.....

But that rolled black flag! What does it mean!??

He flutters the throttle going into 5, doesn't carry the speed he needs to stay ahead between Turns 6 and 7... and the Maserati blows by him.

Shelby throws my dad a puzzled look as he passes. Carroll knows my dad beat him, and has slowed down, and is wondering why...

Shelby crosses the finish line first taking 1st overall, my dad crosses just behind him taking 1st in the Stock ("Production") class.

They see each other in the pits later. Shelby nods. My dad nods. They go their separate ways.

(Footnote: A rolled black flag means that there is damage to your vehicle that is being reviewed by race officials, and you may have to leave the track... but they haven't decided yet. So KEEP RACING. When my Dad clipped the wall and damaged the fender, race officials were concerned that his tire/wheel might have been damaged, and were waiting for him to come around past them again on the track so they could see the damage and make a determination of whether it was just cosmetic damage, or if he needed to be Black Flagged and pulled out of the race immediately. They determined his vehicle was safe to continue racing; he didn't need to slow or stop.)

goobster  ·  21 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Hey Hubski, tell me a story about your dad

There are a couple of Hubskiites that know my dad, and anybody that knows my dad knows that he is ALL stories. Dude has lived an incredible life. This is one we all know by heart...

---

My dad grew up in a sleepy little suburb far east of Los Angeles, called Sierra Madre. He was dead-center in the middle of the 1950's Southern California car culture. He personally knew Von Dutch, Edelbrock, Carroll Shelby, Bondurant, Gurney, Disney, and the Los Angeles Rams.

And he was a hoodlum of the 1950's variety... doing burnouts on main street in front of the soda shop... illegal drag racing... he was basically living the movie American Graffiti:

The cops in town were the washouts from other departments elsewhere. Complete muppets. Incompetent and harmless. So my dad and his friends used to mess with them...

In the middle of town there is a cannon, which is a war memorial:

One night, my dad and his friends see the cops "hiding" in one of their usual spots, surveilling the main street area, and decide to mess with them.

So, they each pretend to be hiding things in their coats, and one-by-one, sneak up to the nose of the cannon and put something into the open barrel.

The cops see this, throw on their lights, and come screeching up to the cannon, lights and sirens blazing, to "catch the kids in the act, before they blow something up!"

One cop lines the boys up alongside the cannon, and is reading them the riot act, while the other cop has his flashlight out, and is slowly inching around the muzzle of the cannon to look inside.

My dad's best friend Mike O'Donnell is standing closest to the back of the cannon, and as the cop with the flashlight gets his head around the front of the muzzle, Mike leans down and shouts "BOOM!" into the open breech.

The cop FREAKS OUT... flashlight goes flying... he panics and runs back to the idling police car... slams it in reverse... tears the open passenger door off the police car as he burns out in reverse... and screams off down the street, leaving his partner and the boys laughing their asses off.

Ladies and gentlemen... my father.

goobster  ·  21 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: The 10,000-Year Clock Is a Waste of Time

There is one interesting line way the fuck down in the article about the clock that says:

    "... Visitors enter through jade-paneled doors, climb a massive staircase to reach a cupola made of sapphire glass. There they can wind the clock mechanism ..."

And I thought, hey, if they make it an interesting enough tourist attraction, it doesn't need to be a perpetual motion machine... just let the visitors wind it up.

All you need to do is have a couple visitors a year, and it runs forever. (Assuming there are still people to visit it, of course. And if there aren't, well ... problem solved.)

goobster  ·  21 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: The 10,000-Year Clock Is a Waste of Time

YES. Thank you for putting my rage into coherent words.

Fuck, I hate Writers.

goobster  ·  21 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: The night I hung out with Jaco Pastorious

I think I prefer his live recordings to the studio ones... there's more heart and passion in the live ones, I feel. When he's playing with Zawinul and the other heavies, he is really deeply in his head, and in the music theory, and I feel he loses the grooviness he could deliver.

That's why "Come on, Come over" is one of my favorites. It feels like he is really loose, on that track, and just smiling his big ole grin the whole way through...

goobster  ·  22 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: January 29, 2020

My brain is behind my body. It'll catch up. Maybe while I'm in Utah... :-)