A commenter on my post pre-announcing Why C++ Is Not Our Favorite Programming Language asked “esr, from the perspective of a graybeard, which chapters did you consider good and which chapters did you consider bad?” (Technical note: I do not in fact have a beard, and if I did it would not be gray.) Good… Continue reading The Unix Hater’s Handbook, Reconsidered
My blogging will be sporadic to nonexistent for a while, as my friend Rob Landley and I are concentrating heavily on writing a paper together. The working (and probably final) title is “Why C++ is Not Our Favorite Programming Language”. It begins: C++ is an overcomplexity generator. It was designed to solve what turned out… Continue reading C++ Considered Harmful
As oil prices recede from all-time dollar highs and some of the hot air gets let out of energy policy debates, it’s a good time to remember that here’s a key concept missing from almost every popular discussion of the subject: energy density. Specialist economists get it, but almost nobody else does. It is important… Continue reading Why Alternative Energy Isn’t
A mailing list I frequent has been discussing the current financial meltdown, specifically a news story claiming that Wall Street foooled its own computers by feeding them risk assumptions the users knew were over-optimistic. This is also a very strong case for F/OSS software. Had such software been in use, I strongly feel that the… Continue reading The Limits of Open Source
On September 12th, six days ago, I wrote The Obama campaign smells of defeat. Since then, if you’re a Republican (unlike me) or just enjoy watching Democrats squirm (very much like me), things have only gotten more entertaining.
In the fusillade of accusations that has been flung at Sarah Palin since McCain chose her as VP-nominee, there is one thread in common; that Palin is an extreme right-winger. There are several possible reasons for an accuser to take this position, but it occurred to me yesterday that the most important one may be… Continue reading Sarah Palin, American Centrist
Two days ago, while on a quest to find one of the vanishing breed of waterbed stores, my wife and I had to drive through a slum section of Wilmington, Delaware. The streets were full of black people, and I had a strong “Ugh! Don’t want this kind anywhere near me!” reaction. Only it wasn’t… Continue reading The Post-Racial Hall of Mirrors
I am slack-jawed with admiration tonight. The source of my amazement is reports that female McCain/Palin supporters have started making and distributing T-shirts that say “Read My Lipstick: MCain/Palin 2008”. And wearing them in large numbers. This is deployment of multi-leveled irony as an offensive weapon. They are taking Obama’s “lipstick on a pig” remark… Continue reading Heh — “Read My Lipstick”
Investor’s Business Daily ran a story recently, Tax To The Max, on a Congressional Budget Office study of the U.S. finances.What it says is that spending on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other entitlement programs is unsustainably high. The study projects tax increases of 150%, with the lowest income-tax bracket going from 10% to 25%… Continue reading Timing the Entitlements Crash
My normal style on this blog is to write think pieces. I post when I have an idea I need to grapple with; the process of writing and researching helps me organize and sharpen my thinking. Sometimes, the process changes my mind about an issue. This once, I’m posting to report a gut feeling I’ve… Continue reading The Obama campaign smells of defeat
Sometime shortly after 6AM this morning, my blog site and home page were defaced, replaced with a message reading “Happy 9/11 LOL” and a very ugly image. I happened to be up and working and discovered the damage quickly, probably within minutes of the attack. Less than ten minutes later I had received three pieces… Continue reading Blog site defacement
In my last essay, The Vanishing Consumption Gap, I presented several lines of evidence leading to the conclusion that the consumption disparity between rich and poor in the U.S. is drastically less than the income disparity, and seems to be decreasing even as income disparity rises. This continues a historical trend, and there are causal… Continue reading Kansas and the Vanishing Gap
There’s an often-quoted statistic that the ratio between the average incomes of the richest and poorest quintiles of Americans is 15 to 1. Earlier this year I stumbled over some research (“You Are What You Spend”) indicating that there is less to that difference than meets the eye. According to the authors, the difference in… Continue reading The Vanishing Consumption Gap
News flash: Presidential candidate Barack Obama says Iâ€™m not going to take your guns away in front of a hand-picked crowd of Democratic supporters in Duryea, Pennsylvania — and they don’t believe him. No, that was not a hook for an anti-Obama rant. Obama’s unbelievability on this issue is only partly his own individual fault.… Continue reading Oh, those bitter clingers!