The Insightful Troll

Rants and ruminations.

Copycat Layoffs

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girl against bull

Isabel Fattal in an excellent article called ‘Contagion’ for The Atlantic:

Some argue that, as they wait out this intermission, CEOs are copying one another—laying off workers not simply as an unavoidable consequence of the changing economy, but because everybody else is doing it. “Chief executives are normal people who navigate uncertainty by copying behavior,” Derek writes. He cites the business professor Jeffrey Pfeffer, who told Stanford News: “Was there a bubble in valuations? Absolutely … Did Meta overhire? Probably. But is that why they are laying people off? Of course not … These companies are all making money. They are doing it because other companies are doing it.”

This is a trend, a fad, a CEO fashion statement.  You are laying of 10,000, i see you and raise you to 12,000.  Because their investors are asking - “hey all the tech companies are laying off, why aren’t you?"  And they are - Google’s stock went up 5% after layoff of 12,000 employees.

Just Wait. In about 6-9 months they’ll be back on a hiring spree that was even bigger then before - and you know what? All of us tech workers who had chip on our shoulders, well that’s going to grow to a gigantic boulder. 

Personally, I can’t wait.  I am hearing it in the circles already.  Tech people are pissed - the media (which is controlled by the corporations anyways) are dumping article after article of the few who ride the wave, get lucky and are rewarded for being lazy and a drain on the business.  It makes good reading, and infuriates everyone in other industries.  And I don’t blame them - but most people in the tech industry work insane hours, are asked to do crazy things with limited budgets/time frames and are evaluated by the most sophisticated and toughest systems for employee evals.  

Sure tech workers get great perks, benefits and pay.  You know what - you too can join the party.  But you need the discipline to stay on top of the tech sector, work grueling hours, risk your mental sanity and at the end of it all have people telling you that you are spoiled children who need to be sent back to their rooms for a time out.  Shunned as a geek by the cool kids.  So yea.  Go ahead signup.  I dare you. 

See I told you that chip on the shoulder was going to get a lot bigger. 

Did you really think those 10,000-12,000 tech people were just sitting around sipping latte’s and playing video games all day? The hiring frenzy will ensue shortly, and with much greater frenzy.  Engineers are process people with excellent memory who thrive on data and the historical analysis of it.  You think they are going to forget how they were treated?

When those offers start flowing again, those crazy compensations will be back. As the old saying goes - “you ain’t seen nothing yet.”

America's Broken Medical Systems

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40% of Americans put off medical care in 2022 because it was too expensive. What are the US politicians arguing over? Drag queen story hour & trans gender athletes in high school sports. It is absolutely disgusting that America is the wealthiest country on Earth and yet has the same life expectancy as Cuba.

Stranger Things - Amiga 1000

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Amiga 1000

I just started to watch Stranger Things. Not because everyone was talking about it - but because of the nerd nostaglia factor. A bunch of middle school friends sit around playing Dungeons & Dragons, ridding around town on their bicycles at all hours of the night, and parents who don’t really care to know where there kids are every minute of the day.

They even have BASIC as a plot element. And the reference don’t end there - Commodore 64s, NES, Tandy and to my surprise and delight the Amiga!!!! Okay they didn’t get it all correct - but the mere fact it was there blew my mind.

Carl Svensson:

Of course it’s fun to see the Amiga make an appearance in a high profile show like Stranger Things, but I do feel they dropped the proverbial ball this time. After a pleasantly accurate depiction of mainframe BASIC, decades of hardcore Amiga zealotry forbids me from simply accepting this as a bit of telly. They clearly had all the makings of accuracy right there; the OS screenshots, icons, mouse pointer, even the block cursor. When it’s that close, fumbling with the details is somehow more annoying than just phoning it in completely. If there was a reason for it, it completely escapes me. Would Topaz and standard window titles have been terribly boring? Would C, BASIC or Assembly code look less appealing than HTML? We may never know.

Don’t even get me started on the season 4 soundtrack – Master Of Puppets!!!! Ah the 80s - the greatest decade!

Spielberg Didn't Want to Do Crystal Skull

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I think we can all agree that Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was an underbaked idea. Something that most of us would rather pretend never existed (much like the Star Wars prequels). This banter explains the whole situation:

George: Let's do aliens.
Steven: I don't wanna do aliens.

Years later...

George: Maybe you're right. We shouldn't do aliens.
Steven: George, I love ya!
George: We should do inter-dimensional beings.
Steven: What?!
George: Yeah, ever heard of string theory? They're from another dimension.
Steven: Fine! Fine... What do they look like?
George: They look like aliens.
Steven: facepalm

Moral of the story - George Lucas is a genius filmmaker - but he needs people around him that will reign him in. Heck even Star Wars: A New Hope was saved in the cutting room. If you watch some of the dialog and scenes that were cut or pre-editing - they were just painful. Utter crap.

Let’s hope with The Dial of Destiny - George had some really good people around him that held him in check.

Dial of Destiny

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George Lucas and Steven Spielberg are back at it again - Indy is coming back in 2023. We have some old friends, new characters and the exotic locations, and the music theme. That music theme gets me every time.

Let’s hope this does not turn into Crystal Skull.

Twitter Bans Links to Other Social Media Sites

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Twitter’s new policy regarding tweets that link to other social sites:

At both the Tweet level and the account level, we will remove any free promotion of prohibited 3rd-party social media platforms, such as linking out (i.e. using URLs) to any of the below platforms on Twitter, or providing your handle without a URL.

Prohibited platforms:

Facebook, Instagram, Mastodon, Truth Social, Tribel, Post and Nostr 3rd-party social media link aggregators such as, Examples:

“follow me @username on Instagram” “” “check out my profile on Facebook -”

Right. Good luck with that. Spare us the drama and just shut down Twitter why don’t you? Elon is a moron.

History of the Banjo and Black Folk Music

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Jake Blount runs us through a quick history of early Black folk music, using the banjo. More importantly - there is a wealth of resources to dive deeper. As someone learning the electric guitar and blues music, this is especially relevant and enlightening.

Here is an example track form the video above - you can hear the basics of the blues tradition emerging here - repetition, call & response, and rhythmic clapping.

Elon Musk Booed on Stage

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I gained perverse joy from watching this YouTube video, which shows Elon Musk being relentlessly booed for nearly five minutes straight.

Repealing the 20th Century

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Jack Mirkinson isn’t mincing words:

Alito’s draft opinion is the work of a gleeful theocratic, woman-hating vandal, eager to begin the court’s ultimate project: tearing down the broader civil rights framework that has been in place in this country for generations. He says that Roe should be scrapped because the right to an abortion is “not deeply rooted in the Nation’s history and traditions”—a byzantine litmus test that would wipe out just about every modern civil rights protection you can think of, given the nature of American history. He forthrightly casts aside the notion that the court should be cautious about overturning decades of precedent. He sends unmistakable signals that other civil rights opinions, especially ones protecting gay rights, are in the crosshairs.

The final opinion could differ, but what we have in front of us is an extremist, illegitimate opinion from an extremist, illegitimate court, one that sees women as serfs and breeders, that sees queer people as subhuman, that sees minorities of every kind as dirt under its collective shoe. It is happily dragging us into the dark ages. Alito and everyone who joins him are evil people. No hell is too hot for them.

And on the Republican Party:

I cannot think of a single institution that causes more harm in the world than the Republican Party. There has possibly not been one in the entire history of the planet.

Well the Taliban comes to mind, but an unchecked Republican Party is not too far behind.

Shot, Reverse Shot

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Tony Zhou and Taylor Ramos examine how the Coen brothers shoot characters in their films close up with wide lenses to created empathy and comedy.

You've Got Mail

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Akiva Cohen, an attorney representing 22 laid-off Twitter employees, in a letter to Elon Musk.

If basic human decency and honor isn’t enough to make you want to keep your word, maybe this will:

If you don’t unequivocally confirm by Wednesday, December 7 that you intend to provide our clients with the full severance Twitter promised them, we will commence an arbitration campaign on their behalf, with each employee filing a separate individual arbitration, as required by the terms of your arbitration agreement. Under both California law and the JAMS arbitration rules, Twitter will be responsible to pay the arbitration costs for each individual arbitrator and arbitration. Consistent with the terms of Twitter’s arbitration agreement, those arbitrations will be held in jurisdictions across the country — no more than 45 miles from where each employee worked. Not only will you lose on the merits, but even if you somehow won the victory would be pyrrhic: Twitter will pay far more in attorneys’ fees and arbitration costs than it could possibly “save” in severance due our clients.

And to be clear, Elon, you will lose, and you know it.

Posted on - what else - Twitter.

Pencil vs Mechanical vs Ball Point Pen

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YouTuber President Chay decides to see which writing utensil is the longest lasting, by drawing a continuous line until the ink or graphite is spent.

Chay compared two #2 HB pencils (one cheap, one expensive), a fully loaded mechanical pencil and a ballpoint pen.

Curious minds need to know …

Desperate Bosses

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Vinjeru Mkandawire for The Economist

To tempt workers back and repopulate corporate digs, companies are offering generous—and increasingly desperate—freebies.

If your employees are that adament about not coming back to the office, maybe you should rething your office environment?

Clinton Roasts Trump at Al Smith Charity Dinner

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Hillary Clinton delivered a speech roasting her opponent Donald Trump at the Al Smith Dinner.

You know come to think of it, it’s amazing I’m up here after Donald. I didn’t think he would be okay with a peaceful transition of power.

Amazing how percient Hillary Clinton was…

Artificial Intelligence Art Wins State Fair

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Jason Allen, a video game designer in Pueblo, Colorado, spent roughly 80 hours working on his entry to the Colorado State Fair’s digital arts competition. Judges awarded him first place, which came with a $300 prize.

But when Allen posted about his win on social media late last month, his artwork went viral—for all the wrong reasons.

Allen’s victory took a turn when he revealed online that he’d created his prize-winning art using Midjourney, an artificial intelligence program that can turn text descriptions into images. He says he also made that clear to state fair officials when he dropped off his submission, called Théâtre D’opéra Spatial. But over the last week or so, his blue ribbon has sparked an impassioned debate about what constitutes art.

If the art you create can be be generated by AI, it’s not art.