The Insightful Troll

Rants and ruminations.

'To Me This Is Justice' - Joy Reid

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Joy Reid on Donald Trump’s arrest and mugshot:

This case, and I think Fani Willis is a hero. She is a national hero. Because she more than any prosecutor in this country, and and I respect Jack Smith, I respect all the prosecutors that are doing this - she is the only one who said these wealthy, powerful, privileged men and women are just American citizens. And when they break the law they will take that picture.

Michael Beschloss Invokes Dr. King

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US presidential historian Michael Beschloss on the significance of Donald Trump’s booking at the Fulton county jail:

The moral of the story is in 1960, this great iconic champion of of human rights, of civil rights, of voting rights being stopped in this jail so he couldn’t keep on his work expanding those rights. Here we are in 2023, a guy who is about as far as close to the opposite of Dr. King as I can think of is Donal Trump. And Donald Trump is the oponent of those civil rights and human rights and voting rights. And he proved that in what he tried to do in Georgia. Thank God he’s brought to justice. And where is it happening? The Fulton County jail. You know, life has turned around, the cycle has turned. As Dr. King, I think, would say the arc of the moral universe maybe long, but tonight it seems to be, at least in Fulton county, bending toward justice.

Seems to be. I wouldn’t say it is complete until we see Donald J Trump in an orange jump suit and shackles being hauled into jail.

Proof of Evolution in Humans

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You don’t need to go digging for ancient fossils to see evolution in action. Vox posted a video demonstrating things that humans don’t need to survive anymore still hanging around on our bodies, including unnecessary arm muscles and vestigial tail bones.

Donald J. Trump - Inmate No. P01135809

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turmp mugshot

The Fulton County Sheriff’s Office has released a mug shot of former President Donald Trump. Jail records show Trump was placed under arrest and booked as inmate No. P01135809.

Trump’s surrender in Georgia marks the fourth time this year the former president has turned himself in to local or federal officials after criminal charges were brought against him. No matter what happens in next years election, this is how Donald J. Trump will be remembered by history.

This mugshot will be his legacy.

Twitter Downloads Plumet After Change to X

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twitter to x

Eric Seufert writing on Threads:

Twitter has seen a dramatic decrease in its Top Downloaded chart position across both platforms since the app was renamed to X. Why? The situation presents a fascinating case study at the intersection of brand equity and mobile platform dynamics.

The case is somewhat unprecedented: Twitter built a ubiquitous, household-name brand over the course of nearly 2 decades and then simply abandoned it, leaving it to be exploited by competitors, unopposed, through the mobile platforms’ branded search ads.

[…]

My hypothesis is that, while the terminally-online are entirely aware of Twitter’s rebrand to X, most consumers aren’t, and their searches for “Twitter” on platform stores surface ads and genuine search results that are in no way redolent of Twitter.

How do you throw away two decades of branding and expect no disruption to your product? I really don’t understand this trend (HBOMax just changed to Max), seems like the marketing departments are bored and need something to do.

The BBC Computer Literacy Project

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Computer languages

From the BBC Computer Literacy Project:

In the 1980s, the BBC explored the world of computing in The Computer Literacy Project. They commissioned a home computer (the BBC Micro) and taught viewers how to program.

The Computer Literacy Project chronicled a decade of information technology and was a milestone in the history of computing in Britain, helping to inspire a generation of coders.

This site contains all 146 of the original Computer Literacy Project programmes plus 121 related programmes, broken down into 2,509 categorised, searchable clips.

This was a pretty amazing 10 year long show, we had nothing like it growing up in the US. The closest we had was the The Computer Chronicles on PBS, though that was more geared to the business side of things. This episode is a great run down on the different languages of the time and does a great explanation of the difference and basics of each.

Its amazing how most of those are still in use today - I have used C, FORTH, Pascal, BASIC in my professional career as a software developer. Never did get the point of Logo or why it was a default when teaching young children to code.

It is sad that kids do not have anything close to this available to them today.

MacPaint and QuickDraw Source Code Released

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MacPaint

The Computer History Museum, with the permission of Apple, has made available the original program source code of MacPaint and the underlying QuickDraw graphics library.

MacPaint is the drawing program application which interacts with the user, interprets mouse and keyboard requests, and decides what is to be drawn where. The high-level logic is written in Apple Pascal, packaged in a single file with 5,822 lines. There are an additional 3,583 lines of code in assembler language for the underlying Motorola 68000 microprocessor, which implement routines needing high performance and some interfaces to the operating system.

[…]

In writing MacPaint, Bill was as concerned with whether human readers would understand the code as he was with what the computer would do with it. He later said about software in general, “It’s an art form, like any other art form… I would spend time rewriting whole sections of code to make them more cleanly organized, more clear. I’m a firm believer that the best way to prevent bugs is to make it so that you can read through the code and understand exactly what it’s doing… And maybe that was a little bit counter to what I ran into when I first came to Apple… If you want to get it smooth, you’ve got to rewrite it from scratch at least five times.”¹

MacPaint was finished in October 1983. It coexisted in only 128K of memory with QuickDraw and portions of the operating system, and ran on an 8 Mhz processor that didn’t have floating-point operations. Even with those meager resources, MacPaint provided a level of performance and function that established a new standard for personal computers.

Summer reading for everyone’s inner geek.

25 Years of the iMac

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imac history

On August 15th, 1998, Apple released its bet the company product, the iMac. In the 25 years since then, the iMac has been a core product in Apple’s lineup and influenced many other products, both inside and outside the company.

Umar Shakir runs through the history of Apple’s iconic desktop computer.

If you’re looking for the true renaissance of the all-in-one computer, it came in 1998 with the release of the colorful and fun-tastically transparent iMac.

Since then, the iMac has become one of the most popular desktop computer lines ever. The design has evolved from bulbous cathode-ray tube (CRT) monitor all-in-ones to versions that look like contemporary table lamps — and eventually toward the slim aluminum plaques on stands that adorn doctor offices everywhere today. Alongside that, the tech inside has gone from PowerPC chips to x86 Intel processors and, now, to the Arm-based Apple Silicon design.

In 2011, The Verge’s editor-in-chief, Nilay Patel, wrote in a review for the 27-inch iMac, “Every year I review the iMac, and every year my conclusion is the same: the iMac remains the single best all-in-one computer available.”

Clinton Reacts to String of Donald Trump Indictments

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Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton talks with Rachel Maddow about her feelings about the indictments and accusations Donald Trump is facing:


Think what you will about Hillary Clinton - but how she doesn’t go on air on every major news outlet and just scream “I told you so!” is beyond me.

Hillary Clinton deserved to be our first women POTUS.

Trump Indicted in Fulton County, Georgia

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trump GA indictment

Jason Morris, Marshall Cohen and Curt Merrill reporting for CNN:

Former President Donald Trump and 18 of his allies were indicted Monday on Georgia state charges in connection with their attempts to overturn the 2020 election in the Peach State.

These state charges were brought by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, an elected Democrat who has been investigating Trump’s interference in the election since early 2021.

With this latest indictment in Fulton County - he now faces a whopping 91 criminal counts. To paraphrase his supporters:

Lock him up! Lock him up!

Blind Sided

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The Blind Side

Michael A. Fletcher reporting for ESPN:

The 14-page petition, filed in Shelby County, Tennessee, probate court, alleges that Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy, who took Oher into their home as a high school student, never adopted him. Instead, less than three months after Oher turned 18 in 2004, the petition says, the couple tricked him into signing a document making them his conservators, which gave them legal authority to make business deals in his name.

The petition further alleges that the Tuohys used their power as conservators to strike a deal that paid them and their two birth children millions of dollars in royalties from an Oscar-winning film that earned more than $300 million, while Oher got nothing for a story “that would not have existed without him.” In the years since, the Tuohys have continued calling the 37-year-old Oher their adopted son and have used that assertion to promote their foundation as well as Leigh Anne Tuohy’s work as an author and motivational speaker.

“The lie of Michael’s adoption is one upon which Co-Conservators Leigh Anne Tuohy and Sean Tuohy have enriched themselves at the expense of their Ward, the undersigned Michael Oher,” the legal filing says. “Michael Oher discovered this lie to his chagrin and embarrassment in February of 2023, when he learned that the Conservatorship to which he consented on the basis that doing so would make him a member of the Tuohy family, in fact provided him no familial relationship with the Tuohys.”

If these allegations are true - the Tuohy family were ‘boosters’ as charged in the movie by the NCAA investigator. Still doesn’t change the fact that “The Blind Side” was a great movie.

Young Activists Win Landmark Climate Case

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montana

A judge in Montana ruled with a group of young activists that the state violated their right to a “clean and healthful environment”. Corryn Wetzel in New Scientist:

Young people’s constitutional right in Montana to a “clean and healthful environment” was protected in a landmark decision Monday.

A court ruled that the state’s environmental policies have failed to protect children from climate change. The ruling pushes against a new Montana state law – the Montana Environmental Policy Act – that prohibits considering the climate impact of future energy projects, including those involving fossil fuels and mining.

“By prohibiting analysis of [greenhouse gas] emissions and corresponding impacts to the climate… the [Montana Environmental Policy Act] Limitation violates Youth Plaintiffs’ right to a clean and healthful environment and is unconstitutional on its face,” wrote District Judge Kathy Seeley, who ruled in favour of the plaintiffs.

It is crazy that there is a law prohibiting even looking into greenhouse emissions and their impacts on the environment is on the books. The activism of the younger generation gives me hope for the future.

The Elite's War on Remote Work

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Jessica Wildfire exposes the real reason the elites want us back in the office:

Major cities have spent the last several decades catering to these corporate landlords. Now their entire downtowns rely on workers for commerce. We’re talking about all those restaurants and coffee shops that serve breakfast and lunch to white-collar workers, and all the bars where people used to go and complain about work before they spent an hour commuting home.

These cities also depend on property taxes from overpriced commercial real estate. When nobody wants those buildings, their value plummets. New York alone has lost $453 billion in office real estate. Across the U.S., office buildings have shed anywhere from 40 to 80 percent of their value.

So, we have a problem.

Once again, the elite have gotten themselves into big trouble. They want the rest of us to bail them out. If they don’t want our tax money, they want us to give up our freedom and autonomy. They want us to sacrifice ourselves on the altar of capitalism to protect their fortunes.

They don’t care how productive we are. They don’t care how creative we are. They sure as hell don’t care about our health.

America Is Not Exceptional, It Is the Exception

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Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich:

  • American police kill over 1,000 people every year.

  • We’re the only one out of 22 advanced nations that doesn’t give all workers some form of paid sick leave.

  • We’re the only industrialized nation without guaranteed, universal healthcare.

  • We have the largest prison population on earth.

  • We have the largest CEO-to-worker pay gap.

  • We spend more on the military than the next seven nations combined.

America is exceptional, just not the way most Americans think it is.

Code That Changed Everything

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code

Slate has a great article on the most impactful code in programming’s short history:

Code shapes our lives. As the venture capitalist Marc Andreessen has written, “software is eating the world,” though at this point it’s probably more accurate to say software is digesting it.

Culturally, code exists in a nether zone. We can feel its gnostic effects on our everyday reality, but we rarely see it, and it’s quite inscrutable to non-initiates. (The folks in Silicon Valley like it that way; it helps them self-mythologize as wizards.) We construct top-10 lists for movies, games, TV—pieces of work that shape our souls. But we don’t sit around compiling lists of the world’s most consequential bits of code, even though they arguably inform the zeitgeist just as much.

To me the following line of code - published I believe for the first time in Kernighan & Ritchie’s “The C Programming Language” in 1978:

1
2
3
4
5
6
#include <stdio.h>

main()
{
  printf("hello, world\n");
}

As you can probably guess - this simply outputs hello, world onto the computer screen. This simple 6 line program, or the equivalent of it in your chosen language, was the first step in every programmer’s journey.

How Slate did not give it the number 1 spot is beyond me.

CNET Trying to Game Google Search

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Thomas Germain, reporting for Gizmodo:

Archived copies of CNET’s author pages show the company deleted small batches of articles prior to the second half of July, but then the pace increased. Thousands of articles disappeared in recent weeks. A CNET representative confirmed that the company was culling stories but declined to share exactly how many it has taken down. The move adds to recent controversies over CNET’s editorial strategy, which has included layoffs and experiments with error-riddled articles written by AI chatbots.

“Removing content from our site is not a decision we take lightly. Our teams analyze many data points to determine whether there are pages on CNET that are not currently serving a meaningful audience. This is an industry-wide best practice for large sites like ours that are primarily driven by SEO traffic,” said Taylor Canada, CNET’s senior director of marketing and communications. “In an ideal world, we would leave all of our content on our site in perpetuity. Unfortunately, we are penalized by the modern internet for leaving all previously published content live on our site.” A representative for the CNET Media Workers Union declined to comment. (Disclosure: Gizmodo’s Editor in Chief Dan Ackerman is a former CNET employee.)

CNET shared an internal memo about the practice. Removing, redirecting, or refreshing irrelevant or unhelpful URLs “sends a signal to Google that says CNET is fresh, relevant and worthy of being placed higher than our competitors in search results,” the document reads.

That is the dumbest thing I have heard. It would be stupid for Google to penalize sites with that archives old content, it would effectively destroy the web. You have to seriously question the competence of the CNet mangement if they are pursing this as a serious SEO strategy.

The Dark Side of Medical Influencers

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doctors on tiktok

Miranda Schreiber writing for The Walrus:

Physicians, like many of us, have used platforms like Twitter and Instagram since their inception, with 90 percent reporting they used social media to find information related to their patients and practice in 2017, according to a report by market analyst Research2Guidance. Today, lists of the top twenty-five “medical influencers” include accounts of family physicians and doctors who have been endorsed by celebrities and have millions of followers. And, at times, their posts contain jokes involving patient information. A 2020 study by Wasim Ahmed of Newcastle University, which analyzed 348 tweets about living patients, found that nearly 47 percent contained details that would likely make patients identifiable to themselves.

[..]

Just look at celebrities like Dr. Drew and Dr. Oz or shows like Dr. 90210 and Botched. Every week, viewers tune in to watch the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of patients, despite the criticisms these shows have received for exploitative practices. Reality shows like ABC’s NY Med used footage from actual emergency rooms and operating theatres, sometimes filming surgeries without consent from patients. Joel M. Geiderman, an LA emergency physician, told Emergency Medicine News that he knows people who consented to being filmed while stressed and in the emergency department, then regretted the publicization of their medical treatment in the media. So, while the disclosure of medical secrets to the public is not particularly new, technology has made it much easier.

It is bad enough that they are violating patient privacy, but to profit of a patients condition I find a violation of the Hippocratic Oath. Though in a system that is built as commercial for profit enterprise - this hardly a surprise.

We need to deal with the root cause - the existence of medicine as a profit maker. Until we have a single payer system with strong government oversight patient privacy abuse will be rampant.