Small World

6 06 2015

St. Charles

Two unrelated stories:

The local media are all abuzz over an conference of ethical hackers being held in St. Charles this weekend.

Mencius Moldbug, (“Curtis Yarvin”), who coined the phrase “Dark Enlightment,” was bounced off a panel at a tech conference purely for his politics.

Did I say “unrelated?”  Turns out that these two stories are referring to the same conference.

Which means Mencius Moldbug could have been here this weekend and I could have taken the time to go meet him.

Woulda coulda shoulda…


Living in the Future

3 04 2015

Your Blogmeister’s Desk

The first paragraph nails it, but it’s even more profound than James Pethoukoukis thinks.

Once automation makes most of us redundant, the ideologies of the future that will govern the formulation of public policies of that future will seem alien to us today.  One prediction I feel pretty safe in making is that it will drive the final nail into the coffin of libertarianism.  Even though it’s nowhere near a serious governing ideology right now, the consequences of automation will mean that nobody is even going to want to toy around with it.

For what I’m thinking, once we reach critical mass in automation, the iron will be hot enough for NRx to strike.  Numerous times in the past, paradigm changes have been a consequence of technological changes.

And yet, I look around at 2016’s Presidential candidate field in both parties, and I see a whole lot of living in the past.  If nothing drastic happens, then in the fall of 2016, we will be treated to an argument on whether we should solve 1964’s problems or 1980’s problems.

Ebonics Detector

23 03 2015


NPR, on the voice algorithms being used to help make hiring decisions:

The benefit of computer automation isn’t just efficiency or cutting costs. Humans evaluating job candidates can get tired by the time applicant No. 25 comes through the door. Those doing the hiring can discriminate. But algorithms have stamina, and they do not factor in things like age, race, gender or sexual orientation. “That’s the beauty of math,” Salazar says. “It’s blind.”

Or, maybe not so blind.  I’ve written in this space several times that “CompStat” and data-driven predictive analysis in the arena of law enforcement is how we do racial profiling without actually doing racial profiling, because nobody is going to believe Al Sharpton when he accuses Microsoft Excel of racism.  Likewise, I can easily see how voice analysis for job applicants can weed out the N’Deshawntavious and Shaniqua while having enough plausible deniability that that’s what’s going on if the EEOC knocks on your door.

Larry v Jesse

23 03 2015

Silicon Valley

Orange County Register:

Race, class issues starting to split Silicon Valley alliance of tech, progressives

The rise of today’s progressive-dominated Democratic Party stemmed from a brilliant melding of minorities, the poor, the intelligentsia and, quite surprising, the new ultrarich of Silicon Valley. For the past decade, this alliance has worked for both sides, giving the tech titans politically correct cover while suggesting their support for the progressives’ message can work with business.

Not only did tech overwhelmingly favor President Obama with campaign contributions but Obama also overwhelming won the Silicon Valley electorate, taking the once GOP-leaning Santa Clara County with 70 percent of the vote. After the 2012 election, a host of former top Obama aides – including former campaign manager David Plouffe (Uber) and press spokesman Jay Carney (Amazon) – have signed up to work for tech giants. Perhaps even more revealing was the politically inspired firing last year of former Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich for contributing to California’s Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage.

Yet, despite these ties and PC eruptions, this alliance between the ideologically and the technically advanced shows signs of unraveling. This reflects, over time, what Marxists might have referred to as “contradictions” between two very different worldviews: the disruptive, acquisitive, aggressive spirit inherent in entrepreneurial capitalism and the increasingly egalitarian, property-controlling instincts of the progressive Left. To many progressives, the Silicon Valley elite are no longer scrappy up-and-comers, but increasingly resemble a new oligarchy.

Translation:  KKKrazy Glue is only so sticky for so long.

Hopefully we’ll have seventeen months more of this, and it will all blow up at the the DNC in Philadelphia.  I still want my knock down drag out brawl pitting Randi Weingarten against Davis Guggenheim.  Could we also see Larry Ellison vs Jesse Jackson on the undercard?

Skills Gap, Or Something Like That

7 03 2015

Durham, North Carolina

The Associated Press is going to use computer algorithms starting with the upcoming, and probably already started, D-I college baseball season, to write game recaps.  As it turns out, AP stories about corporate earnings reports have been robot-generated since July.  Durham, N.C.-based Automated Insights is the firm developing the software.

With every given year, more and more media copy will be bot-generated.  College baseball game recaps and corporate earnings reports are just the Skunk Works.

I read this, and contrast this with the constant bitching I hear from some quarters about skills gap, jobs Americans won’t do, H-1B, staple green cards to diplomas, comprehensive reform, worker shortages.


They Must Ask Questions

4 02 2015

Rosemead, California

Computer World:

Southern California Edison IT workers ‘beyond furious’ over H-1B replacements

Information technology workers at Southern California Edison (SCE) are being laid off and replaced by workers from India. Some employees are training their H-1B visa holding replacements, and many have already lost their jobs.

The employees are upset and say they can’t understand how H-1B guest workers can be used to replace them.

Because they can!

“They are bringing in people with a couple of years’ experience to replace us and then we have to train them,” said one longtime IT worker. “It’s demoralizing and in a way I kind of felt betrayed by the company.”

Yes, the company is bad enough.  But you should feel more betrayed by your elected officials.

You should ask your politicians and prospective politicians questions about this matter, and research their policy positions.  Even some of the supposedly better politicians on immigration are shockingly “generous” about H-xB and J-x and other forms of legal immigration.  Yes, Ted Cruz, I’m looking at you.

The H-1B program “was supposed to be for projects and jobs that American workers could not fill,” this worker said.

That’s the propaganda of the open borders lobby.  The reality is that the real purpose of H-1B was to keep the salary scale of high education professionals down.

“Not one of these jobs being filled by India was a job that an Edison employee wasn’t already performing,” he said.

But the Indian will do it for much cheaper.

SCE said the transition to Infosys and Tata “will lead to enhancements that deliver faster and more efficient tools and applications for services that customers rely on.

Infosys…you mean Infoshit.

SCE said Infosys and Tata were selected through a competitive process that began “with eight potential vendors, some of them United States-based.

Even some of these “United States-based” vendors are full of H-1B visa holding Asians.  They are nothing more than Indian bodyshops that happen to be based in Amurrika.

Displaced IT workers have long protested and complained about the use of H-1B workers, but they are overshadowed by large tech companies that lead H-1B lobbying efforts in Washington.

The displaced (real) American CSIT-STEM workers speak truth to power.  The large tech companies are the powers that create their own truth.

Replacing U.S. workers with H-1B workers violates the spirit if not the letter of the law.

And that is correct.  But don’t look for the law to save the day when the U.S. Attorneys work for a U.S. Attorney General who in turn works for a President whose Presidential campaign got a lot of money from PACs linked to legal immigrant gluttonous industries.

The use of H-1B workers has other implications as well. They are mostly young, under 35 years of age, according to government data, and the SCE workers interviewed said many older workers were being laid off. H-1B workers are also overwhelmingly male. The IEEE has estimated that as many as 85% are males.

That has been Norm Matloff’s point all along.  Young Asian/Indian men, cheap, no families, little health care expenses.  Once they get 35, and their own health care expenses increase and they may be starting in on families, out they go for a fresh new crop of 22-year old Asians/Indians.

Some of the SCE employees say the outsourcing move is linked to a 2012 report that found fault with the IT management culture. The report, by a consulting firm’s incident management team, followed a December 2011 shooting, where an employee fatally shot two IT managers and wounded two other workers before taking his own life. The gunman worked in the IT department.

The consultants interviewed IT workers who told them that some managers were “autocratic, authoritarian and draconian in their approach.” Full-time employees complained of working excessive hours, including weekends and holidays. The report said that “these difficult and exhausting conditions are reportedly having adverse consequences on employees health, including increased stress and irritability.”

The root cause of all that is the existence of H-1B in the first place, not some off-kilter managerial culture.


The “solution” is worse than the problem it supposedly solves.

5000 Memory Lane

12 01 2015

Your Blogmeister’s Hotel Room

As I was surfing YouTube earlier this morning, I found this video on the suggested videos sidebar:

I don’t know what possessed Google’s algorithms to suggest this.  But as luck would have it, I once owned this machine.  (Google now has clairvoyance algorithms?)  I bought it, or rather, it was purchased for me, in August 1989, before I started the 7th grade.  And this thing got me through the rest of middle school, high school, the SAT/ACT, and the first year of college.  While I owned other calculators at the same time, some way more capable than this one, this was my go-to machine for all those years, and in some ways, it was my math teacher, too.  Eventually, I had to switch full time to one of my more powerful machines, simply because my math courses outclassed the fx-5000f.  And it just so happened that at that time, some of the rubber keys broke off, the mechanical contrast wheel got iffey, and the power switch got temperamental.

While my late fx-5000f has been in calculator heaven ever since the fall of 1996, I still have its manual.   Which was itself a pretty good math book.


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