Of late, I’ve been taking an interest in the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. For those who haven’t heard about it, the basic idea is that the US’s system of electing presidents through the Electoral College is archaic and convoluted, and too often doesn’t elect the person who won the most people’s votes. Since the… Continue reading Silly Objections to the Popular Vote
Ansible is billed as a configuration manager similar to Puppet or cfengine. But it occurred to me recently that it’s really (at least) two things: A configuration manager. A scripting language for the machine room. Mode 1 is the normal, expected one: here’s a description; now make the machine(s) look like the description. Same as… Continue reading Ansible As Scripting Language
This weekend, I had occasion to eat at a food truck that had this intriguing sign in the window: This intrigued me, because the way I understand it, it takes 10-20 minutes for Bitcoin transactions to go through. That’s why it doesn’t work everyday purchases like, for instance, lunch at a food truck. I asked… Continue reading Buying Lunch with Bitcoin?
Say you have an Ansible playbook that invokes a command. Normally, that command executes when you run ansible normally, and doesn’t execute at all when you run ansible in check mode. But a lot of commands, like rsync have a -n or –dry-run argument that shows what would be done, without actually making any changes. So it… Continue reading Ansible: Running Commands in Dry-Run Mode in Check Mode
Let’s say you’re a programmer, and your application uses Library of Congress Control Numbers for books, e.g., 2001012345, or ZIP codes, like 90210. What data types would you use to represent them? Or maybe something like the Dewey Decimal System, which uses 320 to classify a book as Political Science, 320.5 for Political Theory, and 320.973 for… Continue reading Pseudo-Numeric Identifiers
So this was one of those real-life mysteries. I like crossword puzzles. And in particular, I like indie crossword puzzles, because they tend to be more inventive and less censored than ones that run in newspapers. So I follow several crossword designers on Twitter. Yesterday, one of them mentioned that people were having a problem… Continue reading Removing Magic
The other day, I went to a Thomistic Society talk about Aquinas’s views on the Problem of Evil and other topics. At one point, the presenter casually mentioned that humans engage in self-destructive behavior, like alcoholism, self-mutilation, drug addiction, etc., while non-human animals don’t. That made my  sense tingle, so I looked around. Among other… Continue reading Do You Even Science, Frater?
One of the many things that annoyed me in the wake of Trump’s upset victory was that for so many people on the winning side, this boiled down to “delicious librul tears“. And even a lot of Trump’s executive actions have been less about advancing his own plan, as about tearing down Obama’s legacy. We’ve… Continue reading Democracy Is Not Football
By now, you’ve all seen this T-shirt, which began circulating approximately several years before 17 people were killed at Stoneman Douglas High School, in Florida: As many people have pointed out, the implication is that, against all theology, God—or at least the God of sanctimonious T-shirt wearers—is not omnipresent. That a simple legislative measure is sufficient to… Continue reading Hell Is a School, Apparently
I’ve known forever that city mileage for cars is worse than highway mileage, but I never knew why. But it’s a bit like riding a bike. When you ride a bike, you have to put in a lot of work at the beginning, getting up to speed. And after that, you can mostly coast. Assuming… Continue reading City Mileage