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2018-09-14 10:20 by Karl Denninger
in Musings , 133 references
[Comments enabled]  

Ok dude, enough is enough.

I'd said I'd had enough of this **** but apparently it hadn't had enough yet.

I just got word that another family member passed last night.

Once more, into the breach.


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2018-09-09 11:58 by Karl Denninger
in Musings , 232 references
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On September 4th my Mom, age 88, passed.

She had a tumor removed from her colon a couple of years ago and subsequently refused both chemo and radiation.  The outcome was thus not in doubt from that point forward; indeed it never is in doubt for all of us, but that the amount of sand in her hourglass was known to be limited came into sharp focus at that point.  Nonetheless the fullness of time validated her refusal to submit to the proscriptions of so-called medical professionals; instead of suffering the ignobility and debilitation resulting from irradiation and chemical preparations of questionable value she enjoyed years of a full life beyond surgery with only minimal convalescence and recovery.

I was not there when she actually died, but was with her a couple of days prior; bad timing and the vagaries of being unable to predict when a sudden collapse in one's vitals will occur in such a case was the reason I was not at her side. Sarah and I were in transit to her, near Nashville, when we got the news.  But the few days prior when I was there she was lucid and, while bed-bound, mentally "all present and accounted for", and was clearly at peace with a passing she knew was not very far in the future.  She had only been confined to bed for about a week at the time of her death, and died peacefully without pain.

There's utterly no argument anyone can make about such a means and method of passing into death.  To make it to nearly 90, to be able to get around and perform the ordinary functions of life until a week before you go, and to be lucid and have your mental faculties until the days remaining can be counted on the fingers of one hand pretty-much defines "a good death."

So the passing of my Mom is not to be mourned, for she was not taken in a violent or painful way, or in any way against her wishes.  Having been widowed a number of years earlier when my Dad died and surviving all but one of her close friends she had few remaining things she wanted to accomplish in her life.  Sadly, arguably the most-serious of such remaining tasks on her personal list, and one I was aware of for years, went unfulfilled.

I will not belabor that which was and was not done and whether different decisions might have led to a different outcome in that regard.  We all make our decisions as we think correct in weighing the choices we have and the known and expected consequences, and to agree or not is everyone else's prerogative.  On these issues she and I disagreed and she was well-aware of that, but I respected her choices.

Rest easy Mom -- you had a good run.

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2018-09-09 11:19 by Karl Denninger
in Musings , 133 references
[Comments enabled]  

Consider this situation.

Someone who is basically homebound.  They do not drive and they're in poor enough physical condition that they're unable, or unwilling, to walk the mile or mile and a half to a store.  Someone else in the household thus brings basically everything into the residence that is consumed.

Said person is a raging alcoholic and/or drug abuser -- indeed the reason they're homebound is that their liver looks like a walnut, they have congestive heart failure and more.

They will and do consume their financial resources at a voracious rate to continue said habit even to the exclusion of being able to pay for food, legitimate medication, the power or water bill, but there's a problem because they can't magically make said drugs or booze appear in the place where they live, and thus where they consume them.

Someone has to physically buy and transport them, and in some cases supply the money to do so.

Now in the context of illegal drugs there have been cases where such persons have been charged with delivery (dealing), even though money didn't change hands directly to them.  In many states "delivery" of a controlled substance doesn't require compensation to change hands in order the crime to be committed.  I find all sorts of fault with that sort of charge in the first place on libertarian grounds since it is my considered opinion that "prohibited" or "controlled" drugs through law never works as intended and instead empowers criminal activity by dramatically raising the profit margin in such transactions.  But that's an argument for another day.

No, I want to look at where prosecutors have in some cases and ought to in all cases look in terms of liability: Criminal charges for involuntary manslaughter.

Involuntary manslaughter is defined as killing another person unlawfully but unintentionally.

The unlawful part can be anywhere from through negligence (civilly unlawful) through low-level felonies (e.g. DUI.)

The elements of the offense require (1) someone dies as a direct or indirect result of the person's actions, (2) the act that led to the death was inherently dangerous or taken with reckless disregard and (3) the person who committed the act knew what they were doing was a threat to the life of another person.

Intentionally bringing drugs and/or booze into the household of a person who is a known, serious drug abuser and by trivial, casual observation of their physical condition it is clear they are medically unstable with full intention and knowledge that they will consume them in extreme quantity, especially when said delivery occurs on a repetitive, indeed daily or nearly-daily basis, damn well meets that set of tests.

A person who drives drunk doesn't intend to kill someone.  But they know their actions are dangerous and a threat to other people and they do so with reckless disregard.  If someone is hit and killed then the third requirement is met.

Likewise someone who brings booze or drugs, especially if that booze or drugs are paid for by the person to whom they are given and then consumed, or through an act where the funds to buy them are acquired through deceit or fraud has quite-clearly taken the action with reckless disregard and the person so-furnishing knows damn well that the act threatens the life of the person to whom the substances are then given or made accessible.

An utterly huge percentage of people who manage to kill themselves through drug or alcohol abuse find themselves in a position where they're physically unable to source their own drugs or booze long before the fatal incident occurs.  In most cases we are not talking days or weeks but rather months or years -- even decades -- of advance knowledge and warning.  But for the willing actions of others who in many if not nearly all cases are damn well aware of the severely compromised medical state of the abuser to continue to obtain a supply of said substances to abuse, whether legal or not, said person would not die as you can't drink liquor or abuse drugs you do not physically possess.

If you're a prosecutor and you have a brain in your head this damn well ought to be charged in every such instance where you find it and can show that the person doing the furnishing or enabling knew of the compromised medical state of the person so-addicted, and that such medical compromise was severe, pervasive and made death materially more-likely.

You have a right to commit suicide by drinking or drug abuse should you so choose -- the right to life extends to the right to take your own life, or such a right is meaningless on its face.

But to the extent you enlist others to physically give you the bottle of pills, the envelope full of some other drug, or the bottle full of booze and your severely-compromised medical status is obvious to casual observation (or worse, actual knowledge of the person who gives you the drugs) I find a very compelling argument in the laying of involuntary manslaughter charges against said person(s).

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2018-09-05 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Musings , 183 references
[Comments enabled]  

The lament is that we should "stop treating tech jerks like gods", they say....

When fans worship people like Elon Musk and Steve Jobs and aspire to be like them, they’re not saying that they’d like to make a device that the world uses. They’re not even saying that they’d like to be very wealthy. They’re saying that they’d like to achieve a level of wealth and power where no one can judge them and they can behave as horribly as they like — just as Jobs and Musk have done. 

Gee, I wonder why that happened?

Maybe it's due to not having the rule of law any more, eh?

I think so.

Isn't the standard that the law is supposed to apply even to the King?

So why doesn't it?

Jobs, if you remember, likely used his money and influence to "jump the line" with a transplant.  He probably killed someone doing it too, because he got a liver someone else would have received otherwise.  Only about 1/3rd of the people who need one in a given year get it; the rest do not.

There is no argument to be made for giving someone with pancreatic cancer a transplant of anything, say much less a liver.  The reason is that pancreatic cancer nearly always kills the person who has it, so you're giving someone a liver who may live another year or two (as Jobs did) while denying that liver to someone who may live 20 years.

Now it's illegal for you to actually buy a liver -- or any other organ -- in the United States.  But money and power can get you on multiple lists at once through the simple process of being able to fly anywhere, be evaluated multiple times in multiple regions and pay for that, along with being able to go where the organ is on zero notice whenever your name comes up.

The average person cannot do any of that.  They lack the resources, so they get evaluated once (usually where they live) because if you come up you better get there right now or the organ goes to the next person on the list.  Therefore registering in a bunch of places and paying for the evaluation is pointless since you can't get there on zero notice even if you do come up on the list.

Jobs preferentially registered in the Tennessee region where the wait time is typically four months; in other regions (where he was presumably also registered) the wait time is frequently over a year.  Of course if you die first while waiting then tough cookies for you.

But the point is that yes, he did buy a liver with money and power and someone else was denied it -- and he gamed the system to do it using money and influence.  Never mind the cost -- half a million bucks -- and ability to pay, either through insurance or a big fat wallet, is a precondition to registration -- especially if you register in more than one place.  Do you really think the place doing the transplant will eat it if you have no assets or insurance when someone else has a billion dollars and they can give the liver to them?  Yeah, right.

Why do we allow this crap?  Good question.  A better one is why you'd allow someone on a waitlist in the first place when they have an underlying condition that kills damn near everyone who has it.  Oh by the way, it did kill him so those who claim "oh he had a good prognosis" -- how'd that work out?


The bottom line is that both of these people are/were insufferable *******s.  To lionize either is not so much an act of foolishness, however -- it's a reflection of our generally lawless society when you have money and power.

This crap doesn't only extend to tech giants either -- it also extends to politicians.

Witness McCain, who was just lauded by damn near everyone in both the Senate and political sphere generally, despite arguably being one of the most-corrupt people ever to sit in the Senate.  As I've pointed out repeatedly over the years including when he ran for President not only was he involved in the Keating scandal his continued peddling of sleaze is a trademark.  His second wife's fortune was made by a family that included a convicted felon (for bootlegging!) that nonetheless got a federal liquor distribution license.  If you think the corruption in his family is simply about booze you'd be wrong; his current wife narrowly escaped indictment for siphoning off prescription drugs in 1994.  Gee, I wonder how that happened?

No, the real issue isn't that people tattoo Jobs' name on their bodies, or fawn all over Musk and attack anyone who points out that he's a 5-alarm *******.

It's that what they're really cheering for is the ability to acquire that sort of power and money for themselves so the law doesn't apply to them either, just as it quite-clearly didn't for McCain, Jobs and, it appears thus far, to Musk (stock manipulation -- at least) as well.

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2018-09-04 07:22 by Karl Denninger
in Musings , 199 references
[Comments enabled]  

There's stupid and then there's really stupid.

Kids don’t learn much coding in school, which can leave them unprepared to tackle computer science in college or in a career. There are more than 540,000 open computing jobs, yet fewer than 50,000 computer-science majors graduated into the workforce last year, according to, a nonprofit that seeks to expand computer-science instruction in schools. Summer camps like iD Tech are stepping in to fill the gap, positioning themselves as a potential entry point to a career in tech down the road. iD Tech, which operates on more than a hundred campuses in the United States and abroad, has established itself—along with competitors like Digital Media Academy—as a dominant player in the niche market of summer tech programs for children and adolescents. More than 50,000 students plan to attend its camps this summer. At roughly $1,000 a week, though, these programs remain out of reach for many families, raising questions about how for-profit enrichment programs might shape access to tech education for a generation of young people—and whether they perpetuate patterns that exclude underrepresented candidates.

The crazies at The Atlantic simply omit facts for their partisan, lefty, ought-to-catch-on-fire and burn to the ground garbage.

Here it is:

You can buy a computer you can learn to code on for $35.  It's called a Raspberry Pi.  For another $10 you can have a mouse and keyboard for it.  For $10 more you can have storage for it (an SD card.)  Every kid in the nation likely already has a flat-screen TV in the house they can use for a monitor.

$1,000 for a "class"?  Why?

Big Nerd Ranch has a book out for $50 -- once -- that goes through learning Android programming, and the development software is free to download and use, as is the operating system for that Pi.  Oh, and the computer is the size of a pack of cigarettes, so there's no need for anything special there either, nor any great place to use it.

The problem with all these so-called "coding" schools is that they're a waste of time and money.  It's a simple fact that the only way to actually learn how to code in a way that is worth something in the end is to understand how the machine works first, and all the so-called "high level" stuff can not and will not teach you that.  In fact such programming languages intentionally hide that level of detail in the name of making programming faster and easier, but you still need to know all of that in order to write code in a way that makes sense, whether the fine details are hidden from your or not.

You can't learn that in a week-long camp.  You can learn it in a summer, if you're motivated, but you don't need a class -- just something to learn it on and the willingness to dive in and do so, plus the mental focus to match it.

"Everyone" cannot be a decent or even a passable coder.  You need to want to learn it in the first place and then you also need to have a mental alignment with how these machines work.  I'm fortunate in that I have both.  Many people who are otherwise very, very bright simply do not have the mental alignment or drive necessary -- I've had them as people working for me before and despite their high degree of intelligence they were terrible coders, bordering on having negative value to the enterprise.  Take such a person and ratchet them down to a 100-120 IQ instead of 135+, or worse, a more-or-less "it's a job but I really don't like this stuff" sort of attitude and they do have negative value to the enterprise.

It used to be that it was quite a stretch to get a machine with enough moxie to be able to learn how to passably code.  Or was it?  Who remembers the Sinclair ZX-80/81?  It could be programmed in machine code if you wished, and came with BASIC built in.  While BASIC will get you started you will never be a good coder if you don't learn machine code.  However, while in today's (inflated) money $100 then is a lot more now, the fact is that either was a $100 machine back then.  Of course there were more-expensive models, such as the Commodore 64 (the PET, which preceded it, was a lot more expensive) -- but the idea that somehow "coding was restricted to the rich", which is what The Atlantic is pushing here, is utter nonsense.

Should our schools teach this stuff?  I'm not convinced.  As I note above there's both an aptitude and desire thing involved in being successful at it.  Perhaps a "starter" class in BASIC ought to be required in school somewhere around 6th grade and it's not hard to do given the inexpensive hardware you can get today.  Building a "Pi" into a cabinet so it can't be tampered with, network-boots (which it can do out of the box) and sticking a cheap LCD screen, keyboard and mouse on same would not be hard.  The netbooting makes tampering with the OS a non-event since there's no way to screw with the boot image (as it's not on the device), and it also makes hardware failures cheap and easy to manage (just plug in another one.)

But these so-called "camps" are a waste of both time and money.  For the motivated with a reasonable degree of integration with how their mind works they're neither necessary nor do they provide much if any "leg up."  For those who are neither they're simply a way to suck $1,000 out of a duped parent's pocket.

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