Category Archives: Uncategorized

This I did not know

Donald Trump has been calling the press for decades using pseudonyms, passing on rumors that cast a favorable light on Donald Trump. Using this technique, he has inflated estimates of his net worth and his desirability amongst rich and powerful women.

There’s an article in Fortune magazine from 2016 that describes his practice. Apparently still doing it as President.

A simple model of how trade breaks down

One of the most interesting papers I’ve read this year, and it comes in at the end of December:

Is Inequality Inevitable, Bruce Boghosian et al, Scientific American Nov 2019

(Via a post from Brewster Kahle where he implements the authors’ model as a dice game, The Game of Oligarchy

It shows how a simple model of free trade between equals degenerates into classes of rich and poor, even when the trade is voluntary, the value of the trade to each partner benefits one or the other randomly and the mechanism is iterated for a large number, how this reflects many well-understood processes in nature where phase changes emerge from chaotic interactions between individual elements, and how a simple model of redistribution can (and does, in real societies) fix the problem.

RSS is the bomb

I have a facility in my web application to publish RSS feeds for the most “significant” events. I built it so that I wouldn’t have to build some way of integrating those events with lots of different mechanisms for lots of different users.

I demo’d it to the guy who’s taking over tech for the company I’ve been consulting to. Started by asking “do you know what RSS is?”. His response: “oh, yes, that’s really old tech” and made some analogy with a tape player in his old car.

So I fired up Zapier, and showed him how to take the feed and plug it into a Google Sheet, and into Slack so that his customer support people got pinged with new items. Oh. I could see his brain start to whir. I said something about “old tech, but still good tech”.

Thanks, @davewiner!

OK, this is weird

This morning after watching the debate, Shelley says “I’m going to send $25 to Amy Klobuchar”, and we have a discussion comparing her and Elizabeth Warren’s approach to governing.

Then I read Scripting News, as is my wont in the mornings, and lo and behold Dave has posted a message that he’s sent Klobuchar $25.

The next blog entry he posts mentions that he had a bike accident a few weeks ago and broke a rib. I had a bike accident at the beginning of August and fractured two ribs, collapsed a lung, detached a nerve in my eye, broke a bone in my hand and separated my shoulder.

What’s going on? Am I living Dave’s life? Shelley accuses me of being the secret author of Scripting News.