Python docs, more on wget

Things I have learned today: Python has a lot of modules that are documented well enough to make you cry. Other modules are documented so poorly that it will make you cry. Why am I using GNU parallel? Because creating a bounded threadpool in Python, a task that seems like it should be pretty straightforward,… Continue reading Python docs, more on wget

Facebook: good and bad… really bad

I find I have a difficult relationship with [Facebook](https://wwwfacebookcom/josephottinger) I think Facebook has a lot of potential value, but with so many people using it so differently, it ends up taking almost as much as it gives. It not only gives me a neutral environment to interact with friends from my distant past - people from middle school whom I still remember fondly! It's given me a chance to see old friends' lives - as their careers and their children mature. It's given me a chance to vicariously participate in the things that matter to them - graduations, successes, failures. I've had closure for things from years and years ago - conversations with people who had tried to bully me, whether ignorantly or not. It's given us a chance to see each other as people, actual adults, as opposed to the caricatures created by first impressions of strangers. Facebook is excellent at fostering light connections, but such connections do a poor job of representing actual *people* - including me. On Facebook, an offhand statement, meant mildly and in context, appears as a core belief, a statement I am willing to defend to the death and because of the nature of first impressions, no amount of context changes that impression. Incidentally, I think libertarians who advocate anarchy are wrong, although I do think a society composed *solely* of people with decent rational self-interest could exist and prosper in pure anarchy. But Facebook readers *tend* to not recognize that continuum and its potential for growth and refinement. ) But at the same time, in America we advocate innocence until guilt is proven - and Facebook ignores the potential innocence. I'm tempted to filter Facebook quite a bit - spend a few days looking at who posts most often on my feed, and what they post.

What are your bellwethers?

What things about someone would serve as simple signals as to whether you could empathize with them? What would your bellwethers be? A "bellwether" is a leading or primary indicator of something. It came up in conversation about the Lord of the Rings; I have friends for whom LoTR isn't a pinnacle of fantasy. What… Continue reading What are your bellwethers?


I refuse to participate in the current flurry of condemnation against vaccination opponents. It's ugly, it's stupid, it's wrong - not because vaccination is a bad move, but because the condemnation itself is ugly, stupid, and wrong. Worse than being ugly, stupid, and wrong - it's not effective. It's cruel, in the end. If you're… Continue reading Vaccinations