Sunday, March 13, 2016

Growing Censorship

I've been paying attention to things. Things you see one day, and they've changed the next.
YouTube music videos that have bad language are replaced with muted versions. And it's not just the F word, it's the word drugs. Popular culture being sanitized, "sucks" being deemed a swear, and not like Kid Rocks words of wisdom "suck my dick" but the widespread general usage, "that sucks". Honestly, today there was an article on WIRED titled, "Dancing in Shackles: Today your Adblock is taking a stand against censorship," and the article made no sense, WIRED blocks content from users using Adblock. Ransoming content for actual money, or forcing ads on the reader that are likely to be the source of the majority of viruses on the net. Censorship of public domain videos, which are becoming clickfarms instead. And no, Amnesty International has no anti-censorship focus going on, you'd have to be a detective to figure out what WIRED is talking about, as far as I can tell Amnesty is collecting donations to promote general human rights, like sexual reproductive freedom, freeing political prisoners and stopping police brutality. If you click on their google ad all you get is a donation form. As for Adblock, it's still blocking ads for now, so for the moment the user still has the power to censor content. It's a never ending struggle though, other people want to decide what you will, can, or must watch.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Swale Burial

I guess the labor participation rate is down to 33% or something like that. I thought I had a line on something, but I guess I'm still part of the majority. I don't like the idea of being on too many lists, whenever I need to deal with the government it makes me nervous. Signed up for healthcare because my old state run system was closed for Obama. It worked second try, then they sent me a new DSHS identification card unsolicited, after signing me up for the renamed free state plan, but sending me no health card.  I'm guessing that they'll transfer records over from the old system eventually. Honestly, I get by, I just need my diabetes meds, and a checkup once in a while. Everyone who was paying attention knows they made a bunch of places dig nice drainage swales in the last decades, I'd hate to think they were just getting ready to have the mass graves all dug ahead of time for their death panels. I don't hate the president, Kristallnacht should never happen again. No one should censor the internet, the TEA party shouldn't be harassed by the IRS, businesses shouldn't be extorted and taken over by the government, and most of all people shouldn't have to start dying. Millions of people are being dumped from their health care plans, many of those plans were keeping chronically ill people alive. The insurance companies called these people "bad apples", they were losing money on them, but they were required to pay out, now they can drop the plans because of the president. The new state plan is "apple", that's not a good sign.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Driving Costs

The average American driver drives something like 15,000 miles in a year. That represents at least 250 hours of driving (based on an average speed of 60 miles per hour). The average car has a range of around 300 miles, so that 15,000 miles represents 50 trips to the pump, which at 5 minutes per fill up would be a little longer than 4 hours. So overall the average commuter is spending the equivalent of about 31 eight hour days driving every year... a full months worth.

The average plug-in hybrid driver probably only needs gas 10 times a year or so, or 50 minutes at gas stations in a year. However, they need to plug the car in, which might take a minute or so, and unplug it before they leave, which could take another minute, so over the course of a year there's 12 hours of plugging in and out. There's some experimental "park over" chargers that  might help eliminate that, if you take the time to install that... in both your garage floor and in your car. And there is the time for having the plug-in charger installed, though that will no doubt be done by someone else.

So time wise it's about 254 hours for a gas car, and 263 hours for a plug-in electric hybrid car. So it costs 9 hours more, or 3.5% more time to plug-in. The average hourly wage is something like $19.50, though it fluctuates, so overall driving time represents a loss of productivity of around $5,000 per person. $175 more if you drive a plug-in hybrid.

The workforce participation rate is something like 65%, so this $5000 per person represents about $1.17 Trillion in lost productivity. If all workers switch to plug-in hybrids (this isn't likely), the productivity lost will increase to $1.2 Trillion. There's that 3.5% again... so $35 Billion more lost since GDP is something like $15 Trillion that would be only a 0.25% decrease in the GDP. All based on a few minutes plugging in every day.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Large Files (some understandings)

Haskell tries to memoize everything at top level. That is, it tries to store the results in memory. So if you have some function that is supposed to be processing for a single line in a file ProcessLine :: Handle -> IO() then what happens is that if that code prints something that depends on the input, that is it depends on some content in the file you are opening, then it will evaluate the action. Otherwise it just stores the action to execute later. With a large file that might mean that every call to a ProcessLine function is just storing more into memory. More worryingly, it breaks specified action order sometimes, calling file actions after the file is closed. So essentially Haskell's handling of imperative programming order is somewhat broken, which makes sense, that part of the language is the part that the gurus don't like, so they write their code as pure functions, that part of the code remains untested in places, or they just think it's what should be.

The solution then is just to go ahead and fit all IO into one monolithic call that fits into memory, and write things in pure code like ProcessFile::IO() and ProcessLine :: String -> String and then just map a whole file lazily. In general, since ProcessFile is returned as a single action at the top level, using hGetContents will end up not being all stored in memory unprocessed. There's still some limits here, because ProcessLine might get memoized, and there's no method that I've found yet to just say not to do that.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Large Files

It's been a while. I'm looking for a good understanding of the memory leaking in GHC haskell. In general things that should be compiled in a simple manner tend to start turning into unevaluated chunks of stuff until some value is needed. That's great, lazy is handy sometimes, but sometimes it's just bad. The compiler should be making smarter choices about optimizing, there should be some sort of option to let it know you want to minimize memory usage anyway. As it is it always optimizes for speed, or code size or something. That leads to refactoring code in the hope of making it all behave better, one liners turn into massive libraries and weeks trying to understand how someone else managed to make something they think works, when a lot of time it's really experimental. There are dozens of versions of libraries about dealing with long files, almost all aren't tested, none seem to have any ease in using them. Reading values and processing something from a file should be easy, just sequence it all one chunk or line at a time, it shouldn't always try to force huge memory usage. This is the sort of thing that makes people say haskell is a toy language.

Saturday, August 20, 2011


I went to a picnic at a park today.

that's me on the left... my nephew is on the right

There was lots of people there from my sister-in-laws family... that's my sister in law on the left, and my mother on the right.

The guy with my sister-in-law is Ned, the patriarch, he's 93.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Killer Cars

Toyota gas pedals: vroom...splat!
Prius brake computers: vroom...splat!
Volvo gas pumps: drip, drip...kaboom!

I wish that car companies weren't in such a hurry to add new features, and that government would stop being so strict on emissions. I had a two door Sunbird in the 80's that got 45 MPG and was sporty, I'm fairly sure the EC had been removed, but it ran clean. I'm sure a Prius isn't getting much better than 50 MPG, probably because of emissions laws. I've heard that a lightweight diesel car with manual transmission and good aerodynamics can get around 100 MPG if you drive it right.

It's the KISS thing, why spend billions redesigning something that already worked fine? Especially if the new one isn't really all that much better.