Worlds Collide

In the future, instead of the endless runaround war of "I'm offended!" and "I'm offended that you're offended!", our children's children's children will just write down their utility functions and use an off-the-shelf algorithm to merge them and compute the exact, correct tensor of offendedness under the unified consensus social norms.

Missing Books II

A roman à clef about a very religious teenager who gradually figures out that God isn't real around ages 20 and 21, spends the next eight years feeling OK about this, then one day suddenly realizes that God not being real implies that prayers don't work, and freaks the fuck out. His friends (who grew up in the same community but don't share his incredible lack of native talent for hypocrisy) are unsympathetic. "You really thought that would work?" "Yes!" "But didn't you notice that—" (sobbing) "I didn't!"


"Me? I like songs with words. I don't care for, like, classical music."

(with barely-concealed contempt towards his interlocutor's ignorance and confusion) "But you like the Star Trek: Voyager theme, right?"

"I love the Star Trek: Voyager theme!!"


Sing a song of Purpose for the coder's missing nerve,
Of the melancholy bytes of which the proxy is to serve—
Arise, O coder's ​fury, set the wrongful source to right
Where the use-case fits the market and the market is alight!


stable_features_version_lint_before_and_afterI used to look down on posers who submit some contrived one-off trivial patch to a big, famous project like Django or whatever, sheerly for the glamor and ego-gratification of being able to say, "I'm a contributor to Django." I thought that if it wasn't a fix that you needed for your own work and you're not going to be a seriously involved contributor, it's more dignified to only work on your personal projects (which would be more authentic) or some non-super-famous but still widely-used library (which would have more socially-useful unfinished work left).

Then I landed a patch in the Rust compiler.

And it is so ego-gratifying!! But maybe now I have to submit a bunch more patches in order to prove—in order to be—a seriously involved contributor rather than a mere poser??

The View From Below

There's this phenomenon where two people are talking, and one of them offhandedly mentions some innocuous fact, and the other one has to stop them and have them explain both the fact, and what they expected their interlocutor to infer from the fact. When this happens once, it's usually just a matter of one happening to have some domain-specific knowledge that the other happened to not have, a coincidence that could just as easily have gone the other way.

When it happens multiple times with multiple topics, with both people in the same roles, the one who keeps having to ask for explanations begins to suspect that maybe it is not a coincidence, that maybe the other person just knows more stuff, full stop.

Standing at 130, you typically spend a lot more time talking down to 110 than being talked down to from 150, so it's an unusual feeling of helplessness. You want to cry out, "You know, I'm usually on the other side of this conversation!"

"I know," they say.