Blog: Shivering at the Wind

Shivering at the Wind
Shivering at the Wind
Date: 2019-Feb-02 19:11:53 EST

We've had a strong cold snap, and I'm guessing that that's somehow been triggering my near-constant migraines for the last week. Fortunately, they're mild as migraines go, leaving me in constant pain but not quite so bad that I can't focus and do things. Still, I find not getting a break from the pain to be pretty wearing. This is also something new - these clusters haven't happened to me before, and they closely resemble my nightmare scenario of unending migraine and being unable to work. Really hoping this ends soon. At a coffeeshop now, but my head is throbbing and this is the kind of migraine that also brings me a lot of sensitivity and pain in my neck (and oddly some tooth pain too).

The snap itself has also been unpleasant - my apartment does not do a great job at staying warm enough, and even the short walk to and from work has often been miserable.

Went to the IQ2US debate I mentioned in earlier posts. It was great - good company, interesting topics. Maybe I should feel strange that I was undecided both before and after, but I also was happy that the question I was going to ask (about microbiomes for deextincted species) was handled in the intro for one of the speakers. I thought of a second question (for the "do not bring species back" side) - if they would support it in a "Seveneves" scenario, but I thought of it too late to actually ask it. I am likely to get a membership, as I want more of this in-person.

Some takes:

  • I am disappointed to see the Progressive Caucus standing in the way of efforts to stop shutdowns. The most reasonable way to fix the issue, which I have proposed directly, has apparently been proposed by Rob Portman (I am unsure if a regular law could do this or if a Constitutional Amendment would be needed). Sadly, according to the article, there's been another proposal from a Democrat (Mark Werner) that's continues funding for all departments except the White House and Congress, which is incredibly stupid and counterproductive (if a deal is desired, the people who need to draft a bill and approve it lack resources?). Vicerality is not a desirable feature in governance.
  • While Google's execs may choose to use employee confidence as an extra sanity check, we should be wary of placing too much concern in employees not having much faith in management vision. In many tech jobs, people are not there for the company vision - sometimes they even disagree with the primary way their employer makes money, and more often they're neutral - what motivates people is often the ability to do good and interesting work with good coworkers in a good environment. Infrastructure engineers in particular often don't ever use the product (I never felt any particular reason to cheer MongoDB or Dropbox when I was working for either).
  • I'm generally hostile to cultural sensitivity efforts, and find it delightful when reality provides a reminder why those efforts seem to me to be a waste of time. Critical Theorists worry excessively about rote and unintelligent criticism of the status quo and their hegemony and victim perspective - these examples poke holes in that.
  • Disappointed to see Salon going after fact-checkers when someone they like screws up. We need neutral rules and scales of judgement if we want our discourse to improve. Tribalist populism, left or right, is a dangerous temptation that ruins societies.