Saturday, December 5, 2015

Fast cars, rights and right to anything without thinking of others'

I like fast cars, I always did. Got a bunch of them, did a lot of stuff with them and never got anybody killed because of my stunts. 

If fast cars became an issue because too many people were killed by a few idiots driving them, I'd understand and suck it up. I'd blame the guys who drive fast cars and destroyed families, not those who don't want the same to happen to them. 

I'd even go as far as give up my favorite Viagra replacement, because too many lives were shattered by few idiots who are the ones who made it a problem. Or I would never by a Corvette again, if Chevrolet played it on the stupidity of the masses and made if a "rights" issue. 

Regardless, I could find myself a new hobby and live just as happy, most likely sleeping soundly, without blood on my conscience. 

But certainly I would not try to stop any legislation that lowers speed limits or prevents drunk driving or racing in the streets.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Let's assume for a second we were both wrong

This is a thought I had today, while having a conversation with my mom. 

We were talking about how sects (in the broadest sense of the definition which includes philosophical or political groups, not just religious ones) often over simplify arguments and, by doing this, do a disservice to their cause. 

For instance, in the events such as Baltimore's, one group usually tends to see things in the simplistic light of a "they are lazy, want everything handed to them but want no duty, that is they are there" and that sort of weak argument that ignores at least 50 years of human and political failures that led to the segregation we see today. On the other side, we sometimes hear the counter weak-argument of "it must be because they are racist" or stuff like that. 
Both arguments are often married to simplistic stories where the life of a few people one met are used as undeniable proof of how to describe the tens of millions we never met (circumstantial evidence?). 

Religion wise I often see the term "hate" used a lot against the group of people who are against giving the LGBT community the same rights we have. That's a weak argument in the sense that "hate" might justify *some* people's actions but, in my humble opinion, it is more the exception rather than the rule. 
Prejudice is a more proper word, especially if we understand we all have prejudices and biases: it's the natural state of how our brain works. 

Remember the times before women were given the suffrage rights. Would have the word "hate" been appropriate to describe why conservatives wanted to keep things the way they have been? Not in my opinion. Prejudice, strong bias and maybe the desire to keep control are more the cause, but not "hate". 

What I think we miss most, today and yesterday, is the ability to simplify our arguments in a way that those who want to understand are made able to understand. Simple arguments like "they are lazy", "they hate", etc. create herds of sheep and divide us even further. In the end, as people, we have become more accepting of difference than in previous times in history, but what if one day we started our conversations saying something like "let's assume for a second we were both wrong"...

Note: while talking about the above on Facebook, a friend of mine, Richard, wrote the following ""We seek the simplest available analogue that explains a complex behavior, and mentally we substitute that simple mental model for the chaos we are observing". I wanted to record it here because it's such an elegant and simple way to describe a lot of what I wrote above.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Every so often

I am not me. I apologize. 
I know I should not be sorry.
I know I should not speak.
Yet I feel this is the best of me.

Sometimes it's the me I want to be heard, it's the me I want to be loud.
I am just writing, maybe just as a fool, but it feels the right thing to do.
I don't know you, you don't know me, but I trust you
It just feels right. What else is there?


Sorry I think too much, but when we talked it felt good.
I feel I was talking to somebody who listened.
feel I spoke to somebody who knew more than I do.
I need a guide and it felt good.


Is that true?

I don't know.
But it was what I needed.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Desiderata (Max Ehrmann)

    Desiderata

    Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
    and remember what peace there may be in silence.
    As far as possible without surrender
    be on good terms with all persons.
    Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
    and listen to others,
    even the dull and the ignorant;
    they too have their story.
    Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
    they are vexations to the spirit.
    If you compare yourself with others,
    you may become vain and bitter;
    for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
    Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
    Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
    it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
    Exercise caution in your business affairs;
    for the world is full of trickery.
    But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
    many persons strive for high ideals;
    and everywhere life is full of heroism.
    Be yourself.
    Especially, do not feign affection.
    Neither be cynical about love;
    for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
    it is as perennial as the grass.
    Take kindly the counsel of the years,
    gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
    Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
    But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
    Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
    Beyond a wholesome discipline,
    be gentle with yourself.
    You are a child of the universe,
    no less than the trees and the stars;
    you have a right to be here.
    And whether or not it is clear to you,
    no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
    Therefore be at peace with God,
    whatever you conceive Him to be,
    and whatever your labors and aspirations,
    in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
    With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
    it is still a beautiful world.
    Be cheerful.
    Strive to be happy.

    Max Ehrmann, Desiderata, Copyright 1952.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Validation with PostSharp

My article on validation using PostSharp just got posted!
Read it at www.postsharp.net


This is my second article there. The first one was a more general description on how I use the technology in the context of what we do at CODY.

You can read that first article by clicking here.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Ethics and economics

Some wise words from Robert Reich


"This weekend many of my students will be graduating. Some will get degrees in economics. Economics didn't exist as a separate discipline until the great Alfred Marshall published his "Principles of Economics" in 1890. Before that, economics was considered a part of "political economy," and those who studied and taught it knew that economics couldn’t be understood without an understanding of politics, and vice versa. They were correct. Markets don't exist on their own. There is no market in nature, only survival of the strongest. Markets are human institutions whose rules are developed by legislatures, agencies, and courts.
Not even "political economy" existed as a separate discipline in the eighteenth century. Adam Smith, the presumed founder of economics, called himself a "moral philosopher" because the broad discipline from which both politics and economics were born was moral philosophy, for which the central defining question was "what is a good society?" Without a grounding in morals and ethics -- without a deep understanding that social science is rooted in moral inquiry -- students are left in an ethical wilderness, as is the rest of society."