forty-four things tagged “twitter”

On Convenience in 2022

Definitely the future of television I had in mind was me having to google every movie I want to watch to see if it’s currently in one of its one-month windows on any of the seven streaming services I pay for. This is way easier than buying a DVD. I love it.


On Criminal Nature

The reason republicans get so incredibly huffy when any of the tools of law enforcement are ever turned upon them is they think “criminals” as an inherent class of people (who they of course could never be part of) rather than a descriptor for someone who commits illegal acts.


Not too far-fetched an observation. Consider the following:

Our Crazy Calendar by @foone More Pasta

Someday aliens are going to land their saucers in a field somewhere in New Jersey and everything is going to go just fine right up until we try to explain our calendar to them

“yeah we divide our year into a number of sub units called ‘months’ made up a number of days, and they’re not all the same length”
“I guess that’s unavoidable, if your rotations-count per orbit is a prime number”
“yeah, our’s isn’t prime”
“but surely you have most of these ‘months’ the same length and just make the last one shorter or longer?”
“No… They’re different lengths following no logical pattern”
“and we further subdivide the months into ‘weeks’, which is 7 days.”
“ahh, so each month is an integer multiple of weeks?”
“that would make sense, but no. Only one is, sometimes”
“yeah our orbit around the sun isn’t an integer number of days, so we have to change the number of days to in a year from time to time”
“oh yes, a similar thing happens on Epsilon Indi 7, where they have to add an extra day every 39 years to keep holidays on track”
“yeah that’s how ours work! Although the ratio doesn’t work out cleanly, so we just do every 4 years, except every 100 years, except except every 400 years”
“oh, you number your years? What’s the epoch?”
“uh, it’s supposed to be the birth of a religious leader, but they got the math wrong so it’s off by 4 years, if he existed at all.”
“if? You based your calendar off the birth date of someone you’re not sure exists?”
“yeah. He’s written about in a famous book but historical records are spotty.”
“interesting. I didn’t realize your planet was one of the ones with a single universal religion, that usually only happens in partial or complete hive minds.”
“uhh, we’re not.”
“You’re not?!”
“yeah we have multiple religions.”
“oh but they all have a common ancestor, which agrees on the existence of that leader, right?”
“uh, no. Two of the big ones do, but most of the others don’t believe in him”
“well, on his birth. And yeah, we got it wrong by a couple years.”
“OK, fine. So, you have somewhat complicated rules about when you change the length of your years, and I’m scared to ask this, but… You definitely just add or subtract that extra day at the end, right?”
“… Nope.”
"At the start of the year? "
“nah. The end of the second month”
“I’m not sure, really.”
“huh. So at this point I’m dreading asking this, but how do you measure time within each day?”
“oh that’s much simpler. Each day is divided into hours, each hour has minutes, and each minute has seconds.”
“ok. And 10 of each?”
“10 hours? No. There’s 24 hours, 60 minutes, 60 seconds”
“… I thought you said you used a base-10 counting system”
“we do! Mostly. But our time system came from some long gone civilization that liked base-60 like 5000 years ago”
“and you haven’t changed it since?”
“huh. Okay, so why 24? That’s not a divisor of 60”
“oh because it’s actually 12!”
“yeah each day is 24 hours but they are divided into two sets of 12.”
“and that’s 5 12s, right, I see the logic here, almost. So like, after hour 12, it becomes the second half, which is 1?”
“No, after 11.”
“oh, you zero-index them! So it’s hours 0-11 in the first half, then 12-23 in the second half?”
“No. 12 to 11 in the first half, and again in the second half”
“please explain that before my brain melts out my mouth”
“the first hour is 12. Then the next one is 1, then it goes back up to 11, then 12 again”
“that is not how numbers work. And how do you tell first 12 apart from second 12?”
“oh we don’t use numbers for that!”
“you don’t number the two halves of your day?”
“nah, we call them AM and PM”
“I think it’s ante-meridian and post-meridian? But I’m not sure, I dont know much Latin”
“yeah it’s an ancient language from an old empire which controlled a lot of the world and we still use some of their terms”
“oh, and that was the civilization that liked base-60 and set up your time system?”
“that would make sense, but… No, completely different one.”
“okay, and what do you do to if you want to measure very short times, shorter than a second?”
“oh we use milliseconds and microseconds”
“ahh, those are a 60th of a second and then 60th of the other?”
“No. Thousandths.”
“so you switch to base-10 at last, but only for subdivisions of the second?”
“but at thousands, ie, ten tens tens”
“yeah. Technically we have deciseconds and centiseconds, which are 1/10 of a second, and 1/100 of a second, but no one really uses them. We just use milli.”
“that seems more like a base-1000 system than a base-10 system.”
“it kinda is? We do a similar thing with measures of volume and distance and mass.”
“but you still call it base-10?”
“so let me see if I get this right: Your years are divided in 10 months, each of which is some variable number of days, the SECOND of which varies based on a complex formula… and each day is divided into two halves of 12 hours, of 60 minutes, 60 seconds, 1000 milliseconds?”
“12 months, actually.”
“right, because of the ancient civilization that liked base-60, and 12 is a divisor of 60.”
“No, actually, that came from the civilization that used latin. Previously there were 10.”
“yeah the Latin guys added two months part of the way through their rule, adding two more months. That’s why some are named after the wrong numbers”
“you just said two things I am having trouble understanding. 1. Your months are named, not numbered? 2. THE NAMES ARE WRONG?”
“yep! Our 9th month is named after the number 7, and so on for 10, 11, and 12.”
“your 12th month is named… 10?”
“what are the other ones named after?!”
“various things. Mainly Gods or rulers”
“oh, from that same religion that your epoch is from?”
“uh… No. Different one.”
“so you have an epoch based on one religion, but name your months based on a different one?”
“yeah! Just wait until you hear about days of the week.”
“so yeah we group days into 7-day periods-”
“which aren’t an even divisor of your months lengths or year lengths?”
“right. Don’t interrupt”
“but we name the days of the week, rather than numbering them. Funny story with that, actually: there’s disagreement about which day starts the week.”
“you have a period that repeats every 7 days and you don’t agree when it starts?”
“yeah, it’s Monday or Sunday.”
“and those names come from…”
“celestial bodies and gods! The sun and moon are Sunday and Monday, for example”
“but… I looked at your planet’s orbit parameters. Doesn’t the sun come up every day?”
“oh, do you have one of those odd orbits where your natural satellite is closer or eclipsed every 7 days, like Quagnar 4?”
“no, the sun and moon are the same then as every other day, we just had to name them something.”
“and the other days, those are named after gods?”
“from your largest religion, I imagine?”
“nah. That one (and the second largest, actually) only has one god, and he doesn’t really have a name.”
“huh. So what religion are they from? The Latin one again?”
“nah, they only named one of the God-days”
“the third or forth biggest, I assume?”
“nah, it’s one that… Kinda doesn’t exist anymore? It mostly died out like 800 years ago, though there are some modern small revivals, of course”
“so, let me get confirm I am understanding this correctly. Your days and hours and seconds and smaller are numbered, in a repeating pattern. But your years are numbered based on a religious epoch, despite it being only one religion amongst several.”
“correct so far”
“and your months and days of the week are instead named, although some are named after numbers, and it’s the wrong numbers”
“and the ones that aren’t numbers or rulers or celestial objects are named after gods, right?”
“but the months and the days of the week are named after gods from different religons from the epoch religion, and indeed, each other?”
“yeah! Except Saturday. That’s the same religion as the month religion”
“and the month/Saturday religion is also from the same culture who gave you the 12 months system, and the names for the two halves of the day, which are also named?”
“right! Well, kinda.”
“please explain, slowly and carefully”
“yeah so cultures before then had a 12 month system, because of the moon. But they had been using a 10 month system, before switching to 12 and giving them the modern names”
“the… Moon? Your celestial body?”
“yeah, it completes an orbit about every 27 days, so which is about 12 times a year, so it is only natural to divide the year into 12 periods, which eventually got called months”
“ok, that makes sense. Wait, no. Your orbital period is approximately 365.25 days, right?”
“yeah. That’s why we do 365 or 366 based on the formula”
“but that doesn’t work. 365 divided by 27 is ~13.5, not 12”
“yeah I’m not sure why 12 was so common then. Maybe it goes back to the base 60 people?”
“okay so one final check before I file this report: Years are numbered based on a religious leader. Years always have 12 months, but the lengths of those months is not consistent between each other or between years.”
“don’t forget the epoch we number our years from is wrong!”
“right, yes. And your months are named, some after a different religion, and some after numbers, but not the number the month is in the year.”
“right. And when we change the month lengths, it’s the second one we change”
“how could I forget? After months you have a repeating ‘week’ of 7 days, which is named after gods from two religons, one of which is the month-naming one, and a nearly extinct one. And you don’t agree when the week starts.”
“nope! My money is on Monday.”
“that’s the Monday that’s named after your moon, which supposedly influenced the commonality of the 12 months in a year cycle, despite it orbiting 13 times in a year?”
“and as for your days, they split into two halves, named after a phrase you don’t really understand in the long dead language of the same culture that named the months and Saturday.”
“Yep. I took some in college but all I remember is like, ‘boy’, ‘girl’, ‘stinky’, ‘cocksucker’”
“charming. And then each half is divided into 12 hours, but you start at 12, then go to 1, and up to 11”
“all I can say is that it makes more sense on analog clocks.”
“i don’t know what that is and at this point I would prefer you not elaborate. So each of those hours is divided into 60 minutes and then 60 seconds, and this comes from an ancient civilization, but not the one that gave you the month names”
“yep. Different guys. Different part of the world.”
“ok. And then after seconds, you switch to a ‘base-10’ system, but you only really use multiples of a thousand? Milliseconds and microseconds?”
“right. And there’s smaller ones beyond that, but they all use thousands”
“right. Got it. All written down here. Now if you’ll excuse me, I just gotta go make sure I didn’t leave my interociter on, I’ll be right back.”

The tall alien walks back into their saucer without a wave. The landing ramp closes.

The ship gently lifts off as gangly landing legs retract. There’s a beat, then a sudden whooshing sound as air rushes back into the space that previously held the craft, now suddenly vacuum.

NORAD alarms go off briefly as an object is detected leaving the earth’s atmosphere at a significant fraction of the speed of light.

In the years to come, many technological advances are made from what was left behind, a small tablet shaped object made of some kind of artifical stone/neutrino composite material.

The alien message left on screen is eventually translated to read “Untitled Document 1 has not been saved, are you sure you wish to quit? (yes) (no) (cancel)”

Many years have passed, and we await the day the aliens return. They have not.

With our new advancements, we build space-radar systems and can see the many species flying around the galaxy. It’s not long before we realize they’re intentionally giving earth a wide berth.

Drone ships criss-cross the galaxy, but when they get within a lightyear of earth they detour around it.

We finally get a subspace radio working, and start working to decode the noisy traffic of a thousand civilizations talking to each other. We broadcast a message of greetings and peace

Less than a week later, the subspace net goes quiet. Our space radar reports the solar system is now surrounded by small vessels, suspected to be some kind of automated probe, and they’re blocking all radio traffic in or out. Even the pulsars go quiet, all radio waves are gone.

We focus on cracking the secret of FTL travel. The first prototype never makes it off the ground, as before the rocket can even ignite, it’s crushed by a small meteor

Forensic reconstruction suggests it was a sundial, carved from rock dug out of the far side of the moon.

Anyway if anyone wants to, like, draw or animate this or film this (or something inspired by it)? That’d be sweet, you don’t need permission from me, go ahead. I’d do it but I don’t have the time or skills. Just put like “based on a story by Foone” somewhere in the credits.

It’s always weird saying that because it kinda sounds like I’m implying I think this is like A MOVIE SCRIPT THAT’S GOING TO HOLLYWOOD! or something. I don’t, I just want to make sure everyone knows it’s free to adapt and remix and all that.

It amused me to type, I hope it amused you to read, and if it amuses you to make something based on it, go right ahead. I’d love to see it.

Enterprise Software - A Camel is a Horse Designed by Committee by Arvind Narayanan More Pasta

The point is, some products are sold directly to the end user, and are forced to prioritize usability. Other products are sold to an intermediary whose concerns are typically different from the user’s needs. Such products don’t HAVE to end up as unusable garbage, but usually do.

Jira and Confluence, which I use at work, come to mind as formerly amazing products which have gone down the shitter with unnecessary Enterprise™ feature-bloat over the past few years. I wonder if there’s a way out of this mire (maybe start saying “No”?) Until then, #jobsecurity I guess.

My university just announced that it’s dumping Blackboard, and there was much rejoicing. Why is Blackboard universally reviled? There’s a standard story of why “enterprise software” sucks. If you’ll bear with me, I think this is best appreciated by talking about… baby clothes!

There are two types of baby outfits. The first is targeted at people buying gifts. It’s irresistible on the rack. It has no fewer than 18 buttons. At least 3 people are needed to get a screaming baby into it. It’s worn once, so you can send a photo to the gifter, then discarded.

Other baby outfits are meant for parents. They’re marked “Easy On, Easy Off” or some such, and they really mean it. Zippers aren’t easy enough so they fasten using MAGNETS. A busy parent (i.e. a parent) can change an outfit in 5 seconds, one handed, before rushing to work.

The point is, some products are sold directly to the end user, and are forced to prioritize usability. Other products are sold to an intermediary whose concerns are typically different from the user’s needs. Such products don’t HAVE to end up as unusable garbage, but usually do.

OK, back to Blackboard! It’s actually designed to look extremely attractive to the administrators (not professors and definitely not students) who make purchase decisions. Since they can’t easily test usability, they instead make comparisons based on… checklists of features. 🤦🏽‍♂️

And that’s exactly what’s wrong with Blackboard. It has every feature ever dreamed up. But like anything designed by a committee, the interface is incoherent and any task requires at least fifteen clicks (and that’s if you even remember the correct sequence the first time).

Software companies can be breathtakingly clueless when there’s a layer of indirection between them and their users. Everyone who’s suffered through Blackboard will have the same reaction to this: try having less functionality!…

The grumbling about Blackboard has finally gotten loud enough that schools are paying a modicum of attention to usability when evaluating alternatives. Blackboard’s market share has dropped dramatically and this will probably continue. Good.

Here’s the kicker, though. It’s extremely likely that whichever vendor emerges on top will fall into the same trap. The incentives almost guarantee it. Once profs and students put down the pitchforks, committees will go back to their checklists, and feature creep will resume.

Blackboard is 20 years old. If Twitter is around in 20 years, let’s see how this prediction holds up. And now I have to go rescue a three-month old from an extremely cute and equally uncomfortable outfit.

The Bieber of Comic Sans

From an interview with Vincent Connare, creator of Comic Sans:

Q. What do you think of comic sans’ detractors?

A. I think most of them secretly like Comic Sans — or at least wish they had made it. Interesting fact: the main designer at Twitter tweeted that the most server space is used by complaints about: first, airlines; second, Comic Sans; and third, Justin Bieber. So not even The Bieber can beat Comic Sans!

Here’s the tweet he’s talking about (it’s from 2010.) Also:

Regular people who are not typographers or graphic designers choose Comic Sans because they like it, it’s as simple as that. Comic Sans isn’t complicated, it isn’t sophisticated, it isn’t the same old text typeface like in a newspaper. It’s just fun — and that ‘s why people like it.

I tend to ignore gatekeeping bullshit when it comes my typographical loves 😛 And from that NYTimes article, emphasis mine:

“It’s like, ‘Not only am I going to refuse to submit these documents, but I’m going to use a typeface that doesn’t submit to the solemnity of the law, and Congress and public institutions,” said Michael Bierut, a partner at the design firm Pentagram. “Or maybe he just likes Comic Sans. It’s hard to say. Few typefaces are this freighted with public opinion.”

I think these are the final words on the matter from the creator himself:

If you love Comic Sans you don’t know much about typography. And if you hate Comic Sans you need a new hobby.

Two Messages for Father’s Day

Happy Father’s Day to the fathers, stepfathers, grandfathers, and father figures who enrich our character, love us unconditionally, and give so much of themselves every day so we can live lives worthy of their dreams and sacrifices.

President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

And, this is real (as much as you hope it isn’t but know deep-down that it is):

Happy Father’s Day to all, including the Radical Left, RINOs, and other Losers of the world. Hopefully, eventually, everyone will come together!

A soon to be ‘reinstated’, former President

I do love the capitalized “Losers”.

Using AWS Without Succumbing to Hype, FOMO, and Over-Engineering by Daniel Vassallo More Pasta

This is how I use the good parts of @awscloud, while filtering out all the distracting hype.

My background: I’ve been using AWS for 11 years — since before there was a console. I also worked inside AWS for 8 years (Nov 2010 - Feb 2019).

My experience is in web- sites/apps/services. From tiny personal projects to commercial apps running on 8,000 servers. If what you do is AI, ML, ETL, HPC, DBs, blockchain, or anything significantly different from web apps, what I’m writing here might not be relevant.

Step 1: Forget that all these things exist: Microservices, Lambda, API Gateway, Containers, Kubernetes, Docker.

Anything whose main value proposition is about “ability to scale” will likely trade off your “ability to be agile & survive”. That’s rarely a good trade off.

Start with a t3.nano EC2 instance, and do all your testing & staging on it. It only costs $3.80/mo.

Then before you launch, use something bigger for prod, maybe an m5.large (2 vCPU & 8 GB mem). It’s $70/mo and can easily serve 1 million page views per day.

1 million views is a lot. For example, getting on the front page of @newsycombinator will get you ~15-20K views. That’s just 2% of the capacity of an m5.large.

It might be tempting to use Lambda & API Gateway to save $70/mo, but then you’re going to have to write your software to fit a new immature abstraction and deal with all sorts of limits and constraints.

Basic stuff such as using a cache, debugging, or collecting telemetry/analytics data becomes significantly harder when you don’t have access to the server. But probably the biggest disadvantage is that it makes local development much harder.

And that’s the last thing you need. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is that you can easily start your entire application on your laptop, with one click.

With Lambda & API Gateway you’re going to be constantly battling your dev environment. Not worth it, IMO.

CloudFormation: Use it. But too much of it can also be a problem. First of all, there are some things that CFN can’t do. But more importantly, some things are best left out of CFN because it can do more harm than good.

The rule of 👍: If something is likely to be static, it’s a good candidate for CFN. Ex: VPCs, load balancers, build & deploy pipelines, IAM roles, etc. If something is likely to be modified over time, then using CFN will likely be a big headache. Ex: Autoscaling settings.

I like having a separate shell script to create things that CFN shouldn’t know about.

And for things that are hard/impossible to script, I just do them manually. Ex: Route 53 zones, ACM cert creation/validation, CloudTrail config, domain registration.

The test for whether your infra-as-code setup is good enough is whether you feel confident that you can tear down your stack & bring it up again in a few minutes without any mistakes. Spending an unbounded amount of time in pursuit of scripting everything is dumb.

Load balancers: You should probably use one even if you only have 1 instance. For $16/mo you get automatic TLS cert management, and that alone makes it worth it IMO. You just set it up once & forget about it. An ALB is probably what you’ll need, but NLB is good too.

Autoscaling: You won’t need it to spin instances up & down based on utilization. Unless your profit margins are as thin as Amazon’s, what you need instead is abundant capacity headroom. Permanently. Then you can sleep well at night — unlike Amazon’s oncall engineers 🤣

But Autoscaling is still useful. Think of it as a tool to help you spin up or replace instances according to a template. If you have a bad host, you can just terminate it and AS will replace it with an identical one (hopefully healthy) in a couple of minutes.

VPCs, Subnets, & Security Groups: These may look daunting, but they’re not that hard to grasp. You have no option but to use them, so it’s worth spending a day or two learning all there is about them. Learn through the console, but at the end set them up with CFN.

Route 53: Use it. It integrates nicely with the load balancers, and it does everything you need from a DNS service. I create hosted zones manually, but I set up A records via cfn. I also use Route 53 for .com domain registration.

CodeBuild/Deploy/Pipeline: This suite has a lot of rough edges and setup can be frustrating. But once you do set it up, the final result is simple and with few moving parts.

Don’t bother with CodeCommit though. Stick with GitHub.

Sample pipeline: A template for setting up an AWS environment from scratch.

S3: At 2.3 cents per GB/mo, don’t bother looking elsewhere for file storage. You can expect downloads of 90 MB/s per object and about a 50 ms first-byte latency. Use the default standard storage class unless you really know what you’re doing.

Database: Today, DynamoDB is an option you should consider. If you can live without “joins”, DDB is probably your best option for a database. With per-request pricing it’s both cheap and a truly zero burden solution. Remember to turn on point-in-time backups.

But if you want the query flexibility of SQL, I’d stick with RDS. Aurora is fascinating tech, and I’m really optimistic about it’s future, but it hasn’t passed the test of time yet. You’ll end up facing a ton of poorly documented issues with little community support.

CloudFront: I’d usually start without CloudFront. It’s one less thing to configure and worry about. But it’s something worth considering eventually, even just for the DDoS protection, if not for performance.

SQS: You likely won’t need it, and if you needed a message queue I’d consider something in-process first. But if you do have a good use case for it, SQS is solid, reliable, and reasonably straightforward to use.

Conclusion: I like to seperate interesting new tech from tech that has survived the test of time. EC2, S3, RDS, DDB, ELB, EBS, SQS definitely have. If you’re considering alternatives, there should be a strong compelling reason for losing all the benefits accrued over time.

On Never Giving Up

Whenever I get discouraged and want to quit something, I remember the words of my then 3 year-old after she puked carrots all over the living room floor: “I’m gonna need more carrots.”

Jessica Valenti

Now write down “You’re gonna need more carrots” on a sticky and look at it from time to time ♥️

“The primary directive of a government is to serve and protect its citizens. The primary directive of a corporation is to make a buck. When you give the duties of the former to the latter, failure ensues.” by @absurdistwords More Pasta

::Deadly pandemic rages::

Texas: “Let’s mismanage energy so thoroughly that our citizens are compelled to congregate en masse in heating centers designed to keep warm air and breath inside.” Here’s the problem with deregulation and privatization of public services.

The primary directive of a government is to serve and protect its citizens

The primary directive of a corporation is to make a buck.

When you give the duties of the former to the latter, failure ensues. Conservatives like to talk about running governments like businesses.

This is meant to drum up images of high corporate efficiency.

But a government that runs like a corporation is a failed government. A corporation, tasked with generating both higher profit and greater consumer satisfaction will work towards satisfaction ONLY insofar as it doesn’t impede higher profits.

If it’s one or the other, it will choose profit

This is a corporation doing what it is supposed to do. Theoretically the government’s choice should be the opposite.

It should work toward caring for people primarily, and if it is capable of recouping or exceeding its own costs then great.

But if public safety is at risk, money should be a secondary concern at best. In short, the govt model is “We’ll take care of you at any cost”

while the corporate model is “We’ll take care of you as long as it doesn’t cost us too much”

It’s clear why it’s dangerous to mix up these mandates.

Cause then people freeze to death over profit. It is understandable why government frequently needs to enlist corporations to provide specialized needs that the government can’t reasonably specialize in.

But that’s different than just ceding the whole thing to corporations and providing minimal regulation and oversight. It makes sense for instance that the government, without the equipment and resources to develop and mass produce vaccines, leans on corporations that already have the capacity.

But you don’t replace the Department of Health with Pfizer. Corporations are hostile to the things that citizens need from government:

  • Job security
  • Health care
  • Living wages
  • Civil rights
  • Equal access

They are hostile because those things impede maximizing profit. This is the reason that some of the most employee-benficial employment environments are within government.

All those equity-increasing initiatives that corporations have to be arm-twisted to adopt, like anti-discrimination policies, government just has to do.
If someone promises they’re gonna run a State like a business, they’re saying that they will prioritize making money over the needs of the citizenry.

They are saying they will reconstruct government to cut every corner, pinch every penny and deprive people of costly services
Texas decided that corporations should be responsible for civic infrastructure and now people are literally freezing to death in their homes…

The poor people of course.

The rich people are fine. Because they have money and that’s how capitalism works.

Just not government. A big piece of the failure to properly upgrade and protect critical energy equipment from extreme weather was that nobody wanted to take on a costly rehab that might jeopardize their competition with other companies and lose money and market share. So when the choice was between

  • “Ensure that citizens are safe, powered and warm”
  • And “Make sure Company X doesn’t beat us”

Guess which won?

So now we have a state which is not only shamefully and woefully unprepared for the kind of extreme weather that their own denial of climate change ensures will only increase…

But whose only option now is to rely on a stopgap that accelerates a deadly pandemic. IF as discussed earlier, a government needs to rely on corporations to fill gaps in critical public resources, then it’s IMPERATIVE that those corporations be compelled to operate under the governmental mandate and not the corporate one.

Which is why strong regulation is key.

On A Good Burrito

I remember the very first burrito I had in the Mission District in San Francisco. My friend warned me that it would be “around the size of your forearm” and that, if I tried to finish it in a single sitting, I would be an idiot. It was, I did, I am 🙏

i do not fuck with any burrito without heft. if your shit is convenient and portable, take it elsewhere. i want a burrito that is burdensome. unwieldy. when i raise it to my mouth, i should feel the weight of the mistake i am about to make. no child should be able to eat this.

if your burrito doesn’t make me hate myself both physically and spiritually, what’s the point? grow up. don’t waste my time.


2021 Things

Wasted 2020


New Years resolutions for 2021 are gonna be like:

  • travel to the other side of the room
  • wear a different shirt
  • cut screen time from 12 hours a day to 11
  • eat a vegetable
  • bathe

We Love America the Mostest

I’m always curious what exactly Conservatives mean when they say they “Love America” because you hate most of the people who live here, you hate the civil liberties afforded by the Constitution, you hate the separation of Church and State. You might claim to love its economy but you hate all of the states that make up the largest part of it. You hate the Government, you hate people who are anti-Government, you hate the rich because they’re part of a conspiracy…, you hate the poor because you think they’re lazy. You hate this country’s natural beauty because it gets in the way of industry, you hate industry because it keeps giving jobs away to immigrants. You hate immigrants for taking things you feel entitled to, you hate liberals because you feel they’re too entitled. You hate Government interference for getting in the way of Big Business, you hate Big Business for being too globalized. You hate Globalism for taking jobs away from American workers. You hate American workers for unionizing and demanding better jobs. When you say you “love America”, what aspect of America are you actually talking about?


Via CK. Cached.

Conversion Table by Prof. Kieran Healy More Pasta

No one could have predicted this would happen Many people have been saying something like this would happen
I never thought I’d live to see this day I have been asleep for the past five years
Anarchists Trump Supporters
This is not who we are This is exactly who we are
Our 250 year experiment in freedom and democracy Our 280 year experiment in de jure or de facto apartheid
It’s not a coup because it doesn’t meet the technical conditions of the military branch attempting to seize power in a coordinated effort to remove the President from office… I have a very comfortable job
We are better than this We are exactly like this
We need to turn a page and move on I am incapable of grasping and this determined to memory-hole these events
It’s time for healing and reconciliation I fear I may not be in power much longer
This is America This is America

THIS is America

Lord of our lives and sovereign of our beloved nation, we deplore the desecration of the United States Capitol building, the shedding of innocent blood, the loss of life, and the quagmire of dysfunction that threaten our democracy.

These tragedies have reminded us that words matter and that the power of life and death is in the tongue. We have been warned that eternal vigilance continues to be freedom’s price.

Lord, you have helped us remember that we need to see in each other a common humanity that reflects your image.

You have strengthened our resolve to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies domestic as well as foreign.

Use us to bring healing and unity to our hurting and divided nation and world. Thank you for what you have blessed our lawmakers to accomplish in spite of threats to liberty.

Bless and keep us. Drive far from us all wrong desires, incline our hearts to do your will and guide our feet on the path of peace. And God bless America. We pray in your sovereign name, amen.

Dr. Barry Black, Chaplain of the Senate, CBS News (emphases mine)

And please get off this gentleman’s lawn and out of his city.

Some Life Lessons by @sweatystartup on Twitter More Pasta

I’ve gotten a lot of bad advice in my career and I see even more of it here on Twitter. Time for a stiff drink and some truth you probably dont want to hear. 👇👇

College isn’t worthless for everyone. All of the successful folks who tell you college is worthless went to college. What does that tell you? It’s not about the learning, though. It’s about growing and learning how to sell yourself and your ideas.

Miami isn’t the next tech hub. It’s surrounded by a swamp. Construction costs are insane because of hurricane codes. Vacant land doesn’t exist. Property insurance has risen on average 20% per year for 5 years. Plus it’s hot AF. Ever been there in July?

Starting a business isn’t right for everyone. 95% of folks are better off getting a job. It’s hard AF. Decisions are critical and plentiful. Risk is for real. Stress can be crippling. Delegation can be impossible for poor communicators. Most folks don’t have what it takes.

Technology isn’t as far along as the media makes you think it is. We’re 5+ years away from autonomous vehicles. Alexa still can’t play the song I want 25% of the time let alone make decisions and “learn”. Robots fall on their faces when they aren’t on perfectly flat ground.

Real estate isn’t a good place to start. It’s terrible at generating wealth compared to other forms of entrepreneurship. Rich parents or a bankroll of your own? Sure. Everyone else? Start a biz or make money some other way. The odds are much better.

More on RE because this is important. Early in your career you need to double and triple or create cash from nothing. That’s hard AF to do in real estate. It’s good at growing your wealth over a lot of TIME. Early on you don’t have time. Do something else.

Don’t “just buy that first property”. I hear this so much but it makes me angry. Assets are overpriced AF right now and yield is tight. Overlevering right now is very risky. Look for cashflow, not appreciation. Cashflow is TIGHT out there right now.

Chasing your passion is a bad idea. And it’s the best way to end in heartbreak IMO. If you’re passionate about it so are other people. It’ll be competitive AF. You’re more likely to make emotional (and bad) decisions. Chase opportunity now and your passion later.

Getting rich quick isn’t possible. The media tells you the stories of the overnight successes. But that’s all bullshit. It gets clicks but it doesn’t work that way for 99.99% of successful folks.

Giving up is often the best choice there is. Too many people drag along projects with poor odds of success for far too long.

Money isn’t your most valuable asset. Time is much more important and unlike money you can never get it back. Use it wisely and cut people out who waste it.

You don’t need a new idea to start a business. Do something a lot of folks are already doing and do it just a little bit better.

The “blue ocean” strategy is bullshit. Competition is good. It means there is money to be made. The market exists. You can study it and figure out a strategy that has been proven to work.

Choosing your competition is much more important than you think. Who would you rather compete with? The group of folks with VC money and Stanford degrees or the guy down the street who used a fax machine?

Working hard isn’t going to get you ahead. A lot of people work hard for 70 hours a week until they die. Why do we glorify that? Making good decisions and working SMART is much more likely to make you successful.

You can’t have it all right now. There is a difference between rich and wealthy. Rich people buy nice cars they bought with their first check. Wealthy people buy assets that send them money every month so they can work less.

When everyone wants to buy something it’s too late. When nobody wants to buy something is when the smart money enters the game. “Be greedy when others are fearful and fearful when others are greedy”

Building something that can add a little bit of value to millions of people isn’t the way to succeed. You’re way better off building something that can add a lot more value to a very small subset of the population. Riches are in the niches.

Changing the world without any money is a fools errand. You know who really influences the world we live in? The folks with money. Make money first, change the world later.

The real opportunities aren’t online. Being a digital nomad severely limits you from taking advantage of the largest barrier to entry that exists: GEOGRAPHY Real estate, service businesses, etc. Wrap in technology sure, but compete locally.

The biographies of tech unicorn founders won’t help you. Survivorship bias is terrible. For every one that succeeded thousands more failed. What are the odds again?

Software engineers aren’t going to be the leaders of the future. Folks who can look someone in the eye and build rapport and sell themselves and their ideas will. Learn to communicate if you want to set yourself apart. The next generation is severely lacking in this area.

There isn’t one way to win. What Elon Musk did to win won’t work for you. What I am saying here isn’t true for everyone. Get advice from a lot of people, apply what makes sense to you, learn, adjust, and do the best you can.

The key to success isn’t intelligence. It’s sales. If you can get uncomfortable and put yourself out there you’re half way there. If you can be compelling and attract others to your way of thinking you’ll win. LIFE is all about sales.

Going big is a terrible way to start. You’ll end up likely failing and going to get a job. Start small. Low risk. Learn and take opportunities as they come. Batting average > slugging percentage.

Business isn’t about who you know. It’s about momentum. Impress someone in a small way and you’ll get a bigger opportunity later. What you’re doing right now will look nothing like what you’re doing 10 years from now if you’re doing it right.

If it’s easy it isn’t worth doing. Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. You show me a successful person and I’ll show you someone who embraces uncertainty and pushed back that self doubt to take a chance.

Books are overrated. Conversations are underrated. Experience is how you learn but it’s not necessarily how you get better.

Too much weight is put on the tail events when you make decisions. Often times one or two main levers determine 90% of your likelihood of success. Focus on those. The rest is noise.

A tailwind is way more important than your competence. Alpha is overrated. Get in on the right trend and everyone wins. Rising tides rise all ships.

You do well by being a jack of all trades. You do VERY WELL by getting really good at one thing and outsourcing everything else. Focus is critical and diversification is overrated.

Your emotions are messing up your decision making. Manage your ego and your self-doubt. It clouds your judgement.

Nobody knows what the hell they’re doing and if they are a self proclaimed genius they are lying. Every successful person is just figuring it out as they go along.

Open-mindedness is the key to success. The people who truly want to get better surround themselves with folks who challenge them. NOT the folks who only agree with them.

80% of folks have a negative attitude. Avoid them at all costs. Gossip destroys your mind and your productivity.

We don’t live in a world of scarcity. Everyone can win. Joe making money doesn’t mean John lost money. An abundance mindset will not only make you happier but also more productive.

It’s really easy to be a bear and act like the sky is about to fall. But 99% of folks who got wealthy did it by betting ON something, not against something. Bears get clicks. The media spreads fear. Positivity wins.

Understanding what you can control and what you can’t is underrated. Far too many people spend far too much energy thinking about and worrying about things they have absolutely no control over.

Changing your mind doesn’t make you look weak. It makes you BETTER.

Making a big decision while emotional is a recipe for disaster. Being able to avoid emotions and make decisions with logic is a superpower.

Nobody cares about you but a handful of people. Caring less about what people on the internet or even those you interact with daily think about you will serve you well.

Listening is great. But if you haven’t made it yet SPEAK UP. Status is a game. You have to play it. Opportunities don’t just fall on your lap. You have to carve out something.

Once you’ve made it, talk less. It’s easy to use past success to talk you into future success. Keep an eye out for blind spots.

People do business with people they like. Be likeable. Ask questions about them. Find out what they are into. Ask good questions.

Buying and selling isn’t logical. It’s emotional. The sooner you understand that the sooner you can use it to your advantage.

A supportive spouse will 10x your success. The opposite will 1/10 your success.

90% of folks in this world either aren’t competent or are emotionally unstable. Surrounding yourself (and filling your conpany) with the other 10% is the ultimate key to success.

Most thought leaders and influencers spend 99% of their time trying to sound smart. They purposely make things too complicated. You’re often better off getting advice from your grandfather.

Doing what you want to do when you want to do it is success. Time is wealth. Our leaders glorifying trading your 20s and 30s for earning and money isn’t in your best interest. It’s in theirs.

A LOT of the advice you get in this world isn’t in your best interest. It’s in the best interest of the person giving you the advice. Therefore you must always know the interests of the person you go to for advice.

There is no better way to live a fulfilling life AND make a lot of money than serving other people. Add as much value as you can to other people and you’ll be wealthy and happy.

Value and money aren’t always equal. Entrepreneurs are tasked with trading value for money.

Speculators make money by guessing properly and to make that money someone else does indeed have to lose it. Entrepreneurs get wealthy by adding value. The second is more rewarding, less risky AND more profitable.

You get ahead early in your career by saying yes to opportunities. Your life gets better when you get to start saying NO.

Insecurity plagues even the strongest among us. I’m insecure as hell in a lot of areas of life. Pushing through is where I get better and I encourage you to do the same.

Bad mentors tell you what to do. Good mentors ask the right questions so you can learn how to think for yourself.

Life is hard. For everyone. Social media makes you think everyone has it made. It’s a struggle no matter how much you have or how successful you are. Embrace the challenge and do what we all do: Try to live so that our kids can have a better life than we have.

Having kids is underrated. Every 60 year old I know cares about one thing and one thing only: Their kids and grandkids. Make the sacrifice now to reap the rewards later.

You can move to any city in the country and you’ll be miserable if you don’t accept one truth: The tribe makes the place. If you have good people around you you’ll be happy anywhere.

Most of our friends are our friends because of proximity. If you can make friends based on interests and find folks who want to get better and make you better you will be truly happy.

75% of folks don’t truly, deeply know anyone and nobody knows them. Get vulnerable and really get to know someone. What scares them. What they deeply desire. What makes them tick. And find folks who want to know you in that way and let them in.

Providing for your family goes way beyond money. Love and attention are often more strongly desired than food and water. Be present and explore, play and get to know your family on a deep level. Create a bond. And reap the rewards forever.

Goal setting is over-rated. It’s easy to write a list of things on a paper. Doing the work is what sucks and is hard and takes forever. And doing the work is the only thing that matters.

A positive attitude and a smile is a choice. And it will rub off and open doors and lead to a better life. Make the choice every day.

75% of people are filled with jealousy and hate. They are insecure. Smile at them and show compassion. And most importantly DONT TAKE WHAT THEY SAY AS FACT.

The folks who confirm your beliefs should be considered. But the folks who disagree and engage you should be treasured.

I wonder how many tweets I can add to this thread before I hit the limit? I’ll use this as a chance to say something important: I’m just a guy who thinks deeply about things and has experienced some success. Nothing I say should be blindly followed or taken as fact.

I’ve had success not because im special but because I’ve followed the path of least resistance. I was bullied heavily in elementary school. Athletically gifted (for a white guy) but wasn’t foolish enough to think basketball could get me a scholarship.

So I ran track and did several events. Nobody bothered me and I just did my thing. Got accepted to the Ivy League and was lucky enough to win an Ivy title in the hurdles as a freshman.

But I knew I could never be world class in that event. So I took up the decathlon. An event you haven’t heard of and less than 1,000 folks on the USA complete in a given year.

The best athletes were sprinting and jumping or playing football. So I, as a mediocre athlete, set records and was an all-american. USA championship qualifier, missed the Olympic trials by one spot.

All my smart friends at cornell were chasing tech startups. So I started a little service business called Storage Squad with a friend. Once again the competition was terrible and it was low hanging fruit.

10 years later and a 7 figure exit and we’re buying little mom and pop storage facilities in small towns that nobody wants. We do a few things different (mainly with technology) and we have a huge competitive advantage.

It’s easy and tempting for me to claim that I’m self made. But I’m not. And anybody who tells you they are is a liar. I had 10+ folks influence my life in those critical early years and make me a better man.

Managing expectations is the key to a happy (and stress) free life. Over-promising and under-delivering is a recipe for disaster. Sell in a different way. Make your value add clear and let the other party sell themselves.

Everything in life is a negotiation. If you can understand all negotiations are also emotional you’ll get a lot further. Figure out what it is the other person deeply wants. Hint: they often won’t tell you or even know how to verbalize it themselves.

It’s really easy after you’ve had some success to preach the extreme ownership and “anybody can win” mentality. This is bullshit. Most people can’t reach the bottom rung of the latter let alone climb it.

Spend a good portion of your time giving folks the initial boost they need to start climbing the ladder towards a better life. It’ll pay for itself 10x over in joy and relationships created.

Almost everything you regret in life will be the result of a decision you made while emotional. See a trend regarding emotions yet?

Greed is an emotion. And it’s the most dangerous of them all.

Enter every interaction with the goal to add as much value as you can and your world will open up. Enter every interaction with the goal to maximize money or anything else for yourself and watch yourself struggle to find wealth or happiness.

Curiosity is a bigger factor of success than intelligence. The folks who get excited to explore and learn and take steps forward into uncertainty win.

There are two ways to sell: 1. Overcome objections, figure out what’s holding folks back, talk about the positives 2. Find people who need what you’re selling more than you need their money, talk about the negatives, and let them sell themselves. #2 is best.

As a company you have three areas where you can compete: 1. Price. Undercut overtone. 2. Speed. Deliver quickly. 3. Quality. Be the best.

If you compete on price you will not be successful. You’ll create a stressful job for yourself. Never able to afford good help. Always putting out fires. Compete on speed and quality and charge a higher price.

That way you can delegate and build a healthy company. You can pay good help. You can afford proper equipment and resources. And you can scale.

Average folks spend their time putting out fires. Employee comes to them with a problem. And it’s get out of my way so I can fix this problem.

Successful business owners build systems to prevent the fires. Oh you have a problem? How would you fix it? How can we prevent it from happening again?

90% of folks in life play defense. Other people make decisions and they react. They are totally out of control. They complain, blame others and continue to react to their surroundings.

10% play offense. They make decisions that control their earnings, where they live, who they spend time with. They are in control. They don’t complain and they own up to their situation.

It takes time to move from playing defense to playing offense. One decision at a time for a long time. But it’s worth it.

Words of affirmation are stronger motivators for a large portion of the population than money. Praise loudly, often, and in public.

The market doesn’t care what you want or what you think will happen. It’s ruthless and it’s true. And it doesn’t give a shit about you or your ideas. To succeed in the market you must be selfless and search truth over being “right” in someone’s eyes. The ego is the enemy.

99% of people network all wrong. With their hand out. Help me. Do this for me. Introduce me. Me me me me! It’s not about you!

The way to win: Become a master at something and begin to help other people. Put in the work. Have a unique skill set. Then add value everywhere you go. Then watch your network explode. This is tough to hear right? Work first network later? Bummer I know.

Simple almost always wins. Simple businesses. Simple jobs for your employees. Simple structures. Keep it simple!

And another hard truth - Most employees WANT structure. They want guidance. They want you to set them up for success. Autonomy is great but business owners miss the make here and end up throwing employees to the dogs and setting them up for failure. Simplify the job.

If folks wanted autonomy and to make decisions all day they’d start their own businesses. And this leads to another point. Very few people think like you do. But you project your needs and desires in others. Stop doing that.

Your employee doesn’t want profit sharing and upside. He wants a paycheck he can count on and for you to tell him he’s doing a good job.

Status and respect is desired much more than money by most people. And it’s free for you to give. So give it lavishly!

More folks should start businesses like poker players play hands. What do I need to invest, what is the likelihood of success, and how much would I win?

They’d figure out picking the low hanging fruit and going after that first passive $100k a year is a lot more likely in sweaty industries without much curb appeal.

And folks should also re-calibrate how they think about earnings and success. How much money do you really need? I’ll tell you there are only three levels of wealth…

#1 - you can successfully feed your family and you aren’t worried about making rent, delivering the essentials to live.

#2 - you can go in a restaurant and order whatever you want without looking at the price.

#3 - you can travel and buy flights without worrying about the cost.

Beyond that more money doesn’t matter. So why do we chase millions or billions? Ego and status. Recognize it’s a fools errand and forget about the games around these two things. Because you can’t win.

You’ll end up buying things you can’t afford to impress people you don’t like. It’s real. Focus instead on making enough to do what you want to do and TAKING BACK YOUR TIME so you can spend it building memories with people who do know you and do care about you.

Trust is a funny thing. It takes years to build but seconds to throw away.

If your goal is to make someone else better amazing things happen. They reciprocate and a unique synergy happens. Those are the best relationships. Build them and charish them.

I went to the mountains yesterday and did some reflecting. I suggest every so often you turn off the input and sit alone with your thoughts. Clarity isn’t something that comes easily in a world of constant distractions. Do it. It’s worth it.

Everything in life is an opportunity. You get out what you put in. You can let it slip through your fingers. Or you can grab hold and ride it to the next level. When things change massive opportunity is created.

There has never been a time of more rapid change for so many people. As an opportunist you have a choice. Are you going to capitalize, add value and make a name for yourself? Are you going to start taking steps to lead to a better life? Or are you going to sit back and watch?

What is the meaning of life? I think it’s different for everybody and lucky for us we get to chose what really drives us. To some it’s seeing who can die with the most money and they don’t care if there is a wake of distraction left behind.

For me it’s seeing how many lives I can positively influence. And building unique, deep and meaningful relationships with a handful of individuals. I’m thankful this platform gets me closer to my goal. And thank you for following along and for making me a better person.

If you enjoy this kind of thing I suggest following a few others who think a lot differently. @baldridgecpa @fortworthchris @moseskagan @SullyBusiness @amandaorson @Keith_Wasserman @BrianColunio @scottyo21 @MattLasky @tsludwig @awilkinson @ShaanVP

Creativity and Vulnerability by @RaphaelBW on Twitter More Pasta

Okay. So let’s say you put your whole heart into something.

You dig into your chest like you’re carving out a pumpkin, you scrape out every little piece of your heart, all the gunk and seeds, the stuff most people would keep private, and you put all that heart inside a THING.

You give yourself fully to this thing, this holder of your heart. You craft it, you shape it, you nurture and massage it.

You lose sleep, you chew your nails to the nubs, you go out on limbs, you die on hills, it makes you sick, you care so much. You could die, you care so much.

But an incredible thing happens: when you put your whole heart into the thing, you give everyone else permission to put their hearts into the thing too.

Soon the thing is full of hearts, bouncing and glowing and bright. Overflowing with blood-pumping ventricles is this thing, all following the beat of your brilliant, messy, beautiful, ugly heart.

But here’s the catch: when you put your whole heart into something, it leaves you very vulnerable. Careful, be careful, that thing has your whole heart!

There is no border between you and the thing, no protective membrane. This thing is as weird and hilarious and emotional and gross and clumsy and righteous as you are.

And as the thing with your heart in it enters the world, as scared and as brave as you made it, this is the truth: some people will not like it.

It is not for everybody, your heart.

But for some people, it will be like the song that’s been playing on repeat in the back of their heads their whole life suddenly has a voice.

And those people’s hearts will become full from the thing that is full of your heart.

But then when your thing “fails” based on an arbitrary metric beyond your control that was never explained to you, it is very very hard not to feel like you yourself have failed.

You will feel like your whole heart was not good enough, you will not have the comforting fiction of “Well, it’s okay, because I didn’t really try this time.”

You will feel open and exposed and raw. You will feel betrayed. You will feel guilty. You will feel like you were responsible for all of those hearts and you let them all down.

And maybe, if you were someone different, you would put a little less of your heart into the next thing. You would find a way to be less honest, less vulnerable, less you.

If you were really clever, you could figure out a way to portion out your heart by bits and maybe even make a nice little career out of it.

But you already know now that when the next thing comes, you will put your whole heart into it again.

As if you could ever not. As if you even had a choice.

On Moochers

Many years ago interviewed an older gentleman as part of a study I was conducting. He said “Republicans are people who will withhold food from 100 people out fear that 1 might not need or deserve it. Democrats will feed 100 out of concern that 1 might really need it.


With this follow-up:

The flip side of course is that Democrats will regulate 100 businesses out of fear that 1 will be a cheater, but Republicans will eliminate regulations out of fear that one might not survive.

BTW for my part I am 100% with the Democrats on both of these.


How to Drive in Iowan Winters

If you rarely drive on snow, just pretend you’re taking your grandma to church. There’s a platter of biscuits and 2 gallons of sweet tea in glass jars in the back seat. She’s wearing a new dress and holding a crock pot full of gravy.


The Continuing Saga of an A+ Elite Strike-Force Team Saving Our Imperiled Democracy

Will tag updates as I read them with amusement and disbelief. Armando Ianucci must be weeping right now. All emphases are mine.

In a court filing signed by Rudy Giuliani and Marc Scaringi1 — the two remaining attorneys on the case after everyone else quit — the campaign asked for the judge to hand over Pennsylvania’s electors.

[…] “You’re asking this court to invalidate more than 6.8 million votes, thereby disenfranchising every single voter in the commonwealth,” Brann said at the hearing. “Can you tell me how this result can possibly be justified?”

Jacob Shamsian, “Rudy Giuliani straight up asked a federal judge to ignore Pennsylvania voters and declare Trump won the state.”, Business Insider India


Before Tuesday, Rudy Giuliani last registered an appearance in the U.S. federal judiciary in 1992, and in the view of many legal observers, it showed. The former mayor of New York flubbed basic concepts of law and, in at least one instance, displayed a poor command of the English language.

Giuliani confessed that he did not know the word “opacity,” applying the Bizarro World definition that it “probably means you can see.”

“It means you can’t,” U.S. District Judge Matthew Brann corrected2.

[…] When pressed by the judge on what standard of scrutiny should be applied to Pennsylvania government’s action, Giuliani replied: “The normal one.”

Adam Klasfield, “When Applying ‘Normal’ Scrutiny, Rudy Giuliani’s Court Appearance Was a Total Flop”, Law & Crime

And because IANAL, some helpful context:

At one point, he even appeared ignorant of the concept of strict scrutiny, a basic and fundamental concept for a practicing lawyer to know when arguing a case on Fourteenth Amendment grounds. Imagine if you were lying in an operating room, about to go under general anesthesia, and heard your surgeon ask, “Hey, what are all these knives for?” Now you are in general orbit around whatever planet on which the former New York mayor happens to be residing.

Matt Ford, “The Unpardonable Sins of Lindsey Graham”, The New Republic


At one point he referred to president-elect Joe Biden as a “crook” and chastised the press for reporting that he has no evidence of fraud. Mr Giuliani has offered no evidence in court of fraud.

[…] He compared election observers being corralled away from the votes counts to a moment in the movie in which the eponymous character asks a witness in court how many fingers he is holding up, claiming that they could not see a thing.

[…] As what appeared to be hair dye dripped down both sides of his face

[…] Ellis described the assembled lawyers as “an elite strike-force team” working on behalf of the president.

Oliver O’Connell, “Giuliani quotes ‘My Cousin Vinny’ as he sets out conspiracy theories at bizarre press conference”, The Independent

And finally:

President Donald Trump’s campaign says it’s dropping its Michigan election lawsuit because it succeeded in halting certification of election results in Detroit and surrounding Wayne County, despite the outcome already having been certified in favor of President-elect Joe Biden.

Eric Larson and David Voreacos, “Trump Campaign Drops Michigan Election Suit, Claims Victory”, Bloomberg

An “Absolutely Brilliant” Elite Mercurial Powerhouse Leader of the Best Legal Team3 one could assemble given the seriousness of the charges against our democratic systems, folks. So unbelievably competent, Snopes had to publish an entry about his performance in court 💯

Update 20 Nov 2020.

But his attorneys have repeatedly made elementary errors in those high-profile cases: misspelling “poll watcher” as “pole watcher,” forgetting the name of the presiding judge during a hearing, inadvertently filing a Michigan lawsuit before an obscure court in Washington and having to refile complaints after erasing entire arguments they’re using to challenge results.

“The sloppiness just serves to underscore the lack of seriousness with which these claims are being brought,” said Rick Hasen, a law professor at the University of California, Irvine.

[…] “I know crimes. I can smell them,” Giuliani said as streaks of sweat and what appeared to be hair dye ran down the sides of his face. “You don’t have to smell this one. I can prove it to you 18 different ways.”

[…] “Part of the reason he doesn’t have good lawyers is he doesn’t have good claims to bring.”

Colleen Long, Jill Colvin, and Alanna Durkin Richer, Trump’s lawsuits plagued by spelling errors: ‘I’ve never seen an election lawyer handle a case as poorly as Giuliani has’, The Independent


Charlie Kelly

Update 21 Nov 2020

The painful monologue screeched to a halt whenever Rudy hit the guardrails of judicial questioning. Asked the most important question in nearly any election lawsuit, what standard of review should apply, he was caught completely off guard. For non-lawyers, it’s hard to explain just how appalling this is. Standard of review is the sort of thing that every first-year law student learns. But rather than agreeing with the judge that the case demanded “strict scrutiny,” or arguing that it called for rational basis review, he simply advocated for “the normal one.” If legal Twitter had a voice in that moment, the scream would have been heard around the world.

[…] But what Rudy did next crossed a line: he lied. He didn’t spin, argue, or put his best take on the evidence, he flat-out lied to a judge in open court.

[…] Actually, Rudy’s first lie came before he ever set foot in the Pennsylvania courthouse. On Tuesday morning, Rudy petitioned to represent the Trump campaign, which is a routine step for lawyers appearing out of state. If you aren’t licensed to practice in a court, you have to request permission to argue. Sadly, Rudy couldn’t complete this two-page form without committing perjury. Rudy claimed to be licensed in the District of Columbia, where in fact he’s currently suspended for not paying his dues.

Albert Fox Cahn, “It’s Time to Take Away Rudy’s Law License”, The Daily Beast

Update 25 Nov 2020

The only place maybe worse is Michigan, and particularly the city of Detroit. The city of Detroit probably had more voters than it had citizens. I’m exaggerating a bit, but all you have to do is look at statistical data and you can see that the fraud was rampant and out of control.

Ian Schwartz, “Giuliani: We’re Pursuing a Supreme Court Challenge Due To ‘Misconduct Of The Election’”, RealClearPolitics

Update 26 Nov 2020

It keeps getting more divorced from reality.

I think we may actually have won Virginia, but that’s another battle,” Mr Giuliani said.

The comments were made during a meeting of Republican state lawmakers in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on Wednesday.

Mr Biden defeated Mr Trump in Virginia by 451,138 votes.

Graig Graziosi, “Giuliani thinks Trump ‘may have won Virginia’ despite Biden winning state by nearly half a million votes”, The Independent

As for Pennsylvania, where the plaintiff literally phoned it in at Gettysburg:

Despite having told a federal judge that theirs was “not a fraud case”, the 76-year-old former mayor of New York introduced a series of Pennsylvania residents to complain about fraud, to cheers and whoops, and the occasional audible sharp intake of breath from the staunchly pro-Trump crowd.

[…] On Monday Pennsylvania certified the vote, meaning that the process is concluded. Mr Biden won the state by 80,555 votes.

[…] He claimed that 682,770 mail-in ballots entered in Allegheny County and Philadelphia were “not observed by any single Republican.”

They could have been from the same person,” he said. “There could have been multiples, there was no name on them”.

There’s more, of course.

“The mail-in ballots that were received were not inspected at all by any Republicans. They were hidden from Republicans,” he said.

He said he “couldn’t be entirely sure,” though.

And arithmetic, compounded with the passage of time can lead to undemocratic effects:

He expressed surprise, once again, that when he went to sleep Mr Trump was in the lead but that lead evaporated.

What are the odds that they all switched, overnight? They switched, by the next day.

The lead evaporated because more Democrats than Republicans voted by mail, and as their votes were slowly counted, the pendulum swung in Mr Biden’s favour.

Harriet Alexander, “‘Your election is a sham’: Giuliani tells Pennsylvania ‘I know crooks really well’ as he appears in Gettysburg”, The Independent
  1. "The day before a major argument in Pennsylvania, three lawyers for Trump withdrew and were replaced in part by Marc Scaringi, an attorney and talk show host who wrote a blog post after the election referring to ‘President-elect Joe Biden.’ Scaringi himself had told listeners on his radio show days after the election that ‘there are really no bombshells’ about to drop ‘that will derail a Biden presidency,’ and noting that several of the lawsuits ‘don’t seem to have much evidence to substantiate their claims.’ - The Independent ↩︎

  2. “Big words, your honor,” Giuliani said. ↩︎

  3. Screenshot is from the Facebook page of a True Believer. This person and the commenter are not trying to be funny. They cannot be, even if they tried. “Believe me.” ↩︎

State, Coupling, Complexity, & Code

Dependencies (coupling) is an important concern to address, but it’s only 1 of 4 criteria that I consider and it’s not the most important one. I try to optimize my code around reducing state, coupling, complexity and code, in that order.

I’m willing to add increased coupling if it makes my code more stateless.

I’m willing to make it more complex if it reduces coupling.

And I’m willing to duplicate code if it makes the code less complex.

Only if it doesn’t increase state, coupling or complexity do I dedup code.

The reason I put stateless code as the highest priority is it’s the easiest to reason about. Stateless logic functions the same whether run normally, in parallel or distributed. It’s the easiest to test, since it requires very little setup code. And it’s the easiest to scale up, since you just run another copy of it. Once you introduce state, your life gets significantly harder.

I think the reason that novice programmers optimize around code reduction is that it’s the easiest of the 4 to spot. The other 3 are much more subtle and subjective and so will require greater experience to spot. But learning those priorities, in that order, has made me a significantly better developer.

crun1r on HackerNews (emphases and formatting mine.)