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Likely Real-Life Inspiration for ‘TotenKopf’ aka ‘DeathsHead’ in RtCW

December 31, 2020 4 comments

A few years ago, I wrote a post about the character of Ernst Blofeld in the original James Bond novels was based on Otto Skorzeny. I based my analysis on how that character was portrayed in the novels, as opposed to the movies. Here is another post in that same vein.

I am sure some of you have played an old and very influential video game called ‘Return to Castle Wolfenstein‘ which was released in late 2001. In the single-person campaign for that game, your chief adversary is a Nazi technocrat known as Wilhelm Strasse or “Deathshead” (Totenkopf). Curiously he survives the end of that game and returns in “Wolfenstein: The New Order” which was released in 2014. I always thought that his character was one of the most balanced and realistic video game antagonist since the guy is clearly very rational and amoral rather than cartoonishly evil and grandiose- similar to Hans Landa in “Inglourious Basterds“.

While I initially thought that character of “Deathshead” was an amalgam of many high-ranking Nazis with a dash of literary license, it is now my opinion that he was largely based on one person- Hans Kammler. Here is why.. in both games he appears in, ‘Deathshead’ is portrayed as technocrat (with some scientific background) who was involved in running the development programs for many breakthrough advanced weapons systems. Can you guess Hans Kammler’s official job description? Yes.. he was the most well-known technocrat associated with running and overseeing the Advanced Weapon Projects of Nazi Germany.

From Wikipedia article: ” Kammler is know to have been associated with the Nazi’s advanced weapon projects in 1942. Early evidence of this is a letter – in which Kammler is named – from Pohl to Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler which refers to an interdepartmental memorandum on the manufacture of weapons in concentration camps. Kammler was charged with constructing facilities for various secret weapons projects, including manufacturing plants and test stands for the Messerschmitt Me 262 and V-2.” And here is another link that gives a quick overview of his work. And he is connected to a lot more- from programs to develop advanced diesel-electric submarines to research on novel aircraft and anti-gravity propulsion.

One of the most interesting parts of this man is what happened to him after WW2. The thing is.. the circumstances surrounding his final fate are shrouded in mystery. There are too many conflicting accounts of how he disappeared or died. There is no positively identified body and to be quite blunt- it is very likely that he surrendered to Americans and was given a new identity- because, let us face it, he was far more more valuable alive than dead. In any case, here is a short YouTube clip about this brutal but very interesting man who was likely the main inspiration for character of ‘Deathshead’ in RtCW and Wolfenstein: The New Order.

What do you think? Comments?

Damage Due to COVID-19 Restrictions Will Cause a Huge Backlash- 2

December 26, 2020 10 comments

In previous part of this series, I wrote about how the hugely botched response to COVID-19 pandemic by Western governments and public health “experts” is almost certain to cause an unimaginably large backlash in 2021. What makes this incredibly incompetent response even more remarkable is that things have gotten worse with every passing month. Don’t believe me? Well.. have a look at the late Autumn spike in “diagnosed” cases which occurred all over the western world irrespective of whether the leader of that country was Trump or somebody else. At the time of writing this post, the per capita incidence in almost every West-european country (at peak) is either close to, or more than, USA. In fact, the rates in many supposedly “responsible” countries such as Germany have now surpassed USA.

But why does this matter and what is it’s connection to the topic of this post? As some of you might remember, a lot of the public health measures floated by “experts” and enthusiastically promoted by politicians, main stream media and social media monopolies were supposed to prevent this exact outcome. Except that they did nothing of that sort! Feel free to compare the per capita incidence of PCR-positive cases in states that have implemented tons of society- and business- killing restrictions to neighboring states which didn’t implement them. It is as if all this bullshit about everybody wearing masks in public places, not re-opening schools and universities, closing restaurants and other small businesses or all that social-distancing lies had zero effect on the autumn rise in number of positive tests. In other words, all of that personal sacrifice (performed by those ‘little’ people) was in vain.

Do you really think that most people haven’t noticed that all of their largely uncompensated personal sacrifice had zero effect on the autumn wave of this disease? Maybe.. some losers with sinecured or otherwise stable jobs don’t mind the disruption to their lives, but a much larger percentage and number of people are now both very angry and in dire poverty due to those disruptions. Needless to say, they will find scapegoats among politicians, public health “experts”, MSM cocksuckers and SJWs in social media companies. But their hunt won’t stop with these obvious targets. It is no secret that many other sections of Western society have beclowned themselves during the botched response to this pandemic. Let us start by talking about how schools and universities have handled themselves.

1] As some of you might now, the death rate for COVID-19 infection in those younger than 25 is less than 1, in 10,000 and if you eliminate deaths in those who were already quite ill, it is likely less than 1 in 100,000. In spite of these figures being very consistent across many states and countries for past few months, a large percentage of schools in USA are still closed for in-person learning. While we can go into the reasons behind the decision of many teaching unions to beclown themselves, which include offering token #resistance to Trump, it goes without saying that even a scenario where every person below 25 in USA gets COVID-19, the excess mortality would be in the few hundreds or low thousands. Moreover most of this mortality could be avoided by keeping those susceptible to severe outcomes (cancer survivors, severely ill kids) at home for a few months. But what about the teachers, you might say.

Well..for starters, most teachers in USA and many other Western countries are women and under 50 and also have a really low death rate from to this disease. To put it bluntly, it was perfectly possible to reopen schools and run them like normal by having the chronically ill children and teachers over 50 stay at home. Even a 100% infection rate among teachers and students would result in no more than a couple thousand extra deaths in USA. You might not like what I am saying, but it is hard to argue with my reasoning. However this is only a small part of why backlash against teachers and their unions will be especially severe in USA. The first major reason comes down to the fact that public schooling in West is glorified babysitting which allows both parents to work 9-to-5 jobs. Keeping schools closed hurts the working class far more than numerically much smaller upper-middle class.

To make matters worse, a large percentage of the working class sees teachers as pampered, overpaid, incompetent and elitist assholes who owe their cushy jobs to unions- something that is not possible for most people in USA. Let me remind you that most working class people had to keep working during the pandemic at same time when all these teachers were sitting on their collective behinds at home while still receiving full pay. I predict that the backlash will take form of voters supporting right-wing politicians who want to cut school funding- either directly or indirectly. And given the significant shortfall in tax revenues for local and state governments in aftermath of this crisis, this outcome is almost inevitable. And to be honest, most teachers deserve it for how they have handled themselves during this crisis.

2] If you thought that teachers and schools had shot themselves badly in the foot by refusing to reopen during COVID-19 pandemic or did so with bizarre pre-conditions, think again.. because universities have outdone them by a mile. But before we go there, let us talk about the single biggest difference between schools and universities in USA. See.. while the vast majority of schools are pre-paid for by taxes and therefore free to attend, obtaining a university degree requires the median student to spend many tens of thousands of dollars in fees- and we haven’t even started talking about living costs in certain coastal cities. Did I mention that you cannot discharge student loans during a bankruptcy? To make a long story short, attending university in USA is a very expensive proposition with very onerous loan repayment conditions. So why do students keep attending them?

While part of the reason comes down to societal and employer pressure to obtain a university degree of some sort, a far bigger reason (for many) is that university is a place to network for future job and career opportunities. Of course, you can’t do that unless you physically attend university. To make matters worse, the online learning experience is inferior for those old CD-ROM courses offered by distance learning for-profit universities offered in the late 1990s. Did I mention that vast majority of universities have not reduced their fees since going online? To make another long story short, universities have decided to throw their student body (aka customers in USA) under the proverbial bus without considering long term consequences of such actions. Given the conditions and factors mentioned earlier in this paragraph, the medium- to long- term effect on their reputation and ability to attract paying customers (I mean.. students) is unlikely to be positive.

To make matters worse, if that is possible, universities in USA have largely gone through the large increase in student population between late-1990s and early- to mid-2010s caused by a wave of baby-boomer children. There just aren’t that many future local students for them in next decade, which is why so many of them are recruiting international students at record numbers since the early 2010s. These high-paying students (usually from China) have become an important source of income for many universities in past few years. It does not take a genius to figure out that shutting down physical university for a year is going to hurt ability of most universities to recruit rich overseas students. It does not help that many universities in this country are overloaded with useless administrative parasites and therefore barely getting by in spite of collecting record amounts of tuition from students.

Given the upcoming revenue shortfalls, I expect many of them to start cutting corners by laying of teaching staff rather than firing administrative types, thus entering a death spiral where loss of income leads to loss of reputation which leads to further loss of income. What makes this whole farce darkly comic is that the risk of death from COVID-19 among student aged people is also very low- less than 1 in 5,000 and most deaths occur in those with serious chronic conditions. I should also mention that majority of teaching duties in universities are already performed by junior teaching staff, contract and sessional instructors who are very likely to be under 50 and in good health. I mean.. we could just have had professors above 70 and those with serious chronic diseases stay at home for a few months.

In the next part of this series, I hope to go into the effects of these shutdowns and restictions on small and medium business who employ far more people than their revenues might suggest.

What do you think? Comments?

NSFW Links: Dec 23, 2020

December 23, 2020 Leave a comment

These links are NSFW. Will post something more intellectual tomorrow.

Beach Cuties with Sunglasses: Nov 7, 2020 – Beach cuties with obvious breast implants.

BJs on All Fours: Nov 15, 2020 – Amateur cuties on all fours giving BJs.

Doggystyled Amateur Cuties: Nov 21, 2020 – Amateur cuties taking it, doggystyle.

Enjoy!

Categories: Uncategorized

Damage Due to COVID-19 Restrictions Will Cause a Huge Backlash- 1

December 19, 2020 20 comments

For the past few weeks, I have been considering writing a post (or two) listing my predictions for 2021. Since I have some spare time right now, let me start by making an obvious series of predictions about the upcoming year. And yes.. I have tackled this topic in a previous series and other older posts. I have also written about the ineffectiveness of conventional face masks and likely issues with widespread use of any potential vaccine. Thus far, every aspect of the response in western countries to COVID-19 from damaging widespread lockdowns that have no worthwhile effects on caseloads, ineffectual facemasks policies, hamhanded and delusional vaccination policies are creating a lot of fuel for huge public backlashes in 2021.

1] The most important determinant of long-term public support for all governmental policies concerning any war, restrictions or other deprivations comes down to the simple question- how much does it inconvenience or hurt the median person? Let me remind you that american public support for Vietnam war was very high in the beginning, but declined sharply once conscription became widespread and increasing number of recruits came back in body bags or as cripples. Similarly, the Iraq War was popular towards in the beginning when many stupid muricans believed they could win it at very little personal cost. Once it became obvious that the war was creating an endless stream of brain-damaged and crippled veterans, it became far less popular. The inability to move freely in Iraq years after that failed occupation, due to multiple ongoing insurgencies, did not help its popularity either.

So how does this knowledge help us predict the now inevitable backlash against botched response to COVID-19 by western countries, especially USA. For starters, we now have tons of data from both adjacent countries and states that brain-dead measures such as lockdowns, public making, closing restaurants and other small business etc have almost no effect on the rise and fall of case numbers. While some of you might not have heard about this because of spending too much time watching CNN and MSNBC- it is now increasingly common knowledge that many measures such as public masking pushed by public health “scientists” and faceless bureaucrats are nothing more than public theater while others such as closing restaurants, small businesses and physical retail are actively harmful. In the first 2-3 months people went along with the bullshit because they were afraid of the unknown, but now too many know somebody who tested positive for COVID-19 and had an uneventful spontaneous recovery.

My point is that the number of people who know somebody who contracted COVID-19 and recovered without complications is many fold more than those who know somebody who died. And for good reason! Mortality due to that infection in the under-50 population is somewhere between 1 in 5,000- 10,000. In fact, it crosses the 1 in 1,000 figure only for people above 60 and healthy non-institutionalized old people between 70-80 have a mortality rate of about 2-3%. But why does this matter? Well.. to put it bluntly, western societies don’t care much about lives of very old and institutionalized. While they may pretend to care about such people to show others around them that they are “good people”, they cannot keep up the charade for long if it is causing them to lose lots of money. By continuously lying to people that COVID-19 is far more dangerous than it is, the public health establishment in West is is serious risk of losing any residual public credibility which it might still have.

Which brings us to the second set of reasons why things are going to go ballistic in many countries aka this shitshow has been going on for almost 9 months now.

2] As you know, most human beings are conformist cowards who will go along any stupid belief system for a short time. The real problems start once the ridiculous crap continues past a few months. At that point, people will start reevaluating their previous beliefs- especially if they think that those beliefs are causing them financial or other loss. This is why most people either don’t join cults or slowly drop out of them as things get more extreme. While west European countries have a significantly better social safety net than USA, even they cannot keep the economy going for more than a few months. Things are even worse in countries with more fragile service-based economies + low job and career security + almost non-existent social safety net such as USA. Note that the shutdowns and restrictions are causing far more unemployment and financial damage to people under 40 and 50 than those over 65-70.

The problem with public health “scientists” and politicians trying to push their ineffectual ideas about indefinite lockdowns is that in addition to exaggerating the threat of COVID-19 they have not adequately compensated the people whose businesses and livelihoods have been affected. Even European countries which have far more generous wage replacement schemes than USA have not been able to make up the income loss to affected workers, not to mention uncertainty about future of affected business. The simple fact is that there many times more people who are being deliberately pushed into poverty by lying and incompetent governments in Western countries than there are people above 80. Things are even bleaker in USA where wage support is basically nonexistent for most laid-off and furloughed workers. Did I mention that most affected small businesses in USA are fucked.

To make matters worse, in almost every single Western country including USA the center-left part and its vocal minority PMC-class supporters are in favor of indefinite lockdowns without any hope or compensation. These sinecured assholes have lost all touch with the daily reality of a much larger group in their country. I predict, with complete certainty, that this will lead to the sort of backlash which will make Brexit vote and Trump’s election in 2016 look quaint. For example- the results of 2022 election in USA, barring some miracle or extreme incompetence by Republicans, will make the previous defeats suffered by Democratic party look comically small by comparison. I also predict similar electoral carnage for many other ruling parties in Western Europe in next two years- along with significant improvements in public support for right-wing parties. History might not repeat, but it often rhymes.

3] Many of you might have also heard that many social media companies and internet monopolies in the “free” West are trying to censor “unofficial” information about COVID-19, vaccine side-effects etc. I predict that such behavior by these corporations will have two main effects. Firstly, it will greatly increase public support behind those attempting to break up and regulate those corporations. But more importantly, it will amplify the very messages and distrust in “credentialed” authority which they are trying to suppress. If you don’t believe ask anybody for pre-1989 Eastern European countries if they believed official news about their own country. And yes.. it also feeds back into the anti-establishment dynamic which I talked about in the previous paragraph. The next two years will be most interesting.

The already moribund public health establishment in Western countries will be among the biggest loser in aftermath of this backlash. For starters, they have they lost any residual public goodwill during the past 9 months due to their inability to control COVID-19. But far worse was their poorly thought decisions (not based in scientific facts) which have caused massive damage to lives of thousands of times more people than those who died from COVID-19. Their pathetic attempts to pretend that COVID-19 vaccinations are safer than natural infection in younger age-groups is almost guaranteed to start some backlash in the next few weeks. Then again, public health in the past 40 years has been largely an exercise in bullshit mathematical models and SJW beliefs with no basis in reality. Will write about the effect of backlash on public perception of schools, universities, PMCs and politicians in upcoming part.

What do you think? Comments?

Some Recent Examples of West Losing Touch with Physical Reality

December 14, 2020 13 comments

It is no secret that the so-called ‘West’ is in the midst of a terminal death spiral and there is no shortage of evidence, especially over past two decades, to supports this assertion. We can go over tons of data-points and trends ranging from changes in fertility rates, technological stagnation combined with loss of existing abilities, rise of magical thinking and cults such as environmentalism, centralization of power into hands of incompetent professional managerial class, rapidly rising inequality and many more. While it is possible to keep trudging on in the presence of one or two of these adverse trends, facing them all at once is.. to put it lightly.. not survivable in the medium to loner term. I will now add the knowing and unknowing loss of touch with physical reality to this growing list of adverse trends.

To be fair, the ‘West’ (especially USA) is the not the first empire or culture to have exhibit this particular trend. Indeed, almost every single dying empire and civilization in recorded history has exhibited such behavior pattern. The noteworthy point about this pattern is that it occurs towards the very end of that empire or culture. In other words this is a marker of imminent demise or permanent loss of status. Here are a few examples of such behavior throughout history. Towards the end of the western roman empire, specifically the last 4-5 decades, it became unable to defend even its main cities against repeated sackings by groups who the empire had successfully kept at bay for centuries. While many “academics” pretend that the end was part of a longer trend, we know they are spouting bullshit because the eastern roman empire survived centuries after its western counterpart was distant memory.

But have you ever wondered what the “elites” in western Roman Empire were thinking when all this shit was going around them? Well.. a few saw what was coming and some others tried to change with the circumstances. However a majority of them only paid lip service to the idea of substantive change while believing that all of this would blow over and things would return to the previous status quo. They also came up increasingly elaborate explanations to convince themselves of the validity of their beliefs, even if those beliefs were clearly not congruent with objective reality around them. And they were far from the only dying empire which did so. In the early 20th century and WW1, the Ottoman Empire kept behaving as if everything that was going within their domain and in the course of WW1 was not occurring or as serious as it was.

The same is true for both the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Romanov Dynasty and their courtiers in Russia. In the first few years after WW2, Britain kept behaving as if it still was a global superpower in spite of losing all its major colonies until severe economic and military setbacks forced them to accept reality. It took getting defeated and kicked out of Algeria for France to finally accept that it was just another second-rate western military power. It took decades of defeats at hands of western power for China (century of humiliation) to finally accept that their previous system and status quo was no longer workable. And it gets worse.. a rather large percentage of Indians still haven’t accepted the reality about why they were repeatedly colonized and exploited by foreign empires and continue to labor under delusions that their myths and legends are completely factual. Crazy.. huh.

But what any of this have to with USA and the ‘West’? Well.. a couple of news items within past 2-3 days brought the issue of these countries losing touch with reality to the forefront.

The first one concerns development and recent approval of a vaccine against COVID-19. Yesterday many blue check mark dumbfucks on Twatter were busy claiming that USA was still innovative because it had developed and approved a vaccine against COVID-19 before any other country. Except that this not true. Both China and Russia have approved adenovirus-based vaccines against COVID-19 at least a couple of months ago. In fact the first Chinese vaccine has been already used to vaccinated more than a million people in multiple countries while the Russian vaccine has been used on over 200k people. I should also point out that the adenovirus-based vaccine is far closer to the kinds of vaccines we have some experience with in humans and animals. RNA-based vaccines, like those from Pfizer and Moderna, have never been previously approved for use in humans or animals.

In addition to that, they are deliberately doing slower and more deliberate rollouts to catch rare but severe side effects. Compare that to USA and ‘West’ who want to inject hundreds of millions with vaccines based on new technology for which we have no historical long-term safety data. It is also worth mentioning that China is also developing multiple protein-subunit based, whole-virus based and RNA vaccines and many of these are in Phase II or Phase III human trials as we speak. The way China has gone about developing vaccines shows a far better appreciation for issues such as not betting the farm on one new technology, concern for long-term safety and an appreciation of the logistics of production and deployment. And yet, the vast majority of “intellectuals” and “elites” in USA and ‘West’ are acting as if this reality does not exist. Mind you.. these are the same idiots who have no realistic long-term plan to control COIVID-19 spread in their own countries or just live with it.

The second recent example of western “intellectuals” and “elites” having lost touch with reality comes in the form of their response to the failed test flight of Elon Musk’s latest scam aka the “Starship” prototype. Not only is the name of that chemical-rocket powered launcher supremely delusional, but it also won’t have a significantly higher payload than Saturn V launcher from late-1960s. Yes.. you heard that right! The full-scale and developed version of that ‘Starshit’ will, even under the most optimistic conditions, not put more into low earth orbit than the upgraded Saturn V launchers NASA wanted to build in mid 1970s.. about 45 years ago. As some of you know, the most recent test of a small-scale prototype of that launcher ended in a spectacular explosion also known as a failure.

But this has not stopped many pressitutes, blue checks shitheads on Twatter and many self-anointed “experts” from claiming that a rocket flight which ended in a giant explosion was a great successes. To be clear, almost every aspect of that flight which these “experts” claimed to be a roaring success had been already demonstrated with Falcon 9- especially during some of its developmental flights. If you still believe that this is innovation, then I have a bridge to sell you. But what is especially troubling to me is that so many people who should have known better were going overboard pretending that the delusional emperor was wearing clothes. Given that Musk is not constantly paying these idiots to pretend that his failures are smashing successes, one has to consider the other option- namely, that they are willingly deluding themselves into seeing what they want to believe.

But why do they want to willingly believe in something which is not real. Could it be yet another sign that “elites” in West have lost touch with physical reality?

What do you think? Comments?

NSFW Links: Dec 12, 2020

December 12, 2020 Leave a comment

These links are NSFW. Will post something more intellectual tomorrow.

Busty Topless Beach Cuties: Oct 21, 2020 – Amateur busty topless cuties on the beach.

3D Spanking Toons: Oct 27, 2020 – Assorted 3D toons of cuties receiving a spanking.

Amateur Topless Cuties on the Beach: Nov 1, 2020 – Topless duos on Croatian beaches.

Enjoy!

Categories: Uncategorized

The Connection Between Fake ‘Innovation’ and Late Capitalism

December 10, 2020 16 comments

My previous post about the ongoing crapification of personal computing and series about how the computing “revolution” of past two decades has been a showy failure lead us to a seldom asked question. While it can be phrased in many ways, here is the simplest version- Why do so many who are rich, in power or aspire to either keep incessantly talking about “innovation”, “paradigm shifts” and “disruption” when we clearly live in an age of profound technological stagnation. Why do people pretend that Apple is an innovative company when the last time they did anything remotely innovative was 2007? Why do so many fanboys celebrate every fart emanating from Elon Musk? What is innovative about Uber, DoorDash or any other service which replicates the services already available in third-world countries full of poor and desperate people? What is innovative about the plantation-lite work environment of Amazon?

Now let us get back to the central question- why do so many people want to believe in fake “innovation”? What is the upside of celebrating fake “innovation” even when it is results in regression rather than progress? Consider user interfaces design for personal computers or software. What is the gain from producing and pimping increasingly shittier “redesigns” and “upgrades” which make the interface or program less useful, slower, buggier and resource intensive? Also, why did user interfaces remain fairly constant for over two decades (mid-1980s to mid-2000s before starting to become progressively shittier? Or take automobiles.. why hasn’t the reliability, safety and longevity not improves since late 1990s- even though their “complexity” has? Why are automobiles from non-Japanese manufacturers (and Nissan) full of progressively bad design choices in everything from layout of engine and powertrain components to increasingly gimmicky but dangerous design choices for driver control panels?

The same can be said for the increasingly shitty style of management of retail store chains which has caused many to go out of business in past decade or Boeing building progressively worse versions of their older airliners. Why do multi-million dollars homes in western countries look bland, formulaic and ugly. Are you seeing a common thread running through all of them and what does any of this have to with the strong connection between fake “innovation” and late capitalism aka neoliberalism aka financialism? To understand what I am going to talk about next, we have to first go into the pillars holding the unstable edifice of late capitalism. As I have mentioned in some previous posts, one of these pillars is credentialism. But how does it work in practice? Well.. the real function of credentialism is to cultivate incestuous insider networks with other “elites” by going to the same “elite” educational institutions. But how does this lead to fake “innovation” and actual regression of technological progress?

It comes down to its interaction with another pillar of late capitalism. Have you noticed that every corporation and rich person seems to have unusually high levels of investment in how they are allegedly perceived by the public? But who are they trying to impress? Do average people buy into the bullshit about “caring” and “socially responsible” corporations anymore than they believe that the HR person at work is on their side? If average people don’t give a fuck about the “social liberal” causes which are heavily supported by corporations, who are they trying to impress anyway? The simple answer is that all of these virtue displays, fake philanthropy and show of social liberalism by “elites” are about oneuping each other. But hasn’t this always been the case? Haven’t the “elites” of all societies throughout history spent too much time trying to oneup each other? So what is different now?

Well.. in previous eras, the “elites” of those societies did not pretend to have reached their positions because they were competent or actually good at whatever they were supposed to be doing. They were quite honest that being an “elite” was about being born to the right parents, married to the right person or being good at violence. Consequently, they left the actual work of getting things done to competent people employed by them. That is why, for example, the Medici family of Renaissance Italy stuck to the business of merchant banking and political influence while being great patrons of art rather than pretending to be great artists themselves. That is also why a lot of the industrial and banking dynasties of late 19th and 20th century Europe and USA stuck to their original vocations rather than seriously dabble in stuff which would make them look liberal, hip or “progressive”.

So what happens when incompetent but rich people try to do stuff at which they suck? Ask Nicholas II of Russia of the erstwhile Russian Empire who decided to personally take charge of military operations during the later stages of WW1 in Russia? Or what about Enver Pasha of the erstwhile Ottoman Empire who decided to cosplay as a military leader during WW1. The same hold true for thousands of generals and officers who gained their pre-WW1 positions in French Army through connections, bribery and kissing the right behinds. Long story short, when incompetent but powerful people enter roles they are not capable of fulfilling.. things go to shit. While this is especially obvious during acute crises such as large wars or economic meltdowns, it still occurs in times without obvious crises- albeit at a slower pace. The point I am trying to make is that “elites” who seriously dabble in real work almost always end up as massive and spectacular failures.

The reason this is a far bigger problem today than in past is that nobody expected “elites” or aspirational elites to do anything beyond being idle or playing insider games of the type seen in royal courts of yore. However the ideology of late capitalism aka neoliberalism is built around the concept of “meritocracy” which require participants to act as if they are involved in doing important work. It is even worse for aspirational elites, who in previous eras just had to play long with these insider court games or marry the right person. This results in people with power and money but no intellectual ability or competence pretending they are geniuses- with predictable results. It is even worse for aspirational elites, who now have to pretend even harder to be competent and brilliant people than the greedy power grabbers they really are.

The only way to succeed in institutions (including corporations) dominated by “elites” who subscribe to the ideology of neoliberalism is to fake the appearance of progress even if it destroys all of the real progress made in the past. That is why people who push bad ideas like Windoze 8 and 10 will be promoted over those who wanted to improve Windows 7. It is also why developing more fragile phones and computers protected by increasing amounts of hardware DRM is now the business model of Apple. Now you know why the UI of Gmail, Google Maps and MS Office, to name a few, has become worse with each iteration. This is also why people celebrate frauds such as Elon Musk who are pretending that technological capabilities which were refined 50 years ago are the result of recent “innovation”. And guess what.. you don’t even have to possess any actual technology to fake “disruption”- just ask that Theranos woman. It is all about appearance and style, not substance.

To summarize. the rise of fake “innovation” under late capitalism has much to with a toxic combination of financial incentives, “elites” and aspirational “elites” being out of their depth in a culture which very strongly favors the appearance of work as measured by “metrics” rather than anything close to the real thing. Might write more about this topic in future, based on comments and responses.

What do you think? Comments?

Recent Articles about Ongoing Crapification of Personal Computing

December 3, 2020 20 comments

While browsing the intertubes in past few weeks, I came across a few articles about ongoing crapification of personal computing. As you know, this is interesting to me since I am also writing a short series about the computing “revolution of past two decades has been a showy failure. Hope to finish the next part in that series sometime soon. But till then, have a look at these posts by other people making similar observations.

Bring back the ease of 80s and 90s personal computing

Back in time when things were easy: You could opt into purchasing major (feature) upgrades every 2–3 years, and got minor (quality) updates for free very infrequently (say, 1–2 times a year). You made a conscious decision whether and when to apply upgrades or updates, and to which applications. You usually applied updates only if there was a specific reason (e.g., a feature you wanted or a bug you were running into and needed to be fixed). Systems typically ran on the exact same software configuration for months if not years.

Contrast this with today: Systems increasingly become “moving targets” because both the operating system and the applications change by updating themselves at will, without conscious decisions by the user. The absolute perversion of this are “forced automatic updates” as are common in some organizations, where users have no choice but to accept that updates are installed on the machine (even requiring reboots of the machine) whenever some central system administrator decides that it is time to do so.

Computer latency: 1977-2017

It’s a bit absurd that a modern gaming machine running at 4,000x the speed of an apple 2, with a CPU that has 500,000x as many transistors (with a GPU that has 2,000,000x as many transistors) can maybe manage the same latency as an apple 2 in very carefully coded applications if we have a monitor with nearly 3x the refresh rate. It’s perhaps even more absurd that the default configuration of the powerspec g405, which had the fastest single-threaded performance you could get until October 2017, had more latency from keyboard-to-screen (approximately 3 feet, maybe 10 feet of actual cabling) than sending a packet around the world (16187 mi from NYC to Tokyo to London back to NYC, more due to the cost of running the shortest possible length of fiber).

On the bright side, we’re arguably emerging from the latency dark ages and it’s now possible to assemble a computer or buy a tablet with latency that’s in the same range as you could get off-the-shelf in the 70s and 80s. This reminds me a bit of the screen resolution & density dark ages, where CRTs from the 90s offered better resolution and higher pixel density than affordable non-laptop LCDs until relatively recently. 4k displays have now become normal and affordable 8k displays are on the horizon, blowing past anything we saw on consumer CRTs. I don’t know that we’ll see the same kind improvement with respect to latency, but one can hope.

Things are so bad that a google search for ‘why is windows 10 so bad‘ yields hundreds of results, including long discussions threads on multiple subreddits and official Microsoft support newsgroups. You can get almost the same number of hits for asking ‘why is office 365 so bad. And it is not just Microsoft as you can find similar opinions past few iterations of Mac OS X and iOS. In case you are wondering, Android has always been a shitshow, though it is a little better than the older versions. Did I mention that even widely used google services such as Google Maps and web version of Gmail has become significantly worse and inconsistent over past few years. And then there are the numerous poorly executed design updates by Amazon, FakeBook, Twatter, InstaCrack etc. My point is that is an industry-wide phenomena.

What do you think? Comments?