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Diary
By TheophileEscargot (Sun Jul 10, 2016 at 10:57:26 AM EST) Reading, MLP, Watching (all tags)
Reading: "The Most Dangerous Place" Watching: "Deadpool". Links.


What I'm Reading
The Most Dangerous Place: Pakistan's Lawless Frontier by Imtiaz Gul. Book about the tribal areas of Pakistan bordering Afghanistan, which are heavily used by Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups. It's a fairly short book which goes through the problems of the regions.

Dominated by tribes, the government exerts its power through old Colonial era power structures, where central governments have near dictatorial powers. This often spurs resentment and resistance, in particular when corruption is involved. For a long time, the Pakistani security services encouraged the Taliban and other fundamentalist groups, who also had some influence over them. In recent years, as terrorists have started attacking civilian society and the military in Pakistan, the security services seem to have started genuine efforts to defeat them.

The book has quite a lot of detail about the various groups involved: the different tribes and regions; the different security services; the different terrorist groups. However I have to admit I forgot almost all of it pretty much as soon as I'd read it. The book does tend to be a bit dry: there's lots of abstract information, but not much sense of what it's actually like to live there in a pincer between drone strikes and the military on one hand, and fanatics on the other.

Overall: informative, but a bit dry and specialized.

What I'm Watching
Saw Deadpool on disk. Good Marvel movie, less serious a more racy than most, with lots of fourth wall breaking, wisecracking, and violence. Enjoyed it a lot. For people bothered by the complexity of the Marvel universe, it's pretty standalone and you don't need to have watched any of the others. Well worth seeing.

Links
Socioeconomics. Half of working Britain has seen no rise in living standards since early 2000s. Video of how people react to a child alone if they look rich or poor. 787: the plane Milton Friedman built: "unallocated costs... flow towards the party with the least clearly defined role." We can and should have a moratorium on trade agreements. Nicholas Nassim Taleb on Employees. FT: UK will miss unskilled migrants after Brexit:

There is also something about the nature of these jobs that makes them tough for UK nationals to do. These sectors usually require extreme flexibility from staff: the salad-baggers who wait for a text message to say they have work that night; the cleaners who cobble together piecemeal shifts at dusk and dawn; the fruit pickers living in caravans on farms.
Articles. Living in a library: The Secret Apartments of New York Libraries Elevated walkways.

Sci/Tech. Can Psychologists Learn More by Studying Fewer People? Very large diamonds weren't discovered for a while because the machines were crushing them. Apollo Code.

UK Politics. David Graeber: The elites hate Momentum and the Corbynites. Richard Seymour: This is not 1981, and an SDP Mark II will not work. By parliamentary constituency Leave would win 421 seats across the UK, while Remain would win just 229. Referendum youth turnout higher than thought at 64%. The Resistible Rise of Nigel Farage. John Gray: The world is changing in ways the British left cannot comprehend:

Like bedraggled courtiers fleeing Versailles after the French Revolution, they are unable to process the reversal that has occurred. Locked in a psychology of despair, anger and denial, they cannot help believing there will be a restoration of an order they believed was unshakeable.
US Politics. Six More Women Allege That Roger Ailes Sexually Harassed Them. Leaving Conservativism Behind

Video. How to get a baby to clean the house. Kids: We Are the Robots. 10 minute video of a man visiting a car wash.

Pics. 1928 colour pics. Concept art for an unrealized production of H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds - Ray Harryhausen (c.1949). Brighton 1906.

< So I ran a beer mile | The British don't give a shit about foreigners. They do it to confuse themselves. >
All dinosaurs feared the T-Rex | 6 comments (6 topical, 0 hidden)
Outsourcing by ucblockhead (4.00 / 4) #1 Sun Jul 10, 2016 at 11:41:07 AM EST
One of the things I have always been confused by is that the way so many business types, who worship the idea of economic incentives driving behavior, set up corporate structures where the economic incentives are destructive.

When part of your business has the task of creating a part, most of the economic incentives are positives.  Employees want good reviews to get better raises.  Managers want costs low to get good reviews themselves to get bonuses and raises.

A outsourcing company has entirely different incentives.  An outsourcing company wants to suck as much money out of their client as possible.  Their incentive is to make the project look bigger than it is, and to increase the cost as much as possible.

What makes this even worse is when these outsourcing companies are tiny operations built just for the project.  It then becomes very easy for them to just go belly-up when things go wrong.  The financial incentive for the owners of these firms is not to prevent this.  It's to drive their self-written bonus/salary structure higher so they can suck as much out before it does.  Since they corporate overlords don't have oversight into their own financial structure, this becomes easier.

I find it frankly stunning that so many hard-nosed business types are so blind to this, and somehow think a contract is going to fix it.  Pretty much everything that goes wrong with outsourcing is utterly predictable.
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

This is my experience too... by Metatone (4.00 / 1) #2 Sun Jul 10, 2016 at 06:57:31 PM EST
I think it's because there's some bizarre Protestant religious aura around "the contract" in some societies.

[ Parent ]
Outsourcing of software development is intriguing. by Herring (4.00 / 2) #4 Mon Jul 11, 2016 at 05:46:42 PM EST
Why does software development cost so much?
Because it's complex. It's more complex than you thought.

Why can't we get good estimates up front?
Because eliciting requirements is hard. Developers think in terms of rules, in terms of key data items and processes. Users don't. They think in terms of what they need to do to get the job done. They think of "If it looks a bit funny then ask Janet" without thinking of the definition of "looks a bit funny" or the process Janet carries out.

What would be an appalling idea?
Contracting people in another timezone, who can't talk directly to users and need at least a fortnight to complete any change - after it's been approved and costed.

You can't inspire people with facts
- Small Gods

[ Parent ]
Think of the positives by georgeha (4.00 / 1) #5 Tue Jul 12, 2016 at 11:18:11 AM EST
I haven't been in the same time zone as my manager in years.

If only I weren't so danged busy, I could goof off with no fear of running into him.


[ Parent ]
heh by ucblockhead (4.00 / 1) #6 Tue Jul 12, 2016 at 11:21:35 AM EST
Me too.  No need to worry about my boss pocking his head over my cube and seeing Husi.

Bad news is I have to worry about slack messages at 10 pm.
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

[ Parent ]
Deadpool by me0w (4.00 / 2) #3 Mon Jul 11, 2016 at 07:55:21 AM EST
I haven't laughed so much in a long time ... the IKEA stuff ... priceless!



All dinosaurs feared the T-Rex | 6 comments (6 topical, 0 hidden)