rone: (nose)

@[livejournal.com profile] ronebofh: DevOps in the Time of Cholera

@[livejournal.com profile] palecur: Memories of my Melancholy NOCMonkeys

@[livejournal.com profile] palecur: Chronicles of an Outage Foretold

@[livejournal.com profile] ronebofh: One Hundred Years of On-Call

@[livejournal.com profile] palecur: No One Writes to the Kernel

@[livejournal.com profile] ronebofh: The General in His LDAP-rinth

@[livejournal.com profile] palecur: Of Love and Other Daemons





rone: (yikes)

The so-called horror genre is wasted on me; Halloween is not spooky, slasher films are jejune and boring, and eldritch creatures from another dimension are about as scary as a nerd dressed up as a dwarf holding a plastic axe.  I suspect that it has to do with my complete inability to lend any credence to anything supernatural; gods, auras, chakras, astrology... it's all the same.

Michael Lewis's "The Big Short" is a character-driven anthropological story about the one true source of horror: people and their astounding capacity for denial and delusion.  And like a good horror book, it had the hair on my neck on end, made me make my "oh shit" face often, sometimes screaming "OH!  OOOHHHHH!" like Sam Kinison, and occasionally clutching my head and moaning softly.

Imagine, if you will, a system for rating food where the food is delivered by enormous corporations to the rating companies, who depend on the goodwill and money from the corporations to live, and who are staffed by people who weren't talented enough to work for the corporations.  The corporations then package the food in a way that the good food is on top and the bad food is on the bottom, which proves to be a popular way to sell food; but because it's a good way to make money, they decide to repackage the bad food in the same way and pass it off as a regular good-bad food package.  The ratings companies sign off on this, because it's bad for business to say, "Hey, that food is bad," and that assumes that they could even tell that it's bad in the first place.  Then the corporations start making packages of packages, so it's impossible to tell which of them has the bad food, and where it is, and in the meantime, banks are telling farmers to grow more bad food.  And all this time, nobody stops to think that, hey, if people keep eating bad food, they're going to eventually get pretty fucking sick.  That is a pretty decent analogy, if i do say so myself, for the 2007-8 financial crisis: massive food poisoning featuring projectile vomiting and liquishits.

Lewis definitely has his bias as someone whose first-hand experience as a Wall Street cog left him bewildered and feeling slightly dirty, but the stories told within the book are chillingly plausible, and the whole world is still struggling through the wreckage left behind.  The book puts the lie to the idea that a market free of regulation will regulate itself; centers of power, unchecked, will continue to accumulate power.  It would have been nice, of course, if the SEC had bothered to so much as glance in the direction of the CDO clusterfuck, because that's their fucking job.  But the true problem came about when the greed that fuels Wall Street was funnelled through the magical thinking of "real estate never drops" translated into "this scheme has no risk and never will," and nobody in the money-making machine ever checked their assumptions.  That's not science; it's bad business.

rone: (invincirone)

I read the last few hundred pages [of Neal Stephenson's Anathem] while in bed with a fever, and I don't know if the ending was the book or the fever.
        — Adam Thornton

rone: (Default)

I read the last few hundred pages [of Neal Stephenson's Anathem] while in bed with a fever, and I don't know if the ending was the book or the fever.
        — Adam Thornton

rone: (clue jar - take two)

[livejournal.com profile] palecur and i determined yesterday over lunch that the current financial crisis could have been avoided if only the people responsible had been brained with hardbound copies of [livejournal.com profile] skzbrust's Orca and Terry Pratchett's Going Postal.  Because it's all right there, because, oddly enough, this isn't the first time that this has happened.

rone: (Default)

[livejournal.com profile] palecur and i determined yesterday over lunch that the current financial crisis could have been avoided if only the people responsible had been brained with hardbound copies of [livejournal.com profile] skzbrust's Orca and Terry Pratchett's Going Postal.  Because it's all right there, because, oddly enough, this isn't the first time that this has happened.

rone: (drowning cat)

Please help young [livejournal.com profile] nyar identify a book.

rone: (Default)

Please help young [livejournal.com profile] nyar identify a book.

rone: (gaaa)

Would someone please break Brian Herbert's and Kevin J. Anderson's hands?

rone: (Default)

Would someone please break Brian Herbert's and Kevin J. Anderson's hands?

rone: (what the fuck)

Jason Elam, the kicker for the Denver Broncos, and his pastor have written a novel titled "Monday Night Jihad".  The protagonist is a veteran who plays pro football after his tour of duty, but is pulled back into fighting in the Middle East.

rone: (Default)

Jason Elam, the kicker for the Denver Broncos, and his pastor have written a novel titled "Monday Night Jihad".  The protagonist is a veteran who plays pro football after his tour of duty, but is pulled back into fighting in the Middle East.

rone: (southpark)

"Spook Country" is out today.  He'll be at All Saints Church, 1750 Waller St, SF, at 19:00 tonight, and at Cody's in Berkeley at 19:00 tomorrow night.  I have soccer tonight and tomorrow night, so i'm SOL.  For you non-locals, here's the rest of the tour.

rone: (Default)

"Spook Country" is out today.  He'll be at All Saints Church, 1750 Waller St, SF, at 19:00 tonight, and at Cody's in Berkeley at 19:00 tomorrow night.  I have soccer tonight and tomorrow night, so i'm SOL.  For you non-locals, here's the rest of the tour.

rone: (kimmy `n' rone)

For those of you who haven't already seen it, Kim is kicking off a bookclub activity.  Please join in if you're able.

rone: (Default)

For those of you who haven't already seen it, Kim is kicking off a bookclub activity.  Please join in if you're able.

rone: (solar eclipse)

Many thanks to all my well-wishers on Tuesday (for those of you wondering why, it was my birthday).  Kim and i went up to SFSU to see [livejournal.com profile] elmuchacho play with the Big Band.  They did a killer job on many old standards, despite being interrupted about two-thirds of the way through by a fire alarm.  There was an opening combo, but they were submediocre; the bassist was good, the guitarist was decent but green, the drummer would unsubtly shoehorn solos into almost every piece, and the alto sax was mechanical and apathetic and looked like he'd fallen out of bed.  After the show, we went to Sushi Kazu, on Irving St.  They had a marvelous selection of stuff, all top quality, and service was excellent.

There has been a Certain Upheaval at work, but it is not something that i think is bad in the long run, nor will it directly affect my job.

Tonight, Kim and i went to listen to Neil Gaiman at SJSU.  He read "Orange" and (maybe) Chapter 4 from his upcoming (and by 'upcoming' i mean 'still being written') novel "The Graveyard Book"; the latter was read to an audience for the first time ever and was, Gaiman said, "the scariest thing i've ever written."  The stories were marvelous and funny, and Gaiman is a very entertaining speaker.

Now, back to work.

rone: (Default)

Many thanks to all my well-wishers on Tuesday (for those of you wondering why, it was my birthday).  Kim and i went up to SFSU to see [livejournal.com profile] elmuchacho play with the Big Band.  They did a killer job on many old standards, despite being interrupted about two-thirds of the way through by a fire alarm.  There was an opening combo, but they were submediocre; the bassist was good, the guitarist was decent but green, the drummer would unsubtly shoehorn solos into almost every piece, and the alto sax was mechanical and apathetic and looked like he'd fallen out of bed.  After the show, we went to Sushi Kazu, on Irving St.  They had a marvelous selection of stuff, all top quality, and service was excellent.

There has been a Certain Upheaval at work, but it is not something that i think is bad in the long run, nor will it directly affect my job.

Tonight, Kim and i went to listen to Neil Gaiman at SJSU.  He read "Orange" and (maybe) Chapter 4 from his upcoming (and by 'upcoming' i mean 'still being written') novel "The Graveyard Book"; the latter was read to an audience for the first time ever and was, Gaiman said, "the scariest thing i've ever written."  The stories were marvelous and funny, and Gaiman is a very entertaining speaker.

Now, back to work.

rone: (teeth)

Neal Stephenson's version of clench racing:

<dem> one game I enjoy while reading his books: how many entire pages consist of 1 paragraph.
<dem> so far, he has failed to make 1 paragraph span two entire pages, but he came close.

rone: (Default)

Neal Stephenson's version of clench racing:

<dem> one game I enjoy while reading his books: how many entire pages consist of 1 paragraph.
<dem> so far, he has failed to make 1 paragraph span two entire pages, but he came close.

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