userexec's recent activity

  1. Comment on On communicating accurately with Americans in ~humanities

    userexec
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    Some of what he's saying here reminds me a lot of Kyoto Japanese. Same concept, but cranked up to 11, where saying something like "you have such a kind-looking face" can mean you're ugly. Let's...

    Some of what he's saying here reminds me a lot of Kyoto Japanese. Same concept, but cranked up to 11, where saying something like "you have such a kind-looking face" can mean you're ugly. Let's Ask Shogo did a fun video on this: https://youtu.be/9wPlO1FKy8U?t=151

    3 votes
  2. Comment on Republican Glenn Youngkin wins Virginia governor’s race in ~news

    userexec
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    Our local elections were a republican sweep as well, with 22% voter turnout even though literally every registered voter gets mailed a ballot and bios and statements from every candidate and can...

    Our local elections were a republican sweep as well, with 22% voter turnout even though literally every registered voter gets mailed a ballot and bios and statements from every candidate and can place it into any dropbox or send it back from their mailbox without a stamp. The school board got some... interesting new people, to put it charitably.

    Time to listen to the locals my age complain about how messed up our politics are for another few years while refusing to so much as pencil in a bubble to fix it, all in a district with such low turnout that they could easily dominate any election if they actually cared.

    20 votes
  3. Comment on R.I.P. Cure Dolly, YouTube Japanese teacher in ~humanities

    userexec
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    It seems the Japanese language YouTuber Cure Dolly has died. She stopped making videos about 4 months ago due to health problems, but was expected to return and was still answering questions from...

    It seems the Japanese language YouTuber Cure Dolly has died. She stopped making videos about 4 months ago due to health problems, but was expected to return and was still answering questions from her community for some time.

    Cure Dolly's methods and presentation were somewhat unconventional, but I learned so much from the grammar explanations in her Organic Japanese videos. Watching them before taking a "textbook" Japanese class was like taking an inoculation that made all the most confusing points perfectly clear. She was very skilled at explaining difficult language concepts in organized, memorizable ways and putting simple rules to what most learners would see as exceptions.

    Some learners were put off by the strange presentation style, clickbaity thumbnails, and the android doll persona that she never broke, but if you're ever interested in learning Japanese I highly recommend looking past all that. After enough great lessons, it becomes endearing (I swear). For those who prefer a more textbook, class-prep approach done very well, I've also found the YouTuber TokiniAndy to be very helpful.

    Curious if anyone else here studied Japanese, and what tools and materials you found to be the most helpful.

    2 votes
  4. Comment on GM announces Ultra Cruise, enabling true hands-free driving across 95% of driving scenarios in ~tech

    userexec
    Link Parent
    Seconded on the public transit where it's available and makes sense with scheduling. In bigger cities like Chicago, I found having a car to be mostly an annoyance and just used the L and buses for...

    Seconded on the public transit where it's available and makes sense with scheduling. In bigger cities like Chicago, I found having a car to be mostly an annoyance and just used the L and buses for everything. In my current city (pop. ~250,000), the transit system is as good as I suppose it can be for here. Some trips make sense, others really don't. Trying to get to the community college from my mid-city address results in layovers between buses longer than the entire trip to just drive there. A little over an hour by bus for a drive that takes a little under 20 minutes. Taking the bus both ways is a considerable time investment. I'll always advocate for taking the bus when it makes sense, though, and investing further in our public transit.

    What I am genuinely looking forward to about these hands-free systems is people letting the car figure out its speed and actually hold it. If these gain high enough adoption, it may eliminate my biggest pet peeve about driving: People not knowing the speed limit and just picking a random number every 30 seconds.

    Then again, if they won't even pick a speed and hit their current cruise button on the interstate, I should have no reason to believe they'd ever hit this one. I swear sometimes I wish I could just reach into other people's cars, hit the cruise button, and yank their feet away from the gas pedal for all our sakes.

    4 votes
  5. Comment on The NYT's partisan tale about COVID and the unvaccinated is rife with sloppy data analysis in ~health.coronavirus

    userexec
    Link Parent
    Tildes is probably the only place I see substack articles posted anywhere, and I feel like more often than not it's some edgy premise piece that ends up being apologism. Am I missing something...

    Tildes is probably the only place I see substack articles posted anywhere, and I feel like more often than not it's some edgy premise piece that ends up being apologism. Am I missing something about people's love of substack? The whole concept of subscription newsletters just seems outlandishly niche to be showing up so much, but then I get that there are plenty of ways to use the internet.

    9 votes
  6. Comment on Why are people getting worse at “The Price Is Right”? in ~tv

    userexec
    (edited )
    Link Parent
    That's probably the case, though I do make less than my parents adjusted for inflation. I can't imagine my parents or grandparents carrying more than $100 on them at any given time. When I went...

    That's probably the case, though I do make less than my parents adjusted for inflation. I can't imagine my parents or grandparents carrying more than $100 on them at any given time. When I went shopping my with grandmother, she never carried more than $40 or $50 because you might get mugged. For where we lived that seemed silly, but she was pretty committed to it, so I have to assume that it was a real danger to her and her family at some point. I have to laugh at myself sometimes because I'll go and take $100 out of the ATM and, to this day, feel an irrational itch to get it home and put away where it's safe. I just remember shopping trips as a kid I was always in charge of the pencil and notepad, keeping track of what we had in the cart and what the tax on it would be so that we didn't go over--something I absolutely don't do anymore.

    Edit: I should mention they all had much more cash at home--they just didn't carry much on their person when going out. Where their finances were split between savings, cash at home, and cash on hand, mine are all unified behind a single debit card.

    7 votes
  7. Comment on Why are people getting worse at “The Price Is Right”? in ~tv

    userexec
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    Interestingly the first thought that came to my mind didn't show up here. The big difference between how I shop and how my parents and grandparents shopped, at least in my mind, is that I never...

    Interestingly the first thought that came to my mind didn't show up here. The big difference between how I shop and how my parents and grandparents shopped, at least in my mind, is that I never carry cash. When I grocery shop I don't try to fit my shopping into an arbitrarily lower budget of what's in my pocket at the moment, so I don't need to keep an accurate running total as I add products to the basket. Instead I just get the items I know I'm low on without paying too much attention to individual prices.

    I have no idea what my yogurt currently costs. I may price-check it occasionally against other brands, but then promptly forget the individual numbers. I need four yogurts, I just grab four. My food budget pretty much always averages out month-to-month around the same, so I don't bother optimizing it on any individual trip.

    6 votes
  8. Comment on Is there really a US truck driver shortage? in ~life

    userexec
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    They were always at the terminal. No matter when you'd show up, you'd see those same faces around. Actual drivers didnt pop into our terminal but once every few months maybe, so to always run into...

    They were always at the terminal. No matter when you'd show up, you'd see those same faces around. Actual drivers didnt pop into our terminal but once every few months maybe, so to always run into those same people gave away that they were fakes. Someone just coming in and meeting them for the first time wouldn't have that context, though.

    7 votes
  9. Comment on Is there really a US truck driver shortage? in ~life

    userexec
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    Oh boy can I speak to this! I was a long haul trucker for one year, and I actually didn't have a comparatively bad experience with it, but wow did I have to stack the deck in advance to make sure...
    • Exemplary

    Oh boy can I speak to this! I was a long haul trucker for one year, and I actually didn't have a comparatively bad experience with it, but wow did I have to stack the deck in advance to make sure I didn't.

    So first off, learning how to drive a truck is expensive--notably, more expensive than the people looking for relief from a high paying, low qualification job can afford at any given time. The cheapest route is to pay for your own training with an independent trucking school and only take a job once you have a CDL. In 2012, this cost me $4000, and I can only assume it's gone up since. If you don't have the money to front, though, starter companies are happy to take you with no CDL and put you through their private driver training programs for "free," though. By "free" I mean however much they want to charge for it--they'll let you pay it back out of your wages for the first year or two--so kind. That I heard runs as high as $12,000, and you better not quit or you're going straight to collections. So indentured servitude Part A gets started before you even sit in a semi.

    Now, assuming you got through training or came with a CDL, starter companies basically operate like this: They pay low and expect high turnover, because no, there is no shortage of desperate people, and they know it. Now they need a core fleet to ensure loads actually get delivered and, importantly, recover abandoned equipment when other poor souls wash out, so this will be handled by low-but-steady-paid company drivers and reliable owner-operators. The bulk of the operation is what are called "lease-ops," though. This is indentured servitude Part B.

    90% of the drivers in any intake are going straight to lease-op. The company I worked for pushed it hard. You'd be told of the vast amounts of money you could make, how company drivers were accepting a crap deal, how much more legitimate of work lease-op was, how you could be your own boss and make your own decisions about which loads to pull and when to take home time. How the truck would be yours. My company went so far as to give obviously preferential treatment to lease-ops, and even had actors around the training facility pretending to be lease op drivers stopping into the terminal whose whole job it seemed was to strike up conversations with new drivers and tell them how amazing lease-op was. Their strategies were incredibly effective. I was the only driver in my class of 20 or so to still insist on being a company driver by the end of it.

    The great part (for the company) about lease-op drivers is they pay for their own equipment (which when they default on, comes back to you for another go, and they're still on the hook for the full price). They pay for their own insurance (which is high for beginning drivers), and they pay their own maintenance. When you get a lease-op truck back, you can basically re-issue it immediately to the next person. For their company drivers, they have to provide a truck to operate out of company funds, they have to pay the insurance, and they have to maintain it. Lease-op is a wildly good deal for the company... but you still have to have some company drivers because, well, enough drivers need to fail lease-op. Somebody's got to be the grim reaper and go collect the abandoned equipment, and somebody's got to deliver the loads that the lease-ops either refused or ran away from mid-load.

    As a company driver it's really not too bad. The pay is low (I made $0.32/mile) but the work is steady. You do get the worst loads, but your pay isn't dependent on the load's payout--just the miles. And of course there are the recovery jobs where there is no load payout since you're just hopping in with another driver to go pick up an abandoned truck, but your pay is still the same. You do it for a year or two, get experience, and then leave debt-free for a job with a non-starter outfit that's actually doing trucking as opposed to financing with a side gig of trucking.

    If you're thinking of going into trucking, go company at your starter. Yes, some lease-ops make it, and they will make way more money than you if they're successful. Somebody has to succeed to keep the story going. If it's clear nobody ever wins the lottery, people stop playing the lottery. You're not going to win. You're going to ditch your truck somewhere that a relative can come pick you up, then struggle with crushing debt and a nonexistent credit score for the next 20 years so that some company's profit margins look better. Someone like me is going to come with a spare set of keys and return your truck so they can do it all over again to the next person. Have patience, go company, and wait for your money at your next trucking job at a company that requires experience.

    Now then! If you survive all that, you still have to deal with the near inhumane conditions of the industry as a whole! It's a classic question: "Where do birds go when it rains?" But let's reformulate it as "Where do truckers go when they're not driving?"

    You don't go home. You don't go to a motel. You stay in the back of the truck on 3-4 week shifts. You're either in the truck, in a shipper/receiver for a few minutes, or picking up food and fuel at a truck stop. Now, the back of the truck isn't bad. You've got a bed, AC and heat even when the truck's off, probably mobile internet (my cell phone bill used to run $400/mo in 2012). You may even have a mini fridge. It's not a sustainable way to live, though. There is nowhere safe to exercise. There is no supply of nutritious food. And then, your sleep schedule... oh boy.

    Truckers' hours of service are not based around a 24 hour clock. There are 14-hour on-duty shifts, 11 of which may be spent driving, paired with 10-hour rest shifts theoretically, and the rules I'm sure have changed since I was in, but in practice you'll drive 10 hours, get 7 hours off, then drive 10 hours again, repeat until you run up against log book regulations and need to reset your time. Hope you're good at working, falling asleep instantly, then working again. You may sleep during the day one day, night the next, or sleep during evenings or mornings. Also you're getting fatter because there's no physical activity and your food supply is garbage, so unless you've won the genetic lottery, you're going to develop sleep apnea. I'd never even heard of a CPAP machine until trucking, but holy crap are they common among drivers.

    So you're at work nonstop for weeks, stuck in a box, can't get decent food, and are developing at least one disease... then I guess there's the whole piss bottle issue...

    Anyway that's enough ranting for now. This article comes as no surprise to me. There is no driver shortage. There's an excess of workers this system regularly chews up and spits out--that's all. What's funny is it wasn't even the worst job I ever had. Teaching K-12 was worlds worse than that.

    29 votes
  10. Comment on What is something you've changed your mind about recently? in ~talk

    userexec
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    So the idea is you cycle very quickly between states of hypocapnia and hypoxia. Basically, in 2-3 cycles, you: Hyperventilate with 30 or so very fast, full in breaths (focus more on in being fast...

    So the idea is you cycle very quickly between states of hypocapnia and hypoxia. Basically, in 2-3 cycles, you:

    • Hyperventilate with 30 or so very fast, full in breaths (focus more on in being fast and deep, let out handle itself). Now you're high on oxygen and low on CO2.
    • Hold your breath until your desire to breath in gets quite powerful (which might take longer than you think). Now you're low on oxygen and high on CO2.
    • Take a full, deep breath in, and hold it for 10-20 seconds. Now you're back to starting point.
    • Repeat

    You definitely feel the effects of it, and they get more powerful with each cycle. By cycle 3 that last breath hold is a pretty disorienting light show for me. Not something you want to do while in water or driving. I transition from that straight into a sort of combined progressive relaxation/mindfulness meditation.

    If I had to explain how it works for me, I'd say it's like my body saying "Hey, we're gonna have a panic attack" and me responding "DAMN RIGHT WE ARE GIVE IT HERE" and my body is so shocked that I ripped it out of its hands that it doesn't know how to respond.

    7 votes
  11. Comment on What is something you've changed your mind about recently? in ~talk

    userexec
    Link Parent
    Minor note on that: Meditation promotes activation of the parasympathetic nervous system, so it's a really practical tool (source among many). If I have significant anxiety and am in danger of a...

    Minor note on that: Meditation promotes activation of the parasympathetic nervous system, so it's a really practical tool (source among many). If I have significant anxiety and am in danger of a panic attack, I've found that doing Wim Hof breathing (activate sympathetic) followed by mindfulness meditation (activate parasympathetic) actually jogs my whole state so hard the whole thing just stops.

    Little side note on that, too, though: I don't actually recommend doing Wim Hof breathing due to reports of it activating tinnitus in some people. There doesn't seem to be a good understanding yet of why that is. Plus anyone selling cure-all health books is sketchy. Unless you're doing it for a really specific reason (like intentionally initiating a fight or flight response for meditative purposes), maybe don't. I just use it because it's the quickest and most practical way I know to light up the right areas.

    7 votes
  12. Comment on Where did the trend of disabling Javascript in one's browser originate from? in ~comp

    userexec
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    My two cents on this as a primarily JavaScript developer: I sometimes disable JS because I've got a thing for squeezing every last week out of hardware I can possibly manage. You could charitably...

    My two cents on this as a primarily JavaScript developer: I sometimes disable JS because I've got a thing for squeezing every last week out of hardware I can possibly manage. You could charitably say that my taste in computers is thrifty, but I've been known to use even failing hardware for years until it simply won't turn on anymore. My primary machine was still a Pentium MMX in 2010, although maybe I'm not quite that bad anymore. You can bet I was blocking anything I could on that, though I don't know if I'd say it was trendy then.

    JS is often absurdly heavy these days, and on a performance-constrained machine you really get a feel for just what a slog some sites are. I was planning to do a little mobile work this week with my GalliumOS chromebook but quickly found that while it's still perfectly acceptable for day-to-day web stuff, trying to load Outlook Web and Slack takes about 15 minutes before they're ready to use. It's a shame because I really love developing on that machine--it keeps me aware of how well my code actually runs by not burying inefficiencies with shovels full of RAM and clock cycles.

    I think a lot of the trend of disabling JS comes not from any one shortcoming of JS itself, or even heavier feature-rich apps-as-sites, but from how some developers holding the JS hammer start seeing everything as a nail and try to emulate functionality you should be getting for free with sprawling frameworks and dependency nightmares. You end up with situations where you're loading 7MB of scripts or something just to have them render out a couple paragraphs of text. Have you ever seen flatbed semi truck drivers who, between loads, strap a little toy excavator onto the trailer as a joke? A lot of websites feel like that.

    What others said about JS being used heavily in some areas for user annoyances like scrolljacking, unsolicited modals, tracking scripts, etc. applies too. At one point I complained to my bank because they were loading 5 different tracking/analytics libraries on their homepage.

    Anyway there's your niche objections, I guess. Most people will never really notice these because they don't cobble their computers together out of trash like some deranged cyber-raccoon.

    7 votes
  13. Comment on Why many scientists say it’s unlikely that SARS-CoV-2 originated from a “lab leak” in ~health.coronavirus

    userexec
    Link Parent
    I'm a little out of date on this so I probably missed whatever happened here, but wasn't the leading speculation early on that it made the jump from pangolins? Did they rule that out now?

    I'm a little out of date on this so I probably missed whatever happened here, but wasn't the leading speculation early on that it made the jump from pangolins? Did they rule that out now?

    3 votes
  14. Comment on What shortages have you noticed recently? in ~talk

    userexec
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    CPAP machines. Philips and ResMed have dominated the US market for decades, but Philips recently recalled effectively every ventilator and positive airway pressure device they've ever made due to...

    CPAP machines. Philips and ResMed have dominated the US market for decades, but Philips recently recalled effectively every ventilator and positive airway pressure device they've ever made due to noise abatement foam in the airway outgassing and deteriorating. Apparently from day one the Philips devices were letting off inflammatory and carcinogenic fumes into the airway, and after years in service they start blowing foam chunks into your lungs.

    Philips will be repairing or replacing their devices, but as one of only two major players in the market who knows how long that will take. In the mean time, good luck finding any ResMed devices in stock or at anywhere near a sane price point. The same AutoSet 10 machine that you could have probably picked up a few months ago for $350 is now selling for $1000.

    If you're using a Philips device like a DreamStation or System One, register for the recall to get it repaired or replaced, and if medically possible, stop using it for now.

    14 votes
  15. Comment on Almost all of the top subreddits are moderated by the same people in ~tech

    userexec
    Link Parent
    Definitely let us know how that goes if you do. I'd be interested in hearing impressions of the differences or lack thereof.

    Definitely let us know how that goes if you do. I'd be interested in hearing impressions of the differences or lack thereof.

  16. Comment on Landlords from Florida to California are jacking up rents at record speeds in ~finance

    userexec
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    I've just run into this while trying to find an apartment for a friend to move closer to us in the US Pacific Northwest (not a major city). The rents are absolutely insane here, to the point that...

    I've just run into this while trying to find an apartment for a friend to move closer to us in the US Pacific Northwest (not a major city). The rents are absolutely insane here, to the point that they're genuinely not competitive with even buying a house in the current market. You can seriously get any number of nice 3- and 4-bedroom houses with garages and property for a meaningfully lower monthly payment than even a mediocre 2-bedroom apartment (I know because that's what we ended up doing). They have to be banking on people not being able to afford a downpayment, because if there were any options nobody in their right mind would get into a rental contract here at the moment.

    I think the most mind-blowing thing to me is that I'm a reasonably experienced, salaried programmer and even I wouldn't qualify for a disturbing number of 1-bedroom apartments--even the copy/paste low-rise ones--due to income requirement multipliers being applied to newly inflated rents.

    12 votes
  17. Comment on Buying a house relatively soon, lay your advice on me! in ~life

    userexec
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    Something we did before buying was take multiple trips to the neighborhood and just walk around to get a feel for the place. It was especially useful that the election was coming up, so we could...

    Something we did before buying was take multiple trips to the neighborhood and just walk around to get a feel for the place. It was especially useful that the election was coming up, so we could get a feel for how many lawn signs and flags were up compared to other places. Sort of gives you a temperature on the crazy. Look for little indications of how people behave. Do the people next door park their cars halfway across the sidewalk, or display other little antisocial cues? Are there people out walking their dogs, or do they maybe feel more comfortable taking them somewhere else? Go there and walk around at night. Do you feel safe?

    4 votes
  18. Comment on Pay cut: Google employees who work from home could lose money in ~finance

    userexec
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    Sounds like a good way to lose talent to me. I offer specific expertise and experience, and I expect to be paid what it's worth to the company, not some funky "what it's worth scaled to the exact...

    Sounds like a good way to lose talent to me. I offer specific expertise and experience, and I expect to be paid what it's worth to the company, not some funky "what it's worth scaled to the exact GPS coordinates of where my laptop happens to be sitting when I type for them." My work is not negotiable on some gameable surge pricing scheme. This just feels like a stupid employer power move to try to cut labor costs while relying on their employees' desperation to keep a job. Bold move trying that on folks with a Google-grade resume--have fun with that.

    15 votes
  19. Comment on Unvaccinated people need to bear the burden in ~health.coronavirus

    userexec
    Link Parent
    I actually agree with you on those points. We're not going to reach herd immunity any time soon because everyone has had the opportunity and they're turning it down. Which, to my thinking, means...

    I actually agree with you on those points. We're not going to reach herd immunity any time soon because everyone has had the opportunity and they're turning it down. Which, to my thinking, means we have four options:

    • No longer impose restrictions and roll the dice on a vaccine-resistant mutation putting us right back at February 2020 and re-endangering everyone who has been responsible
    • Impose restrictions and lockdowns, adversely affecting our society in the ways you listed above
    • Incentivize vaccination and/or make being unvaccinated inconvenient to such a degree that we actually reach numbers where we no longer need to worry about either of those outcomes
    • Straight vaccine mandate

    I can't speak to how things are between the vaccinated and unvaccinated in other countries, but at least in the US there's very little patience left for people who have been acting antisocial and pissing in the swimming pool in the name of freedom. There's a saying "your rights end where my nose begins." It had nothing to do with airborne illness, but I think it accurately reflects the feelings of a lot of people trying to act in their own and their childrens' interests while an abrasive portion of their society carelessly endangers them and gleefully rubs it in their face.

    11 votes