Posts tagged with bourgeois

  • copy editor
  • anti-trust economist
  • "international development" (anti-poverty, microfinance)
  • fair-trade certifier
  • logistician
  • bookie
  • statistical data analyst
  • (web) venture-capital business development / strategy
  • assistant domain-specific language (DSL) programmer
  • research potential new markets for industrial petroleum products
  • novelist
  • bank analyst
  • government statistician
  • (financial) trading assistant
  • (oil rig) roughneck
  • musician
  • casino attendant
  • distressed debt investor | liquidator | manage companies temporarily in receivership
  • miner
  • dockworker
  • OTC derivative synthesiser
  • computer engineer
  • (oil-drilling) mud log analyst
  • machine-learning quant

I cringe whenever an old person asks a young person "What do you want to do in life?" As if the answer could ever be simple. I’m sure I can’t remember everything I ever thought I might want to do but failed to. (And I’d guess it’s the same for most people.) Each of the above represents a potential alternative history now, and at the time, a superposition.


This video is 13 minutes of traffic accidents in Russia and totally amazing.

  1. Show this to your teenagers before they take the wheel. If it doesn’t scare the p*ss out of them—or even worse, if it excites them—no more Grand Theft Auto and hide the car keys.
  2. Next time you complain about public services, boring orderliness and “safety first”, the desireability of risk, Panglossian everything-optimal economics, or forget how relatively safe you are on your German freeways, …. watch this.

    As someone else remarked (can’t remember the source), the difference between Somalia and the USA is the stuff everybody in the US completely forgets is even possible.
  3. Notice how many of the accidents are caused by people trying to zoom ahead of everyone else—off the side of the road, cutting down a tree without noticing it will land on somebody else, trying to pass on the left or on the right or across the lane. Is your time really that important relative to everyone else’s, people?
  4. Assumptions. You think you can make assumptions, like that someone won’t fell a tree on your head, or a military jet won’t fly over your head, that someone won’t spill military equipment near you, or that people from the other lane (or off the road) won’t drive completely orthogonal and attack your car. Sometimes those assumptions are wrong.
  5. How many of these people do you think actually accepted the blame on themselves for their reckless actions?

via @Alea_, @felixsalmon

We Are Not Objects

  • @isomorphisms: I don't think "inheritance" from the object-oriented programming paradigm works to describe people in real life, for at least two reasons:
  • @isomorphisms: [1] @ISA versus "does". "Am I" a mathmo? This is like identifying someone with their career title, versus "I do maths" or "I'll be doing maths later today". "Am I" a writer? Or am I writing right now? Or do I write for 7% of my waking hours?
  • @isomorphisms: Something I notice as well talking to bourgeois youths. "Is a" entrepreneur. "Is a" gardener. "Is a" cook. Related to their division of life into career and "on the side".
  • @isomorphisms: Also twitter profiles. Some people list a lot of nouns or titles to describe themselves. I wrote a poem once; I started a business once. Does that make me @ISA poet or @ISA entrepreneur?
  • See also: [] -- what E.O. Wilson said about how we're all expected to play to defined roles & expectations -- Behave As Mother; Behave As Wife; Behave As Judge; Behave As Daughter [].
  • @isomorphisms: [2] Maybe the more fundamental problem is that I'd want to pass *response functions* rather than properties. The idea that people respond to their circumstances rather than being determined by properties. "Am I" lazy with no ambition? Or don't see opportunities and thus don't work toward "growth"? "Am I" passionate about Ruby? Or did I come across the Ruby language and gradually get more and more into it, as a response to environment?

late night at the office, dreaming of going home

late night at the office, dreaming of going home


  • M. You live in a society where lovers choose whom to marry based on romance. So you don’t want to give up your right to choose a partner (or no partner at all). But if you actually lived under rules of arranged marriage, you would not want to be forever-bitter about something you can’t change. So you would accept your fate, go with the flow, and learn to love whom you had to.
  • She didn’t want to be pregnant. She couldn’t afford it. She was too young. There was so much else she wanted to do with her life. But once the baby was born, s/he became the joy of her life—and the mother wouldn’t change a thing about her past choices. (P.)
  • You need a vacation. You’ve focussed on work for too long. You plan a grand adventure. You negotiate a year off with your employer. On the plane ride to the coast, somebody asks, “What do you do?” and, without thinking, you give your normal response: “I’m a lawyer.” Unsettled, you arrive at the mooring where you’re scheduled to pick up the rented boat. A week into your trip down the coast, you find that you’ve succeeded in running away from nothing. You’re still alone with your thoughts, and they still have exactly the same consistency. It’s going to be a long voyage, achieving nothing, cleansing nothing, a propos of nothing. At least you’ve got work to look forward to when you return. [[[V.]]]

There is an algebra that describes this. Something like a von Neumann algebra (the logic of quantum measurements).


In the vNA, “measuring” X changes the information that X reports. You measure the Z-spin of an atom, you get the Z-spin information but you’ve affected the atom in measuring.

Similarly, instantiating myself in a different context (a society with different social norms, being somewhere else other than where I am) would change the answers to questions M, V, P (marry, vacation, pregnant).

Self-as-function, with input parameters.

My answer to M(me, where-I-in-fact-grew-up) is that, no, I don’t want arranged marriage. My answer to M′( me, where-I-in-fact-grew-up) is that, no, I wouldn’t want arranged marriage. But different-my′ answer to M′(me′, where-I-might-have-grown-up′)M(me, where-i-in-fact-grew-up). Real-me doesn’t think like different-me, and doesn’t correctly predict different-me′'s feelings.