Showing posts from August, 2017


This site is being mothballed. I have train tickets to another state and will be leaving California soon.

I have a tendency to try to be as literal as possible online. The internet is a highly multi-cultural environment. Multi-cultural environments work best when you try to speak as plainly and directly as possible.

Yup, I just said about two days ago that I had no specific plans to stop being Michele in California online. This was not planned. Like a lot of the things I do, this decision was spontaneous.

This is how I feel

You can only assume positive intent in situations where intent is not clear and you need to infer or assume. Once there is a proven track record of bad acts clearly establishing intent, assuming positive intent amounts to deluding yourself. I said that on Hacker News. It happened about a week ago. Today I said some critical things about Metafilter on Hacker News. And some asshole registered a new anonymous handle to attack me on that point. This is not the first time some Mefite has done so. I have a couple of ugly anonymous comments on my blogs somewhere that appear to be from Mefites.

The asshole in question asked: If you're so anti-Mefi, why do you continue to take advantage of the site's resources, including posting questions to AskMe? Why not just disable your account? And, in part, I replied that I participate less and less.

I also said that I don't like letting assholes win by default. I like to believe that if I take the high road, things will work out.

I incr…

What's in a name?

Michele is my actual legal middle name, and I actually live in California. I have long used Michele in California as a handle on the internet. Currently, I have tentative plans to move to another state. If I actually do so, Michele in California will become merely an internet persona and will no longer be an accurate literal description.

A lot of people know me by that handle, so I do not currently have plans to stop using that designation online. However, it is possible that I will gradually migrate away from that handle organically.

If so, the first step in that migration may have already occurred. Yesterday, I spontaneously decided to move my resume business to its own site. The business began casually because someone asked for my help with their resume. But, I am getting clients, so I felt that I need to start handling it a bit more professionally.

The link to it remains in the list of pages for this site, but it is now an external link. I set that site up under my full leg…

Pro Vaxxers and Anti Vaxxers

I am not an Anti Vaxxer. I am also not a Pro Vaxxer.

I tend to be given hell by both camps because they are both ideological extremists. One of the problems is that Pro Vaxxers fail to recognize this about themselves at all. Anti Vaxxers usually at least know that about themselves and are usually less crazy than Pro Vaxxers.

In most cases, Anti Vaxxers are merely wanting to be free to choose for themselves and their family. In contrast, Pro Vaxxers are trying to force all people to comply with their agenda.

Pro Vaxxers justify this with the idea that Anti Vaxxers are a threat to their welfare. For years, Anti Vaxxers said "If your vaccines actually work the way you think they do, why the hell do you care whether or not I get a vaccine? If you are right, you are safe anyway."

So, now, Pro Vaxxers talk about "herd immunity" to justify their Nazi-like insistence of control over the bodies of other people.

The reality is that a lot of people skip some vaccines b…

Poverty is not merely a lack of money

I have been thinking about this a long time and just never had the words. Maybe I still don't have the words. But, poverty is not simply a lack of money.

That's what everyone seems to focus on: That poor people do not have money. But, I think that is more like a symptom, not a cause.

Granted, it compounds the problem. Once you have enough other problems that you just can't come up with the funds you need, then a shortage of money can be the proverbial missing nail that costs you the war.

Poverty is basically about having more problems than solutions. If that is extreme enough, then you have extreme poverty, such as homelessness.

Some of those problems can be intractable personal problems, such as chronic health issues, mental health issues or a learning disability.

Some of those problems can be systemic problems, such as racism, sexism, a general lack of affordable housing or living in a country with a broken healthcare system (like the US).

Some of those problems …

Hacker News: How's that work?

Hacker News can be pretty opaque. I spend a fair amount of time there, yet I only recently learned that the vouch button appears for articles only after they are [dead], not just [flagged]. So, now I no longer have to wonder if I did some mysterious Bad Thing and lost my article vouching privileges. If you spend less time there than I do, maybe this quick and dirty run down will fill in a few missing puzzle pieces for you. This is off the cuff and my understanding. If it is really critical that you know a true, accurate and up to date policy, your best bet is to check the guidelines and FAQ or email the mods. Here are the guidelines. If you have never read them, read them. If you haven't read them recently, read them again. It is generally a good idea to review them periodically.The two front men for the mod team are Dan (dang) and Scott (sctb). There is a site search function, FAQ and other important things at the bottom of the page. A lot of people fail to notice these things. J…

Well, for the moment, there is a woman on the leaderboard

I can't make a screenshot because I am on a public computer that doesn't let me do things like that, but I am at position 91 on the Hacker News leaderboard as I type this:

75. cpeterso 25253
76. walterbell 24462
77. philwelch 24232
78. tlrobinson 24222
79. sliverstorm 24086
80. minimaxir 23996
81. nostromo 23949
82. signa11 23700
83. ghosh 23680
84. pjc50 23590
85. wmf 23328
86. vidarh 23234
87. lisper 23184
88. derefr 22548
89. Retric 22511
90. adventured 22121
91. Mz 21969
92. ars 21804
93. eli 21598
94. barrkel 21576
95. jashkenas 21201
96. Alex3917 21181
97. tzs 20947
98. mhb 20905
99. craigkerstiens 20459
100. nl 20408

I expect this to be incredibly short lived. Unlike the top of the leaderboard, the bottom is pretty unstable. It is usually above 23k these days. The last time I looked, I was around 1400 points from the bottom.

The last time I saw the bottom shift dramatically, it momentarily put me about 400 points fr…

The Damore Hubbub

There has been a lot of hubbub surrounding the so-called Google Memo written by some guy named James Damore who got fired over, as I understand it, writing a 10 page opinion about how Google is handling gender issues in tech all wrong (or something like that). I haven't bothered to read his 10 page paper that some people are calling a manifesto.

I actually tried to read it, but couldn't get through it, in part because I wasn't clear what portions of what I was reading were written by Damore and what portions were some kind of summary of key points by whomever published it online. Maybe it was all written by him, but I soon noped out of the confusing organization of the thing I was trying to read and not really following all that well.

But, my general impression is that if he had written a 10 page manifesto on how Google was doing office furniture all wrong, he likely would have been fired, sooner or later, for being an egomaniacal jackass who doesn't know how to pla…

We need a Rooney Rule for Tech

So, I logged in to Hacker News today and tripped across this article: I’m An Ex-Google Woman Tech Leader And I’m Sick Of Our Approach To Diversity!

The subtitle is: We must stop fucking it up for the amazing women in tech!

Wow, how professional sounding. Yes, given that I swear like a sailor, I am aware that is a completely hypocritical thing for me to say. But, hey, I am currently chronically ill and homeless. Blogging is merely a means to occupy myself so as to distract myself from my shitastic life.

I have never been taken seriously and I think I am basically throwing in the towel on hoping to ever get taken seriously. This space is just a space for me to howl into the void because, unlike Ms. Ex-Google Woman Tech Leader and woman entrepreneur, yeah, no, no one fucking cares what I say.

Now onto critiquing the article. Here is a first quote from it: As a woman entrepreneur, I wanted to build a company that had a diverse team. I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve failed miserably so…

In Transition

I am 52 years old. I have spent my whole life ill. Just before I turned 36, I was diagnosed with a genetic disorder. My official diagnosis is atypical cystic fibrosis.

I can't prove that. I haven't been to a doctor in about a decade. I have heard they destroy medical records after seven years. So, there may be no record of my diagnosis anywhere.

Additionally, the initial test for the most common alleles for CF turned up nothing. Given that I have a milder variation of the condition, this isn't really surprising. My CF specialist did request a more comprehensive -- and more expensive -- panel. My insurance denied the request.

At the time, I was fighting for my life and just happy to have a better label than hypochondriac for the first time in my life. I had better things to do than fight with my insurance company over this small detail. I did not expect it to ever matter.

I was diagnosed based on medical history and sweat chloride results. My CF specialist was happy to…

Communicating with Strangers on the Internet

I have some handwavy recollection of recently seeing some quote, possibly from Linus Torvalds, to the effect that there is no point in trying to be nuanced on the internet. It won't be understood.

I think there is some truth to this idea.

High context cultures are ones in which a large portion of communication depends upon having a lot of overlapping experiences and shared points of reference. Individual words are chosen carefully because they can carry enormous weight due to shared context. These are cultures in which much is left unsaid and you depend upon inference to communicate most of the intended meaning.

Low context cultures are situations where you say what you mean, and you mean nothing more than what you explicitly said. In a low context culture, you don't drop hints or expect people to infer anything. Such cultures do not assume that two individuals share a lot of points of reference. They are more blunt and direct.

The direct questions and answers common in…

The Only Good Answer to a Stupid Question is Silence

I have been meaning to write about this idea for a while: Men tend to ask questions, and women tend to answer them. This can be a very problematic pattern for a woman, even in cases where there is no malice aforethought or intent on his part to be predatory or otherwise ill behaved.

But, now I am pissed off because some asshole asked me a stupid question and I was dumb enough to answer it. The result: He began attacking and insulting me because I made the mistake of trying to reply in good faith to some asshole who was too lazy to click into my profile.

The cherry on top: At the end, he justifies his right to not bother to check my profile rather than admitting he was in error and it was his lazy ass choice to write out a comment rather than click on my profile. Because, like a lot of men, he is an overprivileged asshole who expects the world to serve his needs at his convenience.

And, also, it is pretty standard for men who don't think they are sexist pigs to feel tremendous…