August 7, 2020: On Tilt

What's with those cars with the tilted wheels? Is that just to look cool? Can't imagine that's good on a suspension. Probably go through a lot of tires too.

Is it Friday yet? Thank goodness...

67 thoughts on “August 7, 2020: On Tilt”

  1. Man, that takes me back to high school when I really got into car set-ups on computer racing games. I can barely remember any of it these days, but back then was pretty convinced I was on my way to being a professional racing engineer.

    In unrelated news I am not happy with my wife for the extra-large batch of manhattans she made as a "thank you" for installing new outdoor lights yesterday. Thankfully it is a slow work day...

    1. I am not happy with my wife for the extra-large batch of manhattans she made as a "thank you"


      1. I had one too many bells two hearted yesterday. I’ve been on a healthy living kick where I’ve not been drinking much beer, but hot damn did those fat too many taste good.

        Current meat thinks past meat is an a-hole because current meat has to move heavy art objects in the heat and humidity all day.

        1. hot damn did those fat too many taste good

          But how did your slice of conscience feel about them?

        2. To be fair, the 2-hearteds are pretty good.

          I am, however, kind of off of the IPAs and have been for a long time. I have been drinking Cabin Crusher this summer, which is Summit's summer offering -- a lime flavored Kolsch. They used to have a Kolsch that they marketed as a Summer Ale and I liked it a lot, but the lime is a nice addition - feels summery. When temps fall, I'm pretty sure I'll be back on the Stout and Porter kick. Just kind of done with the hoppy overload.

          1. To be fair, the 2-hearteds are pretty good.

            "pretty good"??? Just "pretty good"???

            clearly, you are a racist. Or Nazi. Or mansplainer. Or dummocrat.

              1. It's all in the inflection. I heard "pretty good," which is Minnesotan for "it sucks."

                If, instead, you had said "pretty good" that would have been Minnesotan for "that's some HOF shit right there."

  2. I need to vent. I'm on a Facebook group for parents at my daughter's college. Occasionally, there is good information so I stay on it. Unfortunately, the most vocal parents are a train wreck.

    One of the parents asked if there are any restrictions on their child coming home then going back to college. The answer is "no." That doesn't stop some parents from becoming outraged and saying, "How do administrator think they can get away with that! They can't tell meet what to do!" It goes on and on. It's like people are just making up reasons to be outraged.

    1. I don't know how we get out of this toilet-swirl of toxic partisanship.

      Populist bitching about expertise is not exactly a new phenomenon, but it sure seems to have been ramped up in the past several decades, and particularly in the last 12 years. I have my theory, but recognize that some of it may be tainted by my perspective.

      1. I'm no longer sure the benefits of social media platforms outweigh the negative impact on a society.
        There has to be another way to have constructive forums for discourse, and a platform to share personal events, without rampant negativity. They don't have to be the same thing.

        1. I think it is called building a community.

          Online forums are very vulnerable to troll invasion and the communication equivalent of Gresham's Law. It takes a strong community bond to repel such invasions. I don't know how we pulled it off other than good, wise leadership from the top and a lot of shared interest in maintaining the Basement (aside from the pizza boxes and dirty socks).

            1. That one, too. I was telling my wife about that last night...couldn't remember the name, but here it is. It's almost as though random internet people (not meaning youse) are inordinately occupying my headspace.

              1. Turns out that the creator of that law, Mike Godwin, is on Twitter (@sfmnemonic) and is a good follow.

            2. I know of Godwin's Law. It's really a special case of Gresham's Law for this purpose, I think.

          1. "Paradox of tolerance". If you don't want to be a Nazi bar, that means you have to be pre-emptive about not being a Nazi bar. But, here in the US we're obsessed with "marketplace of ideas" and letting anything go. A few groups figured out how to play the refs early on and they "won". Everything shifted their way and terms adapted to match their worldview.

            Edit: Community building is also easier when it's 20-50 people and harder when it's millions to billions.

            1. Edit: Community building is also easier when it's 20-50 people and harder when it's millions to billions.

              The probability of the presence of one or more Nazi trolls goes to one as the group size grows large.

              1. I've always thought there's a technology solution to trolling. If you had a system where people can evaluate tweets, and that system also rates you on your evaluation of tweets, there should be some sort of algorithm that could elevate good stuff and prevent bad stuff from going viral.

                I've spent very little time on reddit and similar sites, so maybe this already has been tried and failed.

                1. It's hard. Those systems are basically dependent on the logic of independent reviews. But they are incredibly vulnerable to "information cascades," i.e., coordinated reviews, whether sincere or (usually) not.

                2. Slashdot does this. You can moderate other people's comments and yet other people moderate your decisions. It hasn't been wildly adopted though and I don't think it really solved the problem. Ultimately, this is a human issue and technology is a bad fit.

                3. From what I can tell, Reddit still ultimately relies on human moderators to a large extent and the mods make a big difference on the quality of discourse even independent of upvote/downvote/report mechanisms. Though one thing which is kind of nice about Reddit versus, say, Twitter, is that upvoting and downvoting eliminate some (though clearly not ALL) duplicative comments, so it can be a bit more succinct than trying to wade through Twitter. And despite attempts at times to curb it, "brigading" is a problem where specific interest groups (not even necessarily organized or nefarious -- could be something like Astros fans going into a Dodgers subreddit) skew the popularity of certain posts/comments.

                  One thing from a geeky numbers perspective that is problematic about a straight upvote/downvote system is that you get huge participation biases. Take a popular subreddit like r/nba -- if there is a post that has something negative about the Lakers, you are going to have different people participating in those comments than if there is a post with something negative about the Rockets.

                  There's also a problem where sometimes a good or great idea may be somewhat unpopular--basically there are limits on the wisdom of crowds, and that's going to be hard or impossible to solve with an algorithm because as always, garbage in -> garbage out. That has been a problem for the entire history of man, though, so while I'm not a big believer in social media, it's not in and of itself a reason to dismiss social media.

                  1. basically there are limits on the wisdom of crowds


                    One of the classic results in the field is the Condorcet Jury Theorem, which basically says that a sufficiently large jury of individuals who individually have 50+ percent odds of picking the "correct" answer in a binary choice (e.g., guilt or innocence) will, if voting independently, outperform an arbitrarily good (less than 100 percent odds) judge in getting the objectively correct outcome.

                    in the real world, however, all sorts of biases intervene even in the binary choice situation.

        2. For social media, I think the core problem is that outrage drives engagement and engagement drives revenue, so as long as outrage and revenue are that closely tied, platforms are implicitly incentivized to generate outrage.

          In general, I think linking content is actually a bad thing for social media platforms. Like I see some dumb stuff on Instagram every now and then, but my Facebook feed went from 12-15 years ago being primarily random, dumb comments about people's lives to today where it's largely people linking to news and all sorts of content that doesn't actually have anything specifically to do with staying in touch with people that I know. Don't get me wrong, I think Instagram is bad in its own way--being that focused on pictures seems to have sparked a vanity race to the bottom. And Twitter is like being stuck in grand central station with all sorts of cross talk and actually trying to listen in on all the conversations.

          And anyone has my utmost sympathy if anyone you know happens to die in a tragic accident which gets any kind of publicity at all--"don't read the comments" moves from the realm of "watch where you're stepping" to "make sure to breathe" on the advice spectrum. It's the future, we're all famous for 15 minutes, and it turns out that by and large, being famous sucks.

          1. linking content is actually a bad thing for social media platforms

            This. THIS. So very much. This is what I'm thinking of when I was dreaming of separating the discourse from friendly updates. I think our brains love to lazily link to things in place of constructive thought.

            1. This is why I avoid memes and almost always share my original thoughts on anything I link to. Truth be told, I feel like my wall tends to have much more productive conversations than many of my friends' walls. But it takes a lot of effort.

              And also I get sucked in on my friends' walls far too often...

          2. It's the future, we're all famous for 15 minutes, and it turns out that by and large, being famous sucks.

            This strikes me as a largely true truism. There are so, so many ways to go "viral". Most of them have extremely ephemeral welfare impacts (e.g., you wrote a really clever tweet that got shared a lot, but then your mentions quickly tamp down again). The negative ones, however, can destroy lives in a hurry.

    2. When shutdowns and grocery shortages first started, I joined the Local City Forum Facebook group, in hopes that it would be a source of information, updates, etc. Instead, it was a whole lot of right-wing propaganda, lies, half-truths, conspiracy theories, and other garbage, mixed in with once-in-a-blue-moon actual information. I spent wasted a bunch of time arguing with people who were misinterpreting COVID data to fit their own agenda. I wasn't even arguing opinions, just pointing out false statements, and it still ended up happening multiple times per week.

      I also started reporting to the administrators when people violated the group rules, especially since whenever the rules were broken by pro-Trump, pro-police posts they were left up, but anything promoting racial justice issues or Black Lives Matter were taken down, whether it was against the official rules or not. After reporting yet another post two weeks ago, the group administrator banned from the group.

      It felt weird; I've never been banned from anywhere before! But, gotta say, now that I'm out, getting those few useful pieces of information was absolutely not worth the stress the other garbage was unknowingly causing me.

      1. I got myself kicked out of our neighborhood facebook group a month ago. Everyone was getting all upset (and pretty racist) about the possibility of apartments or multi-family housing being allowed in the neighborhood. Apparently announcing my official position as "f*ck your home values" and then expanding on it a bit more in another post was not something these people wanted to hear. No ragrets.

    3. Recently my wife had to step in on a Facebook group for something mundane -- some kind of "free stuff" group for parents exchanging kids' stuff -- when people were being extremely insensitive to a very tragic situation and mention that the people impact (not us, thankfully) were in the group and could see everything being written. Miraculously, that stopped the comments.

      There is a lot of toxicity online these days. A lot of what is written seems to be written as though the author is anonymous and free of consequences. And largely they are free from consequences because there is effectively no moderation, and anyone "de-friending" or whatever just secures the walls of your echo chamber.

      1. anonymous and free of consequences

        This is the other issue. I want the consequences of free speech. I was fantasizing the other day about a platform that could aggregate social media misbehavior linked to identities (known or unknown, I suppose). As in, truly miserable behavior could be submitted to...I don't know...AssBook...hmm, that probably won't fly...or whatever it is where all the awfulness in all it's glory would be forever recorded. And if I want to know what Linda from wherever's deal is, I'll be able to see she has an 87% certified A-hole rating.
        This is a little too close to the Chinese social credit scoring for my taste...and was this an episode of Black Mirror, too, maybe? (I saw a clip...on FB).
        But, yes, accountability is an important part of this equation.

        1. I haven't seen all of Black Mirror, but I did see that episode, and I would recommend it.

          Accountability is really hard, especially when you want--well at least I want--a culture where people can make mistakes and learn from them without forever becoming an outcast. In theory, having your real name next to your words should provide some level of that, but there is just soooooo much content out there, I'm not going to really see but a fraction of what anyone out there expresses. One of my initial reactions was actually that these platforms almost allow us to have groups which are too large. And that's hard because I wouldn't want to introduce the social dynamics of being picked last at the playground and getting excluded from groups, but sometimes I think if we had smaller groups but also with more diversity of opinion (which is not to say that all viewpoints are equally good, but echo chambers have their own dangers), we could maybe hold each other accountable better and learn from each other.

  3. I'm thankful power was restored early Thursday evening, early enough we could have a largely normal evening. I had planned for a 24 outage. It ended up being just over 48 hours and the utility was warning us it could be 72-96 hours. The kids did a surprisingly good job handling it. Somehow the two-year-old decided he did in fact want to continue using his blanket despite it being at best 78 degrees and more like 80.

  4. Today's sandwich: grilled chicken, pesto, tomato & mozzarella on bakery buns. It was going to be on homemade focaccia, but we didn't have enough flour.

  5. Twenty years ago, I read this article by Steve Rushin about Alan Page. In it, he identifies when Page was born -- between the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki -- and I have always remembered that fact. So today, I remember that Justice Page turns 75 and I urge you to go and read the article.

    1. So that was in 2000 (obviously), and I mentioned this article to a kid at work who was a big Vikings fan (he'd wear Vikings purple to work after losses) and he said to me, "Who is Alan Page?"

      That was when I began to think that I was getting old.

      1. I had lunch in the park near our first house. I saw a couple kids walking their dog and I wondered to myself whether or not I knew them. Then it hit me that we moved fifteen years ago and none of the kids were born at that time.

      2. for almost the first decade of my teaching career, I used Tip O'Neill's (well, not HIS, but about him) Man of the House as a supplemental text when I taught Congress. At some point in the late 1990s or early 00s, I realized that tip had been retired since 1987 (when the book was published), meaning that my students were in elementary school or younger when he was last politically relevant.

        That would have been like my professors using a biography of Hale Boggs or John McCormick when I was an undergrad.

      3. This is something about NFL fandom I'll never get. I mean I'm 35 so maybe I'm getting old too, but its Alan f'n Page.

          1. Yeah. And I get that we're in a baseball bubble. But Alan f'n Page. I love me some Tony O, but ALAN PAGE.

            1. Somewhat apropos, I have been doing the "ten athletes" thing on bookface. I had Page on my initial list, but reconsidered.

              I mean, yes, he was ALAN F'ING PAGE and all,, and had an inspiring second career, after a very long (~17 seasons) NFL career. But...I ended up with zero NFL players on my ten.

          2. And I'm not sure baseball is good about their history good or bad (oh wait, they aren't) but this sort of thing baffles me about "true" nfl fans. Recency bias is one thing, but ...

  6. I woke up this morning with some mild breathing difficulties. This often happens when my allergies kick in, and I’ve had a slightly runny nose for a couple of days, so I suspect that’s what it is. But, called the doctor anyway, and was sent in to do a COVID test.

    It is exactly as unpleasant as the pictures of the procedure make it look.

    I’m now staying outside until my wife (and in theory kids, though how much they are actually helping is questionable) get the guest room set up for me to stay in, separate from everyone else. This weekend was also supposed to be the time we were going to get desks set up for the kids’ online schooling that starts on Tuesday.

    So, good times all around!

    1. Good luck!

      I'm wondering what winter will look like. I hope they get the saliva test rolled out soon.

      1. Yeah, the one saving grace so far has been, "well, at least they can go play outside". Not looking forward to this winter the way things are trending...

  7. I'd like to withdraw my comment about multiple color men during the baseball season. Morneau is soooo much better than Morris.

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