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Solomon Eraut
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Solomon Eraut

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I just got my chess program running, written on my own in C, and it found a mate in two, the first time I tried playing with the program set to look ahead two full moves. Do you see it? (The diagram is part of the output from the program. Upper case stands for black pieces, lower case for white. Black to move and mate in 2.)
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I used to try to program things, but ...
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Solomon Eraut

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This short short story is a reflection on what's off about presidential campaigns.
 
A Walk In The Park
A little fictional story about election management.

“Hey!! Wait up!” One man runs up to another in a city park, barely hanging on to all of his gadgets and coffee at the same time. “What was decided about Sanders?”

“Sanders? Oh, he is to be left alone.”

“I thought that we were supposed to block Sanders and set up Hillary for the Democratic lead.”

“Yes, but things have changed. Apparently, we are moving ahead with a new plan. Sort of seizing the opportunity, if you will.”

“What is this new plan? Does it make sense?”

“I am not too sure, everything is still rolling around in my head. I don’t know what to think of it yet. On the surface, it is either genius or complete insanity. Sit down, and I will see if I can make some sense of it.” They sit down on a park bench. “This will actually be good for me as a review... get everything square in my head. They are calling it, ‘Total Emotional Management’.”

“Total Emotional Management. That’s a winner phrase. Someone got paid allot of money just for that phrase, I bet.”

“No doubt! So, the way it was explained to me is this; we are trying to get the election system scripted like a soap opera, and politics in general, to lead people to a logical conclusion. That logical conclusion is that our politician, the one we place, was fairly elected. But what is coming out now is that we also need to entertain the public, because that is really what the public wants,... just to be entertained. Most people intuitively understand that the system is completely rigged, which it is, and they are happy to let that be the case so long as we give them something to distract them and allow them to believe the lie. The reality is that the American Congress is about as useful as the British Monarchy, but if we did not go through the motions of making it appear as though it had real value, then people would get upset and we would have problems. We thought this was just a logical thing, as it worked with Clinton, Bush, and Obama. The fact that Obama was black and stirred up so much emotion was over looked at the time. However, now with the economic situation as it is, and Sanders drumming up people’s emotions, it has become necessary to be more fluid, and more emotional. It was decided to make things more like professional wrestling instead of just a soap opera.”

“That much I am aware of. That is why we got Trump into the race after all.” 

“Yes. That is right. But let me stay in the flow here. In the past, the game involved manipulating the elections where we could, and using heavy pressure on the elected officials who got through the net; to either get them on board or force them out of office. Now, since the elections are completely under thumb, that is not necessary as we can place the person we want. But, the people still need their entertainment. They still need to feel as though the election and the process has integrity. At first, it was supposed to be very simple; get Trump to push people towards Hillary. But, now we realize that we were naive and were not thinking of all the different groups of people and their emotional needs. 

“To achieve this elaborate group denial, there are certain rolls that have to be addressed to include all of societies different emotional needs. For this to work, all of the people have to be entertained, which means that all the different emotional signatures need to be represented. In the soap operas they have learned that, not only is there the dynamic of heroes versus villains, but they are various shades of heroes and villains, with all sorts of subtle interactions between them. There is the loud villain and the quiet villain. There is the alpha hero and all the beta heroes looking to take the alpha’s place. I gets crazy and intricate.”

“Oh boy... that is all I need.”

“No doubt. Total Emotional Management means that, instead of hiring people to play a role, we are to manage the people who naturally fill a role. Simply write them into our script. We thought we could sell Hillary in the rabid liberal role, but Sanders is filling it. It does not matter who plays it in the end the script will play out the way we want it to.”

“Does this mean that the media block on Sanders will be lifted?”

“Goodness no! The media block plays into the people’s sense of being the underdog. Basically, it was decided that, instead of pushing back at Sanders, we needed to up our game and include him in the process. He is entertaining a large number of people. They told me that once I understood the big picture, I would see that it is really making our jobs easier.”

“So, as I understand this, we are seeing everyone as a player in the script.”

“Yes! But only if they entertain a segment of the public... or support the entertainment of a segment of the public. Positively, or negatively. Everyone knows that Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are too radical to be elected. But, still, they are keeping at least fifty percent of the population entertained and distracted. Add to that the people who are being entertained by hating Hillary, this election will be a walk in the park. And all these people will play out their usual election fantasy in the same way they play out their lottery fantasy. In both cases, they walk away disappointed.”

“Because, in the end, that is what they want.”

“Exactly.”
#bernie2016   #trump2016   #hillary2016   #politics  
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Solomon Eraut

Distributions  - 
 
Debian patches software to run with fewer apparent bugs for ordinary users, regardless of attributions or notifying the original authors of projects [Ronoaldo Pereira says in the comments here that Debian does notify upstream.] Debian-based distros such as Ubuntu and Mint may add more patches. Arch Linux avoids patches when possible, preferring to use the latest versions of projects as the authors wrote them and intended.

Maybe the use of distros like Arch puts some pressure on authors "upstream" to make their new versions run with fewer apparent bugs. Maybe some authors prefer to avoid adding lines of patches to their code for bugs that could or should be fixed by toolkits or libraries, which maybe passes the pressure to further "upstream."

Which do you prefer? Old patched software or fresh upstream purity?
Patching. This policy is intended to *suggest*, not to enforce. Vanilla Packages. Arch tries, as much as possible, to ship packages as the original author of the software intended. This means that every time we add a patch, we take one more step away from their intent.
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Ronoaldo Pereira's profile photoSolomon Eraut's profile photoMark Ward's profile photo
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Whichever way makes a package more secure and reliable.
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Solomon Eraut

Theological Absurdity  - 
 
A self-described rationalist, Scott Alexander, writes a satirical update of Job, in which God explains away the problem of evil as the result of maximizing good in the multiverse. Scott then finds that he's been "scooped" by some theistic theologians.
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Hobarts HonestGas's profile photoErik Hogan's profile photoPieter van der Ploeg's profile photoAndreas Geisler's profile photo
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Could have been a Monty Python sketch :-)
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Solomon Eraut

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This seems like a useful graphic...
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I'd better update here in case anyone looks at my page and thinks that's my final opinion on computer things.

I installed the Lubuntu desktop as an add-on to Ubuntu. I like the Lubuntu interface because it has a start menu organized by subjects, instead of having to search the computer for apps every time I want to use something else, and instead of being less informed about how many things are already installed in each subject area. Lubuntu has an easy to use multiple-desktop feature, so I can act like I'm using multiple monitors with windows of open programs spread out across them.

I still sometimes use Ubuntu with the default Unity interface, or Windows 8 to see different things.

I've got NetBeans and Python IDLE set up, and I'm considering what other tools to set up.

I'm conflicted about whether to try to do bugfixes in trivial games, which is something I see that I can do, because I notice bugs, and when I look in the source I can find where to work on fixing them. I'm conflicted because fixing games so they run smoothly and don't crash might contribute to people wasting more time playing trivial games. On the other hand, it would be a way for me to learn more about programming and get into contributing, and the developers who put the malfunctioning sections of code in those apps might appreciate being corrected before they try coding the same way on any program that's actually important.
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The history of programing is crowded with examples of ideas that started from a desire for better games.
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Solomon Eraut

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A charming experiment. It's related to this piece of experimental music, Piano Phase written by Steve Reich in 1967. https://youtu.be/i0345c6zNfM
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Solomon Eraut

Blog+Links  - 
 
obmenux
In case you use the Openbox menu with a right click on your desktop, I'm writing a version of the Openbox menu editor and now it's compatible with Lubuntu.

The original Openbox menu editor obmenu 1.0 from 2006 that Ubuntu still provides isn't compatible, so I had to manually edit my .config/openbox/menu.xml to get going with that version. Then I made my own version and called it obmenux.
obmenux - an experimental version of obmenu
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César Valadez (Cesasol)'s profile photoSolomon Eraut's profile photo
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I've just pushed version 1.3.0 of obmenux. I've added icon support, showing icons and browsing with a preview, so it's easy to set icons in the Lubuntu desktop right click menu.
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Solomon Eraut

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--- Interesting Stuff Alert ---

Blogs you may find interesting for broadening your perspective, or for a laugh if you reject their ideas or tastes. Laughter is healthy.

argued that there would be a slow interesting collapse of civilization: http://ranprieur.com/ (+Ran Prieur links his music selections on G+. Open comments are at http://www.reddit.com/r/ranprieur/ )

further out collapse and prepping ideas, and a theory of human evolution where remnant Neanderthal throwback autistic types are the good humans and Homo sapiens are a usurping mob: http://vault-co.blogspot.com/

argues for taking the parnormal and theism seriously, alongside conventional astronomy: +M Mahin http://futureandcosmos.blogspot.com/

not a blog, but a book-like set of pages giving a provocative and unusual view of evolutionary processes +Eugene M. McCarthy  http://www.macroevolution.net/index.html (There's no evolution denial or science denial there at all, just theoretical differences and hypotheses that are fully within materialistic possibility, though sometimes outrageous to conventionally prudish discussion of reproduction.)

a group blog that's further out than almost anyone, going so far as to dabble in questioning whether the Earth is flat despite not starting with that subject as their conspiracy theory focus http://fakeologist.com/ (These aren't the flat Earth fantasy promoters themselves, which I won't link as people who are too far out and frankly stupid wrong to be palatable to anyone who wouldn't look them up on their own.)

mostly harmless funny and far out stuff to spice up your G+ feed +Erik Swiger 

--- That concludes this interesting stuff alert.
     You may now return to your normal mass media programming. ---
June 1. I'm getting burned out on the internet, and I wonder if this is part of a trend. I mean, the internet is still miraculously useful to support offline activities. Which product should I buy? What's wrong with my car? How do I make this food? Will I like this album?
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+Erik Swiger Like the Earth in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, it had a guide entry of only two words (that's all the attention the galaxy could spare) "mostly harmless." That implies there might be space related content, or occasionally something some people would want to block. Also, for short sweet posts, a short sweet review fits. I think the word "spice" was the most out of place there.
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Threads and Processes in Python
I wrote something amusing in Python last night. I was trying to isolate why join() sometimes returns from a Process early, when the exitcode is None and the Process is alive, and instead of isolating it, I made it worse.
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Andreas Kostyrka's profile photoSolomon Eraut's profile photoAlvaro Segura Del Barco's profile photo
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Maybe there could be some extra named arguments on "join", for what parts of the Process you want to be finished when you join it.
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I posted something at Medium, from the excitement of signing in there and getting to write in a nice font and drinking some tea. It seems like a lot of nonsense, but it makes me think about what's going on with the way people spend time on the Internet now. (This message is to be polite in case anyone who was following me wanted some content or an update on what I was doing.)
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Bill Reed's profile photoSolomon Eraut's profile photo
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+Bill Reed I have to admit you're right. Thousands of readers would be fine, but there would have to be a much smaller group of editors who don't have allow every post that follows the rules, in order to prevent overflow and keep quality up.
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Solomon Eraut

Discussion  - 
 
Lubuntu seems to need a forum of its own. On the Lubuntu website,the tab "forum" links to Ubuntu Forums posts that have the tag "lubuntu." (That is to say, go to http://www.lubuntu.net/ and click forum, you'll see http://ubuntuforums.org/tags.php?tag=lubuntu )

I upgraded to Ubuntu 13.10 with Lubuntu 13.10. The upgrade seems to have only broken some things, not added any features that I notice. I don't want to post negative things about Lubuntu, that people who don't use Lubuntu might read, when maybe there's an easy way to fix them, or maybe there's nothing wrong. So I guess I have to post about it here. Please excuse me and correct me if there's a better place to post about it.

Two problems in 13.10:

(1) The panel right click option titled "Desktop Pager" Settings crashes every time. There were dialog boxes that sent automated bug reports on it. After the first time it crashes in a session, it crashes silently or does nothing, i.e. it doesn't bring up another bug report dialog box. I found there are already bug reports on this at Launchpad. I don't know how to do manual bug reports at Launchpad, although I'd like to learn how to contribute there. Running "$ obconf --tab 6" reproduces the segmentation fault bug every time, although "$ obconf --tab 1" works, (with error messages that might not be important because at least some of them are just from bad data in usr/share/*/openbox-3/themerc files.)

(2) Two options from the Shutdown menu, Lock Screen and Suspend, now do something different than they used to: They each log out of Lubuntu, just like the Logout option. Then the Suspend option does suspend, after a second, interrupting the sound of arriving at the log-in screen. Are these options in Lubuntu Shutdown supposed to do this in version 13.10?
Lubuntu is a fast and lightweight operating system developed by a community of Free and Open Source enthusiasts. The core of the system is based on Linux and Ubuntu . Lubuntu uses the minimal desktop LXDE, and a selection of light applications. We focus on speed and energy-efficiency.
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