Future Building Technology

This video pinpoints my worries about AI

Watched I tried using AI. It scared me. from YouTube

I just wanted to fix my email.

I am of the Napster generation and it is alarming to consider Chat-GPT could compare with that point of cultural change. The accelerating rate of change for everything is already exhausting. I don’t want to have to worry about whether people think AI generated text and designs are “good enough.”

But, this is how craftsmanship and skills die: a new technology comes along that gives good enough results, and not enough demand is left to sustain an industry of expertise.

Society Work

Who is high income anyway?

Replied to Who Is High Income, Anyway? Social Comparison, Subjective Group Identification, and Preferences over Progressive Taxation by Asli Cansunar (

Why are high-income and low-income earners not significantly polarized in their support for progressive income taxation? This article posits that the affluent fail to recognize that they belong to the high-income income group and this misperception affects their preferences over progressive taxation.

International Social Survey Programmes Social Inequality survey of 2009 reveals that almost 60% of American respondents with yearly household incomes higher than $110,000 support progressive taxation, whereas 63% of American respondents with annual incomes lower than $25,000 support progressivity.

One possible explanation is that people care about things other than material self-interest. Several inuential contri­butions to the comparative politics literature have taken up the challenge of amending the utility function of the canonical model of redistribution. In particular, they incorporate an­other source of utility other than posttax and transfer income in the individuals utility function. These studies posit that peoples decisions, along with material self-interest, are af­fected by altruism (Dimick, Rueda, and Stegmueller 2016), religion (Stegmueller 2013), beliefs about what is fair (Alesina and Angeletos 2005), group loyalty (Shayo 2009), and distaste for inequality (Lü and Scheve 2016).

I would like to go with the “we’re not all self-serving dicks” theories.

Why do a signicant share of high-income respondents underestimate their rank? Why do the afuent think they belong to the middle class?

You have to adjust self-perceptions based on cost of living — my house may be worth a ridiculous amount on paper, but let me tell you, it is a piece of shit where they cut every corner they could. I am not exactly living like a queen, with my crumbling grout 1988-forest-green-tiled bathroom and honey-oak-veneer-cabinet kitchen with a coil stove and twenty year old fridge. Yes, I am rich in the global perspective, and even in the American perspective, but I still think of myself as middle class. Couldn’t I afford to remodel my kitchen if I was actually rich? (I suspect no one else middle class can either, they’re just willing to take out loans that I’m not.) But, I know I am better off than many, and want to pay my fair share.

But more to the point, I think she’s disregarding that class is not solely determined by income. Anyone who is a worker, not an owner or manager, is not truly upper class. Class is about control and influence as much as wealth. This is why well-off people may still think of themselves as middle class: the social connotations.

Featured Science Society Technology

When “ambiguity is a feature, not a bug”

Replied to Pluralistic: Netflix wants to chop down your family tree (02 Feb 2023) by Cory DoctorowCory Doctorow (

Suddenly, it was “computer says no” everywhere you turned, unless everything matched perfectly. There was a global rush for legal name-changes after 9/11 – not because people changed their names, but because people needed to perform the bureaucratic ritual necessary to have the name they’d used all along be recognized in these new, brittle, ambiguity-incinerating machines.

Digital precision

We encounter this problem often in the digital world in things like content-limited text fields and binary choices on a form (or limited options that drive us always to “other”).

The digital world demands exactitude in a way analog doesn’t. I recall my dad, a TV station electrician, explaining the difference between analog and digital signal to me as a kid; I couldn’t understand why the squared shape of digital signal — either you get it or you don’t — would win out over more flexible analog signal, which has some allowance to receive lower quality signal rather than none.

Too, this inherent precision of digital information influences the way we think about data. We interpret numbers to be more meaningful than they are:

Excel-calculated results down to four decimals falsely imply confidence unsupported by the input data.

Recipes call for a specific baking time, when everyone’s oven is a little bit different, and environmental conditions affect baking time by impacting the moisture content of the ingredients.

Ad metrics and pageview data and likes that don’t translate truly to reach or brand recognition or conversions. (Like Internet celebs with millions of followers getting book deals that don’t translate to sales.)

Business Technology Work

They don’t only take our labor.

Replied to This is a rant about beds at work by Meg Conley (homeculture by Meg Conley)

Last week, Twitter installed bedrooms for employees. They’re expected to be “hardcore” and being hardcore means working too late to go home. And then waking up and working some more. The rooms look like an answer to the alternative history question, “What if IKEA showrooms existed behind a 2022 Iron Curtain?” But they’re really just a reaction to the relative freedom of remote work and an empowered labor force. It’s just another lever to pull when seeking maximum extraction for maximum profit.

They steal our lives too.

My husband works in tech and in 2019 spent two months basically living in the office for a product launch. He’d already been working 60-80 hour weeks remotely, but then he had to add a commute — the opposite direction from my work. We only have one car so often I’d have to walk home — only 45 minutes but sometimes you’re wiped at the end of the day and just want to fucking sit down, not climb a giant hill.

But suddenly making his partner responsible for *everything* to keep our household going was a cost his work could extract from my body, though I wasn’t the one working for them.

His boss said he’d pay for us to go out to dinner when it was done. As if one meal makes up for months of missed dinners. There’s a photo of me with the fancy drink I got — I look exhausted, can barely smile. My husband was so wiped he forgot to expense it. And we don’t even have kids.

I have multiple friends who have nearly been driven to quit by the tech sector’s on-call schedule.

Because it’s a good-paying job, it’s hard to complain about the expectation to work long hours, knowing how many others have it so much worse. But even though we’re not in Silicon Valley, Seattle has a price bubble of its own. With shitty ramblers from the seventies starting at a million bucks, even tech workers can’t afford a home now without two salaries.

I wish white collar workers could recognize that while they’re rich compared to the poor, they’re not rich compared to the *rich*. If you have to work, you’re not really rich. Workers of all classes could build some solidarity together. There’s a lot of manipulative class warfare turning people who should be allies against each other, when workers are not the root of the exploitation problem: owners are.


Knife sharpening video

Bookmarked Knife Sharpening (

In this class, you’ll find all the information you need to learn to hone and sharpen like a pro. Which pro? How about blade sage Daniel O’Malley, owner of the epic knife emporium the Epicurean Edge in Kirkland, Washington, and a foremost expert on selecting and maintaining the world’s best chopping-and-slicing tools. Through video demos and clever tips and tricks, O’Malley walks us through the theory and technique of sharpening knives using Japanese waterstones—the badass little blocks that master bladesmiths have used for hundreds of years.

Political Commentary Society

Child Labor is Alive in America

Bookmarked Get to Work, Children by Meg Meg (homeculture by Meg Conley)

Only poor kids have to work to have fun.

My daughter has the opportunity to go on a school trip abroad next year. I am sure it will be expensive. I don’t know how her school addresses the fact that access will be severely limited by cost. Maybe they have a good solution! But here’s how it usually goes,

“We know this opportunity is an extra expense. We encourage the kids to find opportunities to earn money to contribute to the cost of their trip.”

Find opportunities to earn opportunity! Just so American, right? Childhood enrichment is sold as some bootstrapping moment of working enlightenment for the kids. They can EARN this trip! It’s a LEARNING opportunity. But that line isn’t included for ALL the kids. It’s just there to make people feel better about the kids who can’t participate.

“Well, we told kids to work for the money. If they couldn’t figure it out it’s not because we failed. They just didn’t want it enough.”