Efforts to understand, improve, or do less harm to the world around me.


Monday, April 28, 2014

The new lynch mob

This is a terrific example of how a court of law and lawyers is a imperfect but obviously better way to find justice when -- not surprisingly -- social media just can't.  Something to keep in mind if someone ever goes after you in this format.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

PowerPoint 2010 trick: large "hook" arrow

I spent SO much time trying to get very long, very thin arrows in PowerPoint to look the way I wanted (more like Visio) and finally found out the gimmick: giving the program real things to connect to.

This may be obvious to everyone else but it took me quite a while to come up with.

Edit: Left off the link, updated.

PowerPoint 2010 trick: file comparison

I know I haven't done anything like this before, but I came up with a quick PowerPoint trick on how to do a comparison between PowerPoint files when PowerPoint's own compare function won't work.  Hopefully someone will benefit from this.

EDIT: Sorry, I thought the file linked.  Updated.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

US approaching or already an Oligarchy

After the Citizens United decision followed by the next campaign finance decision, I had started to give up on the idea that the US was a democracy anymore.  The ability to make unlimited campaign contributions effectively dries up any notion of grass roots efforts.  200 people with various agendas giving you $20 is nonsense compared to one person (and one agenda) giving you $100,000.  I just can't see a way around that reality.

Anyway, a depressing study seems to add to this:

The clear finding is that the U.S. is an oligarchy, no democratic country, at all. American democracy is a sham, no matter how much it's pumped by the oligarchs who run the country (and who control the nation's "news" media). The U.S., in other words, is basically similar to Russia or most other dubious "electoral" "democratic" countries. We weren't formerly, but we clearly are now. Today, after this exhaustive analysis of the data, "the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy." (source)

Slashdot article on this.  What's an Oligarchy?