We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Tuesday, April 7. 2015
The Maggie's Farm Woman of the Decade, Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Grace Murray Hopper, the mother of COBOL
Dear Museums: Stop Making Nonsense - It's time for museums to desist with the silly spectacles and get back to the good work they could be doing in the civic sphere.
Reduce Out-of-Control College Costs by Ending Government Subsidies
Amtrak Bill Continues History of Wasted Subsidies
Libel law and the Rolling Stone / UVA alleged gang rape story
The same circle of jerks outraged by Rolling Stone were perfectly fine pushing a story about a gay-hating pizza restaurant that was as true as the Rolling Stone story.
Where do you draw the line in favor or religious liberty? Do you ever protect it? If so, where?
This is what REAL tolerance looks like!
UN Climate Change Official Says “We Should Make Every Effort” To Depopulate The Planet
Thinking About Iran:
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Women of computing is pretty tiresome PC.
Computing used to be a secretarial type thing, so women got into coding early when it started for automatic machines.
Probably most of the systems programmers supporting various operating systems were female, in the 50s-60s.
They were perfectly competent.
Nevertheless the ones who excelled by obsessing over it were male. Females tend to do STEM jobs grimly. It's not rewarding to them even if they're good at it.
in other words, a girl had a skill that you don't quite understand and a career you're nowhere near, and this whine is your defense.
I started in programming in the early 60's although I did not use COBOL until 1972. Everything back then was machine language or assembler. I remember reading about Ms Hopper in the 60's but it may not have been all that PC back then because atlhough she was called the mother of COBOL it was well known she didn't develop COBOL and in fact if memory served me right that was attributed to 5 men.
Machine language programs tended to somewhere between magic and gobbledygook. Assembler after a few years of programing in raw machine language was like finding the Rosetta Stone. Cobol was tedious (but not as bad as RPG) and yet could be straight forward, read like a book and self documenting. Fortran was like finding your long lost twin, it was elegant, powerful, succinct and seductive. I would write programs in Fortran just for the fun of it to see if I could do something different. C, basic and Pascal were fun and interesting . But for raw power and really geeky stuff machine language is where it's at.
I didn't "like" punching my own cards but generally I did it. When we had key punch staff they required that your input forms be prefect and then they punched exactly what you wrote. This made the front end process take twice as long. However if you punched the cards yourself you only wrote the minimum and the process was faster and in fact it was an opportunity to check your work and find errors. So all in all it was better to punch your own IBM cards than it was to have the keypunch people do it for you.
Learned to program with COBOL, Fortran, and RPGIII all using punch cards. I was once in a hurry to finish a COBOL assignment and thought it would be a good idea to skip sequence marking on the punch card deck. Dropped it - the deck. Thought I'd managed to get it back together but I somehow missed the fact that a READ instruction card had gotten lost. I spent all of one day and a portion of another trying to determine why my program was returning garbage. I finally asked a friend to look at it. Naturally he started at the beginning (where all the EASY stuff is that I was sure I had correct) and nearly instantly was asking where I was reading in the data the program was supposed to process. OOOPS! Just goes to show that NOTHING_IN is as bad as GARBAGE_IN.
When you needed to output something legible to people, COBOL, and even RPGIII, were a whole lot easier to use that FORTRAN, that's fersure.
Re: a "likeable Hillary"... She remains intensely popular among middle aged woman, at least as far as I can tell. They like her. Can fathom why.
So Hillary! is supposed to have hit Bill with a book. Sounds believable. Could be true. May not be. At this time, what difference does it make?
Hill hit Bill with a book after Monica... It's better than a lamp!
Re: will an apology be forthcoming from U. Va. president Teresa Sullivan?
What is it with university administrations and faculty? Do they have so little respect for their male students that they are willing to believe the worst about them with no evidence? Duke and now UVA. I have no doubt that it is much more common than that. It seems like the war on boys that is started in primary school is just continued into college.
You have to laugh when people list Nixon as a conservative president. Some of his bad ideas are thankfully over, like wage and price controls, but others are still with us like Amtrak. It's the gift that keeps on taking. I would do away with all subsidies and this would be a good place to start.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but letting Iran get nuclear weapons is probably considered an effective start on depopulating the planet, even if those facilitating it believe they will be killed last.
Yes, Ayaan Hirsi Ali is woman of the year. Although, she was a bit off with here latest book calling for a Reformation in Islam. The Christian Reformation was necessary to break from "union boss" controlled relationship with God to a personal relationship, but the Reformation did not bring calm. As Daniel Hannan relates in this article, Islam needs an Enlightenment.
What, though, do we mean by “Reformation”? Most people mean that they want a more modern Islam, one which accepts the separation of church and state, the equality of women, the supremacy of Parliament and so on. This, though, is very far from what the Christian Reformation was about. Its architects were not seeking a cuddlier, more ecumenical version of their faith. On the contrary, just like today’s Salafists, they wanted to purge and purify, to go back to an older and more demanding template, one more closely tied to the Scriptures.
Instead of a Reformation, we might do better speak of an Enlightenment. The reconciliation of Christianity with secularism and pluralism owes less to Luther and Calvin than to Milton and Locke. The West, over the centuries, became less cruel, more intolerant of torture and violence, readier to see other points of view, keener on individual rights and on democracy – and, as it did so, certain religious strictures dating from the Iron Age fell naturally into desuetude.
And in reality, many of the Muslim faith do seem to be striving toward an Enlightenment of their faith, although they don't get much press and risk being slaughtered if they do draw attention.
"The Christian Reformation was necessary to break from 'union boss' controlled relationship with God to a personal relationship..."
Spoken like a Protestant!
However, you are right in the sense that religious "reformation" is not what people today seem to think it is. The Reformation was about "re-forming" Christianity and not reforming it into something fluffier, more liberal and easy-going. Whatever else Luther, Calvin and Knox might have been, they were not modern liberal "progressives".
I've said it here before: what if Wahhabism - and by extension the Islamic State - is actually the Muslim Reformation?
this is a tricky narrative. Who am I supposed to hate more? the Rolling Stone? the fratboi dude-bros? the UVA? the Jackie? who is the least hateable hero?
This is a horrible analogy.
"The reconciliation of Christianity with secularism ...The West, over the centuries, became less cruel ... keener on individual rights ..."
about 60,000,000 babies aborted in the USA since Roe v Wade. let's ask those murdered babies how that "keener on individual rights" thing is going.
jihad beheadings are more dramatic than any ol' abortion and fit the 24 hr news cycle much better. we've got a Narrative to sell.
So I take it you think it is a bad thing that Christians don't kill women who have abortions, abortion doctors, etc?
And living under psycho religious nuts, who murder anyone who doesn't follow their idea of faith is better how?
One can only answer for their own actions when they stand before God.
what a gross misrepresentation of my statement. is that common here?
I'm here to sing my favorite reminder again: the outcomes-measuring for parental time does not address the genetic contribution of parents to children. Without that, there is simply no conclusion that can be drawn from the data.
I used to say it kiddingly when people complimented my children and their upbringing, bujt it turns out to be true:"Have nice children who make you look good."
Back in the day, was sitting at the kitchen table listening to Peter Gzowski heartily agree with his guest that it was "quality" time not "quantity" time that mattered with children. As it happened, I was wrestling with the year-end books of the community association (this was pre-computer) and youngest offspring was having a great time at the other end of the table playing with her toast and honey. Forget "quality time", said offspring didn't want me to take any notice of her antics.
I came to several conclusions that day, one of which is that children need both quality and quantity time. The second was that - often - quality time results from there being enouqh quantity time that the opportune moments for that quality time are recognized. Certainly youngest offspring did NOT want Mum's attention, let alone some "quality" time that morning at the table. But I was close enough, and sufficiently attentive, to provide said "quality" time when required.
The third conclusion I came to was that "quality" time wasn't always positive or fun time. Some of the strongest "quality" time is not fun for either parent or child, but it is a necessary part of turning a child into an adult capable of being and willing to be a contributer to his or her world. That day, "quality" time meant downing tools and insisting the offspring clean up her mess.