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Aug 262017
 

No. The title is just click-bait (which won’t accomplish much).

AMD Ryzen was interesting because it restored AMD’s competitiveness as compared to Intel for the non-enthusiast processor for desktops and laptops. Whereas AMD’s Epyc was interesting because it restored AMD’s competitiveness in the data centre. Both are good things because Intel has been rather slow at improving their processor over the last few years – enough that people are taking a serious look at a non-compatible architecture (the ARM which is found in your smartphone) in the data centre.

Threadripper itself is of interest to a relatively small number of people – those after a workstation-class processor to handle highly threaded workloads. A market that was previous catered to by the Xeon processor, so although Threadripper looks expensive, it is in fact pretty cheap in comparison to Xeon processors. So ‘scientific’ workstations should become cheaper.

And the significant advantage they have with I/O (64 PCIe lanes as opposed to a maximum of 44 for the X299 platform would be useful for certain jobs. Such as medium-sized storage servers with lots of NVMe caching, or graphics-heavy display servers (room sized virtual reality?).

But for gamers? Not so much. Almost no games use lots of threads (although it would be useful to change this), so the main use the extra power of Threadripper will only get used by other things that gamers do. Perhaps game streaming and/or using the unused power to run virtualised storage servers.

Aug 192017
 

The simplistic recitation of what happened in Charlottesville last Friday was that a bunch of fascists organised a protest against the removal of a town statue of Robert E Lee and a counter-protest was organised by anti-fascists. The fascists had a perfect right to peacefully protest (although given their ideology, cringing in their basements in shame would be more appropriate), and the counter-protesters were almost inevitably present – arguably with also a right to be there (peacefully).

The protests turned violent, and on Saturday a fascist drove a car into a crowd of counter-protester killing one, and injuring 19.

Who was to blame? Well before I add my opinion to the pile of opinions out there, let’s take a look at some of the others that have come out since the attack :-

  1. Trump initially sought to blame “all sides”, then went back on his word, and then rolled it forward again. Such decisiveness. But blaming “all sides”? So in other words, the victims of terrorism are to blame as well as the terrorists? You could be generous, and assume that he intended to blame all sides for the general violence, but not to call the attack on anti-fascists terrorism was unforgivable.
  2. Early on, some fascists even tried to claim that the terrorist attack was perpetrated by anti-fascists to blacken the name of fascism. Unfortunately I cannot find a source for this, although I recall it being mentioned (perhaps an entry on the Stormfront site which is currently unavailable to unregistered users). This was a fore-runner of the next part of the “blame game”.
  3. “But BLM/Antifa are terrorists too”. Victim-blaming; even if it were true (I’ll come back to that), the only terrorist attack at Charlottesville was perpetrated by a fascist with anti-fascists as the target. Besides which, the majority of the counter protesters were not members of BLM or Antifa; students, church groups, local residents, hell anyone with half a sense of decency could have been there opposing the fascists.
  4. The deceptive use of the “Alt-Left” label. There is no equivalent of the alt-right on the left; the left have a pretty consistent attitude towards racism. Using the “Alt-Left” label implies that the counter-protesters were members of the lunatic fringe of the left. For a start, whatever you think of the old hard-left (communists and the like), they certainly aren’t new or “alt”in any way. And secondly, many of the counter-protesters were certainly not part of the far left; hell there were probably right-wingers as part of the counter-protesters. I’ve got a low opinion of the mainstream right.

Variations on number 3 above has been common enough online that I have seen it multiple times in my Facebook feed (and elsewhere). Let me emphasise something I mentioned earlier – two wrongs don’t make a right, and there was no BLM/Antifa terrorism at Charlottesville.

Now onto my opinion about who was to blame.

As mentioned before, the only terrorist attack at Charlottesville was carried out by a neo-fascist, and the terrorist attack was the only reason why Charlottesville made a big news story. The counter-protesters were not involved in terrorism.

Now onto the violence. Determining blame here is tricky for several reasons :-

  1. You cannot tell from media reports who was to blame for crowd violence; in particular video footage can be very deceptive especially once it is cut to “sex it up” for the news. When some bozo starts windmilling punches at the fascists, how do we know that he wasn’t hit by a stone thrown by the fascists just before? That could easily be not shown on any video footage. When police forces ask for everyone’s mobile phone video and pictures after a terrorist incident they do so for a reason – they want to see things from as many perspectives as possible.
  2. Reacting with violence to extreme provocation is wrong, but those going out of their way to provoke things are not entirely blameless. Having been on anti-fascist protests myself, I can say that fascists can be extremely intimidating and provoking.

Having said that, there is a school of thought that says that giving a fascist a good kicking is a job well done. Having recently seen a film of what racism seems to inevitably lead to, it is hard to condemn such an attitude :-

Watch that film, and dare say that nazis deserve the protection of the law. At the very least, punching a nazi is no crime. (whatever the law may say).

I have previously used the generic term “fascist” to describe the protesters at Charlottesville, but in reality there was an alphabet soup of right-wing extremists – the KKK, white supremists, neo-nazis, and every other bunch of thugs that are collectively known as “alt-right”. Yes, I said thug. If you scratch the surface of any low-level fascist, you will find a young man who is into violence. What passes for their idiotic ideology is little more than an excuse to justify violence against certain groups.

If you look at listed terrorist attacks in the USA by ideology, 15 attacks have been by left-wing extremists since 1901; 51 have been by right-wing extremists (which excludes lynchings which would bring the figure up into thousands). So which group is the most violent?

Aug 132017
 

It wouldn’t surprise me if I have ranted about this before, but I just don’t understand how people decide how some animals are food, and others are “cute” and shouldn’t be harmed. In the later case, there are all sorts of stories on Facebook (and presumably similar places elsewhere) about some sort of animal cruelty to “cute” animals.

Yet most of us ignore the cruelty to food animals, and indeed wild animals. Admittedly most of that cruelty happens behind closed doors with only the occasional peek behind the curtain.

But what really determines whether one species is looked upon as food and another is looked upon as a pet? It cannot be as simple as being cute is the deciding factor, or those of us seen as ugly would also be considered to be a food source.

You could argue that pet animals were formerly work animals of one kind or another, and that certainly applies to dogs and horses, but there are plenty of pet animals it doesn’t apply to – cats (admittedly cats were sometimes tolerated as pest control animals), hamsters, birds, tortoises, reptiles, etc. So that isn’t a good argument.

It is possible to argue that some animals – in particular dogs and horses – have a special place because our partnership with the animal is inherently linked to our survival. But even that doesn’t work – both horses and dogs are eaten all over the world (including Europe).

I have hunted the Internet for possible reasons why we should not eat pets, and whilst there are plenty of pages out there trying to rationalise why we should not, there is nothing that really makes sense. So it might as well be that pets are cute and food animals are not.

Essentially we have a non-rational position on eating pets which is fine. But the rational position is to eat any animal you like the taste of, or to eat none.

Aug 092017
 

It is a bit of an exaggeration to proclaim the death of Youtube, but given the recent changes in how advertising revenue is shared out amongst content creators it is entirely possible. At least in the long term.

For those who have not been made aware, Google has changed how advertising revenue is shared out to content creators, which has resulted in many creators losing incoming; sometimes significant amounts. The intention appears to be to pay advertising revenue to those content creators that advertisers like, which sounds fair enough. But the unintended consequences :-

  1. New content creators will be discouraged because their advertising revenue is likely to be so low as to make it seem impossible to make money with youtube.
  2. Existing content creators who are not ridiculously popular will also be discouraged, and are likely to look for alternatives to youtube that will maintain their income.
  3. Content creators will be encouraged to make middle-of-the-road content that nobody finds offensive, advertisers like, and is popular with the overwhelming majority; in other words just like ordinary TV. Essentially this discourages the kind of content that makes youtube interesting (or at least not as boring as broadcast TV).

Now would be a great time for a competitor to jump in, and encourage content creators to jump ship with a revenue payout mechanism to encourage creative content producers – the small ones and the innovative ones – yes this will mean the larger content creators will lose out, but perhaps they can afford to.

Jul 292017
 

There has been a lot of talk about how the USA pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord is stupid in various forms. Stupid enough that many US cities and states are trying to meet their climate accord obligations independently.

But one thing doesn’t appear to have been mentioned: That the USA made a firm commitment to follow the Paris accords, and then broke that agreement. Which makes the US government oath-breakers – an untrustworthy party when it comes to international agreements.

You can make all sorts of excuses for repudiating the Paris Accord – perhaps it wasn’t in the best interests of the US to take part, or that it was unfair to the US in some way.

But fundamentally, the USA made an agreement and then repudiated it. It is now less trustworthy than it was before.

Jul 132017
 

The BBC is celebrating the decriminalisation of “homosexuality” 50 years after the relevant law was repealed with a series of programmes entitled “Gay Britannia” which is fair enough. It’s certainly worth celebrating.

But there is one strange fact that you will not often hear mentioned: The trailers for Gay Britannia don’t mention it, and you have to look hard at Wikipedia articles to find it. And that is the fact that same-sex relationships between women have never been illegal in the UK.

This is of course a good thing. And neither is it any kind of accusation that lesbian couples had it easy – there would have been plenty of persecutions both large and small.

But it is also worth remembering that it was homosexual men who were executed, imprisoned, and chemically castrated.

In addition there is an interesting point made during the trial of James Pratt and John Smith (the last two men executed for being gay) – that the poor suffered disproportionately because the rich could afford privacy. We don’t tend to think of it today, but in the past it was only the rich who could afford privacy.

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