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HVAC rocket surgery Mon, Dec 31, 2018
I was complaining to my wife about how un-temperate our building was at work.  My go-to argument for everything is "It's not rocket science.  I do rocket science.  And this isn't that."  But her counter-argument was that HVAC is apparently more complicated and more difficult that rocket science and brain surgery.  We routinely launch rockets into space.  We routinely perform brain surgery.  But when was the last time you felt comfortable in an office building? #science

Football field death Fri, Dec 28, 2018
This is macabre, but I think we'll eventually and unfortunately witness the death of a football player during a live game.  Players of all ages die on a fairly regular basis, usually after a hit to the head or crank of the neck, often related to a pre-existing condition like a blood clot or congenital issue.  And of course many players sustain gruesome and often life-altering injuries like broken legs and backs.  I think it's only a matter of time until we witness an actual death on the field.  Nearly every time a player's helmet comes off, I half expect to see their head still in it. #sports

Non-value added Wed, Dec 19, 2018
Related to support staff, I'd like to take a moment to talk about systems engineers.  These are the people who generally keep track of things in a project and have a decent understanding of the technical specifics.  At my job, every project apparently needs a systems engineer, and systems engineers are like rabbits in that they tend to multiply.  You start off with one, but before you know it, you have a whole team of them. 

My firm opinion on systems engineering is that it's thoroughly and completely non-value added.  I've worked with systems engineers many times, and the most common sentence I tend to utter is, "You want me to do whatWhy?"  On the one hand, it's good to have a person to keep track of things.  But on the other hand, we all already do that ourselves, and generally the project manager does it as well.  Systems engineering is just this unnecessary add-on that requires additional time and energy and provides no realizable benefit to anyone.  I've never been a part of a systems engineering thing and thought afterwards, "Wow, that was totally worth it." 

Systems engineers seem to really enjoy interacting with other systems engineers, and they tend to talk to each other in big words and meaningless acronyms while filling out useless spreadsheets that no one looks at.  At the end of the day, they produce nothing.  Their work makes no money, provides no value.  We should banish these foul people to the far reaches of the earth. #business

Support staff Wed, Dec 19, 2018
Workers can be broadly divided into two groups:  (1) the do-ers and makers who directly create or produce the thing that makes money, and (2) the support staff who makes sure everything runs smoothly.  One isn't better than the other; without one, there wouldn't be an other.  An engineer might design the thing, but it requires a machinist to make the thing, and an electrician and plumber to make sure the thing can get made, and a custodian to make sure the facility is kept clean. 

I'm in the former group, and I'm a little egotistical about it.  I don't rub it in people's faces, but I win a lot of arguments in my head.  One group of support staff that always bothers me is the computer and networking people.  Their job is to make my computer run smoothly and make sure I can access the information I need.  But when there's this strict, authoritarian stranglehold on the use of USB devices, unapproved software, and internet use (one time they blocked Wikipedia and I legitimately needed it), it feels like the groups are switched.  This sounds pompous, but I'm literally the person in this conversation who does the work that earns our organization money.  Computer people are not. #business

Solvable problems (3) Wed, Dec 19, 2018
I keep running into these issues where some minuscule problem gets in the way of something, and all progress stops and everyone gives up.  I tried to plug my computer into a different division's network at work, and I wasn't allowed.  I needed to plug in to do my job, and this roadblock prevented me from working.  This is a solvable problem.  I didn't need a new computer; I didn't need someone to run wiring to a new location; I didn't need someone to invent the concept of computer networking to allow me to accomplish my task.  I just needed someone to modify their network security to allow me to plug in.  Obviously this didn't happen because I work for a bloated, bureaucratic behemoth.  So instead of doing work, I just didn't do work.  That's fine.  But this could've been easily prevented if people could comprehend the scale of the problems they routinely encounter, and simply realize that many of them are inherently and readily solvable. #technology

Reaction videos Tue, Dec 18, 2018
I think I could happily go the rest of my life without seeing another reaction video.  I keep finding them accidentally when I search for some band playing a song or some comedian telling a joke.  The video title or description matches what I'm looking for, but I keep missing the "reaction" part.  These videos consistently have hundreds of thousands of views, and I can't for the life of me figure out why any human being would want to see some random asshole's reaction to some band playing a song or some comedian telling a joke. #entertainment

Football facemasks Tue, Dec 11, 2018
I don't think I've ever seen an intentional facemask penalty in football, at any age, for any reason whatsoever.  Refs call the penalty and everyone acts like it's this big deal -- "Oh how could he do that?  He really cost his team."  Nobody grabs a facemask on purpose.  It's not a good way to make a tackle, and it's likely to break your fingers.  It's just completely nonsensical. 

I think we should simply move to either a solid plexiglass-type of facemask in place of the metal grill, or an entirely new helmet that covers the entire face with some sort of clear plastic.  For anyone who argues that the grill needs to be metal to withstand helmet-to-helmet contact -- what about the entire rest of the helmet that's already plastic?  Modern materials can take incredible punishment; the metal parts are essentially an anachronism at this point.  Plus with a full face covering, you could avoid eye pokes, and also players getting bits of turf in their eyes.  There's definitely an issue of fogging and whatnot, but I feel like that's a solvable problem. #sports

On Jordan Peterson Mon, Dec 10, 2018
I started reading Jordan Peterson's book about 12 rules.  No, this isn't a review of that book.  I read about a chapter and a half, then gave up.  I just couldn't do it.  Parts of it were interesting.  He's similar to Malcolm Gladwell in that he'll tell a completely unrelated story and then suddenly and convincingly explain why it's related to the real point he was trying to make.  I actually like that. 

I've been having a hard time trying to figure out why I didn't like his book, and I think it's as simple as:  the dude talks too much.  Too many words, not enough content.  And that's how I've felt every time I've seen one of his videos or read one of his posts.  What are you saying, and why is it taking so long for you to say it?  But I think that's sort of his appeal.  He tends to almost say things that are somewhat controversial, and then when questioned about them, says, "That's not what I said; you said that."  I feel like he could stand to be a bit more efficient with his language. 

Also he seemed to make a few unsubstantiated claims in the book that were stated almost in passing.  I've read a lot of nonfiction, and much of it is written in a sort of persuasive/explanatory manner, i.e. "This was observed; after it was tested and analyzed, it led to this next thing."  Peterson seems to use a bit of argument from authority, and honestly I'm not sure what he's an authority on (also argument from authority isn't a good way to state your case). 

But then there's the whole other issue of the kinds of people who tend to be attracted to what he says.  He's not alt-right, but he appeals to people who are.  And it's hard to pinpoint exactly how, because of all his evasive language.  But there's just something about it that I find disagreeable and frankly annoying.  This reddit comment sums it up:  "Peterson's got a great gig: pleasing conservatives without ever admitting to supporting them by twisting like an eel rhetorically."  That's exactly it. #entertainment

Gronk and Watt Mon, Dec 10, 2018
People like Rob Gronkowski and JJ Watt shouldn't exist, and I think that's why they're always injured and wear so many arm and leg braces.  Human beings shouldn't have that combination of size, strength, speed, and talent.  It's just not right. #sports

Commercial exemption Mon, Dec 10, 2018
I feel that I should be exempt from hearing and seeing commercials for things that (a) aren't available in my area, and (b) I already own.  I routinely see TV commercials for cable companies, internet service providers, and natural gas companies that I literally cannot be a customer of because they don't operate in my area.  Also, I'm already a customer of several companies that offer cell phone service, satellite TV, and make cars.  I'd like to opt out of these ads please, thanks. #business