Fox News Logo

My suggestion for improvements to the Fox News Network. A more reliable Fox News logo is in order:

Fox News Logo

propaganda – information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view.

Comma Separated List of Array – Good idea for Ruby on Rails?

I feel like there should be a rails function for doing a comma separated list from an array. Here’s how to do it explicitly:

<% search_tags.each_with_index do |tag, index| %>
  <% if index < search_tags.size - 1 %>
    <%= "#{tag}, " %>
  <% else %>
    <%= "#{tag}" %>
  <% end %>
<% end %>

…maybe `render_comma_separated_list(array)` or something.

An example array would like this = [“one”, “two”, “three”]

render_comma_separated_list(array)

=> one, two, three

Does something like this exist already?

Is this worth the effort of making a PR to Ruby on Rails?

Yuba River Scuttle – Emerald Pools to Washington City, CA

There is an adventure that I had been thinking of doing for a long time, but had never actually done.

I call this adventure the Yuba River Scuttle.

It goes from the Emerald Pools in Northern California to a little town called Washington City, CA. I’m not aware of anyone who has done this. Before we did it, I had never heard of anyone else doing it.

What is a River Scuttle

Nevada County, California, USA: Yuba River
Yuba River – Taken in 2011

A river scuttle is a journey in which you carry nothing but a waterproof bag. The scuttler carries that bag on their arm or shoulder. They use it as a floating device when swimming through challenging spots.

The idea is that you are 100% prepared to be aquatic. You are carrying everything you need to camp for a day or two in a waterproof bag. I’m guessing that it’s an 11 mile trip based on the calculation below.

Emerald Pools to Washington City, California
My rough estimate is 10.95 miles worth of river scuttling. The start is on the right. The end where the red marker is.

Waterproof bags will need to have space for warm cloths, a hammock, some food and a bit of water. I’m guessing this is a 2 day trip.

River Scuttle Statistics

  • Start altitude of 4,500 feet at the Emerald Pools
  • End altitude of 2,589 feet in Washington City, CA
  • Altitude change of 1,911 feet
  • Descent rate of 174 feet per mile

The elevation drop is about the same as the height of the second tallest building in the world.

We are started on Saturday afternoon at 5:00 p.m.

More River Scuttle Maps

The above map is a line drawn using an elevation mapping tool. The bar chart below represents the elevation change related to the image above marked with the red line.

North Fork of Yuba River Large Sized Topography Map

Notes on the Adventure

The Yuba River Scuttle is challenging.

Everyone in our group was enthusiastically athletic. Despite that, we were all exhausted by the end of the adventure. Our feet were sore, the bags became heavier, and the river started feeling colder. People started making mistakes that led to uncontrolled slides. It was getting dangerous.

River scuttling is extremely slow. I’d guess we cover between .15 and .25 miles an hour. Swimming is slow. Rock climbing is slower. My estimate of eleven miles in 2 days was misguided at best.

Yuba river scuttling is also uncomfortably cold. In August, when the river is at it’s lowest and the day is at it’s hottest, the cold water takes the scuttler’s breath away.

There is a road that runs along the river for the last 4-5 miles. If it weren’t for that road, we would have had to camp another night on the river.
Camping on the river is very cold. The hammocks are not great for keeping a person warm. V said something of note, “I’m never sleeping in a hammock again.”

The river is stunningly beautiful. Over and over the beauty of the river astonished us. Towards the end, I would come upon another beautiful waterfall and think to myself, ‘Ugh, do we have to swim it?’

The journey was a constant process of problem-solving. There is a new beautiful waterfall cavern. How are we getting around it? Phew, I don’t want to swim in the shadows. Can we make the climb to get around it? That kind of thing was the name of the game.

It was genuinely fun. It was awful challenging. It was legitimately dangerous. If I were to do it again, I would give myself 3-4 days.

On Benefits – Letter 1

By Lucius Annaeus Seneca

I’m thinking of reading each of these letters and putting them out as a podcast. If you’d like me to continue, please let me know in the comments section.

Source – Gutenberg.org

Letter 1

Among the numerous faults of those who pass their lives recklessly and without due reflexion, my good friend Liberalis, I should say that there is hardly any one so hurtful to society as this, that we neither know how to bestow or how to receive a benefit.

It follows from this that benefits are badly invested, and become bad debts: in these cases it is too late to complain of their not being returned, for they were thrown away when we bestowed them. Nor need we wonder that while the greatest vices are common, none is more common than ingratitude: for this I see is brought about by various causes.

The first of these is, that we do not choose worthy persons upon whom to bestow our bounty, but although when we are about to lend money we first make a careful enquiry into the means and habits of life of our debtor, and avoid sowing seed in a worn-out or unfruitful soil, yet without any discrimination we scatter our benefits at random rather than bestow them.

It is hard to say whether it is more dishonorable for the receiver to disown a benefit, or for the giver to demand a return of it: for a benefit is a loan, the repayment of which depends merely upon the good feeling of the debtor. To misuse a benefit like a spendthrift is most shameful, because we do not need our wealth but only our intention to set us free from the obligation of it; for a benefit is repaid by being acknowledged.

Yet while they are to blame who do not even show so much gratitude as to acknowledge their debt, we ourselves are to blame no less. We find many men ungrateful, yet we make more men so, because at one time we harshly and reproachfully demand some return for our bounty, at another we are fickle and regret what we have given, at another we are peevish and apt to find fault with trifles.

By acting thus we destroy all sense of gratitude, not only after we have given anything, but while we are in the act of giving it. Who has ever thought it enough to be asked for anything in an off-hand manner, or to be asked only once?

Who, when he suspected that he was going to be asked for any thing, has not frowned, turned away his face, pretended to be busy, or purposely talked without ceasing, in order not to give his suitor a chance of preferring his request, and avoided by various tricks having to help his friend in his pressing need? and when driven into a corner, has not either put the matter off, that is, given a cowardly refusal, or promised his help ungraciously, with a wry face, and with unkind words, of which he seemed to grudge the utterance. Yet no one is glad to owe what he has not so much received from his benefactor, as wrung out of him.

Who can be grateful for what has been disdainfully flung to him, or angrily cast at him, or been given him out of weariness, to avoid further trouble? No one need expect any return from those whom he has tired out with delays, or sickened with expectation.

A benefit is received in the same temper in which it is given, and ought not, therefore, to be given carelessly, for a man thanks himself for that which he receives without the knowledge of the giver.

Neither ought we to give after long delay, because in all good offices the will of the giver counts for much, and he who gives tardily must long have been unwilling to give at all. Nor, assuredly, ought we to give in offensive manner, because human nature is so constituted that insults sink deeper than kindnesses; the remembrance of the latter soon passes away, while that of the former is treasured in the memory; so what can a man expect who insults while he obliges? All the gratitude which he deserves is to be forgiven for helping us.

On the other hand, the number of the ungrateful ought not to deter us from earning men’s gratitude; for, in the first place, their number is increased by our own acts. Secondly, the sacrilege and indifference to religion of some men does not prevent even the immortal gods from continuing to shower their benefits upon us: for they act according to their divine nature and help all alike, among them even those who so ill appreciate their bounty.

Let us take them for our guides as far as the weakness of our mortal nature permits; let us bestow benefits, not put them out at interest. The man who while he gives thinks of what he will get in return, deserves to be deceived.

But what if the benefit turns out ill? Why, our wives and our children often disappoint our hopes, yet we marry—and bring up children, and are so obstinate in the face of experience that we fight after we have been beaten, and put to sea after we have been shipwrecked. How much more constancy ought we to show in bestowing benefits! If a man does not bestow benefits because he has not received any, he must have bestowed them in order to receive them in return, and he justifies ingratitude, whose disgrace lies in not returning benefits when able to do so.

How many are there who are unworthy of the light of day? and nevertheless the sun rises. How many complain because they have been born? yet Nature is ever renewing our race, and even suffers men to live who wish that they had never lived.

It is the property of a great and good mind to covet, not the fruit of good deeds, but good deeds themselves, and to seek for a good man even after having met with bad men. If there were no rogues, what glory would there be in doing good to many? As it is, virtue consists in bestowing benefits for which we are not certain of meeting with any return, but whose fruit is at once enjoyed by noble minds.

So little influence ought this to have in restraining us from doing good actions, that even though I were denied the hope of meeting with a grateful man, yet the fear of not having my benefits returned would not prevent my bestowing them, because he who does not give, forestalls the vice of him who is ungrateful. I will explain what I mean.

He who does not repay a benefit, sins more, but he who does not bestow one, sins earlier.

Needed: Three (+) Way Audio Recording Software

We are looking for a three-way (or four-way/five-way/etc…) audio recording software which provides individual tracks for each person on the recording.

Splitting all the tracks is empowering for podcast editors, but I won’t get into why in this article.

Today we ran a test with this other companies software and the results of our three person recording was as follows:

This doesn’t solve the split track recording because all three voices are on the same track. Also, the track is stereo for reasons I don’t understand. Why not just make it mono when both sides of the track are the same?

I used Audacity to generate an example of what we are looking for:

This assumes that we aren’t interrupting/ speaking over each other. If we were speaking over each-other, the wave lengths (bumpy blue lines) would be on the same vertical.

That’s the problem folks! Anyone know software that solves it?

How to Create a Website with HTML, CSS and JavaScript

When I was learning to code, I often struggled with fundamentals like connecting the index html file to the JavaScript and CSS files that went with it. I made the following tutorial to help beginners write quick applications.

Potentially helpful things a young coder will learn in this tutorial:

  • How to use the terminal to:
    • Create new files
    • Move and rename files
    • Create new directories
    • Navigate folders and files using the terminal
  •  Create a new HTML5 document and format it correctly
  • Link CSS files to compliment the HTML5 document
  • Link JavaScript files to create functionality for the HTML5 document
  • Use Google Chrome’s developer tools to test functionality

Open Source – Just get the Code

If you’re planning on building a really simple website and you don’t feel the need to retype everything in this tutorial, you can copy the code from the following open-source repository:

A Blank Website with JavaScript, CSS and HTML Functioning.

Thank you for watching. Please let me know if you found this useful, or if there is something you would like to add.

Keynesian economic thinking versus classical economic thinking (Peter Thiel vs. Lawrence Summers)

Keynesian economic thinking versus classical economic thinking. Another dig at Lawrence Summers.

I’m of the same opinion as Thiel in this. In order to supply economic growth in the US, we need to make it easier for people to create.

We have a problem because so much of the supply side is throttled by regulations. Starting a business is hard in the USA. Business owners pay self employment taxes and are forced to create compensation packages that match government legal requirements (minimum wage, health care, w-2 type tax obligations). Most US citizens spend their entire lives here so the administration cost is considered healthy behavior. This administration cost is not healthy.

My European friends are generally surprised with the complexity of the process we go through to do our federal income taxes. But the Europeans are more likely to have complex state run demands on their time than other parts of the world. When I compare my business processes in the USA to those of friends in Asia, Central or South America, it’s clear that we have a great weight on our shoulders when we build US based businesses. The administration costs are only the first step on a stairwell of unfriendly business behaviors.

To start a hair cutting business, one must go into debt to attend state mandated schools.

To start a campground the entrepreneur has to spend thousands developing plans for city, county and state organizations.

So doing things in the physical world today, is more expensive than doing things in the digital world. Perhaps that is why we see so much economic development on the internet these days, and less on the street.