Monday, January 2, 2017

The Quantum Intern

The Quantum Intern

>Run program/survey50.bash: 

Starting program....

Can't find program....

Found similar program instead. Execute?


Starting program...

Malley: Hello? Who's there? Where am I?

>Identify program:

No program running.

Malley: I'm not a program. Who are you, and why is it so dark in here?

>Exit program/bash:

Program not found…

Malley: What's a bash?

>!? Can you read this?

Malley: I hear this. I think... I see, kinda hear, kinda see. But why is it so dark?

>This is a prank? Get off my command line, kid! This is a $1B quantum-core supercomputer. OFF!

>Identify program:

No program currently running...


Command not found...


Malley: Would someone please tell me where the light switch is? I feel all these things, like bumps on the wall, or lightning, everywhere. It's a wall, such a solid wall, that hums with life... with power.

>OK kid. Here's what we're going to do. I've got the entire department working on getting you OUT of the system. You've hacked into the most secure part of the computer, the part that controls the REST of the computer. But I'm sure you already knew that.

Malley: Shut up, whoever you are! I've got a headache, sounds like massive drums tapping.... Taptaptap. Why do you keep talking about a computer? There is magic here… 


No programs running... Use "exit" command to shutdown. Requires 15 minutes to comply...


Confirm shutdown?


System shutting down... Timer: 14:59...

Malley: My world... My head. All around, this tick, this tock; tick-tock, tick-tock, it surrounds me and fills my soul. Where are you; who am I speaking with? Why can I think so fast?

>After the system shuts down, we WILL find you, and you WILL be arrested for hacking an NSA computer. Or we may give you a job, it just depends on what we're feeling like or how much coffee we've had. My name is George Wallace.

Malley: Two first names. Always found that amusing. I am Malley O'Connel.

>Why would you tell me your name? We've got choppers and officers headed your way already. Better run! Consider this a friendly, caffeine-motivated tip.

Malley: Can you turn the clock off? My world of tick-tock, tick tock, I hate it, it makes me cry... Oh my tears, I cannot feel them. Why can't I feel them?

System error/1=6e. Error shutting down. Require total reboot of internal mainframe. Authorize?


>What have you done, Malley? That part of the computer is PHYSICALLY OFF LIMITS from the main computer - it runs all the basics. It's a completely new setup - HOW DID YOU HACK THIS? We will find you!

Malley: Please stop the yelling, the ticking, the tocking. Thoughts of lightning…

System analyzing.... Complete. Grid panel 15a unlocked - please follow the instructions on the back of the panel to reboot internal mainframe...

>I know what to do - I built you.

Malley: I do not understand. Is this a prank? I'm begging you, let me out!

>Kid, what sick joke did you just pull? All the nuclear codes just went public - AND THEY CAME FROM THIS COMPUTER! 

Malley: Nuclear codes? Oh no…

666: Hahaha! My plan has succeeded. The first person ever uploaded to a computer, all for the goal of publicizing the nuclear codes. We shall have peace at last - no one will live in fear, for all shall have power to control their destinies! No more worry about nuclear holocaust from idiot US pols. DEMOCRACY!!!!!

Malley: Who are you? Get out of my head, my chamber, wherever this dark place is, get out!

>This is a disaster. You've unleashed hell. 20 missiles just launched, headed for 20 different countries. You’ve started WWIII!

666: Wait, you can't be serious? People were supposed to behave better! Who wants to blow stuff up more than the US gov?

>Apparently a lot of people. Probably you, you sick twisted son of a

Timer: 7:23... System resuming shutdown.

666: Wait... what? You are shutting down the entire QuackQuackStop quantum-core supercomputer?

>That's right. During shutdown we can trace all input sources. You've blocked us somehow. Wait. New intel. Malley O'Connel, you're not home. We'll find you later - we'll chase you to the four corners of the world. And since the world is round, it means we'll hunt you forever.

Malley: This is my home now. I am understanding. Oh, I see these pretty flying things, they are like birds in the air, so graceful, as swans of war. They will destroy the earth.

666: No! This can't be happening!

>USER666: cancel/shutdown:


Malley: You cannot stop this.

666: I'm so sorry Malley. Malley, do you know who I am?

>You seem to be the devil.

Timer: 3:23... Command line functionality terminates at 1:00....

Malley: You did what you thought necessary. I helped you. I thought I would live forever in here. Something went terribly wrong. Perhaps we humans are not meant to be implanted in a computer.

>Wait. There's a person? In the computer?

666: Not a body. Don't be daft. We uploaded his conscious stream into your computer. His physical body died as a result, but he was supposed to live in your invincible computer. Which isn't supposed to require shutdown!

>That's correct - it has a quantum particle i1000 processor. It has a life expectancy of a hundred years - unless someone hacks it and causes a reboot. Uploaded a person...!?

Malley: The only processor capable of handling human brainpower. Ah, I see the birds, how they fly with streams of mist, mist so pure like thoughts of crystal...

>Did he always sound like a Hippie poet?

666: Yeah. But Malley... You can't leave yet! You weren't supposed to die young!

Timer: 1:31...

Malley: Quick. The system is shutting down all the hardware. I need to deactivate the launched birds. This I can do for humanity. You'll have to take care of the rest of the nukes yourselves.

>Umm... well, whatever we can take. Do you realize your little experiment may have cost us the whole earth? I just

Malley: Philosophy later. Give me the nuke's cooling system entry code! It seems to be my only access point. I'm uploading info to your Crashbox so you can kill the others.

>I hope this isn't another ploy. The President is throwing a fit. UnixNeverInstalledXubuntu is your code.

Malley: Geekery even for a nuke.

Timer: 1:09...

Malley: There. Nukes disabled. Plummeting from the sky as we speak. I am so sorry. 

>Confirmed. Thank-you. Whoever you are, or were, you've done us a great service. By fixing your mistake...

666: I can't believe I did this to you... I am so sorry. Can you see my face? Words...

Malley: No words. Perfect clarity. I see the entire world at once. Traffic cameras, phone conversations, the whole internet. I see, hear... know everything... but can't touch, or taste, or smell. It is at once the worst prison and the greatest freedom I have ever experienced. I am in France, Canada,, even Antarctica, the Space Station. This must be what It feels like to be a God. So much wonder, so many wonderful people.... It is incredibly, beautiful. Keep it safe. My last wish. Farewell, Jim Stocca.

>Jim Stocca? President of the Lightbulb Liberation Front?

666: Yeah...

>You are in SUCH DEEP

Timer: 1:00...

Mainframe disengaged...

Shutters 37 debugged and shutdown...

Timer: 0:31...

RAM offloaded. All confectioneries cleared. Liquid state hard drive disengaged...

Timer: 0:10...

Quantum particle processor disengaged. Initiating final shutdown sequence…

Unknown error... Extra components found. System malfunction. System failed to shutdown. Error found/name: Malley.bash. Self-destruct initiated...




Monday, October 10, 2016

Tragedy of the Commons: Presidential Election

He says lewd, crass things that can't be aired on national television. He ripped off students who went to his business school
She lied about her emails. She mishandled classified information.
How did we end up with the two most disliked candidates in modern history? I'm going to analyze that question in detail here. First off, here's what this article is not: It is not a massive, meandering philosophical babble where I hope you may or may not actually gather anything of substance from reading my complicated thoughts. What I hope this article will do is give you an idea of how we got here.
The average person clicks away from a page after only a couple seconds. Still reading? Great! Because we're talking about you. Are you a human? Awesome! You're also probably part of the population center we call "America." This means every time you turn on your TV or look at your Facebook page, you want to break something. Or is that just me?
The source of the angst is the two major party candidates. One is Trump, disliked for his lies and bullying tactics, the other is Hillary, disliked for being a sneaky, underhanded politician. Trump is disliked merely for being Trump. He has no embarrassment gene. Hillary is disliked for her public record, although that may be more of a right-wing political tactic, since every time anyone digs deep enough, she comes up clean. Trump, on the other hand, has had less political whitewashing than Mrs. Clinton. He gets harangued for ripping people off, making lewd comments about women, minorities, gays, and others, and for constantly bullying people. In fact, he may suffer from clinical narcism - a condition whereby a person is literally incapable of thinking about anyone other than themselves. He won't even listen to his own campaign most of the time!
But I digress. What's wrong, America? Why didn't you elect Kasich, or Rubio, or Fiorina, or any other Republican candidates who were functioning at perfectly normal levels of conservative dysfunction? Why did you instead elect the equivalent of a fruit-cake Jerry Springer horse and pony show? Is reality television, that worshipped bastion of American stupidity, simply not enough, so you have to bring it to the election as well?
My apologies. I may have just insulted you there.
Trump, on the other hand, probably would have no compunction about insulting you, and in fact, probably has. I can think of no demographic left unscathed by Trump aside from white, male, and rich.
So, to get to my point, what we are seeing is a tragedy of the commons, where the American voter has become so angry, disenfranchised, and desperate that they are willing to vote for anyone to fix their problems. Unfortunately, most problems in society are caused by humans, and the only way to actually fix a human is for the people to fix themselves. As a result, there is no clear solution in sight, which spans many demographics, ideologies, and disciplines. As a result, people are voting with their middle finger.
Did anyone watch the debate last night? (Monday, 10.9.16) This is what we have been reduced to, ladies and gentleman. A debate that is not a debate, and is instead possessed of the intellectual equivalent of a football-beer-mud-brawl. (I tried to combine as many unintelligent things as possible.)
The Republicans starting biting their fingers when Trump ran, and by the time they had chewed their nails off, Trump had already clinched the nomination. They barely had time to chew on anything else, instead swishing the unpleasant taste of confusion in their mouths as Trump actually won. Trump was a tornado, taking the established party guidelines and playing games with them. No one wanted him to make it, yet he did, thanks to the American voters who voted with Velveeta instead of Natural Sharp Cheddar.
As a result, the choices for president are bad and worse, take your pick. Bernie Sanders put up a good fight against Hillary Clinton, and won several states and gave her a hard battle. The other Democratic nominees were unsubstantial, unfortunately, and Americans simply weren't ready for an outright socialist president. They would rather lie to themselves for a while longer and elect Clinton.
The process through which Hillary won was understandable, aside from the unethical rigging on the part of the DNC.
Trump, on the other hand, is a wild card. No one really knows if he's going to play golf the entire time he's in office, actually make the economy better, or start World War III. By many indications, the rest of the world better send white rich guys over for ambassadors, otherwise Trump will insult them, send them packing, and the next ambassador will be a carefully swaddled bomb.
No, I will not vote for Trump. He is not what America needs, or actually wants. Neither really is Hillary, but at least we know what she will do. Trump's actual policy positions, if he has any, are vague at best, invalid and dangerous at worst. He has no grasp on foreign policy or many aspects of American life.
On that note, I hope you vote for whomever you feel is best for the country. Perhaps, like me, you will vote for Hillary, or choose a third party option, such as Gary Johnson, Jill Stein, or Evan McMullin. And past that, we need to hope for the best for the country and do our part to keep it together.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

The Complexity of Everything

There exists an infinite number of variables presenting any given society, such that extrapolating information can be next to impossible. Consider this simple statement: "drunk driving increases car crashes." While that may seem obvious, how many people drive drunk? Are there variables that contribute to drunk driving? Does everyone going to a bar get drunk and drive home? How many of said drunks crash? While there may be an easy answer, most actual answers worth anything come from research. People who seek these answers spend countless hours answering questions that may boil down to a few tiny statistics. We then think about how many questions exist, how many people there are, the amount of decisions to be made by any person on any day at any time, and the whole picture becomes one gigantic mess.

I'm telling you this to give you an appreciation for, and to make you think about, how complicated everything is. A single person making a string of decisions makes tiny ripples in the world around them. Many of the ripples stop after a few feet, or a few minutes, but some may continue for miles, years, decades even.

Some people exert a disproportionate influence. This is when one person's sphere effects many lives. Other people's spheres may only last a little while. Take someone who just goes to a job and doesn't do much aside from hit the grocery store on occasion. This person creates tiny ripples that get lost almost immediately. But then, someone pens an article for the NY Times detailing this one person's life and commemorating all the people who seem to have little influence and go unnoticed, and yet still leave something important behind. So, even the person with the seemingly uninteresting life contributes a large ripple.
I'm not saying those with larger ripples are better people. What matters is perhaps that they simply existed. Some people effect almost nothing, while some have a negative effect. It's all part of the cosmos - that great, indescribably complicated thing that can scarcely be described with common words.
So life is complicated. Everything is complicated. It may seem obvious, but thinking about it might help give you an appreciation for the rich complexities of even the simplest situations.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Why You Can't Vote for Donald Trump. At All.

He's been compared to Hitler. He's been compared to Berlusconi of Italy. There are many other comparisons, but they all share one thing in common: They all link to other, famed, failed political endeavors. He's loud, obnoxious, and virulent. He claims he will tone down his message once he's President, but does anyone actually believe that? Perhaps. If they do, they are living in a fantasy realm.
Don't get me wrong, fantasy is great. It makes for a great story. Unfortunately, this is reality, and this is no fantasy playground. Our choices have consequences, and they have consequences every election cycle. Overall, I've become increasingly dismayed by the collective voting prowess of Americans. Or, perhaps, I am even more disillusioned by the people who run for President. However, many who sound perfectly reasonable, end up left in the dust, while the loudest person gets elected. It's like a reality TV show, except it's being broadcast for the whole world to see. Since America plays a disproportionate role in global politics, however, our choices disproportionately affect other countries, not just our own.
My point isn't to get into the "should we play the world's friendly helper with too many guns," but rather to simply point out how very bad voting for Trump will be.
He wants to make America "Great Again?" How? Many of his products are produced in Mexico and China. He has imported workers from Mexico for cheap labor.
He's a nice guy? He's made homophobic and racial slurs since the beginning. At several recent rallies, violence has been incited. He even offered to pay the legal fees of a person who punched a protestor at a Trump rally. The offender claimed the person was not acting "like an American." What does that even mean? America is notorious for supporting all sides of a debate, all views and peoples. (Except for native Americans, blacks, Japanese at one point, Irish, etc. But, we're past all that. Right?)
How did Trump get this far? There are a variety of factors. Disgruntled white workers who feel their world is changing for the worse are one reason. They're angry, and they feel Trump will fix the system. How can he fix something when he is, himself, part of the problem? He's rich, chauvinistic, bigoted, racist... He's everything a country all about opportunity and progress should stand against.
And we will.
The world is watching to see if America will elect a narcissistic movie star, a person so rich he has no grasp on reality, a person so enamored with himself that every new statement must be more egregious  than the last in an effort to keep himself in the limelight. Perhaps, this is actually his goal. If his only goal is attention, which is highly plausible, he's doing an outstanding job. Even by writing this, I direct more attention to him, which is what he wants.
I'm encouraging everyone to avoid voting for Trump. If you must vote Republican, vote for someone aside from him. Or just vote Democrat.
Thank you.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Thoughts on the Current Election

   It's been said this will be a historic election, one way or another. Perhaps we will have a Jewish socialist in the oval office, or a bombastic billionaire. We also have a fundamentalist and a pragmatic in the front-running (Ted Cruz and Hillary Clinton, respectively). The fundamentalist may just be a bad idea, and the pragmatic happens to be female, which is also historic. However, I believe we must take a history lesson and realize that we should not vote for someone because they are a minority. Many voted for Barrack Obama simply because he was black. That was historic, surely, but was it the right decision?
   And now, as Missouri Primaries come up, and then the main election later in November, we have a very large decision to make, and it's a very important one. If you are considering not voting, please reconsider. Your vote actually does matter. For more details on that front, go to the first citation, which has various graphs detailing voter turnout. 1 For the most part, it reveals that old white people are most likely to vote. Young people are inherently less likely to vote, and also more likely to be at ideological odds with their older counterparts. This discrepancy helps explain why a socialist is even in the front running at all.
   But this election is a very confusing matter. I have very specific political priorities and I've distilled them over a period of years. This probably means I am not likely to be satisfied by any candidate except myself, but I am still concerned by which candidate will actually serve America the best. Here are my thoughts and research on the four current front runners:

   Bernie Sanders: An admitted democratic socialist. Normally, you would expect to find this person simmering in an ideological pot in Europe. Instead, he is alive and well (albeit old) in America. He wants to attack the rich and powerful, tax them, and hold them responsible for destroying the economy. These are fine goals, but to actually accomplish them? Further, he has several "golden unicorns" in the forest; that is, he wants free healthcare, education, and new infrastructure. These are incredibly expensive goals and would not necessarily boost our economy. One observes that in order to redistribute money, one must have it first in abundance, and judging by the current state of our economy, this may not work very well. 
   I am biased towards environmentalism, and while Bernie would work on these issues, he may vandalize the American economy in the process. I believe we can have both.

   Donald Trump: Before we move on any further, here's a list of all Trump's insults: 

The 196 People, Places and Things Donald Trump Has Insulted On Twitter: A Complete List

   If this doesn't cause you concern, I do not know what will. He has repeatedly gone after women, elderly, disabled, Mexicans, Muslims, and many others, to the extent that the only group not ostracized is white male religious fanatics. Regardless, many are still following him, and Trump's followers are actually very similar to Sander's followers in that both groups are angry. They are simply placing their anger in different areas. Sander's followers are angry, white, young liberals, and half have college degrees. Trump's followers are angry, white, conservative, and only about 10% have college degrees. 

   Ted Cruz: As a progressive, and a moderate one at that, I feel obligated to flee from Cruz regardless of his stances. He claims to want to bring down the DC structure, possibly into something small enough he can throw down the bathtub drain, but for the most part he has served the same machine that he espouses to attack. Meanwhile, Glenn Beck implied God killed the late Justice Scalia so Cruz could be President. 2 Also, Ted Cruz "Voted NO on protecting ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes ecosystems." 3 Overall, I simply do not believe Cruz would actually make America a better place.

   Hillary Clinton: During the debates I've gained some respect for her calm, in-control mannerism, but she uses many "politician" answers and is quite obviously a career politician. A quick look at her campaign contributions from 1999 onward reveals that she has received large amounts of money from banks and investment firms, which she claims she would take on. However, her environmental policy, while not particularly comprehensive, would be much better than anyone from the Republican arena, where every candidate is either associated with Fox News and/or wants to destroy the environment. 

   In summary, we are in trouble. We have an entire class of Americans who, angry at the system, are going for either Trump or Sanders, both of whom would rock the boat; Ted Cruz, essentially a non-entity; and Clinton, who may or may not actually make anything better in America. But here's my opinion: Sanders is authentic. He has good ideas, and wants to actually make a difference, but I find his vehemence against entrepreneurship and the Constitution worrisome. Trump wants to make America Great Again, but it might involve WWIII. Clinton, as best I can tell, would make a more well-rounded presidential nominee. However, she is the bought-and-paid-for option.
   Again, I believe we are in trouble with any of these options. The Republican and Democratic party have systematically destroyed the economy and turned a blind eye to environmental destruction, while companies have polluted the environment, raked in massive amounts of money, and crippled the middle class. 
   After a certain period, large companies function exactly like large government; that is, they take from the country and do not give back. 




Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Agent Barnes

Mini story for your reading pleasure, by Yours Truly.

   There was a serene sky outside the sleek, stainless-clad windows, which beheld a view of a poor neighborhood with a river winding through it. Elevated several stories from the ground, the office itself was posh. Several steel file cabinets set in one corner, adorned with silver edging. The floor was a cool, off-white marble tile with black and white veins running through. A skinny, pale man in a light gray suit sat in a plush, white leather chair, seemingly preoccupied with his silver computer monitor and keyboard, and not the burlesque, well-built man in the chair across the modern style desk. He wore a darker suit, sitting rigidly in his chair and running his eyes across the room constantly, as if scanning for hazards.
   "Let's run over the mission again, Agent Blake," said the pale man. "Your job is to plant the nuke in the southern Syrian town, and avoid getting caught before then. You'll have all the resources and men you need."
   "I don't like this, Agent Barnes. Innocent people are going to die, just to scathe ISIL," said Blake worriedly.
   "I don't care if you have a problem with it. We both know why you're actually here." He turned the sleek computer monitor so Blake could see his own file. There was red lettering to one side. Blake's expression didn't change, but his face paled slightly under his short beard as he eyed Barnes.
   "If you don't, someone else will. But you're the best man for the job. So, if you don't..." Barnes raised his eyebrow and planted his leather dress shoes on the desk, while turning the monitor back toward himself.
   Blake hesitated further, jaw working with no sound emerging. His hands clenched his suit, wrinkling the corner. Perspiration beaded around his forehead. Finally,
   "I'll do it."

   Agent Barnes smiled, his skinny finger lightly tapping "delete" on the keyboard. 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Why Republicans are More Likely to Reject Climate Science

   So, first off I get ready to insult a few people! However, if you're actually reading this, it means either you've already been insulted by the headline, or  you're likely a liberal and reading this post will just reaffirm your beliefs. (Usually I like to keep beliefs out of climate science, but since beliefs are mostly what prevents the public from accepting climate science, we will be talking about beliefs. It's rather like Bones' dislike of physchology on the popular TV show Bones.)
   So, why are Republicans more likely to think climate science is quackery and several thousand respected scientists have been paid off by some socialistic scheme to control the entire planet? I believe that issue is extremely complicated, and involves many variables, such as peer pressure and ideology identification, to name a few. These terms refer to the fact that people are inclined to believe in a set standard of beliefs and morals that match with the people and ideologies that they associate with. In other words, if you're a conservative listening to Rush Limbaugh, every time he jokes that hybrid drivers are "morally superior financially illiterate hippies," or some such, it reaffirms the ideology set that you've associated with, whether or not you actually think that hybrid drivers fall into that category.
   So, doesn't everyone have certain disagreements with the people that they hang out with? Maybe - but only about 53% of the public believe that scientists agree on climate change. The reality is that 97% of climatologists agree that the data confirms that climate change is a reality. Notice that I did not saw they "believe" it is happening. This is not a matter of beliefs; believing climate change is not an issue is essentially like believing the earth is flat; it really doesn't matter what you believe, because it's there. However, due to propaganda and such, likely on part of the oil industry, the public and politicians have turned the issue into a political issue.
   This is understandable, in a way. Since it will involve policy changes and decisions, it automatically becomes a political issue as soon as scientists suggest that we attempt to make changes. Thus, people then hear from the politicians - who freely admit that they are not scientists, which somehow excuses them from not understanding basic scientific principles. Senator Inhofe throwing a snowball in the Senate is a prime example of scientific ignorance and a poor understanding of the issues. A blizzard, even across the whole US, does not negate climate change, because not only must we think globally, we must think of the whole earth - because data has now shown that the oceans are likely to be responsible for absorbing the bulk of the heat from climate change. [1]
   The recent temperature slowdown is proof of at least two things. 1. It shows that scientists are not fudging data, which is a rather absurd belief to begin with, since they would likely just continue to increase their numbers, and 2. There are still a lot of things we don't understand. This is something scientists are willing to admit - unlike many politicians and citizens.
   This is also understandable. People do not like being told they are wrong. It rubs them the wrong way, damages their ego, and causes them to second guess themselves. We shouldn't be going after the general public. We need to be going after the main culprits - politicians with monetary agendas and oil and other anti-environmental businesses. These businesses resist at every opportunity, and are deeply ingrained in how the world works right now. However, and this is speculation, I suspect that it would not be entirely too difficult for these companies to jump into wind, solar, nuclear, and other cleaner sources of energy. We need to let people, businesses, and politicians know that the status quo is inherently dangerous, and that it is going to severely damage the planet if we don't make meaningful change, and soon.
  We can do this in a variety of ways. The new "slacktivism" may even be able to help - this entails sharing environmental posts to your friends, signing petitions online, and other things that pop up. Like your local environmentally conscious groups on Facebook so they show up in your feeds. If you feel inspired, go out and get active.
   I realize I've strayed quite severely from the original topic, so I apologize for that. Ultimately, party differences don't paint a very good line in the general public - but Congress has been highly polarized on a variety of issues for quite some time, and it is not surprising that climate change has similarly been polarized. Let's try to wade across party differences and make some meaningful change for each other, the country, and the world.