A History of Classical Music

BACH = Bach
HANDEL = Bach + religion
HAYDN = Handel + orchestra
MOZART = Haydn + sexy
BEETHOVEN + Mozart + spicy
CHOPIN = Beethoven + emo
TCHAIKOVSKY = Chopin + 🏳️‍🌈
DEBUSSY = Tchaikovsky + CHILL
RAVEL = Debussy + jazz
GERSHWIN = Ravel + blues
JOPLIN = Gershwin + America
STRAVINSKY = Joplin - scales
IVES = Stravinsky + chaos goblin
CAGE = Ives - music

I have had skin cancer surgeries in 2 countries: the U.S., with "hope you can afford the deductible" insurance, and Portugal with single-payer/universal/socialized medicine.

In the U.S. (in 2001): Notice growth on ear. Call to see primary care. Get into appointment 2 days later. Get a referral to a dermatologist. Wait 2 weeks for the insurance company to approve referral. Get into dermatologist 1 week later and have a biopsy. The biopsy showed it was squamous cell carcinoma, a type of cancer usually found in folks over 60 (I was 23 or 24). Dermatologist puts in for an approval for surgery which is denied twice over 3 weeks because “the biopsy was wrong.” Get in 2 days later for another biopsy, which, surprise!, shows it really is squamous cell carcinoma. After another week of wrangling with the insurance company, we finally get approval for surgery. Surgery is scheduled for 1 week later. So, from noticing the growth to surgery about 8 weeks.

In Portugal (5 years later): Notice growth on ear. I call primary care and am transferred to the dermatologist. Get same day appointment. Dermatologist looks at it, picks up the phone and calls the plastic surgeon. We walk down the hall to the plastic surgeon. Both doctors consult their schedules, and I’m scheduled for surgery 2 days later. So, from noticing the growth on the ear to surgery about 2 days.

Again, to show you the difference: In the U.S. without universal healthcare, about $1000 out-of-pocket and 8 weeks until surgery. In Portugal with universal healthcare, about $60 out-of-pocket and 2 days until surgery.

When Congress says we can’t afford universal healthcare, they are saying, “We can’t afford to not make the insurance companies money because they fund our campaigns.” It isn’t about the best interest of Americans, it’s about their own best interest.

“In other words: Forcing employees to work in an office doesn’t benefit companies, but does harm the lives of employees — at least in the short term.

More to the point: Most companies cannot show actual monetary benefits from RTO mandates. But most employees can show actual and significant monetary costs from RTO mandates.

In essence, these kinds of mandates represent a transfer of wealth from employees that their employers don’t even benefit from.”

Great piece from @MikeElgan computerworld.com/article/3712

Someone asked "Why do some British people not like Donald Trump?"
Nate White, an articulate and witty writer from England, wrote this magnificent response:
"A few things spring to mind.
Trump lacks certain qualities which the British traditionally esteem.
For instance, he has no class, no charm, no coolness, no credibility, no compassion, no wit, no warmth, no wisdom, no subtlety, no sensitivity, no self-awareness, no humility, no honour and no grace - all qualities, funnily enough, with which his predecessor Mr. Obama was generously blessed.
So for us, the stark contrast does rather throw Trump’s limitations into embarrassingly sharp relief.
Plus, we like a laugh. And while Trump may be laughable, he has never once said anything wry, witty or even faintly amusing - not once, ever.
I don’t say that rhetorically, I mean it quite literally: not once, not ever. And that fact is particularly disturbing to the British sensibility - for us, to lack humour is almost inhuman.
But with Trump, it’s a fact. He doesn’t even seem to understand what a joke is - his idea of a joke is a crass comment, an illiterate insult, a casual act of cruelty.
Trump is a troll. And like all trolls, he is never funny and he never laughs; he only crows or jeers.
And scarily, he doesn’t just talk in crude, witless insults - he actually thinks in them. His mind is a simple bot-like algorithm of petty prejudices and knee-jerk nastiness.
There is never any under-layer of irony, complexity, nuance or depth. It’s all surface.
Some Americans might see this as refreshingly upfront.
Well, we don’t. We see it as having no inner world, no soul.
And in Britain we traditionally side with David, not Goliath. All our heroes are plucky underdogs: Robin Hood, Dick Whittington, Oliver Twist.
Trump is neither plucky, nor an underdog. He is the exact opposite of that.
He’s not even a spoiled rich-boy, or a greedy fat-cat.
He’s more a fat white slug. A Jabba the Hutt of privilege.
And worse, he is that most unforgivable of all things to the British: a bully.
That is, except when he is among bullies; then he suddenly transforms into a snivelling sidekick instead.
There are unspoken rules to this stuff - the Queensberry rules of basic decency - and he breaks them all. He punches downwards - which a gentleman should, would, could never do - and every blow he aims is below the belt. He particularly likes to kick the vulnerable or voiceless - and he kicks them when they are down.
So the fact that a significant minority - perhaps a third - of Americans look at what he does, listen to what he says, and then think 'Yeah, he seems like my kind of guy’ is a matter of some confusion and no little distress to British people, given that:
* Americans are supposed to be nicer than us, and mostly are.
* You don't need a particularly keen eye for detail to spot a few flaws in the man.
This last point is what especially confuses and dismays British people, and many other people too; his faults seem pretty bloody hard to miss.
After all, it’s impossible to read a single tweet, or hear him speak a sentence or two, without staring deep into the abyss. He turns being artless into an art form; he is a Picasso of pettiness; a Shakespeare of shit. His faults are fractal: even his flaws have flaws, and so on ad infinitum.
God knows there have always been stupid people in the world, and plenty of nasty people too. But rarely has stupidity been so nasty, or nastiness so stupid.
He makes Nixon look trustworthy and George W look smart.
In fact, if Frankenstein decided to make a monster assembled entirely from human flaws - he would make a Trump.
And a remorseful Doctor Frankenstein would clutch out big clump-fuls of hair and scream in anguish:
'My God… what… have… I… created?
If being a twat was a TV show, Trump would be the boxed set."

Hey, if you've ever been curious about #latin you can start learning it by following @Minimus

My productivity life-hack: I write myself a "Don't Do" list, and every Thursday evening, I tick the ones I haven't done, feel good about myself and reward myself with a bottle of Rioja and a curry. You can use my list, or write your own! #productivityLifeHacks

Today I discovered that Windows launches #Edge in the background at startup by default. If you use a different browser like #Vivaldi or #Firefox, disable Edge in "Settings > Apps > Startup" and "Settings > Privacy > Background apps" to speed Windows startup and improve performance in general, especially on old or low end PCs.

Safelinks are a fragile foundation for publishing

Microsoft loves you and wants to protect you. So every time you receive an email with a link in it, Microsoft Outlook helpfully rewrites it so that it goes through their "safelinks" system.

Safelinks allow your administrator, or someone at Microsoft, to stop you visiting a link which is malicious or suspicious. Rather than going to example.com, your link now goes to safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=example.com.

Hurrah! If you accidentally click on a naughty link you won't cause chaos and ructions.

Except, there's a tiny problem. People like to copy and paste links that they receive. Someone sends an email which says "here's the link to that report you asked for" which then gets copied into a document or a web page.

For example, I was reading this official document from the UK's Department of Health and Social Care. Slap bang in the middle is a link to another report:

That forces everyone who visits that link to go through Microsoft's proxy. That might protect users if a link later becomes suspicious. But, more likely, it will be used in analytics to further profile users who click on links. It also undermines a user's ability to see the final destination of a link unless they can manually URl-decode content in their head.

It appears that every large organisation which uses Microsoft is prone to this failure. Lots of UK Government departments publish content with safelinks:

The US Military too:

It's all over Twitter:

And there are hundreds of academic works infested:

Look, I get why people do this. They copy a link from an email, paste it in, click it, and it works. No one writes raw HTML by hand, nor should they have to. Our WYSIWYG tools work really well and hide all the mumbo-jumbo. Copy editors look at text; not hypertext. It's only nerds like me who hover over a link before clicking on it.

Perhaps I should stop worrying? Perhaps it is OK that Microsoft intercepts the clicks from people all around the world? Perhaps they can competently run a proxy which detects and blocks inappropriate content? Perhaps they won't ever abuse that facility?

Here's my prediction. In the next five or so years, Microsoft is going to accidentally shut off *.safelinks.protection.outlook.com and a million copy-and-pasted links across the web are going to break.

Think I'm over-reacting? A decade ago, Microsoft got rid of their MS Tag product and, shortly after, all their proxy links were shut off. Similarly, other proxies like McAfee have shut down with little warning.

Or maybe Microsoft's sub-domains will be hijacked?

Either way, if you work in digital publishing, please make sure that your links point directly to the content that you want; not to Microsoft's safelinks service.


#microsoft #privacy #web

"For bosses, there’s a downside to motivating your workers with appeals to a sense of mission. Namely, your workers will feel a sense of mission. So when you ask them to enshittify the products they ruined their health to ship, workers will experience a sense of profound moral injury, respond with outrage and threaten to quit."

Study (N=11K;20 years) finds attractive men more likely to attain better jobs & earn more than similarly attractive women. Attractive women had a slight advantage over unattractive women but men saw greatest benefits.
For women being attractive is incompatible with stereotypes of leaders. “Women are held to a specific standard of attractiveness & are often punished when they fail to uphold that standard, but then they’re punished when they do—it’s a lose-lose situation.” cnbc.com/2024/02/02/men-benefi

WOOOF: "Why Don't We Just Kill the Kid In the Omelas Hole" clarkesworldmagazine.com/kim_0

CW: for textual description of child death at the link.

The lockdown project for one of my parents neighbours was to build a scale model of the lake district from Lego. It’s now in the local museum.

The pinnacle of RTO stupidity is requiring people to be in the office some number of days per week, combined with hot-desking. Leads to the fact that people who are ostensibly in the office for improved collaboration now sit at desks spread all over the office space, and then using their remote collaboration tools from the office. Including Teams calls.

Managers implementing this sort of policy deserve a bucket of ice water dumped over their heads.

BBC News - Why private helicopters are still in demand

Bellends? Is the answer "Bellends"?

Tonight's the night! For anyone joining in at home, here's this month's MathsJam Shout with some puzzles and games for you to enjoy (no spoilers please!) mathsjam.com/shout/MJShout.pdf

BREAKING: food bloggers are adding nightshade and other poisons to online recipe pages to defeat “cooked.wiki” and other advert/revenue-stripping robots
#ArtificialIntelligence #CookedWiki #TheModernNonna #food #nightshade

"What's the lesson here, guys?"
"We don’t know.”
"C’mon, think about it."
"Don't be assholes?"
"Don’t be assholes. Especially to…”
"To the guy with the thumbs?"
"To the guy with the thumbs."

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