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My startup is in Bloomberg this morning:

(kWh Analytics is us). tl;dr: we use data science to convince banks that solar is a safer investment than banks usually think it is. Then solar project developers can get more investment money cheaper.

Pretty exciting that we are now at the stage where we've done multiple deals and are proving the business model works!

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I play the accordion and the Japanese Taiko drums. Current side projects are drawing a near-future sci-fi comic and coding a JRPG loosely based on Mongolian history.

So far i've found every social media platform that i've tried to be completely unusable. Hoping Mastodon might be different.
Down to chat about music, gaming, environment/energy, comics, software development, parenting, etc. anytime.


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Hi. I've been programming computers since 1986. Mostly Python and Javascript these days. I'm married and have a 2-year old daughter.

I left $WELL_KNOWN_INTERNET_COMPANY to career switch into renewable energy and maybe do something about global warming. My startup is trying to reduce the cost of solar power, using data science. We're in San Francisco.

Been reading Ribbonfarm since 2013, never joined the community before.


accidentally kinky 


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@nindokag So the takeaway here is that reality is amoral and unsatisfying.

You can kind of see why some people would find conspiracies and woo comforting.

nindokag boosted

@nindokag my first check for anything, woo or not, is "does this confirm my beliefs about a group and/or tell me something about myself that I want to believe is true?" Because if yes, then I know I should be skeptical. And sometimes it is actually accurate information, which is fine. And sometimes it's not actually important enough to bother verifying, in which case if I want to retell it, I try to frame it as "This is probably apocryphal, but it's a funny story..." or similar.

So i think if you wanna teach people to have a better bullshit filter, the question to focus on is not "is this too weird to be true?" but "is this too much narrative-instant-gratification to be true?"

woo will never ask you to understand moral complexity, or to spend time learning a scaffolding of facts and theory without immediate payoff, or accept that the world doesn't revolve around you. It will always offer you a tidy story with pitch-black villains to blame your problems on. (5/5)

It's the same thing with telling conspiracy theories from real history/politics.

It's not that governments don't do weird shit, horrible shit, and weird AND horrible shit. all the time.

But the more you study real history the more you find bumbling screw-ups, good intentions gone awry, moral ambiguity, incomplete facts, human pettiness, etc. What you don't find is a satisfying master-narrative explaining everything bad in the world as the fault of the politician you already hate (4/?)

real quantum mechanics: solve difficult integrals to find a solution to schrodinger's equation. Now you know the probability density function of an electron's location. This can profoundly change how you see the universe, but not in a way that's narratively satisfying or even involves human concerns at all.

pseudo-quantum mechanics: consciousness collapses waveforms THEREFORE your beliefs affect reality, the government doesn't want you to know this, use your mind powers for good! (3/?)

no, the telltale sign of woo is *instant emotional gratification*. No matter how bizarre the premises, a woo theory ALWAYS cashes out to a simplistic "ingroup good, outgroup bad" narrative.

real science: there's a supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy. That's weird! But the black hole isn't a villain who gives you migraines that you can cure by drinking bleach. It just exists, refusing to center humans or our morality plays. The real universe doesn't revolve around you. (2/?)

read some really far-out conspiracy theory/alien/crystal/vibration psuedoscience stuff, and had an epiphany:

the way to develop an intuitive filter for pseudoscience (and pseudo-history, pseudo-politics, etc) is NOT that woo is too *weird* to be true. Lots of weird things are true! Particles are waves, space is curved, time goes slower if you're accelerating: this is objectively WEIRDER than "lizard people from inside the hollow earth are blocking my chakras with 5G radiation." (1/?)

"Dark Lego, show me the forbidden connection techniques":

a leaked PDF of a Lego internal corporate document describing "illegal" connections that must not be used in official kit-building instructions

Much has been written on the analogy between lego connections and programming language syntax; that would make this illegal connection PDF the equivalent of, like, undocumented compiler features or something.

Let me put it this way: if wikipedia editors aren't pedantic enough for you, you should really check out the adult Lego fandom and their debates over correct element taxonomy, production ID numbers, color names, illegal connection techniques...

on the plus side, some of the new builds that are possible now are amazing. Detail, realism, and articulation have improved by leaps & bounds thanks to new connector types, new curved pieces, and knowledge-sharing of advanced techniques.

The old lego collection was in a state of maximum entropy so I got a lot of craft organizers, drawers, and tupperware bins and I've been sorting it. While my daughter is building a big yellow house and making the minifigs have motorcycle races, I'm separating and classifying and passing her parts I think she might find useful. It's been a great quarantine activity for both of us.

I was curious how others organized their collections, so I checked out the online lego fandom... (to be continued)

parenting milestone: my kid is old enough to start playing with Legos

Got my old Lego collection out of the back of the closet. Most of it hasn't been touched in 20 years. The oldest set in there is I think from 1975.

We're all used to the upgrade treadmill of the digital world where everything is obsolete and incompatible in a few years. The fact that a lego from 1960 sticks just fine to a brand-new lego from today -- they've kept a compatiblity standard for 60 years -- is miraculous!

nindokag boosted

Web browser designers:

Well CERTAINLY nobody will EVER need to run web applications from the local machine, ha ha, the very thought, such a security risk. Glad we closed that hole!

Desktop application designers:

Well this COULD have been a 15 kilobyte Javascript, but (points to web browser designers), so, here's a 300 megabyte package of a custom browser plus Node.js plus my 15 kilobyte javascript. Which you run as an EXE with full rights. But it's 'secure'!


"the plural of anecdote is not data" but also "statistics don't negate the reality of my lived experience" -- both of these things can be true.

the society-scale analysis has one set of tools, the personal-experience analysis has a different set. Using one tool in the other domain is often unhelpful. Like how you have to use relativity XOR quantum mechanics depending on the scale of your physics problem.

this meta thought brought to you by my annoyance with some bad tumblr discourse i saw


each bag gets staples like peanut butter, pasta, soup, cereal, canned tuna, etc. but then each bag also gets one "specialty item" aka "the most random-ass food items people donated from the back of their cupboards" like "you get... mustard! and you get... garlic salt! and you get... a box of ice cream cones, no ice cream though, sorry"

all donations are good but if you're choosing between a can of beans and a can of, i dunno, like cake frosting or something, please donate the beans

I volunteered at the local community services agency yesterday. Packing up food donations for local needy families, including those who can't go to the store because they're at high COVID risk.

It was, I'm not gonna lie, pretty boring, putting the same groceries into one bag after another and passing them down assembly-line style for hours. But I'm glad I did it, and I'm glad there are people doing this every day.

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Refactor Camp

Mastodon instance for attendees of Refactor Camp, and members of various online/offline groups that have grown out of it. Related local groups with varying levels of activity exist in the Bay Area, New York, Chicago, and Austin. Kinda/sorta sponsored by the Ribbonfarm Blogamatic Universe. If you already know a few people in this neck of the woods, try and pick a handle they'll recognize when you sign up. Please note that the registration confirmation email may end up in your spam folder, so check there. It should come from administrator Zach Faddis.