Of pastors and programmers

I’m more than a little bit annoyed right now. I’m trying to get two separate domains up and running on a single account, which should theoretically be a very simple matter of a .htaccess file which points one domain to one specific URL and the other domain to another specific URL. Despite the fact that the company exists to sell and host domains and this is precisely what creates more business for them, I haven’t gotten a reasonable and specific answer on how to do this from two calls to tech support, a reading of the FAQ and a survey of the forums on this very topic.

It tends to remind me of a tremendously irritating habit of many a pastor, albeit because the explanations I saw in the forums were exactly the opposite of the way in which pastors unnecessarily stretch out their sermons for no good purpose I can discern. Apparently, one is taught in seminary that one cannot mention the X of Y without going into a long and tangential riff on Y before returning to the actual subject of X. It drives me up the wall, especially when they do it during what purports to be a benedictory prayer but is actually the first of three inflicted upon you before you can get out the door.

So you hear things like: “the Lord God of Abraham, Abraham the father of Isaac, who believed that he would be given a son despite his age, who obeyed God when commanded to leave the land of his fathers in much the same way that our forefathers left their homelands to escape religious persecution of the sort that our brothers in the faith are now experiencing in North Korean and China, from where stems some truly tasty sweet and sour pork which unfortunately our Jewish friends are not permitted to eat by the command of the Lord God of Moses… and Abraham.” It sometimes makes me want to stand up and shout “stick to the bloody point!”

I don’t know if some pastors think they are performance artists or simply like to hear the sound of their own voices, but I have developed some serious reservations about the modern concept of the pastor preaching to the zoned-out flock being compatible with Christianity.

Now, this wasn’t actually intended to be a post about religion or anything. It’s just that I notice programmers do the opposite, instead of providing the information that would naturally proceed from that previously provided, they shut it off. Again, I don’t know if it’s out of a desire to field questions or simply the need to feel smarter than the questioner, but it’s even more annoying than pastoral meandering.

For example, on the forum I was perusing, an individual who had successfully navigated the .htaccess shoals was asking why his images weren’t showing up. The response from the technical guy was “you probably need to change your permissions to 644”. However, instead of continuing by explaining how one changed one’s permissions, he simply left it at that.

Programmers often spin this neglect as some sign of superior intelligence, but actually the reverse is true. While they do possess information that the other lacks, a truly intelligent individual would recognize that the nature of the first question indicated that the questioner would not be able to understand how to perform the required task and would therefore explain that as well.

For example, if someone asks me what GDP is, they are informing me that they don’t know anything about economics. To answer “GDP is C+I+G+(X-M)” is accurate, but to leave it at that is also stupid. If the questioner doesn’t know what GDP is, he won’t know what C or G is either.

Don’t confuse being informed with being intelligent, or vice-versa. They’re not mutually exclusive, but they aren’t synonymous either.

Mailvox: the value of a doctorate

JS, PhD demonstrates how reading comprehension is unnecessary in academia:

Torture/Interrogation does work or it would not be done. If you think that stop trying to get information out of captured terrorist will stop them from cutting the heads off our prisoners is folly. The whole war is about civilization, ours or theirs and the choice should be clear. We don’t try to kill them as a matter of religious doctrine and we will leave them alone if they would do the same. You as a Christian should know that.

One presumes that JS equally enthusiastic about astrology and Freudian psychoanalysis, after all, they must work or they “would not be done”. The degree to which he manages to miss the point is astonishing; whereas I never suggested that refraining from torture would change the way in which our prisoners are treated, I stated outright that torture is an ineffective tactic about as useless as cannibalism. And given his contention that the whole war is about the survival of our civilization, one would think that JS would be seriously troubled by the Bush administration’s desire to abandon what has hitherto been a historic aspect of it.

What this administration wants is to clarify what is acceptable under law and what is not. This will not only protect our professionals but also the incarcerated individuals. I do not understand why anybody could be against that. Are we the ones that go out and set roadside bombs to kill anything that is near it? Do we attack and kill our own on a daily basis because we disagree with them? Do we burn mosques because some Islam cleric makes a derogatory remark about Christians?

Do we eat fish on Fridays? Do we wonder why Larry Johnson has not rushed effectively in the first two weeks of the NFL season? Are we the ones who thought Lamont Jordan’s BTK rating was too high in Madden 2007?

These questions are no more irrelevant to the subject than those posed by JS.

As for the rest of your observations about government influence and growth, this happens everywhere. The politicians have become a group of elitists and are no longer the representatives of the people (with very few exceptions). This holds true on either side in the war on terrorism but at least on our side we can still vote our free will. The unfortunate part is that too many of us like the freebees the government hands out to us instead of getting them out of our life’s and let us fend for ourselves. I won’t speak for other countries but in ours, we have a constitution that is more and more ignored by all and we pay a heavy price for it. Let’s defend our country and help other to do same to remain and/or become free.

Apparently JS fails to see the contradiction between stating how the politicians “are no longer the representatives of the poeple” and how “we can still vote in our free will”. Actually, we can’t. We are given a choice between cow crap and horse crap and expected to regard it as delicious food. It’s absurd.

If you still have the haircut as in the picture with you article, get a life and have it changed. You look silly.


Seldom has the NYT been more accurate

How even the rich manage to go bankrupt:

Financial success can breed its own peculiar set of vulnerabilities. “People who are very successful develop elevated sensibilities about their skills, and when things turn on them they won’t admit they’re wrong because their self-confidence has held them up so long,” says Arnold S. Wood, chief executive of Martingale Asset Management in Boston. “In the face of evidence, even subjective evidence, that suggests that something bad is about to happen to someone, a funny thing happens: They reject the evidence.

“These kinds of people just continue spending because they think the money will keep coming in because they’re so successful,” adds Mr. Wood, who says he is fascinated by the possible neurological and social underpinnings of financial delusion and decision-making.

I’ve seen this sort of thing happen again and again, and to be honest, it grows incredibly tiresome. Listening to the same stupid justifications and rationalizations for self-destructive actions ceases to become tragic and devolves into a boring farce. The main problem that I see among those who have earned their own wealth is an inability to stop taking the kind of risks that led to their initial success in the past.

The key to securing financial stability is no more secret than the key to losing weight. In fact, the two are almost precisely the same. Always eatspend less foodmoney than you burnearn.