Aug 11 2020

The one with the relatable insanely rich guy

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 0:46

My parents were poor. Their parents were poor as well. During childhood there were quite a few times when we replace bread with polenta because corn flower was cheaper. I remember a few times when there was no food in the house for days. Many of you reading these lines might not be able to imagine how this feels like being a kid, being hungry and being told that I just have to wait a little bit longer. When I was 17 one of my teeth got infected and I was in pain for three days, because my parents had no money for a dentist. While at the university I once went three days without eating. I only had one jar of jam left and I made sure to eat just a spoon of it for lunch and dinner to make sure it lasts until I will find a way to provide for myself.

My parents sold their apartment in the city and bought a house in the countryside they made no papers for. So, they do not officially own it. They dropped the idea of making official papers because those were too expensive. Think about that for a moment. The cost of officially owning the house was too high for them. So, when they die, me and my sister will inherit nothing. Just the expenses to bury them.

I might not be insanely rich, but the life I have now, I did not dare to dream it when I was a kid, adolescent or even a young student. I never thought that a person could be fully independent without being born into some kind of money. But here I am. I have a decent salary, I have some savings, I have a piano and a computer. I don’t really need anything else to be happy really. Remember, I come from having nothing, there is little I need and want. I do not own a house, but I’m not really interested in that anyway. Sacrificing my savings for a house with my name on it is not worth the price.

So, if you are poor like I was, my life story makes me relatable, right? My story makes you think that I am an honest hard-working person. You are honest and hard-working, right? We are the same, you and I… So, if I tell you something, you would tend to believe me, right?

Continue reading “The one with the relatable insanely rich guy”

Aug 08 2020

We aren’t making babies, what a tragedy …

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 3:04

… for the economy.

When this pandemic started people were worried about the consequences of staying indoors so much. I’ve heard jokes about cabin fever, about lack of vitamin D which will make all of us look British and I’ve even heard the jokes about the post-pandemic baby boom.

The last one made me chuckle a little. As a person that has lived for four years with her partner (long time ago) I can tell you for sure, the desire does not grow when they are always in your face. Turns out I was right to believe that a baby boom won’t happen. And there are a few reasons for that.

The first reason why people won’t have kids: desire tends to cool down when you are locked inside a small place with a person. That is why animals in zoos are not multiplying. Also, while being forced to interact with your partner 24/7 might make you realize that they are not parent material. Or you are not parent material. Or that you two are not parent material together.

Another one is that a lot of people have entered lockdown living alone and there are quite a few people that will find the beauty in it and never want to quit this state. Because not all of us are meant to be in a relationship, but social pressure is powerful enough to push us into one anyway.

This damn virus seems to have a preference for older people, so a lot of people will find themselves without parents, parents that would have helped raise their grand kids. When I was little my grandmother helped my mother raise me. People that find themselves without parents, might decide that they cannot have a child and take care of it properly alone.

Young people that escape the virus are left with dire consequences on their health, that might make them think twice before having a kid, because when your lungs don’t work right you might not want to risk your health by carrying a small parasite for 9 months. Also, depending on the country, you might want to avoid hospitals until there is a vaccine.

The main reason and the most important why a baby boom will not happen is because the global economy will be in shambles. And raising a kid might be even more difficult than it is now.

So, a baby boom won’t happen. What does this mean? Well… politicians and economists will cry out: “Oh my god, people are not having babies, this is so bad for the economy! How will the universe survive?

Somehow. The universe will survive, because it has to. I’m so sick of hearing this argument that the economy will crash because people are not having babies. I mean it’s not like you have a baby and it directly starts working right after getting out of the womb to keep the wheels of the economy running. If the economy of a country is so fragile it crumbles when there is not new blood to fuel it, maybe the way our society is build no longer fits our reality and maybe we should rethink it. Because fertility rates have been plunging for years now, so… people not being born is not a problem.

In software we have a thing called scaling. When you want to expose an application to the public, you install it on a VM in the cloud and when more people use it, in order to ensure an efficient functionality for all users, a cloud service replicates your VM and automatically re-distributes the requests. When there are no users using it, the replicas are shutdown. This is useful because it reduces costs, there is no need to pay for extra VMs when you do not have users using your application. Maybe we should consider redesigning our economies to scale as well.

Also, another thing I hate in report to how economies need babies to function, is the fact that as long as the new generations have enough members, we dismiss the older generations pretty easily. What need is there to make sure people age gracefully, to keep them healthy as long as possible, to give them a good quality of life as long as we can when we can just forget them in care homes (the lucky ones) or we condemn them to homelessness? Maybe less new babies being born is a good thing, because maybe we can finally focus on making old-age more manageable. Maybe we can focus on improving the quality of life for all people able to work, to keep them able to work longer. Maybe less new babies being born means orphanages will finally disappear, because none of them are a good and sane environment for a person to grow up in.

I’m close to 40 in age. I will work until I’m 65. After that I am just a burden to the society. I’ll just get my pension and… exist. I do not like that idea. If I’m not dead by 65, I would really like to still be mentally and physically healthy to continue working. I can still contribute to society after 65, I am aware of that, but let’s think of a worse case scenario where I get dementia for example. Call me selfish, but I would like this society to direct funds toward research to keep me functional longer, instead of spending funds to convince people to have babies. It’s the “A Bird in the Hand is Worth Two in the Bush” scenario. I’m here, sane, working, willing to do so for more years to come. I think I’m the best bet, compared to a child that is not born yet, that might not survive into adulthood or be as able and willing to work as I am.

But what do I know…? I’m just a childfree software engineer.

Stay safe, stay happy.

[Later edit]: More and more people I know seem convinced that COVID-19 was engineered in a lab. The reason for that belief is its target population: old people and people with frail health; two categories of people that are not really productive from an economic point of view. I am in no position to state my own opinion on the origins of COVID-19, since I am no virologist, but assuming Covid-19 was engineered by corporations and politicians wanting to remove unproductive members of our society, our revenge path should be simple: stop having kids for them to exploit. There are many side effects to a global decision like this, not all of them bad. Sure economies will crumble before we will adapt. But less people means a chance for climate healing.

Jul 31 2020

Kombucha demystified

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 16:54

A while ago I was talking to some friends from Romania. It was summer and they started making elderberry flower fermented tea, which is a national refreshing summer drink. The drink is called “socata” and is amazing, but weirdly I’ve never been interested in making it myself, well until this year.

The reason why I considered making socata myself was that during the lockdown my only contact with the outside was my daily run. I run between to 2 and 6 miles daily on the bike path near my house. The bike path is bordered by two mini-forests with all the typical wild plants and trees, some of them producing edible fruit: elderberries, raspberries, gooseberries and blackberries. Well, I’ve been running a lot since March and when the bike path was full of elderberry flowers, I just had to take advantage of the free harvest.

So, I made my first socata, after a very simple recipe. And I loved it. And then I ordered a 5L jar to have a constant source. But eventually the flowers will end, so I did some research to see if there is any other type of fermented tea are there.

And I’ve found kombucha. Which is fermented black tea essentially. But all the videos and recipes on the internet mention the elusive scoby. And apparently you cannot make your own kombucha without it, and all “scoby from scratch” videos and blog posts mention that you need to buy a kombucha or get a small piece of a bacteria culture from someone that has one.

You fucking, useless condescending hipsters!

It is not from scratch if you already have the bacteria. It’s like telling me that to make bread I already need to have a piece of bread. It would be from scratch if you would tell me what I need to put in a jar to stimulate the bacteria to develop, you wankers! But you do not know, do you? Because all of you are repeating the same identical story that is all over the internet. It’s like all of you belong to the same religion but none of you has read the fucking bible.

Continue reading “Kombucha demystified”

Tags: , , , ,

Jul 28 2020

Code I’m ashamed I’ve written

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 15:30

In an attempt to keep myself away from distraction sources, so I can get some work done, I blocked myself from Reddit.

Then as the “master branch controversy” started to blow up, I really-really wanted to engage a little in the discussion happening on Reddit. So, I did the shameful thing of installing the reddit application on my phone. But, turns out I have forgotten my password, so I ended up creating a new account. (I know, it is a very long intro, but bear with me.) Being a new account, I was recommended to choose a few favourite subreddits and I chose two r/programming and r/youshouldknow. And this was an amazing decision, because now reddit is actually pretty useful to (still) kill time but feeling somewhat smarter.

So, I ended up leaving a few comments in entries linked to the “master branch controversy” and after that I actually read some interesting programming articles. And one of them, inspired me to write this entry today.
The article is named “The code I’m still ashamed of”.

People seeing that title and working in the industry, start reading that article and assume it is about a coming of age as a developer story, but it is actually about the etic of the author and code he has written for a pharmaceutical company. The code was part of a website posing as a general information site and was meant to stealthy advertise a certain drug, which turns out had severe side-effects. But the developer did not realize the part he played until his own sister was prescribed the same drug.

So, this is what this entry is about. We know already that code can be used to do foul things and we usually call it “hacking”. But essentially code is a tool, and any tool can be used as a weapon.
Continue reading “Code I’m ashamed I’ve written”

Jul 21 2020


Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 12:38

… or how stupid people have invented a word to make fit people feel bad.

I do have a few favourite vloggers I keep up with. One of them is Doctor Mike. Not sure how I discovered this guy, but I must confess probably the first time I watched one of his videos was because he is damn good looking. But I subscribed to his channel because he is smart and reasonable. He knows his science and has a very pleasant way of sharing knowledge about it. It does help that he is so good on the eyes and so articulate.

But internet is a cess pool of idiots… and he has been accused of fatphobia. Which made him post a video to explain himself.(Which was not necessary, in my opinion.)

I was watching that, and  it made me so angry. You know what most people have or should have a phobia of? Death. That is the only healthy and logic phobia(it’s a paradox I know). So, anything pushing you in that direction, it is good to be phobic about.

When I broke my hand and had to have surgery to fix it, I was hospitalized for three days. While being there, a girl was brought in, that tried to kill herself by standing in front of the train. I listened in to some discussions about her, between doctors and nurses. They did their best to save her life and re-attach her feet, but they were sickened by her act, to the point of being disgusted. The reason for their disgust was the nature of their work. They were fighting to save lives daily, from diseases and accidents that could not have been avoided or prevented, and they were fighting the system health system itself, because well… I am talking here about a Romanian public hospital.  And a healthy young woman just went and tried to end her life. Wouldn’t you be upset with that person? Especially if caring for her, took away care from people that did not choose to have a health issue. Sure, there are other facets to consider as to why she made that decision, but somehow feels wrong to choose to hurt yourself like that, when you could ask for help instead before getting there.

Coming back to Doctor Mike, if a doctor is phobic about a thing that hurts people, that is a good phobia to have. And I would tend to pick up that phobia. If the doctor treating you for diabetes, would have a phobia of sugar, it wouldn’t bother you so much, would it?

Also, how a phobic person behaves and reacts to the object of their phobia must be discussed. A person that is phobic about something, has an irrational reaction when confronted to the object of thier phobia. But Doctor Mike, had been nothing but rational about the topic of fat and obesity. And he did nothing, but suggest ways to lose weight, prevent and control obesity and stay healthy. He did not mention any of those methods as being universal. Which you would expect a good doctor to do.  And he did not attack people for being obese or overweight.

You know what fatphobia looks like? Of course, you don’t. Let me pictue it for you. Imagine the reaction of a claustrophobic person in an elevator. Then apply that reaction to a person just being close to a slightly overweight person. That is what fatphobia would look like. But you can you imagine Doctor Mike, reacting like that to his patients? Because I can’t, and a phobia like that would be pretty incompatible to his job.

Fatphobia is not a thing, it’s a senseless word. Fat shaming though, that describes a real thing – malevolent and ill intended reactions and remarks that people use to make other people feel bad, regardless if they actually have a weight problem or not. But most people do mix up the two terms.

And since we are here, let me give you an example how fat shaming looks like. You can consider these affirmations of a fatphobic person if you want to. Let me give you a few samples:

Fat people are gross.

Fat people have no discipline.

I would never date a fat person.

Dear, you seem to have put on some weight, maybe you should start working out and eating less.(This is what an ex-boyfriend actually told me. I was 60 kgs in weight at 1.6 meters tall and working two jobs at the time.)

My wife has become very fat during her pregnancy, so I told her she should lose the weight, or I’ll get myself a thin mistress. It took her three months, but she is now half the woman she used to be, he he.. (One of my colleagues at a previous workplace, blackmailed the mother of his children to drop from 90kgs to 45 kgs in three months. True story.)

Maybe if you wouldn’t eat so much you wouldn’t be so fat.

Fat people are stupid, because only a stupid person would let themselves go and become fat in the first place.

So yeah, you can consider these, affirmations a fatphobic person would emit of you want to.

But Doctor Mike, has never, ever said something like that in his videos. He has been nothing but supportive of people that view their weight as a problem. He listed various solutions, advantages and disadvantages for each of them. And he mentioned what works for him.

So yeah, internet is a cesspool of idiots. Some of you do not deserve access to internet and I am so saddened that this wonderful person had to explain himself to you. And, he did it in such a nice manner. But, no worries, this entry is here to give you the explanation you deserve.

Also, feel free to check out Doctor Mike’s videos. He is a true internet gem and a wonderful human being.

Stay safe, stay happy!

Jul 13 2020

They don’t realy care about us and they never have

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 13:14

The first time I visited Dublin and walked along the Liffey river, the monument that impressed me and my colleagues the most was the one dedicated to the Irish Famine from 1845-1849. I was curious at the time how people could die of hunger on an island surrounded by sea and that produced other crops. What the hell happened and who was to blame? (And no, fishing was not a solution for other reasons that I won’t cover here. This is an entry focused on the core cause why everything went so wrong.)

The short answer: politicians.

When the fungus that killed potatoes appeared and started affecting crops, the then prime minister Robert Peel of the UK ignored the scientists’ warnings and said that: “The Irish were prone to exaggerating” which caused the British government to ignore the problem.

When he started to acknowledge the problem, the solution was to import grain from the US. Why did Ireland have no grain? Because the “above the line people” sold it to the British. What stopped Ireland to import grain? A British law that regulated imports.

To be clear, people were dying by the hundred of thousands and politicians could not do anything about it because of a law passed by … themselves.

At some point Peel started to see the error off his ways and tried twice to do something about it. He tried to repeal the law blocking imports, but the proposal was rejected, again by other politicians. He tried to create a government program to help poor people get jobs, so they can buy food. But that was killed off shortly, because … politics.

He then lost the elections to John Russel that put charge Charles Trevelyan in charge of solving the Irish famine problem. These two men had a very idiotic approach to economics: laissez-faire economics. If that sounds French and you do not know what I mean, imagine Trevelyan saying: “The fungus will go away, we do not need a pesticide for it. The market will regulate itself. The people will adapt.That sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

If you ever wondered why Irish hate the British so much, well, I’ve just listed a few reasons. But, let’s come back to the politics angle and to the present day issue.

We still are in the middle of a pandemic. Some people want to deny its gravity, politicians especially – their livelihood depends on other’s people’s work, because as individuals they do not provide an essential service. Some of you might disagree, but hear me out. Imagine that people would have never invented money, and you would have to trade your skill for food. What can you do, what can you provide to somebody else so they will give you the food they produce in exchange for it? I have a number of skills: I able to cook, clean, teach, babysit, fix computers, sew and I am even able to take care of a few plants and animals. I could trade any these for food. Politicians – most of them come from comfortable lives where most of these services were provided by others. Thier only skill is the manipulation of masses using … words. This is not a skill that produces a concrete result. If they were unable to manipulate others to do these things for them, they would starve.(When times are hard, only an idiot would rely on politicians.) Not doing any of these things themselves, living a comfortable life detaches them from the needs of a normal person in society. So when they make laws and make decisions, they do not make them for the people, because they do not live among the people they make those laws for.

Does it make sense?

This is why, politics(and religion) should not be a full time job. It should be a part- time job with a modest capped income. This would keep a politician at a decent level of well-being, which would prohibit him to rise up to a higher society class where it would be detached from the problems trying to solve for the people it represents.

The defective politics of the potato plague caused 1.5 millions of people to die. The Irish population in 1845 was estimated to be 8 millions. Let this sink in: the British Government at the time negrectfully executed a genocide in Ireland. (And Tony Blair presented excuses for that in 1999.)
But this strain of the corona virus is not a potato plague. It is a people plague. And it is not localized to an island. It took over the whole world. And politicians have treated it almost the same 100 and some years later. Politicians ignored scientists’ warnings in this case as well, various laws required to help poor people were slow to be passed and ineffective, in the US big companies have chipped in and basically… funnelled the funds. Politicians have made a mess of things yet again. Yet again, simple people are dying, while they isolate themselves in thier lavish mansions away from any risk of contagion.

This will be a rough analogy. But a sheppard would never allow so many of his sheep to die. So if we are sheep, and politicians are shepperds; they are incompetent sheppards. Or the sheep have multipled too much and there is not enough grass to feed them all.  So a “few of them” dying is not a problem.

Will we ever learn from our mistakes and reform politics? Because we’ve changed from head of tribes, to monarchies, to governments and leadership is still defective. We need something else. Or we need a different kind of people to lead us. We need people that have good knowledge of history and politics, but that are not detached from the needs of the simple man. And the only way to do that is to keep them simple.

Societies are complex systems. There will always be people that barely have “enough”. But, it would be nice to reduce that number and that “enough” to mean something more than survival.

Stay safe, stay happy!

Jul 11 2020

About being a diversity hire and why it shouldn’t matter

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 14:37

I am going to start this entry with a dark-bitter joke.

Bertram Wooster and Ernestine Anderson were staffing up their teams. Bertram was hiring trainees to work in the company’s retail stores, Ernestine was hiring software developers to build a new supply chain system for the company’s operations. ”Bert,” Ernestine asked, “I have hundreds of resumés, how do I whittle them down to a handful of calls and a few interviews?”Bertram smiled. He grabbed a pile of resumés from his desk, then started dealing the resumés out, first one back onto his desk, second into the recycle bin, third onto his desk, fourth into the recycle bin. When he was finished, he had thrown half of the resumés away. “It’s simple.” Bertram told Ernestine. “Just don’t hire anybody who’s unlucky.”

This week, I saw a black developer defended himself on Twitter after being accused of being a diversity hire. And that pissed me off a little. Nobody should defend themselves for getting a job, because most passing job interviews is dependent on so many random factors that it could be considered … luck.

There will be people that will tell you that they are so good at their job and they are have such an exemplary character, and presentation skills that they can get any job they want. But that is simply not true.
There is a saying about people: no matter how great and awesome and kind a person is, there is at least one person in this world that hates them. Which means, you might consider yourself lucky to have met your partner, but there is at least one person in this world to consider themselves to be lucky to have gotten rid of you. This is just hoe the world is, you cannot please everyone.

Continue reading “About being a diversity hire and why it shouldn’t matter”

Tags: ,