Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Leo 5.0 beta 2 released

Almost exactly one year's work on Leo: a PIM, an IDE and an outliner.

Leo 5.0b2 is now available here.
Video tutorials
Text tutorials

The highlights of Leo 5.0

* Better compatibility with vim, Emacs, pylint and PyQt:
    - Optional native emulation of vim commands.
    - Full support for Emacs org-mode outlines.
    - Better support for pylint.
    - Support for both PyQt4 and PyQt5.
* Better handling of nodes containing large text:
    - Idle time syntax coloring eliminates delay.
    - Optional delayed loading of large text.
* Power features:
    - Leo available via github repository.
    - File name completion.
    - Cloned nodes expand and contract independently.
    - @data nodes can be composed from descendant nodes.
    - No need to change Leo's main style sheet:
      it can be customized with @color and @font settings.
    - @persistence nodes save data in @auto trees.
    - A pluggable architecture for @auto nodes.
    - The style-reload command changes Leo's appearance instantly.
* Important new plugins for tagging, display and node evaluation.
* For beginners:
    - Leo's default workbook files contains Leo's quickstart guide.
* Hundreds of new/improved features and bug fixes.

Links:

Leo
Docs
Tutorials
Videos
Forum
Download
Github
Quotes

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Leo 5.0 a2 released

Almost exactly one year's work on Leo: a PIM, an IDE and an outliner.

Leo 5.0a2 is now available here.
Video tutorials
Text tutorials

The highlights of Leo 5.0

* Better compatibility with vim, Emacs, pylint and PyQt:
    - Optional native emulation of vim commands.
    - Full support for Emacs org-mode outlines.
    - Better support for pylint.
    - Support for both PyQt4 and PyQt5.
* Better handling of nodes containing large text:
    - Idle time syntax coloring eliminates delay.
    - Optional delayed loading of large text.
* Power features:
    - Leo available via github repository.
    - File name completion.
    - Cloned nodes expand and contract independently.
    - @data nodes can be composed from descendant nodes.
    - No need to change Leo's main style sheet:
      it can be customized with @color and @font settings.
    - @persistence nodes save data in @auto trees.
    - A pluggable architecture for @auto nodes.
    - The style-reload command changes Leo's appearance instantly.
* Important new plugins for tagging, display and node evaluation.
* For beginners:
    - Leo's default workbook files contains Leo's quickstart guide.
* Hundreds of new/improved features and bug fixes.

Links:

Leo
Docs
Tutorials
Videos
Forum
Download
Github
Quotes

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The art of denialist bullshit

Denialist comments rarely merit anything but to be ignored, but Robert Parker's brief comments are such a perfect example of the art of bullshit that I'll make an exception.

Here are Robert Parker's comments in full:

"Except the tide only comes in during a warm PDO, and goes out slowly in a cold PDO. We'll see for certain what happens in the next 15 years or so."

His two sentences illustrate perfectly the art of propaganda. For its nefarious purposes, it's as beautiful as haiku. Let's look closely at what he says and how he says it.

1. He makes no mention of the original indicators of climate change, nor does he actually dispute the fact that the bulk of the additional energy caused by CO2 and other greenhouse gases end up in the ocean. Actually dealing with the graphs in the original post would cause him a great deal of trouble.
  
2. He makes sure that the the comments are maximally confusing.  The first sentence (fragment) certainly qualifies: "except the tide only comes in during a warm PDO, and goes out slowly in a cold PDO."

This is obfuscation raised to an absolute art form. On first reading one might assume it is meant to cast doubt on something, but exactly what is open to question.

This strategy is an essential part of the denialist playbook, and it deserves to be called out as such. Denialists want, first of all, to sow confusion and doubt. So here we have a sentence fragment, asserting nothing in particular, filled with a "sciency" term which will, in all likelihood elicit a "huh?" response from the reader. This is not badwriting! The "huh?" is the whole point.

Notice, please, that this sentence gives no reason why the PDO should affect the graphs presented, nor does it provide any reason why one should believe that climate scientists have misunderstood the effect of the PDO on changing climate (or weather, or anything).

This response could almost be generated by a computer program: ignore the topic at hand, take a few "sciency" terms, combine them in almost random order, making sure that the meaning is unclear, and sit back and congratulate oneself on confusing the issue.

3. But the second sentence gives the game away:

"We'll see for certain what happens in the next 15 years or so."

This is a barefaced call for inaction. Whatever could the motive be? The obvious answer: the coal and gas industries do not want to be regulated. Not now, not in 15 years (or so!!), not in 50 years. Not ever!
   
In short, Parker's response is irresponsible bullshit, whose evident reason for being is to sow doubt among the truly ignorant and to provide cover for the CO2 lobby.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Lawrence Lessig's plan to reform U.S. Politics

Two must-see videos about the present corrupt state of American politics and what can be done about it.

Lawrence Lessig's Google talk: Republic lost.

Lawrence Lessig's Ted Talk.

The solution: small-dollar campaigns, brought into being by MayOne.us.

Repost: why I am finding it hard to program just now

Consider what's happening today:
  • one-dollar-one-vote democracy [0]
  • "neutered, impotent and obsolete" U.S. corporate media [1]
  • out-of-control military [2] and surveillance [3] establishments
  • worldwide inaction on CO2 emissions [4]
  • ongoing human-caused mass extinctions rivaling the previous "big 5" mass extinctions [5]
  • all enabled by 24/7 corporate-funded right-wing propaganda [6] and  [7].
Two novels emphasize the need for courage in the present circumstances:  A Tale for the Time Being [8] and The Winter of the World [9].  I recommend either or both for those who think the issues listed above are no concern of ordinary people.

Edward

P.S. If there is one area where I might still make a difference in the computing world, it might be high-speed analysis of types for Python. Lest you think this is a minor business, it is a fact that any useful analysis of computer programs (for example, any kind of refactoring) requires robust knowledge of types.

EKR

References:

[0] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McCutcheon_v._Federal_Election_Commission#Subsequent_commentary
[1] http://www.democracynow.org/2014/5/14/glenn_greenwald_us_corporate_media_is
[2] http://www.pogo.org/our-work/straus-military-reform-project/
[3] https://firstlook.org/theintercept/
[4] http://www.motherjones.com/category/primary-tags/climate-desk
[5] http://www.amazon.com/Sixth-Extinction-Unnatural-History-ebook/dp/B00EGJE4G2/
[6] http://mediamatters.org/blog/2012/11/28/meet-the-climate-denial-machine/191545
[7] http://www.desmogblog.com/
[8] http://www.amazon.com/Tale-Time-Being-Ruth-Ozeki-ebook/dp/B008EKMB82
[9] http://www.amazon.com/Winter-World-Century-Trilogy-2-ebook/dp/B007FEFLTO

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Jay Forrester: summary of his life

Jay Forrester did far more than create the famous "limits to growth" computer model:

http://www.systemdynamics.org/DL-IntroSysDyn/origin.htm

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Speak the truth, but not to punish

"Speak the truth, but not to punish"   I first read these words two days ago here. They were said by Jim Hoggan, quoting the Zen Buddhist monk Thích Nhất Hạnh.

These words have been a liberation.  After meditating about them, I saw that climate denial is a disease of thought, speech and society.  Being angry or upset about denialism is like being angry about any other disease.  It's useless and counter productive.

This anger that I harbored caused me huge suffering.  I think that suffering is largely gone now.

I can now contemplate the Limits to Growth, and climate change with much less horror than before.  As my brother says, releasing the attachment to living even one more minute is the end of suffering.

And I now have a new voice.  Cheerful, happy, much less judgmental even when confronting the end of all we love, and even confronting anti-social behavior.  It's a new me.