I Don’t Want Flying Cars; I Just Want Working Bluetooth

I love Bluetooth. I love that it’s supported on all my various electronic gadgets, and lets them talk to each other and exchange information, be it streaming audio data, or a text note, or what have you.

Or at least I┬álove the idea of Bluetooth. The unfortunate reality is that the implementations that I’ve seen never quite live up to the ideal.

For instances, it often takes several attempts to pair two devices, even when they’re two feet from each other. Sometimes devices disconnect for no obvious reason, or seem to become unpaired without me doing anything.

And then there’s the stuttering, which might be related. I have yet to find a Bluetooth headset, speaker, or other audio receiver that doesn’t stutter for five minutes until it finds it groove. In fairness, after the initial five minutes, things tend to stay pretty stable (at least until I, say, move my phone five feet further from the speaker, at which point, they need to resync). But if it’s a matter of the two devices negotiating, I don’t know, frequencies and data throttling rates and protocols, why don’t they do it at the beginning? Or is it a TCP thing, where the two start out using little bandwidth and ramping up over time?

Lastly, there are the tunnel-vision implementations. From what I’ve seen, the Bluetooth standard defines roles that each device can play, e.g., “I can play audio”, “I can dial a phone number”, “I can display an address card”, “I can store files”, and so forth. But in practice, that doesn’t always work: my cell phone sees my desk phone as an earpiece, and earpieces can’t handle address cards, don’t be silly, so I can’t copy my cell phone’s contact list to my desk phone.

In the age of the Internet of Things, my desk phone can store contacts, my TV can run a browser, and pretty soon my toaster will be able to share its 5G hotspot with the neighborhood. There’s no reason to be limited by a noun on the box it came in.

I understand that most of the above is likely caused by bad implementation of a fundamentally decent protocol. But Bluetooth has been around for, what, a decade or more? And I still regularly run into these problems. That points to something systemic in the software community.

Does the Pope Shit on the Woods?

I keep hearing that atheists attack a strawman version of religion,
that sophisticated theologians don’t make the sorts of simplistic
arguments we attribute to theists, and the like.

On Wednesday, the Pope gave a
speech about the environment,
in which he said:

Experiencing the shared responsibility for creation (Cf. 51), the Church is not only committed to the promotion of the defense of the earth, of water and of air, given by the Creator to everyone, but above all is committed to protect man from the destruction of himself. In fact, “when ‘human ecology’ is respected in society, environmental ecology also benefits” (ibid).

That’s rich, coming from the head of an organization whose policy
forbids family planning through birth control, a guy who himself, just
five months ago, said that
condoms make the AIDS problem worse,
in short, a guy who advocates policies of population growth checked
only by disease and competition for resources like water.

And then there’s the second half of that paragraph:

Is it not true that inconsiderate use of creation begins where God is marginalized or also where is existence is denied? If the human creature’s relationship with the Creator weakens, matter is reduced to egoistic possession, man becomes the “final authority,” and the objective of existence is reduced to a feverish race to possess the most possible.

As a matter of fact, Mr. Ratz, no. Inconsiderate use of creation does
not begin where the existence of your magic man is denied, it begins
where people don’t think their actions will have undesirable
consequences. And by the way, if you’re going to rail about people
pursuing “a feverish race to possess the most possible”, may I suggest
that you take off the silk robes and step outside of your
palatial summer residence?
Just a thought. Might make you look a little less of a hypocritical
douchebag.

As for who owns the Earth, let’s take a look at the
Bible, page 1,
right after the copyright page:

26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

The NIV says “rule over”. The NRSV says “have dominion”. I think it’s
clear how this can lead to a “fuck you, it’s my earth, I can do what I
want” attitude, the “final authority” attitude that Ratzinger
deplores. And creationists in Darwin’s day didn’t believe in
extinction, on the grounds that God would never allow one of his
creations to die out.

As for “inconsiderate use of creation”, I shouldn’t have to point out
that if there are no gods, then they can’t save us or the planet, so
it’s up to us. If we don’t take charge of passing on to the next
generation the kind of planet we’d like to have, who will? In fact,
the pope’s next paragraph says as much:

Creation, matter structured in an intelligent manner by God, is entrusted to man’s responsibility, who is able to interpret and refashion it actively, without regarding himself as the absolute owner. Man is called to exercise responsible government to protect it, to obtain benefits and cultivate it, finding the necessary resources for a dignified existence for all.

except that he has to throw in a wholly gratuitous referece to God.

I can easily get behind a lot of what the speech said about protecting
the environment. But I can’t help noticing that the pope had to ignore
the Bible, his own policies, and a big chunk of the history of
religion in order to justify his conclusions with vague platitudes
about how “that covenant between the human being and the environment
that must be a reflection of the creative love of God”.

All of which would be mostly harmless if he hadn’t just taken a dump
on people who have been making those arguments long before he got
around to considering catching up to the 20th century, on the sole
grounds that they recognize his magic man for the superstitious tripe
that it is.

I keep hearing that morality has to come from God. And this is a
perfect example of that attitude: the leader of the single largest
sect on the planet saying that atheists must ipso facto be
inconsiderate and greedy.

So fuck you, Ratzi. Fuck you with a rusty crucifix.

Morality for Morons

[info]curvemudgeon points me to an article by Steve Alderman in the apparently badly misnamed American Thinker. This is a response to an op-ed in the LA Times by Sam Harris, author of The End of Faith and Letter to a Christian Nation and one of the more outspoken critics of faith.

Continue reading “Morality for Morons”