This blog post sucks

It’s the worst.
And yet at the end I might end up liking it.

Have you ever looked at Amazon reviews? It is usually an inverse Guassian distribution: a lot of opinions on the top and bottom of the curve, hardly anything in between.
Everything is controversial all the time.

Last week I went to see a musical. It was very well executed and I have a lot of respect for the physical work the actors did. It is probably not high art, yet at the end, many people decided that standing ovations would be in order.
I am not sure if these people were really that blown away by the performance or if they just really wanted to be able to think, feel and tell that they went to see a play that was so great that standing ovations were in order.

Some while ago I took my car to be serviced at an officially branded garage. When I went to pick it up, the person at the counter told me that probably someone from the car company will call me and ask about the quality of their service. She then proceeded to ask me if I could maybe tell them that it was perfect in every way.
I told her that the service was good, but that I was a bit confused by the amount of praise she’d like. That’s how I learned that this car brand in particular expects five star service from their garages or it might take away the status as official garage of that brand.

A lot of our conversation these days – especially online, but it seems to be a common feature in offline interactions as well – seems to be hyperbole in one direction or the other, often drowning out details and nuances.
We all1 like to use very definitive statements about the quality of something when all we actually want is to express our personal opinion.
Aggregation and trying to get feedback by “normal people” amplifies this phenomenon.

It is not possible anymore to just buy and enjoy things that are okay-ish or good enough. People2 dig through thousands of reviews and are very peculiar about their stuff. And that’s when confirmation bias sets in.
Obviously that thing that I bought that has basically no real difference to that other thing, is the best thing ever and the other one is the worst and everybody who disagrees seems to be out to personally attack us and is also a complete moron.


  1. Not you, you’re better than this. But we other, more flawed human beings. 
  2. Well, mostly nerds. My kind of people. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

Two weeks, three photos, one TBT.

Skinner Box

There’s an intersection here in town that marks where the “town center” begins. It is pretty big and always sees a lot of traffic.
It also has a lot of pedestrian lights that have buttons that don’t do anything. Which is both actually quite common but obviously not well known.

So if one would be a terribly smug smart-ass and just walked up to a traffic light without pressing the button, one would more often than not get yelled at by little old ladies for this misdemeanor.
If that obviously completely hypothetical smug smart-ass would then reply by explaining that the buttons don’t really have a function anymore, the yelling might turn from “I’m just helping you!” to “Don’t mess with my world-view!”
After all – why would they put up those buttons on the traffic lights if not to make the pedestrian lights switch from red to green?

The Firehose

It might not come as a surprise that I like to read a lot of stuff on the internet. I used to describe myself as “universally interested” and while I have realized by now that this is far from the truth – there are many things I don’t care about at all – it is still something I strive towards.
I have played around with the idea of a link blog for quite a while. I tried to use LostFocus for that, but for no real reason, that never quite felt right. For a while I just bookmarked stuff on Pinboard, but that wasn’t quite what I had in mind, either.

So I built myself something that I called The Firehose. It’s not a very complicated page: a collection of links, shown with their Open Graph– or Twitter Card-data. (It is amazing how few pages these days don’t have that data. Looks like at least some Social Media manager types do their job instead of tweeting as a cheese.)

Maybe you’ll find something that is useful and interesting to you, too.

The page does have an RSS feed if you’re into that kind of thing and if you prefer your links once a day via email, there is that option, too.
And if you’re a millennial (hehe) and don’t use either feeds or email, you can follow the page on Twitter or Tumblr.

Instagram, again.

Some more photos from instagram

Because why not? I don’t actually do much here these days. If you do miss the things I link to, there’s my newsletter now, which I send out once a week. You don’t even need to subscribe, the archive does have an RSS feed, too.

Die Diktatur der Lerchen

Die Diktatur der Lerchen

Nieder mit dem Chrononormativismus!


The Internet Is Terrible Because Of Everyone

  1. Everything you hate about The Internet is actually everything you hate about people.
  2. The worst thing is knowing what everyone thinks about anything.

The Internet is poisoning you every day with its constant gush of idiot opinion from the vast waste-ridden tide of people who need to be reminded to shut their mouths while breathing. It is terrible and only getting worse, and the various forms of social media are only amplifying the process and hastening us toward our inevitable end.

(And I wanted to be more positive in 2015.)

Sharpening Contradictions: Why al-Qaeda attacked Satirists in Paris

“Sharpening the contradictions” is the strategy of sociopaths and totalitarians, aimed at unmooring people from their ordinary insouciance and preying on them, mobilizing their energies and wealth for the perverted purposes of a self-styled great leader.

The only effective response to this manipulative strategy (as Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani tried to tell the Iraqi Shiites a decade ago) is to resist the impulse to blame an entire group for the actions of a few and to refuse to carry out identity-politics reprisals.

For those who require unrelated people to take responsibility for those who claim to be their co-religionists (not a demand ever made of Christians), the al-Azhar Seminary, seat of Sunni Muslim learning and fatwas, condemned the attack, as did the Arab League that comprises 22 Muslim-majority states.

Juan Cole (ᔥ@ScottyTM)

So much Instagram.

A whole bunch of pictures over Christmas and New Year.




On the 1st of January 2015, the VAT place of supply rules will change. This will have huge consequences to all businesses that sell digital products to other countries within the EC.

Extremely useful page. The whole EU VAT/VATMOSS thing is crazy.