Tag Archives: rant
It’s happened. Hunger Games has grossed more than the highest-grossing Twilight movie. Hunger Games: $306.5 million. Twilight Eclipse: $300.5 million. Yes, there is some justice in the world.
Twilight is a load of drivel about some girl’s fantasy romance. They are made for each other (e.g. he can’t read her mind), he makes sacrifices for her (actually it seems like everybody does and the whole world starts to revolve around her), blah blah blah. In Hunger Games, Katnis uses her love interest and has to pretend that she is in love with him. Plus, they would have known that at least one of them was going to die. It’s no fairy tale romance.
Then again, maybe I should just hate on both of these franchises. Because the heroine always ends up with a creepy dude. And oddly enough, the pedophile vampire who secretly watches over his love interest is not as creepy as the guy in Hunger Games. Now go watch Jennifer Lawrence (Katnis in Hunger Games) talk about peeing in her pants at 1:11:
Sometimes companies have to engage in practices that seem really cold-hearted or are really annoying. Shaggy points out that supermarkets throw out a lot of perfectly good food. But here’s a possible explanation for why they do that: because their employees are really smart. At stealing.
It first begins with employees stealing product for their own consumption and giving away free stuff to their friends. If their capitalist overlords are smart… they would implement systems to prevent this kind of thing from happening. If you have friends who work at Cinnabon for example, you may be able to get free food from your friend because there isn’t a good system in place to stop this. Whereas with McDonald’s, it is much harder for employees to give away free food to their friends because all food orders are sent through a computer and is logged. If the food goes out, there should be a corresponding inflow of cash. A lot of companies will implement systems like this to prevent “inventory slippage”.
So suppose now that you’ve (mostly) solved the problem of employees stealing from you. What if you gave any excess product to charities? Again, people are smart. Usually the pattern is that people will take free stuff and resell it for a profit. When you donate clothing or food to Africa… all this “free” stuff goes through a number of middlemen who then resell it to the next party in the distribution chain. When record labels send out demo copies of an artist’s music… sometimes employees will resell these CDs on Amazon (I know because I’ve bought one without knowing it in advance). There’s a story on the Internet about how some retailers will have their employees slash clothing and shoes before throwing them out. Well I would point out that they may be sick and tired of people reselling goods that are supposed to go to charity. It cuts into their profit because these goods are essentially turning into the competition. If there were less jerks in the world, then companies may be more likely to donate to charities.
Sometimes employees are huge jerks
At one concession stand at a fair in Canada, the boss tries to prevent stealing by counting how many cups were used in the day. The number of cups used that day should match the amount of cash received. Unfortunately this system is not foolproof. See… somebody figured out that he could simply roam the fairgrounds after work and collect used cups. Then he would rinse them off and pass them off as new cups. Some customers are unknowingly drinking from those cups.
Sometimes, problems with employees are really, really hard to solve. Did I already mention that people are smart?
The whole piracy thing
As somebody who sells software online (I sell Photoshop plug-ins) I can say a few things:
- Sometimes I will be ‘legit’ and pay for software (e.g. I own 2 copies of Windows 7). And other times I haven’t.
- I know that people are trying to pirate my software because the google search autocomplete will suggest things like “[name of product] torrent”. It’s annoying.
- I don’t get too worked up about people pirating my software because it’s not something that I can really control… nor do I believe that it is profitable.
- It’s total BS that some websites’ business model depends almost entirely upon piracy. Megaupload basically makes all its money from helping people illegally download software. I have no problem with Youtube as they are proactive about preventing piracy and they are working towards a business model that doesn’t depend on piracy.
- It’s total BS that certain stores at Pacific Mall blatantly sell pirated DVDs. I thought that in Canada that this kind of thing isn’t culturally acceptable? (It is in Hong Kong.)
- A lot of people who are against anti-piracy measures engage in piracy themselves. Their views are self-serving. Then again, I am not 100% legit either.
- A lot of people who are against anti-piracy are out of touch with the real world. Some people argue that content is too expensive for example and that movie studios are too greedy. A company tried making legitimate DVDs (or VCDs) in China really really cheap to try to ward off piracy. It did not work. There just doesn’t seem to be an easy solution to end piracy. Historically there have been a lot of failures.
- A lot of people who are against anti-piracy are just there to hate on rich people. It’s the whole “movie studios are greedy and put out crappy movies” thing. Now everybody says that it is wrong to hate on people based on race, religion, gender, ethnicity, etc. But somehow it is ok to hate on people just because they are rich? I don’t think so.
People are jerks. Some more than others. (And yeah I am also a jerk because I don’t pay for all my software, movies, TV, etc.)
You gots to know your definitions. Too many people confuse hobos with bums! There is an important distinction: hobos are professionals and bums aren’t.
A hobo is a migratory worker or homeless vagabond, especially one who is penniless. The term originated in the Western—probably Northwestern—United States during the last decade of the 19th century. Unlike ‘tramps‘, who work only when they are forced to, and ‘bums‘, who do not work at all, ‘hobos’ are workers who wander.
NOW YOU KNOW.
Ok, so sometimes I make politically incorrect jokes. Like making fun of Darth Vader for being an amputee in one of the Star Wars: That Other Version videos. Of course, most people don’t live in a galaxy far, far away where amputees can become part-cyborg and reach high levels of professional achievement without facing discriminatory barriers.
So what is it like to be disabled? Youtube to the rescue…
So those are some of the challenges that people in wheelchairs face. Some of the things I didn’t fully realize are:
- Employment. Getting to a job interview isn’t necessarily easy, employers may have discriminatory views about the ability of disabled people, etc. etc.
- Many buildings were built without accessibility in mind so those in wheelchairs cannot go to many places for entertainment, meeting friends, etc.
- Building a ramp does not magically make a building accessible. There are certain requirements such as the ramp not being too steep. I’ve always thought that the ramps around university buildings were ridiculously long. Well, they really do need to be that long.
- Paratransit services tend to have problems. You have to book in advance, so you can’t just spontaneously go somewhere. You may have to wait on the phone to book (e.g. in the Youtube video, the guy gives up pretty early). In Toronto, you have to wait well in advance for your Wheeltrans bus. The whole trip may take hours because other passengers have to be picked up and dropped off. So you have to budget hours for travelling. Effectively, you can only go out once a day.
- Washrooms, fountains, sinks, and stoves (including the controls) have to be designed differently so that they are accessible. Not all homes are ideal.
- Even where things are supposed to be accessible, there will be inconveniences. For example, wheelchair lifts and ramps in buses don’t always work. Elevators are sometimes out of service.
- There is a continuum of mobility. Some people in wheelchairs will climb stairs and use escalators (generally this is dangerous). Some elderly people have extreme difficulty using stairs and parents have difficulty getting strollers up/down stairs and escalators. The elderly and people with strollers would benefit from improvements in accessibility.
Where I live, the politicians lie and make bizarre decisions. Toronto has a streetcar fleet that isn’t wheelchair accessible. The plan is to replace these streetcars with new low-floor streetcars. The TTC (which is really controlled by the politicians on its board) often uses the word accessible when describing these streetcars. They are not (video example). If the TTC instead replaced the old streetcars with accessible buses, it would save money compared to streetcars (see this article by David Gunn, former TTC general manager). The TTC is actually going to spend money on making the transit system inaccessible. Unbelievable.
And the media is rather complacent on the issue, even the Toronto Star. The Star is generally considered a left-wing newspaper so you would think that they support disabled rights. But they are largely silent on the issue of the new streetcar fleet being inaccessible and being more expensive. They are also silent on the TTC pushing back full subway station accessibility from 2020 to 2024 due to budget pressures. Um… I thought that an important function of the press is to inform the public. I guess not. Anyways, The Star is strongly opposed to replacing the streetcar fleet with buses. (The reason for this is probably because they like the old left-wing mayor whose reign ordered the new streetcars and hate the new right-wing mayor who wants to scrap them.)
Anyways, the moral of the story is:
- Don’t always trust government agencies. In the case of the TTC, the board is composed entirely of politicians. The board effectively controls the TTC (they can fire the GM). The politicians get to micromanage the TTC and use it as a platform for furthering their political careers.
- Don’t trust politicians. (Like, duh.)
- Don’t trust the newspapers either. Sometimes they fail.