1x62: My District Wins

Jono Bacon, Jeremy Garcia, Bryan Lunduke, and Stuart Langridge bring you Bad Voltage, in which we knock over our equipment, workstations can have a terabyte of RAM in, and:

  • 00:02:16 What's going on with the United States;s upcoming presidential elections? Do the prospective candidates have decent policies on technology? Since the US's political leadership affects pretty much anybody, we examine how we feel about the upcoming elections, what it might mean for the world of technology, and who we'd be voting for
  • 00:37:20 Review: the Fitbit Charge HR and Fitbit Aria wristband and scales, whether fitness equipment with batteries in is a good idea, and what the deal is with having to store your health in their cloud
  • 00:53:28 Interview: we speak to CEO of Pogolinux, Erik Logan, about their hardware, where they see server vendors in the age of the cloud, and their brutally powerful workstations

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The Republicans ran two Cuban senators, one Indian governor, one Black neurosurgeon, and they are the party of the racists? Really??? While the democrats ran 5 whites… I’m not saying the democrats are the actual racists, I’m just contrasting.
I’m disappointed in that, but otherwise I think you guys gave it a good discussion.

I have never had to record audio for much of anything, so I assume that it can be challenging. But, even though you guys were having audio issues during the interview with Mr. Logan, I did understand it and I am glad to have heard it. It was the most interesting part of the show.

Fitbit? To keep in shape? I don’t need it. I’m in shape already. Round is a shape after all. :smile:


Hey @jonobacon, have you seen beeminder?

It allows you to set automatic monetary penalties if you miss your goals for various things, and they have Fitbit integration. I’m also lazy and bad at sticking at things for long periods, and I find beeminder very useful.

I have an Aria scale too, and I use it to automatically “beemind”:

  • How often I step on the scales, so I’m regularly weighing myself
  • What my body fat percentage is, to make sure it is gradually decreasing or staying level

You can also enforce a minimum number of steps per day/week, although I don’t actually have a fitbit device other than the scales to use this.

I’ve used beeminder for several years, and although everyone thinks it sounds crazy the first time they hear it, it is very effective, at least for people like me.

I use it with Duolingo for language learning, where as a result I have an unbroken streak of 840 days practising French, and Gmail, where it makes me keep to inbox-almost-zero. I also use it with Github, where it makes me commit regularly to a side project that would atrophy otherwise. And I have a few more goals on top of that. It integrates with IFTTT so there’s a lot of possibilities for forcing yourself to do things…

Thought you might be interested. Great show, as ever.

I would consider myself quite nerdy.

The fact I amongst everyone wants Bernie to win. Afterall he’s got KFC.

However, as the US serves no purpose other that entertainment for me - so I think Trump shall win.

Good luck, I’ll be on couchsurfing for anyone fleeing the WW3-esk state that the US becomes, and I don’t think that it will change anything, politically. Basically your all screwed. And I hope imgur and reddit gives me plenty of laughs over the next 5 years.

I secondly hope that Corbyn wins the 2020 UK election. However chances are that Boris Johnson shall run for the conservation leader. I mean, can you imagine that ? Boris and Trump running the free world for Europe/UK and the US ?
It’s hilarious.
Basically it your watching the “Suggestions For The Weekend Film” thread - it’ll mean that we go straight to the Age of Decadence and basically paper-money doesn’t mean shit. One thing I’d say is that it’s time to invest in Bitcoin for the inevitable financial collapse that ensues.
Other than that, I’d subscribe to this thread.

Hello @justyn

If I’m not mistaken (which I often am) you are new to the community here. If so, I wanted to make you welcome. If you so desire, there is an introduction thread Welcome and Introductions! There you can tell us all hi and maybe a bit more, such as your deepest darkest secrets or your credit card information! :smile:

So, I looked up this Beeminder. An interesting take this is. Makes me think of Richard Simons recruited by the IRS. :smile: I would think that this approach, charging my credit card for not maintaining goals, would work for me better than some reward system.

Great show!

Presidential Elections

The Politics segment was really interesting, and I heard it after reading @bryanlunduke’s endorsement blog post.

During this segment you talked about blurring the party lines, and I thought that reflected pretty well what happened during the last Taiwanese presidential elections that were held in January. In Taiwan, there are two main parties that usually don’t work well together, the Kuomintang (KMT) which is seen as more pro-China and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) which is seen as more pro-independence (that’s a very rough explanation, Wikipedia will tell you more about those, cause it’s quite complicated).

In the end, it’s Tsai Ing Wen from the DPP who was elected for president (and yeah! The first woman president elected in Taiwan, and she’s not even a “daughter of” or “wife of”!). The Taiwanese population was getting sick of the current KMT president and all the pro-China policies he’s made in the last 8 years (without any clear benefit for the Taiwanese people), but even without this, it was very interesting to see Tsai’s campaign focusing on gathering rather than dividing the people of Taiwan. The KMT campaign, on the other hand, went in the opposite direction, running videos blaming the youth (who went down to protest and who “don’t respect the older generations anymore”) and trying to divide the population. It didn’t work out at all: DPP Tsai’s won with a comfortable 25% margin ahead of her KMT opponent. I think Tsai got a lot of light-KMT voters to vote for her because her proposals sounded more appealing.

(it is worth noting, though, that the differences between KMT and DPP are not the same as, say, Republicans Vs. Democrats. Both KMT and DPP are actually quite conservative and economy-oriented I think. After all, Tsai Ing Wen is often compared to Angela Merkel)

I’m not sure of what’s going to happen in the US, but I would find it “funny” if it was a Trump Vs. Sanders election, because that would mean two extremes in US politics, and I don’t know how some US people would feel about that (since, for a lot of US people, “socialist” is an insult worse than “racist” apparently, which, as a French person, always kind of horrifies me).

Fitbit Charge HR

My girlfriend got one of those for Christmas. So far it’s not peeled or deteriorate although she’s been wearing it every day and working out quite a lot. I found the little screen on the device very useful to quickly check the amount of steps you’ve been doing throughout the day as well as your (I mean her) heart rate. The feedback loop it creates by providing numbers on your daily activities is quite stimulating I think. More than once did my girlfriend decide to walk to somewhere instead of taking public transportation just so she could pump up the numbers (and therefore enhance her health :)).

@jeremy, the device you mentioned at the end of the show sounded quite intriguing to me, and I would love to hear more about it in a later review. Plus, it will probably give a chance to @jonobacon to make fun of you for reviewing something that was released more than a year ago… :wink:

Oh and thanks for interviewing mister Logan, I didn’t even know it was humanly possible to have workstations with a freaking TERABYTE of RAM! (yeah I know, I’m gonna feel looney reading this again in 10 years).

The claim that 1 in 5 trump supports support slavery is misleading bullshit http://www.snopes.com/trump-supporters-pro-slavery/ and represent how bad political coverage has gotten, if you look at the actual polls it paints a very different picture bit.ly/1p5aWxB.


  1. The question was not about slavery but about the executive action that freed the slaves, combing the somewhat and strongly disagree they came too 20% figure
  2. In the same poll 39% of republicans consider executive actions to be unconstitutional power, so the 20% is not very surprising
  3. Using the same logic 29% of African-Americans and 40% do not know that freeing the slaves was a good idea http://usat.ly/1QUCzQG/

trump is not the most racist, homophobic, xenophobic or sexist republican candidate (probably mike huckabee or santorum). People are voting for trump because he is a political outsider. The reason he is winning is because the republican party has not produce a presidential candidate that is not racist, homophobic, xenophobic or sexist (except potentially Christie who is a dem and has the whole bridge thing). The terrifying thing is not what trump is saying its that the other candidates are all saying similar things.

About the fitbit

On Linux

You can pip install galileo or on Ubuntu follow what’s on http://chrismwayne.com/?p=241

You need the dongle which is some sort of Bluetooth LE device on steroids, galileo talks to that and sends up the blob. What is interesting is that you can sync everyones device and not just yours.

On phones

You need phones today to join challenges, those phones being specifically Android or iPhones. Devices without Bluetooth LE can’t be used to sync for sure but I cannot be certain if all Bluetooth LE capable devices can be used to sync. This IMO is the greatest pain of using a fitbit since other phones cannot integrate with this (yes I use an Ubuntu Phone as my main phone and have been for 3 years already).

On the API

The API can be used to enhace other applications, but not drive fitbit data itself. In that sense you cannot join challenges nor sync/set steps; you can however set your current weight or calories/food consumed.

Not sure if this is the case, but I’ve heard of more and more people, sick of polls and pollsters, giving completely wild, wacky answers when asked about issues or their views.

But,then, the world is full of wild, wacky people!

Thanks @oldgeek.

I agree, I guess charging you for failing at your goals is easier than rewarding you for attaining them, since it can be tricky to create a big enough positive incentive (who is funding it?), whereas the size of the negative incentive can be dialled up as far as you need.

On the political segment, a couple of comments:

  1. Trump is, and always has been, a con man first and businessman second. No one should ever take him seriously, except when someone (like the NJ Casino Control Commission in 1982 or 2016 Republican primary voters) stupidly gives him power or influence. At that point “all bets are off” and you’ll have to keep a sharp lookout for the Four Horsemen.

  2. Sanders really is your guy if you care about privacy and net neutrality.

Stuart does draw blood with his criticism over the takedown notice issued to Wikimedia (over an indisputably crappy image of the Sanders 2016 campaign logo).

The situation was badly handled by the Sanders campaign and their surrogates from beginning to end. It is a classic example of how a political campaign can resemble, at least briefly, a runaway train. The full story is only told on the Wikimedia Commons DCMA page here:


The end result was that the campaign unconditionally withdrew their demand (albeit only after a storm of bad press and criticism from supporters – at least one of whom was both a tech professional and a retired lawyer). Hopefully this was a “teachable moment” for both the candidate and his staff.


I’m a born and raised American Southerner, and I’m proud to see a state as Southern and Republican as South Carolina elect an Indian American woman as governor and a black man as one of its senators. As you’ve pointed out, progress is being made.

That said, electing and campaigning for ethnically diverse candidates has not done much to attract minorities to the Republican party. That’s because it’s the policies and the political discourse around these policies that matter more than the race of the person in office. Many minorities don’t feel comfortable speaking up in the Republican party or at Republican rallies, and the minority candidates who rise to prominence tend to be those who criticize other minorities for discussing racial issues (generally referred pejoratively to as “making this about race” or “playing the race card”).

Also, when you look below the national level, you will find more minority candidates running in the Democratic party. This can be seen in the ethnic breakdown of Representatives in the House and people elected to state legislatures. Republicans don’t campaign as hard for majority minority districts, which they’re quick to write off as belonging to the Democrats. You can also see the disparity in the invisible faces of people who help manage campaigns and work as staff for elected officials.

So there’s a long history that has earned Republicans the reputation that they have, and putting a few minority candidates in the spotlight is only the beginning of what needs to be done to change it.

Going to add my unsolicited £0.02 on the FitBit. We have had a terrible experience of the Charge HR. It adds around 3000 steps and 50 floors just with my wife’s car commute to work. No other FitBit has screwed up in this way before and my Android Wear device is far more accurate. The battery only lasts around 2-3 days which is a lot less than previous FitBit devices we have tried.

We loved the FitBit Ultras when they existed and they were far more accurate but they have been discontinued and the ‘One’ just isn’t a good replacement.

As much as FitBit is a good platform (if a closed one that I should be morally opposed to) we are trying to find good alternatives to the Ultra from other places.

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Thanks for your response, @bertel.

This calls for some history about the Republican party. I’m not a great writer, so I hope this is clearly understood.

The Republican party was founded in 1854 by the anti-slavery individuals who departed the Whig party and opposed the pro slavery Democrats. The first presidential candidate for the Republicans was John C Fremont known as The Pathfinder. The Democrats went into full fear-mongering mode on this guy and essentially said to the people: If you elect a Republican, slavery is all but over. Fremont unfortunately lost, but in 1860 the second republican candidate Abraham Lincoln did win.

Between the date of this election and his inauguration on Monday March 4th 1861, seven of the slave states in the deep south had left the union to form the confederacy before he was even sworn in as president.
South Carolina – Dec 20th, 1860
Mississippi – Jan 9th, 1861
Florida – Jan 10th, 1861
Alabama – Jan 11th, 1861
Georgia – Jan 19th, 1861
Louisiana – Jan 26th, 1861
Texas – Feb 1st, 1861

Because they knew that the rise of the “racist” Republicans ment the end of slavery in America. And it did too – after the war ended, Lincoln was assassinated by Democratic activist John Wilkes Booth. And then the “racist” Republicans passed Amendment XIII: Abolition of Slavery, Amendment XIV: Right to Due Process. Equal Protection under the law, and Amendment XV: Right to vote not denied due to race. The “non-racist” Democrats fought all these things tooth and nail.

When the first black men were elected to congress as “racist” Republicans, the Democrats got to work and founded the Ku Klux Klan, to make sure it wouldn’t happen again. Democrats wrote the Jim Crow laws which kept the blacks in position of slavery.

All of those pictures that you’ve seen of people turning firehoses and dogs on peaceful black marchers, were unleashed by democrats like Lester Maddox, Bull Connor and George Wallace.

You may also know of the great anti-slavery writer Frederick Douglass, also a “racist” Republican.

He once wrote: “I recognize the Republican party as the sheet anchor of the colored man’s political hopes and the ark of his safety.”

Democrats can’t argue with this kind of history. So what they say to try and justify this century of shame, is that right around the time that they themselves, the Modern Democrats, came along, the parties mysteriously switched sides.

Now what really happened was that the loving decent progressive racism that’s been a hallmark of the Democratic party took a new and subtle form. They invented a new way to keep black people/minorities on the plantation working for them. They gave them free food, free housing and free medical care in exchange not for a harvest of cotton, but rather a steady annual bumper crop of votes. And the way that they did this, was by telling black americans that the Republicans (that had fought and died for their freedom!) were in fact the real racists, because we’re against these new shackles like Affirmative Action and entitlement programs that keep them perpetually bound to the Democrat masters. We’re against Affirmative Action because we see people as individuals, not as a bunch of sticks. Good and bad individuals. And we don’t see black people as being so inferior as to need lower test scores to get into college. We think they can do just as well or as poorly as anyone else. We so-called racist Republicans not only quote but we actually believe the words of that great Republican who said “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” – MLK, Jr.
We believe that there is a word for people who are used by other people and provided in return with free food, free housing and free medical care, and that word is slaves. And the Republican party was, is and always will be the party that frees the slaves.

So when people whom I respect, @sil and @jeremy, shout racism (and sexism, which is another topic!) in regards to the Republican party, I get a little upset. I’m absolutely and completely TIRED of being labeled a RACIST, and it hurts a lot worst coming from these guys.


Everything before this quote is correct. Everything after that is a shift from historical timeline to an espousal of the modern day conservative platform, and it’s up for contention. I’m not going to take that part on, because despite how much I’m about to type to someone I don’t know on the Internet, I’m not trying to start a fight.

Instead, let’s continue the timeline.

The is no mystery surrounding when and why the parties switched. When the Democratic party started pursuing a more progressive agenda, Southern voters gradually left the party. The Republican party saw an opening and adapted its platform to attract these voters. Likewise, Northern progressives then shifted to the Democratic party, which had become the party that now better represented their views.

The key to understanding American politics is to look at regions, not party (I recommend everyone read “American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America” by Colin Woodard). The Democratic and Republican parties have largely swapped platforms and constituents since the Civil War era. But those regions they represent still by and large vote the way they always did.

The progressive voting block that brought us Lincoln today forms the solid Northern region of blue states that give us Democrats. The Republicans that came down and fought for African Americans came from these areas that are now Democratic. African Americans that voted for those Republicans now vote Democratic.

Today’s Democratic party barely competes in those areas that gave us a century of Southern segregationists (and centuries of pro-slavery voters before that). Those constituents, and their emphasis on states’ rights, has shifted to the Republican party. So it is disingenuous to say that today’s Republican party, which now has its strongest base in the South, is the party of Lincoln.

Now let’s step away from history for a moment. Like you, I am also bothered when I hear people refer to Republicans (or Southerners) dismissively as racists. As I said before, I’m a Southerner, and I’ve grown up around people I know vote Republican. They have extended toward me love and generosity my entire life. I’ve spent some time in the North, but I feel most at home in the South. I now live in the capital of the old Confederacy, and today that city is a very colorful one where whites, blacks, and immigrants from all over the world interact and get along every day. In many ways, racial harmony is better in the South than in the North, where “progressive” voters funneled minorities into desolate urban ghettos. Southern history is ugly, but it’s one (ironically) of racial integration.

Okay, this has grown long-winded, but I would like to say one more thing. We (especially progressives) must be very careful how we use the word “racist.” A policy can be racist, but that doesn’t make the people who support it racially motivated. In the South, the rush toward building and funding private schools in the 20th century was a racially motivated backlash to the federal government’s push for integration. To this day, most minorities attend public school. The debate over which schools we should invest money toward still has a racial element, as relatively few minorities attend private schools. But that does not mean that when today’s conservatives push for private schools, they’re doing it for racist reasons (though to really unpack this is a conversation for another day). We can repeat this dynamic to everything from law enforcement and gun rights to immigration law and taxation. Until we learn how to talk about these issues properly, we end up with well-intentioned people walking away feeling insulted and hurt. That’s why I try to avoid hurtful labels, and I hope that I have not added to that hurt with anything that I’ve said to you.

Except I never said that about any particular party. I called one specific candidate a racist, sexist, xenophobic, megalomaniac. And in my opinion, he is. That aside, your general argument seems to be: “movement $x was founded 150+ years ago with ideals $y, so that must certainly still be true”. This exact discussion aside, that reasoning seems specious at best.


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That aside, your general argument seems to be: “movement $x was founded 150+ years ago with ideals $y, so that must certainly still be true”. This exact discussion aside, that reasoning seems specious at best.

The contrast between this and the significantly longer response I just wrote to @dankles really shows the difference between someone who studied in the humanities and someone who thinks like a developer. :laughing:

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This isn’t just an 1800s thing, the Republicans also fought hard for civil rights bills in the 1960s. When it finally passed, 87% of republicans voted yes while only 61% of Democrats voted yes in the house. In the senate 82% of republicans to 69% of Democrats. Among those Democrats who voted against it where Al Gore Sr father of the guy who invented the internet, Robert Byrd a former Ku Klux Klan Exalted Cyclops and in office till 2010, and William Fulbright who was Bill Clinton’s mentor and awarded a Medal of Freedom by President Clinton.

Also, Republican values of the 1800s are still very inline with what they represent today.
Though I do agree that regions and populations are key to understanding an issue such as this. And I’d say the less racist the South gets, the more Republican it becomes. Democrats keep trying to rewrite history and say that all the Democratic racists/segregationists left the party and became Republican starting with the 60s civil rights. If it were true, you’d expect the states most associated with racism in the deep south to have been the first to “switch,” but it was actually the opposite, it was the outskirt states such as North Carolina, Virginia, Texas, Tennessee, and Florida. The Democrat segregationist George Wallace lost these voters in his 1968 run for president.

I’m not on the attack against you either, @bertel. You seem to have a very even mind on deep social issues. I’m mainly aiming at our hosts that made the comments about racism on the show. And I’m from the south as well, great to see another southerner on here!

@jeremy What upset me mainly started here: https://youtu.be/HclkcmBDLpM?t=5m22s
Which I disagree with and sounded like a conversation shift from Donald Trump to Republicans/conservatives in general with regards to the monster they created and the coded words.

I’m just disappointed there was barely any mention of other parties. True, there are a lot that don’t need mentioning because they are a bit far gone (Nazi party anyone?), but some mention of the Green and Libertarian candidates would have been nice.

I don’t know much about the Green party, but either one of the two possible Libertarian candidates would be better than Trump or Hillary (or the rest of em really).

Johnson seems to have a pretty good track record, which would be nice for a change.
McAfee doesn’t have the best record, but if we compare him to any of the Democrats or Republicans he looks like a saint.

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