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March 2019 posts

"Hume the Humane"

Julian Baggini has a good tribute to David Hume that appeared in Aeon.  

This was an interesting and provocative quote:

"The best human beings have not been driven by ideology, moral philosophy, and certainly not logic. They have always been people who have put the response to human need above creed or doctrine. Indeed, the worst crimes have been committed by people convinced of a justifying moral principle."

Perhaps.  But there are plenty of other heinous crimes committed for no moral principle at all.  

Helpful Writing

By Jonathan B. Wight

Computer programmers have a daunting task.  One is to figure out what to say when things go wrong.

Yesterday I was interacting on-line with a vital government agency that has been severely underfunded (in my opinion) by the current administration.  That probably had nothing to do with what I’m reporting below, but perhaps it does. 

After a half hour of dutifully filling in forms, with multiple steps and screens along the way, the program informed me that I was almost done!  Just one more screen to finish!

I clicked on “Finish” … and the dreaded Error message appeared:

“An exception occurred while processing your request. Additionally, another exception occurred while executing the custom error page for the first exception. The request has been terminated.”

Does anyone have any idea what this means?  I’m sure the coders were well intentioned, but this message was not compatible with user friendliness or user low blood pressure!  I had to start over.