Category Archives: Poor Design

Poor Design

Re-Current Events

One hallmark of idiocy is doing the same thing incorrectly over and over again.  Recently that badge of dishonor belongs not to slain civilians nor to police officers, but to so-called civic leaders who for some reason can’t seem to identify and execute the world’s most obvious solution to the recurring problem of legally ambiguous police shootings.

The problem is apparently that police departments are still in the stone ages with respect to weaponry.  Individual officers do not have the tools necessary to dial down force to non-lethal levels.   For the most part, they’re issued a lethal pistol to carry in their holster, and then they have additional lethal weapons in the trunk of their vehicle.  It would be like showing up to a job site to build an entire house from scratch, and only bringing a hammer.

Unless they want to rename these divisions “Death Squads”, it doesn’t make any sense at all for police personnel to have only one weapon to choose from – with just one lethality setting.

How much would it cost to supplement each officer in each police department with a taser/electroshock gun?  With respect to overall budgets, who would really care or oppose this?

On the other hand, continuing to spend millions of dollars on trials arguing whether shootings meet the letter of various highly-subjective laws is about as constructive as arguing over what shape you see in the clouds.

Poor Design

Cryptocurrency Epilogue: Please No Cryptocurrency Bailouts!

In a previous post, I expounded on why I felt cryptocurrencies were one of the worst ideas and worst investments of today.

I realized I didn’t go far enough.  We as a society need to draw the line somewhere for when we’ll bail people out of their own bad decisions, and cryptocurrency is a good place to start.  I believe that cryptocurrencies are so stupid, that when cryptocurrencies do crash, people that are hit the hardest should not under any circumstances be bailed out.  I think it would be very appropriate for the U.S. government to go on the record and explain that.

I also noticed recently that what’s perhaps the most cryptic of all is what you can actually buy from anyone or from any business with cryptocurrency.  You can find anecdotal tales on the internet of one thing or another being purchased, or that some franchise somwhere accepts a particular cryptocurrency, but invariably those relevant business websites never advertise anything for sale in terms of cryptocurrency.

Poor Design

Troubled Foundations

It dawned on me the other day that one reason – perhaps even a huge reason – that New Year’s Resolutions don’t work for many people is because the notion that adjustments, changes, and drastic transformations should only occur once a year is completely incongruent with the correct mentality: they should occur whenever they’re deemed beneficial.

Thus, that subconscious mental dissonance poisons the effort from the very beginning.  For starters, the aspect of the effort that’s “gimmicky” is never fully shaken; it remains there like a cloud, infusing a lack of interest and a lack of seriousness all throughout the effort.

Poor Design

Precious Metals = Cryptocurrency

My attitude towards cryptocurrencies (e.g. Bitcoin) is very similar to my attitude towards pyramid schemes.  However, I think there might be a silver lining in the cloud!  Cryptocurrencies might finally awaken everyone to the ludicrous nature of so-called “precious metals” (e.g. gold and platinum), as well as their priceless cousins (e.g. rubies and diamonds).

Cryptocurrencies are digital currencies that are kept rare to a certain specification, and they are not backed by any military in the world, and you cannot force a storekeeper to accept your cryptocurrency when you want to buy food.  In much the same way, you can show up at Walmart with gold and diamonds in the back of your truck.  However, the Walmart manager is not going to let you buy anything with it.  U.S. law states that businesses must, at the very least, accept U.S. currency.  U.S. law states that U.S. currency must always be accepted for public and private debts, which essentially guarantees it will hold its value and be accepted by private businesses for regular transactions.  No such law exists for precious metals, or just as dubiously, for cryptocurrency.

Furthermore, even if the Walmart manager wanted to trade for your geological rarities, he would not have any equipment on hand to verify the authenticity and purity of it.  You would have to wait around in the parking lot, hoping someone would eventually show up who believed that gold and diamonds were, for some reason, worth U.S. cash, and would trade for them.  If nobody showed up, you would be stuck with near-useless geological artifacts in the back of your truck, and no way to buy the groceries you need.

(It should be noted that gold actually has a use in electronics parts, and diamonds have a use in drilling machinery.  However, the value in those aforementioned uses do not come close to justifying what those commodities trade for.)

Petroleum is rare, and it’s also extremely useful.  Barring a new and unexpected discovery that reveals an amazing second use for people’s jewelry, the same cannot be said for precious metals.  In just the same way, cryptocurrency has no intrinsic use or value.  It’s (artificially) rare, but it has no inherent use and no inherent value, nor is any value imbued into it by a national military.  Like precious metals, your only hope is that someone else will think that, against all facts, it might be worth something in the future.

If there is to be a silver lining in the obvious cloud of cryptocurrency, it’s that once it crashes, people might start to realize their jewelry is surprisingly close to worthless.

Poor Design

Sliding Standards

I won’t say that “back in my day”, it was simply expected that you graduate from high school, but one got the sense that in generations prior, that’s how it was.  You were supposed to graduate from high school.

Now every school in my area takes out a full-page ad (some take out several pages of ads) trumpeting the unbelievable accomplishment of our high school students graduating from high school.

In fact, if you stripped all the words and context away, these ads almost look like photos of people who just won the lottery!

600 graduates

100 percent passing rate

I strongly disagree with this approach.  I refuse to participate in this cult of the high-school-graduation hysteria.  It looks and feels like sliding standards.  I’m skeptical that the world’s highest-performing countries do this.

And sadly, it will be hard for individual schools to stop doing this, as long as all the other schools continue doing it.  This form of peer pressure will tend to ensure this embarrassing trend continues going strong.

One wonders what’s next.  All-out celebrations for junior high graduates?  Custom theme music getting blared out for students each time they successfully go to the restroom?

To tell you the truth, I feel like the students here are pawns, at least partially, in an academia-led scheme to cult-ify high school graduation.  Very similar to how we used to always hear the mind-boggling sage wisdom about how 18-year-old basketball phenoms should play four years of college basketball.  While making $0 and risking a career-ending, millions-losing injury!  With the only upside being that they get a college education… that they could have actually received later after they secured hundreds of millions of dollars (with tens of those millions being guaranteed in their initial contract, before they even stepped foot on the court).

Poor Design

Petty Million Dollar Lawsuits

Right now there’s a nasty defect in ebay’s system.  When you look at an item’s listing, you are shown the item’s price and how much it will cost to ship.  If you agree to buy the item, ebay policy says you are then obligated to pay for it.

That’s where the problem arises.

You see, when you’re set to pay for it, the price goes up!  Yes, that’s right:

1.) You agree to buy the item at a certain price.

2.) ebay policy says you are now obligated to pay for the item.

3.) Woops, the price goes up!  Sorry, but please enter your credit card number!

Item A: The listing price.
Item A: The listing price.

Item A: The price after you agree to buy.
Item A: The price after you agree to buy.

In my estimation, based on various heuristics, this looks like a slam dunk for any law firm.   In this case, if a law firm filed a class action lawsuit against ebay, it would literally be the same thing as ebay writing that law firm a check for seven or eight figures.  ebay’s clearly guilty, they might be looking to cover this up as we speak, and they’ll surely want to settle the lawsuit.  The number of affected customers is probably high.  And most probably don’t even realize they’ve been overcharged, or, depending on your point of view, been a victim of a breach of contract.

The few times I’ve noticed it, this defect is not a result of the user choosing a different shipping option.  It sometimes exists when there is just one shipping option.  It can be for a few cents, or as much as $10.

Item B: The listing price.
Item B: The listing price.

Item B: The price after you agree to buy.
Item B: The price after you agree to buy.

Poor Design

Wrong Number

Julianne Moore on the verge of death from unknown toxins.  A still from Safe, a movie by Todd Haynes which was described by many critics as
Julianne Moore on the verge of death from unknown toxins.  A still from Safe, a movie by Todd Haynes which was described by many critics as “The Best Film of the Decade”.

Like something out of a dystopian alternate reality, dialing one digit incorrectly as you lie poisoned on the floor desperately trying to call the national poison hotline… will promptly connect you to elite professionals who actually cater to fantasies involving you poisoning yourself.

Well, that in itself would probably be poor design, and on many, many levels at that, but we live in the free world, thankfully, and so we’re going to focus on a very narrow aspect of this find.  To explain, let’s first observe that the number for the national poison hotline is 1-800-222-1222.

Page 286 of First Aid, CPR and AED Advanced, Sixth Edition.
Page 286 of First Aid, CPR and AED Advanced, Sixth Edition.

Now, before we reveal who owns 1-800-222-2222, it might be good to recap some previous action.  I have been reading a book titled First Aid, CPR and AED Advanced.  And recently I started Chapter 18.  It’s all about poisoning.  Page 289 really gets into it:

Page 289 of First Aid, CPR and AED Advanced, Sixth Edition.
Page 289 of First Aid, CPR and AED Advanced, Sixth Edition.

Now for the big reveal.  After Googling 1-800-222-2222, I found out that that number actually belongs to Caesar’s Entertainment, of Las Vegas fame.  Practically the very first thing I saw on their website?

OK, it may be poetic or humorous in a dark sense, but again the point of poor design lies somewhere else; truly, Caesar’s is free to run their business however they like, and we are free to slowly (or quickly) kill ourselves with alcohol.  What’s definitely poor design is this: Why didn’t the U.S. government just buy out and/or commandeer that number from Caesar’s?  I have no idea how that’s done or what the official term for it even is, but the government commandeers a lot of stuff; they take stuff like land and pay the owner fair value for it.  Plus, phone numbers are almost like a public utility.  It wouldn’t surprise me if the government already had a certain degree of control over them.

And so, who is going to remember that number for national poison hotline, as opposed to 1-800-222-2222?  Although the phone numbers differ by only one digit, the all-2s number is a million times easier to remember.  Having things that are easy to remember is important.  Having them be easy to remember for emergency situations is absolutely critical.

Well then, the clear runner-up image from the Caesar’s website: A woman has been "kissed" by either the sun's, or a tanning bed's, extremely toxic and eventually lethal UV rays.   (A staggering 1 in 5 Americans will eventually contract skin cancer.  A woman has been “kissed” by either the sun’s, or a tanning bed’s, extremely toxic and eventually lethal UV rays.  (A staggering 1 in 5 Americans will eventually contract skin cancer.

Page 150 of First Aid, CPR and AED Advanced, Sixth Edition.
Page 150 of First Aid, CPR and AED Advanced, Sixth Edition.

Maybe what’s even more humorous, if you think about it, is how Las Vegas locals are given special discounts for all this stuff.

Poor Design

Competing Classification Systems

I’ve been reading First Aid, CPR and AED Advanced.  Overall, the book has been pretty clear, but there have been a few exceptions. Page 95 (below) is one of them.

Page 95 of First Aid, CPR and AED Advanced, Sixth Edition.

This page messes with my mind.  To me, it’s just like that mildly annoying color-related brain teaser that tries to trick your brain – which apparently is well documented and called the Stroop Effect.

In this flowchart, when the designer(s) decided which of the two choices (‘Yes’ or ‘No’) should be green and which should be red, they adopted the very common classification system where ‘Yes’ is green and ‘No’ is red.  However, they overlooked the context of the diagram, and specifically, what ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ indicate.

In this diagram ‘Yes’ means the victim has a head injury or has significant breathing problems.  My mind wants that to be colored red because it conveys a huge negative.  This classification system ought to trump the more basic one.  It’s more aligned with how my mind works.  Maybe if you’re a real Yes/No-oriented person, you see it the other way.

Poor Design

World’s Most Dubious Security Measures @ PayPal

Surely there are businesses with security practices even more dubious than those at PayPal, but relative to a company’s size and capital, I’m not sure any come close when it comes to passwords.

Just do a search for paypal 20 character password.

world most dubious security measures

Now, if you’re thinking that you’ll just enable 2-step authentication to mitigate this risk, think again.  Look at how PayPal almost appears to be working against you!

world most dubious security measures II