Monday tech (build your own platforms)

I’m keeping this for reference in case my self hosting site falls over. Having looked at linode, it does pretty much what my host does — lets you set up an OS inside a server and run your website from that.

Which means you only need to worry about having a backup in case it all goes to custard (backup on Monday is a good rule) and you need to keep within the rules of your society — noting that other societies can and do try to ruin the ones within we live. The ISP makes money from you.

You are the client.

Not the social activists working elsewhere.

I run my own blog on a shared-server webhost. Even this wasn’t enough control for me, when, recently, they screwed it all up when “upgrading” their server. Now I’m migrating to Linode, and will finish when I’ve got my own mailservers set up and tuned in on the Linode instance. (I expect they won’t screw with the contents of a virtual-private server.) The only reason it’s not all running off my raspberry pi cluster is connection uptime during thunderstorms and the like.

I stopped using facebook years ago. Why put your creative work on a platform that you don’t trust run by people who hate you? Why put it on something where you can’t pull backups?

I need to start posting tutorials on how to do all the “web-stuff”. It’s really not that hard. (Though my frame of reference for computer difficulty is a little strange.) The 90s era libertarian internet was made of people running their own amateur sites on their own amateur servers. There wasn’t anything “profesisonal” out there.

Matt Briggs explains the null hypothesis as well as anyone else I’ve heard. Read, and then note this: just because a thing is related does not mean it is causal.

Before you get too excited, understand that everybody who uses a p-value knows that p-values can’t prove cause. This is what the math says, and the math is right. P-values have nothing to say about cause. But everybody uses p-values to prove cause anyway. They can’t help themselves. P-values are magic.

This knowledge that a p-value can’t find cause has nothing on the overwhelming desire that it should, though. And it’s only natural in our society that desire wins over truth.

All right. So what is a p-value? It is a mathematical construction that takes for its premise the belief that the cause envisioned by the researcher does not exist. That is, it is assumed in the math that the cause the researcher wants to believe is false or a fiction.

Thus, it wasn’t profitol that caused the improvements, but something else. That is wasn’t carbon dioxide that caused the temperature to increase, but something else. That is wasn’t sex that caused the differences in the questionnaire, but something else.

The something else is nearly always “chance”. What is chance? Nothing. Chance doesn’t exist, as we have seen many times. Chance is not like gravity or electricity. You can’t use chance as you could gravity or electricity to bring about an effect. It can’t be measured. It can’t cause anything. It is a state of mind, relative to a set of beliefs.

Even if you don’t follow (or believe) that, never mind. It’s not important to understand p-values.

What is crucial is that the math behind the p-value assumes the cause the researcher was thinking of is nonexistent, non-operative, not around or weak or anemic to the point of vanishing.

This odd belief in the lack of the desired cause is called the “null hypothesis.” You’ve heard it. “The null is that profitol didn’t cause the improvement” and so on. We are supposing the improvement was observed. We are also supposing that temperature increased—but increase is tricky because of definitions of “trend”. And we are supposing there were observed differences in the scores by sex.

The math needs this null. This null premise is fed into the math, along with the data, and if the p-value is less than the magic number, a value so ubiquitous I don’t need to mention it, then everybody believes the null has been been disproved.

I’ll be blunter. People believe the null is false when the p is wee—unless they really, really want their cause to be true, then the p-value is ignored. Here it’s a good thing our patron has banned a certain word, because it’s utterly inapplicable here. The null isn’t maybe or perhaps false if the p is wee; it is decided it is false, or its decided to be false.

My computers are reaching use by date — and even though Pinebook and Endless make computers that are generally adequate for my needs I do need to eke out the hardware as long as possible. This will involve setting up an LVM for most of the disks in the old machine. I do have everything backed up… multiple times.

As should you all. Time to back up this server.