Because what could go wrong?

Depressing article from the Times this week …

Under Dodd-Frank, the general rule was to be that if a lender wanted to securitize mortgages, that lender had to keep at least 5 percent of the risk. There was an exception. The lender didn’t need to retain any risk in mortgages deemed to be supersafe. Those mortgages were to be known as Qualified Residential Mortgages, or Q.R.M., in the jargon that promptly developed.

In 2011, when the regulators first proposed rules to carry out the risk-retention law, the idea was that there would be a two-tier mortgage market. Mortgages deemed to be Q.R.M. would be characterized by substantial down payments that would minimize the risk of default, while the other tier would include riskier mortgages — although still safer than some of the ridiculous mortgages that characterized the boom — and could be securitized only if those responsible for either the loans or the securitizations kept some of the risk.

But when the final rule was adopted this week, that idea was dropped.

“The loophole has eaten the rule, and there is no residential mortgage risk retention,” said Barney Frank, the
former chairman of the House Financial Services Committee and the Frank in Dodd-Frank.

Because what could go wrong if banks take on a bunch of risky mortgages that eventually go belly up?

Fixing the Ruby Error “Symbol not found: _SSLv2_client_method (LoadError)”

I was doing some work on my computer this weekend and when running a ruby script, I got a whole stack trace, with the main error being:

Symbol not found: _SSLv2_client_method (LoadError)

I use rbenv and build my own rubies, so that I don’t have to muck about with the system ruby (and gems). It should have occurred to me that after the POODLE SSL flaw, Apple would have patched (at least partially) the SSL libraries.

After a bit of Googling, Stack Overflow to the rescue. I needed to simply rebuild ruby, which would build it against the updated SSL libs.

On rbenv, if you have ruby-build installed, that’s as simple as:

rbenv install 2.1.2

GamerGate: Angry White (Young) Men

If you’re curious about GamerGate at all, which its proponents would have you believe is about getting truth in gaming journalism, go read this amazing Deadspin article.

As is often the case, GamerGate is really about a minority of angry white men (in this case, they tend to be teens to twenties) who are mad that somehow talking about sexism is akin to violating “men’s rights”. (As if being born a white man wasn’t already about as big an advantage in the world as is humanly possible.)

It’s so incredibly disheartening and so incredibly infuriating. There are a billion good things about the internet and anonymity, but the bad things are rapidly eroding any value that anonymity brings. When you get the chat log talking about whether or not driving someone to suicide is the right PR move, you’ll realize how bad people can get when hiding behind an anonymous screen name.

The whole thing is an amalgamation of everything that is awful right now. Sexism, anonymous online threats, the media reporting both sides of a story as having equal truth/value. The tide may be turning in a positive direction, though. The recent abuse handed out over Twitter to a local (and prominent) game developer may have caused enough of a stir that the media might actually a) pay attention, and b) not treat both sides as equivalent.

A few well place prosecutions and this whole sordid issue may be in the past.

Ayn Rand: Still Ruining Lives

If you follow me on Twitter (or know me in real life), you’ll know I’m not fond of Ayn Rand, her books, or her philosophy. I found it entirely disheartening to read this Re/code article about the suicides of three startup founders from the Downtown Project in Las Vegas.

Damania said there’s a tendency to say the suicides were just a fluke or a coincidence, but that they’re
actually a fundamental problem with entrepreneurship.

“It’s a symptom of this performance,” he said.

It’s part of an ultra-individualistic, stoic ethos similar to one espoused by philosopher Ayn Rand.

“Founders are the worst,” he said. “There’s a Randian — I must be the John Galt — feeling. You can be as
liberated as you want, but there’s a web of connectivity, and they forget.”

It’s incredibly unfortunate that these people, who’ve often given up so much of the structure and support in their lives to go build the company of their dreams, think that they have to do it alone, because, you know, Ayn Rand.

(Yeah, yeah, that’s reductive.)

It was apropos that this week John Oliver covered, to his normal hilarious effect, “How is Ayn Rand Still a Thing?”

A great rule of thumb in life: if someone says they really love Ayn Rand’s books/philosophy/point of view, assume they’re a giant douchebag.