El meico de Colchagua

La neblina impedía ver a más de 50 metros, pero aún así podía distinguir las hileras de álamos que aparecían y se desvanecían a medida que la camioneta avanzaba a saltitos por el camino de ripio. Don José iba lento, esquivando las posas que había dejado la lluvia de la noche anterior. Tanto él como su señora eran más bien parcos, así que la entretención tenía que buscarla en otro lado. Con los baches del camino no podía leer la novela que me había mantenido despierta hasta las tres de la madrugada, así que lo que quedaba era mirar por la ventana. Lo que no estaba mal, porque pese a que los campos de la Provincia de Colchagua son muy parecidos entre sí –pastizales gigantes, zarzamoras, álamos, uno que otro huaso a caballo– no me canso de admirarlos.

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How hard it is to unmask the faker?

I see myself as a skeptic. And yet, time and again I surprise myself accepting an statement someone tells me without verifying it, or taking an unproven fact as truth. I am appalled at how naïve and innocent I choose to be when being doubtful requires an effort on my part. It is so easier to concede and so hard to question everything, or to doubt so-called “experts,” as Richard Feynman told us.

It sounds incorrect, but you’d rather don’t think about it. You are most certain the statement you are hearing is false, but you wouldn’t want to annoy the one conveying his opinion. You are in doubt and would like to ask, but you wouldn’t want to make those around you uncomfortable. You have all the power and knowledge to unmask the faker, but you don’t want to be the party pooper.

And so you settle for whatever it is you are hearing, reading or experiencing. Like I did when I visited this supposedly old Inca site on Ecuador last month.

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Another intractable challenge was divided and conquered

Last week a client suffered a major hardware failure on a storage and lost several virtual machines, including one which hosted an application to compute salaries. The failure came exactly a week before pay day. With over 600 sales executives, supervisors and managers expecting their salaries, losing the application on that very moment can’t be taken for less than another proof that Murphy’s Law continues to rule our world.

The software company which built the app didn’t have the resources or knowledge to restore it. So even though I quit working as the salary app architect more than 4 years ago and hadn’t seen them since, they called me desperately asking for help. They wanted me to recover the system on a new server so they could compute the salaries ASAP.

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