Good tech, bad tech
While napping, halfway listened to a BBC tech feature with two dramatically contrasting news items. I doubt they intended the contrast, but it banged into my mind.
First item: Young tech types in Afghanistan have set up an open-source clearing house for practical ideas to improve life in their country. Their basic notion is that the cell-phone system must become the backbone of not only tech but government and civilization. There's very little infrastructure outside the cell network. Afghanistan has about 18 million mobile phone users* in a population of 30 million. Covers just about every household, so it's a good choice for a backbone! These techies are starting with a 'promo' to show their abilities: an app** to schedule and register for the Hajj. Since every Muslim should make the Hajj at least once, it's a universal need, and the American puppet gov't is apparently doing a poor job of organizing the trips. Beyond this, the techies are working on many ways to streamline commerce and other activities.
Second item: London sidewalks are often tilted heavily toward the street to aid drainage. Wheelchair users have some trouble navigating the tilt. So a "human factors engineering" laboratory has built a small streetscape and a full set of telemetry equipment to "solve" the problem. Human subjects are weighed down with all sorts of stress analyzers, accelerometers, gait-analysis laser points, and cameras; then they do things like pushing wheelchairs around the sidewalks. Cost must be around a million dollars, and the result will be a bunch of numbers. Even if the numbers somehow lead to a proposed engineering solution, the solution would require rebuilding the whole city to compensate for a minor problem experienced by a few people.
= = = = =
Perfect parable of Good Tech and Bad Tech.
Good tech is simple, uses minimal equipment and directly solves the problems of real people.
Bad tech uses lots of money and equipment and serves only to generate more grants for the researcher.
How would you apply Afghan Tech to the London problem? There can't be more than a thousand serious chair-users in a town that size. Offer each of them a mechanism that senses tilt and biases the electronic steering controls accordingly. This isn't fancy; could have been done mechanically 200 years ago or electrically 100 years ago. Now it could probably be done with a hacked Wii or Kinect thingie.
If you get a thousand takers, you've spent maybe half a million and you've directly solved the actual problem without affecting anyone else. No need to measure human factors, analyze gait, or rebuild the city.
= = = = =
* Footnote 1: 18 million cell phone users in a pop of 30 million. Think about that. Meanwhile, American Repooflican commentators are still repeating the same old tired shit about Afghanistan being a 5th-century country where people don't have watches or calendars. Hmmmmmm. Who's behind the times?
** Footnote 2: The Hajj App. I can't imagine Western techies designing an app to assist ordinary people in the performance of their religious duties. Western techies are civilization-smashing commieshit fuckheads, as evidenced by their unanimous commieshit fuckhead response to the SOPA/MegaUpload situation. You couldn't pay them enough to write a program that would help people register for baptism or arrange a proper two-gender marriage.
¶ 5:04 PM
Longtime Allies, Egypt And U.S. Now Have Differences
Well, yes. That was the whole fucking point of their revolution. The people were tired of a leader who primarily served US and Israel. They wanted new leaders who would serve the FUCKING PEOPLE OF FUCKING EGYPT for the first time in 50 fucking years.
At the moment the new leaders aren't meeting all expectations of the people, but that's normal in a revolution or reform. The people always expect changes that aren't practically possible. Nevertheless, the new gov't is doing pretty well on the most basic goals of national sovereignty and Islamic dominance.
Do you suppose London papers in 1776 had headlines like this?
Longtime Allies, American Colonies Now Have Differences with England
No, because they weren't fucking idiots. Only modern American "journalists" are idiotic, infantile and egocentric enough to believe that every revolution should advance the aims of Feminists, Fags, Amorphodites, Bulldykes and Graduate Queer Culture Studies.
¶ 3:41 AM
Saturday, January 28, 2012
Only way to profit?
Supposedly Steve China-Jobs set up the huge Foxconn factory in his beloved motherland of China because Apple couldn't make a profit on its phone devices otherwise.
Hell no. For 70 years Western Electric supplied phones for every American. WE's Hawthorne Works employed about 50,000 Americans, and was famous for good working conditions. In fact it was a laboratory for improving working conditions.
Are the new devices so complicated that they require a different level of labor? I doubt it. In electronic terms the iPhone is literally a billion times more complicated. But in terms of human labor the old and new are about the same, with roughly two dozen parts needing human assembly. So the comparison is valid.
Was the old Bell System actually able to make a profit, despite using those horrible lazy unskilled American workers and paying them actual money in exchange for labor? Hell yes. Back when stocks were bought for steady dividends instead of picosecond-scale pico-variations in share price, ATT stock was the gold standard.
So what's the difference?
Bell insisted on protection against foreign competition because its executives liked America and understood Henry Ford's correlation between contented workers and contented customers.
Apple insists on "free trade" because its executives are sadistic treasonous monsters who hate America, love slavery and enjoy using Chinese slave labor. This system is called "The Free Market" or "Individual Liberty".
Eating the seed corn
Yet another example of the Death of Storage. USDA is trying to cut a piddling $150 million. This will prevent exactly one hour of Federal borrowing from China. Whoooooieeee! Free at last! Free at last! For one hour!
It would serve public purpose if the Fed made it clear that in today's rate environment, what's called 'quantitative easing' in fact removes interest income from the private sector, thereby functioning much like a tax...
Furthermore, all the evidence so far indicates this source of fiscal drag may be at least offsetting any positive effects of lower interest rates on aggregate demand.
This brings up my second criticism with regards to the interest income channel. Lowering rates in general in the first instance merely shifts interest income from 'savers' to borrowers. And with the federal government a net payer of interest to the economy, lowering rates reduces interest income for the economy.
Since 2006 our economy has been trying to run on the counterfeit Wealth Effect generated by homeowners borrowing against a nonexistent increase in fictional value. At the same time we have completely canceled and deleted the honest Wealth Effect of stability and frugality.
In a civilized economy, storage of value allows people, businesses and governments to feel secure and confident. When you feel secure and confident, you're willing to spend money in sensible ways. You're less likely to gamble.
In a chaotic 'bets and debts' economy, with no storage of anything, you're always on the edge. You're vulnerable to every exigency of nature, to every scam and fraud, to every loss and expense. You're ready to risk it all on one roll of the dice.
The song, of course, expressed the attitude of a working man in Gilded Age Version 1, which we see repeated now in Gilded Age v2. Cynical and utterly realistic. The working man knew damn well that a Little Bit wouldn't help. When you owe your soul to the company store, when every dollar of income has to outgo immediately, only a one-in-a-billion Superball is enough blooming luck.
However: In a civilized economy where jobs are stable, money is constant, storage is secure and saving yields a meaningful return, you only need a Little Bit of luck. When your money goes into savings first, each small bonus, each slight increase in sales, gives you a permanent gain.
¶ 5:47 PM
Boys vs men 2
Sequel to last night's observation about Repooflican debaters. Newt and Mitt were carrying on a junior-high feud; when Paul and Santorum were invited to join the feud they instead showed how to solve the problem that Newt and Mitt were quibbling about. Boys vs men. Nice clear distinction.
Something similar is going on within the climate dispute between the genocidal mass-murdering Carbon Cult and the heretical Real Scientists. The Real Scientist side is descending into petty disputes, focusing on eentsy-weentsy details, trying to find all sorts of minor problems with the Carbon Cult's equations and statistics. Now they're trying to establish a competing Uniform Theory of Climate.
THIS IS A PURE WASTE OF TIME.
The heretical models are not going to work any better than the Carbon Cult models because the earth's climate is BEYOND MODELING. The number of well-known and well-measured variables is way beyond any computer's ability to handle, even if we knew the correct patterns for any of them. Which we don't. And we may be completely unaware of some important variables. Unknown unknowns, in Rumsfeldian jargon. Worst of all, we can't even start with "the earth's climate" as a meaningful concept. Northern and Southern hemispheres are largely independent systems, and there's very little consistency between any two locations.
In terms of Basic Science, the only thing we need to do is disprove the Carbon model. And that was ALREADY DONE decisively and dispositively by graphs like this.
FACT: If CO2 plays any part at all in determining the world's temperature, it doesn't show in the record. No further math needed. The job of Basic Science was finished 20 years ago.
Enough junior-high feuding. Enough Asperger obsession with details piled on details piled on details piled on details piled on details.
Now it's time for Applied Science, time to think about solving our ACTUAL PROBLEM.
In terms of climate and weather, OUR ACTUAL PROBLEM HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH TEMPERATURE. OUR ACTUAL PROBLEM IS PRECIPITATION. Specifically, in recent years the large-scale systems have been paralyzed too often, leaving jet streams in one place for an entire season, producing droughts on one side and floods on the other.
Can we figure out how to unstick these blocking highs? Can we force the jet stream to start slithering around more freely? Or if this is going to be permanent, how can we compensate? How many thousands of bureaucrats and Black-Robed Saboteurs will we need to kill before we can start building dams and canals again? Those are the APPLIED SCIENCE questions we should be pondering.
Boys vs men
Listened to a few minutes of tonight's CNN debate. Must admit: Unlike the useless "parallel press conferences" of previous elections, this year's debates are genuine and purposeful. They reveal the character, strength, and abilities of the candidates.
During the few minutes I caught, Mitt and Newt were feuding like 7th-graders about who is more offensive, and who wants to invade more countries and planets, and who tattled on who, and whose dick investment account is bigger, and Don't You Dare Talk To Me In That Tone! and I'll Talk To You In That Tone If I Want To, By Golly!
Commiefag Blitzer then asked the other two candidates to pick sides in the feud, and they refused. Instead, Paul and Santorum told us in precise detail how they had tried to prevent the housing bubble at the same time when Newt and Mitt were making millions from it.
Amazon and tax
Amazon is trying to set up a perfectly ironic and perfectly extortionate deal with the Florida legislature. Amazon will add a new processing center with 3000 jobs in Fla if the legislature gives them a 2-year exemption from state sales tax.
In other words: We want to make our company EVEN MORE TAXABLE in your state, but we'll only do it if you won't tax us.
I've never understood why so many states are so hesitant to impose sales tax on online companies like Amazon. It's a big source of revenue, and it's perfectly constitutional (not that anyone really cares about that). Taxing big online operators would be good for the state governments AND good for the people.
Clearly the reason for the reluctance is Amazon's ability to commit political blackmail. And as we know only too well, politics is nothing but blackmail.
Would Amazon lose customers if it added tax? I strongly doubt it. (This fits into my previous rant about the falsity of 'linear' economics.) I've been buying everything except groceries and clothes from Amazon since it first started. Would I switch to some local store if Amazon added sales tax? Nope. Way too much hassle and trouble and uncertainty. Why should I waste two hours of walking and bus transfers, looking for something that I probably won't find?
¶ 8:52 AM
Nothing to lose
Mafia capo Bugsy Bernanke has laid out the operation. He's sent us a message job right through the eye.
Well, there's one good side to this. It paves the way for a revolution, and it paves the way for a switch to Islamic economics. The Islamic system would be vastly better for America in most ways, but its lack of interest on savings would be hard to swallow for those of us who were formerly rewarded for frugality. Now that the Mafia has officially declared that interest is extinct, there's nothing to lose and everything to gain.
The inbred defective cretinous lackwit aristocrats in Congress are busy weeping about one of their members who became just a tiny fraction more cretinous than the rest.
Maybe if they spent less time bawling and screaming like retarded demented anencephalic infants, and more time behaving like ... No, cancel that thought. I can't expect adult behavior from these genetic rejects.
How about behaving with the same level of maturity as a kindergarten student council? That would do.
¶ 5:55 PM
Misteromney says that working-class people are guilty of "envying" the rich.
I do not envy the rich. Envy means "I want your life."
I hate the rich. Hate means "I want your life to end."
Preferably in the most exquisite, prolonged and unimaginable pain.
¶ 8:14 AM
Glad to see Obama emphasizing both the death of Sheikh Osama and the increase of oil production. Especially glad to see him pushing against the greenies on the issue of fracking!
Runs nicely counter to one of our most cherished shared lies: the idea that Bush was a shoot-first cowboy whose main interest was oil. Both "sides" used this lie but depicted it with opposite emotional colors.
The plain fact is that Bush had two chances to kill Sheikh Osama and chose to holster his gun both times. He didn't expand drilling, and actually created new 'protected zones'.
The plain fact is that Obama had one chance to kill Sheikh Osama, and pulled the trigger. He has expanded drilling and production, to the point that we're now importing less than half of our energy for the first time in 40 years.
By comparison, Bush was the Gandhian enviro-hippie and Obama is the cowboy oilman.
I hoped Obama would hit these points in his campaign, but didn't think he'd want to offend the D base by doing so.
He's also hitting the point of manufacturing, but I can't believe him there. From the start he's been saying the right words but doing absolutely nothing to restrict or regulate the Wall Street Mafia.
¶ 5:37 AM
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
THAT'S NOT THE POINT, DAMMIT!
Misteromney is making a big point about the fact that he hasn't violated tax laws, that he's paid the absolute minimum possible under the law.
Nice bit of smoke and mirrors, nice distraction.
NOBODY is accusing him of violating the tax laws. That's not the point.
The point of the complaints is that the LAWS are set up to make super-low taxes LEGAL for super-rich people like Romney. He can manipulate his sources of income in dozens of ways that ordinary people can't.
Most importantly, super-rich people are able to CUSTOMIZE the tax code itself to suit their own purposes. Ordinary people can't do that either.
I paid more tax than Romney this year, but the only way I can alter my percentage is by earning less. The only way I could voluntarily earn less** is by breaking my contract entirely and never earning again. I can't chop and channel my income, can't set up tax shelters, can't buy a Congressman to create a special personal exemption.
= = = = =
** Sidenote: This is a fallacy of the usual economic theories. Neoclassical economics starts with an assumption that earners and consumers can adjust their earnings or buying habits in a linear way when wages or prices change. You can supposedly decide to "work less" or "work more"; you can substitute another protein source for eggs. NO. DEAD WRONG. ABSOLUTELY INCORRECT.
Ordinary people rarely have the ability to adjust income or outgo.
You can quit your job entirely; you may be able to moonlight in various ways. But the choice of short hours or overtime is the employer's choice, not yours. In my "author-style" occupation, I don't have hours, but my choices are equally binary. I could try to pick up another courseware contract, but that's a very high-risk gamble. I can't choose to earn more on the current one. Royalties don't work that way. If I cancel this contract, it would be gone forever, and would destroy my chances of getting another one.
On the consuming side, if you're already living carefully and cheaply, you can't save much by substituting one brand or product for another. You can choose to stop eating in restaurants, or switch from owning a car to walking, or eliminate cable TV. Those are binary omissions, not substitutions. Eating in cheaper restaurants? Only helps if you're eating super-fancy to begin with. Trading down to a cheaper car? Only helps if you're starting with a Porsche. Save money on mortgage? Yes, if you can pay the points and closing costs. Save money on energy? If you can afford a new furnace or solar panels.
In short, any "adjustment" that really saves money requires either a lifestyle change, a large transaction cost, or a large capital expenditure. You can do some of those things if you're rich, and you have to do some of those things if you're totally broke. In between those extremes, you can't afford to make meaningful "adjustments". So economic theory, like all modern theories, fails to describe reality.
¶ 7:02 AM
What's your full name?NPR reports this morning on the Indian Mafia taking over online gambling....
"Mohegan Tribe Chairman Bruce 'Two Dogs' Bozsum looks with pride at the main gaming floor. He's sitting a level above the action inside a trendy bar called Womby Rock."
The crystallizing force isn't the Web.
It's commonly believed that the Web rigidifies your pre-formed beliefs; that the Web drives you to read only the things you already believe.
This is definitely plausible, but after a sort of off/on/off experiment, I can disprove it from my own experience. Obviously this may not apply to anyone else!
The real source of the rigidity is TV, not the Web.
Separating these influences is difficult. Since 1990 all media have been structured in a bipolar way, with Team A and Team B in every subject from sex to technology to politics.
The off/on/off experiment was accidental. From 1970 to 1990 I watched very little TV. From 1990 to 2000 I had a TV but no Cable; watched only stupid stuff like Springer and Cops. None of the propaganda-carrying stuff like comedies or "news". From 2000 to 2009 I had Cable and watched it ALL THE TIME. Even when I wasn't paying attention with my eyes, the TV was still rumbling in the background. Got firmly attached to the Fox side. Then I basically stopped watching in 2008, cut the Cable in 2009, gradually tapered to near zero TV.
Keeping a blog has forced me to organize my thoughts, and also makes it possible to look back and spot changes. And that's where the End Of Cable shows up clearly. From the blog's start in 2005 to late 2008, I was firmly with Fox, firmly with the neocons, despite constant doubts about Rezident Bush's intentions.
After 2008 I was able to fully rethink the whole mess. Loyalty to the Fox side dropped away, and I could abandon most of the conservative agenda and all of the neocon agenda, from its support of Israel to its disinformation about Islam to its disinformation about stock-based capitalism.
Here's the important distinction between Web and Broadcast media:
Viewpoints outside the two teams are available on the Web, because the team effect is localized on the Web. Each forum or subject has its own two teams. A view that falls entirely outside the R/D split may be Team A on some obscure forum.
Viewpoints outside the R/D split are not available on TV and radio because the team effect is globalized on TV and radio. There is no national show on TV or radio that does not adhere precisely to either D or R. Specifically: all non-"news" shows are D, all "news" on CNN/ABC/NBC/CBS is D, all "news" on Fox is R, all "news" on radio is R.
Most importantly, TV producers have a vast set of techniques to maintain your submission. Fast camera cuts to snap your attention back and forth 5 times per second; five or six things happening at once to your eyes; three or four things happening at once to your ears, always mounted on a pounding pounding pounding pounding pounding constant constant constant constant constant backbeat backbeat backbeat backbeat backbeat to keep your pulse rate phase-locked phase-locked phase-locked. This Satanic toolkit was perfected in the '70s for drama and commercials; Fox brought it to "news" in the '90s, copied by CNN and MSNBC.
During the decade when TV had me phase-locked, I followed the Fox team and ignored the out-of-bounds viewpoints on the web. After the TV lock was removed, I was able to think openly about FDR and Henry Ford, able to absorb non-Fox and non-CNN opinions and information about Israel and Islam and Wall Street. (On those three topics the TV rigidity is irresistible because R and D totally agree: Israel is Our Savior, Islam is Satan Incarnate, Wall Street is God Almighty.)
= = = = =
Semi-related: I got bored, so here's a chart of the monthly wordiness of this blog from the start (3/2005) through now (1/2012).
Looks like I started strong then almost ran out of things to say in the first year. The middle part is random as you'd expect from an activity that varies with moods and events. The last 12 months, corresponding to the time when I've been fully 'unlocked' from TV, are unusually constant. Looks like I'm bumping into an unseen saturation point or maximum. I'm certainly not trying to maintain a steady monthly word-quota!
¶ 3:48 AM
Monday, January 23, 2012
Where's the "liberal press" when you need it?
Halfway listening to tonight's MSNBC debate.
Nothing dramatic or unexpected from the candidates, but it strikes me that the NBC boys aren't doing their job. Three of the Repooflicans are completely distorting the meaning and purpose of capitalism, and Brian Williams is letting them get away with it.
(I'm only pretending surprise here; we know that the "liberal press", along with most Rs and Ds, are Gramscians, not "liberals" or "socialists" or anything else. All of them serve Wall Street.)
Santorum tried, much too politely, to hint that financial predation is not the proper role of capitalism, but probably didn't make an impression. Come on, man! If you really mean it, show some outrage!
¶ 6:26 PM
If we can believe the stories about Rep Giffords, her resignation yesterday was not forced or pressured. This one fact tells us everything we need to know about Congress. It's not exactly a self-explanatory sentence, but it falls into the same category.
Contrast with the strong campaign to recall Gov Walker of Wisconsin, which comes at least partly from grass-roots popular fervor.
Congress is completely non-functional. Nobody expects any member of Congress to be competent or useful. They could all be brain-damaged and incoherent like Giffords, and we wouldn't bother to fire them or urge them to resign. Congress is just a club of dissipated aristocrats, and we expect aristocrats to be inbred and defective.
Governors are functional, powerful and hugely important. When they misbehave or disserve the peculiar interests of the state, we get pissed. We do give a damn.
¶ 5:27 PM
Sunday, January 22, 2012
Good word usage
I notice something in Newt's recent utterances in SC and on the Sunday shows... he's calling himself a Conservative Populist.
He's not a good carrier for the message, to put it mildly. [In this year's crop, Santorum is the nearest thing to a real Populist.] Nevertheless, Newt is using the word correctly for the first time in modern American politics. He's using it to mean Main Street rebelling against Wall Street. And his critique of Wall Street is starting to bite, starting to dig beneath the usual surface crap.
Populis' meant attendin' NASCAR, watchin' Football, eatin' Bar-B-Q, an' jus' gen'r'lly follerin' all o' them there focus-grouped brandin's that make Fox New's so fuckin' obnoxious.
When Newt says he's a Reagan Conservative Populist, he stretches the point severely; Reagan was the opposite of a populist. Still, Newt has rescued the word from its idiotic use as a mere descriptor of a style, and made its proper ideological meaning respectable and understandable again.
When a politician comes along who truly deserves the label, he will be able to use the word without havin' ta' pluck out all o' them 'postrophes first.
¶ 3:10 PM
NPR runs a fascinating feature this morning on the Romney origins. Mitt's father George was born in Mexico, in a colony of polygamist Mormons. The colony had been established by Salt Lake a couple generations earlier, as a sneaky way of keeping polygamy running after it was outlawed in America.
Most interesting implication, not mentioned in the story: This means George Romney was never eligible to run for President. His ancestors were Mexican nationals. They weren't just vacationing or doing missionary work or serving in the military. The 'Birther' question should have popped up before he even entered the 1968 primaries ... but it didn't. Back then, the media were pro-Communist as they are now, but they were timid about messing with party politics. (The FCC was far stronger then, wielding the Fairness Doctrine against partisan idiocy, so the media didn't want to piss off any potential Presidents.) Also, the Constitution wasn't a topic of daily discussion then. Our attitude toward it was Catholic; most folks trusted the high priests to know and interpret the laws. Bad mistake.
¶ 5:16 AM
Saturday, January 21, 2012
Big Niña, fashionably late
La Niña finally got here! After nearly three months of cold but extremely dry weather, we got some serious snow. Remains to be seen if the bitch will stick around, but I still can't complain. She's missed more than half of her opportunities to make trouble and spring isn't far off.
This time I was ready for her. Back in April I had four trees cut down. Mainly to avoid being crushed when the wind blows, but secondarily to clear the back yard for usability, and to clear the roof for easier raking. Branches and trunks had blocked the area so completely that raking was difficult, dangerous and always incomplete.
All the preparation and expense has paid off! Now roof-raking is satisfying. Won't call it fun, but it's become a fast, smooth and systematic task. Nothing to dread, just good exercise. [Note: Raking after an 8-inch snow is probably a bit obsessive, but the expense and trouble of remodeling a room in 2009 taught me a lesson: NEVER AGAIN! No more ice dams!]
¶ 5:37 PM
In busting MegaUpload, the government has finally started to protect the integrity of copyright for small artists as well as Disney. Thus demonstrating that the problem really didn't require new laws like SOPA/PIPA; it just required enforcement of existing laws.
ABOUT FUCKING TIME.
MegaUpload was a major source of piracy in the areas of digital art where I (half-heartedly) work, and its absence will improve things considerably.
Most of the complaints about this bust are unbelievably stupid, in two separate ways.
(1) On graphics forums, customers of digital art are automatically screaming about the bust, without realizing that their hobby will be improved by the bust. A few sellers of digital art are trying to make the correct counterargument without much success. The customers have been trained to hate giant predatory corporations, which is a good impulse. But they can't allow themselves to see that MegaUpload is just another giant predatory corporation, one that directly harms their own interests. They just know reflexively which team to cheer for. MegaUpload is cool! Its boss is named Kim Dotcom! Therefore it can't be predatory or evil or rich. Cool things are not predatory or evil or rich even when they are.
(2) More insidiously, the high-level spokesmen of the Everything For Free movement are complaining that the bust "ruins innovation", and that "innovation" depends on absolute freedom to copy anything you want. Dangerously wrong. Suicidally wrong.
If you want farmers to make more food, the farmers need to own their produce, with freedom to sell or keep it. When government can easily snatch the produce or speculators can easily devalue it, the farmers will stop farming and find something else to do.
If you want artists and inventors to make more art and ideas, the artists need to own their produce, with freedom to sell or keep it. When government can easily snatch the produce or MegaUpload can easily devalue it, the artists will stop working and find something else to do.
¶ 5:31 AM
Will this be on the test?
BBC is running a random discussion of modern problems. One discussant mentioned, quite accurately, that we aren't going to get top-down solutions because most of our institutions are distrusted. The others immediately chimed in: "Yes! And the credit rating agencies are the most distrusted of all! Until we can get them straightened out, we aren't going to solve anything."
Fantastically weird. Perfect reagent-quality example of elite isolation. The only people who distrust the credit agencies are the billionaires and fuckheads who are destroying all the other institutions. The billionaires and their slavepuppets who "run" governments all shouted "You can't give me a bad grade! I'm EXCEPTIONAL!" when the raters tried to apply a tiny gentle adjustment in the direction of sanity, a little hint that perhaps your current direction is not precisely on target.
Modern elites hate negative feedback more than they hate anything else.
Normal humans are different. Normal humans recognized instantly that the raters are among the very few trustable institutions, because we've known for many years that the banks and national "governments" deserve a grade of FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF--------------------------------------.
Or in numerical terms, a grade of 100 Megatons.
¶ 2:44 AM
Friday, January 20, 2012
How does he get away with this shit?
Misteromney, in debate: "We need to have the strongest military in the world. So strong nobody would think of testing it."
Oh? We had the strongest military in the world in 2001. Sheikh Osama "thought of testing it." He succeeded.
Nobody questions this shit, nobody uses basic logic.
Journalists love war, even though they complain when wars are waged by Repooflicans; they prefer wars to be run by their own D team.
The other candidates, except Paul, are too busy trying to state even more idiotic and dramatic versions of the same shit. Paul opposes adventurism because of some strange abstract theory, but clearly doesn't understand human nature, doesn't understand how force really works. In other words, he hits a correct answer sometimes but doesn't reach his conclusions through a reasoning process that forms the basis for good leadership.
¶ 5:03 AM
Growth in shale oil and gas supplies will make the US virtually self-sufficient in energy by 2030, according to a BP report published on Wednesday.
In a development with enormous geopolitical implications, the country's dependence on oil imports from potentially volatile countries in the Middle East and elsewhere would disappear, BP said, although Britain and western Europe would still need Gulf supplies.
Time for Polistra and Happystar to do the Oil Rig Jig!
¶ 8:03 AM
Obama doesn't make political mistakes often, but he's pulled a real self-sabotaging boner this time. Tripped over his own feet.
Obama blocked the $7 billion Keystone XL pipeline on Wednesday, at least temporarily, but Republicans signaled their intention to again to force the issue.
"This announcement is not a judgment on the merits of the pipeline, but the arbitrary nature of a deadline that prevented the State Department from gathering the information necessary to approve the project and protect the American people," Obama said in a written statement. "I'm disappointed that Republicans in Congress forced this decision."
Nonsense. They didn't force the decision, your brand-D base forced the decision.
Before this, Obama could accurately point to the hugely increased oil and gas drilling in America, and the fact that we import less than half of our oil for the first time in 40 years. He could accurately call himself the Drill Baby Drill President, thus trumping the empty rhetoric by sissy-ass bitch-ass fairy-ass Repooflicans who never actually increased drilling.
Now he's blown his chance to make that point. Now he's no better than Bush.
Worse, he's just sent the new Canadian oil directly to China. Canada would have preferred to sell it to us, but if we're too fucking stupid to use it, Canada will happily pipe it westward to China and Japan. So the lunatic excuse about "Carbon Emissions" doesn't work; the oil will still be produced, and the actual consequences of the production will be exactly the same.
The only difference is that China will refine and burn the oil in ways that produce vastly more REAL POLLUTION, while America would refine and burn in relatively clean ways. However, this is all okay by the mass-murdering genocidal Gaian wackos, because Chinese Carbon and Chinese Sulfur Pollution and Chinese Nitrate Pollution are Holy Prayer Sacraments Offered Up To The Planet Goddess. Every molecule of Sanctified Chinese Prayer Carbon magically cancels out one molecule of Satanic American Sin Carbon.
By stopping the pipeline, Obama has not only lost support from unpartied voters who want America to start protecting its own fucking interests. He's also lost a lot of union men who would have been with him otherwise.
¶ 3:04 AM
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Battle of Titans
This Pipa/Sopa thing strikes me as a Battle Of The Titans, with no particular reason to believe either side. The Google syndicate vs the Disney syndicate.
In crass monetary terms, I find myself (highly uncomfortably!) on the same side as Disney. My little income depends on the integrity of copyright.
Foreign piracy hurts both large and small operators. I lost a fair amount of money to foreign pirates, and plenty of one-man graphics entrepreneurs had to give up entirely and go back to regular jobs or go on welfare.
The Russian and Chinese pirate sites force you to "go big or go home". Customers who were formerly willing to pay $5 for a digital model can now get it free from the pirates. To make any profit at all, you now have to charge $500 instead of $5 per copy. If your stuff isn't interesting to the very few people who can pay $500 (basically big studios like Disney who have their own artists anyway!), you're out.
SOPA/PIPA is thus a unique exception to the normal course of legislation. Nearly all laws solely enrich the giant monopolies and kill smaller businesses. SOPA/PIPA undoubtedly helps the Disneys, but it would also level the playing field again, making more room for the $5 businesses.
In cultural terms I'm vaguely on the other side, but only because the Google conspiracy is a slightly less obnoxious Gramscian monster than the Disney conspiracy. Google and Wiki are solidly pro-pseudoscience, homosexualist, feminist, and secular internationalist. Both constantly stifle real science, traditional morality, and nationalism.
Hmm. After listing the above, I'm tilting more toward Disney on cultural grounds as well. Disney serves Lenin just as viciously as Google and Wiki, but Disney also makes cartoons (eg Lilo & Stitch, Brandy & Mr Whiskers) that advance common sense and morality.
If these laws make it harder to link certain things from a blog, it will force me to do more original writing and more artwork. Annoying but a net positive.
Conclusion: Definitely worth altering my 'hobby' to preserve my income.
Later thought after hearing On Point discussion: Come to think of it, PIPA's protection of small operators may explain why Wall Street Slaveboy Obama has turned against PIPA. Perhaps his corporate Masters have come to understand that they have a better advantage WITHOUT this law that protects both small and large.
¶ 3:47 AM
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Natural justiceCouple days ago in a bad part of Spokane, a violent dickhead with a knife was pounding on an apartment door, threatening to stab a man inside. The intended victim opened the door suddenly, causing the violent dickhead to stab himself in the neck.
Presto! One dead dickhead.
Every now and then justice happens. Never by the court system, but sometimes by self-defense, sometimes by beautiful accident.
¶ 4:17 AM
Monday, January 16, 2012
More signs of Green Failure
The original motive of the Gaian cult, when it was founded by Margaret Mead, Stewart Brand, et al, was to impoverish civilization so we'd stop polluting.
Later on they linked up with the Wall Street Mafia, which saw opportunities to enrich the rich while starving everyone else.
Well, both got what they wanted. The rich are richer than ever, and all others are hopeless.
Most Western countries have lost so much industry to the Gaia/Goldman conspiracy that they can't function any more. There's no more surplus wealth, so the subsidized Gaian luxuries like wind and solar "power" and electric cars are fading quickly. As I've noted before, this is a nice piece of negative feedback. Gaea, the real biosphere, takes her revenge on Gaia, the green destroyer.
And at the same time, the original goal has blown up in their faces. Newly poor countries can't subsidize nuclear plants and hydro dams either, so the best sources of truly non-polluting energy are also fading. Coal and natural gas are cheap.
Relatively sane countries like France and Turkey are succeeding because they didn't allow the Gaia/Goldman conspiracy to take full control.
This gradient between the sane and insane lands is now working from another angle to break down the original anti-pollution purpose of the Gaians. Spain was playing the Gaia/Goldman game to the hilt, and lost its industrial shirt in the process. Now, via NPR, a Spanish village is happily accepting a French nuclear waste recycling plant.
¡Sí! ¡En mi barrio sí, por favor!
It's damn hard to convince starving people that they must Starve Harder To Save The Planet.
Speaking of which....
As I mentioned earlier, Repooflicans just can't stop trying to appeal to blacks by celebrating Comrade King.
Idiots. Comrade MLK Boulevard did nothing but harm to American blacks by setting up a "Dream", an expectation, that could never be achieved.
If you want to celebrate contributions to real black progress, celebrate Henry Ford. He opened a world of living-wage jobs to low-skilled workers, black and white Southern sharecroppers. Most importantly, his much-maligned Sociology Department trained the new workers AND THEIR WIVES toward the organized and disciplined ways of the middle class.
"Having a Dream", without skills and discipline, leads to riot and suicide.
Skills and discipline, with or without a "Dream", lead to a decent life.
Huntsman should have waited a day
Huntsman, known mainly for trying to win the Republican nomination by knocking those horrible "anti-science" Republicans, finally gave up.
Poor timing. A story popped up today that showed just how horrible those "anti-science" Republicans really are! Those horrible "anti-science" Republicans have imposed new rules on medical research with animals, which will require most universities to spend millions of dollars remodeling labs and adding new caretakers. Some may not be able to afford the change.
Nasty, nasty, nasty! Those horrible anti-science Republicans are not just anti-science but anti-medicine! Halliburton! Homophobic! Nazi! Fascist!
Oh sorry! Whoops! Those weren't Republicans at all! Those were the permanent Maoists and Stalinists and PolPotists and DearLeaderKimists in the permanent bureaucracy. And they were encouraged by the Obama administration, which follows Bush in most ways but not on this issue.
Who knows, maybe some medical researchers will remember that Republican administrations didn't force them to spend money they couldn't afford....... No they won't. They're just as impenetrably idiotic as the permanent bureaucrats.
= = = = =
Sidenote: Actually Huntsman's basic approach wasn't all that unusual. He was seeking the votes of hard-left academics who think "Science" consists solely of the Carbon Cult's perfect falsehoods, untestable Big Bang and Multiverse cosmologies, and long-abandoned Darwinian axioms. These folks will never never never never never vote R; only a few of them can even stand to vote for a regular D.
All brand-R politicians waste their time seeking votes from people who can't or won't vote for them. 80% of the R agenda is exclusively designed for Jewish billionaires and Israeli citizens; 5% supposedly appeals to blacks; 15% supposedly appeals to illegal Mexicans. The Jewish billionaires and blacks would never never never never never never never never vote for R, and the Israelis and Mexicans aren't American voters at all.
¶ 7:35 AM
Sunday, January 15, 2012
She said "pro-life"! This morning NPR interviewed Tony Perkins, head of some evangelical organization, about the decision to endorse Santorum. Perkins was annoyingly evasive, but the interview contained one notable positive.
The questioner used the term pro-life without any nasty or ironic intonation, without vocal scare-quotes!
I've never heard any interviewer or reporter on commercial or public radio use the phrase simply and straightforwardly before. The usual commie term is anti-abortion or anti-wyyymmmyyyyn.
Perhaps the host was just being polite, but even that was unprecedented when speaking to a Christian!
= = = = =
Artistic note: This post wasn't really intended to be read; it's mainly here to obey a superstition. In the previous entry I left Polistra and Happystar in a precarious predicament, and I can't stand to leave things that way.
¶ 10:01 AM
Sorry, don't get it
What's the point of the Kepler mission?
No matter how many earth-like planets you find in other galaxies, we will never be able to communicate with them, let alone reach them. Physically impossible.
"Finding" an earth-like planet 80 light-years away is identical to imagining such a planet in a sci-fi story. Both exist solely in the mind.
Sci-fi is fun and sometimes a useful source of ideas, but we're spending billions on sci-fi that pretends to be real exploration.
By contrast, Mars is a thoroughly earth-like planet within practical "driving distance". We already have the necessary technology to send a manned expedition to Mars. If we're going to spend anything on other planets, let's spend it on Mars.
¶ 7:05 AM
Yup, that's it.Michael Lind writes a piece today that exemplifies good analysis. A good analyst, like a good diamond-cutter, knows exactly where to put his blade to make the right cut.
To show why Romney does NOT represent the traditions of "the free market", Lind places his knife between "stakeholder capitalism" and "shareholder capitalism".
Polistra has been cutting this question for a long time, using a more engineerish tool. (Follow the Broken Circle label below, especially this post as the closest equivalent to Lind's point.)
In pre-1970s America, a typical company had primary feedback loops to employees and customers, and a secondary loop to shareholders. Execs who served the shareholders at the expense of the customers and employees drove their companies into bankruptcy, so the practice was known BY EXPERIMENT to be a bad idea. Smart execs watched these bankruptcies and tried to keep their workers and customers happy, knowing BY EXPERIMENT that profit was more likely to follow from this practice.
In post-1970s America, only the loop with shareholders counts. The exec has exactly one goal: raise share prices and thus raise the value of his own stock options. Employees and customers are unnecessary externalities, and the wise exec eliminates them entirely. Just as before, this approach leads to bankruptcy. The difference is that bankruptcy is now desirable because it yields a huge cash bonus to the exec who caused the bankruptcy, and provides a huge payoff to Goldman's inverse bets.
Romney solely represents the modern setup. China gets the jobs, the execs get the money, and Goldman wins its bet. The employees and customers ... What are those things? Don't bother me with negative externalities.
Romney's top-level supporters in the Repooflican structure understand the whole system because they're on the receiving end (the Goldman end) of the cash flow. Accordingly, they've propagandized the rank-and-file followers to believe that this murderous arrangement is The Free Market. The earlier form has disappeared down the Memory Hole.
"Creative destruction" is the key to the propaganda. In normal old-fashioned capitalism some companies inevitably failed, but their death was not seen as creative or positive. The executives and shareholders suffered along with everyone else, so the exec tried to keep things running profitably. In modern Romneian capitalism, the death of a company is positive for the exec and the bettors, and nothing else exists.
Was it rickets that ailed "Tiny Tim" Cratchit, the waif who stirred Scrooge's conscience in A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens's 1843 classic? His symptoms certainly fit with the disease. So does his milieu: rickets, caused by a lack of vitamin D, was rife among those who toiled from dawn to dusk in the dingy factories of Victorian Britain.
Now, astonishingly, vitamin D deficiency is again becoming a significant health concern in rich countries. Reversing this trend is not difficult, in principle. Just half an hour a day in the sun during summer lets our skin make enough vitamin D to last all year.
In the UK, cases of childhood rickets have leapt from 147 in 1997 to 762 in 2010. The story may be similar in the US: a study published by the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, found that only 5 to 13 per cent of breastfed infants and 20 to 37 per cent of formula-fed babies got enough vitamin D to meet the recommended daily dose.
= = = = =
Long technical note: The activities of the small humans (known as "kids") in the lower picture will be puzzling to progressive modern enlightened humans. I shall endeavor to explain these activities in a way that can actually be followed by modern humans.
1. The "kids" first placed their pedal extremities on the floor, straightened their lower extremities, and formed their torsos into an upright position. This was known as "standing".
2. The "kids" then alternately rotated their lower extremities in a way that produced forward locomotion. This was known as "walking".
3. The "kids" directed their "walking" toward a portal in the walls of their houses, and turned the control knob on this portal. The portal then rotated into a position that revealed a mysterious Terra Incognita, which they called "outdoors" in their quaint primitive way.
4. Continuing the "walking" process, the "kids" proceeded forward through Terra Incognita, which was somehow thoroughly familiar to them. When they located a large flat area (called a "vacant lot" in their laughably ancient tongue), they used their optical sensory equipment to examine the ecosystem for other small humans.
5. If other small humans were already present on the "vacant lot", the target activity could then proceed. The target activity, known as "playing", is what the lower picture displays. The small humans used various homemade or commercially developed devices which resembled the devices used by adults; if the homemade device bore little actual resemblance, it didn't matter because the small humans of that prehistoric era possessed a mysterious extra capacity known as "imagination". Using this strange "imagination", they were able to rehearse adult activities and explore Terra Incognita. The activity known as "playing" had numerous side effects, including an elevation of the distal corners of the oral organ (known as "smiling") and a peculiar sort of repetitive pulmonary spasm known as "laughing".
6. While they engaged in "playing" they also absorbed sunlight, fresh air, bacteria from the soil, other microbes from animals and from the other small humans. These absorptions, which we now know to be lethal and toxic, were believed in primitive times to be "healthy" and to induce "immune responses".
Stupid, weren't they? Of course we know now that the only way to induce "health" and "immune responses" is with expensive genetically-modified pharmaceuticals and organ transplants.
¶ 4:41 AM
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
A decade late, a trillion short
It's sort of nice, in a theoretical way, to see exactly two of the writers at NYRO finally detecting the financial crimes of the last decade. Namely Walsh and Williamson.
Way too late, of course. The Repooflicans had a chance to be a meaningful opposition party from 2002 through 2006, when they held all branches, but they did absolutely nothing to move toward "small government". No tort reform, no reductions in corporate welfare, no SS/Medicare fix, no cuts in regulations or departments. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing.
Instead, they did everything Teddy Kennedy wanted. Expanded Medicare hugely, enacted Teddy's own education program, and finally committed the greatest financial crime in history. All for the banks.
Quite a few former Repooflicans (including me) were gradually repelled by all of those inactions and actions, and then permanently cured of Repooflican Syndrome by Shotgun Paulson's Theft Of A Nation. But NYRO kept defending the criminal syndicate until just last month, and the majority of its writers are still loyal consiglieri.
The comboxes are especially enlightening. Sounds like many of their criminal readers think Walsh and Williamson should be fired for revealing the crime. So far it appears that the management is holding firm, but I don't know how long that will last.
Separation might be a good thing, though. There's an empty niche for a serious publication that defends real capitalism from both sides of its Gramscian enemy: a forum that stands roughly in the Santorum or** Buchanan position. Which is also the FDR position, if you know your history. [**Turns out I was right about Santorum in the first place: He's not really for American business. Compared to Traitor Romney, he's a bit less treasonous, but that's all.]
We already have lots of websites and radio talkers defending the raw feral Randian side of Gramsci while giving lip service to the values of tradition and culture.
We already have plenty of TV networks and newspapers defending the Leninist side of Gramsci (secularism, homosexualism, feminism) while giving lip service to the values of work and industry.
We don't have anything that opposes both parts of Gramsci.
[Takimag and FrontPorchRepublic occasionally hit the target, but both spend entirely too much space on weird post-modern irony and weird metaphysics.]
= = = = =
Misc thought: 'It's a Wonderful Life' was the perfect Gramscian dystopia. We're living in George Bailey's nightmare.
It's not just Mr Potter owning everything and starving everyone to enrich Every Square Inch Of His Most Glorious And Holy Naked Body. That's the Randian side of Gramsci. Individual Liberty. Potter has Liberty to steal the universe; all others have Liberty to die.
It's also the theater turned into a strip joint, Violet turned into a crack whore, Martini's turned into a Hard Place Where Hard Men Drink Hard. That's the Leninist side of Gramsci. Human Rights. Anything goes, except self-control and normal families.
Bets and debts. The anonymous writers of the movie saw it more completely than Huxley or Bradbury, even more completely than Percy.
How do we get back to Bailey's own world, a place where business and politics pay some attention to human needs, a place where negative feedback keeps business and politics within some equilibrium? How do we re-close the loop?
We probably can't, because nobody can countermand Potter-aka-Goldman. Potter-aka-Goldman owns everyone in positions of authority.
But if we could, we'd need to follow Turkey. Or hell, even follow Canada to get started.
¶ 5:49 PM
What do you call...News from UK Guardian: More Persian scientists killed by terrorists, most likely controlled by Israel.
An Iranian university professor working at one of the country's main uranium enrichment facilities has been killed in Tehran, apparently the latest victim in what is widely seen as a covert war against the Islamic republic's nuclear programme.
Attackers riding on motorcycles are reported to have attached a magnetic bomb to a Peugeot 405 carrying Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, a 32-year-old chemistry expert from Tehran's Sharif University...
In November 2010 Majid Shahriari, a nuclear scientist, was killed, and Fereidoon Abbasi Davani, Iran's current atomic chief, survived an attack by assailants on motorcycles. Last July Darioush Rezaeinejad, an Iranian academic whose affiliation to the country's nuclear activities is in doubt, was shot by gunmen riding on motorcycles.
Iranian state agencies described Wednesday's attack as a terrorist operation, and a senior official blamed Israel for it. "The bomb was a magnetic one and the same as the ones previously used for the assassination of the scientists, and is the work of the Zionists."
What should we call Israeli terrorists? Jewhadis?
¶ 10:17 AM
Nice example of Who-ism
Last night I reprinted or 'bumped' the How-What-Who article just below. This morning I find a golden example of impenetrably alien Who-ism in its densest Roman form.
...A court has ruled that the Episcopal Church in Virginia must be allowed to keep some of its churches, in the face of challenges by breakaway sects that have joined a more conservative Anglican denomination, the Council of Anglicans in North America (CANA), led by a Nigerian bishop.
Terzian writes that he is “gratified by the decision of the Court”: “If people want to abandon the Episcopal Church, they are free to do so; but they cannot take historic Church property with them, or deprive Episcopalians of their parish homes.” I share his view 100 percent, but want to make clear that I harbor no ill will against the breakaway groups, even though I disagree with the opinions that made them leave. They believe the true church must not allow some of the opinions expressed in U.S. Episcopalianism, so conscience demands that they leave their father’s house; but I think I’m not alone in believing that these man-made divisions are evanescent, and that we will meet again.
Well, I also agree with the decision on property. It's like a family inheritance. The heirs who continue within the rules of the family deserve to keep the property, while the disowned black sheep doesn't have a moral claim. Doesn't matter if the family rules are good or bad.
But I can't comprehend the other part of Potemra's reasoning, and I'm pretty sure old JC wouldn't understand it either.
The purpose of belonging to a church is twofold: (1) to worship your God in a form that you find meaningful and holy; (2) to engage in a community that enforces a culturally positive set of rules.
Old JC and his apostles gave us very clear statements about false earth-based idols, and extremely explicit statements about homosexuality. Both of these rules have led over the centuries to a positive culture within Christian circles, which justifies them on experimental grounds. (How-ism)
The mainstream Anglicans have turned against both of these explicit statements. They no longer follow the New Testament. Instead, they worship the Planet Goddess, fags and bullbitches. We're seeing across the entire post-Christian world that these forms of worship lead to destruction and chaos.Experiment leads us to reject both Gaia and Gay.
Putting it more generally, a Howist approach to religion works in sync with a Howist approach to the visible world. Try to observe the workings of Nature through external senses and measurement; try to observe the workings of God through internal senses and prayer. If the advice of a book or leader agrees with your observations, and seems to improve human lives when implemented, then you might tentatively follow the advice of the book or leader until it seems to go wrong.
But Roman Potemra seems to believe that anything the Dear Leader says is okay by definition. If the Dear Leader says Gay Is Good, then Gay Is Good. If the Dear Leader says Abortion is Good, then Abortion is Good. Regardless of what works, regardless of what produces a functional culture, regardless of your own sense of God's will. This is pure Who-ism.
¶ 4:02 AM
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
How, What, Who [reprint]
Reprinting a piece from a year ago. I wrote a brief comment tonight at WUWT on the same subject, so it seems appropriate to 'bump' the full piece to the top in case someone comes over here to look around.
All three types are necessary, and everyone uses all three types all the time, but the dominant type strongly influences the form and the success of a culture.
= = = = =
How-ism is based on skills, on knowing the way. How to build, how to cook, how to repair, how to keep people happy, how to keep them under control. How-knowledge comes directly from the senses, tempered and conditioned by comparison and proportion, with a constant awareness of feedback and cycles. (Does this work better? How can I tell when it's better? When does it repeat?) How-knowledge can be passed with no words at all from mother to daughter, father to son, master to apprentice.
What-ism is based on facts, on knowing the data. What-knowledge requires language, symbols and formulas. You can acquire what-knowledge (and some how-knowledge) by reading a book.
Who-ism is based on identity and quotation. Who-knowledge requires a strong sense of status, an up-to-date reading of comparative authority, and a tape-recorder mind. If the high-status person says "2+2=5" and wears Prada, we must say "2+2=5" and wear Prada. If the low-status person says "2+2=4" and wears J.C. Penney, we must mock "2+2=4" and discard everything with a J.C. Penney label.
= = = = =
In basic neurological terms, How belongs to both genders, What belongs to the male-type brain, and Who belongs to the female-type brain. [Caveat: this raw gender correlation is dramatically obvious in simple-minded people but somewhat submerged by other capabilities and shapings in smarter types.]
In chronological terms (again loose and overlapping!), America was dominated by How until WW2, by What from WW2 through 1990, and by Who since 1990.
= = = = =
The high point of How-ism in America was the era of invention from 1840 to 1920. Morse, Bell, Edison, Ford: all were How-ites, developing a vision based on a set of skills, and knowing how to turn the vision into a real device or method with some assistance from What-ish data and numbers. Ford was probably the purest Howite, since his best inventions were methods and social structures, not devices.
= = = = =
The high point of What-ism was clearly the Apollo moon shot, though Apollo 13 was famously saved by the ductape of How. And the final wild spin-out of What-ism is the recent stock market crime. I've been listening to the Congressional hearings and I'm struck by the total absence of any proportion, any comparison, any sense of cycles, even any curiosity among the conspirators. The investigators (especially the magnificent How-ite Elizabeth Warren) constantly ask questions like "Didn't you stop to think?" or "Didn't you wonder why this was happening?" or "Didn't you ask what's wrong with this picture?" And the Wall Street Mafiosi on the other side of the table simply DO NOT COMPUTE the questions. Their answers are synthetic and nakedly numerical: "Value Goal Credit Default Swap Senior Tranche ... Calculating ... Eight Three Dot Six." Obviously these biped enumeration modules were not programmed for pattern recognition or comparison or wonderment, except for "Which action brings me more money?"
= = = = =
Verbal Who-ism is the mark of the Royalist, the Catholic, the Communist. If the current King/Pope/Premier says "X", I know "X" is true and I will defend it to the death. If the Pretender to the Throne says "X", I know "X" is false and I will fight against it with all my energy. In most cases "X" is the same thing, which means the Who-ist happily defends and opposes the same idea depending on context.
Visual Who-ism is the mark of the Paparazzi. A photographer who gets the right candid shot of Britney Spears can receive half a million dollars for one click of the shutter. Why is this one image so valuable? Because lots of people want to see Britney Spears. Why do lots of people want to see Britney Spears, when better-looking women can be seen on the streets of any city? Because "news" sources, working together with Britney's agents, have stirred up the buzz. This circular process makes a lot of money for a few people but contributes absolutely nothing to the progress of civilization. In fact, by monopolizing media channels that might otherwise carry a wider variety of entertainment and info, it displaces What and drives civilization backwards.
Who displaces both How and What on the verbal level. You can see this in any web forum. In Who-land, observation is illegal. You're not allowed to examine nature or events and draw a rational inductive conclusion. You're only allowed to quote a credentialed authority who belongs to Team A or Team B. If your quote is precisely accurate, the authority's own team will cheer and the opposing team will boo. If your quote is inaccurate or (horror of horrors!!!!) you cite nothing more than plain reality, you're out of the arena. Banned for life.
Newsreaders before 1990 were free to say something like "It appears that the protesters are trying to push back the police." You won't hear that today. Instead, you hear "Some say that the protesters etc." Everything must be a quotation or a citation, and the Team Membership of the citation must be clear. When a sentence starts with "Critics say..." you know the rest of the sentence will be the heretical view, the racist/sexist/homophobic/Halliburtonist view that you're required to mock and disdain.
Finally, when you apply Who to an area of life that should be treated exclusively with How and What, you get the Global Warming Conspiracy. For many millenia the How-ites have observed and understood the ups and downs of Earthly seasons by watching plants, animals, sun and moon. Around 1700 the Whatians made it possible to measure temperature reliably and record the numbers for future generations, thus helping us to understand the longer cycles, the hyper-seasons of the world. Since 1988 science has been replaced by money, power and peer review, the essence of Who. Any data that disagrees with Commissars Maurice Strong and James Hansen is Undata. It does not exist, and those who continue to use it are Unpersons, subject to Liquidation at any moment.
= = = = =
Sunday night, watching the oldies on WGN.... realize that 'Newhart' forms a perfect fable of How, What, Who. The show was made in the late '80s, the moment when Who was getting ready to kill off How and What. Old George the handyman is barely literate but knows how to fix anything, and functions perfectly in the small town's intricate social structure because it hasn't changed for generations. Middle-aged Dick the hotel owner writes books about home repair, functions well in New York literary circles, and always wrong-foots in local matters because he follows written rules. Young Stephanie the maid is an impossibly spoiled rich girl whose thoughts never stray from Status, Fashion and Her Own Perfect Beauty. Stephanie's boyfriend Michael is a TV producer, chafing at his low-status position in this Vermont backwater, literally whoring himself out to gain favor with Real Celebrities. Oddly enough, though the show was written by and for the What generation, old Howite George usually comes out ahead.
A fritzed-out zapped-brain ecofreak named Pinhead Joey Fitzgibbons, who claims to be a "State Representative", has proposed a ban on plastic bags in Wash.
Pinhead Joey thinks this will honor his Planet Goddess. Or maybe he thinks it will make him an officer in Attila's fleet of intergalactic elephants. Or something.
Here's what it will actually do:
(1) It will cause more plastic to be turned into bags. I always reuse the plastic bags from the grocery store as wastebasket liners so the kitchen wastebasket doesn't get filthy. If the grocery store no longer gives bags, I'll have to buy Specific Trash Bags, which are LARGER AND HEAVIER than the grocery bag, and come in a box with a set of tie-wires. I will then be using MORE plastic, MORE cardboard, and MORE metal for this prosaic purpose.
(2) It will cause more illness as people are forced to use cloth EcoBags for their shopping. We already know that cloth EcoBags gather bacteria and mold, and must be washed at intervals, thus using MORE energy and water.
Jesus. What a monster. Go away, Pinhead Joey. Play with your space elephants on your own, and don't bother us.
¶ 4:43 PM
Romney's defensive voice
When Romney is at home in vulture territory (i.e. talking about firing people) his voice tone is natural and solid. But when he's more uncomfortable (i.e. answering hard questions) he adopts a forced and unnatural tone that sounds highly familiar to me.
I've finally figured why it's so familiar. It's a tone I used entirely too often in my 20s. When I was working on a construction crew with Real Men, or trying to survive in prison, I sounded just like that. I knew it didn't help, but I felt that my natural nerdish voice would be even worse.
I haven't sounded like that for many years. Now I'm jaded and cynical. If you can't take nerds, I don't give a fuck.
¶ 9:27 AM
BBC runs a feature on SETI, which is whining about loss of government funding. Sorry, boys. You already have rich dickheads as patrons. Work harder to gather more rich dickheads.
One quote from a SETI executive shows the incurable imbecilic optimism of the sci-fi mind:
"When SETI succeeds, it will give us access to the entire knowledge-base of another civilization."
Oh really? Look at what happened when we encountered the Chinese civilization. They've been stealing our knowledge-base for 30 years without ever giving us access to theirs.
Along with thousands of human spies, China has been inserting software spies in our systems, which are all built in China. Pre-hacked for customer convenience. You can assume that everything you buy is a Pod Device .... and they don't even bother to hide the analogy, do they?
Chinese are more closely related to us than Alpha Centaurians, though I'm not entirely sure of that. Perhaps we should apply this lesson from our close relatives before we make stupid assumptions about totally unknown critters.
¶ 3:49 AM
Monday, January 09, 2012
One of the NPR talkshows this morning was discussing the 'independent voter', with some new statistics that show there really isn't any such thing. Most folks who call themselves independents are just as loyal to a single party as the folks who call themselves party members.
Inevitably on a subject like this, callers were claiming to be Rockefeller Republicans, and saying that they couldn't vote for R's lately because there aren't any Rockefeller Republicans now.
Raw nonsense. If you look at what the Rockefeller wing actually stood for, you'll find it has been fully in control of the R nominees since 1976.
Ford, Reagan, Bush The Father, Bobdole, Bush The Son, McCain, Romney.
All Rockefellerites, but only Ford was honest enough to wear the label. (Of course he didn't have a choice, did he?)
What did Rockefeller stand for? Enriching the elite at the expense of the working class, supporting the value system of the elite at the expense of normal human values.
Everything that materially and culturally enhances the life of the super-rich and materially and culturally destroys life for the working class.
Every idea developed by Teddy Kennedy was obediently implemented by these Rockefeller Republicans. All of these nominees and presidents have been comfortable with Hollywood and New York weirdos, and completely contemptuous of normal humans.
Callers who complain about missing Rockefellerites are not paying attention to REAL POLICY. They are being misled by the cute lip service that began with Reagan.
And, of course, that's the whole point of the lip service.
= = = = =
Sidenote: I can't add Nixon to that list. His actions certainly belong in the same set. He did more for the Communist Cause than any of his successors. Abortion, Environment and Affirmative Action, the Three Holy Sacraments of American Communists: Nixon made all three into official government policies.
But despite all that, his personal and cultural side remained resolutely working-class American. He genuinely hated the Soviet Union, genuinely hated everything about Hollywood and New York, and sometimes snuck out of the White House at 3 AM to drink coffee with real people. Whether his left-serving actions were willing or blackmailed, I still have to forgive him. He was the last real American in the Republican Party.
¶ 5:12 PM
Wildlife scientists are puzzling over the appearance of the snowy owl in Oregon, a bird rarely seen in the state. [Grammar quibble: I didn't know Oregon was a bird.]
The owls are usually found in Alaska or Canada's tundra, where their white feathers serve as camouflage. But in several places across Oregon, including Burns, Astoria, Lincoln City and Eugene, the Bend Bulletin reports snowy owl sightings.
"That's a significant number of birds that aren't normally found in the state," said Simon Wray, conservation biologist for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife in Bend.
Snowy owls have been reported around the northern United States in recent months, said Bob Russell, a wetland bird biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Minneapolis.
"They are really pouring in," he said.
Biologists speculate the bird might be making more southern appearances because of a lack of food, or perhaps because there are too many young owls in the tundra.
Rather amazingly, the article doesn't blame the usual suspect. Maybe the biologists have finally decided that there's no point in blaming the usual suspect?
It's easy to see why the usual suspect doesn't belong in the picture. Here are some Alaska patterns from NCDC.
Shows one extreme in 2002, otherwise nothing special.
Shows the well-known 1976 regime shift, but the last few years are average, appear to be regressing to the mean.
Nothing special anywhere; last few years are on the wet side of average, but below earlier wet-sides.
I'll be watching in case some fucking dickhead tries to blame this on the BURNING BURNING BURNING HUNK OF HELL caused by human CARBON SIN AND INIQUITY.
At the moment, we have a slight interval of blessed Actual Science (i.e. reserving judgment, avoiding theories) in the midst of the usual religious ratshit.
On the anniversary of the Tucson shooting, our idiot "news" "media" are recycling the same bizarre burtations about civility, showing yet again that their "minds" are further outside reality than Jared Loughner's mind.
Human capital is everything
Following from this and this.
Thinking purely with numbers is a convergent habit of modern right-wingers and left-wingers, and it is THE modern disease.
Right-wingers reach it via feral Randian capitalist thinking. Trillionaires deserve to win because they are trillionaires; non-trillionaire LOSERS LOSERS LOSERS NYAH NYAH NYAH must be expunged to purify the planet. It's vastly easier to get a trillion by numerical manipulation of currencies and derivatives than by producing things with human labor, so production and labor must disappear.
Left-wingers reach it via egalitarianism, which is blind to natural characteristics of humans. You aren't allowed to distinguish between a born killer and a born hero; you can only count the things owned by each, and take away all weapons from both.
No matter the source, the resultant mode of thinking is perfectly identical on both "sides" and perfectly lethal.
Bean-counting has destroyed our handling of crime, destroyed our education system, destroyed our medical system, destroyed productive business, destroyed science.
In all those areas, we're forbidden to look at plain facts, forbidden to use simple logic, forbidden to evaluate humans based on their own talents and sins. We must consider all humans as fungible point-like particles.
And of course I've said all that a thousand times. (Or more precisely, since we're all about counting, I've said it 2836 times. That's the total post-count of this blog excluding this post.)
= = = = =
One new thought this morning, triggered by the admirable human focus of the Stennis commander.
The Bushobama neocon idiocy results directly from a bean-counting approach to war. Think about the WMD argument. How many things did Saddam have? And now, how many things does Persia have? Our two "sides" argue endlessly about the number of things, and whether the bean-count is accurate.
Neither "side" asks the ONLY QUESTION THAT COUNTS:
Does this country actually intend to attack us?
Never asked it about Iraq. Not once. And we're not asking it about Persia either. We're just watching their development of atomic beans, threatening them as their bean count increases, and trying to sabotage their bean-growing facility.
Japan didn't have any special advanced technology when it attacked us at Pearl Harbor. What it had was HUMAN WEAPONS. Kamikaze. Japan had warriors who were so determined to win that they would sacrifice their own lives.
Sheikh Osama didn't have any technology at all when he attacked us on 9/11. What he had was HUMAN WEAPONS. Jihadi. Osama had warriors who were so determined to win that they would sacrifice their own lives.
It ain't the beans that count, it's the people. And that goes for crime, education, science, industry, and war.
¶ 5:01 AM
Friday, January 06, 2012
Natural enemiesNews: Yank sailors rescue Persian sailors from Somali pirates.
Good. Just plain good.
And it's not really unusual. Yanks and Persians are not natural enemies, and have mixed well in Oklahoma and Texas for 40 years.
These getalongs can happen across some but not all boundaries. Yanks and Krauts got along in WW2 when given the chance; Yanks and Russkis got along in the Cold War when given a chance. Japs are the big exception. Yanks and Japs are probably natural enemies. Japs may well be natural enemies to all other nations.
The most important division, the hardest line to cross, is the line between warrior cultures and village cultures. We've intentionally forgotten this line, but it still exists. Japs and Arabians are warriors; Persians and Europeans are villagers.
You can see the line in raw form in Oklahoma where village-culture Cherokees have been part of the power structure from the start, while warrior-culture Osages are marooned in a sea of welfare and alcohol. Both tribes began with lots of oil money, so an egalitarian leftist would assume their outcome must be the same. Nope. They're innately different, and they used the oil money in characteristic ways. Cherokees bought oil companies and Senators (just as whites did) while Osages bought Cadillacs and booze. The oil companies and Senators gave the Cherokees prosperity and power. The Cadillacs wore out and the booze killed the Osage.
We're dealing with the same major dividing line here, whether we can name it or not. Somalis are pure warriors, thus natural enemies of village-culture Persians and Yanks.
Persians have been civilized a whole lot longer than we have, but we're still on the same side of the line. Barely. A few more years of rule by Bushobama neocons and we may revert to Osagery.
= = = = =
Update Sat morning: BBC is interviewing the captain of the Stennis. He emphasizes that the Persian sailors and the Persian people are innocent, and invokes the deep fraternity among sailors around the world. Sounds like he's goddamn tired of American imperial saber-rattling, and complaining as loudly as he can get away with.
BBC followed up with real balance (Bless you, Lyse Doucet!): Now interviewing a Persian, who cites an incident the other way around that wasn't reported in the West because we're too eager to make Persia seem like the enemy. I can't immediately find an online reference to that incident, but there was one story in December when Persian ships rescued a Saudi tanker from pirates. Might be the same incident, might not.
¶ 5:46 PM
Federal district judges are occasionally capable of rational actions, unlike the appellate "judges".
In the original case a cop was convicted of "civil rights" violations for subduing a crazy dude who went berserk. The conviction was precisely wrong, because the cop treated the crazy dude exactly the same way he would have treated a non-crazy dude who went berserk in the same circumstances.
If "civil rights" has any meaning at all, it should mean that cops have to treat everyone equally, judging them only by their immediate behavior without regard to assumed intentions or Party Privilege Status. And that's what the cop did.
So he was actually convicted of something like lèse-majesté. He treated a Party-Defined Aristocrat like any other commoner or redneck. Treated a Protected Class like a Christian.
Now here's the switch:
The upcoming sentencing hearing for former Spokane police Officer Karl F. Thompson Jr. was postponed Thursday to give defense attorneys more time to investigate recent developments that might bolster their argument for a new trial.
U.S. District Judge Fred Van Sickle vacated the Jan. 27 hearing after a video analyst hired by the U.S. Justice Department advised the court that federal prosecutors may have withheld potentially beneficial information to the defense in the excessive force case. ... Van Sickle ordered that the sentencing hearing be postponed indefinitely ... for Thompson’s lawyers to submit arguments for why their client should get a new trial. The extension is intended to give defense attorney Carl Oreskovich enough time to determine whether allegations made last month by forensic video analyst Grant Fredericks should be included in their request.
Hmm. Where have we heard this before? Prosecutors and media using a doctored tape to convict cops? Hmm. Can't think of an example. I don't think it's ever happened before.
= = = = =
An annoying sidebar to this case: The involvement of the federal Department Of Jesse Jackson (DOJ) and the involvement of the communist media are predictable. No point getting angry at them for destroying civilization; might as well get pissed at an alligator when it eats a dog. Reflexive innate behavior.
But in a case like this you'd normally expect the Repooflican media to reflexively defend the cop. Didn't happen here, for an atrociously venal reason. The local Repooflican radio yappers saw this case as a way to generate talking points against the [mostly competent] Democrat Mayor Verner, who could not logically be blamed since the actual incident happened a year before she was elected. Nevertheless, the name-association worked, and helped to defeat Verner this year. The cop was left twisting slowly slowly in the wind, with no public support.
¶ 7:40 AM
Ron the infant
Maybe Ron Paul appeals so much to adolescents because he is one. Many of his proposals about necessary changes are excellent, but he seems to have no idea how government actually works. When asked about implementation, he fades into vagueness.
As far as I can tell, he believes in magic. As soon as a man with the Correct Rothbardian Ideology is in the president's chair, everything will just fall into place by itself.
"Wellllll, I'll just stand back and let The Market take care of things."
News for ya, Doc. The Market is the problem. The Market is exactly what gives us permanent wars, chaos, starvation, tyranny and depression.
Listen, Doc: You can't break up a genocidal crime syndicate by wishing, or by saying magic words. You have to remove the criminals from power. Fire a few thousand, jail a few hundred, "suicide" a few. That should give the rest of them a sense that you mean business. Their fear will last a month or so, and then you'll have to fire, jail and "suicide" again. Repeat until clean.
Follow the examples of Walpole, FDR and Clinton, not the example of Harry Potter.
¶ 4:42 AM
Thursday, January 05, 2012
This evening I took the kitchen trash out to the bin, and got surprised by something that seemed to be moving.
Wassat? Oh. It's just my shadow. But wait! It's night! I can't have a shadow at night! Oh. There's a full moon, you dummy.
Strange, isn't it? At the age of 62 I've just now consciously noticed for the first time that the moon makes shadows.
Actually these suddenunderstandings of everydayphysics have become fairly common in the last few years. I don't know if it's the loss of pressures and anxieties that formerly filled the mind, or the 'baseline regularity' of living in the same place for 20 years.
Whichever, I'm free to observe small bits of reality with much more clarity than before.
¶ 8:22 PM
There's an interesting disagreement between local National Weather Service forecasters and the federal folks, which may contribute to an improved understanding of the Arctic Oscillation.
La Niña was supposed to bring lots of snow this winter, just like it did three of the past four winter seasons. Inland Northwest residents were prepared for the worst based on previous experiences with La Niña since 2007.
But so far, the region has seen less than half its normal snow and less than a quarter of what fell through Jan. 2 a year ago. “The whole West Coast is pretty dry,” said Jon Fox, forecaster with the National Weather Service in Spokane.
“There are many more things in play than La Niña,” Fox said of the phenomenon in which the waters in the equatorial Pacific are colder than normal.
At least three other patterns can influence winter weather, including a positive Arctic Oscillation...
The U.S. Climate Prediction Center has maintained its outlook for above-normal precipitation and below-normal temperatures through spring in the Pacific Northwest, largely because of the continuing presence of La Niña.
“They are not giving up on it yet,” Fox said.
In fact, the center’s preseason prediction called for a late onset to winter storms in this region. But Fox and other forecasters in Spokane are doubtful that La Niña is going to bring it on during the second half of winter.
Weather records show that when precipitation is well below normal in the first half of the winter, there is a 66 percent chance it is going to stay relatively dry through spring.
Fox is using common sense, predicting mainly from actual past experience, while the CPC is using theories.
Common sense beats theory every time!
Mostly I'm just goddamn grateful. I was thoroughly prepared this time. Trees gone and roof clean, making it possible to rake the roof completely and efficiently for the first time; new snow shovel; lots of salt. Haven't had to use any of it so far, because the few 2-inch snowfalls have been broom-able.
Note to Weather Gods! I'm NOT COMPLAINING! Lack of snow is JUST FINE BY ME!
When the big snow does hit, whether this year or next, the trees will still be gone and the roof will still be clean and the shovel will still be new. I'll still be ready.
Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.