Saturday, December 24, 2005
Monday, December 19, 2005
Friday, December 16, 2005
Democrats, trial lawyers and the ACLU--read this and weep. The secret prison camps in an unidentified '-stan' country are ready. Join us or be assimilated.
The sad thing is that the Kos-acks and the Atrios guys really believe something like this. Of course, I know some republicans that think hollywood is in league with satan and that the DNC secretly takes its orders from the Kremlin so ... what can you do?
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Mozilla Firefox is a great Internet browser, applauded by users and critics alike for its features, performance, usability, customisation and security. Firefox 1.5 builds on Firefox 1.x by adding an integrated auto-update system, improved pop-up blocker and improved standards support, not to mention thousands of bug fixes. This updated guide will take you through all that Firefox 1.5 has to offer covering the options menu, about:config preferences, CSS, extensions and more.
Firefox rox, pure and simple. I have newegg, torrentspy, googlemaps, ebay, amazon, and several other searches preloaded into my quicksearch bar. I highlight a word and right-click and the definition pops up. I right-click and can make a screen-grab of my viewport. I can right click to automatically log into registration-only sites. The list of things I can do simply and easily with firefox goes on and on and on ... if you're not using a highly-customized version of firefox, then you're the technoutopian equivalent of a mentally retarded web-surfer.
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
Running through this whole convoluted tale are two consistent threads. DRM is used as a weapon not against infringers but against market rivals. And when companies use DRM to undermine compatibility, law-abiding customers lose.
Interesting article on the devious machinations of the powers that be in their quest to control the information we consume. DRM stands for Digital "Rights" Management, though the only rights DRM protects are the rights of record companies to screw artists and consumers.
Saturday, December 03, 2005
"Like Valenti with the Betamax, the publishers and Authors Guild simply want to tax the value created by Google Print. They are not complaining about any “decline in [their] property value” caused by Google Print. They are instead racing to claim the value that ancient law is said to give to them, despite the harm that claim produces for “progress.”"
In the words of Instapundit, read the whole thing. He hits the nail on the head with this post; ultimately the current Intellectual Property debate will have to give way to common sense. Just like air travel, freedom to share a file must win out because the only alternative is a digital police-state.
Friday, December 02, 2005
If you want to leak the names of CIA agents, or accept bribes in exchange for legislative favors,” Rep. Pelosi said, “you have to get some judge to make it constitutional first. Forty years ago a woman couldn’t legally abort her husband’s baby so she could marry her girlfriend and live in condo built on a site that city council confiscated from a poor retired couple. But now, it’s totally legal for many Americans.:)
"There has grown up in the minds of certain groups in this country the notion that because a man or corporation has made a profit out of the public for a number of years, the government and the courts are charged with the duty of guaranteeing such profit in the future, even in the face of changing circumstances and contrary to public interest. This strange doctrine is not supported by statute or common law. Neither individuals nor corporations have any right to come into court and ask that the clock of history be stopped, or turned back."
Instapundit was talking about the death of newspapers, but it applies equally well to Hollywood and the music labels. Profit from selling plastic disks isn't a fundamental right. Technology has made distribution of information value-less, those industries must adapt -- read, find a way to add value to the consumer on the consumer's terms -- or perish.
Thursday, December 01, 2005
Now we can add some splatters. This will be hard for me to explain but basically to add splatters you need to stamp with the splatter brush (brush no. 9) a few times on the same place or paint while hardly moving from the same spot. You need to play with this brush a bit to get the 'feel' for it. You can also enhance the splatter using brushes number 3 & 12.
Good Tutorial on making background textures for use in digital paintings or for scrap-booking projects.
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
"If you are alarmed at $8 trillion debt in a $12 trillion economy, what would you think of $80 trillion debt in a $120 trillion economy? In an economy like that, would these young kids you’re scaring today be better off or worse off? Why?"
Why indeed. But here's the thing Steve -- even though I deplore politicians stretching the truth and painting false pictures -- I really do believe that making the government spending a smaller fraction of the economy will cause improved economic growth. (see graph below), and you've talked many times before about how important that is for our nation's financial health. So though I don't like the dishonest distortions about impending fiscal doom, I harbor some hope that the fear-mongering might lead to smaller/smarter federal spending.
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
"The rich get poorer and the poor get richer. That’s what filesharing does for the music industry. No wonder the RIAA is desperately trying to shutdown all filesharing activities.
A recent overview of the current literature on the effect of filesharing on record sales shows that the most popular artist (top 25%) sell less records. However, the remaining 75% of all artists actually profits from filesharing. How this is possible?"
Good site with interesting articles on integrating firefox with bittorrent.
Friday, November 18, 2005
"When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said 'Stick to the Devil you Know."
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
"Zarqawi, leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, today endorsed a measure introduced by Senate Republicans that would force President George Bush to lay out his plan for ending the war against terrorists in Iraq.
“We think it is important for a democracy such as the United States to be transparent with the public,” said Mr. Zarqawi in a video statement released to al-Jazeera TV and CNN. “We’ll all feel better when we learn strategic and tactical details of how Mr. Bush intends to stop al Qaeda from turning Iraq into the first major victory in the global jihad."
Sunday, November 13, 2005
“Our troops deserve to know that their elected leaders who voted to send them to war will remain firm in our conviction that we didn’t know what we were doing at the time,” Sen. Kerry said. “It’s important, on Veteran’s Day, to remember that our Democrat commitment to our military hasn’t changed.”
Friday, November 11, 2005
Monday, November 07, 2005
Fill in the blank: 'Tax cuts for the ______'
For those of you who have been vacationing incommunicado in Antarctica for the last twenty-five years, the word that correctly fills in the blank is “rich.”
Great post with nice little graphs showing how incredibly progressive our tax system is. Also, notice how fair the Bush tax cuts were for every income class.
Sunday, November 06, 2005
I'm saying that there's a pretty huge cultural divide in France -- exacerbated by the welfare-state mentality. The confiscatory tax rates and commensurate goverment spending have led to anemic economic growth and -- more critically -- french citizens are totally dependent on their government to provide a life for them. The net effect is entrenched and multi-generational poverty for the great majority of Arab immigrants.
Thus, a great deal of pent-up anger and frustration.
Saturday, November 05, 2005
"The MSM has done everything possible to minimize the Islamicist nature of the violence in Europe, and has blacked-out coverage of the Danish front. Here is another example of how the blogosphere has become essential to an understanding of the realities of the world."
Is it just me, or is there not a world-wide radical-Islam PROBLEM?
Friday, November 04, 2005
"Back in the 1990s, the French sneered at America for the Los Angeles riots. As the Chicago Sun-Times reported in 1992: 'the consensus of French pundits is that something on the scale of the Los Angeles riots could not happen here, mainly because France is a more humane, less racist place with a much stronger commitment to social welfare programs.' President Mitterrand, the Washington Post reported in 1992, blamed the riots on the 'conservative society' that Presidents Reagan and Bush had created and said France is different because it 'is the country where the level of social protection is the highest in the world.'As one who lived in Paris from 1993-1995, this analysis is spot on.
How the times have changed. Muslims in Paris's suburbs are out shooting at police and firefighters, burning cars and buildings, and throwing rocks at commuter trains ... a sign of something deeper at work - no doubt France's failure to integrate its immigrant Muslim community.
It turns out that France's Muslim community lives in areas rampant with crime, poverty."
Monday, October 31, 2005
"This is what happens when you don't listen to the brillant Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer and instead go for the GUSTO. Bush is MOONING US with the blessing of the DAMNED FUNDIES OF HIS PARTY. The RIGHT WING has captured the REPUBLICANS and has turned them into a THEOCRACY. Pretty soon all of us are going to be wearing BURKAS and be barefoot and preganant in the KITCHEN. AND you KNOW that hes not going to be for GAY MARRIAGE (COME ON! How could you NOT be for gay marriage? Stupid Right-WINGERS and your stupid morals and values. LOVE is a moral value), and with any luck, and if BUSHIE gets one more on the SCOTUS, a WOMYNS RIGHT TO CHOOSE is going to be GONE. And we are going to have to get our abortions in BACK ALLEYS. And no birth control. AND DARE I FORGET...BUSH*TLER IS GOING TO REINSTITUTE SLAVERY!!!"I endorse Alito, and I predict he'll wind up on the SCOTUS despite a fight in the senate. Last I checked, you could buy money for 78 cents on the dollar over at INTRADE, by betting that Alito gets confirmed.
Monday, October 24, 2005
"He goes after the quality of two crappy Wikipedia entries and with them rejects the whole notion of amateurism. Except I could show him many articles in my local papers that are crappy. Does that negate the value of all newspaperdom and all journalists?"Interesting article on Web 2.0 and the evolving relationship between companies and the customers they serve. Ultimately, the internet will enhance our lives because more information is better -- for everybody; buyers, sellers, producers, consumers, creators, companies , individuals, politicians, PACs, everyone -- than less.
Sunday, October 23, 2005
"In other words, in the face of evidence that an armed populace prevents genocide, the human rights community has largely gotten behind a campaign to ensure that there will be no armed populaces anywhere in the world...
Given that the traditional approaches of conventions and tribunals have failed miserably, the human rights community should be prepared to endorse a new international human right: the right of law-abiding citizens to be armed." (via Instapundit)
I think about this in terms of power decentralization: decentralized power structures (like the US system of checks and balances and federalism) by their very nature are more robust, more flexible, and more fault-tolerant than centralized systems.
Friday, October 21, 2005
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Friday, October 14, 2005
"Minarchism is the view that the size, role and influence of government in a free society should be minimal ... Many minarchists consider themselves part of the libertarian tradition, and claim that what they call minarchy continues the traditions of classical liberal philosophy. The term is perhaps most often used to differentiate libertarians that believe it is possible to have a state that protects individual liberty without violating it itself, from the anarchists who believe that any state is inherently a violation of individual liberty. Minarchists believe some minimal government is necessary to preserve liberty (from invading non-minarchy based armies, if nothing else)... Many minarchists agree that government should be restricted to its 'minimal' or 'night watchman' state functions of government (e.g., courts, police, prisons, defense forces). Some minarchists include in the ideal role of government the management of essential common infrastructure (e.g., roads, money)...
minarchists favor expansion of power in a government of a small jurisdiction (like a city or county) over a larger jurisdiction (like a state or nation). This leaves individuals who wish to avoid living or working under the expansion more options (it's easier to move to another city or county than to move to another state or country)."
To explain my internal consistency, it suffices to divide the issue of federal spending into two realms: one is the realm of law and philosophy of government, the other is the realm of economics.
When looking at things through the lens of economics, I think its clear that:
1. There is no impending budget-deficit crisis.My take-away is that, from an economic stand-point, we shouldn't go crazy with tax-cuts or spending-cuts in an effort to "tame" our "exploding" national debt.
2. Current spending levels are supportable, given robust economic growth.
Before we start analyzing government spending economically, we first have to ask ourselves what the Constitution authorizes the federal government to do as a matter of law. (And what powers we should give to government more generally.) From this perspective, I am convinced that the federal government is too powerful:
1. the constitution lays out a central authority whose powers are limited to a small number of specificall enumerated functions (national defense, interstate commerce, foreign affairs, regulation of the money supply, federal courts) -- compare this to our current situation: the courts have allowed the federal government to regulate (and tax) pretty much anything.So my desire to see the budget reduced is motivated by a desire to reduce the scope and power of the federal government, not by economic concerns.
2. the un-constitutional power of our current federal government manifests itself in two ways: federal regulations and the power to tax and spend.
3. I want to reduce the power of our federal government, thus I desire a reduction in government spending/taxing. This is an end in itself and completely independent of any economic analysis (though I happen to believe that lower taxes will induce greater economic growth).
Thursday, October 13, 2005
"The copyright concerns that scholars have been focused on for the last ten and more years are proxies for the central problem facing the internet: private control of our internet experiences. We’re moving from the conceit of owning information (the problem of IP, the problem taken on by Jamie Boyle in his 1996 Shamans, Software, and Spleens) to the conceit of owning the public internet itself – or, in other words, the conceit of owning flows of information. "
Read the whole thing. Interesting questions and ones that are important to answer correctly in the coming techno-utopia.
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
"Republicans took control of Congress in 1994 by promising 'the end of government that is too big, too intrusive, and too easy with the public's money.' A look out my window says that isn't happening.
A review of the federal budget confirms it. Federal spending was up 33 percent in President Bush's first four years, making Bush the fastest spender of taxpayer dollars since President Johnson. Between the pork-filled highway bill, the emergency spending bills for the war in Iraq and now the blank-check plans for Hurricane Katrina, he's breaking that record now.
When Katrina spending is factored in, Bush will likely be the fastest-spending president since Franklin D. Roosevelt during World War II."
Friday, October 07, 2005
Thursday, October 06, 2005
"GOOGLE HAS confirmed that it will launch free spreadsheet and word-processing software online and take on Microsoft in one of its biggest markets.
Under the deal, Google will allow web users to access Sun's OpenOffice from a toolbar.
Sun's Australian spokesman Paul O'Connor bubbled that the deal was a wake-up call for Microsoft:
'At the moment most people are used to having to pay for software packages, but at the end of the day, the value is in the content and services – not in the software itself,' he said."
No duh! I don't know how many times I've gotten into it with people over intellectual property and so-called "piracy" who lamely conclude their arguments with the bold economic assertion (stated in a tragically pained, kind of whiney voice): "But without copyright, how will software developers make any money?"
Hello people, ever heard of World of Warcraft? Everquest? Google? Trying to own the bits is moronic, the value-added is in service and support.
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
I impatiently await the realization of his ideas; its only a matter of time.
Monday, October 03, 2005
Saturday, October 01, 2005
Maybe a Constitutional amendment is in order; something like this:
"Article XXVIII: Anyone who talks or writes about the raw dollars of debt, the raw dollars of deficit, or the raw dollars of interest payments, instead of debt as % GDP, deficit as % GDP, or interest as % of tax receipts, will have his ________ or her ________ chopped off in the town square within twenty-four hours after conviction of the crime. The Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation, except the President shall have the duty to enforce this article when the violator is a member of the Congress."
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
Anyway, other things I hate about this hotel:
There are no refigerators in the rooms -- this means that I'm continually making runs to the ice machine to keep my 2-liters of Dr. Pepper cold. What kind of a cheap, dive am I staying in here.? Caffeine addicts of the world, Unite!
The pool and the jacuzzi are closed. What's the point of having a pool if its permanently closed? Its in the 90's outside, but I can't take a dip because the hotel is too cheap to maintain a freakin' pool? unbelievable.
My room telephone doesn't function: there's no sound coming out of the speaker when people call, and the speaker-phone set-up doesn't work.
The hotel is out beyond freaking egypt, its almost a mile from the metro station. Lousy, lousy location -- the marriott is so much better situated. Should've stayed there, they probably offer high-speed internet in their rooms and have a real pool.
Thursday, September 22, 2005
Heritage Policy Blog: "McCain Says Ditch Prescription Drug Benefit. Sen. John McCain said today that with the cost of recovery from Hurricane Katrina estimated to be in the neighborhood of $200 billion, the Medicare prescription drug benefit should be canceled. "Do we really need more wealth transfer to the elderly?
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Does anyone else think this is insane?
Video piracy, in the standard scenario presented by big-time COWs, is the profoundest threat to mankind — or at least mankind’s potential profit margin on re-releases of 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre' — since the Black Death, the H-Bomb or killer hurricances.
The latest weapon promoted by the world's COWs against the threat of video piracy — which rips off Hollywood at something like .0175 percent of its (admitted) annual revenue — is something called the 'broadcast flag.' The Federal Communications Commission was planning to insinuate this copy-protection software into all new broadcast content until a federal court this year said they lacked jurisdiction. This ruling has only redoubled COW efforts to enlist regulatory agencies in its sacred mission of squeezing every quarter 'til the eagle grins."
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
"Which brings us to the movie industry’s announcement, yesterday, that they will set up “MovieLabs”, a $30 million research effort to develop effective anti-copying technologies. The only sensible explanation for this move is that Hollywood really believes that there are easily-discovered anti-copying technologies that the technology industry has failed to find.
So Hollywood is still in denial about digital copying.
The pressure will be on MovieLabs to find strong anti-copying technologies, because a failure by MovieLabs can’t be blamed on the tech industry. Failure will show, instead, that stopping digital copying is much harder than Hollywood thought. And MovieLabs will fail.
When MovieLabs fails, expect the spinners to emerge again, telling us that MovieLabs has a great technology that it can’t tell us about, or that there’s a great technology that isn’t quite finished, or that the goal all along was not to stop P2P copying but only to reduce some narrow, insignificant form of copying. Expect, most of all, that MovieLabs will go to almost any length to avoid independent evaluation of its technologies.
This is a chance for Hollywood to learn what the rest of us already know — that cheap and easy copying is an unavoidable side-effect of the digital age"
Monday, September 19, 2005
Friday, September 16, 2005
The White House communications team scrambled this morning to explain how President George Bush accidentally delivered a rejected draft speech in New Orleans last night on national TV.Technorati tags: welfare-state
White House Communications Director Dan Bartlett said he still does not know how the text of an address he had personally rejected as "too DNC" wound up in the president's hands last night.
Many Republicans reacted in shock as all of America heard Mr. Bush promising a series of federal interventions and taxpayer-cash infusions
To any republicans who saw Bush's travesty of a speech -- this is the kind of welfare-state mentality we would have gotten if Kerry had won. I'm becoming sorry I voted for this big-government wolf in sheep's clothing.
Thursday, September 15, 2005
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
House Majority Leader Tom DeLay said yesterday that Republicans have done so well in cutting spending that he declared an 'ongoing victory,' and said there is simply no fat left to cut in the federal budget."
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
"Just because a person loses his house in a flood that destroys hundreds of thousands of other houses, rather than in a fire that destroys just his house, is no reason for the taxpayer to reimburse him for the loss. The fact that most people do not buy flood insurance, just like the fact that most Californians don't buy earthquake insurance, is no reason for me to insure them."Read the whole thing.
I'm down with his whole argument. I'm looking at the 60+ billion that our lovely congress is pissing away, and I'm thinking -- where is all that money going?
Thursday, September 08, 2005
Allegations of widespread fraud in unmonitored polling places threatened to mar the credibility of Egypt's sham presidential election today which pitted four-term President Hosni Mubarak against nine opponents whose actual names will be revealed to the public after the polls close.
As the Muslim nation's first contested presidential election charade wound to a close, opposition parties claimed that widespread voter intimidation tarnished the otherwise pre-engineered outcome.
"We had hoped that this phony election would continue Egypt's progress toward genuine artificial democracy," said one unnamed Mubarak opponent who opted for anonymity rather than imprisonment, "This sets a horrible precedent for other Arab nations who have taken the first, tentative steps toward the pretense of freedom."
Just hype by the media trying to push an extremist environmental agenda. This chart from the Commons blog shows that total fatalities as well as death rates due to "weather-related extreme events" are on century-old down trend. Thanks to our technology and economic growth, we're better protected than ever from the vissitudes of Mother Nature.
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
OK, so I guess we're not allowed to enjoy music or laugh or get photographed enjoying ourselves during times of natural disaster. I'm wondering if maybe someone has a picture of Xeni laughing during the time immediately after hurricane Katerina -- then I could make photocollage showing what an awful person she is by superimposing her gaiety on scenes of human suffering.
This kind of cheap-shot journalism destroys Xeni's credibility as an honest voice in the coming digital age.
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
What Hurricane Katrina exposed was the psychological consequences of the welfare state. What we consider "normal" behavior in an emergency is behavior that is normal for people who have values and take the responsibility to pursue and protect them. People with values respond to a disaster by fighting against it and doing whatever it takes to overcome the difficulties they face. They don't sit around and complain that the government hasn't taken care of them. And they don't use the chaos of a disaster as an opportunity to prey on their fellow men.
He considers the value and limits of crime-facilitating speech, and how the first amendment protection of speech should be weighed against the possibility that some speech might enable criminal activity.
Basically the fact that I can't post an mp3 of the song I'm listening to right now, to this blog, drives me crazy. If file-sharing is anything, its speech; the exhanging of data -- simple pure communication. But in America in 2005 its not free speech, its speech controlled by the record companies and the movie studios and Micro$oft.
Monday, September 05, 2005
Sunday, September 04, 2005
As the notion of drug legalization has fermented in my brain, the central question mutated into the following:
What gives the federal government the right to decide what I put in my body?
I can't seem to find a good answer. At first I thought to myself: "Well, taking mind-altering drugs can endanger other people; imagine your kids' bus driver hopped up on pot or crystal or cocaine..." Except then I realized that the crime there can be addressed directly via legislation exactly like we've done for drunk driving. It isn't necessary to outlaw alcohol to legislate against the abuse of alcohol that endangers others.
This was brought home to me especially poignantly by the illegalization of ephedrine -- an herb that I've frequently used as a body building aid in the past and which has been scientifically proven to be safe -- here, the feds butted into my personal life and dictated what I could (or rather, could not) put in my body. How dare they? Where in the constitution did we give congress the right to control the most basic element of our lives; our alimentation?
More to come.
Several days ago a group of European hackers broke Nagravision2, and many of my friends across the world are now viewing all of DishNetworks' programming (including PPV movies, premium sports channels, etc.) for free.
I believe DishNetwork underestimated the inherent security difficulties in giving millions of its customers the cryptographic key (or rather a method to get the key via their access cards) and simultaneously expecting that their enemies would be unable to reverse engineer said key.
Anyway, Nagra2 is wide open for anyone who is interested. Go to mauisun's bulletin board for more information on this fiasco.
Thursday, September 01, 2005
Unfortunately, they're still planning on having church on Sunday. This means that if I don't go do this bit of service then I get to see all the ladies at church and explain why I'm not in Mississippi doing Christian service with all the other men in the church.
The answer came to me just now: skip church and run the table so to speak. If I'm hell-bound this week end, why not go whole hog?
Seriously though, I'm going to cut a check to charity to cover the miniscule amount of help I would be able to render if I were to go there over the weekend. Honestly, I'm not into suffering for the sake of suffering. If my own discomfort were able to substantially and uniquely improve the lot of the folks in the wake of the storm, then I'd be happy to help. I spent a weekend doing service right after Ivan, and all I can say is ... if we'd each pitched in 40 bucks we could have hired professional to do what we did in a quarter of the time.
While Macrovision attempts to stop piracy ... they admit that it may be an impossible goal to achieve as P2P networks adapt and change. According to Dalke, Hawkeye works well against most of the major P2P networks including EDonkey and FastTrack. But full protection against Bittorrent has not been achieved yet.That's right, because if someone seeds a bogus file on bittorrent the peeps who download it will leave a comment indicating that its crap. Thus bittorrent self-regulates against this kind of attack.
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
This is the very reason that I propose a simple intelligence test before people are allowed to vote; does our democracy really need morons deciding who is best suited for the presidency?
Deny Suffrage to Idiots! Please join my national and growing campaign to curb the power of stupid people by sending me $25 via cash, check, or Paypal before the retards ruin our country.
Thursday, August 25, 2005
You can't think seriously about criminal justice and crime control without recognizing the racial disparities in crime. You can't think seriously about the causes of disproportionate representation of men and women in certain fields without at least considering whether men and women might on average have important biological differences that might explain some of this disproportion. You can't think seriously about what public health strategies are needed to fight AIDS ... without knowing the data about the demographics of HIV.Apparently, Eugene was getting grief for pointing out that homosexual sex is much riskier than straight sex.
It's Harvard's Summers incident reborn: free speech for everyone, unless we don't like what you're saying.
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
Also I was happy to see my doctoral advisor here, Randy Beard, and we were able to lunch together yesterday at a delicious little Thai place next to the hotel. I also bumped into my friend Wei Ren, who another of Randy's students, and he's just nailed a professorship at Utah State University -- congratz Wei!
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
Thursday, August 04, 2005
So the sink and faucet are installed and the leaks are gone -- thank you, thank you, no applause please. Actually big props to my buddie Kevin who gave me the intel I needed to fix the problems.
On another note, my wife and I have been watching the West Wing season one (courtesy of my friend Bit, of course) and though I'm not a liberal I really like that show -- its also great to be able to watch the episodes in order, without commercials, and all at once.
Wednesday, August 03, 2005
Relax my friends, you pain is over.
First of all, can I say how much I hate plumbing? I wasn't feeling well yesterday so I took the afternoon off in order to rest. After I get home, I see that the people have come to install our new Corian countertops in the kitchen -- so, you guessed it, I end up spending 5 hours on my back under our sink installing the new faucet, replumbing the disposer, and trying (in vain) to plug two leaks in copper pipes. Apparently I'm going to have to re-solder the fittings, which in case your wondering, is guaranteed to be a major pain in the rear...
Anyway, I have a huge soar throat today and I feel like shite, but I hate posts with no links because they're like dead-ends for addicted web-surfers, so here ya go suckers:
or maybe even this (which is interesting yet misguided)
Friday, July 22, 2005
I'm wondering if this recent spate of violence won't make people more sympathetic to the war in Iraq, as slowly the realization dawns that evil must be confronted and force must be meet force.
Appeasement is the cowards answer, the naive dream of intellectuals who haven't grokked the reality of life on planet earth.
To quote my hero, Winston Churchill,
"We must fight ... we shall never surrender."
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
If you don't -- well, what the hell is wrong with you? You don't like practical, approachable, non-partisan analysis of our nation's finances?
Ahhh yes, the `ole something for nothing routine. Having discovered that no meaningful harm is being done, some have suggested that filesharing is immoral because it is gratis.
Me: I listen to the radio for free every day -- I enjoy it greatly and I don't pay a cent. Is this wrong?
RIAA Zombie: But you pay for it through commercials!
Me: No I tune into a different station when a commercial comes on -- do you have a problem with that. I also leave the room when the tv commercials come on, its my preferred snack/bathroom break time. Maybe I Tivo. Does this trouble you so? Can I not enjoy tv and radio for free? Did I sign some sort of a contract that I would watch the commercials? The fact is we get something for nothing all the time in life -- air, radio, tv, beaches, mountains, forests, those little snacks they give away in supermarkets, ...
RIAA Zombie: But its not fair, the record studio does all this work to produce the cds, then you just take the music off the internet without paying a dime!
Me: Wake up and smell the napalm! The only thing unfair about the record industry is how they treat the musicians (despite what you think, musicians make the great bulk of their money touring, as they've always done since before there were even vinyl records.) Record studios produce a zero-value product (since the cost of copying and delivering information in today's world costs basically nothing) when they offer me a cd. The artists provide value, but they make their money on concerts and merchandise -- which by all accounts can only increase with a wider distribution of their music. But we're digressing here, as these things always do, into a fight about the proper business model for the record studios. I don't owe the Record companies a profit (see my first post) and I don't give a rat's ass how much money they [don't] make. In a free market its up to the record company to provide me a valuable product if they want my business -- and copying and distributing digital files costs me nothing, so what value do they add?
Up next: why the idea of "owning" digital content is patently ridiculous.
Saturday, July 16, 2005
And the great part is that a slew of usefull modules are available, making the development of cool applications straightforward.
So if you've ever wanted to try computer programming but didn't know where to start, or if you're looking for a better way to develop software: try python, it makes programming fun again.
Friday, July 15, 2005
Well, I'll disabuse all you MPAA/RIAA zombies right now of your fantasies -- not only do I think digital piracy is not wrong, I wish there were a whole lot more of it.
There are too many issues to discuss in a single post so I'll concentrate on the "its wrong because it hurts the record studios/software developers/movie studios" line of reasoning.
But does downloading digital content cause harm to the creator of that content? Well, the first thing to note is that noone is being deprived of their property--a download copies a file, it leaves the original intact. Despite being called piracy, filesharing is not stealing: imagine sneaking into your neighbor's house and making an exact replica of their new stereo. You enjoy the benefits of a new stereo and your neighbor need never know -- there's no immediate harm being done, if any harm occurs its because of some secondary effect. Usually the claim is one of financial harm -- i download a song instead of buying the cd, so I've harmed the record company to the tune of $15.
But think about the implication there -- if not buying a particular commodity causes morally significant harm, then we're a bunch of sadists, aren't we? I buy AMD over Intel -- do I owe Intel an apology? My wife doesn't likes to do her own gardening -- is she wronging the local gardening business? Anytime we consume anything, or don't consume for that matter, someone is losing our business -- is their lack of profit creating a deficit on our moral balance sheet? This argument just doesn't add up, unless you believe that we have a moral imperative to ensure everyone makes a buck.
At this point in the argument, my opponents usually jump to another reason why filesharing is wrong by pointing to the illegality ... but I'll treat the other (equally deficient) attacks on digital piracy in future posts. Untill then, burn baby burn. Get you bittorrent groove on, my friends, and download the content you want guilt free.
Thursday, July 14, 2005
For the sake of transparency, I will briefly describe my views as of 1 July 2005:
I don't identify myself with any particular political party of philoshopy, though the closest ideology would be classical liberalism (aka libertarianism). I favor the decentralization of power. I favor governmental power that is strictly limited in scope to certain necessary functions: law-enforcement and the administration of justice, protection of commons-type assets for fair use (roads, frequency spectrum, water, etc.), national defence, protection of free markets, etc.
I believe that free market - based economic systems (such as American capitalism) are superior in delivering a higher standard of living.
I hold that family relationships are the most meaningful and important ones that we have in life and that identification with and loyalty to family structures are under-emphasized in the great western democracies.
I believe that intellectual property (IP) law in the US has reached the point of insanity, and that modern IP law will become simultaneously 1) less enforcible and 2) more widely percieved as unjust and unworkable.