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Ether Mind

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Friday, September 30, 2005

Stupid quiz

Actually, it was well designed. I just took a quiz entitled, "Which historic general are you?" and these are the abbreviated results. I post things like this, by the way, in case the link amuses you, not because I want you to think of me as

Scipio
You scored 68 Wisdom, 81 Tactics, 50 Guts, and 51 Ruthlessness!
You're most simillar to Scipio in the fact that you're smart and ruthless. Scipio beat Hannibal by luring him back from Western Europe (where he was crushing legion after legion of Roman soldiers trying to gain support from local tribes) by laying seige to his home country of Carthage. Hannibal returned to defend his home and was defeated at the Battle of Zama. Ruthless, but it worked.


My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 78% on Unorthodox
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 90% on Tactics
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 27% on Guts
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 62% on Ruthlessness

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Without Delay

So Tom Delay has been indicted on vague charges that will not bear scrutiny. Hell, even if he's guilty he won't be convicted. This is a great political victory for the DNC. No more GOP House minority leader!

"DeLay is the only Republican who has been in the leadership continuously since the GOP took control of the House after the 1994 elections." - CNN.com

"Yes, after 11 years of Republican majority we've pared it down pretty good." - Tom DeLay, on the budget. Incidentally, I spent half an hour looking for his original remarks, but no one really cares for source material anymore.

"Each party steals so many articles of faith from the other, and the candidates spend so much time making each other's speeches, that by the time election day is past there is nothing much to do save turn the sitting rascals out and let a new gang in.
" - H. L. Mencken

The GOP is, as you may have noticed, spiraling toward its doom with drunken sailoresque spending. Though, as Reagan noted, at least the sailor's spending his own money.

So DeLay's out. Many expect the new House leader dude to be a sort of temporary puppet figure, but there are two objections to such: The puppet may want real power, and he evidently has supporters to get to that point. Also, there is no time frame for DeLay to resume power, and it is foolish to erect temporary structures for long use.

If the new guy, whom I know nothing about, is a fiscal conservative, then we may see change for the better. I have doubts about the ability of one man to impact the system, but there has been a groundswell of support for discipline lately. We all know that spending cuts are popular so long as it's someone else's spending...

While we're on the topic, pure pork isn't that bad. It balances the books between states, as it were, and at a mere 25000000000$US a year. The vast federal programs are better positioned for liposuction. But the topic was DeLay...

I've heard that a budget freeze is gaining support. IE, it now has more than one supporter. Budget freezes are a beautiful way of cutting the budget without pain, but they seem to be harder to enact than selective trimming. Oh, that was the wrong delay.

What I'm trying to get across is that the GOP will maintain control if they can cut the deficit a little. By deposing DeLay the DNC may have dug its own deathtrap.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

[Expletive Deleted] morons

"The destruction of crops was designed to aid the economy. The Government, for a fairly brief time destroyed surplus crops and livestoack, and paid farmers not to cultivate land. This was done to raise the price of farm goods which were at a dangerously low level. Farmers were losing their farms in droves. Simply giving the food away would have made the situation worse, with more farmers going out of business. Harsh, but not an unreasonable measure at the time." - SaveElmer, in a DU thread

I can't stop laughing at how asinine this is. Let me explain something about economics to laymen:

F=ma

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. What this means practically is that many, if not most, situations are actually the opposite of what they appear. Beginning physics students often have this problem, though it is present in all sciences. It is difficult to differentiate between the action and reaction without a solid grasp of the underlying laws of the system.

Now, the individual above notes that "crop prices are too low, so farmers are going out of business! this is bad!"

No, it's not bad. When enough farmers go out of business, the supply will shrink and prices will rise as per Econ 101. But what about the poor farmers! Well, they will be able to direct their time and energy to some other business. The evolution of society over the past 600 years or so has seen a continual decrease in the percentage of the population employed in agriculture. If you want to argue against the industrial revolution, the rise of the middle class, and the Enlightenment, be my guest.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Vote For A ManiaC

I just played a national budget simulator and got the following results on my first attempt, without looking at any numbers:

Budget Totals
Old budget was $3747.36 billion

($2672.527 billion in spending, $1074.833 billion in tax expenditures and cuts). New budget is $3346.41 billion
($2368.66 billion in spending, $977.75 billion in tax expenditures and cuts).

You have cut the deficit by $400.95 billion. Your new deficit is $0.05 billion.

I cut tax breaks and marginal rates, which yielded a slight net tax increase. I eliminated agriculture, gouged health spending, and tinkered with a few other things. It was a little sad to see all of the things that are inefficient but necessary, like transportation; if you cut them, the useful projects are eliminated first. Here's my second attempt, which is not politically feasible at all:

Old budget was $3747.36 billion
($2672.527 billion in spending, $1074.833 billion in tax expenditures and cuts). New budget is $2443.66 billion
($1414.66 billion in spending, $1029 billion in tax expenditures and cuts).

You have cut the deficit by $1303.7 billion. Your new deficit is $-902.69 billion.

Oops! You've cut so much that the federal budget now contains a substantial surplus. Many economists warn that this budget may help induce or prolong a recession, and ordinary citizens demand a refund. You might want to cut taxes or raise spending.

That's because it only let me increase tax cuts by 100%. Bad news though- poor are going to drop like flies, but economic growth will be improved. Due to eliminating market distortions like loan programs, jobs training, highways, and regional development, I expect the technological and economic developement of the US to shift directions. Away from automobiles.

Fun, fun. Try it out.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Random Chance

[edit: May be jet lag, but my prose is prose is repetitive. Point cogent though. Good night.]

There are three possibilities for finding your perfect mate:

1) Find someone who has the same core values as yourself and has rationally built up a worldview compatible with your own.

2) Since there are 6000000000 people on Earth, some of them must have developed a compatible worldview by random chance.

3) Screw philosophy and mate with the hottest man/woman you can afford.

This is not really the point of the post; the random chance mentioned in paragraph three is. All of our opinions are, in the end, the product of undirected chemical reactions. Those positions we have built through cold logic are premised on axioms that were pulled from the Ether(TM).

There are 6000000000 people, and it is therefore a statistical certainty to find someone who agrees with you on a particular subtle point for no apparent reason. Take a virtually non-existent blog written by a friend of mine. Here're two quotes:

"...we have stupid laws. Why? Because the government has nothing better to do with their time. These laws are pointless to follow and shouldn't be adhered to. We have more important things to worry about. ...Hopefully stupid laws will end someday, but until that time just continue to ignore them." - Netherworld News, Jul 3

"...The good thing is that no matter how many shares you buy, you won't lose anything for as long as you own the shares. When you do decide to sell, make sure that you didn't lose any money. If you do lose money, then it is your own falut (sic) because you sold your shares at the wrong time." - Netherworld News, Aug 6

These sound delightfully cynical, libertarian in proclivity, and hilariously ingenuous. Well, only the third one is actually the case. Despite my vast skill, I don't know that I could write anything quite like it.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Absolutely

"Many of us moderates often pride ourselves on our attachment to making politics rational; we also want politics to serve the greater good." - The Yellow Line

Lovely. However, serving the greater good is the basis of the utilitarian ethical system, which is the foundation of Left ideology.

I sometimes think that Rights ethics is dying, that the enlightenment will have no lasting impact, that I will one day be put in a nursing home, condemned as senile for my crazy beliefs. There was a thread on Scrappleface recently where a few atheists tried to come up with a definition of morality not predicated on God. Since I define Morality as right and wrong, determined by God, I cannot really debate that. From my viewpoint, they were speaking not of morality but ethics.

Ethics, morality, semantics don't matter. They mostly came up with the good ol' utilitarian trope: "Good is that which leads to the greatest happiness for the greatest number. Evil is that which destroys happiness."

No, happiness is happiness. Good is Good. If you desire a non-religious moral code, here it is:

"Those things we do which we would not want other humans to know about are evil. Those things we do that we would be proud of are good."

This definiton is firmly rooted in biology. The conscience evolved to make us look good to other humans by restraining behavior that would otherwise be beneficial, such as stealing food. Stealing food is beneficial- but getting caught would lead to exile from the pack. Hence the evolution of the conscience, and hence my definition.

Now, I'm a Christian with Deist tendencies, so I don't have to think about morality. The Torah is a bit vague on what to do in the 21st century if someone steals your goat, so I have to have a comprehensive system of ethics.

There are four major systems: Utilitarian, Rights, Duty, and Authoritarian. Maybe five... I'll go into greater detail later tonight or tomorrow.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

My family went through Hurricane Rita and all I have left is this stupid T-Shirt

I no longer live down there, but I know people. My sister will narrowly avoid Rita as well. Phone lines clogged, of course, although that won't be so much of a problem when the infrastructure is totally digitized.

Mmm, Voip. So here are the specs I promised for the computer- my first PC since 2003, now that my travails are over.

Athlon 3500+
2x 512 DDR 400, running in 128 bit dual channel mode
ECS NForce Mobo
some crappy Sony CD/burner
120 GB SATA hard drive
Case with a window and a pretty blue light
Radeon X300SE with 128 MB DDR. PCI-e. Kinda cheaped out
19" semi-flat CRT
and the cheap ps/2 keyboard and optical mouse
big shiny 35$ chipfan. only one available

The sound card puts out enough watts that my computer subwoofer can rattle nearby equipment. This is a nice change from the puny laptop cards. The sound also has enough channels for me to record without picking up the stereo mix.

I am pleased, although I could probably have gotten a comparable Dell or IBM for the same price.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Exhibitionism

*Global warming is also occuring on Mars, lending creedence to the sunspot theory.

*Could fiscal conservatism make a comeback? Please pray for it. I plan on being one of the super-rich one day, and high taxes will prevent that. The global depression won't help either.

*Josh Marshal is an idiot. The Davis-Bacon Act is one of the most racist, anti-poor, counterproductive laws in existence. These two facts are only marginally related.

Dangit, I couldn't find an article to explain why. Briefly, Bacon-Davis mandates high wages for workers on federal contracts. The theory is that this will give poor people more money. The reality is that poor people aren't hired for these jobs, because they aren't worth the mandated wage. Highly skilled union workers are brought in from out of town if necessary, and the jobs that would go to the poor do not. The law was originally passed to divert jobs from nonunion blacks to unionized white workers in 1931.

*Conservatives are coming out of the woodwork lately. I thought they were a dying breed, honestly, but they seem to make up a large perentage of the GOP. In contrast, only about half the DNC is 'liberal'.

*"Men don't understand that women live in a daily state of fear, while women don't understand that men simply don't." - Vox Day, a pseudonymous crazy guy on my blogroll.

*I missed Social Distortion on Saturday. For you elderly people, they are the logical successors to Lynyrd Skynyrd. "White Light, White Heat, White Trash" is highly recommended.

Blogger eats my posts

but there will be enough gloom and doom for everyone, later tonight.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Faith No More

It has been weeks since Katrina, and still people have a touching faith in the government. I know I've made this point before, but the government has never accomplished anything in a timely or efficient manner.

The DMV? The IRS? The military is the most efficient federal agency, and its waste is incredible.

My car is unregistered because it can't pass emissions. Does the car pass emissions? Yes. Can it be certified? No, because the onboard computer produces an error code. What does the error code mean? The government doesn't know. Ford knows, I know, not that the government has the capacity to find out. Whom would I tell? The governor?

I didn't file my taxes. Oh, I filed. I payed what I owed. The return is technically unfiled because an EIN is wrong. The IRS has the correct number, but... they promised to send it to me so I could send it back. So far, they haven't.

Public schools? They are 180 days a year. Half an hour for lunch, perhaps forty minutes for class changes. half the remaining time is wasted, even when students are in class. Another percentage is spent out of class at whatchacallems... assemblies, that's it. The remaining 3 hours a day is spent on outdated information presented in an ineffective manner.

The agricultural subsidies raise the price of food without increasing profit margins. More money is spent distributing welfare than is in welfare. Gas additives increase pollution and cost. Social Security is insecure.

Darpa and the National Weather Service seem to do all right.

My point is that, whether or not the government can theoretically produce a secure and prosperous land of white picket fences and golden retrievers, it does not do anything in a remotely acceptable manner.

Yet people are surprised at the aftermath of Katrina.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Urgent News Update

(16 SEP 2005) - EtherMindTM News Center
American technological superiority- long endangered- may be extinct.

At least, that's what some experts think. Recent reports of terrorists wielding low-cost, cutting-edge technology have sealed the deal, they say.

Although American students have long fallen behind other industrialised nations' in math and science scores, these scores are largely the propaganda of cheese-eating surrender monkeys. The decrease in the number of Americans receiving engineering or science degrees has been chalked up to supply and demand.

Optimists say that Americans will take over management functions, putting the US population at the top of the global ladder.

However, now that the US' uneducated, cave-dwelling enemies have constructed UAVs and complex explosives, many wonder if the drunken orgy of American Consumerism may have doomed itself.

"I drive to the corner for beer almost every night," says a senator from Massachusetts who did not wish to be named. "Sure, my SUV uses a lot of gas, but it's more convenient than having the maid stock up at the grocery store."

The senator also noted the problems that could ensue if his maid were asked for ID.

Elsewhere, record numbers of students are entering business school and law school, despite federally-subsidized high costs.

"I was always interested in nuclear engineering," says Amy Wursthaul, an NAU undergrad. "But I might as well get an MBA and hire Pakistanis to do the grunt work."

Ms. Wursthaul noted that engineering is "too much work" and questioned "why [she] should give up her sexual liberation to study every [expletive] night."

Foreign students are taking up the slack in American industry. According to one student at Embry-Riddle, "Allahu Akbar! Ah lulululululululu!!!"

Ah lululu indeed.
-- Colt Crosby, Ether Mind Media

Communist front groups, part 2

Well, I suppose I'll list those obvious ones first:
Ben & Jerry's
ABC/Disney
Sierra Club
American Communist Party

The ACLU is not communist per se; they are merely staffed by belligerent hippies who believe in the protection of those rights that they themselves use, and the abolition of rights they don't use.

DOE
NEA - Socialist F.G.
DMV - Only appears to be a communist front group, is actually front group for sado-masochists

MoveOn.org is also not a communist front group; rather, the Communist movement is a front group for lunatics like those at MoveOn.

**** Will be updated- new computer case just arrived. Finally, I will be free from the prison that is called laptop. I will post specs later, but I don't want to bump the above breaking news story just yet. I will continue to update this post sometime this weekend, and may permalink it as a permanent glossary of people to hang when the revolution comes.****

Monday, September 12, 2005

There it is

Here we go:

"...he had possibly even
fabricated some of the data itself! That is, a few of the "case histories" or stories from patients were made up by Freud himself -- there was no patient...

This tendency to interpret texts and events to fit preconceived theories would later be copied by psychology majors and lit crit students ad nauseum, as they found vagina dentatas, envied penises, and other Freud derived symbology hidden within the words and imagery of countless books, movies, songs, plays, speeches, and ancient myths. Gleefully they plucked forth their Freudian plums and crowed, "What a good scholar am I!" Eventually this over zealous symbol detection led to the opposing cry, "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar!" "
- from Rotten.com*

And thus began the modern liberal left.

* which I do NOT frequent. It was a random google search. Here is the link, with this disclaimer: link not for pregnant women, children under 14, the faint of heart, people at work, or anyone anywhere with respectable citizenry watching. Link contains photographic and artists' renditions of female genitalia and various circus sideshows. The rest of the ste is worse.

Memory Ln

I was just thinking about how to apply the Socratic method, thus ending the annoying "GT Kid" standoffs common in political conversation. Example:

"Bush = Hitler!"
"Why do you say that?"
"He tortures people!"
"No, he just subjects them to cruel and degrading treatment. They are our enemies, you know. It's not really that bad."
"Would YOU like to be led around naked with a leash?"
"In a prison with concrete floors, no. But it's not that bad."
"You don't know that! They have to sleep on concrete in the cold!"
"I've slept on concrete outdoors in the cold. Concrete is softer than it looks. Incidentally, books make good pillows."
"You're lying! But how can you support the war when you're not willing to fight it???"
"Well, actually, I'm an army reservist. I volunteered the fall before we invaded."
"Do you want to go to Iraq?"
"Of course not. It would inconvenience me."
"Okay then!"
"What?"

As you can see, this argument never ends- when one person wins a point, the other person gloms onto another topic rather than acknowledge defeat. The loser also tends to talk faster and louder at each setback. To avoid this, I have been considering whether my moderate trojan horse strategy might be modified to use the Socratic method. The difficulty with this is developing a line of leading questions on the fly. Still, the liberal- I mean loser- will not admit defeat, but it may be more impressive to any audience.

Then I recalled a conversation I had, much like the one above. Somehow this guy let it slip that he was an upper middle class suburbanite, living off Daddy's business. Whatever. I think we may have 'discussed' taxes or somesuch. Mayhap it was that I mentioned supporting Bush's retrograde policies?

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Read This

No, not my constant idiocy. This guy is the real deal.

Kill em all and let Allah sort them out

Here we have some quotes, all from the same CNN article.

"Republicans hold every elective office in Harris County, which takes in most of Houston,"

The city exists in two counties? Must be that lake they annexed.

"He noted that sprawling Houston is one of the nation's least segregated big cities because it has no zoning laws..."

So the Republican-controlled city, which is deregulated per GOP platform, is a wonderland of racial harmony. Actually, it's because the Crips killed off all of the Bloods in the late 1980s, and were subsequently thrown in prison. Thus ended the gang wars. The vigilantes seem to be preventing a resurgence.

"with Texas' Hispanic population surging and its black population growing faster than the white population, demographic shifts already are pushing the state toward the Democrats."

True enough, although Mexican immigrants tend to become conservatives after a generation or two.

Ok, the article is about displaced Katrina refugees and how they may affect voting. My view is that these people are not going to be able to survive in Houston. They may withstand the heat and humidity, although the elderly won't, but they won't be able to work for less than the Mexican workforce. Not Mexican-American, Mexican. I assume that federal handouts will continue, but Houston does not have as many service jobs as New Orleans, or ludicrously cheap housing built from French slate in a flood zone. The immediate suburbs are not in the correct price range.

Also, Texas has relatively high standards for employee performance.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

I thought Republicans wanted to lower levees

That's been a big, pointless point of contention.

Liberal: Blah wah wah, wah Bush = Hitler and he didn't build big enough levees!!! OMG!
Conservative: Wah wah wah, wah wah funding higher than in the Klinton administration, and levees take 30 years to build anyway, Cat 3 Cat 3 Cat 3!!!!!!!!

I just want to point out that levees caused the current problem.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Sorry, been busy

but let us assume that we eventually convert the arabs to Western Civilization. What kind of Westerners will they be? Smelly poseurs, like France? Militant barbarians, like Germany? Gluttonous workaholics like America?

I think they will be annoyingly politically correct. Overreacting to nonexistent slights is a major way of bartering, negotiating, attaining social advantage, and rabblerousing.

Saudi McLaden: Ahhh!!!!! The bottom of your shoe! I must avenge this dishonor!
Betty: Please, mister, I'm in traction. I can't lower my foot.
Saudi blows up the hospital with himself in it.

And they will probably be offended by my hyperbolic humor as well. I've never actually seen an arab work, either, but I assume they do. Judging from the paintings I've seen, they're pretty motivated to succede. ?Es una palabra? They were a major crossroads back in the day, and their immigrants rival Indians for per capita convenience store managers.

Oh well, that's enough subtle racism for today. Have at it, Kossies.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Neolibertarians, too

The strategy for a voting bloc should be as follows:

1) Find the party that is closest to your ideology and has a chance to win.

2) Vote for them.

3) Pull them as far in your direction as possible without costing them the election.

4) Make sure the opposition party knows of your importance and your willingness to flip sides.

5) Rouse the rabble and propagandise to pull the overall spectrum closer to your beliefs.

6) When making concessions, allow the opposition to have their craziest desires, rather than more moderate ones. This will make the populace angry at them.

7) Appeal to other groups using their own logic, no matter how flawed, immoral, and/or stomach-wrenchingly idiotic.

8) Use moderation in moderation, to win sympathy for your cause.

9) Constantly compare your political opponents to Hitler. Oh, wait, that would be stupid.

10) Brainwash the media, and they will brainwash others.

11) Create soundbites for your strategy, not strategy for your soundbites.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Thought for the weekend

After last year's election, I had a small piece of scrap notebook paper, approximately 1.5" by 5". The tape was sitting nearby. For whatever reason, I wrote, in very small print,

"Four more years, suckas."

and posted it on the door of my apartment. The following day someone had written,

"of war!"

Think about the mentalities involved here. Granted, it was a senseless thing for me to do, but this was not a BUSH 2004 banner. It was a tiny piece of paper, barely noticeable from 5' away. Apparently it drew someone's interest enough that they approached, read it, were angered by defeat, found a pencil, and tried to rebut me.

A 7 in^2 piece of notebook paper, taped to a random doorway. What could possess people to

1) care that much

2) write on my paper

3) assume a Kerry victory would have ended the war?

I just thought it was interesting. I wrote an addendum:

"yeah"

Friday, September 02, 2005

Hate is a strong word

and that's why I use it for minor annoyances. The government...

A lot of people are shocked that the government can't establish order in Nawlins or git the refugees out. Of course, yall kin guess my view- if the people wanted out, they coulda got out, and they could start walking right now. I know I would. Rumor has it that the National Gaurd is keeping the Superdome sealed, but hey, I'd break the barricade if it was my family in there.

If I were by myself, I wouldn't be in the Superdome to begin with. I'd be festering in an abandoned building with looted guns and food. I'll get back to the ethics of looting later.

The point is, I wouldn't rely on the government. Where does this attitude come from? Some great nobility of spirit? Am I so much greater than the mere mortals around yonder?

No. I know dang well the government can't accomplish anything. Iraq? Viet Nam? Nicaragua? New Orleans? The DMV? The IRS? Family Law?

The US family law system has ruined more lives than Saddam, I'd bet.

Anyway, I had no faith in the government to respond, and I don't perticularly see what's wrong with this picture. Hurricane comes, breaks levees, poorly planned city is crushed, ignorant con artists huddle together in their own feces and wait for someone to come take care of them. Cholera and Dysentery expected. Roving gangs of thugs, murder and rape.

Perhaps I shouldn't characterize the urban poor of Orleans as con artists, but you've been there, right?

So about the looting. I'm the kinda feller that won't steal a loaf of bread if he's starving, though I can't guarantee that if i had kids. However, you must recognise that guns are as necessary as food, if not more, in any natural disaster or breakdown of civil authority. They're almost a necessity as it is. In this case, the food would be ruined by water, mold, and lack of refrigeration. The ammo and guns, well, they're gonna git stolen. It might as well be by me, so I can take out a few of the criminals.

So apparently, there are people who expected the government to have a plan or the ability to react intelligently. I don't know why they expected this- perhaps they're the kind of people who can get their car registered or rent a motel room in Stockton. Perhaps when they file their tax returns they get a receipt with a smiley face on it and a small but satisfying return check that they can use for a night out with the spouse and 2.3 kids.

Perhaps they're not detained by the police on a regular basis.

Whatever. Republicans are supposed to despise the government, and Demos are sposta despise Bushy McHitlerchimp. Why would either expect a calm and well-coordinated relief effort?

I'll be writing about the Authoritarian ethical spectrum later on, which kinda bears on this.