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Ether Mind

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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

On vacation

back Jan 4.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Dystopia of the Day - Professional Bodybuilder Condemns Children's Author to Death

The death penalty should be abolished, and here's why:

According to Locke, Hobbes, and most classical liberals, the commission of a crime constitutes a forfeiture of the criminal's rights. The extent of this is debateable- do they forfeit all their rights, by breaking the social contract, or do they only lose the rights that they have taken from others? Is theft punishable by death?

Eh. Most agree that murder, at least, is punishable by death. Looking closely at the ethical situation, we see that the criminal has not earned death per se, espeially when his death would harm the larger society further. He has simply forfeited his rights to life and liberty.

Why execute him? That's not an efficient use of our time and energy. Since the criminal has no rights, he can be branded and put into slavery for the remainder of his natural life. While manual labor may not be a cost effective use for slaves in the US anymore, this would be a great boon to pharmaceutical companies that need to test new drugs. If they accidentally kill a few test subjects, well, they were condemned anyway. At least they went out for a good cause. Since most lifers could be transitioned to slave labor, we would also have a large pool of organ donors on tap.

The problem with this plan is that it would be controlled by the government. If the government had any financial incentive to put prisoners into slavery, it would do so at an ever increasing rate until you were all the subjects of a brutal corporate state.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Blog the Planet

Here's a brand new, hilarious Iraqi blog:

Iraqi Rebel

Keep reading until you hit the reference to Ramsey Clark. That's the funniest thing I've heard all week (and it's Friday).

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

In case you were wondering

Since my blogroll is small and sorted by what appears to be a random heuristic, I thought I'd review the sites I've linked to. Nobody gets five stars.

OxBlog *
I rarely visit it. May be delinked soon. Standard political blog run by what sound like middle aged white men.

GOP Bloggers *

The dogmatic mouthpiece of the Republlican base.

Andrew Sullivan ****

His logic is not as solid as I would like, and he jumps to conclusions when he's emotionally attached to an issue. On the plus side, he's interesting, a small government conservative, and posts frequently.

Talking Points Memo **

The dogmatic mouthpiece of the Democratic party. He goes on insane quests against GOP positions and cannot comprehend F = ma, or calculus-based conceptual thinking. He's around 120 IQ and very thorough.

The Freeway To Serfdom ***

A Canadian libertarian; I think he's an anarcho-capitalist. Posts occasionally, finds good stuff, may have an anger problem.

IRAQ THE MODEL **

Last I checked, it's one of the most popular Iraqi blogs. He would be a "neocon" here in the US. Incidentally, a lot of Iraqi bloggers are dentists. I wonder why.

Vox Popoli ***

Very intelligent fiction author/WND columnist, et cetera. He's not very nice, but he has some extremely interesting perspectives on society, which is something most libertarians neglect.

Scrappleface ***

Funny stuff. Not as funny as Iowahawk, IMHO, but good to read. More.. I dunno, satirical.

The Smallest Minority ****

A pro- gun rights blog. Also covers other aspects of freedom from government tyrrany.

Ayn Clouter ***

Funny evil capitalist lady. I think she's a lawyer. I bet she's hot.

Afghan Warrior **

Afghani guy. Honestly, he's closer to the intellectual level of GOP Bloggers than to Iraq the Model.

The QandO Blog ****

Great blog, the hub of the Neolibertarian Network (see top left of my site).

Defense Tech ****

A roundup of new defense technology. It's my favorite one.

IMAO **

Used to be better, but FrankJ found love and invited a bunch of less-funny people to co-blog. Also, he has a job now.

Michelle Malkin **

She's often behind the curve, but she's an actual journalist and she's not a moron.

Conservative Dialysis *

Good site, standard conservative guy. Nothing spectacular, but it's on my list.

Tim Blair **

Right-Wing Aussie blogger. He has a strange obsession with someone named Margo. He's interesting.

The Buggy Professor ***

Posts long, in-depth scholarly articles at infrequent intervals. If you can't stay awake through The Wealth of Nations, you don't want to try this guy, but he is EXCELLENT if you can.

Day By Day ***

Cartoon, like Doonesbury but funny and better in every way.

Quotulatiousness **

Canadian guy who posts on wine and things. Finds good quotes, as per the title.

The Mighty Middle **

A center-left guy. He seems to believe in the Golden Mean, but explaining why he's wrong would take several hundred words.

The New Libertarian *

When did I link to this??? It has articles that will be of interest to libertarian neophytes or standard conservatives.

A Candle in the Dark **

A right-wing atheist combat medic who just returned from Iraq. I don't even know how to describe the profundity of his insights.

Global Guerrillas ***

The blog was started partially to promote the author's book, but it talks about networks quite a bit. I know I used to write about information theory and human networks a bit, but this is a different perspective.

Days of My Life ***

A young Iraqi girl's blog. She's intelligent and her English is pretty good.

Monday, December 05, 2005

This is a good post, I even use American spelling.

I realize that some posts are quite rambling and useless, and many lately have been so. For that, I apologize to my few readers, the google surfers, and the many bots that are forced to parse my script by their cruel server taskmasters.

John F in Kerry said, and this has been reported widely:

"And there is no reason, Bob, that young American soldiers need to be going into the homes of Iraqis in the dead of night,terrorizing kids and children, you know, women, breaking sort of the customs of the—of—the historical customs, religious customs. Whether you like it or not..."

Stop right there. Terrorizing children? Follow this link to an example of a 13 year old girl who was terrorized by an American raid of her home. Follow it! I've been reading her blog since Tim Blair linked to it, and I think I will blogroll it now. May this post bask in the reflected glory of my link targets.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

I was hoping the smell of beef wasn't noticeable, but now there's a fly on my arm.

It's still there. My winow is closed.

So the writer known as Vox Day said something about ethical systems the other day. Rather than quote him accurately and link to him, I think I'll

That fly- what? Uh,

"There is no dearth of philosophical systems of ethics, and they are all useless because they make no logical claim on those who do not voluntarily accept it." -Vox

I believe he was referring to non-religious systems. If there is a God, then there can be an absolute moral standard, which would be applicable to anyone. Assuming a God, there wouldn't be much of an argument against His law.

Of course, God isn't assumed, so we make up ethical systems. First, they must be self-consistent, which eliminates some of them. The question is, which one is right?

I follow the I Think Therefore I Am philosophy, which I follow to the logical conclusion of voting for Bush. Along the way I overcome paradoxes, solipsism, et cetera, (all spelled out in my Modern Philosophy) but the weak point in my reasoning occurs when I get to the basic ethical assumptions.

Is it wrong to hurt others, and why? That is the question that stands in the way of a perfect Tao.

Friday, December 02, 2005

The reflecting pool in DC is stupid too.

This is a fascinating recap of the problems with the Flight 93 memorial design. Of course, it could just be a funny coincidence that the memorial looks like an islamic crescent, has a prayer sundial, etc. That's not really my concern.

I just don't want my tax money paying for it! I'm sure that at least 38 Americans will die in the time it takes me to make this post. Are we to memorialize them? Why not? Because it is your opinion that the victim of a terrorist is more worthy than the victim of a bank robber, should you tax my hard work to build a garden in Pennsylvania that I will never visit?

The other thing that struck me about this memorial is that it's, how do I put this, really gay. Not gay in a "Purple Rain" way, or in a spiffy Village People way. It's gay in the sense that merely looking at the design JPEGs makes my testicals shrivel up into my body. It induces an anemic feeling of, "We did our best. I guess we learned our lesson- we better appease faster next time." Maple trees? Wind chimes? WTF are these people thinking?

How about they build a full-scale marble plane embedded in the ground in the impact crater, and install a big magnifying glass so that on September 11 the sun hits the right angle to spontaneously ignite the grass?

Okay, that would be tacky, disrespectful, and probably offensive to the families of the victims. But glass cubes? WTF?

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Amanda the Panda in "A Very Bad Day"

(C) 2005 Ether Media, except for the Rage Against the Machine lyrics and the Communist slogans.

Warning: Amanda the Panda's first adventure is not that funny, but it amused me.

Amanda the Panda was walking through the forest one morning when she ran into her friend, Skid Marx the Fox. "Hello, Amanda!" said Skid, "It's good to see you."

"And you too, Skid," said Amanda. "What are you doing so far away from your home, the Suspiciously Happy Hollow?"

"Well," said Skid, "It's a tail of a tale to tell. There are humans who want to build condos there, and one came this morning to look it over."

"But Skid, that's your home!" said Amanda. "Why, the humans already built condos on Hornet Hill, and Fun Fen, and that's to say nothing of the Everglades!"

"I know it is. I'm inviting all the animals of the forest to come this afternoon to try to think of a final solution to this mess. Why don't you come too, Amanda?"

Amanda the Panda thought for a moment. "Well, I'll come by right after lunch and try to help. Okay, Skid?"

"Okay."
*****
Amanda the Panda spent the rest of the morning looking for bamboo to eat. There was always plenty to eat in the Fantastic Forest, but sometimes bamboo was hard to find.

"Oh, I hope I can find some bamboo before lunch! Otherwise I'll have to go to the Field Biologists' Hut." Amanda looked in the Soggy Swamp, but there was no bamboo. She looked by the Swimming Hole, but there was no bamboo. She looked high, like John Murtha, and she looked low, but she couldn't find her lunch.

Amanda's stomach rumbled. "I'd better go see the Biologists. Even though they claim to believe in evolution, they'll never let me starve."

So Amanda the Panda walked through the tall green grass, and the short dusty trails, and the dangerous highway median to get to the Biologists' Hut. When she got there, she saw Bob the Biologist. He was drinking tea.

"Hello, Bob!" said Amanda, "How are you to-" But Amanda felt a sharp pain in her side and fell to the ground.

"Good job, Betty!" said Bob. Betty the Biologist just smiled and put away the dart gun.

"It's a good thing we got her," said Betty. "She could've wandered onto the highway, or into the Seething Swamp, or fallen into Pirahna Pond! It's our responsibility to save the Pandas from evolution."
****
Meanwhile, back in Suspiciously Happy Hollow, Skid was worried.

"Amanda should've been here an hour ago!" he said. "She might be in trouble. Come on, guys, let's go find her."

So Skid Marx the Fox, Bruce the Badger, and Al "I invented the internet" Gator set out to find Amanda.

"Look," said Bruce, "it's Amanda's spoor!"

Al shook his long, scaley head. "That's disgusting. We should put it in this box."

"You always want to put everything in a box, Al." said Skid.

"Except for Che the Chicken. Al ate him," said Bruce.

"Hey," said Al, "her tracks go right to the Biologists' Hut!"

"Oh no!" said Skid, "She was clean for two months. I went through the whole forest and burned all the bamboo, and she went back to those filthy humans to get her fix." Skid sighed and looked at the other two. "I hope Amanda's all right."

Suddenly, Bob came around the corner of the round Hut. He was poking Amanda along with a stick!

"They- they slipped her a mickey," stammered Skid in shock.

"We have to save her!" wailed Bruce.

"Skid," added Al, "I think it's time."

"Time for what, guys?" said Bruce.

Skid looked around and made a low, soft whistle. Instantly, the trees surrounding the Biologists' Hut began to rustle. Monkeys, parrots, and other deciduous forest dwellers emerged from the branches.

"What is it, Skid?" asked Lenin Lemur, "is it time to take back what is rightfully ours?"

"Yes," cried Skid Marx, "Animals of the forest, unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains!"

The animals looked at their feet. "Er, Skid?" Bruce raised his paw.

"It was a metaphor, Bruce. The humans have taken our Fun Fen, and Hornet Hill, and they've weakened our society with bamboo and nutrient pellets! They seek to rot away our self-reliance and make us like them! They watch us with hidden cameras, track our every movement with RFID tags, and eat our children on Fear Factor! The only way to stop this abuse and exploitation is with revolution! It has to start somewhere!It has to start sometime! What better place than here? What better time than now?"

With that, the animals fell upon the Biologists' Hut like a pack of wild animals. They pushed down the fences and pulled up the pickets. They ran inside and ate Bob and Betty. Then they burned the hut to the ground in an orgy of destruction.

Amanda the Panda slowly awoke as the flames went out. "Why, what happed to the Biologists' Hut?"

"It was the beginning, Amanda," said Skid.

"Oh, I'm very hungry now."

If this story bothered you, please let me know what I should change to make the next Amanda the Panda story less of a waste of time.