Thursday, November 8, 2012

Somebody has a sense of humor

Working on finding a place for my startup's server when I tripped across this:

Somebody has a good sense of humor at Indiana's 21st Century Fund.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Posted @ Althouse

EJ Dionne's creepy call for gun control knocked me off my resolution to decently wait before wading in to the tragedy in Colorado. I read about it at Althouse. Here's my comment:

Article 17, section 1 of the Colorado state constitution declares that "The militia of the state shall consist of all able-bodied male residents of the state". The army wasn't there. We didn't expect them to be. The national guard wasn't there. We didn't expect them to be. The state guard that Colorado authorizes in Title 28 wasn't there. We didn't expect them to be. And the police weren't there. We didn't expect them to be. If you put any of those people at every movie showing we would be rightly concerned about a police state. But the militia, now the militia was supposed to be there. It was there. And it failed. It's legitimate to conduct a failure analysis and to possibly change the laws to enhance its effectiveness. Why did it fail? What could we have done differently so that it would have been more effective? That's a conversation that would satisfy Dionne's fuzzy request for "opening up" a discussion but one that would predictably horrify him. The existing laws provide for one group of people that you expect to be around in case of emergency consistent with avoiding a police state, the state militia as identified in the Colorado state constitution. Why did they fail? Go start your analysis there, if you have to do instant analysis before the funerals are done, if that's what you need to do to process the tragedy.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Job Interview

I had the strangest job interview of my life yesterday.

It was the first time I've ever pulled out an XKCD comic as a reference during a job interview. But it went well and they're calling me back for another round.

Life is odd.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Patheos choked on this mega-comment so I'm putting it here on my personal blog as an incomplete fisking. By the time I hit point 17 the stupid in the original article overwhelmed me.

One does not go to the creators of newspeak and read such an article without using great care and long tongs. I suspect that the same point could have been found elsewhere but, no matter. A few corrections I think are important and should serve as a primer on why so many don't even bother to do this often, just rejecting the source out of hand:

1. The 2000 election was not stolen
2. Political correctness is new speak and its ideological home is very much in the socialist world
3. The invasion of Iraq was based on a number of different justifications, many of which have held up over time, most relevantly that Iraq was violating the existing cease fire.
4. The unaccountable elite we're supposed to have has lately had an uptick in retirements (due to polls making it clear re-election was not in the cards) primary defeats, and general election defeats.
5. Mind numbing universal propaganda shutting down minds so that the conception of alternatives is not possible? Not quite. The "proles" have a greater and greater access to alternative education systems at lower costs every year and such systems compete and have low barriers to entry. It will be possible within the next decade to achieve a university education at home for the cost of your internet connection during your study years. Certification of the education will be the major cost factor.
6. There is no such homogenous thing as "the US media". The mainstream media does exist with a homogenous culture but new media is constantly forming and challenging it. One is currently quite ignorant if you do not pay attention to both. MSM business models are crashing and their vast audiences are deserting it. This is a huge change with vast political implications.
7. We're in the middle of a proper democratic revolution in the US. Correctly done, bottom up revolutions start at the bottom (duh!). If you've been paying attention, the bottom of the political pyramid has had radical change lately and that change is very likely to continue and percolate up. The change is inconvenient to socialists, however, and there's a bit of willful blindness to it going on here.
8. The socialist confusion of what wealth is and whether it can be created or destroyed or merely redistributed around to deserving or undeserving factions is in full evidence in the article. The GFC destroyed wealth. It largely destroyed wealth in the "boom" years, though we did not understand it at the time. It is destroying wealth right now in "growing" China. The Austrians are right. It is the boom you need to fear. The bust is just the "big reveal" where all the foolishness is exposed.
9. The working class right now is enjoying a tremendous victory at a terrible cost by the freeing of literally billions of enslaved working class people. Their entry into the global labor market and exit from subsistence work is a good thing, at the cost of increased competition and lowered wages everywhere. Freedom from economic slavery via communism in China and bureaucracy in India is a good thing and the US should be proud of its role in that. We've just passed the peak of the extra labor problem with China. India, I believe still has not peaked and we're gearing up for a new wave with Africa (where tribal kleptocracy is the big problem) but after that we're done, and for the first time ever the whole world will be on-line simultaneously. That is not Orwellian at all.
10.  At least in the US, the return of veterans from war always presages a new injection into the political class. Americans like electing veterans and our current crop of political leadership is notably veteran poor. This is already changing and politics will likely shift right along with it. War will not prevent changes in politics nor the class structure.
11. The US does not have territorial ambitions. We do not dominate oil sales in Iraq, for example, though we could have arranged it easily enough at the time. Calls to do so were and are regarded as marginal politically.
12. The US political system is based on two coalition parties. The Democrat party of Clinton is very different than the Democrat party of Obama. The Reagan Republican party is different than the Bush party that followed right behind it. Factions build their governing coalitions in primaries, fight as coalitions during the general election, and govern. This is different than the european model where the individual factions each have their own party who form coalitions after the people have spoken. It is not a one party state but rather has several party factions that would be separate parties in any european style election. I expect that the continued upswelling of the tea party in GOP politics is going to demonstrate exactly how far this 2 party system can stretch and reasonably soon, within the decade.
13. We have robust encryption and security technology generally available. We most of the time do not bother to use it. With the advent of IPv6, it will become embedded into the IP protocol by fiat and its use will become much more common. The whole internet is undergoing this privacy enhancing security upgrade due to threats of losing major connectivity contracts by any ISP not supporting IPv6. The people bullying ISPs into upgrading are the US military.
14. There is no "mass political consciousness" anymore because there is no undifferentiated political mass anymore. People are able to express themselves in less crude ways and able to ally themselves in much more sophisticated fashion these days. The political system is struggling to cope.
15. I'd forgive this 2010 article it's observation on the ubiquity of the Obama "Hope" poster except that the death of "Hope" shows how clearly this is off base. 15 minutes of fame gives us all sorts of mad fads including "Hope", the poster.  A cult of personality is durable across a decade and Obama's is notably diminished, starting just a few months after the Dem defeat in the 2010 elections 5 months later.
16. The creation of the Taliban in 1994 as a militia post dates the heavy US involvement in the overthrow of the Soviet installed government which fell in 1992. Our guys ruled from 1992-1996 when the Taliban were being created and fighting Kabul. This is Orwellian revisionism within an Orwell's 1984 retrospective, doublethink indeed!
17. For those who were not around for it, the whole "bloodlust" for Hussein's hanging thing as a universal theme in media? It didn't happen. No doubt there were some outlets who did it. Others did not. And the same division between those who were glad it was over and the specter of jail break and Baathist resurrection was gone and those who wanted Hussein to spill more on his colleagues in the global power elite was evident from where I was standing.

I confess that I'm only 2/3rds of the way through this and exhausted by the effort. The fundamental problem here is that there *is* an Orwellian movement. But it's peaked, and being driven back by the passing of its major control systems and we're in the middle of taking our country back to its origins as a place of freedom and minus a lot of the nasty compromises we had to make at the time. We should be hopeful, and active in that fight whether we're on the left or the right. In fact, the greatest work remains on the left where a decent, non-communist left is in desperate need of creation, growth, and dominance so that it cleans out all the putrid variants of little stalins that currently make the left so awful.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Governments of the America Project

Nobody has a list of all the governing bodies in the United States of America.

Sometimes you find that nobody else on the Internet has done something yet and it's such a useful building block that you're compelled to make it happen. If you care about the size of government (generally on the right) or how government is used to favor the 1% (generally on the left) both projects are hopeless gum flapping without a list of governments. With a list of governments you can work up to do lists, progress items, measure progress, identify backsliding and counter attacks from the other side. It's such a useful thing for anyone wanting to do any sort of oversight.

In the US, the lowest level of sovereign capable of making new governments is the state. Each state has its own ideas about how to set up these local governments so it's natural that this task is broken down to individual state lists.

In comments, I would like any visitor that knows where such a list is kept to drop a link to it.

Monday, February 27, 2012


Prosthetics Breakthrough Might Fuse Nerves With Fake Limbs

Possibly the best news I've seen this week, we've got a new, promising scaffold to create functioning nerve/prostheses interfaces. The crippled may very well walk with these. Unadulterated good news is great.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Letters to the Editor

A little something I wrote in response to somebody who claimed that the lack of preventative care is what makes US medicine so expensive.
On a cash only basis, a primary care physician can provide continuity of care and routine maintenance for about $40 a visit. That’s under a day’s wage at the federal minimum wage. Is devoting two days of your labor a year (as the absolute worst case) to do routine checkups an unreasonable expectation? I do not believe so.
And for the very small minority where it’s the case, yes, there are doctors willing to provide free care if they know that they are not being taken advantage of. Just don’t expect to drive to the clinic in a car worth more than your doctor’s, with a cell phone that’s better than your doctor’s and expect the free care option.
What specific vaccinations are a problem? I just looked up the CDC’s posted price list and most of them are a buck or two a dose. The most expensive seem to be the zoster and HPV vaccines and those are under $15 each. Vaccines are one time expenses, not recurring, and many of them can be gotten for free from your local county because maintaining herd immunity is worth the expense of providing free vaccinations.
Speaking as someone who has had to juggle credit cards to pay for cancer care (a relative’s, not my own), I can feel your pain. But you’re missing some of the most important parts of the problem.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Where I'm writing these days

Somebody asked me whether I have a blog. Unfortunately, the comment system didn't allow for a full answer (I tripped a spam filter) so I'm writing it here if anyone cares.

Mostly these days I write as a contributing analyst for Wikistrat
I participate in the group blog Chicago Boyz
I have a personal blog which I do not often get to these days Flit-TM
I created this because I'm unfortunately locked out of my previous site where you can find me under the same blog name, Flit(TM)