Wednesday, May 14, 2014

FileMaker Pro Advanced 11 Business Productivity Kit 3.0

Filemaker has not updated their Business Productivity Kit since Filemaker 11 but I have a license for that program and, if you ask nicely, they'll email you a download link to it. I'm currently updating the email campaign solution in FMP12 format and am looking forward to create something internal for a Citizen Intelligence campaign with it.

World's first climate refugee loses his case

Ioane Teitiota is the world's only climate refugee, or is he? In 2010 he overstayed his visa in NZ where he's been living since 2007. He applied for climate refugee status and has just lost his appeal to be granted climate refugee status from Kiribati. He is considering appealing to the NZ Supreme Court and, if that fails, to the UN Human Rights Committee.

If this reads like a scam looking to take advantage of an ill defined process to draw out deportation proceedings and get extra time in the 1st world, you're reading it just as I am. By now, we were supposed to have 50 million climate refugees coming from global warming. Instead we have Mr Teitiota. I'm perfectly happy that we don't have the problem. I just wonder where is the accountability and where is the increased skepticism of further claims by the United Nations?

A conservative approach to problems

The US is a common law nation. We replace bits and pieces of the common law with legislation but when you strip all that away, the common law is what is left. I'm a great believer in primum non nocere, "first do no harm". So when I look at politics, at government, the first thing to ask is whether the current state of affairs created by legislation is better or worse than the common law. If it is worse, then we would be improving things by stripping out the law and returning to the status quo ante of the common law, even if the common law has not been enforced in living memory.

This leads me to ask a lot of simple questions and to hope that there were a way to automate and flag when laws actually net out to a worse result than what would happen by readopting the common law and using modern tools to enforce it. This is the sort of thing that would ideally be measured in an automated fashion to get a first order approximation and then where the results are close, a more detailed examination would proceed.

For example, how bad do the results of a police force have to be before restoring the original 'hue and cry' system would be an improvement? Are there any actual jurisdictions where this situation is a reality? How good would a modern hue and cry system be? How would such a system affect community, impede or enhance commerce, or provide justice? We don't know because we're not asking the questions.

In the vast majority of cases, the answer is going to come back that statutory law is an improvement but merely by routinely asking the question, you set a floor on performance, a standard by which government is not allowed to go below without pretty drastic consequences. And that's not a bad thing to have.

Monday, May 12, 2014

I need a license for what?

The Town of Munster in Lake county, Indiana has a bit of a training issue on how they handle their solicitation licensing. I had heard that there was a local anti-solicitation ordinance and was driving by town hall anyway so I stopped by to figure out what was going on. The ordinance itself is pretty unobjectionable. In Munster if you're going to be asking for money, you need to get a background check and let the town know what you're doing and you're limited to going to the front door. You're not allowed to go wandering around private property.

I was directed to an office and asked if starting conversations and talking to people door to door would need notice and was informed that not only that it needed notice but that I needed to pay a fee as well. The explanation was vague and unsatisfying but they were at least savvy enough to suggest I look up the law on the town website as I had 1st amendment concerns. I stopped off at the police department and they called what I was doing a gray area and that in case of complaints (which they apparently get every day), I would get a warning to stop and then a citation for a few hundred dollars.

In the end, reading the ordinance made it clear that there was no need to apply for one. The town fathers hadn't flipped their lids and violated the Constitution. The higher ups knew what they were doing. They just aren't training their front line people to be clear about what's going on and their printed materials lack the text of the law so you have to do just a bit of digging. I wonder how many people just forked over the license fee?

Friday, May 9, 2014

America's biggest serial killer

The Gosnell movie that Kickstarter tried to censor is in its final fundraising push on Indiegogo. The promo video does an excellent job laying out the issues. 

America's biggest serial killer is not something to overlook. Thanks to crowdfunding, it looks like it won't be.

HT: National Review

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Is China in need of a short, victorious war?

In 1904, Russia's Interior Minister, Vyacheslav Plehve wrote "To avert a revolution, we need a small victorious war." In the face of growing economic troubles from slowing growth to a credit bubble to a real estate bubble, is the People's Republic of China cribbing notes from Plehve?

No sane military planner in the neighborhood of east Asia has neglected to plan for the collapse of North Korea. It's been clear for decades that the communist monarchy has past the point where peaceful reform without a disruptive revolution was likely to succeed. But it's only now that China's plans for such an event have seen the light of day. The plans, leaked to Japanese media, lay out how and what China would do in case of North Korean regime collapse.

Speculation that this is a signal to the world that China is planning regime change is provocative but well within the realm of possibility. The question is why? The DPRK could suffer forever without the prospect of a humanitarian intervention by the PRC. What is China's interest to create such a crisis? And that question brings us back to Plehve. Russia's attempt to create that small victorious war failed, and revolution followed soon thereafter.

If China feels a need for a patriotic release valve, where can it get its war with the least amount of negative consequences? Who is least likely to have friends, raise the least amount of fuss when their natural resources are exploited for the benefit of China, and generally provide a distracting soap opera to give Beijing time? All signs point to Korea for a location. With the current US administration in retreat over Russia's moves in Ukraine, the likelihood of US action in Korea is as low as it has ever been, and perhaps lower.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Shared space map

There is a business opportunity just waiting for someone to pick up in NW Indiana. Here's a map of coworking locations in the area. There is a huge desert of them in North and North West Indiana. 

But just going to show that things are moving along pretty fast these days, it turns out that just down the road from me they're organizing a coworking space that shrinks the desert a bit.

local blogging

I'm adding local to my tag list because I'm finding that I'm running across more local interest observations. The first one is shortly to follow.