Sunday, December 25, 2005

So what kind of economic/political system would be ideal?

So what kind of economic/political system would be ideal? A very good question. I think it fairly safe to rule out communism. A good essay and comments can be found on gather.com. Capitalism is clearly not perfect. Part of the problem with capitalism as it is currently practiced may be indicated by these comments by Orion Schmidt at the above gather.com article.

“I disagree with you when you say that the lack of ethics is not supported by a free market economy. I think it most certainly is. It is, as a fact, cheaper to pay children to do the work of an adult, or, less radically, to push workers to the edge of reasonable limits in order to produce more product. It is cheaper to keep chickens in small cages, than to allow them to walk in their lifetime, or to over-milk cows until their utters bleed. These things happen, and they happen as a direct result of financial competition.”

I suspect that the real problem is that, while we all believe the things Orion says here, they are not, in fact, true. In the long run they are all counter productive. Count the cost of ignorant adults because they had to work their childhood away, of low per hour productivity and shoddy product because of over work, the added health costs for completely cooped chickens and the substantial investment (at least two years of food and care before they can start) wasted by over milking cows and the economics are bad. However the costs come mostly ‘yesterday’ or ‘tomorrow’, not ‘now’. Capitalism runs into severe problems when we only consider this week’s, this quarter’s, or this year’s figures instead of striving to understand and calculate and plan on a multi-year period of economic results.
For example: Was building the Exxon Valdez as single hull tanker good economic judgment? Yes, if you only measure the cost at building time, definitely not if you consider the actual life of the ship. Was allowing a drunk to run the ship rather than offering him rehab and firing him if he refused, good economic sense. No it was cheaper when the decision was made but wow, eh?
I think the truth is that most of the abuses of capitalism stem from ignorance and impatience, not from the basic principle of the “ism’.

Hmmm It seems the Little book incident

Hmmm… It seems the ‘Little Red Book’ orderer was making the story up. No real big bad ‘men in black’ involved.  New Bedford, Southcoast Today   Ahh but let us be truly paranoid. Which time was he lying? Personally I opt for the idea that he was gotten to on his ‘retreat’ to western Mass. Long live paranoia!

Of course the truly unfortunate thing is that the case against the administrations apparent freewheeling use of  ‘no warrant’ eavesdropping did not depend on the veracity of this story in anyway but will be hurt by this incident. The President’s own words, if perchance he actually knew what he was saying, should be more than enough to cause an investigation and possible sanctions up to and including impeachment.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

I have been watching

I have been watching some blogs at gather.com. It is kind of addictive. It’s almost as bad as television. ( I find the mix of politics interesting. It is kind of heartening that there is so much intelligent writing on the various current controversies. Of course, it is kind of disheartening that there is so much writing either devoid of thought or extremely deficient in thought, but I guess the mix isn’t bad.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

There is a controversy

There is a controversy going on right now about the kind of monitoring of phone calls, emails etc that President Bush has “authorized” over the past four years. His own statements have made it sound like he “authorized” monitoring of “U.S. persons” by NSA within the U.S. The problem is that he has no such authority to authorize any such thing. And the strange thing is that there really is no need for him to do so. There is provision for a secret court to give warrants. Why not just go to them like they are supposed to? Could it be because they really don’t have enough cause to get a warrant from even their own handpicked secret judge? And when their surveillance sends two agents to question a university student whose only questionable activity was to order a copy of Mao’s Little Red Book via intra-library loan, you have to figure that could well be the case, no?

Blogger for Word

Hey I must say Blogger for Word is quite nice. Do you suppose that the Blogger people could create one for OpenOffice or perhaps one that could work from any word processing program. Well probably not that last. I think though that the primary differences would be small from word processing program to word processing program. Might be quite doable.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

The cost of the 'Status Quo'

A rootkit you can't uninstall by ZDNet's Phil Windley -- Last night I was reading an article about the birth of the DC-3, one of the world's classic airplanes. What caught my attention was the fact that the DC-3 was designed and built just 30 years after the Wright brothers made their first flight. The DC-3 was arguably the first modern airliner in form [...]


The article above is interesting. And it points at a very serious problem. Might also help explain why we are willing to think it a sign of 'progress' that we are only going to take 15 years to go back to the moon, when it took us less than that to go from first satelite to first man on the moon. How did we get so afraid?


Monday, December 12, 2005

I Want

I want to go to Austrailia. I guess that will have to wait till I get rich!
I want to go to the moon. I guess that will have to wait until I turn Chinese.
I want to go to Alpha Centauri and see if it has any M class planets. I guess that will have to wait until I get abducted by aliens.
I want........... Ah I give up!
Start again.
I want pancakes for supper. Hey no problem! Can do!
I want sunshine and blue sky! And I get what I want most every day.
I want a good book to read and a good chair to sit in reading it. And I have it!
Yay Rah!

How can you have anything you want? Simple! Want only what you can have. It is not automatic, but it is simple and absolutely fool-proof.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

The Wasteland

Read an article this morning about internet TV. It was entitled "Edgy Internet TV helps writers reach mainstream" and was mainly about a site www.channel101.com. I checked it out and can only say this. If this is helping writers and producers catch the eye of mainstream television, then it is certainly no wonder mainstream TV has such a proclivity to "suck rocks." I saw nothing but juvenile parodies with comedy(?) that does not even come close to South Park's questionable standards. South Park's primary claim to fame is the willingness to go where even devils, to say nothing of angels, fear to tread, but without some real relationship to our lives, or at least 'dream lives', that stuff wears out even faster than Howard Stern. What I saw on www.channel101.com could best be described as ultra-cheap, low-grade, shlock-jock junk. TV producers please look elsewhere!

Friday, December 09, 2005

Stupidity and impatience

The other day, ( last week actually) stupidity and impatience nearly did me in. I decided to push a crossing light because the traffic was stopped in both directions and they would all see me as soon as I started across the intersection and stay stopped until I cleared . And it probably would have worked that way except that I hadn't realized that one lane was clear so a vehicle coming up in that lane saw it had the green light but didn't see me and we met. I met a “Coastie” which wouldn't be so bad but she was in a Jeep Cherokee doing about 30 at the time. Anyhow, it wrecked my bike and bruised the holy bejesus out of my leg. Luckily I was apparently on the up stroke so the bumper hit me mid-calf instead of in the knee!
Anyway I am out a bike and a friend at work said she had one she didn't ever use and it was nearly new and I could have it for nothing and she would bring it in to work as soon as she could get it unlocked from where she locked it up but she forgot the combination and her neighbor said he would bring his bolt cutters home from work and cut it loose but it has been three days since she said I could have it and it still locked up unused and I am getting impatient again.

Sometimes I think stupidity must be the one constant in the human condition!

Monday, December 05, 2005

Wikipedia

An ariticle at "http://news.zdnet.com/2100-9595_22-5981119.html" mentions some problems with Wikipedia recently. Apparently wikipedia carried a false story about one "John Seigenthaler". The outrage is amazing. Yes, it should be (and has been) corrected. But does this mean that the concept of the Wikipedia is worthless and should be ablolished?Oh no! Something other than "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth" got published for 132 days. And nothing like this ever happened to any other encyclopedia or reference book. Not ever No never! Simply couldn't happen! Oh my! Certainly we should never allow anyone except experts, declared so by a body of experts, to ever record information about anything. Then we will always have 'the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.' And then we shall never have to think again. Oh blessed experts!!!

I don't know how this is known but it apparently took 132 days for anyone to notice. Mr Seigenthaler might do well to take to heart the sentiment "You would worry a lot less about what folks thought of you if you realised how seldom they did."
And how long did it take to correct it once the incorrectness was pointed out? A good bit less than 132 days I suspect.

Nothing is perfect, not even the Encyclopedia Britannica if for no other reason than the whole world of stuff they leave out. I would say that all in all I would rather have Wikipedia's editors than theirs.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Christmas In the Sorta Tropics

This will be my third Christmas in Key West. I don't think it will ever seem like real Christmas. Man if a guy could get snow for one or two days it would be perfect. I don't think a warm brown Christmas will ever seem real. Course an Aussie would probably think this was cold.