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Withdraw Your Consent

Fri Sep 10, 2010 1:53 am

Every vote consents to a crime committed in your name, that you as an individual would be hanged for.

Posted By: scott

Fun Ride

Fri Sep 10, 2010 1:47 am

The memory hole is most people's favorite roller coaster.

Posted By: scott

Hidden Danger

Fri Sep 10, 2010 1:37 am

Beware the state supremacists in your midst.

Posted By: scott

Less Than Zero

Wed Aug 25, 2010 5:16 am

Let us not perpetuate war by celebrating yet another hole in the ground.

Posted By: scott


Wed Aug 25, 2010 1:34 am

If a soldier dies in Iraq and the war is over, does he make a sound?

Posted By: scott

On voting

Sat Aug 14, 2010 4:08 am

Every voter is a tool. Don't be a tool.

Posted By: scott

Politics is agression.

Wed Aug 11, 2010 2:22 am

The problem with dominance

Tue Jul 27, 2010 3:19 am

It's funny when dems and repubs fight around the edges and never stop to realize they agree on most things; like 50% world military spending and growing. The problem with dominance is you are apt to use it, then excuse it.

Posted By: scott

Confessions of a tax slave

Fri Apr 16, 2010 2:57 am

Put a yoke around my neck and I get used to it after a while.

Posted By: scott

What is a vote?

Sat Feb 13, 2010 5:24 am

A vote is a contract written in blood; you are hiring a gang of criminals to do your dirty work and use force on your behalf. You are consenting to crimes committed in your name, that you as an individual would be hanged for.

Posted By: scott

Comparitive Politics

Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:49 am

GWB=warfare/welfare, BHO=welfare/warfare
Meet the new boss, same as the old boss

Posted By: scott

The art of persuasion

Sat Dec 26, 2009 2:44 am

The art of persuasion is repeating yourself the correct number of times.

Posted By: scott

Anarchist Aphorism

Sun Nov 29, 2009 8:09 pm

The difference between uniformed and uninformed is a single letter.

Posted By: scott

Such a Shame

Fri Nov 06, 2009 4:48 am

"When men hire themselves out to shoot other men to order, asking nothing about the justice of their cause, I don’t care if they are shot themselves." - Herbert Spencer

Posted By: scott

On Tyrants

Sat Oct 31, 2009 3:40 am

Nature is the greatest tyrant of all; submit to no other.

Posted By: scott

All you can do

Wed Oct 28, 2009 3:13 am

All you can do is take sides and start spinning or not

Posted By: scott

Boom goes the other

Tue Oct 27, 2009 7:09 pm

Steady heat is the most effective tranquilizer of all.

Boom go the bombs on the other.

Posted By: scott

Take that, moon

Sat Oct 10, 2009 3:24 am

We've bombed the earth enough. It's the moon's turn for a change.

Posted By: scott

Nobel Peace Prize

Sat Oct 10, 2009 2:04 am

I guess this means we've closed Gitmo, pulled out of Iraq, ended the Afghan war, and drawn down our worldwide military empire. Oh wait...

Posted By: scott

The more things change

Fri Oct 09, 2009 2:54 am

Politicians no longer dare to express any doubt about man made climate change. It has gone beyond politics. It is a new kind of morality.

A morality which renders all existential power to the state, instead of the sun, where it belongs.

Posted By: scott

Mighty acorns

Tue Oct 06, 2009 2:05 am

Disagreement is the seed of understanding.

All in favor sign a waiver.

Posted By: scott

Easy Choice

Fri Oct 02, 2009 2:22 am

Faced with any issue, if you are a democrat or republican, you have only two options: regulate it or ban it.

Posted By: scott

A toast

Tue Sep 29, 2009 2:26 am

To the oddfellowship of wise fools!

Posted By: scott

Cui bono

Sun Sep 06, 2009 3:15 am

Most economists say a small amount of inflation is good for the economy. But remember that any inflation benefits a certain class of people, debtors, at the expense of others. Thrifty savers, the poor, those on a fixed income, and people who generally resist the debt-financed consumption craze, are on the losing end.

Posted By: scott

Freedom of Choice

Sat Sep 05, 2009 2:07 am

Democrat or Republican: two different ways of being an asshole and a bully.

Posted By: scott

Another question

Sat Aug 29, 2009 3:50 am

I have things you want back. You like force when you can use it toward your own ends.

Posted By: scott

bottom line

Fri Aug 28, 2009 3:56 am

We are born with blood on our hands, screaming.

Posted By: scott

One question

Mon Aug 17, 2009 1:01 am

We are given just one great choice to make in life completely on our own:

Will I be an anarchist or a bully?

Posted By: scott

To be or not

Sat Aug 15, 2009 4:20 am

circle or straight line, that is the question

Posted By: scott


Sat Aug 15, 2009 3:17 am

Nothing ever really changes but the people coming and going

Posted By: scott

A variation on the golden rule

Sun Jul 26, 2009 2:01 am

There is no right or wrong, only wrong or rite.

Posted By: scott

Obama's Gitmo

Wed Feb 18, 2009 4:18 am

Democrats seem so happy these days that Obama is taking steps to close Gitmo. Good for him. Never mind his approval of extraordinary rendition, I guess.

But did you know that Obama is doubling the size of the Bagram "detention facility?"

It's so much easier and more politically correct to hold prisoners indefinitely and use secret "enhanced interrogation techniques" in a US defined "war zone."

The cognitive dissonance the democrats are capable of never ceases to amaze me.

Change you can choke on, I guess.

"But as Guantánamo is being drawn down, large-scale construction is under way at a US military prison in Bagram, Afghanistan.

Some critics are already calling it "Obama's Guantánamo." And it looks to become the next big flash point in a long legal tug of war over the direction of America's antiterror policies.

An estimated 242 prisoners remain at Guantánamo. In contrast, more than 600 are held at Bagram, and efforts are under way to expand facilities to potentially hold as many as 1,100 terror suspects."

Posted By: scott

Bob Marley, Anarchist

Fri Feb 13, 2009 5:02 am

[  Mood: Happy ]

In the long term, big government is bad for humanity.

Bob Marley summed up Keynes best when he said:
Once a man and twice a child
And everything is just for a while.

Real Situation, by Bob Marley
Check out the real situation:
Nation war against nation.
Where did it all begin?
When will it end?

Well, it seems like: total destruction the only solution,
And there ain't no use: no one can stop them now.
Ain't no use: nobody can stop them now.

Give them an inch, they take a yard;
Give them a yard, they take a mile;
Once a man and twice a child
And everything is just for a while.

Well, it seems like: total destruction the only solution.
Everybody strugglin': ain't no use - ain't no use -
Ain't no use you even try;
Ain't no use: got to say 'bye-'bye!

Posted By: scott

Remembering Proudhon

Sat Jan 31, 2009 4:32 am

If Proudhon is Batman then Alex Strekal is Robin.

Alex clearly explains why principled anarchism is the natural synthesis of our current left-right politics.

*Remembering Proudhon*
Many contemporary libertarians may be mystified at Proudhon being considered a libertarian, but Proudhon was redoubtably the first genuinely libertarian socialist. Proudhon's political philosophy represents a synthesis of sorts between classical liberalism and socialism, without yielding any ground to authoritarian strains of socialism, which eventually resulted in his anarchism. Proudhon was critical of both capitalism and communism, and was generally an opponent of absolutism, making heavy use of the mechanisms of synthesis and deconstruction, which obviously is at least partially Hegelian in nature. His political philosophy arguably became more radical as he aged, leading him to take more of a refined view on property.

The initial form of anarchism that Proudhon set the basis for, mutualism, predates anarcho-collectivism and anarcho-communism by a number decades and significantly differs from them in certain ways. Proudhon and Marx had certain fairly significant disagreements, leading Marx to more or less dismiss him as a "petty burgousie individualist". Unlike Marx and the communists, Proudhon did not advocate purely collective ownership or even worker ownership as an absolute norm. His idea was more along the lines of individual worker ownership of the means of production (I.E. I own my own tools, therefore I don't need to rent your tools). He also advocated cooperative management, but always in a context that allows for individual liberty. Proudhon supported the notions free contract and free competition, only placing more emphasis on cooperative forms of organization than many classical liberals.

Proudhon was most certainly an individualist in many ways, with the theme of "individual sovereignty" running strongly throughout his work. While he rejected the vulgar collectivism of the communists, he synthesized individualism with themes of social cooperation, which is to say that he steered clear of atomism. Proudhon envisioned a free society and the process of working towards such a society as a "spontaneous order" that is emergent from the free interactions of individuals. At the same time, he rejected utopianism and romanticism and he appears to have held a fairly pluralistic attitude with regard to what such a spontaneous order entails. The vision is always realistic in that it's not some kind of uniform model for the entire society.

It's important to note that mutualism (and its culmination within individualist anarchism) does not normatively or absolutely oppose wage labor, rent and interest per se. These things may contextually be opposed as a consequence of political authority and it may speculate about a trend towards such things starting to diminish in conditions of free competition, but they are not opposed on an absolute normative ethical level as is often the case with communism, syndicalism and collectivism. A mutualist qua mutualist cannot advocate arbitrary violence to oppose such things. something more along the lines of agorism makes sense as a strategy for mutualists. Proudhon was skeptical towards traditional methods of revolution.

Proudhon's analysis of property is far more subtle and complicated than a first-reading or face-value-reading of his writings may reveal. A statement such as "Property is theft", followed by seemingly contradicting statements such as "Property is impossible" and "Property is liberty" is likely to confuse the reader. To a degree, Proudhon is probably being rhetorical and is purposefully trying to intimidate the reader or grab their attention. But a more in-depth look reveals that he is quite creatively making use of synthesis and antithesis here, and a more clear meaning is revealed with this understanding. These statements are contextual and part of a process of synthesis and antithesis, not to be interpreted as absolutes.

What Proudhon is most strongly challenging is the arbitrary legal title to property, property as a legal construct that indeed is historically tracable back to theft in many ways. Property as a state legal construct often is the state doling out a privilege to the property that it initially stole. During Proudhon's time, many of the old legal private property titles that used to belong to the noble class and the feudal landlords had not completely been abandoned or abolished, and in the process of transformation into more modern capitalism, this privilege was slowly being transferred to a new industrial managerial class in bed with the state. Proudhon was more keenly aware of this than most of his colleagues and associates.

There is also a context in which Proudhon was very much in favor of private or individual property, viewing it as an indispensable counterweight to the state. Unlike the communists, Proudhon had no inherent problem with money, exchange and business. The Marxist aesthetic disdain for just about anything that has to do with commerce is nowhere to be found in him. Proudhon's vision of socialism was more along the lines of individual proprietorship, small cooperative businesses and unions of artisans. When not exploitative and when not an a monstrous scale, Proudhon supported more small-scale examples of what would be considered private property by contemporary free market anarchists.

Proudhon has been indispensably influential on the history of anarchism, particularly individualist anarchism. The actual continuation of Proudhon's work was done by the early individualist anarchists such as Benjamin Tucker (prior to his transformation into a Stirnerite egoist), while the anarcho-collectivism of Bakunin and the anarcho-communism of Kropotkin significantly differed from this trend in certain ways. Some narcho-communists were even lead to dismiss Proudhon from the anarchist tradition as just "a liberal disguised as a socialist". The rise of narcho-collectivism and anarcho-communism has a notably different cultural context, centered around Russia and somewhat detached from classical liberalism. Proudhon, on the other hand, was much more exposed to the classical liberalism of the French and Americans.

This isn't necessarily to completely dismiss figures such as Bakunin and Kropotkin out of hand, but to be clear about differences between the direction anarchism took from their standpoint vs. the standpoint of Proudhon and the individualists, as it was definitely the American individualist anarchists such as Josiah Warren and Benjamin Tucker who picked up where Proudhon left off. While Kroptkin arguably took anarchism in a direction that made it closer to Marxism, the individualist anarchists took it in a more individualistic direction or generally steered clear of such collectivistic tendencies. Over time, the individualists tended to come to reject the particular revolutionary methods of the collectivists and ventured to produce some fairly scathing criticisms of anarcho-communism. Factional griping aside, Proudhon's legacy remains as the first formal anarchist and one who presented a political philosophy that can help bridge the gap between free market oriented thought and the anti-authoritarian left. I think that he is definitely important enough on both a historical and philosophical level that all libertarians should familiarize themselves with him to one degree or another.

Posted By: scott

The Peaceful Transfer of Violent Power

Wed Jan 21, 2009 3:33 am

from the brilliant Sheldon Richman:
The Peaceful Transfer of Violent Power
by Sheldon Richman, January 19, 2009

At the risk of raining on the parade, I suggest that the inaugural festivities are not what they appear. Barack Obama says the pomp and circumstance are not about him but are a celebration of democracy. “For the forty-third time, we will execute the peaceful transfer of power from one president to the next,” he said.

He’s right, but not quite as he meant it. The peaceful transition from the Bush to the Obama regime is indeed the occasion, but let’s focus on exactly what is being transferred. Despite the oratory about hope, change, and renewal, government — as someone, perhaps George Washington, said — “is not reason; it is not eloquence; it is force.” If that is right — and I contend it is — then in the inauguration we have the irony of a peaceful transfer of something that is anything but peaceful: the legal power to use physical force.

This is something to celebrate?

The question would be fair no matter who succeeded George W. Bush. It’s not so much the man but the office that warrants our distrust and (to use Jefferson’s term) jealousy. To modify the words of Judge Gideon Tucker: No person’s life, liberty, and property are safe as long as the occupant of the White House possesses the powers that are invested in the presidency (and government generally).

The essence of government as we know it is the power to use force against people who have never harmed anyone. The most basic power is the power to tax. Indeed, government could do nothing without it. The power to tax is the legal authority to compel people to surrender their money to the state under penalty of fine, imprisonment, and worse for refusal. Whether or not one thinks this power is good (I don’t), one cannot deny that it is based on the threat to commit violence against the nonviolent.

Thus, this week we witness the peaceful transfer of the authority to commit legal plunder.

Apologists for government undertake bizarre mental contortions to show that we have consented to be taxed. Balderdash. I was never asked to consent, and I’m sure you weren’t either. I refuse to accept the nonsensical argument that by not vacating the parcel of land I purchased, I have signaled my “tacit consent” to be plundered and bullied. That implies the government owns the territory it rules and therefore can set the conditions under which it is used. That sounds like feudalism. Are we merely tenants of the governmental landlord?

Built on the power to tax (legally steal) are myriad other powers that entail the threat of violence against peaceful individuals. If you wish to buy things from people outside the jurisdiction claimed by the U.S. government, you may do so only on the terms it permits under its trade laws. If you wish to invite to your home or business someone who lives outside that jurisdiction, again, you can do so only under terms laid down by the government’s immigration rules. You are not free to make your own decisions in the matter.

If you don’t want your money given to others — say, Wall Street banks, auto companies, welfare recipients, stem-cell researchers, military contractors, the Israeli air force, the Iraqi and Afghan rulers — too bad. You have no say. Correction: you have one impotent vote every four years. That’s virtually the same as no say.

If you don’t want the armed forces killing people in your name, again, too bad. No one asked you.

If you don’t want the Treasury and the Federal Reserve stealing your hard-earned money through deficits and inflation, you may as well shut up. It’s going to happen anyway.

This is the power the peaceful transfer of which we celebrate.

We might wonder why inaugurations aren’t more sober affairs. Why all the hoopla? The answer is simple. Government is a horrendous and exploitative imposition on most of us. From the rulers’ perspective, there is always the danger that we may figure this out and refuse to go along. Hence the need for regular propaganda spectacles to reinforce the myth that we are the government.

The prayers of The Who’s Pete Townshend, alas, have not been answered. Most of us are getting fooled again.

Posted By: scott

Why I lack hope

Fri Jan 16, 2009 6:35 am

As a small "l" libertarian or classical liberal, here's my main problem with the "new" direction our country's going (NB: there's nothing new about it)

Posted By: scott

Happy Veteran's Day

Wed Nov 12, 2008 3:35 am

Thanks for the freedom, vets!
On a day like today it is important to be thankful for all the freedoms we enjoy in this country:

In America, we enjoy the freedom of giving half our income to the government through various forms of taxes. We have the freedom to participate in a Ponzi scheme known as Social Security. We have the freedom to vote for the president. Unlike the voters of Iraq under Saddam Hussein, who only had one choice for president, we have two choices! We have the freedom to choose between Republican-led big government programs and Democrat-led big government programs. We have the freedom to use government-controlled money, which loses value every year. We have the freedom to subsidize the politically-connected agricultural, automotive, and banking industries. We have the freedom of sending children through the compulsory government-run education system, and then pay for job training for those that get through 12 years of schooling and still don't know how to do anything. We have the freedom to own guns, provided that said gun is approved by the government and we pass the government-mandated background check. If we get the appropriate permits and stand in the proper free-speech zone, we have the freedom to protest.

Thanks to all the veterans who defended our freedoms and kept them from being taken away!
Too bad all those good folks died trying to defend our freedoms from external forces when it was the internal ones that would ultimately enslave us in the end anyway.

Imagine if we had heeded Washington's advice and followed the Constitution, avoided entangling alliances, and defended our borders. The mind boggles at what we might have accomplished.

And if that thought experiment is impossible for you since "history starts with WWII," what if we had heeded Eisenhower's advice and guarded "against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex." Again the mind boggles.

Too bad indeed.


Posted By: scott

Breaking Free of the Vicious Circle

Sat Nov 08, 2008 12:46 am

Breaking Free Of The Vicious Circle
by Jonathan Wilde

Election season puts in stark contrast two very different worlds in which we live - civil society and politics.

Civil society is the sum of voluntary interactions among individuals. Consider some ways in which I participated in civil society over the past week. My friends and I got together to watch the Red Sox win the World Series for the first time in over eighty years. I bought a bagel for breakfast yesterday morning from the shop owner. I wrote entries for my blog. I went to dinner with my co-workers. And this weekend, I hope to throw a kickass Halloween Party for my friends. In all these cases, all involved individuals' autonomy was respected. These interactions took place on voluntary terms.

Politics is the institutionalized means of coercion by which a single view of the good is imposed upon all. In a democracy, politics is determined by voting. Politics means others being able to tell you what you can do with your body. It means your neighbors being able to direct how you use your property and what kinds of things your children are allowed to learn. It means others being able to dictate what you do with your home, what you can charge to sell your things, what kind of doctor you visit, what kinds of opinions you can express, and whom you can form relationships with.

Voting is a horrible way to decide things because it is a part of politics. Consider the situation if you are thinking of voting Democratic. You probably think it's a bad idea to have prayer in schools. Or if you are thinking of voting Republican, you might think that students should be allowed to participate in prayer. So you will pull a lever on November 2nd to appoint someone who you will hope will make schools as you wish them to be. Yes, he could do your bidding; or he could fail to keep his promise. Either way, next election, the same battle will ensue. A perpetual struggle continues into eternity.

Surely this is a horrible system. Both sides are taking the wrong approach. There is an obvious solution here: parents should be allowed to pass on their values to their kids in the manner they see fit. Forget about any sort of "vote" being taken. To think there is only one correct answer to these sorts of questions is a failure of the imagination. Humans, unlike animals, have the ability to reason to see life as a positive-sum game. One person's preferences need not always interfere with another's. Sure, it might temporary please some of us to try to control each other's lives. But the far-sighted solution is to live-and-let-live.

Politics caters to the worst in us. Promises are broken without remorse or consequence. Ordinary men are catapulted to undeserved hero status for the mere fact of controlling vast amounts of power. The opposition is dehumanized. Ignorance is bred by removing the direct consequences of actions from tangible proximity. Politics lets indecency flourish without repercussion and creates false virtue out of the ordinary. People allow politicians to get away with things they themselves wouldn't even consider doing. There is a reason why politics is so ugly-- it debases what makes us human and caters to our atavistic animal roots.

Civil Society, on the other hand, is the realm of interaction in which individuals are given sovereign reign over their lives to pursue their own happiness. Life may be full of unforeseen circumstances, but civil society allows us to pursue the path to our own subjective fulfillment. It is what makes life worth living. Any meaning I get from my daily experience comes not from edicts from on high, but my own pursuit of what I consider the good life. Civil society is our relationships with our friends and loved ones. It is the songs we sing, the works of art we create, and the beauty we find in the world around us. It is the richness of life.

The Founding Fathers may have intended to design the use of politics only as a necessary evil to act as the backdrop on which civil society would flourish, but today that idea lies buried deep under the consciousness of the times. In the end, my vote counts little. The outcome will be little different whether or not I vote. The only possible benefit my vote would garner would be as a single voice of expression as part of an information gathering process that shows an appalling lack of fidelity. I refrain from voting because I want to express my view that civil society, not politics, should be the center of social interaction.

What incentive do you have as a potential voter, whether it be Democratic, Republican, Libertarian, Green, or other, to do the same? In politics, winning is only temporary. Should you be a member of the lucky mob that gets to impose its preferences on the rest of us for the next four years, keep in mind that next time around, it could very well be you that is on the losing end. Power corrupts even the purest of hearts. By giving your consent to a body of people to carry out an imposition of your preferences upon others, you are also giving others implied consent to do the same to you. Winners can become losers in the blink of an eye. Instead, the civilized thing to do is to break out of this prisoner's dilemma, lay down arms, and stop the perpetual war of all against all.

I will be actively not voting next Tuesday because I want to demonstrate my preference that an enlightened structure of society should allow differing conceptions of the good life to co-exist in peace. I hope you do the same.

Posted By: scott

Re: Voting is evil, don't do it

Wed Nov 05, 2008 3:49 am

It felt so good to not vote today.

I can rest easy tonight knowing that I don't have the blood of coercion, violence, war, theft, and illegitimate force on my hands.

Why do we have a system where every 4 or 8 years we "throw the bums out" and replace them with the next round of bums?

Why do we have a system where 51% of the people have a mandate to trample on the rights of the other 49%?

Meanwhile both parties are growing the size and scope of government and empire all the time.

Mobocracy at its best, I guess.


Posted By: scott

Voting is evil, don't do it

Sat Nov 01, 2008 2:39 am

This article was written to describe the problems with voting on wikipedia.

But the ideas can easily be extrapolated to describe next Tuesday if you're honest.

Remember the US is not a democracy, it's a republic - the saying "what is right is not always popular, and what is popular is not always right" applies.

Polls are evil

Polls are evil. Don't vote on everything, and if you can help it, don't vote on anything.

Or, rather, polling isn't evil in itself, but when you try to distill an essay's worth of thought into a single phrase, that's the sort of oversimplified, divisive statement that happens. A bit like trying to distill an essay's worth of thought into a single "yea" or "nay".

(Although Wikipedia has a Neutral point of view policy, this article seems to have the general consensus of the Wikipedia community.)

Polling discourages consensus

Having the option of settling a dispute by taking a poll, instead of the careful consideration, dissection and eventual synthesis of each side's arguments, actually undermines the progress in dispute resolution that Wiki has allowed. Wikipedia is not a democracy. This is a strength, not a failing. Dialectics is one of the most important things that make Wiki special, and while taking a poll is very often a lot easier than helping each other find a mutually agreeable position, it's almost never better.

Polling encourages the community to remain divided by avoiding that discourse; participants don't interact with the other voters, but merely choose camps. Establishing consensus requires expressing that opinion in terms other than a choice between discrete option and expanding the reasoning behind it, addressing the points that others have left, until all come to a mutually agreeable solution. No one can address objections that aren't stated, points that aren't made.

Yes, establishing consensus is a lot harder than taking a poll. So are most things worth doing.

Polling encourages false dichotomy

Very rarely are there only two potential positions on an issue. Simplifying a complex issue to a yes/no vote creates a false dichotomy. For example, in a vote for deletion, the option of merging the article with a similar piece is often ignored. To help counteract this, if you see a third option or compromise that has not been discussed, mention it!

Polling encourages groupthink

Seeing a list of participants in a poll encourages people to add their names. It's easy to just add your name, especially if one side is clearly "winning". Polling factionalizes users who might not even have been that strongly opposed—or that strongly in agreement. Discussion toward consensus requires participants to state their reasoning, and to read and understand the reasoning of others, to see where the situation is headed; polls give a falsely simplified picture. Not to mention that it's difficult to place yourself on the opposite side of users you respect, or on the same side as users you don't.

When the vote is strongly unbalanced, those on the "losing" side feel marginalized, and those on the "winning" side will sometimes feel as though the results of the poll give them license to do as they wish without taking into account the views of the minority, though nothing has been resolved.

Polling isn't fair, either

One of the primary issues with conducting polls is deciding whose votes count. Obviously, it's not fair if one user creates a horde of sockpuppets and uses them to stack a side. How about if someone brings in friends from outside Wikipedia who have barely edited? What about users who have only been around for a few days? Those who are longtime users but haven't read any of the associated discussion or misunderstand some of the issues? Who is the community, and how much weight should each person's voice have? These are difficult questions to answer when conducting a poll; any method of correcting perceived errors and faults in the process will inevitably lead to someone feeling slighted or wronged. In situations where a person or group of persons is charged with calling the final outcome, a decision will be made but its responsibility will fall on their shoulders; a difficult task particularly when they choose for whichever reason not to strictly follow the numbers. Where no one has final authority, it may be that everyone comes out thinking something went awry. ("If only these votes that shouldn't have counted hadn't been and others had, things might be different!") And that's just of those who participate. What of those who do not vote because they don't believe in voting? Even where we can perfectly define our community, no voting system is guaranteed to be fair. Under the usual conditions of quick-and-easy first-past-the-post polling it is entirely possible to come out with an answer that is not the one that would most satisfy everyone.

Polls are misleading and encourage confusion

As stated above, polling isn't in itself evil. Polls can be useful for a quick gauge of opinion. The problem is that people take the results of a poll as a mandate to do something based on the numbers that turn out—which it is not. It is explicitly stated that Wikipedia is not a democracy—the saying that "what is right is not always popular, and what is popular is not always right" applies.

The belief that the result of the poll, and not the commentary that springs from it, is going to decide the fate of the work, is what leads to polls that develop into more and more complex beasts, holding every possible option, leading to no longer two opposing camps but a dozen and pages that look like nothing but a mess to anyone who hasn't been embroiled in the debate. Voters feel misled at the end of a poll if the numerically superior option is not the one acted upon. "But it won the poll!" they claim, and not realizing that a poll is no substitute for consensus, are understandably upset, feeling that their voices have not been heard.


Posted By: scott

Election time

Mon Oct 27, 2008 3:48 am

Are you a part of the problem?

Posted By: scott

Cause and Consequence

Fri Oct 17, 2008 1:20 am

Some people think this video is funny and/or informative:

It amazes me how most people of every political persuasion still miss the main point in all this:

The US government *caused* the current crisis by distorting the market.

How? They distorted the market in at least 2 ways:

1. They lowered the interest rate to 1% and held it there for way too long (Bonus question: if we are supposed to have a free market, why is a "Wizard in Washington" setting the interest rate?)

2. They passed laws which encouraged mortgage lending to subprime borrowers because "owning a home is the American dream." The Democrats are mostly to blame here. Remember when Fannie and Freddie were your best friends?

Now the government's gone and distorted the market again with the bailout.

So that makes at least 3 ways that the government has caused the problem and exacerbated it.

Plus they've put the nail in the coffin of our old republic by nationalizing the financial system, as if it needed another one.

Congrats all you voters out there, you win! When you vote for the lesser of evils you plant the seeds of evil. Then you reap what you sow. No surprise there.

The alternative is to boycott the wholly corrupt system and don't vote. It is the only morally defensible thing to do.


Posted By: scott

A Bipartisan Soft Landing

Thu Oct 09, 2008 6:53 am

Grist for the Global Warming Mill

Mon Sep 15, 2008 12:53 am

An increase in atmospheric CO2 is not considered a problem in the plant kingdom...

Can British Wine Grapes Resolve A Global Warming Question?

December 5, 2006

British wine grapes are suddenly in the midst of the global warming controversy.

Historic records tell us that Britain grew wine grapes 2000 years ago during the Roman Warming, and 1000 years ago during the Medieval Warming. Since 1300, however, Britain has been too cold for wine grapes. The debate: Is human-induced warming boosting British temperatures to “unnatural” levels, or is the gradual warming a repeat of previous cycles?

The website says there are more than 400 vineyards in Britain today, and “. . . the good news about English wine [is] how good, even superb, it can be.”

It certainly sounds like Britain has gotten warmer recently, but why? The same web site has a “History” section, which reveals:

“In England [today], it is only in about 2 years in every 10 that grape production will be really good, 4 years will be average and 4 years poor or terrible—largely due to weather and/or disease exacerbated by weather.” (Sounds as if we aren’t quite to “wine country warmth yet, doesn’t it?)

The same web site also says:

“In the 1990s the increase in the number of vineyards and the acreage under cultivation has leveled off, maybe even declined a little. There are a number of reasons for this— many English vineyards have undoubtedly been established with little knowledge of, or even concern for, their financial viability. A saying has grown up that the best way to get a small fortune is to have a large fortune and buy an English vineyard. Whilst this is cruel, it is also pretty certain that it is true.”

The web site RealClimate, though it believes fervently in man-made global warming, accurately laid out the last 1000 years of British wine-making on July 12, 2006:

“The earliest documentation that is better than anecdotal is from the Domesday Book (1087 AD) . . . Selley quotes Unwin (J. Wine Research, 1990) who records 46 vineyards across Southern England [at that time] . . . production clearly declined after the 13th century, and had a modest resurgence in the 17th and 18th centuries, only to decline to historic lows in the 19th century when only 8 vineyards are recorded. . . . English and Welsh wine production started to have a renaissance in the 1950s. By 1977, there were 124 reasonable-sized vineyards in production—more than at any other time over the previous millennium.”

So, British wine-making thrived during the Medieval Warming, failed during the Little Ice Age (1300 to 1850), and began to make a comeback in the 1950s, after major world temperature surges between 1850–70 and 1920–40. The uncertain quality of today’s British wine grapes indicates that Britain still isn’t as warm now as during the Roman and Medieval Warmings.

This argues that we’re in a long, natural climate cycle. So does the fact that more than 70 percent of the planet’s recent warming occurred before 1940, and thus before humans emitted much CO2. Ice cores and seabed sediments show the 1500-year cycle extending back 900,000 years, and carbon 14 isotopes say it’s linked to variations in the sun’s irradiance.

British wine-growers are likely to have several more moderately warmer centuries in which to prosper. And wine-lovers will have more-pleasant weather in which to enjoy the wines than they did during the cold, cloudy and stormy Little Ice Age. A reduction in fossil fuel use might be a good strategy for the future, but apparently would have little impact on earth’s climate.

Posted By: scott


Sat Feb 02, 2008 9:00 am

McRomney wondering what in the world Ron Paul is talking about:

Posted By: scott

The Ron Paul Economic Stimulus Package

Fri Jan 25, 2008 4:28 am

As Ron has taught for decades, the answer to our economic troubles is not more something-for-nothing, let alone even easier money in a recession caused by easy money, but taking an ax to the government. Here is his proposal:
1) End taxes on incomes, estates, businesses, interest, tips, gifts, and dividends;
2) Stop the wars and bring the boys home;
3) Open up the Federal Reserve to public scrutiny and legalize monetary competition by gold and silver coin producers;
4) Repeal Sarbanes-Oxley and other anti-capitalist regulations. And balance the budget!

Oh, and nominate Don Luskin as economic advisor.

Remember, if we get rid of the income tax and replace it with nothing, we still have a federal government as big as it was in 1997.

It's a start.

It's not about throwing people out on the street. It's about coming to terms with reality.


Posted By: scott


Mon Jan 21, 2008 6:29 am

Here is the clearest evidence yet that the New York Times is no better than FAUX in the big picture.

FOX: who's missing?

NYT: who's missing?

Posted By: scott

Testing our defenses

Tue Jan 08, 2008 4:16 am

Get ready for the next "Gulf of Tonkin" incident:

"The Navy warships went into defensive mode, radioed the usual warnings to steer clear, and in the end no shots were fired. U.S. military warships believe the Revolutionary Guard boats were "testing our defenses," the officials said."

How dare they "test our defenses" while we're patrolling the Persian Gulf with a huge armada of warships?

Notice how they also threw "Revolutionary Guard" in there to remind us "we're talking about a terrorist nation here!"


Posted By: scott

The terrorists have won

Sun Nov 18, 2007 4:21 am

[  Mood: Scared ]

Posted By: scott

Remember, Remember, the 5th of November

Wed Nov 07, 2007 3:54 am

FAUX News main story tonight, when Ron Paul has shattered all previous records for grassroots fund raising, is titled "Not Rattled," and is about a man who sits in a bathtub with snakes.

Do you think that means they're rattled or not? :-)

(screen capture from, 10:15pm mst)

In an example of supreme irony, perhaps what they're actually afraid of is this:


Posted By: scott

Bipartisanship, 2007

Wed Oct 24, 2007 5:32 am

[ Reading disgusted Currently: Reading disgusted ]

Reminds me of the Iraq Study Group

Posted By: scott

No Patronizing, No Sloganeering

Fri Jul 20, 2007 4:02 am

[  Mood: In Love ]

No Patronizing, No Sloganeering
by Thomas E. Woods, Jr.

By now it’s old news that presidential candidate Ron Paul, the ten-term congressman from Texas, has more cash on hand than does the floundering John McCain – whose campaign staffers are fleeing as fast as they can.

Remember Ed Failor of Iowans for Tax Relief, the organization that wouldn’t invite Ron Paul to its candidates’ forum even though he has perhaps the best record on taxation of any congressman in American history? Ol’ Ed was a senior adviser to the McCain campaign. He, too, has jumped ship. Failor, by the way, had initially supported that great crusader against taxation, George Pataki. (Something tells me Ron Paul may in fact be better off without the endorsement of Ed "Svengali" Failor.)

A recent Gallup poll finds Paul at the head of the so-called second-tier candidates (i.e., the candidates the establishment hasn’t anointed), though still with a ways to go. Yet Justin Ptak recently made the important point that at this stage in the election cycle, national polls reflect only name recognition, not respondents’ assessments of the candidates. Consider the statistics, drawn from the blog:

* In early 1975, Jimmy Carter was polling at 1% (he went on to win the presidency).
* In early 1987, Michael Dukakis was polling at 1% (he went on to win the Democratic nomination).
* In early 1991, Bill Clinton was at 2% (he went on to win the presidency).
* In the spring of 1999, John McCain was polling at 3% (he went on to win the New Hampshire primary).
* In early 2003, Joe Lieberman was leading the field for the Democratic presidential nomination (he failed to win any primary).

So Paul is doing well and reaching more and more people. But just as interesting is the recent news that fully 50 percent of all the money donated to Republican candidates in the second quarter by employees of the United States military went to – wait for it – Ron Paul!

Now that doesn’t make any sense at all, if the neoconservative crazies who dominate conservative media are to be believed. Since Ron Paul criticizes U.S. foreign policy, and since he has this oddball idea that bombing and starving people can make them angry, he isn’t a "patriot" like them. So resolutely have they bought into the silly fiction that "we are the government," these cheerleaders for the warfare state actually seem to take personal offense at Paul’s criticism of U.S. government policies.

Once in a while I can’t resist and wind up posting a defense of Ron Paul in the comments section of a hostile blog. I’ve been called a "liberal" more times than I can count by people who evidently know nothing about the actual history of liberalism, conservatism, and libertarianism in America. (One of the issues I cover in my new book, 33 Questions About American History You’re Not Supposed to Ask, is liberalism’s relatively lackluster antiwar record and the totally forgotten presence of an anti-state, antiwar tradition in America – of which Congressman Paul is our greatest representative today.)

Days after the fateful South Carolina debate in which Ron Paul refused to flatter and patronize the American people, instead explaining to them the concept of "blowback" (that foreign intervention can lead to unintended, undesirable consequences), the Texas congressman held a special press conference with Michael Scheuer, the former head of the CIA’s bin Laden unit. Scheuer, incidentally, is a conservative who has never voted for a non-Republican candidate.

The event should have received more attention than it did – since Scheuer was there to say that Dr. Paul had been exactly right in his exchange with Rudy Giuliani:

There are now ten Republican candidates in the field and there are eight Democrats. Seventeen of them are not at all a worry to Osama bin Laden and what he represents…. Dr. Paul has hit on exactly the only indispensable ally that al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, and their allies have, and that’s U.S. foreign policy.

It is a patent absurdity on the part of the governing establishment in the United States to believe that the war we are engaged in at the moment has anything to do with our freedoms, our democracy, gender equality, or my having a Budweiser after work…. This war has to do with our foreign policy and its impact in the Islamic world. That has nothing to do with judging the moral or monetary or political worth of our policies. It’s simply to understand what motivates our enemy.

Scheuer went on to recount the Ayatollah Khomeini’s abject failure over the course of a decade to instigate a jihad against America on account of our debauchery, our entertainment, our women in the workplace, and the like. It was a complete flop. No one blew himself up because of R-rated movies.

What made Osama bin Laden’s message attractive, on the other hand, was precisely that it was defensive in nature, focusing on specific grievances that resonated with his Muslim audience. (Scheuer discusses all six of them in his interview, which I urge people to listen to.) That, and not a war against the West over its decadence, is what won recruits. In other words, we may in fact be dealing not with comic-book villains but with actual human beings.

"It’s very common for the slurs to be thrown when you say something like this," Scheuer hastened to add. "You’re an appeaser, you’re an anti-American. I think it’s a shame, but the governing establishment wants to protect itself. It does not want to talk about these issues…. I think Dr. Paul has done a tremendous service to the American people." It is important to debate American foreign policy for a change, he said. "At the end of the debate, Americans may decide that the foreign policy status quo that exists at the moment is what they want. But if they do, they will at least go into it with their eyes open, and know that they are in for an extended period of war, a tremendously bloody and costly war."

In an interview with Antiwar Radio several days before the press conference, Scheuer said: "I thought Mr. Paul captured it the other night exactly correctly. This war is dangerous to America because it’s based, not on gender equality, as Mr. Giuliani suggested, or any other kind of freedom, but simply because of what we do in the Islamic world – because ‘we’re over there,’ basically, as Mr. Paul said in the debate."

To be sure, Scheuer observed, Muhammad described the end state of Islam on earth as a caliphate in which the whole world would be Muslim. But "there’s as much chance of that happening in any kind of foreseeable future as the application of the Golden Rule, and ‘turn the other cheek’ and ‘love thy neighbor’ in the Christian world. There’s no chance. Bin Laden is popular and his message resonates because it is a defensive message. It is very much a message of ‘get out and leave us to our own problems.’"

He continued:

About the only thing that can hold together the very loose coalition that Osama bin Laden has assembled is a common Muslim hatred for the impact of U.S. foreign policy…. They all agree they hate U.S. foreign policy. To the degree we change that policy in the interests of the United States, they become more and more focused on their local problems: attacking the Philippine government, attacking the Saudi government or the Egyptian government….

Mr. Paul spoke not only the truth, but he spoke in the interests of the American people. And from the right and from the left he got chopped up. And at the end of the day you admire Mr. Paul’s courage but what you fear for is the security of America, because the people who attacked Mr. Paul are much more concerned with staying in power than they are with protecting my family and yours.

Unfortunately, what Mr. Paul is saying…will become so clear to the American people the next time Osama bin Laden attacks inside the United States and we have a disaster bigger than 9/11. And then the talk of "they hate us for primary elections" and "they hate us for gender equality" – that will go out the window, and maybe we can get down to brass tacks after we have multiple tens of thousands of dead Americans.

Antiwar Radio's Scott Horton also interviewed former CIA counter-terrorism officer Philip Giraldi, who largely shared Scheuer’s assessment:

I think anybody who knows anything about what’s been going on for the last ten years would realize that cause and effect are operating here – that, essentially, al Qaeda has an agenda which very specifically says what its grievances are. And its grievances are basically that "we’re over there."

So all Ron Paul was basically saying was that – even as the 9/11 commission report indicated – there were consequences for our presence in the Middle East and if we seriously want to address the terrorism problem we have to be serious about that issue.

Giuliani indicated that he was not only not serious about that issue, but seemed to be ignorant of both the 9/11 [Commission] report and political realities in the Middle East.

Ray McGovern, a 27-year veteran of the CIA, said largely the same thing, telling Horton: "I’m really edified by Ron Paul stepping up and stating what he believes to be the case. If you believe that they hate us for our democracy or for our freedoms, well I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn that I’d really like to sell you at a cut rate. They hate us for our policies and that’s what Ron Paul was saying.… Giuliani…really showed his true colors there as a demagogue."

All three interviews are well worth listening to – as is everything Scott Horton has ever put on the radio, in my opinion. (These interviews and more are linked here.)

If you want to be talked down to and spoken to in slogans, there is no shortage of opportunities in today’s America. Ron Paul, on the other hand, on this as on everything else, refuses to pander to anyone, and tells the truth as he sees it. (He once told an audience filled with NASA employees that he had consistently voted against their programs – a typical and unremarkable episode for an honest man like Paul.)

Which kind of candidate we wind up with will tell us a lot about the state of our country.

Posted By: scott

Lusting after 100% energy efficiency? Photosynthesis’ quantum secret may hold key

Tue Jun 26, 2007 6:24 am

For power conversion engineers it should be humbling to look at the near-100% efficiency with which plants convert sunlight into chemical energy – after all, the conversion efficiency of commercially available solar cells is only about 16-18%.

Photosynthesis/quantum link

However, no one knows how photosynthesis works, despite its potential for solving much of the world’s energy problems. So it’s good news that researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, working with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Berkeley Lab have started to break photosynthesis’ code.

Photosynthesis’ secret sauce seems to be the speed with which it occurs -- the transfer is so fast - virtually instantaneous -- that energy isn't wasted as heat. " Virtually instantaneous" sounds like a quantum relationship, and indeed, the researchers found the answer to the mechanism in quantum mechanics.

Posted By: scott

Little Answers To Big Problems

Tue Jun 26, 2007 5:48 am

Little Answers To World's Biggest Problems: Top 10 Nanotech Applications To Aid Poor

Science Daily — Some day soon, in a remote village in the developing world, a health worker will put a drop of a patient's blood on a piece of plastic about the size of a coin. Within minutes, a full diagnostic examination will be complete including the usual battery of "blood work" tests, plus analysis for infectious diseases such as malaria and HIV/AIDS, hormonal imbalances, even cancer.

Quantum dots may be used for cheap, efficient handheld diagnostic devices available at point-of-care institutions in developing countries. (Photo courtesy of Public Library of Science)

That remarkable piece of plastic is called a "lab-on-a-chip" and it is one of the revolutionary products and processes currently emerging from nanotechnology research with the potential to transform the lives of billions of the world's most vulnerable inhabitants.

Posted By: scott

The terrorists we love

Fri May 25, 2007 3:29 am

I guess you're only a *real* terrorist if you kill Americans or Westerners. And if you kill Cubans or other non-Americans for the CIA, then god forbid you get tortured.
Luis Posada Carriles is a 77-year-old former CIA operative who was trained by the U.S. Army at Fort Benning in Georgia. He has been trying to violently overthrow Fidel Castro's government for four decades.
Posada has been connected to the 1976 downing of a civilian airliner that killed 73 passengers - the first act of airline terrorism in the Western hemisphere. He has also been linked to a series of 1997 bombings of hotels, restaurants, and discotheques in Havana that killed an Italian tourist; as well as a plot to assassinate Castro five years ago. He has been jailed in Venezuela and Panama. He was last seen in Honduras. Earlier this month he was said to have slipped into Miami. His newly-retained attorney has now requested asylum for him. In response, Venezuela's Supreme Court ruled that the government should seek his extradition from the United States to face terrorism charges.
The US authorities have refused requests for Posada's extradition, saying he might be tortured...


And speaking of terrorists we love, here's the 2006 "year in review" from Israel:
Israeli troops killed more than 650 Palestinians last year - half of them unarmed civilians including some 120 children - a threefold increase from 2005, a leading human rights group said Wednesday.

In its annual 2007 global report, Amnesty International also criticized Israel for deepening the poverty in Palestinian territories by withholding customs duties and widening a network of blockades and other travel restrictions.
The group accused soldiers and settlers of committing "serious human rights abuses, including unlawful killings, against Palestinians, mostly with impunity."
The number of Israelis killed by Palestinian armed groups diminished by half last year, to 27, including 20 civilian adults and one child, the report said.

By The Associated Press' count, 580 people were killed on the Palestinian side and 34 on the Israeli side in 2006.

Posted By: scott

US "probably somewhat involved" in imperial overreach

Sat Apr 14, 2007 6:32 am


U.S.: Al Qaeda in Iraq 'probably' tied to bombing

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- A U.S. Army commander on Friday said authorities still can't verify who bombed the Iraqi parliament complex on Thursday, but al Qaeda in Iraq probably was involved.

Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno, the commander of the Multinational Corps-Iraq, told reporters at the Pentagon via teleconference from Iraq that his hunch, "based on past events," is that al Qaeda in Iraq is "probably somewhat involved."

"But we don't know for sure yet," Odierno stressed.

Posted By: scott

Too bad we never made it past kindergarten...

Sun Mar 11, 2007 9:06 am

"One cannot subdue a man by holding back his hands. Lasting peace comes not from force." - David Borenstein

Posted By: scott

Playing army, 2007

Mon Feb 19, 2007 2:42 am

Battery Breakthrough?

Fri Jan 26, 2007 2:06 am

A secretive Texas startup developing what some are calling a "game changing" energy-storage technology broke its silence this week. It announced that it has reached two production milestones and is on track to ship systems this year for use in electric vehicles.

EEStor's ambitious goal, according to patent documents, is to "replace the electrochemical battery" in almost every application, from hybrid-electric and pure-electric vehicles to laptop computers to utility-scale electricity storage.

The company boldly claims that its system, a kind of battery-ultracapacitor hybrid based on barium-titanate powders, will dramatically outperform the best lithium-ion batteries on the market in terms of energy density, price, charge time, and safety. Pound for pound, it will also pack 10 times the punch of lead-acid batteries at half the cost and without the need for toxic materials or chemicals, according to the company.

The implications are enormous and, for many, unbelievable.

Posted By: scott

Memory Hole Back To Near-100% Efficiency

Mon Nov 06, 2006 5:58 am

[  Mood: Amused ]

Memory Hole Back To Near-100% Efficiency
Big news!
Saddam Hussein Is Sentenced to Death

An Iraqi special tribunal today convicted Saddam Hussein of crimes against humanity and sentenced him to death by hanging...

As you'd expect in an industry devoted to bringing crucial information to as wide an audience as possible, out of the thousands of English-language stories on the verdict, only one (from the United Arab Emirates), has bothered mentioning this:

Saddam was seen by U.S. intelligence services as a bulwark of anti-communism and they used him as their instrument for more than 40 years, according to former U.S. intelligence diplomats and intelligence officials...his first contacts with U.S. officials date back to 1959, when he was part of a CIA-authorized six-man squad tasked with assassinating then Iraqi Prime Minister Gen. Abd al-Karim Qasim...

Saddam, while only in his early 20s, became a part of a U.S. plot to get rid of Qasim...

This is of course how it should be, because all that matters in life is what's happened within the last twelve seconds.

Posted By: scott

Amazing space station experiments

Sat Nov 04, 2006 5:54 am

[  Mood: Happy ]


"Waves in a large free sphere of water,"
"Water droplets in a bubble in a sphere," and
"Effervescent antacid tablet in a water sphere"

Posted By: scott

Making Water From Thin Air

Tue Oct 10, 2006 11:32 pm

[  Mood: Cool ]
[ Working Currently: Working  ]

A company that developed technology capable of creating water out of thin air nearly anywhere in the world is now under contract to nourish U.S. soldiers serving in Iraq.
The 20-foot machine can churn out 600 gallons of water a day without using or producing toxic materials and byproducts.,71898-0.html

Posted By: scott

Maybe a new way to fight superbugs

Tue Oct 10, 2006 3:01 am

[  Mood: Happy ]
[ Listening to radio Currently: Listening to radio ]

Could be great news in the war on drug resistant germs:
Bacteria are more gregarious than previously thought. Not only do they routinely engage in small talk among themselves, but research is showing that many are also multilingual and can communicate with members of other species.

Bacteria are able to communicate with one another through a process known as quorum sensing.

Here's how it works: Individual bacteria secrete signaling molecules called autoinducers into their environments, and as the number of bacteria in a colony increases, so does the concentration of the signaling molecule.

Once a critical mass, or quorum, of bacteria and auto inducers are reached, specific behaviors can be initiated.
Many scientists believe the discovery of AI-2 could lead to the development of a new class of antibiotics.

Because such a drug would not kill the bacteria directly, but only disrupt their activity and prevent them from releasing their toxins, it would not encourage the development of resistance?a problem that is plaguing many current antibiotics....

Posted By: scott

Prime numbers

Mon Oct 09, 2006 7:43 pm

[  Mood: Distorted ]
[ Reading Currently: Reading  ]

Always an enigma:

Posted By: scott

MIT Sketch Board

Fri Oct 06, 2006 8:08 pm

[  Mood: Happy ]
[ Working Currently: Working  ]

Check out this amazing new simulation tool from MIT:

Posted By: scott

The Hard Disk That Changed the World

Mon Oct 02, 2006 5:03 am

[  Mood: Happy ]
[ Reading Currently: Reading  ]

Clarke's third law states: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

On that note:

IBM delivered the first disk drive 50 years ago. It was about the size of two refrigerators and weighed a ton.

Posted By: scott

Atlantis redux

Mon Oct 02, 2006 5:00 am

[  Mood: Hypnotized ]
[ Reading Currently: Reading  ]

Perhaps a measure of genius can be found in one's ability to cordially invite disaster. Einstein ushered in the contrasting prospects of nearly unlimited power and nearly unlimited devastation. Similarly, this hotel could be the most amazing or the most drowning experience of your life.

Poseidon resort will be in Fiji

The first Poseidon Undersea Resort will be based on a private island in Fiji that has an existing resort, airstrip and infrastructure. The 225 acre island is surrounded by a 5000 acre lagoon that is 90 feet deep and has 200 feet of visibility in a protected environment. The setting is truly remarkable.

Posted By: scott

Baby Bang experiment could open door to new dimension

Wed Sep 27, 2006 4:38 am

[  Mood: Scared ]

"[Scientists estimate] the possibility of accidentally destroying the planet is extremely low."

Posted By: scott

Printing on water

Tue Aug 15, 2006 7:24 am

[  Mood: Amused ]
[ Reading Currently: Reading  ]

"The device (AMOEBA) consists of 50 water wave generators encircling a cylindrical tank. The wave generators move up and down in controlled motions to simultaneously produce a number of cylindrical waves that act as pixels. The pixels are combined to form lines and shapes. AMOEBA is capable of spelling out the entire roman alphabet, as well as some simple kanji characters. Each letter or picture remains on the water surface only for a moment, but they can be produced in succession on the surface every 3 seconds."

Posted By: scott

Helio Display

Sat Jul 29, 2006 9:07 pm

Check out this new video display in mid-air, just like in Star Wars.

Posted By: scott

Your phone is so money

Sat Jul 29, 2006 9:04 pm

"A tiny add-on chip will turn your cellphone into a credit card, bus schedule, concert ticket and more..."


Posted By: scott

Cool new UI's from MIT

Wed Jun 21, 2006 9:23 pm

[  Mood: Happy ]
[ Working Currently: Working  ]

I/O Brush
At first glance, it looks like your standard brush, but upon closer inspection you?ll find integrated LEDs, touch sensors, and a camera. The I/O Brush basically ?lifts up and captures photons?, allowing artists to draw with ?special ink? picked up from their immediate environment.

"I/O Brush looks like a regular physical paintbrush but has a small video camera with lights and touch sensors embedded inside. Outside of the drawing canvas, the brush can pick up color, texture, and movement of a brushed surface."

MIT graduates James Patten and Ben Recht designed the Audiopad, an interactive tabletop system which tracks the position of objects and converts their motion into music.

"Audiopad has a matrix of antenna elements which track the positions of electronically tagged objects on a tabletop surface. Software translates the position information into music and graphical feedback on the tabletop. Each object represents either a musical track or a microphone."

Posted By: scott

USPTO launches Peer to Patent

Thu May 11, 2006 7:08 pm

[  Mood: Cool ]
[ Listening to radio Currently: Listening to radio ]

The US Patent and Trademark Office, up to its elbows in more patent applications than it can ever review on its own, has launched "Peer to Patent," a community patent peer review project.

Posted By: scott

Greatest Hits

Wed May 10, 2006 1:18 am

[  Mood: Sick ]
[ Listening to Karsh Kale Currently: Listening to Karsh Kale ]

Here's my collection of greatest hits from the Billboard Liberation Front and the California Department of Corrections.
(Note: these are not photoshopped images. They are photos of real altered billboards.)

Posted By: scott

Tax Time, USA

Fri Apr 21, 2006 5:28 am

[  Mood: Scared ]
[ Working Currently: Working  ]

OK here's an idea;

The percentage of government employees out of a nation's total population is a reasonable (maybe the best?) indicator for the overall "size of government" in that country. Especially when we also consider all of the people who collect government paychecks each month (e.g. welfare recipients and retirees). It takes a lot of bureaucracy to keep a government like that going, especially when it is generally based on carefully monitoring the private activities of each and every one of its citizens.

So, under:

- communism,

the percentage of government employees always increases with the population, sometimes even exponentially E.g. with technological advances or whenever government regulation moves into a new arena of human activity.

- socialism,

the percentage of government employees still always grows with population, but sometimes a little less quickly than under communism.

- libertarianism,

the percentage of government employees is more or less constant over time. Sometimes it can go up, sometimes down. The real difference here is that technological advances and the removal of old government regulations can sometimes actually *decrease* the size of government rather than increase it.

- anarchy,

the percentage of government employees is always decreasing. Even a nutjob like me can't support an idea as crazy as this. But I *would* vote for an anarchist on the ballot in a heartbeat, because they might just pull us in the right direction for a little while at least.

Perhaps there is a limit at which most people would say, "Phooey! I am not paying to support another government bureaucrat's livelihood with my own hard earned money. I quit!"

At some point, when the percentage of government payees to payers gets high enough, even the most altruistic citizens will fold.

This is exactly why Communism was doomed to fail from the start. With or without Reaganomics, everyone in the Communist Empire would have eventually come to the same conclusion sooner or later.

Government is a necessary evil, no doubt about it. It is necessary because without it then no one is safe. We *have to* grant a government monopoly on force in order to be safe in our own skins. But does that monopoly have to extend around the globe? The Constitution and the Bill of rights say "No." The US Military/Industrial complex says "Yes."

By holding a monopoly on the use of force in this country, our government is *supposed to be* held to a higher standard than your average individual.

In order for a monopoly of force to do any real good in the long term, it must be held within a tight sphere of influence. A sandbox, if you will.

Come to think of it, the Founding Fathers should probably each be awarded a posthumous software patent.

Huh? Well, they probably invented the first application sandbox.

As Gosling and crew were developing the first Java Applet a decade or so ago, they realized that their new creation was a powerful tool that could be used as a force for good or as a force for evil, depending on who picked it up.

How to solve this problem? They wrote a hard and fast contract (The Sandbox)... between the people without power, users (citizens) and the people with power, programmers (government payees).

The contract was called the Sandbox, or The Constitution and The Bill Of Rights.

It was understood that the area inside the sandbox was shared between the people. So the contract was:
- necessary to preserve each person's fundamental rights
- sufficient to prevent the powerful from exploiting the weak.

The walls of the sandbox were supposed to be inviolate; it did not matter if a certain temporary power had gained 51% of the majority in a democratic election, or if a certain corporation had happened to amass a huge amount of money. The rich and the powerful could have their fun, but only within the confines of the sandbox. Outside of the sandbox, individual liberty was supposed to reign supreme.

Most of our trouble seems to have started when the government climbed out of its sandbox. Either that or they just keep making the sandbox bigger and bigger.

For example, I am supposedly free, but through my taxes my personal efforts are constantly redirected toward the goal of global military domination, which I don't support and in fact abhor in every way.

How long can a government keep printing paper money to support it's military conquests without any real commodity to back it up? Ours is an empire of debt just like every other one before it.

And now our masters have gone over to build castles in someone else's sandbox, aka Iraq and soon Iran. When those adventures don't work out quite as the bureaucrats had planned, what next? Perhaps an increase in NASA funding, in order to find a new sandbox on another planet to build sand castles on one day...?


Posted By: scott

Putting equilibrium on hold

Mon Apr 17, 2006 6:11 pm

[  Mood: Happy ]
[ Working Currently: Working  ]

Physicists in the US have made the first gas that never reaches equilibrium.

Posted By: scott

Amazing machines

Fri Apr 14, 2006 3:10 am

[  Mood: Happy ]
[ Working Currently: Working  ]

Fun with Rube-Goldberg devices. The audio gets a little annoying, but lots of fodder here for the imagination...

Posted By: scott

Finally... a better battery

Fri Apr 14, 2006 2:45 am

[  Mood: Happy ]
[ Working Currently: Working  ]

Just about everything that runs on batteries -- flashlights, cell phones, electric cars, missile-guidance systems -- would be improved with a better energy supply. But traditional batteries haven't progressed far beyond the basic design developed by Alessandro Volta in the 19th century.

Until now.

Posted By: scott

Bye bye incandescent light bulb?

Thu Apr 13, 2006 4:41 pm

[  Mood: Happy ]
[ Working Currently: Working  ]

The researchers believe that eventually this material could be 100% efficient, meaning it could be capable of converting all of the electricity to light, without the heat loss associated with traditional bulbs.

Posted By: scott

5 numbers

Wed Apr 12, 2006 5:49 am

[  Mood: Happy ]
[ Reading Currently: Reading  ]

A fun and quirky look at 5 interesting numbers:

Posted By: scott


Sun Apr 09, 2006 4:12 pm

[  Mood: Confused ]
[ Working trying to figure out how to handle all the crap Currently: Working trying to figure out how to handle all the crap ]

Hi All,
First of all thanks for visiting my blog. As you all know, I just implemented a blogging feature here on I don't know if it will go anywhere or not, but I figured I'd give it a shot. So here goes:

Most of the time, I love running this website. But sometimes it gets on my nerves.

Why does it have to be so complicated? Why do we need a Fraud Forum? Why do I have to monitor and ban people for being offensive?

Why all the animosity?


Posted By: scott

Welcome to my Blog!

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Blog Started
Mon Apr 10, 2006 4:42 am

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