Monday, December 22, 2014

Anonymous and Sony

Okay, this isn't exactly a Times article.  I don't trust even the major newspapers or media outlets, so trusting this outlet to be accurate is a stretch.  Still, pretty cool.

But why would anonymous do this?  What does it accomplish?  Nothing much, except, hopefully, the release of what looks like a pretty funny movie.

I'm glad to know that anonymous, at least some of them, and I agree, it wasn't North Korea behind this hack.

The Freedom of Information act does not give the public the right to the work product of corporations, the act gives individuals the right to view government records which are not confidential.  The act is specifically a U.S. thing, Sony is a Japanese company.

Not sure discussing the Freedom of Information act makes a lot of sense.  I'm also sure anonymous knows that 100K for a 43M dollar movie is chump change.

Sony should have dumped "The Interview" to PirateBay back around December 4th or 5th when they understood this mess was real.  No one would have believed Sony corporate had done it.  Now, if the movie hits bittorrent everyone knows it will have happened because Sony corporate made it happen.

Anonymous isn't exactly an advocate of Free Speech, they tend to quash the speech of those they disagree with.  In some cases, such as child pornography, I agree with them.  In other cases, I disagree.

I don't have much use for totalitarian groups of any kind.  I believe in minimal restrictions on freedom, however, I believe that some freedoms, such the the freedom to exploit children in sex for profit ventures, the freedom to enslave people, the freedom to force a person to do anything, need to be restricted.

I can argue against homosexuality from, probably, around 40 different view points.  The only viewpoint I can argue for homosexuality is that people have the right to do whatever they want with other consenting adults.  I don't believe I have the right to forbid anyone from doing anything with other people as long as no one is hurt.  So, as a Christian, while I think of homosexuality as a sin, and I can argue against it in many different ways, I also believe that people have the God given right to choose their own lives.  The only people who get into heaven are sinners.  Since no one is perfect, everyone ends up at the end times with unrepentant sin.  Those who have a personal relationship with Christ enter.  Those who don't will choose a different path, no matter how "holy" or "religious" they were believed to be on Earth.

Were I the kind of person who believed that what I believe is right and people who do not agree with me are wrong, I would want homosexuality outlawed since I believe it is "wrong".  Here is the problem with that for me, God created choice so if I make "bad" choices punishable I am placing myself in God's judgment seat.  I set myself up as equal in ability to judge with God.

That isn't a popular belief set, but, it is mine.

I do believe in taking action against those who are interfering with the rights of others to choose.  For example, Westboro Baptists are welcome to sit in their church and spew their garbage to each other.  They have the right to publish their sh*t to the web.  They have the right to protest.  They don't have the right to disrupt funerals and cause emotional damage to others, in my opinion.

I thought the actions of people who stood in front of the WBC protesters was great.  Even though I agree with anonymous about the WBC, I didn't think and don't think that attacking the free use of the Internet and disrupting the WBC's freedom of speech was a good idea.

No matter how much I hate a particular ideology, I have no right to stop someone from spewing it, unless, as in the case of a funeral, it causes deliberate emotional or physical damage.

That's my basic ideology though, what about anonymous.  Truthfully, I think anonymous uses a similar ideology, except, they have no problem attacking the things they hate, regardless of anyone's right to freedom of speech or net neutrality or Internet Freedom.  In addition, the individual members often jump to conclusions and strike without really understanding what it is they are doing.

That is not always a bad thing.  It is often better to ask forgiveness than to ask permission.  Still, anonymous, in many ways, becomes the very thing they hate when they suppress the net freedoms and the individual and collective freedom of speech.  Anonymous becomes the jack booted, totalitarian thug that they hate.

Is it possible to protest against a system willing to kill people without becoming that jack booted thug?  Truthfully, I doubt it.  There will be collateral damage in any war.  Soldiers will kill the wrong people.  Some will commit terrible crimes.  It becomes impossible to police every individual soldier in any war.  Anonymous is engaged in a war and they will screw up, they will commit war crimes.

Does that make them evil?  No more than it makes anyone else evil.  No one is perfect.  No one agrees with everyone about everything.  No one disagrees with everyone about everything.

So why the Sony thing?  What does it accomplish?

Truthfully, I'm not sure I care.  I hope anonymous manages to get the movie released so I can watch it on the big screen.  If not, I hope it is available on bittorrent so I can see it on my flat screen.

And I hope the GOP releases everything they have on Sony to Wikileaks.  That is where that information belongs anyway.  Maybe anonymous can hack GOP and make that happen.  Now, that would be cool :-)

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Hackers, Sony and North Korea

I don't think North Korea had anything to do with the hack on Sony.  But so what.  Now that the President has identified North Korea as the source, The U.S. President being the leader of the Enforcement Branch of government and therefore the "top cop" and responsible for all federal law enforcement agencies (except of course when he pretends he isn't), we should just destroy North Korea.

I mean destroy.  I would literally level the crappy little rice paddy republic.  Scorched earth policy.  If China complains ask them if they want a nuclear war.  China will try and negotiate because China does not want a nuclear war.  The Chinese are all about "face saving" and that means having a world in which face can be saved.

Yeah, I'm not feeling very well today.  I have a cold and a "nuke em all" attitude.

Obama isn't going to do anything.  China kicked our assess in Vietnam and will kick our ass again if we go into North Korea.  The United States doesn't have the balls to deal with a long term war and China does.

I still think the attack on Sony was done specifically for financial reasons, manipulation of stock prices, and I believe the operation failed.

Still, this hack could have some serious unintended consequences.  Obama won't do anything, but, this mess is going to percolate over the next few years and when a new President comes in, circa 2017, that president might feel that they must act against North Korea.

By 2017 the U.S. government won't be able to keep interest rates and the deficit low by purchasing bonds.  Social Security will be spending more than they take in and the IOUs the government wrote itself will be due.  That will really screw up the budget. Might be the time for a war.

Annonymous censoring free speech once again

This one is ridiculous.  I read this story from my facebook newsfeed.  It sounds pretty ridiculous and I hope it isn't true.  I'll write as if it is though....

Some screwy pop star made some comments about protesters, I guess, and anonymous decides they have to censor the popstar because......they hate the concept of free speech?

When will people understand that free speech means people are going to say things that someone disagrees with?

No one agrees with anyone about everything they believe.  No one disagrees with anyone about everything they believe.

Hate groups like anonymous, and they have now become a hate group as far as I am concerned, who go around damaging people who disagree with their political or social views are no better than Sadam Hussein, Adolph Hitler, Edgar J. Hoover, or Joseph Stalin, who destroyed their political competition.

The desire to do something can be overwhelming and leads many people down the wrong path.  Martin Luther King Jr. and Gandhi took a route of passive resistance, as have others.  Sometimes that works, and sometimes it doesn't.

Oppose Wall Street didn't do any good, in fact, during the Oppose Wall Street protests the Obama administration pushed through "The Affordable Health Care Plan" which forces U.S. citizens to purchase health care insurance from Wall Street financial services corporations.  Back in June of 2012 I created a fake portfolio on Google financial.  I "bought" 100 shares of stock in ten different Wall Street financial services corporations that specialized in selling health insurance.

Name Symbol Last price Change Shares Cost basis Mkt value Gain Gain % Day's gain Overall Return
Aetna Inc AET 90.84 0.71 100 2951 9084 6133 207.83 71 207.83
AFLAC Incorporated AFL 61.18 0.86 100 4238 6118 1880 44.36 86 44.36
Assurant, Inc. AIZ 68.65 0.94 100 3034 6865 3831 126.27 94 126.27
American National Insurance Company ANAT 115 -0.12 100 7440 11500 4060 54.57 -12 54.57
CIGNA Corporation CI 104.53 -0.05 100 1789 10453 8664 484.29 -5 484.29
Humana Inc HUM 146.47 -2.6 100 3737 14647 10910 291.95 -260 291.95
Principal Financial Group Inc PFG 52.71 0.45 100 2370 5271 2901 122.41 45 122.41
Security National Financial Corp SNFCA 5.94 1.1 134.01 153 796.02 643.02 420.27 147.41 420.27
UnitedHealth Group Inc. UNH 102.49 0.25 100 2769 10249 7480 270.13 25 270.13
Anthem Inc ANTM 127.95 0.24 100 4395 12795 8400 191.13 24 191.13


Look at those overall return rates!  Obama set his buddies on Wall Street up in style.

As I wrote in my last couple of blogs, Sony is still closer to its 52 week high than its 52 week low after the Sony hack.

Anonymous thinks trashing some stupid pop star, or me, or someone else who disagrees with their politics is going to change the world.  Not a chance.  Wall Street is still making money hand over fist, governments are still tossing journalists like Barrett Brown in prison, nothing real is changing.

Wall Street and governments are multi-headed hydras,  Destroy a bureaucrat and two more take its place.  Destroy a Wall Street bank and two more take its place.

The problem is systemic and all anonymous does is attack specific individuals.  Assange does more by making the systemic issues more transparent, but, most people haven't a clue what to do.  How can the hydra be destroyed?

The truth is, the hydra is the people.  Billions of individuals.  To change the way the world works people have to decide they are unhappy with what is going on and demand changes.  Like the Hippies of the 1960's did?  Yeah, Vietnam turned into drones, Guantanamo Bay and HVT programs combining military intelligence and the CIA.  Hover would be proud.

When Kennedy was killed in 1963, that specific act probably changed history.  Kennedy was against investing in another Korean War and probably would not have escalated in Vietnam the way Johnson did.  In addition, Kennedy probably would have been able to win the 1964 elections without signing the 1964 Civil Rights Act.... Would he have?

Truthfully, there are very few instances in which the destruction of a single person, regardless of who that person is, will make a difference.

Wikileaks had a real influence, minimal as it was, is probably still influencing news and politics, but, like the 1960s radicals, that influence is temporary and just encourages a change in the way the game is played.  I admire Assange because he stood up for what he believed in.  He has been persecuted and will continue to be both revered and persecuted because he stood up.

People say, "information is power".  Baloney (sic).  Perception is power.  If people perceive that an individual or a group has power, that person or group has power.

People are primates, and just as primates break down into a dominance hierarchy people will always break down into dominance hierarchies.  Anonymous will never have any real power because they are anonymous.  Imagine a Gorilla in a forest being challenged as leader by a ghost.  What would happen?  Would the ghost become a leader?  Of course not, the leader may be perceived of as vulnerable and another dominant Gorilla could challenge that leader, but, regardless, the social dominance hierarchy would remain.  Period.

Assange has some power, although he has been effectively minimized by accusations, just as Cosby was and just as other individuals have been.  All anonymous can really do is "virtual assassination", making a leader vulnerable to another leader.

So what?

There are a million more Cosby's, or pop stars, or politicians, and the biological urge in humans to develop social dominance hierarchies remains.  If the world was destroyed over the next six months by a plague of super rabies, I can guarantee two things will still be around.  The biological urge for humans to have sex and the biological urge to develop dominance hierarchies.

And the people choose the leaders they want.  Even Stalin was allowed to lead by the people, as brutal as he was.  Johnson was encouraged, even, to escalate in Vietnam by people. 

If anonymous has their way, and they manage to stomp out free speech by destroying everyone who disagrees with anything they believe, another group just like them who behave the same way they do will go after whoever.

Anonymous isn't going to succeed in eliminating free speech any more than the 1960's radicals succeeded in keeping the United States out of republic creating wars with minor nations.  Sure, some minor changes will occur, but, the systemic nature of the biological urge to develop social dominance hierarchies will remain and the "rebels" will be assimilated, absorbed into society.

In the end, the leaders have to take people where the people want to go, or the people will rebel.  Anonymous could virtually assassinate every leader they disagree with and have Julian Assange elected to the U.S. presidency and things still wouldn't change.

For change to occur, the people have to change.  Neither Assange or anonymous is doing anything that will encourage change in the people.

In the movie"Inception" Leonardo DeCaprio's character makes a statement, "Positive emotion trumps negative emotion".  All anonymous and Assange are doing is pushing negative emotion.  "Don't!"  There is no leadership there, no direction to go in, no democracy, no civil rights.

Only totalitarianism can exist in a "Don't" society.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Freedom of Speech, Sony Hackers and Scumbags

Recently some hackers, probably North Korean Government people say, hacked Sony in response to the release of a movie called "The Interview",

No one believes the hackers were independent because, really, who supports a broke ass nation like North Korea with such a fantasy based concept of itself.

I wonder, did North Korea really do this though, or are they just a scape goat?  If I have to guess, I would say they are a scape goat.  Someone deliberately hacked Sony to drive the stock down and it didn't work very well.  Stock is still in the upper range of the last 52 weeks.  The question is, is this going to work?  If I was a betting guy, I would bet that the hackers had options to sell around 20 and that they expected the stock to drop near 52 week lows, maybe more.  Sony stock has dropped less than $2 a share on the NYSE since December 1st.  $2 in twelve days.

I think Sony is working pretty hard behind the scenes paying people off, buying stock at near their 52 week highs and they are gonna crash in the not so distant future.  Sony is global, head over to a finance website and check Sony, they have about thirty stock releases all over the globe, and some of those are closing up.  In fact, some are still pushing the high limit.  Can Sony keep from crashing?

Anyone willing to bet that this hack was timed with a 52 week global high by coincidence?

Personally, I figure the North Korea shit, is just shit.  I figure this is a team of hackers some stock market guy put together, partially on spec, that just isn't paying off yet.  Will it?

This is actually the first really complex, multi-billion dollar potential hack I have seen ever and this really rocks.  This is the kind of stuff hacking should be about.  Screw the scum bag corporate overlords, use the bottom feeders in the "freedom of speech" media to do it, and take home a shitlload of money.  Blame a country no one gives a shit about and that is constantly rattling a vindictive saber.  It is beautiful.

Bad company choice though.  Sony is pretty much a dog.  Not a lot of downward potential.  Maximum drop over a week is only about $2.70.  With a December 1st release of data, December 12th should have been down about $5.20, max.  Instead, we see a drop of about $2, which is within about a 70% probability. 

If the hack was done to manipulate the stock price, it doesn't seem to be working.

Is it going to work?  Short sales on Dec. 1st failed.  Puts on Dec 12th probably failed.  So how could this hack make cash?

Options would be the way to go, the right to buy or sell a stock at a particular price.  Put options give a person the right to sell shares of stock at a price.  Calls give people the right to buy at a particular price.

December 12th calls to sell at 19 were running about $0.35 a share back on October 30th.  If someone had decided that Sony were going to make some money they could have made about $1 per share.  Contracts usually run 5,000 shares so $5,000.00 per contract.

But, did hackers bet the stock would go up?  No, they bet the stock would go down.  A $20 put was running a little cheaper, but, the stock closed at $20.33 so the Dec 12 $20 put options expired out of the money.

If Sony had been below about $19.50 a share on the 12th those Dec 12 puts would have made some cash.  If the stock had dropped to near 52 week lows, the Dec 12 puts would have made like $5 a share.  If the guys sold $19 calls, expecting the stock to be below $19.....yeah, you get the idea.  Even having inside information isn't exactly a sure thing.

hmmmm, not good for the hackers, if they are in the market, so far.  If they planned longer term, they might make out like bandits.  The problem is, the markets can be manipulated and that option money has to come from somewhere.  Who writes options?  Good question, and if you know who is writing the options then you know who you are working against when it comes to the stock price.  Do these people selling the options have enough resources to buy against a drop and maintain the price?

In this case, I think they did.  Who owns the big chunks of Sony?  Who is writing the options?  Who is trying to maintain their investment?  Money comes down to people and knowing the people behind the stock price is a big deal.  This is the difference between fundamentals and technicals.  Analysis using fundamentals means knowing the people.  Analysis using technicals means knowing what happens when bad information about a company is released.

The guys at Sony play hard ball, but, put options that expire in January are probably going make money because the stock probably cannot stay elevated that long.  If the hackers bet further out, they are probably going to take home a chunk of change.  If they figured this fight was quick, and didn't bet longer term, they probably expired out of the money already.  From the 10% drop on Friday, I think the spending to prop the stock has expired, people took their profits and, totally guessing, I figure Sony hits mid January near 52 week lows.

If these guys planned it right, releasing near the 52week high the way they did, bet on a January, or even February, price low point, maybe they made a buck.  It will be interesting to seek how Wall Street handles a hack like this.

Will Sony stock price drop low enough to make the hack worth it?

So far, this has just been an embarrassment.  Lets see how the stock prices close mid January, 2015.  I'm betting down, but, not with my own money.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

"Mock Spanish" and Cultural Purity

I've been reading some papers written by a linguist, Dr. Jane Hill.

Dr. Hill's theory is that any use of Spanish by an Anglo constitutes Racism.

I thought a lot about it, at first I was offended because I use Spanish occasionally, although I can't ever remember using Spanish with an Anglo as a joke of any kind.  When I lived in El Paso sometimes we were shot at just for being White and being in the barrio.  If my use of Spanish back then had been considered racist at all, there was a good chance of my being beaten or even killed, depending on who I was hanging out with.  And yes, I occasionally hung out with guys they call cholos, or "gangstas" in the modern parlance.  It was business.

I typically made more money with Blacks and Hispanics than I made with White friends.  I won't get into this because this isn't true confessions, but, when people make money in a particular way they are going to associate with a particular type of people.  Any perceived racism, at all, will destroy the relationships at the very least, and can result in death.

So was I upset because I am not fluent in Spanish, still use Spanish occasionally and very poorly?  I don't think so.  I'm pretty good at recognizing and learning from my mistakes, although, I don't always agree with others about what my mistakes are.

For example, people tell me that it is a mistake to say that I can argue against homosexuality from fifty different ways because stupid people will automatically assume I am homophobic when I make this statement.  My reply is almost always that I really don't give a shit what stupid people think.  I will defend my right to free speech and the fact that I can argue against any issue I have an opinion on because I actually research issues before I develop opinions and have even changed my opinion based on new facts.  My opinions are based on the very fact that I can argue against them.

Stupid people not withstanding, why did Dr. Hill's research on "Mock Spanish" annoy me?

Then it hit me, the research presented an absolutist social viewpoint and in my experience absolutism, especially in social issues, was always incorrect.  If I drill down far enough there is always a range.

CPU makers developed equipment that could make the traces on chips one electron wide, the thought being that all electrons are the same size.  They discovered that these "one electron wide" traces occasionally became blocked by electrons that seemed to be to wide to get through them.  The chip makers increased the size of the traces to slightly more than "one electron width" and they worked.  To me this meant that electrons came in a range of sizes, from wide to narrow and that we couldn't measure the size accurate enough to understand the distribution.

Distribution, the normal range from one least likely to another least likely.  A normal range defined by a modality and a mean and a median.  A range, not an absolute, a range of behavior.

Ahhh, I thought.  That was it.

Then I thought for some more.  Here was a paper assigned in a 300 level university class and I didn't agree with it.  Fine.  As I thought about it I realized that social absolutes were typically racist.  White people cannot say "nigger".  This is a racist social absolute based on the experience Black people have with the word and the way it has been used for around 400 years.

What was racist about this paper?  Any use of Spanish is racist so how could the paper be racist?

The it hit me, the paper was advocating the linguistic purity of English using a form of reverse psychology.  "We can't adopt Spanish phrases into English because then we are being racist against Spanish speakers".

Not only was the paper wrong because it presented an absolutist social viewpoint, it was wrong, in my opinion, because the paper advocated Anglo cultural purity by insisting that the normal cultural exchange and the adoption of Spanish culture was racist.

I am not an advocate of racial or cultural purity and because I am not, I found Dr. Hill's papers offensive in the covert advocation of cultural purity.

That is not going to go over well with my professor, or a lot of other people including people at the University and elsewhere.  There is a religious reverence for accepted academic theories and the professors who originate them.  Geocentricism, originally advocated by Aristotle and Archimedes and opposed by Aristarchus, became an academic truth of such veracity that when Copernicus and Galileo challenged that theory they were ostracized by academia, which at that time was centered around the Catholic Church.

I find it mildly amusing that academicians often ridicule the religious faith displayed by believers when they also display a form of religious faith in their academic beliefs.

Be that as it may, I had my answer.  I was offended by the absolutist proposition that cultural exchange is "racist" and therefore cultures must remain distinct and segregated, which is a form of racism.

Unpopular, probably as much as my insistence on being well informed enough to argue against a position that some believe should be so inviolate that no contrary argument should ever be advanced.  Yet, I insist on studying what other people take for granted and sometimes, as in this situation, I reject the popular opinion and stand upon my own two feet.

There are undoubtedly forms of cultural exchange that are racist, the belief that one culture is better or worse than another, there are also cultural exchanges which occur naturally as two or more cultures interact over time that are not racist and do not specify one culture as being better than another.

I am not and will not become a racial or cultural purist.  I reject any advocacy of cultural purism, including absolutist arguments that any cultural exchange is a form of racism.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Israel, Apartheid and Generalizations

While there is no doubt that Israel is an apartheid state and that I personally believe an open and transparent democracy to be an optimum form of government, I am also aware that there are circumstances under which democracy fails to achieve the goals required.
In this case, Israel was created specifically to be a sanctuary for Jewish people so that Jews being persecuted unto death in other nations might have a place to flee to rather than be turned away as so many Jewish refugees were before and during WW2.
U.S. history does not document it's failures well and one of those failures was the refusal to allow Jewish refugees into the United States both before and during WW2. I'll post a link about one such story.
Since the primary purpose of the Jewish State of Israel is to create a sanctuary for Jewish people the conversion of the current apartheid government to an open and transparent democracy would prevent the nation from achieving its one and only true purpose. Sanctuary.
If there ever comes a time in the history of this world where people are no longer violently bigoted against each other, then I would support the concept of Israel becoming an open democracy. As long as national leaders such as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran, as well as a list of others much too long to post, continue to politicize antisemitism I will support both the right of Israel to exist and the right of Israel to maintain itself as an apartheid state.
The problem I see is that international politics, as well as internal politics in the United States, are trending to eliminating support of Israel on the basis of apartheid. There are internal protests in Israel by Jewish people who support the concept of an open democracy. There are those in Israel who advocate for the establishment of a more open immigration policy. Israel faces internal opponents to their original purpose just as they face external opponents to the political policies developed to achieve Israel's original purpose.
I don't believe Israel can stand against the tide of international and internal political opinion. I am of the opinion that Israel will probably cease to exist as a Jewish Sanctuary State sometime in the next 100 years.
The original terrorists or insurgents or freedom fighters who fought for an independent Jewish State during and after World War 2 created underground factories where they produced firearms and ammunition, including an open bolt, fixed firing pin, blow back operated, sub-machine gun called the Sten.
Israel is an excellent example of what determined people can do when motivated by an oppressive and even genocidal political system such as that which occurred in Germany prior to World War Two.
That motivation is gone from the minds of people today. People have replaced this genocidal motivation for a Jewish Sanctuary with dreams of “peace, love and good will towards all”. Others have maintained the dream of an antisemitic Jewish genocide where the bane of their existence is eliminated from the face of the Earth.
Growing up in a Jewish neighborhood and having many Jewish friends and family I am well aware that some Jewish people, like some “ugly americans” and some people from many other cultures, can adopt an attitude of superiority and condescension towards others. If one's only experience, or the majority of memorable experiences, are with these “ugly culture” individuals a person may categorize all of the members of the culture as “ugly”. In fact, this happens often.
This categorization is not a symptom of hatred, rather it is a symptom of limited intellectual capacity. People make categories under which they assign people based on their experiences, their education and their intellectual capacity. No one is capable of infinite categorization. Typically we categorize the people closest to us as individuals. The farther from our personal orbit a person is, the more likely they are to be categorized using some generalization or generalizations.
There is usually some truth to generalizations. For example, there is a generalization that Blacks like watermelon. This is a true generalization. People like watermelon is also a true generalization. Blacks are people so Blacks like watermelon. There is a caveat that not all people like watermelon and so not all Blacks like watermelon. Every generalization has exceptions.
In psychology there are several personality traits and many psychologists differentiate between these personality extremes using either/or categorization. A person is either this or that.
The theories of personality traits depends on what is called a bi-modal distribution. An individuals personality will 'rank” somewhere along this bi-modal distribution. We could say that the total distribution is twelve standard deviations long. Six standard deviations for each end of the personality spectrum.
From reading and conversations over the years with psychologists it is interesting to listen to how they describe these personality traits. In my experience psychologists use four categories, extreme trait, trait, alternate trait, extreme alternate trait. Occasionally two other categories will be added, mild trait and mild alternate trait. Rarely do psychologists seem to add a seventh category of “borderline”, meaning within the central tails between the traits or a seventh and eighth category of extremely mild trait and extremely mild alternate trait.
In a normal distribution there should be just as many extremely mild traits as there are extreme traits, yet, rarely do we hear psychologists speak about individuals who fall in the center tails and probably exhibit behavior attributes of both traits and alternate traits. These “centrists” are probably the most confusing people for psychologists to work with.
I explained all that to explain why I believe that even the most educated and experienced use a finite number of categorizations for people.
Politically I am a centrist. I have very strong opinions on political issues. I am opposed to the existence of prisons, but, I believe strongly in the death penalty. I am pro-choice and pro-second amendment. I could go on, but, I believe I have communicated that my opinions typically balance each other such that I am neither a liberal not a conservative, but, to many people on each side I appear to belong to the other because they have a limited capacity for categorizing and they place me in the category they choose. If a person of limited intellectual capacity believes in the generalization that only conservatives support the individual right to bare arms, I become a conservative in their eyes. If a person believes that only a liberal would be against the concept of prisons, I become a liberal in their eyes.
If we accept that all people have limited intellectual capacity and cannot create infinite categories where each person is evaluated on an individual basis, then we also assume that there are some criteria for inclusion into these categories. There are some criteria which people believe are “absolute”. This is “right” and that is “wrong”, regardless of the individual involved.
The currently popular anti-apartheid sentiment in the world is one such “absolutist” criteria. Apatheid is “wrong”, regardless, and must be eliminated.
In addition, some people have an antisemitic absolutist criteria where Jews are “wrong” and must be eliminated.
In addition, we have some people who have an occupation absolutist criteria where any nation which is occupying the land of another nation is “wrong”.
I could go on listing these absolutist generalizations to explain how international public opinion is turning against Israel based on these absolutist generalizations, or stereotypes, or bigotries.
Where does propaganda stop and discussion begin? What exactly is a fact? How can the average person develop an opinion about what Israel is and should be based on the conglomeration of propaganda, facts and absolutist drivel designed to appeal to those of limited intellectual capacity?
I just don't think Israel can survive the political onslaught over the next hundred years, unless, God takes a hand and delivers Israel. Will God accept that Israel is faithful? What does that even mean? Who can interpret the mind of God except God?
I can't predict what God will do. I believe the actions of large groups of people are fairly predictable though, and I believe international public opinion will continue to build against Israel.

Friday, November 21, 2014

How to use a water filter when you are backpacking

I've been hiking and back packing some over the years.  Recently I have been reading some of the books backpackers who have hiked the AT and PCT, that is the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail, have written.  I find it amazing people use their water filters in such inefficient ways.

My kid brother and I took our first long distance back pack on Isle Royale in Lake Superior.  My mother, who was a pretty awesome woman, took her two teenage children on a backpacking trip.  I was a voracious reader and had read so many camping and backpacking books, I felt like an expert.  That first day out of Rock Harbor we hiked three miles together.  The second day, my mother couldn't carry her pack so I carried hers and mine.  She took a boat back from that campsite, Daisy Farm.  My brother and I packed everything we had thought we would need and now realized we didn't into our mothers pack and we set off across the island taking the Minong Ridge trail.

We had problems.  Fuel conservation, water conservation, purifying water (boiling was the only way the rangers had told us back then), food supplies.  Reading about these things and dealing with the reality of them was very different.  Everyone talks about this, but, backpacking and parenting are things that really can't be prepared for well enough.

The reality is always different from what we imagine based on the theory.

Using a water filter sounds easy, drop the intake hose, maybe with a pre-filter into the water and pump away.  That can work, but, it will kill your filter faster than it needs to die and that filter can be the difference between life and death.  Quite literally.  Also, it creates the potential to contaminate the exterior of the filter with something you don't want.

The first step in batch water treatment is to collect the water.  Use a nylon bucket (like I do) or a gallon sized ziplock bag, or any lightweight, flexible container you can put more water into than the size of your largest water bottle.

The second step is clarification.  Wait a while for the water to settle and then skim off the floaties.  Now the water being pumped is relatively clear and your filter will thank you.

Third, use an inlet filter and pump the water in your water bag through your filter and into your water bottle.

Pretty simple, but...there is more.

Filtration removes most stuff, but, not everything.  There are water filters and water purifiers.  If you have a water purifier, like a First Need, the task is done.  If not, we need to treat the water we have just pumped with a chemical disinfectant like iodine, halazone or chlorine bleach.  Unscented chlorine laundry bleach,  will do the trick.

If you need a sanitizer for your cooking and eating utensils, rinse out your water bag, fill it with water and add 25 drops per quart.  Don't drink the water being used as sanitizer, that much bleach will make people sick.  Because of the potential for cross contamination it is a good idea to occasionally sanitize water bottles and the outside of the water filter, hose and pump apparatus.

On Isle Royale my brother and I each carried two 32oz canteens.  Not enough. 

In my thirties when I was backpacking around Michigan using Jim DuFresne's guides I carried near two gallons of water.  Two 64oz bottles in the bottom section of my pack.  Two 48oz bottles in outside pockets of my pack.  One 22oz bottle in a small water bottle pouch on my pack or on my belt.  I used pre-measured, home made, heat sealed packets of Gatorade to add to my 22oz water bottle, 2 per day.  It is amazing how helpful that is.

My brother and I first made them for our Isle Royale trip for our canteens using a gadget my mother had purchased.  Now, they are packaged foods you can buy at a party store.

I also carry an emergency filter.  It is little more than a thick straw, but, used properly it could be the difference between life and death.

I also carry a two ounce bottle of unscented chlorine bleach with one of those caps that has the little flip nozzle.  I put it in a ziplock snack bag.  Yeah, I could use iodine or halazone, but, bleach is cheaper and can be used to sanitize my gear.

I cannot stress how important good sanitation is when back packing.  When you think you are being careful, be more careful.  Be careful how and when you use the bleach.  I usually dig a hole and dump it into the hole, then I cover the hole.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Einstein was wrong, and his wrongness is very kewl.....

Most of this I figured out a long time ago, for example, the fact that Einstein was right about relative motion, but, wrong about mass increasing at the speed of light.  Since inertia is caused by mass, there is no inertia at the speed of light, and no acceleration to the velocity of light speed.  While we may say mass is relative to velocity what we are really talking about is inertia.

Last night though, I had an epiphany and here is a teaser.

So....time travel is relative. What does that mean? The classic example Einstein used is a person sitting still on a train that is traveling past a person who is sitting still at a station. Neither is moving, yet, the relative motion between them makes it look to each of them as if the other is moving.

Now usually this is where someone might say that when the person at the station appears to be moving it is an illusion caused by the motion of the train.

This is wrong.

The truth is that the train station is moving relative to the observer on the train. Motion is always relative to the observer.

As is time.

For example, suppose I go forward in time to 1914. From my relative position I am moving forward in time, my watch would continue to tick forward. 

However, from a different observation point, it may appear that time traveled backwards around me as I continued to move forward in time.  While some people say time travel is impossible, even though we currently travel in time at a constant rate and in a constant direction, the reality is that the momentum we have in time remains constant because while we continue to travel forward in time, our position in time relative to someone else's position in time is different.

Einstein wrote: "It is not clear what is to be understood here by "position" and "space." I stand at the window of a railway carriage which is travelling uniformly, and drop a stone on the embankment, without throwing it. Then, disregarding the influence of the air resistance, I see the stone descend in a straight line. A pedestrian who observes the misdeed from the footpath notices that the stone falls to earth in a parabolic curve. I now ask: Do the "positions" traversed by the stone lie "in reality" on a straight line or on a parabola? Moreover, what is meant here by motion "in space" ?"

We tend to conceive of fixed points from which we determine motion. For example, we may consider the Earth to be revolving about the sun, from an observation point on the sun. From an observation point on Earth, the sun is moving and we are stationary.

The truth is, both are true depending on the point of observation.  There is a third perspective which Einstein did not consider in this example and that is the perspective of the rock, which remains motionless until assaulted by the Earth moving at a vector in opposition to and at a velocity consistent with the Train.  Were we to plot the motion of the Earth and the train in relation to the observation point on the rock we would have a very different perspective on the motion of the train and the Earth, however, both of these would be describing identical motions such that as the train moved up and away, the Earth would move up and toward the rock.

Now, suppose time were to travel backwards. Where in space would I be if I remained stationary?  (this is hypothetical, since in reality, momentum would remain constant and my motion forward in time and space would remain constant, if we consider my existence to be a fixed point in time, at any particular moment in time, but, not in space)

I would be in the same place, but, the Earth moves relative to its axis, and relative to the sun. The sun is moving relative to the center of the galaxy. The galaxy is moving relative to the center of the universe. If time goes backwards around me just for a minute, then I would be about 9,000 miles away from where I was on Earth before time moved relative to me.  Gravity maintains my position relative to the center of the planet at any particular moment and since I was born on the planet, my relative motion is consistent with the motion of the planet and we typically do not feel any inertial effects.  There is an inertial effect however, and the wind proves this since wind is simply air moving in response to inertia related to the rotation of the Earth. 

Now this is where Einstein messed up, because, he believed that as velocity increases, mass increases until it becomes infinite and as mass becomes infinite, gravity becomes infinite and, well, bye.  The entire universe becomes a black hole.  Huh?

Now anyone who followed me this far without retreating to, "yeah, but this is all an illusion", might begin to realize that, were we sitting on a photon with the sun speeding away from us at the speed of light and the Earth speeding towards us at the speed of light we would not be experiencing an increase in mass, since we don't, and since gravity remains constant, from our point of observation, sitting on a photon.  Neither the Earth nor the sun became a black hole, their mass did not become infinite as they suddenly experienced the instantaneous transition from stationary to light speed.

See, we keep thinking of fixed points or coordinate systems in space time, but, there aren't any fixed points and the Earth, as well as everything on it is moving at the speed of light already, relative to the observation point of a photon created on the sun, which is also moving at the speed of light away from the photon. The concept of the fixed point is an illusion, not the relative motion. The relative motion is real.

So..... which objects are experiencing time dilation and expansion to infinite mass?

Wouldn't you like to know :-)  God, I love it when I understand.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Why God loved Abel and hated Cain, "fixed fortifications are monuments to the stupidity of man". George Patton.

I was watching the movie, Patton, when I first heard that quote and I understood it immediately.

Fixed fortifications gave mobile forces a place where they could close in and destroy the population.  Castles, fixed fortifications are built to protect people from invaders and provide a place of sanctuary for soldiers protecting farm land which is required for crop growth.

The castle cannot be built that is large enough to protect the number of people guarding it.  A person requires 1/4 of a hectare, about .6 acres, of land to produce enough food to feed them for a year.  That is an area of about 162 feet by 162 feet with a perimeter of around 650 feet.  Imagine a "castle" with one person to guard 650 feet or around 200 meters of wall all by themselves.

Yes, it wouldn't be quite that bad.  640 acres has a perimeter of 4 miles and would feed about 1,100 people and that creates a perimeter density of one person every 10 feet.  If we enclosed 4 square miles, with a perimeter of 8 miles enclosing 2,560 acres which would support 4,266 people we still get one person every ten feet.  Make a circle, 1 mile in diameter and it is one person every 20 feet.

And population must be kept stable, at or below the number of people the enclosed land can support.

Farmland is not defensible, so, smaller fortifications are constructed which give enemy forces encumbered access to the farmland.  Suppose an invading force brought along some slaves to farm a region protected by a castle while the castle was under siege?  Actually, all the invaders would have to do is wait out the people in the castle while they took possession of the land which is the means of support for the people protected by the castle.

Fixed fortifications.

God accepted Abel, who raised sheep  and turned from Cain, the farmer.  God appreciated the work of the mobile nomad with his herd and had no respect for the fixed fortifications of the farmer.

In the military we were told that we had to learn to shoot, move and communicate.  Which of these three were most important?  Mobility, then communication and finally, the ability to fight or shoot.

These are hard lessons to apply, but, they make sense.

Today, our fixed fortifications are under assault and in danger of being invaded, as so many fortifications of the past have been, by the environment those fortifications are fixed in.  New Orleans is below the level of the surrounding water.  Los Angeles is in danger from earth quakes.  New York is in danger from rising water levels.  Eventually, all of our fixed fortifications, our cities, will be invaded and destroyed as so many ancient cities of the past have been.

Gen 4:2...And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the
ground an offering unto the Lord.And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his
offering:But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was
very wroth, and his countenance fell.And the Lord said unto Cain, Why art
thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

So Cain desired the stability of the fixed fortification, the farm, the city, more than he desired to please God. 

It took me a while to get this. What happened with Cain is the same thing that happened in Exodus.  God gave the people the ability to nomads, to eat and drink wherever they went and in doing this to be safe from invasion.  But, the people without God lived in fixed fortifications, cities, and the people who claimed to want God, Israel, actually cherished the stability of a fixed fortification more than they cherished the protections of God.  And God gave them what they wanted, even though it made them and makes them a target for their enemies.

So, what is your fixed fortification?  To what do you cling for stability?  Your family?  Your home?  Your church?  The ground?  Your RV?

Or God?

What is home for you?

Monday, November 17, 2014

KKK, Anonymous, Hate, Bullying and Evolution

Recently (around Nov 17 2014) a typical "internet bullying" alpha dominance struggle took place between some KKK groups and Anonymous.

These things are kind of funny, sometimes useful, sometimes not.  Anonymous decides they want to stamp out the things they hate, like hatred.  Okay, aside from totally and completely eliminating freedom of speech based on their own hatred of hatred the act is doubly hypocritical because they are hating haters by stamping out the free speech, that they claim to believe in, of the haters that they hate.

Everyone is hypocritical about something sometimes.  This does suppress free speech though.  Is that a good thing, or a bad thing?

Social networking was used by protesters in several countries to organize what essentially became revolutions.  In this case, the KKK can use social networking to organize "murder squads" to kill protesters.  That means shutting down the electronic social networking aspect of the freedom of speech of these scumbags can be considered a "good thing".  Kind of like clamping a hand over the mouth of a person shouting "fire" in a crowded theater where there is no fire.

BUT, it also limits the ability of law enforcement to monitor and intercept the plans of these scumbags.

While I really hate the jerks in the government who ignore the rights of the people to privacy and security from unlawful searches and seizures of their electronic communications, there are times, like when people are actually talking about shooting up bunches of other people, that I think the intrusion is just as appropriate as clamping a hand over the mouth of someone shouting....

Yeah, so beat that to death.  People who are supposed to be enforcing the rights of people to privacy or free speech actually violating the rights of the people to...

Now which intrusion into our rights am I less disgusted with?

The intrusion into the privacy of these jerks by law enforcement officials who can arrest and imprison, maybe shoot some, of these scum bags?

The intrusion into the Freedom of Speech by Anonymous, who essentially force the scumbags underground into different lines of communication?

I'm afraid that judgment will have to wait until after the protests.  If the KKK losers shoot some people and get away because Anonymous shut down their monitored lines of communication, well, bad move Anonymous.  And they will be blamed, make no mistake.

If the KKK is shot or arrested I won't care much either way.  I'll just be disgusted with the suppression of rights by both the U.S. Government and Anonymous.

If the KKK is all mouth and no action, which I think is probably true, I won't care much.  I'll just be disgusted with the suppression of rights by both the U.S. Government and Anonymous.

Personally, I'm not second guessing the cop in Furguson.  I have disarmed people pointing guns in my face and I will happily show anyone how to do it.  Practicing until one has enough ability to actually do it in a life or death situation is the responsibility of the one taught, not the demonstrator.  For all I know this kid who was shot was just as capable of taking a gun away from someone as I am.  Maybe more capable because I am older, fatter and slower than I used to be.

In the end, there are times when we are so passionate about an idea that we have to take action, even if that action is hypocritical according to our beliefs as in the suppression of Free Speech by a group supposedly interested in supporting Free Speech and the reasoning behind that suppression is hypocritical, hating haters.

The U.S. Government and Anonymous are both guilty of the same crimes, ignoring the rights of others while they assert their dominance over people they disagree with.

Anonymous probably believes they are helping save lives, and as incompetent as most cops are, they might be right.  Maybe they are, but, I doubt if the indirect action of interfering with a couple of methods of communication or "life ruining" some of these scum bags is going to change anything.

I've had scumbags hack me, mess up my credit, etc, etc, and my viewpoints haven't changed and neither have my actions.  Pointing a gun at someone, or restricting their access to free speech, just reduces options.  It does not change people's beliefs.  Okay, it chases away the dilettantes, but not the "true believers".

All this indirect action also assumes that people value their reputations, data and their credit and etc more than they value their beliefs.

This indicates that these hackers actually value their on-line reputations, their credit, their data, etc, more than they value their own beliefs.  Their beliefs appear to be flexible based on the group whose "respect" they are trying to achieve.

We would call people whose beliefs are flexible, "dilettantes", but, I'm sure they don't believe that they are since they are taking hidden and indirect action against people they hate.  In fact, since these things are so important to them, they probably feel their indirect actions are actually direct.

Which means, when push comes to shove the hackers will probably avoid the gun fights, the knife fights, the blood, the death, that guys like me, and unfortunately many others including many cops and probably some of these scum bag KKK jerks won't avoid.  When the blood runs in the streets, dilettantes always run.  It takes a very hard core belief and passion to stand when one is facing twenty or more attackers by themselves.  I've seen too many people who claimed to be brave run in the opposite direction when I am walking into trouble.

These alpha dominance struggles always come down to who is willing to become most violent and has the most muscle.  The U.S. usually wins these struggles because, when the U.S. commits, it is more than willing to destroy everything in its path and the U.S. has the muscle to do that.

As our species moves from hundreds of thousands of years of evolutionary development of alpha dominance based on violence and the threat of violence, non violent methods are developed and used.  So far, when push comes to shove evolution has won and violent methods have prevailed.  Maybe that will change, in a few thousand more years.

Evolution works slowly.

Until evolution completes a transition to non-violent forms of alpha dominance there will be struggles between non-violent forms of dominant influences, like hackers bullying people they don't like over the internet, and violent forms of dominance struggles like a kid being called a "fag" and getting beat up at school.  These are socially unacceptable alpha dominance struggles because they interfere with people's civil rights.  It doesn't matter, evolution hard wires us for dominance struggles so we compete how we can.

But, are they always "wrong"?  What is "wrong"?

There are inflexible moral standards of "right" and "wrong" taught by most religions, and usually the practitioners of these religions violate their own standards. Depending on the religion and denomination of the religion deviations from high standards can be forgiven or punished harshly.  It all comes down to the decision of the social group involved, and like individuals, social groups can be hypocritical too. 

A lot of people thought it was wrong when the U.S. began monitoring private communications.  Others, not so much.

Are they always "right"?  Again, depends on the social group.

Hitler and his social group, the National Socialist Party, thought they were right.  Others, not so much.

Without a set of inflexible standards of behavior to which all people strive there can be no "true" "right" and "wrong".  Since all people will never subscribe to the same standards, people will always be striving to place their standards in dominance over people who reject those standards.  Just as Anonymous and the U.S. Government do, even when it is completely hypocritical and rejects their own declared standards.

This is the alpha dominance struggle, and it ain't going anywhere.  Ever.

Friday, November 14, 2014


I watched Interstellar recently and enjoyed it.  Bad science though, I don't care who tells us the science is good.  Long story, but, we can talk a little about it, from my perspective.

So. Wormholes are two dimensional.  I won't get into the math.  Wormholes cannot exist in a substantial gravitational field.  In fact, we probably can't establish wormholes closer than about 12 light hours from the sun.  To far for this species.

You don't have to believe me.  Don't ask me to explain further because I won't.  Any physicist who tells you different is wrong, I don't care who they are.  That isn't an opinion, it is a fact, but, I'm not going to try and argue it because facts don't change people's opinions.

That said, I think it would be cool and potentially species changing if we could establish actual wormholes within gravitational fields that could connect two gravitational fields.  We could set up a sensor system to automate evaluation of planets within a vacuum chamber and then seek out planets capable of supporting human life.

If we managed to find one, and I wrote a blog about how the odds are actually astronomical and against finding one.  It was quite a long time ago and it is called "stop with the infinite monkey nonsense" or something like that.

Of course, if we did find a usable planet, the corrupt governmental bureaucracy and corporate interests would pretty much eliminate the possibility of effectively using the resources a new planet provided.  In fact, we would probably toast that planet faster than we toasted this one.  Then we would have to hunt down another, and another, and continually toast those planets just as we have this one.

Pretty sad, huh?

Maybe I'm wrong about the way we would toast any habitable planet we found, but, the more I study people the less impressed I am with the species.

I'm not wrong about wormholes.  About the only way to establish a wormhole within a gravitational field would be to eliminate the gravitational field.  Is that possible?  Maybe, but, I don't think so and I don't know how yet.  Kind of a contradictory statement :-), but, I never say impossible I just say I don't know how yet and even when I don't think something is possible I can't break my habit just because I don't believe something is possible.

Corruption and Democracy

Recently there was a shooting of two police officers at a state police barracks in Pennsylvania.  The guy who did it is being charged with terrorism.

Over the years I have been the victim of bureaucrats who ignore the law and the rights of people based completely on their assessment of the entitlement of the person to those rights.  I have listened to bureaucrats lie in court, provable lies, and go unpunished for their perjury even after I challenged the veracity of their statements.

Amazing as this sounds, police officers are typically not involved.  This may be because I am a white male, but, it may be because police officers have more integrity than most government employees.  This maybe because most police officers feel their actions are being monitored and more closely examined by citizens action groups.  In truth, I have no idea why police officers seem to be the least corrupt of the public officials who spend most of their time interacting with the public.

If I have to guess, I would say that this person, like most people who go off on killing sprees, has been systematically abused over time.  In this case, the person identified government officials as being his tormentors and the police as those who enforce the decisions of these tormentors.

Or it may be that, like me, he was systematically beaten by police.  I was once tied between two stretchers and beaten by law enforcement who, even though I was bound and gagged, accused me of trying to escape.  This was actually done in a hospital so I wouldn't die and fortunately for me a doctor investigated the noise and had me released.  No, I wasn't charged with anything.

No, this doesn't mean all cops are bad.  Some are.  Even with that experience I still think cops probably have more integrity and commit fewer civil rights violations than other bureaucrats who interact with the public.  I must admit though, when cops violate civil rights it is typically more violent and traumatic than when a clerk refuses to allow public access under the freedom of information act.

This guy is now being charged with terrorism because he left behind a letter critical of the government and making mention of how what he has done has never been done before, and how he hopes his actions will turn into a revolution.  The government claims this statement is designed to influence the course of the government.  It sounds more to me like a hope that he will influence individuals to take violent action.

Armed and internally funded revolution was made impossible when FDR took the United States off of the gold standard.  Money in the United States is guaranteed by the stability of the government.  Destabilize the government and the money becomes worthless.  People could use gold, but, private ownership of gold was outlawed in 1932 until the economy of the United States was so large that it did not matter how much gold the public accumulated.

Externally funding an armed revolution will only become possible when United States currency is no longer an international standard.  It looks like we are headed that way, but, it is going to take a while for that to happen.

A democratic revolution is possible, however, that kind of revolution, just as in Rome, will only replace elected officials and will not replace the career bureaucrats who are the most corrupt and probably the reason for the popular discontent which would be the cause of the revolt.

Now, if people want to feel like they are doing something, they are welcome to work towards political ends.  In minor ways these actions may accomplish minor policy changes.  There is nothing wrong with that.

Widespread political change and the elimination of bureaucratic corruption is impossible within the democracy of the United States.  Like Rome, the States will just become more and more corrupt.  The citizenry will become more and more dependent on the government and eventually will not be able to defend the nation against invaders, either economic invaders, biological invaders or armed invaders.  Eventually these will strike and a populace which has constantly been subjugated will not be able to respond.

Education, you might say.  A synonym for humiliation or defeated in the United States is the word schooled.  Most of those who are "highly educated" are actually "highly defeated" and incapable of understanding the concepts.

Recently I posted a question on a computer help board and no one answered the question.  Instead people explained what they thought were "unbreakable laws" of computing passed down from their "god" or "instructor", billy the gate to hell.  Finally someone articulated a semi answer from which I derived an answer to my question and I and I asked, "I assume you mean.." and "is this correct?"

25 posts, most of which have nothing to do with answering my question and deal only with topics which people believe are important to the question nd actually have nothing to do with my question or the problem.

These people are probably educated, computer literate and probably vote.

So, no, education will not address our problems because the education system in the United States has failed.

Recruiters for major corporations are constantly lobbying for people educated in other countries to come and work in the United States.  These recruiters explain that there are no qualified U.S. citizens to fill these employment positions.

Why?  Because the education system in the United States has failed.  The public education system is populated by corrupt bureaucrats whose "rule" is enforced by police officers.

After spending quite a lot of time researching people and governments I no longer believe in the effectiveness of democracy.

These bureaucrats cannot be constantly policed and they will be corrupted by the lack of consequences for their decision to deny people their legal rights.  Any large system which relies on human beings to manage the governmental bureaucracy will fail because the bureaucrats cannot be constantly policed.

Small, loosely confederated democracies can succeed the way Native American, Mongolian and African tribes succeeded for thousands of years.  Any large government will eventually become corrupt, deny civil rights to the citizenry and fail.  Rome lasted nearly a thousand years, undergoing many major changes in government.  Great Britain is going on a thousand years, having similarly undergone many major changes in government.

How long can the United States last without a major change in the style of government?  How long can a democracy last?

The world has never had to deal with currency based on the stability of a government before.  Will Keynesian economics create a stable enough global political situation that Great Britain lasts longer than a thousand years?  Will the United States last?

The planet is over populated.  I am not interested in discussing that fact.  The definition of over population is where the resources are insufficient for the needs of the population.  If the debate on global warming tells us anything it is that the biosphere of the global eco-system can no longer process the waste generated by the population.  The global eco-system is a resource.  It is insufficient for the global population.  The Earth is over populated.

Within about one hundred years supplies of phosphorus and potassium rock, which are often processed from industrial mining waste, will be exhausted and agricultural production will return to below historical levels of 1/2 hectare per person.  I suppose it could take longer for the resources we use to make modern fertilizers to become exhausted, does it really matter if it is two hundred years?

So, the Earth's bio-sphere is failing to process waste so waste in building up in the bio-sphere like a fish tank that won't ever be cleaned.  We are exhausting irreplaceable resources we need for fertilizer.  Our population continues to grow.  Our governments are filled with corrupt bureaucrats denying the citizenry their civil rights and doomed to eventual failure.

This nut in Pennsylvania is just a symptom that won't be addressed any more than the question I asked in that help forum was addressed.  That kind of sucks, but, it doesn't mean we should go quietly into the night.

Fight for what rights and what evolution of policy that you can, however you can.  It probably won't change the future, but, at least it means we are doing something.

Monday, November 10, 2014

More stupidity on Christ's "marriage"

Someone is publishing a new book about Christ being married.

Okay, before people freak out, this book that is being published, which I am not going to name, was written based on the writings of a guy who lived 400 years after Christ. The originals were written in Greek and lost, so the writings being reviewed are a Syrian translation of Greek.

Now for the "fun" stuff. This is probably a retelling of the legend of Christ's marriage and children. The legend tells us that Christ married at about 18, to a woman who was younger and they had a couple kids. The wife and kids were killed by Roman soldiers. Christ took off for the desert, or voyaging with his uncle (a metals merchant) and started his ministry a few years later.

This marriage legend was around long before Dan Brown came up with his Mary Magdalene story.  Theologians were discussing it for hundreds of years. Dan Brown just figured out a way to make money by making it more controversial. There are no writings which survived from the time period which confirm this account. None.

The name in the Syrian scrolls translates into Joseph, maybe. Anyone who has read the New Testament knows the words Elias to be the name used in the New Testament for Elijah. And everyone who has studied also know there is no J sound in Hebrew so Christ's name wasn't Jesus, it was according to most scholars Yahushua. In Islam Christ's name is Issa. I've read other names, Yoshiyahu, etc.

So, we know names are hard to translate effectively. Yoshiyahu translates, roughly, to Josiah or if it is passed around the "post office" it could be Joseph.

My point is, the paper could be about a Jesus, but, even if it is, big if, that doesn't mean it is about Christ because Christ was not the only person named whatever he was named.

This author is taking huge leaps to sell books to people who don't know any better.

That does not mean it isn't worth reading.  I haven't read it yet.  Just because a book uses sensationalism does not mean it sucks.  It just means the sensationalism is laughable. 

Sunday, November 09, 2014

imagine never licking the sweat from a lover.....

Recently I came across an S. M. Stirling series of science fiction called “The Enderverse”. In this series of novels explosives, steam power, internal combustion engines, electricity, etc, no longer work.
Excuse me while I puke on the scientific foundation for such an occurrence.
Okay, projectile vomiting completed. We can continue the discussion. I had the same problem with the television series “Revolution”.
First, the concept of “pressure” created by incendary chemicals, where a chemical compound, such as gasoline or gunpowder is burned in an enclosed space creating a gas where previously there was a solid or a liquid. This heated gas, and that is gas as in one of the four states of matter, expands. Since the space is enclosed and the gas cannot expand more than the volume of the space the gas works at the weakest area of the enclosure, typically the piston or the bullet. Sometimes chambers explode because the bullet or the piston is restricted from moving, but, generally the piston or bullet begins to move and continues to accelerate as long as the gas is expanding.
Now this is basic physics, explosions, internal combustion engines, steam engines, all work on pressure. Apparently we have eliminated pressure from the physics of the television show “Revolution” and the books in S. M. Stirling's series, “The Enderverse”.
So there are no longer ocean currents, rain, plants, volcanoes, animals (whose circulatory systems work on blood pressure), and just about everything else I can think of. Earth quakes. Is there anything that exists that does not use pressure in some way? Nope, can't think of one.
Pressure is force applied to an area. In theory force can exist without pressure, but, in theory points have no width, height or thickness. In practical application everything has an area and so every force is converted into pressure. Quite a lot of the pressure we deal with on a daily basis, air pressure, etc, is the force of gravity exerted on an area of mass. Oxygen molecules (O2), our bodies. With no pressure people can't breathe because we are in a vacuum.
The steam cycle is based on exactly the same physics which cause rain. If rain exists, steam power exists. If rain does not exist then salt water is not being distilled into fresh water and pretty soon anything living that depends on fresh water dies. Okay, “pretty soon” is a subjective term, you can figure out how long people can exist on the fresh water supplies currently in storage before everyone dies and then call that time period anything you want.
Sometimes I really hate being educated, even if I am primarily self educated, because I can't watch a movie or television show or read a book or work on a research and development project where I don't find glaring and idiotic errors. Of course, being human, people occasionally catch glaring errors of mine. The problem is, these glaring errors generally ruin fiction and your typically falsified research papers. This issue of rain and steam is one glaring error.
When the tv series Revolution came out I posted a question on their facebook page, “what about steam” and they replied, “The laws of physics changed, steam doesn't work.” “But it rains,” I wrote back, “The physics that drive rain are exactly the same as the physics that drive steam.”
I like the movie “Die Hard”. I remember the first time I watched it and the terrorists were whining about their “detonators”. There are a couple kinds of detonators. Electrical and chemical. An electrical detonator is a switch and a power source. Those boxes with the plunger handle are actually little generators which create an electrical current which causes a chemical explosion in a blasting cap. Chemical detonators are even easier, those are usually some kind of fuse. Instantaneous fuse like det cord or time fuse like on fire crackers. You get the idea, in either case I, and any person who has an inkling of education on explosives, can fabricate a detonator out of almost anything including a flashlight. Like the flashlight Hans was carrying around while he whined about his detonators.
Before some smart ass talks about electric blasting caps I can make them out of matches and bag ties as well as a dozen other things like lightbulbs, nailpolish remover, etc.
So...yeah, we have to suspend belief to watch movies or television shows or read books. The fewer mistakes the easier that is.
The problem with people writing about stuff like changing laws of physics is that they typically don't understand that the physics which are used to create things like steam are also used in a myriad of other environmental processes on which our lives depend. Sweating. The evaporation cycle where water is converted from a liquid to a gas not only provides us with steam and rain, it provides our bodies with a way to control over heating. No steam, no sweat, everyone dies. Imagine sweating and the sweat never evaporated, it just stayed a liquid. No air conditioning, literally. No phase change to absorb heat energy.
Thinking about it, fire could not burn because the phase change from solid to gas that takes place requires that the gas expand so it rises from the fire. Since the gas does not expand, it does not rise and it displaces the oxygen around the fire, so making a fire actually kills the fire. I could do this all day, come up with physics issues related to each other, like expanding gases and fires.
It would take a super duper computer programmed with infinite knowledge to tell us all the things that would happen if we eliminated the expansion of gases or pressure or the ability to convert a liquid into a gas. No, we don't know if different physics could result in some of the same practical applications, but, we can say that if gases don't expand then there is no pressure differential and so they don't rise. A fire would need to create its own oxygen, and that is possible, but not with the stuff we typically use and the temperatures we are typically working with.
Yeah, so me and, I am sure, a bunch of other people recognize these glaring stupidities every time we read or watch fiction (and a lot of supposedly factual stuff, like research papers).
The issue here, I think, is that people figure we don't know everything so anything is possible. There is truth to that. There are things that are impossible from a practical viewpoint. Breathing in a vacuum without some form of respirator is an example of impossible from a practical viewpoint. I believe it is possible, but, only if we eliminate the laws of physics in the region around the one breathing. Eliminate, not just change. In other words, what we call “magic” would have to exist.
If someone could come up with a reasonable scientific explanation for how gases can expand in some situations, evaporation cycles and fire for example, yet, fail to convert the energy absorbed by expansion into pressure within an enclosed space without magic, “once in an enclosed space the energy disappears and cannot be used”, maybe. But there isn't any kind of explanation where mass absorbs energy during a phase change, yet, harnessing the energy of the material phase change becomes impossible. Not difficult, not dangerous, not time consuming. Impossible.
I'm a pretty fart smeller. I can't think of a reasonable explanation why gas would expand everywhere but in an enclosed space. Maybe one, enclosing any space creates micro-worm holes which eliminate the ability of an enclosed space to hold pressure.
Wait a sec though, what is the definition of “an enclosed space” because a piston in a cylinder is not enclosed. There is a gap in the piston rings, typically around a few thousandths of an inch...Is that enclosed? What happens when we close the doors and windows of our homes and walk through these micro worm holes? What happens when reality becomes a sieve? To where? Does pressure have to increase above 20 psi before the worm holes open?
Then the story either becomes about fixing the worm holes, or how stupid the people are because they never discovered them.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Internet Stalkers

I really hate it when internet stalkers create fake Facebook accounts and then try and friend me.  Really, some very pretty 20 something woman I never heard of is going to friend me because......

Yeah, I have Facebook friends I never met that none of my in person friends know, and I believe we share things in common like a love of God, or literature, or whatever.  And yeah, I have some very pretty female friends.  And yeah, some people I never met in person are very pretty and female.

That does not mean I friend every pretty face. 

Anonymous Internet stalkers, like my friend Jay calls "Catfish", need to go away.  Anyone with an opinion should be able to stand up behind it, or, it obviously isn't an opinion worth listening to.

Julian Assange stood up for his opinion on transparency using his real name to protect people who were placed in danger when they made confidential information that they had access to public.  Yeah, nations have charged him with heinous crimes, which, even if true, do nothing to challenge the veracity of either the data he has made available or his opinion on transparency.  If anything, even if these charges are true, these charges demand more transparency.

I doubt very much if any anonymous person ever changed the world, and I doubt if they ever will.  At most anonymous people just become terrorists, maybe assassins, that people spend time and money on protecting themselves against.  What does that do except line the pockets of security corporations from Symantec to Black Water and destroy the lives of people who can't afford the security services and obsess over terrorism?

Eleven people who were anonymous until 9-11 have caused enough havoc that some people claim the world changed, but, did it?  Have the beliefs of people changed?  Did 9-11 do anything like what Martin Luther King Jr., a Republican from a family of Republicans, did with his Civil Rights Protest marches?

No.  Their stated goal was to eliminate western influence from middle eastern Muslim nations.  In fact, there is more western influence in the middle east today then there was twenty years ago.  Did anything change, there or here?  Did people change the way they think?  Are "Americans" less materialistic or less likely to saber rattle?  Did Islam run away and hide?  Did Islam become any more "Holier Than Thou"?

Nothing changed.  People died, people spent money, people became rich, but, on a global scale nothing really changed.

Yeah, people have tried life ruins on me, hacked my e-mail, taken out loans in my name, contacted people and done everything they can to ruin my life.  Maybe someone out there is going to find some new way to try and terrorize me.  Stuff happens.  They won't confront me in person, or using their real names because at heart, they know what they are doing is wrong.

What has it done?  Increased the amount of money I pay for car insurance?  Eliminated people who shouldn't be in my life from my life?  Do I care about these things that they care so much about?  If I cared about the same things they did, would they hate me so much?

Nothings changed, I have the same opinions.  About the only opinion I have had that changed is that when my cousin got married I realized that, yeah, gay couples could legally establish the same rights as married couples, but, it was very difficult, expensive and time consuming compared to becoming married.  As Gay marriage has become more and more popular a gay friend who was against all the marriage hoopla, because couples could establish the same legal rights, has also changed his mind.  I remember telling him about how happy my cousin was when he was married, I think that changed both our opinions.  I'm not sure, but, I believe that.

Over the years I have done a lot to give stalkers a view of who I really am, but, I've come to the conclusion that they really don't care.  They are just "catfish", as my friend calls them.  Bottom Feeders looking to eat shit.  They just need someone to obsess over and hate in their lives and they choose me.

The why isn't important, these obsessive nuts will find a reason to hate and stalk people regardless of their stated reasons or intentions.  No one agrees with everyone about everything and no one disagrees with everyone about everything.  People obsessed with disagreement will find something to disagree about, just as people can find something to agree about if they want to.

I live a transparent life, I post my opinions under my own name because I believe in them.

"Catfish" or stalkers or whatever we call them don't really believe in their opinions, they don't stand up for them.  They hide because they are afraid, because they know they cannot support their opinions.  They hide because, at some level, they know they are "wrong" and will be "punished" if anyone finds out who they are.

So they fight against free speech, censoring opinions they disagree with, not because their opinions are right, but, because they know that they themselves are "wrong".  Why do people do this?

When I was six my father told me I wasn't his kid and he treated me like shit his whole life.  His opinion was based on the idea that the genetics for a cleft chin are dominant. He had a cleft chin and I didn't.  He was wrong, cleft chins are recessive.  So I understand feeling "wrong" and I understand how people treat people who believe they are "fundamentally wrong".

My time in the military was an eye opener.  For the most part I was treated as I deserved, based on my behavior.  I learned that I could be judged objectively based on who I am and that I was not "wrong".  I could do things people thought were pretty amazing, incredible even.

These stalkers never had that self realization and they externalize their "wrongness", as if changing things external to themselves will change what is "fundamentally wrong".  That has never worked, and it never will because there is nothing wrong with these people, except the way they see themselves.