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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Reader Mail #37

I liked this post on The Bell Tower. The author understands that "real" GDP, as published by the government, is not properly inflation adjusted. This causes all sorts of distortions when comparing "Is GDP growing?" to "How well is the average person doing?"

It should be becoming obvious by now that what GDP and GNP will tell you is how well the capitalists in a market economy are faring.

During this time, we can see that our banking system was busy printing lots of new money and preferentially handing it out to capitalists. This was truly a tax on the lower and middle class laborers for the benefit of capitalists.

It will obviously become bad news for the common man or labor, as state intervention and the lure of easy money (or do I repeat myself?) have led to ever greater numbers of them becoming dependent on capitalists for employment. You can see this most directly in the boom in employment for mortgage brokers and real estate agents, as well as financial planners and assorted related industries. But this is not the result of some free market phenomenon – it is the result of state capitalists rigging the economy for their benefit. Without the boom, we wouldn’t have had so many people pursue these careers. Instead they would have been finding other productive work that wasn’t directly dependent on the creation of credit bubbles.

It’s the booms where the capitalists screw labor.

OK, this last one is incomplete. Labor gets screwed during booms, when the benefits of inflation accrue primarily to wealthy insiders who get first dibs on the newly printed money. Labor *ALSO* gets screwed during the busts. The average person invests in asset bubbles just before they pop. The average person is faced with the threat of layoffs during the busts. During the boom, labor's wage increases don't keep pace with inflation. During the busts, labor must give concessions to management or risk losing their job. The boom phase is always intentionally kept short; otherwise, workers would start having leverage to negotiate for better working conditions.

I liked this post on the Agitator. How come some professional athlete charged with steroid use never comes out and says "I used steroids, and it was a great idea. I need all the competitive edge I can get. My body is my business and my source of income."?

Can you picture it? The scandalous swirl that envelops Marion Jones and Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens (but, inexplicably, not Shawne Merriman) being countered by one brave and defiant athlete standing in front of the cameras and saying the following to America:

“Yes, I used HGH. Used it all the time, illegally, under the supervision of trainers I pay well to keep me at optimum efficiency. My body is a business and a source of great profit in the entertainment industry, and I’ve hired the best mechanics to keep this machine running right. I’m sorry that is something you tolerate from the governor of California and Rambo but not me.

“What I do for a living hurts physically, and the hormone helps me heal. Craig Biggio destroys his stomach lining by taking 12 Advil a day. I did this, which is actually safer. I’m not sorry for that. I’m sorry you don’t understand the world where I work. I’m sorry I’m surrounded by ignorant judgments and name-calling and sports McCarthyism. But I’m not sorry for being competitive and looking for advantages in medicine the same way I did in film work, scouting reports and training techniques.

“I take cortisone, a steroid, to keep my shoulder and back from screaming. I had Lasik surgery, lasering my eyes, to improve my vision. But with your arbitrary moralities, you are blurring the line for me so much between what is allegedly natural and allegedly unnatural that not even those Lasik lasers help me unblur it. There is no sense of proportionality here. The difference between pain-killers such as cortisone and healers such as HGH isn’t nearly as large as the difference between how you react to the former and the latter.

I liked this post on the BFU journal. It was about alternate educational programs. In a certain sense, having a blog and reading other people's blogs is its own type of education.

Should I start offering a degree in agorism? I'm trying to figure out what tools are needed to get an agorist economy started. If anyone's looking to start trading agorist-style and is looking for idea, I'm interested in helping.

I liked this post on Econospeak, citing this powerpoint presentation on the subprime mortgage problem. It contained one aspect I hadn't considered before, the effect of mortgage insurance on the CDOs (Collateralized Debt Obligations).

I liked this post on the Liberty Papers. The US is planning to build a fence on the border with Mexico. The problem is that this land isn't owned by the government. The government is exercising its eminent domain right to seize the land. Some people are fighting the seizure of their land. Unfortunately, many of them are poor or middle class and would be unable to pay for a protracted legal battle. They are unlikely to win, and even if they do, they don't recover their legal costs.

There is another factor exacerbating the problem. In many cases, the fence is not being built adjacent to the border, but a mile away from the border. This means that property owners will be forced to forfeit a huge chunk of land.

I liked this post on Overcoming Bias. It's a good idea to avoid using certain words, instead replacing it with what it actually means. Instead of saying "I want a college eductation", say "I want a piece of paper that will convince other people to hire me and pay me a high salary."

As you read this, some young man or woman is sitting at a desk in a university, earnestly studying material they have no intention of ever using, and no interest in knowing for its own sake. They want a high-paying job, and the high-paying job requires a piece of paper, and the piece of paper requires a previous master's degree, and the master's degree requires a bachelor's degree, and the university that grants the bachelor's degree requires you to take a class in 12th-century knitting patterns to graduate. So they diligently study, intending to forget it all the moment the final exam is administered, but still seriously working away, because they want that piece of paper.

Why are you going to "school"? To get an "education" ending in a "degree". Blank out the forbidden words and all their obvious synonyms, visualize the actual details, and you're much more likely to notice that "school" currently seems to consist of sitting next to bored teenagers listening to material you already know, that a "degree" is a piece of paper with some writing on it, and that "education" is forgetting the material as soon as you're tested on it.

I like this post by Ken Levine. Some writers wrote scripts during the strike and are submitting them now that the strike is over. The studios are responding by arbitrarily rejecting all scripts that were recently submitted. The writers were able to figure out that the studios were doing this, because people who haven't submitted anything are receiving rejection letters.

I guess the advice if you're a writer is "If you wrote something good during the strike, wait 6-12 months and then submit it."

I liked this article on How to Save the World. The area near the Chernobyl nuclear plant has been declared a nature preserve, because it's too dangerous for humans. It's doing quite well. In humans, a 10% birth defect rate would be a disaster. For wild animals, it's easily handled. With animals, the animals born with birth defects are allowed to die. With humans, there would be lots of resources wasted taking care of an incapacitated human.

Amusingly, the site may decide to accept nuclear waste from other countries. It's already a disaster, so why not do it?

I liked this article from MacRaven. A digital picture frame manufactured in China came with a powerful trojan/virus. People typically store their pictures on their PC, and connect their digital picture frame to a USB port. The virus was extremely well-designed.

My guess is that the designer of the virus was China's NSA.

This shows one danger of outsourcing to another country. Of course, pursuing legal action against the company that manufactured the digital picture frame is pointless.

I liked this article on P2P foundation, referring to this article on the Human Network.

When the record companies shut down Napster, they thought they had won a huge victory over filesharing. All they accomplished was they forced filesharing from using a centralized model like Napster, to a decentralized model. A decentralized filesharing network CANNOT be shut down by the bad guys.

BitTorrent allows anyone, anywhere, distribute any large media file at essentially no cost.

There is one flaw in BitTorrent - the tracker. This is the host everyone logs into to get the list of peers. You can shut down a BitTorrent swarm by shutting down the tracker. On the other hand, "trackerless BitTorrent" wouldn't be too hard to write. If the bad guys went around shutting down BitTorrent trackers, all that would happen is that someone would write "trackerless BitTorrent". There is a legal loophole that makes it hard to shut down trackers. The tracker itself merely holds a list of filenames and a hash check. (The hash check is needed so peers know that the piece they downloaded was not corrupted.) The tracker does not hold the actual data.

There are legal applications of BitTorrent. For example, if I wanted to download a Linux boot DVD for my PC, I'd probably get it via BitTorrent. Some obscure movie authors allow their films to be released on BitTorrent. For example, Aaron Russo encouraged "America: Freedom to Fascism" to be distributed via BitTorrent.

When I watch the Angry Video Game Nerd on YouTube/Screwattack, that takes away from time I spend watching regular TV. The Angry Video Game Nerd has a surprisingly large audience, but he would have a hard time getting a MSM outlet to carry his show. Similarly, time I spend reading blogs takes away from time I spend reading newspapers. The advantage of the Internet is that I exert greater control over what I'm reading. With a newspaper, the editor wields a lot of power over what content is presented; this power is frequently abused. With the Internet, if a website or blog has lousy content, I'm going to stop reading it.

The great thing about YouTube and Blogger is they provide a platform where amateurs can reach an audience. YouTube isn't so much about MSM content being reproduced without permission. YouTube is about amateurs gaining an audience.

That article also talks about "microaudiences". Instead of a few shows/newspapers nearly everyone watches/reads, you have a bunch of smaller shows/blogs that a handful of people watch. For example, most regular readers of my blog also like the other blogs in my "favorites" list. You have fragmentation of the audience. This is good, because people with similar interests are grouping together.

if it can’t be shared, a piece of media loses most of its value. If it can’t be forwarded along, it’s broken.

the concept of a broadcast network no longer exists. Television programmes might be watched as they’re broadcast over the airwaves, but more likely they’re spooled off of a digital video recorder, or downloaded from the torrent and watched where and when he chooses. The broadcast network has been replaced by the social network of his friends, all of whom are constantly sharing the newest, coolest things with one another.

All the marketing dollars in the world can foster some brand awareness, but no amount of money will inspire that fifteen year old to forward something along – because his social standing hangs in the balance. If he passes along something lame, he’ll lose social standing with his peers.

In other words, I need to make sure I only reference interesting articles in my blog, lest other people say "This is crap" and stop reading it.

That brings me to a new blog pet peeve: auto-generated link lists. I use, but automatically including everything you saved, without explanation, is lame.

Now that self-distribution is more effective than professional distribution, how do we distinguish between the professional and the amateur?

I'm still an "amateur", because I don't make an income from my blog. I'm considering indirectly making money from my blog, by getting agorist businesses started.

I liked this post on "Who is IOZ?". With flatscreen TVs, George Orwell's vision of "a telescreen everywhere" is coming closer to reality.

Not mentioned in the article, some people say that cable boxes have the ability to transmit data back to the cable company.

I liked this post on Global Guerillas.

Five people mark the tipping point between a hobby and a nascent hyperintelligence.

If I can find five agorist trading partners, that's enough to start a sustainable agorist community.

So far, I haven't heard any stories of anyone successfully forming an agorist trading community. Has anyone out there started?

I liked this article on Science Daily, referred by the Picket Line. According to the article, if people believe they don't have free will, they're more likely to behave unethically.

I liked this article on Shagya's blog. The "official" treatment for mental illness is extremely non-scientific.

In many cases, state violence causes people to be treated against their will. The same state violence holds psychiatrists non-accountable for mistreating their patients. After all, they are merely following the standard practices for their profession. Nobody is able to say "My profession is fundamentally dishonest", especially after spending years learning.

I thought this post on Shagya's blog was somewhat missing the point. Many governments are now including RFID chips in their ID cards. This is easily countered by putting your ID card in a faraday cage. I wonder when "faraday cage wallets" will become commonplace? Will it be declared illegal to make and sell them?

I liked this post on Social Memory Complex, in reference to this post on Distributist Review.

That is the whole reason that the formulas of marginal productivity do not work: they marginalize not productivity but power. Any glance at the difference in pay scales between the CEO and the line worker, between the sweatshop seamstress and the owner confirm that power is the key, not productivity. earns 500 times more than the line worker not because he is 500 times more productive but because he is 500 times more powerful; the seamstress in a sweatshop will be given a pittance not because she lacks productivity but because she lacks power.

In the current economic system, a person's goal is to maximize their power, more than maximizing their productivity. The ideal job is one where you abuse state violence to line your own pockets. CEOs are the most efficient at using state power to line their pockets.

I liked this post on Western Rifle Shooters Association.

"America is at that awkward stage. It's too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards." - Claire Wolfe, 101 Things to Do 'Til the Revolution

The bad guys always want to be at "that awkward stage". They want things to be bad enough that people are feeling pressure, but not so bad that revolt is the optimal move.

That's the reason I like agorism. You can revolt against an oppressive system *AND* show a profit at the same time!

I liked this page on Loom, an anonymous electronic trading system. Is this a precursor to developing an agorist economy? Even if this piece of software isn't good enough, others will be developed later.

I liked this post on xkcd.

This is a common logical fallacy. If a person of a favored group does something wrong, you say "You did something wrong". If a person of a non-favored group does something wring, you say "Every member of your group can't do this." Errors of a favored group are always assigned to individuals. Errors of a non-favored group are always assigned to the group.

For example, a politician is caught doing something wrong. The conclusion is *THIS* politician is bad. Replace him and everything will be fine. A policeman improperly shoots someone. Fire that policeman and everything will be fine. Someone who isn't a policeman owns a gun and shoots someone. Therefore, EVERYONE should be banned from owning guns.

I liked this post on the Liberty Papers. It is likely that neither Obama nor Clinton clinch a majority of delegates in the primaries. In that case, the democratic nomination will be decided by "superdelegates". Superdelegates get invited to the convention based on their standing in the Democratic party, but they can vote for whoever they choose.

This sort of defeats the purpose of having a primary. A large % of the delegates are superdelegates. The existence of superdelegates means that, if the primary results are close, Democratic party insiders choose the nominee instead of voters.

This entirely defeats the purpose of primaries. The primaries only decide the nomination if there is overwhelming support for one candidate.

I liked this post on Techdirt. Comcast is planning to block BitTorrent from their network. BitTorrent developers are going to encrypt their traffic and workaround the block.

All the bad guys are accomplishing is that they are making the filesharers use smarter protocols!

Encrypted BitTorrent uses almost the same bandwidth as regular BitTorrent. The encryption/decryption is done on your local PC.

I liked this post on Scholars and Rogues about "gotcha capitalism". The theme of business in the USA is no longer "treat other people fairly and you will make good profits". The theme now is "look for every possible loophole to screw over the other person".

The problem is that most industries are organized as monopolies/oligopolies. If Bank of America decides to screw over its customers, Citigroup is likely doing the same thing. If you don't like AT&T, Verizon is likely to be the same. The removal of competition means that business can afford to screw over their customers, because they literally have no alternatives.

"We don't have to care; we're the phone company" is now the mantra of EVERY SINGLE LARGE CORPORATION. With a monopoly/oligiopoly backed up by government force, why should businesses treat their customers fairly?

I liked this post on out of step.

“Any libertarian strategy that has any hope of succeeding must seek fundamentally to delegitimize the state, that is, to persuade people that government does not deserve the unique and privileged moral status it has been accorded throughout history. This leads to the curious insight that even those who favor limited government should advocate statelessness (free-market anarchism) because people will move to severely restrict the power of the state only when they believe it is illegitimate. Conceding its legitimacy one iota inevitably works against liberty.”

Francois Tremblay has left a new comment on your post "Reader Mail #36":

There's a little error on your post. I didn't "cite" the Statist Bingo, I made it.

The original error was on "lowercase liberty", who didn't properly cite the original source. The post on "lowercase liberty" occurred BEFORE the post on your blog! It was a reasonable error for me to misattribute the source. Plus, the version on "lowercase liberty" has BETTER RESOLUTION than the version you posted on your blog! (Compare them!)

I just noticed that Blogger clipped the picture! Oh well. It showed up correctly in "preview" mode AND it came out correctly on the RSS feed. Mixing raw HTML and Blogger doesn't work at all.

JEK has left a new comment on your post "Reader Mail #36":

Sorry fot the broken link. I'm just a newbie in that blogging buisness.
Now I was trying to create an argument in your favor, that is you cannoy use Bible in favor of state (as Locke did). Sorry again.

If you want a good idea of what I consider to be a "good" blog post, look at the other posts I mention in the "Reader Mail" posts. Also, you can look at my "FSK's Shared Items" feed. Some posts are interesting, but don't merit inclusion in a "Reader Mail" post.

Ineffabelle has left a new comment on your post "Reader Mail #36":

Funny enough, I really am liking the Black-Scholes posts and eagerly await more, but I'm kind of obsessed by the mechanisms of finance.

It isn't showing up as popular in Google Analytics. A few people have told me they like the series.

If you're reading the RSS feed, or going to my blog's homepage, or if you block Google Analytics, it won't show up as a popular post in Google Analytics.

The Black-Scholes series does appear to be getting one visit via search each day. That should remain constant over time.

I have it scheduled to publish 2 parts per week.

The only other post series I have planned is an extension of my original article on The Compound Interest Paradox. I'm planning to post that on the 1 year anniversary of the original article. The Compound Interest Paradox has been my #1 most popular all-time post, by a substantial margin. In case you're wondering how that is going to be organized, here is an outline:

Table of Contents

The Federal Reserve
Free Market Banking
A List of Monetary Systems
Edward Flaherty is a Troll

David_Z has left a new comment on your post "The Black-Scholes Formula is Wrong! - Part 3/12 - ...":

This post simultaneously demonstrates what's wrong with the American educational system (w/r to mathematics) and why I won't pursue a Ph.D.


There was a documentary years ago called the "Billion Dollar Bet" (or maybe, the Trillion Dollar Bet) about the B/S model. Intriguing. I'll keep reading the rest of this series, even if nobody else does!

I don't get it. How does this post show what's wrong with Mathematics education?

A PhD is a waste of time. It is merely a piece of paper that says you wasted a certain number of years.

A few people have mentioned they liked it. I'm surprised it isn't more popular in Google Analytics.

Namaste Liberty has left a new comment on your post "Reader Mail #33":

Consider this:

John Locke in the 17th century theorized that land, not being something that anyone creates, since it is pre-existent, is not an appropriate subject for property as most people conceive of that term.1 Postulating a labor theory of ownership, he held that the only way property can come into being is by someone expending labor in making it. Moreover, since land as he thought of it was limited in extent and yet was the source of men’s subsistence, for anyone to claim absolute ownership over it would be immoral; for in theory, at least, the landed class might then deprive others of their very subsistence by excluding them from land when there was no place else to go. One should only claim the usufruct of land (the legal right to use and derive profit or benefit from property that belongs to another person, as long as the property is not damaged), therefore, and then only so far as there remains “as much and as good” for others. This becomes problematic, however, the moment someone claims scarcity. Locke suggested no solution to this. Presumably, it would be up to legislatures and courts to determine the fairness of individual land holdings and reassign them accordingly.

Influenced by Locke’s labor theory and his moralizing bent, later writers, notably Karl Marx and Henry George, concluded that property in land was a usurpation, not a part of the order of nature, but an artificial monopoly enforced by the state for the benefit of the landed interests. Marx made the abolition of property in land the first plank of the Communist Manifesto of 1848, and George wrote a monumental work, PROGRESS AND POVERTY, arguing for nationalizing property in land or making it the sole subject of taxation. The “land question” was hotly debated toward the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth. But the protagonists on both sides, unable to make headway in their arguments, gradually bogged down, and the subject of land has been largely ignored in economic literature since that time.

Spencer Heath in the mid-20th century suggested, as an alternative to Locke’s labor theory, a different and perhaps more productive way of conceiving of property in general. He looked upon property not normatively or judgmentally, but descriptively, as anything that can be the subject matter of contract. This enabled him to describe for the first time the social function of property in land. While his conclusions hold for land ownership in pre-industrial society, they have particular relevance for an advanced market economy.

I thought you might enjoy that bit of analysis.

All forms of taxation are theft. A system where people only pay taxes on land would be preferable to the current economic system.

Income tax is a completely unavoidable tax. You cannot work without owing taxes.

No taxation at all is the only system that meets my criterion for being fair.

People should be able to get full allodial title to their land. You shouldn't have to pay rent (i.e. property taxes) for the land you already though you "owned".

Eric H has left a new comment on your post "Market Anarchist Blog Carnival - December 2007 Edi...":

I think you misread part of my piece. The idea of banning the payment of taxes with in-kind payment and forcing people to use cash was a method used by the French occupation in Algeria to drive the indigenous population out of their traditional means. It wasn't a recommendation, it was a statement of historical fact, and I do not approve of the policy.

The four-point list which you liked was also something I was quoting and with which I was disagreeing. The author of that was essentially saying, "Build a welfare state." It seems to me that welfare states and corporatist states go hand-in-hand. In fact, the only point with which I would have agreed would have been 4, Peace.

I think you misread my post also. All forms of taxation are theft. I disapprove of all forms of taxation. One way to force people to use unsound money is to demand it as payment of taxes.

Taxation and unsound money are really effective enslavement techniques.

I also think it's none of the government's business how many children someone chooses to have. The current system is a bit unfair. Poor people don't bear any economic hardship when they have children, because they're on welfare anyway. Rich people can easily afford children. Middle class people suffer the biggest economic hardship when they have children.

By E-Mail, asked:

How about an update on how many referrals you've received? You only got 7 on the first day because not everyone listens to the podcast within the first 24 hours after it is released. And my website is not as widely read as the podcast is listened. Can you enumerate the cumulative referrals since the past 10 days? (Of course, some listeners may have just TYPED in the URL since I read it on the show.)

From February 6 to 18 (at 7pm), you were my #5 "referring site" according to Google Analytics. There were a total of 17 referrals, of which 13 were new visitors. (Some people follow the same link multiple times.) You were behind:
  1. Google Reader and other Google tools (26). This total is separate from "search", which was 411 visits, 391 of which were from Google. 6 of these visits were new.
  2. Ron Paul Forums (20). I haven't posted on the Ron Paul Forum *AT ALL* during that time. 14 of those visits were new visitors.
  3. Tranarchist (20), but only 1 of those visits was someone new. I think that when Ineffabelle (or someone else) visits my blog, they always go through the link on the Tranarchist blog.
  4. Blogger (18), but only 1 of those visits was someone new.
The most surprising statistic was the traffic from the Ron Paul Forum, which I have abandoned to trolls.

My total "referral traffic" was 212 visits. You were less than 10% of my total "referrals". I had 790 visits overall. You were 2.2% of my total traffic.

I also noticed a slight increase in the number of people Google searching for "FSK blog" or variants thereof. You may claim partial credit for those. If you want a rough estimate of the increase, I'd say 20 people.

"Direct traffic" was 168 visits. (Google Analytics does not provide unique visitor breakdown for this statistic.) This is actually less "direct traffic" than in the previous 12 days (Jan 24, 2008 - Feb 5, 2008) of 214. Your claim that a substantial number of people directly typed in the URL is not justified.

Overall, you did not generate a noticeable traffic spike for my blog. Compared to, you generated no traffic spike I can notice. To my disappointment, my traffic totals for February and January have been flat compared to December. Now that I've recovered from my illness, I'm writing better posts and my traffic seems to be increasing again.

If you really are a "top-viewed podcast", your visitors total is far lower than

Feel free to read or cite any of my content at any time. You didn't have the ability to direct a noticeable amount of traffic to my blog.

How much traffic did I direct to your website?

By E-Mail, responded:

I didn't mean to get your hopes up by saying I'm in the top 25 podcasts, only to tell you that I do get *some* listeners.

You wrote (in a previous E-Mail):

You can find out about the podcast at It is in the top 25 Investing podcasts at iTunes.

"Top 25 investing podcasts" is something I would expect to get a lot of traffic. Maybe there aren't that many investing podcasts.

Over the long term, my shows get listened to by UP TO 10,000 people. I think show 98 has had 4200 downloads so far.

Is your show ONLY available on iTunes, or do you also offer it as a free download?

How much does iTunes pay you per download? How much of a cut of the profits does iTunes take? In other words, if you sell your podcast for $1 or $0.25, how much does iTunes take as a cut? For a weekly podcast by an obscure author, you probably want some sort of micropayment system.

And of course not everyone that downloads actually listens.

If you're paying for the download, wouldn't you listen?

So, far less listeners than lewrockwell has readers. And readers can click links easier. Lewrockwell is one of the TOP blogs of all blogs isn't it?, so the comparison is somewhat out of the realm.

Lewrockwell is up there. I'm not sure exactly. Actually, the lewrockwell blog made it to my rejects bin. There's too many different authors and too many posts per day. Plus, they give "partial RSS feeds", which is particularly stupid since they have no ads on their site. They should have a separate RSS feed for each author. Alternatively, Google Reader should let you segregate feeds by author.

My blog doesn't get nearly as many readers as lewrockwell. I got 3371 visits since 6 Feb.

That's only 1 order of magnitude greater than me.

I also didn't mean to suggest that a significant number of people just typed in the URL. Only "some." Like a handful. But we're building an audience. Together, we can reach The Remnant.

The other statistic I want to track, but Google Analytics makes this somewhat difficult, is "regular returning readers". I want to track "regular returning readers" based on how they ORIGINALLY found my blog, but that isn't offered by Google Analytics.

Adwords is saying you referred 2 visits. One on the 9th and one on the 16th. Wow, even *I* didn't click the link?

That's probably 1%-2%. I didn't "highly endorse" your podcast. I merely mentioned that it existed.

I read in one of your posts that your were slightly considering doing a podcast. I do like to read your stuff, but if you are considering doing an audio program I'd be happy to give you any tips.

The question on my mind is "Can I reach a wider audience if I do a podcast or vlog?" If I'm doing a podcast, I may as well do a vlog also. The other question is "How many regular listeners/viewers/readers do I need before I can do it as a job?"

I'd probably wait a year or two before starting a podcast or vlog. There's no need to rush. I'm still building regular readers on my blog.

Let's see, what's the full list of questions I would have if I were considering a podcast or vlog:
  1. Does it matter if I don't have an "authoritative-sounding" voice or face? I don't look or sound like your typical propaganda artist (newscaster).
  2. What equipment and software do I need?
  3. How do I profit (after I have listeners)?
  4. How much content should I give away for free? (IMHO, 100%; let people pay if they want to)
  5. What's the ideal length? YouTube has a 10 minute limit, so I should stay under 10 minutes.
  6. To where should I upload my podcast/vlog?
  7. How many more listeners/viewers will I reach with a vlog/podcast instead of a blog?
  8. If I give a podcast or vlog, I'm abandoning my anonymity. I'm concerned that potential future employers might discriminate against me based on the content of my blog. For example, I don't want people to know that I've been labeled as someone having a "mental illness". (IMHO, anti-psychotic and anti-depressant drugs *CAUSE* mental illness.)
How about this: You do a podcast and blog post on how to get started doing podcasts?

BTW: Here's why you don't directly embed someone else's image: they could replace the image file with something you don't want shown

I tried uploading the image myself once, and I couldn't get Blogger to display it properly. Blogger automatically trashed the resolution of the image as I uploaded it. I'll try again the next time I cite an image.

Most of my older "Reader Mail" posts get hardly any traffic, so it isn't much of an issue. The "Reader Mail" posts don't get "Google stickiness" like other posts. Some posts, like Real GDP Growth Has Been Negligible Since 1990 are a practically daily source of Google search traffic.

For attracting blog traffic, the "long tail" approach really does seem to be working for me. If I get 1-2 new regular readers from each source, that adds up over time. I don't spend any effort directly promoting my blog anymore, other than writing good posts and looking for interesting topics on other blogs.

By E-Mail, responded:

How much does iTunes pay you per download? How much of a cut of the profits does iTunes take? In other words, if you sell your podcast for $1 or $0.25, how much does iTunes take as a cut? For a weekly podcast by an obscure author, you probably want some sort of micropayment system.

Whoa whoa whoa! ALL Podcasts are FREE in iTunes! I don't make any money from iTunes downloads. I do have a sponsor that pays for advertising though.

Don't you have the option to charge for your podcast? After all, you could make it available like a regular song?
Does it matter if I don't have an "authoritative-sounding" voice or face? I don't look or sound like your typical propaganda artist (newscaster).

No, I could cite examples of popular podcasts with horrible voices.

Really? It's good to know that wouldn't be an obstacle.

What equipment and software do I need?
A microphone and recording software at a minimum.

I was looking for suggestions about what brand of microphone/camera and brand of software. I probably should also do some editing.

How do I profit (after I have listeners)?

Get advertisers or a sponsor.

For my type of content, that isn't easy.
  1. How much content should I give away for free? (IMHO, 100%; let people pay if they want to)
Right, or donations.

My objection to that approach is that I'd owe income taxes on the money received. On the other hand, there's no way for people to pay me online without me incurring a tax liability.

If my podcast was REALLY popular, I could start charging for live speeches.
  1. What's the ideal length? YouTube has a 10 minute limit, so I should stay under 10 minutes.
Actually, I've seen some vids on YouTube longer than 10 minutes. They have some way to do that apparently. Podcasts can be longer. I do roughly 30 minutes.

New YouTube accounts are restricted to 10 minutes, due to concern over "copyright violations". Old YouTube accounts were grandfathered. That seems hokey to me.

To where should I upload my podcast/vlog?

I use Basic plan is $5 per month unlimited download bandwidth.

If I upload it to YouTube, I pay $0?

How many more listeners/viewers will I reach with a vlog/podcast instead of a blog?

That I cannot guess. One does tend to feed the other somewhat.

IMHO, that's the big question.

How about this: You do a podcast and blog post on how to get started doing podcasts?

Nah. has lots of resources.
I visited just now and the site was down.

Most of my older "Reader Mail" posts get hardly any traffic, so it isn't much of an issue. The "Reader Mail" posts don't get "Google stickiness" like other posts. Some posts, like Real GDP Growth Has Been Negligible Since 1990 are a practically daily source of Google search traffic.

The more content you have indexed, the more hits you'll amass. On and on, upward and upward.

It's actually more exponential than that. When you get more content, more searches hit your blog. Google's algorithm appears to reward "older" pages. When you get more incoming links, your PageRank increases. I'm benefiting BOTH from more searches being relevant *AND* a higher PageRank. My ultimate Google search fantasy is being on the first page of results for "Federal Reserve". I'm on the first results page for "Federal Reserve sucks!" (You'd be surprised how many people Google that phrase.)

I have one piece of Google advice. It appears that words in the post title receive FAR GREATER weight than words in the body of a post. For that reason, most of my "Reader Mail" posts are not Google search successes.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Reader Mail #36":

A king does not need to impress anyone or gain more wealth while depriving others, if he is a good King he will be in power and will be supported by his people. So his self interest is organic and complemenory to society.
Fools can be missed out of succession.

Some authority is needed at some level, even a family unit has leadership otherwise there is chaos. A wise leader does not interfere too much and uses subtle as well as wise methods to bring about the good.

You're confusing "children need adult supervision" with "all adult humans need an authority figure telling them what to do". Of course, with people depending on the government, they aren't really proper adults.

I still think that a king only works on a small scale (1000 or fewer people). On a large scale, a monarchy and democracy are functionally equivalent.

Debating "Which is better: monarchy or democracy?" is pointless. There's no way you'll convince me that a monarchy is better than no government at all. If the "government" consists of many competing businesses, each business owner is like his own "king". It is competition among businesses that keeps things efficient.

Are you suggesting that monarchy is better than an agorist society?

Francois Tremblay has left a new comment on your post "Reader Mail #36":

Wow, someone still believes in this "no authority=chaos" bullshit. I can't believe it!

I believe Francois Tremblay is referring to the above comment "Monarchy is awesome!". The above Anonymous comment is pro-State trolling.

Unfortunately, at this point we are debating axioms. If you have as an axiom "no authority=chaos", you are a fool. I am surprised that a regular reader of my blog would have such a biased assumption. I can imagine a stable society without a centralized authority.

For example, the Internet has no centralized authority (except for the domain name registrars, who were given a government monopoly). The Internet works precisely because it has no centralized authority. The Internet is an example of a functional anarchy. That's the reason government regulators are so desperate to shut down or neuter the Internet.

gyakusetsu has left a new comment on your post " and the Yahoo/Microsoft Merger":

There are some tools that people have written to do the import for you. Trust is obviously an issue.

Here is one example:

I was hoping to be able to directly upload the XML file gives you when you "export" your bookmarks.

I tried that and it didn't work. I have a lot of bookmarks, and I think the connection timed out.

I found a Firefox addin for managing your bookmarks. I'm using that now. The only drawback is that I have way too many bookmarks and the feature is slow.

The Firefox addin eliminated all my concerns with I'm sticking with for now.

I'm still disappointed that hasn't improved its basic UI since I first started using it awhile ago.

BTW, that SAM-e I've been taking is really helping. It's the only type of medication, vitamin, or herbal supplement I've tried that's had a noticeable improvement in my thinking ability.


David_Z said...

"I don't get it. How does this post show what's wrong with Mathematics education?

A PhD is a waste of time. It is merely a piece of paper that says you wasted a certain number of years."

FSK - i was a little obtuse there. I'm fascinated by the B/S analysis you're doing. But much of the mathematics escapes me. This, I attribute to the failure of government schools.

I agree that the PhD is largely a waste of time, it was intriguing to me only as a personal academic pursuit, nothing more.

Anonymous said...

It is ridiculous to think human adults can live without some form of authority. It is not bullshit, it is wishful thinking. Even the market needs regulating to make sure there are no criminals operating.

Monarchist wars and Monarchical crisis of government do not tend to impact on the lives of the subjects, they still largely continue to live as they have always done. Democracies involve whole populations in their wars and their 'crisis' create social and civil unrest.

Is no authority better than monarchy. I think at some level the buck has to stop somewhere. Let us say, we have a conflict on interest over access to a river where our respective homesteads join, we cannot come to an agreement amongst we both agree to submit to a 'neutral' judge to decide for us. This is submitting to an authority. We can refuse and fight it out of course, but in such a society the hired gun and the hired army would be King, not anarchy.

As for calling me a troll, or a fool just because I happen to disagree with your views..I think that is up to you, but not really conducive to our discussion. I dislike the State and consider it the ultimate and biggest criminal, I also think the genuine free market is largely self regulating, however we would need some final authority, with final say on things. Someone who can be reasoned with.

Democracies and structural governments have had wars were 50 and 60 million people have died! Such figures are beyond compare in a monarchy, even their largest battles only involved tens of thousands and usually only combattants not civilians.

Anonymous said...

Dear FSK,
Recently I commented about the dangers of Google,, etc, and read your reply with interest. I will give it another try as it is crucial to our cause to understand the dangers of "web 2.0" and Google as a PINK enterprise. I hope that you are not too geeked out (seduced by the technology that is) to truly appreciate the situation. Please feel free to post this as you see fit.

Our society is constantly misled and misdirected to protect the powers that be. That is why, on the eve of an economic collapse caused entirely by unchecked creation of financial derivatives (and the destruction of the industry in the process), most of Americans yawn and wonder how to support the 'global warming' initiative and whether Obama will make it all better.

1) Make no mistake - Google is a PINK organization. It is funded heavily by adjuncts of the RED government. Sovereign funds, VC firms, Al Gore, you name it are involved. As a 'public company', Google has access to unlimited funds directly from the RED press.
2) Social networks are a creation of the RED zone (there is evidence - scroogle it). Sheeple eat it up, and my own kids have been banned from my network for releasing personal and private information. They say, to my horror, "I have nothing to hide! So what if they know who I am or what I think?" "You are weird, dad!", "All my friends are on facebook - how am I to have a social life?"...
3) RED organizations, despite their bureaucratic inefficiencies, do manage to attract serious brainpower. PINK enterprises (such as Google) have recruited several of my very, very smart friends and acquaintances.
4) Although we have free speech, RED organizations will not try to silence us directly. All they have to do is find a chink in our armor - be it a tax irregularity, a friend or a loved one who is compromised, etc. Otherwise, they may simply plant evidence that lands us in jail, or completely discredits our vocalizations. Access to our thoughts (such as logged by Google) is imperative to these activities.
5) Anyone who is vocal about some anti-RED aspect is a natural magnet to others who share the same 'disease'. Therefore, you may be left alone while the logs of people reading your blog become a target without you knowing. Combined with other Google monitoring, a clear picture of an organization - whether a formal resistance group or an ad-hoc brotherhood - emerges almost instantly.
6) Of course, vocalizing these concerns puts you into the 'paranoid nutter' category. It is the same category that contains the 'holocaust never happened' and 'the moon landing was faked' nutters, and you words are lost.

As an old-school hacker (the good kind), I am well aware of the attraction you may have to the google applications. It is also fun to check how many readers you have with google analytics. However, to satisfy your curiosity, you are compromising your readers' privacy.

I think you are beginning to learn the real issues. I went through the same realizations. I though for a while that 'I am not doing anything illegal, so there is little to worry about'. However, it is clear to me that at some point in the future laws will be passed that will make things I've done and things I've bought and made retroactively illegal and subject to seizure, landing me in prison. At that time, it will be too late to do anything about the 'harmless' google logs.

What to do?

Do use Tor. It is not slow as it used to be. Yes, it's slower but it is worth it! You can even keep content in Torosphere, where your readers will remain anonymous.

Use a text-based browser like lynx. If you can't:

Disable javascript, flash and all that garbage that marketing people love. Your blog, for instance, has scripts from, and Each of these is a clear compromise and an insult. Do not, I repeat, do not allow them.

Disable cookies. No one has any valid reason to track your visits to their sites. Any sites (stores?) requiring your trust can use transparent mechanisms such as a session id to track you with your knowledge after you log in. No one at all from a third party should ever be allowed to track you.

Disable images from other web sites. Content coming from another web site can be used to track you (web bugs, 1x1-pixel images, creative commons logos, etc.)

Do not ever, ever log into google, yahoo, aol, etc. If you are foolish enough to use their email (which goes into your permanent record complete with your searches, chat transcripts, etc), don't.

Do not use search engines directly. Use or anonymizing proxies that you can trust to destroy their logs.

Do not use the internet for 'fun' like a fool. Watching youtube and related crap makes you the product. Enormous IPOs are made by PINKo companies with your sheeple headcount as the only asset. Think about why and how the venture capitalists can justify such a high per-head cost. You are the food and the only threat to the system! If nothing else, you could probably do something better with your time.

Do not use credit cards, discount cards, club memberships, and other 'membership' organizations that require extensive applications (CVS cards etc). They will track your purchases, and add to the information that may be someday used against you.

I agree that this is bordering paranoid, and all that information collected is not very useful, and who is going to bother looking through it, and there is so much of it, and the government can get it anyway, and etc. However, keep in mind that the NSA does have acres of computers and a budget that is not limited by the laws of physics. Someone may, pre-emptively, do an active search for those who are 'terr0- r1st sympathizers' or are likely to be 'bad citizens', or purchased gold or silver, or whatever happens to go through some bozo manager-type's head. The less of a footprint you leave, the better.

Better yet, install 'track me not' extension in your browser and watch it make millions of useless queries from all the search engines in your spare bandwidth. That will give them something to look through!

Thank you, and forgive me for being verbose.

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