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Friday, February 20, 2009

Reader Mail #80

This article, via Hacker News, was interesting. Ticketmaster and Live Nation have merged.

The problem is that State restriction of the market makes it *VERY HARD* for new competitors to emerge. Even if an established corporation charges monopolistic rent, the average person is SOL.



This article, via Hacker News, was interesting. That article was about "fair use". I consider "Intellectual property is not property!" to be proven.

"Fair use" means that, even if a work is copyrighted, you can take bits of it and re-use it to make something else. How large a chunk are you allowed to use? That's the problem. There's no clear legal definition. In practice, "What is acceptable fair use?" depends on the lawyers and judges.

Being involved in a copyright lawsuit is *EXPENSIVE*. Therefore, the incentive is to go overboard and not use anything without permission. As an individual, I don't want to waste $100k+ on a frivolous lawsuit just because someone is accusing me of violating their copyright.

For example, Disney is very reluctant to let other people use the images of their characters. If I drew a picture of Mickey Mouse and posted it on my blog, then I would get a takedown notice from Disney.



This post on notreason was interesting. DixieFlatline imposed a self-ban on mises.org for one month.

I got frustrated with pro-State trolls on mises.org. I didn't do anything dramatic. I just stopped posting there.

My old posts on mises.org still generate a lot of traffic, according to Google Analytics. Maybe I should spend some effort posting there again? I should experiment with "Good forums for FSK to promote his blog." For now, I'm focusing on "Write good content, rather than waste time debating idiots." My desire to post on forums will probably increase again sometime in the future.



This post on notreason has an interesting bit on "Wannabe Entrepreneurs".

The Wannabe Entrepreneur is a businessman because somehow he’s been extended credit for an enterprise, that in more rational and frugal times would not be financed, or if it was, it would not be a project a relative unknown and incompetent such as himself would be allowed to manage.

A recent example, was a person who approached me about starting an internet forum. He had no experience, no vision, no potential members, no business model, no support, no friends etc. What he did have was money for advertising. When you think you can advertise your business into a successful direction, you’re recklessly wasting capital.
What is more offensive? Someone running a two person startup who gives himself the title of "CEO", or the CEO of a large corporation who thinks he has skills that would be useful in a true free market?

One problem is the Federal Reserve credit monopoly. If you're buddies with VCs and can get them to invest a lot of money in your business, then that can cause success by itself. If I start a promising business, then someone else can borrow at negative real interest rates and buy me out or start a competing business.

The *MOST* offensive job ads I see are for "equity only". Why would I work for free for a minority equity stake in someone else's business? If you have a viable business, then you should at least be paying your software engineers cash. If you have money but no software ability, and you're starting a software company, then your business is worth $0.

When I interview for jobs as a slave software engineer, my reaction now is "Yes, this is not a free market!" It's very annoying to be interviewed by a parasite who's expecting me to act like sucking his **** is the most fascinating thing I've ever done.



Anarchoblogs listed my blog in the "market anarchist" section. It appears to be "I was to busy with other things!", rather than a deliberate snub. He appears to be merely importing my feed and combining it with others, rather than picking and choosing his favorite articles.

I'd be much more interested in Anarchoblogs if it was a "best of" collection, instead of merely importing everything.



I watched bits of the "Westminster dog show". I thought that the dogs presented were pretty ugly.

It's inhumane to breed "pure bred" dogs. Most of those dogs have genetically transmitted diseases, due to excessive inbreeding.

There was a weird bit. If the judge had previous experience working with the dog or the dog's handler, then the dog was automatically disqualified. That seems a bit harsh. Wouldn't it be better to pick a different judge? Shouldn't there be 3-5 judges for each dog anyway?



This lewrockwell.com article, via Hacker News, was interesting. The current economic problems were caused by the parasite class (bankers/politicians/bureaucrats). The solution is to give the parasite class more resources, stealing from productive workers in the process.

The article made an interesting point. Suppose the CEO of a bank pays himself a salary of $100M, paying $50M in taxes, while doing no real actual work. You could say "Look at that CEO. He's a good person paying so much in taxes!" The reality is that the CEO has paid a taxation rate of negative $50M. The CEO did no real useful work, but was paid $50M after taxes. Via State violence, he stole $100M and then gave a $50M refund to the State.

If one person gets paid without doing any real work, that means that someone else did work without getting paid. The leeching of the financial industry is hidden from most people. When my savings lose their purchasing power due to inflation, that funds financial industry profits. Suppose you saved up 5 years to make a house downpayment and then lost your house during the recession/depression. That labor was stolen by the financial industry.

I usually read lewrockwell.com articles that are cited elsewhere, but I don't follow that site regularly. Lewrockwell.com has a large volume of mediocre material, but occasionally there are some good bits.



This article, via Hacker News, was amusing. Amazon's Kindle has a text-to-speech feature. A group of lawyers/terrorists claims that this violates copyright law.



This NY Times article, via Hacker News, had a very interesting analogy and calculation. Suppose that the financial markets are a coin tossing contest. Every trader is betting $10M of his employer's money that a coin toss will come up heads. They will win $10M when they are right and lose $10M when they are wrong. Furthermore, every trader is betting heads on the exact same coin.

If the traders are right, then they look like genius traders and get a $2M bonus. If they are wrong, then the bank declares bankruptcy (or gets a State bailout) and they all find new jobs.

Suppose you are a smart trader. You find a different trading algorithm than everyone else. This system will make $10M 75% of the time and lose $10M 25% of the time, independent of the other trading system. Your system has a better expected return than everyone else's. Further, you are diversifying the bank's trading portfolio.

What are the possible outcomes? 25% of the time, you are wrong and lose your job. For the remaining 75% you are right. However, half of those times, your colleagues are wrong and bankrupting their employer. 37.5% of the time you lose your job, even though you were right. The remaining 37.5% of the time, you get the same results and bonus as the inferior traders.

Therefore, it was not in your best interests to make a different bet than everyone else. Instead of a 50% chance of success, you only have a 37.5% chance of success.



This article, via Hacker News, was interesting. Using satellite elevation data, he calculated the drainage basins for the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. He found a weird discrepancy when he ran his program with low-resolution and higher-resolution data.



This article, via Hacker News, was interesting. It's about legal technicalities and loopholes. Most people are familiar with "beyond a reasonable doubt". In order to get a conviction in a criminal trial, the prosecution must "beyond a reasonable doubt" prove that you are guilty.

However, the standard for "search and seizure" is much lower. In order to have your property searched and seized, the only requirement is "A policeman must ask a judge for a warrant." When the police are asking a judge for a search warrant, you typically aren't invited to participate in the hearing. The whole point of a no-knock search warrant is to catch the victim unprepared! Judges normally rubberstamp all search warrant requests by the police.

One the police search and seize your property, the burden of proof is on you to get it back.

For example, suppose I have an agorist business. I have 20 ounces of gold in my apartment. The police get a search warrant and seize my gold. I may not get convicted of a crime, but the police still get to keep my gold.

There was an interesting bit in the comments. If a judge finds you in "contempt of court", he may hold you indefinitely without otherwise accusing you of a crime.



I liked this post on xkcd:



This illustrates the fallacy of "Use strong cryptography to fight the State!" There are many low-tech means the bad guys can use to frustrate your use of strong cryptography.
  1. In most countries, you have to give your cryptography key to a judge, if asked. I believe that the USA has such a law, but I don't know how often it is exercised.
  2. The bad guys can install keystroke logging software on your PC.
  3. The bad guys could conduct regular surveillance to figure out what you're doing and who you're hanging out with. It's pointless to be an agorist if you never meet in person to buy and sell goods.
  4. The bad guys could see who is receiving your messages, even if the contents are encrypted.
  5. The NSA probably has the capability to crack most commonly-used cryptography. However, they probably would only do this if it were something serious.
I also like the simple explanation. If you strong encrypt everything, that creates a superficial impression that you're doing something dishonest. My defense is "Agorism is not a crime!" instead of being in denial of the facts of what happened.



This article, via Hacker News, was interesting. Some Microsoft shareholders are complaining that Microsoft is wasting billions of dollars on R&D.

For example, the Xbox would not be profitable as a stand-alone business. If you tried starting a business comparable to the Xbox, you probably would be unable to raise VC or get significant market traction. Microsoft is using the profits from their monopoly to start other businesses.



This article, via Check Your Premises, was interesting. Was Martin Luther King, Jr. really assassinated by State enforcers? He had adopted a very strong anti-war stance. That article claims he was assassinated by people who were profiting off the Vietnam war.

What is the true risk of blatant-in-public agoirsm? Am I risking assassination if I become a high-profile and articulate advocate for real free markets?

However, MLK never got the correct anti-war message. He should have said "In protest of war, people should stop paying *ALL* taxes." I didn't see him being quoted saying that. *ALL* State actions are war and violence, and not just overt explicit war.



This post on no third solution was interesting. Via 401(k) plans, the State is forcing people to invest in the stock market.

There was one point missed by David Z. When you switch jobs, you can roll over your 401(k) plan to an IRA, where you have more options. It's very hard to invest your IRA in physical gold or silver. You can't buy and take delivery yourself. The metal must be with a State-licensed custodian.

When you consider that the State may collapse in 20 years, it may pay to withdraw from your IRA, pay the penalty, and buy gold or silver. It's better than a 100% loss. However, I'm not certain that the State will collapse in 20 years, so I'll leave my IRA investments as a hedge. Gold is a better investment that stocks! I might buy GLD and SLV in my IRAs, and gradually sell off my stocks. However, when the State collapses, a GLD or SLV investment will probably be worthless.

I wonder how hard it is to get a State license to be a gold and silver IRA custodian? That sounds like a good agorist business opportunity! "Invest your IRA with me in physical gold and silver, and I promise to protect your savings, even if the State collapses!" It probably isn't worth the bureaucratic overhead.

For retirement savings, *ALL* options are lousy.
  1. If you invest in cash, money market, or bonds, then you're guaranteed to get ripped off by inflation over time.
  2. If you invest in stocks, stocks underperform true inflation. Further, you can be forced to sell your stocks when the market is at a low point.
  3. If you invest in physical gold, you have the "where to store it" problem. Due to State restriction of the market, gold and silver are relatively illiquid (unless you're an agorist with a gold/silver/FRN barter network).
I also realized something else. Suppose you buy physical gold, take delivery, and then sell off-the-books for cash or goods. Then, you avoid capital gains taxes when you sell. A physical gold or silver investment has the same "tax-deferred gain" advantages as an IRA or 401(k) plan. Capital gains taxes are taxing you on return that is merely compensation for inflation!



This post on no third solution was about how the State destroys community. The typical American spends 45+ hours/week working and 10+ hours/week commuting. That leaves very little time leftover for community activities.

Also, people are encouraged to rely on the State instead of friends and neighbors.



This post on Anarchy in your Head was interesting. It asks you to calculate "What % of a slave you are?" To do this, you calculate all the direct and indirect taxes you pay.

I calculate direct plus hidden taxes costing me 95%-99% or more of my labor. I pay 50% explicitly via income taxes. I pay property taxes, sales taxes, and many other taxes. State restriction of the market means that I sell my labor for less than the fair value. State restriction of the market means that I pay more than fair value whenever I buy something in a store. The State leeches my savings via inflation.

Anarchy in Your Head makes an interesting analogy. Suppose you are a chattel slave, in physical chains. What is your slave %? Is it 100%? No. Your masters provide you with food and shelter. They may even allow you limited recreation time, as a reward for working well. Even a chattel slave does not have a 100% slavery ratio.

He also had an interesting retort to "But who will build the roads without the State?" Most of the time, you use roads to travel to/from your corporate wage slave job. The State builds roads because that makes it easier to manage the slaves.



This article on lowercase liberty was amusing. A window repairman went around breaking windows so he would have extra work.



This article by Kevin Carson was interesting. Mainstream media pro-State trolls have a common complaint. "The Internet is awful! There's nobody monitoring the content!" In other words, "There's nobody censoring the content!"

There was an interesting comment. Most mainstream media outlets just recite the official State propaganda. If that's all they're doing, why bother listening or reading?

The bad guys are *VERY* threatened by the Internet, because it breaks their information monopoly. Too many businesses are dependent on the Internet now. It isn't going away.

There also was an interesting quote of a bit on The Daily Show. The Comedy Channel has an opportunity to mention stories that would be otherwise covered up.



This article on Mother Jones blog was interesting. Banks that received $295B in TARP bailout money spent $114M lobbying. That's a very impressive ROI.

That is one big evil of the State. Lobbying the State for favors is more profitable than doing actual real work. Once you've set things up so that you're receiving massive State subsidies, you can always profitably lobby to block reform.



This article on mises.org, via lowercase liberty, was interesting. James Watt is given credit for the steam engine. He spent more effort lobbying the State for favors and enforcing his patent than inventing. He got Parliament to give him an exemption, extending his patent when it otherwise would have expired.

There was relatively little innovation in steam engines while his patent was in place. Most progress occurred after his patent expired.

Most inventors you read about actually were those most successful in lobbying the State for favors, rather than actually inventing.

Intellectual property is not property. Just because you filed a patent first, I should not be barred from manufacturing the same thing. Most inventions are the culmination of decades of research by many people. It is wrong to give exclusive patents to someone.



I liked this post on Check Your Premises. Store "loyalty card" programs are one big scam. By discovering which customers purchase what, they can target their offerings.

When I didn't live with my parents, I didn't bother clipping coupons and shopping around for the best deal. I concluded that it wasn't worth my time. My parents have nothing better to do, and so they clip every single coupon and aggressively shop around. My parents pay less on average for groceries than I did.

Those "reward card" programs and coupons are a way to charge different customers different prices. When I was working for $30+/hr, it didn't pay for me to spend 10 minutes saving an extra $1. My parents are retired, so they can afford to do that.

State restriction of the market makes it difficult to start a competing store with no such stupid programs. Further those supermarkets hire consultants to advise them on what to do. In effect, this means they copy each others' practices.



According to Google Analytics, "Who's the Richest Man in the World?" got a bunch of traffic. There was no referring site or citation I could find. It seems that someone was circulating that link via E-Mail.



This post on out of step cited this YouTube video of a Congressman pro-State trolling.

I liked the caller at the beginning of the video. A lot of people in the USA are *VERY ANGRY*. This is a promising sign.

I've heard this story frequently cited last fall. After the collapse of Lehman Brothers, a bunch of money market funds had invested in Lehman debt. These funds "broke the buck" with a net asset value less than $1.00. Money market funds are supposed to be a super-safe investment, but this incident proved otherwise.

A bunch of people rushed to withdraw from money market funds. In the video, the Federal Reserve and Treasury department were concerned about the rush to withdraw the money. The reaction was "OMFG!! The sky is falling!!"

Suppose that everyone went to a bank or money market fund and withdrew their full balance in physical Federal Reserve Notes. What would happen? *ABSOLUTELY NOTHING*! The Federal Reserve would merely print enough paper to redeem the balances.

Whether you hold physical Federal Reserve Notes or put your money in a bank, you are ripped off by inflation either way. If I hold physical Federal Reserve Notes in my wallet, then the State may steal from me via inflation just as easily as if I keep the money in a bank or money market fund.

The "disaster scenario" only occurs if people start boycotting the Federal Reserve and income tax.

Members of Congress and the financial industry are saying "OMFG!! DISASTER!!", because that makes it easier for them to lobby the State for favors. It's the usual "Problem! Reaction! Solution!" paradigm.

Suppose you had a real free market. People would be using gold and silver as money. There would be many small banks. The bankruptcy of one bank would not threaten everyone.

Without limited liability incorporation, all the owners and management would be personally liable in a shortfall. In the present, bank owners and management may merely declare bankruptcy and cheat their depositors/creditors. Limited liability incorporation encourages dishonest behavior by nearly insolvent or insolvent businesses. The owners and management have a free put option to declare bankruptcy and default.



I liked this post on to herd or not to herd, in reference to this article on Kitco.

Compared to communism, capitalist markets indeed appear free. Compared to free markets, capitalism is a rigged game.

That is an important point. Most people think "capitalism equals free markets". The current system is a fake free market. People are provided with a limited illusion of freedom, while they are really slaves.

There was a common misconception:

Like Ponzi schemes, capitalist economies must constantly expand or they will collapse. This is because capitalism is a system wherein credit-based money has been substituted for real money, i.e. savings-based money such as gold and silver; and credit-based money soon turns into compounding debt.

Due to the Compound Interest Paradox, there must be continuous money supply inflation or the entire scam collapses. Due to biased CPI measures, money supply inflation is misreported as economic growth.

Asset bubbles have features of Ponzi scams, such as the 1990s .com bubble and the recent housing bubble. People who buy at the start of the bubble and sell before the crash make immense profits. The average person usually buys just before the crash. As the crash occurs, there is inflation to bail out insiders. As one bubble bursts, another bubble beings inflating.

Paper money is violence-backed money. State violence is required to force people to use paper instead of alternatives. People have repeatedly tried establishing gold-based or silver-based alternate monetary systems, only to be violently shut down by the State. The two most noteworthy examples are the Liberty Dollar and e-gold.

Gold and silver are wealth-based money. You may melt down gold and silver coins and use them for industrial purposes. A one ounce gold or silver coin represents a certain amount of real labor. Even if a huge new gold mine were discovered (unlikely), then there still would be labor required to refine the ore and mint the coins.

Historically a paper monetary system always ends in hyperinflation. Insiders cannot resist the temptation to print more money and give it to themselves.

I liked this bit:

“Look, they’re circling the wagons.”
“But we’re not in the circle.”
“Thought you would be?”

Agorism is the strategy for productive workers to "circle the wagons" and protect themselves from the parasite class. That quote was referring to the opposite. Insiders are getting bailed out, while the average person loses their home, their savings to inflation, or their job.



This thread on Hacker News was interesting. As Hacker News becomes more popular, the "signal to noise" ratio is decreasing.

Most online forum engines suffer the "community does not scale" problem. If you have only 10 users, then practically all users will like practically all the content. If you have 10k+ users, then you have problems. If an individual's interests don't match those of other site users in aggregate, then the community starts being closed.

"Write my own forum engine" is #3 of my list of PHP projects. Reviewing, it's:
  1. Sudoku engine (warmup)
  2. RSS Reader (****ing Google Reader!)
  3. forum engine
The RSS Reader and forum engine will likely be integrated. If you click on "share" in the RSS reader engine, it'll automatically be posted in the forum.



This thread on Hacker News was interesting. If you're locked out of your Google account, you're basically SOL. Google has nothing but automated support for people who get stuck.

This is an argument in favor of moving to my own domain. If someone hacks my gmail account, I'm SOL and lose my blog.

Of course, if I buy my own domain, there's still the possibility of being screwed over by the domain registrar!



This article, via Hacker News, was amusing. Someone built the world's tallest Lego tower, breaking the previous record by only a couple of inches.

There were external cables supporting the Lego tower. I consider that to be a defect. If you're building the world's tallest Lego tower, it should be built 100% of Legos with no external support.



This article, via Hacker News, was amusing. Airport security guards are trained to be ultra-suspicious of laptop computers, because they have a metal case and explosives or other items could be concealed inside. A new brand of laptop put the airport security staff in a panic. It was the new Mac laptop, with a different more compact design.

The amusing bit was there was a younger TSA agent explaining to the older agents "It's just a new MacBook!", and the older agents didn't get it.



This Yahoo Glue article about agorism was interesting. Some people had uploaded agorism-related videos to YouTube. I read the comments and there was a mixture of reasonable comments and pro-State trolling.

This YouTube video was interesting. My reaction is "Interesting, but I could do better than that!"

This YouTube video on Agorism and Atlas Shrugged was interesting. Ayn Rand wasn't explicitly agorist, but agorism is the strategy by which productive workers can prevent parasites from leeching their labor. Also in Atlas Shrugged, all the characters are strongly parasitic or productive.

The problem with Ayn Rand is that there's a cult following surrounding her books, which disrupts more serious discussion. Anytime you're quoting a dead author without thinking for yourself, you wind up with the "Argument from Authority Fallacy". Ayn Rand had some neat ideas, but her thinking had some mistakes.



This article, via Kevin Carson's shared items, was interesting. Most whistleblowers start out with sincerely honest intentions. They present their concerns to their superiors, who then blow them off. If persistent, they will be fired or, if necessary, be labeled with a mental illness and involuntarily hospitalized.

"Mental illness as a tool for silencing dissent." is a common theme. It's very traumatic to realize that your "superiors" are more interested in lining their pockets than doing things the right way.



This article on Debt Prison was interesting. Is "Global Warming" one big scam?

I'm working on my own post on the subject.



I liked this article on why Abraham Lincoln was a horrible President.

During the Civil War, some newspapers in the North were critical of the war. Lincoln had the editors of those newspapers arrested for treason.

The Civil War was mainly about money. The North wanted import/export tariffs and the South did not. The South wanted to be able to sell their cotton in Europe and import manufactured goods. The North wanted to force the Southerners to sell their cotton in the North and block imported goods.

The Civil War didn't abolish slavery. The Civil War legalized slavery. Before the Civil War, there was a presumption that the Federal government was a voluntary arrangement. Each individual state was sovereign and had the right to withdraw consent for the Federal government. This placed a check on expansion of Federal government power.



This article, via Hacker News, reviews PHP IDEs. It didn't review the one I'm using, "Dev PHP", which is free and open source. I've found "Dev PHP" plus "php.net open in a browser window" is good enough.



I've seen this story cited in many locations. A Federal court ruled that mercury-preserved vaccines do not cause autism. I didn't like the tone of the article, which is "A Federal court said so. Therefore, it's true."

The correct solution is to perform a properly controlled scientific experiment with many children over many years. That is not something that the legal system is set up to handle.

Also, I didn't like the attitude of the judge. The plaintiff must prove that mercury-preserved vaccines are harmful. The drug company has no obligation to prove that mercury-preserved vaccines are safe. Most/all State-licensed research is directly or indirectly backed by drug companies. The studies cited in the trial probably were biased.



This article, via Hacker News, was amusing. It was a collection of weird HTTP headers he had noticed.



There's been a lot of stories of people hacking into those road signs, usually used for construction. They change the signs to display things like "Danger! Zombies ahead!" This page, via Hacker News, explains how to do it.

On most signs, the workers never bother to change the default password. Even if they were clever enough to change the password, there's a keystroke that resets the password to the default.



This article on msn was interesting. National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair said that the biggest threat to the USA was the economy. The bankers are a bigger threat than Al Qaeda.

The correct solution is never publicly discussed. All the taxes and regulations that make it illegal/impractical to use gold and silver as money should be repealed.



I liked this post on Anarchy in Your Head about Darwin. "Intelligent design" is an attractive philosophy for Statists. "A handful of people make up rules and violently impose them on everyone else" is "intelligent design". "Law evolves via market forces" is evolution.

I consider Statism to be a bad idea. Over time, the State is breeding people with a higher natural resistance to Statism. These are the people murdered by the psychiatry/death industry.



This post on Check Your Premises was interesting. A greeter at Target was complaining that she has to be super-friendly to every customer. Why should she be so friendly towards complete strangers? She isn't part owner of the store. She doesn't get paid based on the store's actual profits.

This is the Agent-Principal problem. The workers of a corporation control its resources, but they are not the owner. If you were the sole owner of a small business, then of course you can honestly enthusiastically greet your customers. That's different from being a wage slave in someone else's business.

This also reminded me of Marvin the Paranoid Android from "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" (fnord!). He had to be super-friendly to all his human superiors, as they assigned him menial tasks beneath his true ability. That's exactly the attitude of a wage slave cog in a corporation.



This article, via Hacker News, was on movies that mess with your mind. I was disappointed that "They Live!" wasn't mentioned.

I should compile a list of movies with good fnords.



This NY Times article, via Hacker News, was interesting. A judge was sentencing juveniles to surprisingly harsh terms for minor offenses. He was getting kickbacks from the prison where the children where sent.

My reaction to such stories is "So? What else were you expecting?"

Only the most egregious offenses get exposed. There's a lot of less-obvious corruption that goes totally unnoticed.



This article, via Hacker News, was interesting (cited many other places). The operators of the Pirate Bay are going to trial for copyright violation.

Even if acquitted, the State gets a mulligan and may re-try them later. A stricter law could be passed, and they could be re-tried as criminals under the stricter law. That's what happened to Jack Kevorkian.



This article by Scott Adams, via Hacker News, was interesting. He said "quality follows popularity". It seemed to be, more accurately, "quality follows persistence".

A lot of hit shows were unpopular when first aired. For example, the first 2-3 seasons of Seinfeld weren't that popular, and the first few episodes weren't that good. Due to quirks of network budgeting, certain shows are given a chance and develop better quality over time.

My recent articles are better than my older ones. Will I eventually be able to do agorism-related activity as a full-time job? As long as the trend for my blog is "increasing readership, at a relatively steady percentage rate", then it should be viable eventually. My blog is 100% self-funded, so I'm not risking someone else pulling the plug. (I really should get away from Blogger. Technically, Google could shut my blog down at any time.)



I liked this YouTube video. It has a segment about the Daily Show and NAMBLA.

It's also about a case between NAMBLA and the parents of a boy who was raped and murdered. The boy's killers had visited the NAMBLA website before murdering the boy. Therefore, the parents sued NAMBLA. The ACLU sided with NAMBLA in the lawsuit.

NAMBLA claims "The age of consent should be lowered." Is it immoral for NAMBLA to lobby for a decrease in the "age of consent" laws? The ACLU sided with NAMBLA, because they claim "NAMBLA has the right to lobby for lowering the age of consent."

As an analogy, I say "The 'chemical imbalance' theory of mental illness is nonsense. If you are taking anti-psychotic or anti-depressant drugs, you should quit taking them cold turkey. Don't bother consulting with your psychiatrist or therapist first, because he/she is an idiot." Suppose someone reads my blog, follows my advice, and then does something stupid while suffering from withdrawal. Am I responsible for what they did? If I could be held responsible, then that means I am barred from saying "The 'chemical imbalance' theory of mental illness is nonsense."

Nearly every child is trained by helpless via schooling. In that context, age of consent laws seem mandatory. In a true free market, the test should be "Is this child able to make decisions for themselves?" and "Are the parents keeping track of what their child is doing?"

People tend to have extreme emotional reactions to age of consent laws. That is an indication that severe pro-State brainwashing is a factory. Most people are trained to not think rationally about sex.



I liked this article, via Hacker News. Wikipedia has a policy of "It is not acceptable to link to blogs." and "Blogs are not a reliable source." For example, if you edited Wikipedia to cite my blog as a source on agorism, then the Wikipedia censors would ban the link.

I've accepted that Wikipedia has rampant censorship. One item on my list of PHP projects is "Write my own wiki engine that doesn't have the same defect as Wikipedia." Wikipedia has a defective engine. Therefore, site rules are imposed by the moderators/admins, instead of the engine itself. Most/all online forum/wiki engines have a scaling problem when you have too many users.

On Wikipedia, there's a problem if two users disagree over "What content should be presented on the page?" If there were a page branching and moderation system, then such disputes would be irrelevant.

The article had another valid complaint about Wikipedia. Most site admins are Anonymous. How do you know that a large percentage of Wikipedia admins aren't FBI/CIA/State agents, or PR shills for corporations?



This article, via Hacker News, was interesting. The author was an active early user of Digg. Now, there are many more users and the quality has decreased. On Hacker News, someone complained that Reddit and Hacker News are having the same problem.

The problem is a defective engine. Any site that rates article with a single global score will be break down once you have many users. If you have niche interests, then they won't be represented well on a site whose content is determined by a majority vote.

The answer is to write a new forum/wiki/digg engine. If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself! This is on my "list of PHP projects".



I liked this article, via Hacker News. It's an example of innumeracy in a frequently-cited chart. The chart says "Look at how much the bank's market capitalization has shrunk!" However, the chart was bubbles and the units were the diameter. This makes the disparity seem more severe than it actually is.



I liked this article, via Hacker News. It says that diet soda leads to weight gain. If you drink diet soda, you're tricking your brain and body's self-correction mechanism. You're given the feedback "This drink has sugar.", but no actual sugar is present. This causes your body to crave more sugar.

I never liked diet soda, because it tastes bad. Sometimes, the waiter in a restaurant gives me diet by mistake, and I can taste the difference.



This article, via Hacker News, had a bit that made me say "ROFLMAO!"

What are my chances of competing intellectually with Paul Krugman, and saying something original that is more interesting or relevant than what I read in his New York Times column?

It isn't hard to say something more interesting than Paul Krugman ever wrote about. "Taxation is theft!" is one example.



This post on RadGeek (also mentioned by Kevin Carson) was amusing. The "Center for a Stateless Society" is raising money, soliciting donations.

If you're a website promoting agorism asking for on-the-books donations, you're doing it wrong.

How about starting some actual agorist businesses to raise money to pay for expenses?

My first "profit from blog" idea is AdSense. I have others. For now, my goal is "earn enough to cover hosting costs".



I watched "Idiocracy" when it was recently broadcast on the Comedy Channel. I was unimpressed, although I heard it was good.

The amusing part was that there was practically no contrast in style between the movie and the commercials. The actors in the movie pretending to be stupid seemed the same as the actual commercials.

Am I just an average person with unique experiences (like the protagonist in "Idiocracy"). Or, is it partially ability-based.

The movie does raises one interesting point about the evil of the Welfare State. If you know that the Welfare State will take care of you, then the biological incentive is to have as many children as possible. Middle class parents typically pay the full cost of raising children. A teenager who gets pregnant and has the State pay the cost is actually following an optimal reproductive strategy.



By E-Mail, Fritz said that the frivolous criminal charges against him were dropped. His girlfriend was disqualified as a witness, ending the trial.

There is an important lesson in this story. You must choose your girlfriend wisely. It's important to get a girlfriend who isn't a pro-State troll.



F. E. Huginn has left a new comment on your post "In Monogamy/Monoamory Natural?":

http://www.seductivereasoning.com/

Watch first 4 videos, there Johnny Soporno very nicely and thoroughly explains how polyamory is the only natural and healthy way of having relationships

Those are big videos! How about a written summary or excerpts of the good bits? I don't have time to watch all that!

Tristan has left a new comment on your post "In Monogamy/Monoamory Natural?":

Both are natural. To try and raise one style of relationship above another is absurd.

I was stating it as a question, not as a definitive definite conclusion.

Some of us really do prefer monogamy, others prefer polyamory.

True, there is prejudice against poly, and much of it originates with the state and authority, but to then conclude that poly is more natural somehow is like saying mixed-race relationships are more natural and same race relationships are not natural because the state impeded the former.

Fight against prejudice against poly and I will join you.
Try to claim monogamy is unnatural then I will fight against you.
You should be able to figure out my position, if you've bothered reading at all. People should be free to do whatever they please, as long as they don't injure anyone else. If you prefer mono or poly, that's your free choice.

My main point was "There's a lot of pro-State brainwashing in favor of mono over poly. Therefore, maybe poly is better?"

As a practical matter, I currently have zero partners. Nearly everyone is a total pro-State troll. That makes it hard to find someone suitable!

Whenever there's a lot of pro-State brainwashing on an issue, the opposite is closer to the truth. There's a lot of brainwashing regarding "Support the troops!" and "Support the police!" The truth is "Police and soldiers are terrorists. Anybody who blindly obeys an order to injure/kill/kidnap someone else, without questioning it, is a criminal."

The only natural thing is that which people freely choose.

The only moral relationship is that based upon consent.

I don't care what your relationship is, so long as its freely chosen and all parties consent. Be poly, monogamous, faithful to multiple partners or able to have sex outside your established relationships, or anything else people can think of and agree to.
I never said that people shouldn't be free to choose one relationship style or another.

One valid question is "What is more healthy or more natural?" Given the free choice, and no pro-State brainwashing, what would most people choose?

fritz has left a new comment on your post "In Monogamy/Monoamory Natural?":

I will chose monogamy personally. For me its the only way to really get close to the one you love. Sure it was fun when I was single to have different partners.

I might be insecure, But I couldn't imagine being ok with my lady banging other guys or girls. When the chips were down, I wouldn't feel like I could totally trust her.

But like you said. To each his own. The problem comes when the judgement begins. Once you begin to judge others, Believe in your labels, Is when you remove your self from reality.

My point is "Do you feel 'monogamy is better'" because it really is better? Or, do you feel that way because of pro-State brainwashing?"

When nearly everybody has been brainwashed as a pro-State troll, it's hard to figure out what is "normal" human behavior.

I was not saying "You should use violence to force people to practice monogamy!" or "You should use violence to force people to practice polyamoury!" You should be free to choose. My point is "Given the free choice, and no pro-State brainwashing, which would be preferred?"



My "2 Reader Mail posts per week" policy seems to be OK. Google Reader and the FeedBurner feed aren't dropping them anymore. I've given up on the FeedBurner feed; I'm not re-activating it.

One nice "benefit" is that my other drafts last longer!

I try to make the "cutoff" a few days before the post. If I didn't answer a comment here, it'll be answered next time.

1 comment:

barry b. said...

FSK,

Here's a blog post on global warming I found interesting

http://www.climate-skeptic.com/2009/02/global-warming-accelerating-3.html

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