Yet another weird SF fan

I'm a mathematician, a libertarian, and a science-fiction fan. Common sense? What's that?

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The Former Four Horsemen of the Ablogalypse:
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Other interesting web sites:
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Jewish Pro-Life Foundation
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The Mad Revisionist
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Yet another weird SF fan

Thursday, August 28, 2014

An Odd Thought about ISIS and Hamas

They don't have a well-known charismatic leader on top. I suppose the deaths of Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, and Muammar Gaddafi had an effect. The people in charge are keeping a low profile.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Does Kennewick Man Disrupt the “Narrative”?

Contrary to many of Instapundit's commenters, I doubt if Kennewick Man will disrupt the “Narrative.” Even if the ancestors of Native Americans pushed Kennewick Man's relatives “into the sea,” the Enlightened Ones will still think the Native Americans are the proper owners of America. If you get to a place by land, you are thought to have a right to stay there and possibly even take it over. If you get to a place by water, you don't. (I've mentioned this before.)

For example, Mexicans get to the United States by land so they must be defended; Cuban refugees get to the United States by water so they must get sent back. Israelis of European descent, Protestant Ulstermen, or white Rhodesians got to Israel, Ulster, or Rhodesia by water so they're regarded as illegitimate. Arabs invaded Palestine/Israel by land so that it is regarded as legitimate. Most Europeans colonial empires were established by naval conquest and are regarded as illegitimate but Russia's colonial empire in Siberia was established by land is thus legitimate. (Trying to identify who came up with this distinction will be left as an exercise for the reader.)

In the present controversy, the ancestors of Native Americans arrived by walking across Beringia, which means they have a right to be here whether or not they were first. Kennewick Man's relatives arrived by water so they don't. It's as simple as that.

Addendum: Atlantean/Hyperborean?

Monday, August 25, 2014

I Told You So

A few years ago, I said:

If a powerful nation gets a reputation of supporting any dictator who might be likely to be overthrown by a totalitarian movement (for the purposes of this discussion it doesn't matter if said movement is communist, religious, or racist), then dictators have an incentive to prop up such movements.
This weekend we see:

Earlier in the three-year-old Syrian uprising, Mr. Assad decided to mostly avoid fighting the Islamic State to enable it to cannibalize the more secular rebel group supported by the West, the Free Syrian Army, said Izzat Shahbandar, an Assad ally and former Iraqi lawmaker who was Baghdad's liaison to Damascus. The goal, he said, was to force the world to choose between the regime and extremists.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Killing Machine and the News

In the last few days, there have been two news items that reminded me of The Killing Machine by Jack Vance.

First, there was the Foley kidnapping and attempted ransom extortion. If Jack Vance were writing that story, the ransom would have been paid in counterfeit money printed in disappearing ink.

Second, the news that Alzheimer's patients can be treated by transfusions of young blood. If Jack Vance were writing that story, the only person to know about the treatment would be one of the five Demon Princes and his henchmen …

Saturday, August 23, 2014

An Odd Correlation

Is it my imagination or is there a correlation between anti-Zionism and opposition to GMOs? I tried checking this using the GSS (the relevant variables are EATGMO and ISRAEL) but they didn't have enough data.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

We've Done This Before

I just realized that a transhumanist Malthusian (discussed here) is an example of someone with an ideology that disagrees with conservatism trying to infiltrate another ideology that disagrees with conservatism even despite the fact that the first ideology (Malthusianism) is even further from the second ideology (transhumanism) than conservatism is.

In other words, it's a repeat of liberal (in the classical sense) socialism.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Three Years Ago …

… we were debating the propriety of police wielding pepper spray.

I think I prefer that to tanks and machine guns.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Possible Reactions to a Transhumanist Malthusian

Possible reactions to a transhumanist Malthusian:

  • Incredulous stare.
  • You cannot use the Ring!
  • Wouldn't potential transhumans be able to solve a trivial little problem like providing enough food?
  • Transhumanist Malthusian? Is that anything like a square circle?
  • This is the sort of thing that gives transhumanists a bad name.
  • I have suggested that transhumanists and bioconservatives bury the hatchet … in their common enemy, the Malthusians. Transhumanist Malthusians might interfere with that.
  • A transhumanist Malthusian is a technical optimist until he/she/whatever realizes that means agreeing with some conservatives.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Absurd Logo Design

The person responsible for “I♥NY” has designed a logo for global warming. I already thought the “I♥NY” symbol was inane. This one's worse.

Apparently, he trusts mainstream science when it comes to whether there has been global warming but not when mainstream science says the damage (if any) is probably minor. It's another case of “All hail the experts! … as long as they agree with us.”

Saturday, August 16, 2014

It's Starting …

The Trouble with Looking up a Phrase and Thinking You Now Know What It Means

According to The Wall Street Journal:

UP AND OVER: People gather in a park in Madrid as a perigee moon, or supermoon, rises Sunday. The phenomenon occurs when the moon is near the horizon, making it appear larger and brighter than usual.
Sigh. No.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

More Random Thoughts on SWAT Teams and Camouflage Uniforms

Unlike many of my fellow wingnuts, I think there just might be a place for heavy weaponry in riot control. Unlike the statists, I also think that heavy weaponry should be available for private citizens. A pistol might be useful in dealing with a an individual criminal but if you're suspected of being a mad scientist and the villagers are storming your castle, you might want a few cannon. Cannon are likely to be far more useful in repelling a riot than in starting a riot.

In other news for libertarians, a Congressbeing has introduced a law to ban body armor. As I've mentioned before, a common statist response to “Your government program is interfering with X” is to try to create a government program to do X. This proposed bill is the statist response to “gun control keeps criminals from being shot.” If criminals being shot is so good, they reason, we must pass a law to ensure they can be shot. Maybe the SWAT teams are simply the results of the statist interpretation of “more guns, less crime.”

I'm also starting to have second thoughts on the advisability of camouflage uniforms even for soldiers. Civilian clothing is forbidden to soldiers in combat in order to keep civilians from being targets. The custom of wearing camouflage uniforms ensures that trees become targets.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A Question about SWAT Teams

Why do they wear camouflage uniforms?

Are they trying to fit in in with the inner-city? Maybe we should tell them that “It's a jungle out there” is a metaphor. A real camouflage uniform for the inner city would look like graffiti, peeling paint, and reinforced concrete leaking rust.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A Quote from The Yeoman of the Guard

The recent news about Robin Williams reminded me of the following quote from the Gilbert and Sullivan opera The Yeoman of the Guard:

Cause? Have we not all cause? Is not the world a big butt of humour, into which all who will may drive a gimlet? See, I am a salaried wit; and is there aught in nature more ridiculous? A poor, dull, heart-broken man, who must needs be merry, or he will be whipped; who must rejoice, lest he starve; who must jest you, jibe you, quip you, crank you, wrack you, riddle you, from hour to hour, from day to day, from year to year, lest he dwindle, perish, starve, pine, and die! Why, when there's naught else to laugh at, I laugh at myself till I ache for it!

Saturday, August 09, 2014

A Suggestion for Nativists

If the EPA can devise a figure for the social cost of carbon (with my comments here, there, and yonder), then I'm sure nativists can devise a figure for the social cost of immigration. It might be as underwhelming as the social cost of carbon.

The closest approximations I've seen appear to be similar to “cap and trade” instead of calculating a dollar amount of damage.

Friday, August 08, 2014

They're Ba-ack!

The squeegee men are back! There is an obvious solution: Make it legal to run them over. Another possible solution: razor-sharp windshield wipers.

I suspect they were inspired by the government.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Question about “Inconstant Moon” by Larry Niven

The characters realized there had been a massive solar flare when the moon became spectacularly brighter. If the sun became hotter in “Inconstant Moon,” its light (and thus moonlight) would be bluer.

Why didn't anyone in the story recall the phrase “once in a blue moon”? They might have realized this had happened before.

On the other hand, there are other reasons for a blue moon.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Avoiding Embarrassment, Part II

As I've said before, many leftists are embarrassed by living in a nation where schools have to be partly funded by bake sales. They found a solution: They're banning bake sales, this time at a federal level.

By the way, how is this supposed to be enforced? If this law is enforced by withholding subsidies, the Enlightened Ones (at least while reacting to the Halbig decision) are now on record as saying they can't do that.

I tried reading the regulations in question and I can't figure out how it was supposed to be enforced against a state government unwilling to go along. As far as I can tell, it's a matter of “If a State government does not fulfill our requirements, we will require them again.” There's a strong possibility the people in the current administration simply don't know how to deal with people who disagree with them.

This may be connected with the leftist refusal to admit that government is a matter of force. In LeftWorld, governments issue commands and everybody obeys. (This also explains the current foreign policy or lack thereof.)

Saturday, August 02, 2014

A Suggestion for Israel

According to solar-energy enthusiasts, we can power the world by paving a small amount of desert. We can start by paving the area within a few miles of the Gaza Strip. The border of the Gaza Strip is 30 miles long, so the area within six miles would be 180 square miles of solar panels.

I think that would be enough to power Iran.

Friday, August 01, 2014

Why the Decline?

Differences between male and female preferences might explain a low percentage of female computer-science majors. It does not explain a decline. The current percentage of female computer-science majors is about half the percentage it was back when Reagan was president.

My theory, for whatever it's worth, is that women who are able to think logically are avoiding college so they don't have to associate with feminists.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

More Stuff Political Activists Say

Anybody who disagrees with us but can cite an actual fact is smart but unwise (seen here and there).

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

An Important Quote for My Fellow Weirdos

The following applies to libertarians, socialists, monarchists, etc.:

“Meanwhile, as a delightful by-product, the few (fewer every day) who will not be made Normal or Regular and Like Folks and Integrated increasingly become in reality the prigs and cranks which the rabble would in any case have believed them to be.”—C. S. Lewis in Screwtape Proposes a Toast

Sunday, July 27, 2014

A Note on the Cloward–Piven Strategy

Maybe the activists on the Other Side act like they don't know what capitalism is because they aren't aiming at capitalism.

The “Cloward–Piven” strategy was not aimed at infidel libertarians or conservatives. It was aimed at moderate liberal heretics. It was devised in the aftermath of the 1964 election by people who thought the right had been permanently discredited and could be ignored. For example, in the same era we see a liberal looking at radicals and a radical looking at liberals.

In addition to the failed attempts at crashing capitalism I mentioned earlier, there was also the attempt to crash “red” state governments by only providing subsidies to state governments willing to set up state exchanges. This backfired so badly that the mendacitors are now insisting they didn't mean it. It discredited liberals but not libertarians. We also see the alleged border crisis, which might crash the alliance between state governments and unions that holds “blue” states hostage. Again, it looks like it will discredit liberals but not libertarians.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Bluff and Fold

2012 leftists: “We've got you by the [deleted]. You must set up state exchanges or else.”

We wingnuts: “Sorry, but we're not going to follow your script.”

2014 leftists: “We were just kidding! You took us seriously?”

In other words, the current administration is applying the same tactics in domestic policy as in foreign policy.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

If Smart Money Buys Brand X …

If smart money buys Brand X, there are two potential conclusions:

  • If this is a challenge to capitalist economics, we must save people from themselves by forbidding them from shopping at Whole Foods.
  • Only people shopping at Walmart should be allowed to vote.
I also noticed some absurd reactions in the comments to the article. For example:
This story goes against all of the Friedmanite and Austrian economic ideology which presumes that consumers will always make the most informed choices and markets operate with perfect information.
No. We merely assume that consumers are better informed than politicians.

Another absurd comment:

So "national branding", it turns out, is, more or less, another scam essentially, to fleece those who are least able to discern value. The only (cheap) solace here is that many of them must be Tea Partiers, but alas, more of them struggling working poor.
According to stereotype, Tea Partiers are more likely to shop at Walmart whereas liberals are more likely to shop at Whole Foods. As I have said before, it's the left-wing businesses that are spherical trusts.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Limits to Immigration?

According to Ben Horowitz:

An excellent constraining principle when planning your budget is the preservation of cultural cohesion. The enemy of cultural cohesion is super-fast headcount growth. Companies that grow faster than doubling their headcount annually tend to have serious cultural drift, even if they do a great job of onboarding new employees and training them.
If we apply this to immigration, we can see we must set a quota of no more than 300 million immigrants this year … and 600 million next year ….

Saturday, July 19, 2014

“I Sent You a Rowboat”

Let's see… The US government is going bankrupt due to a lack of children. A horde of children arrive on our doorstep and we're supposed to expel them?

It looks like God sent us a rowboat but we're refusing to get in.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Stuff Political Activists Say

You can find examples of the following bulshytt on both sides of nearly any political debate:

  • Our side isn't ruthless enough but their side plays hardball.
  • We can't trust the government and therefore need more of it.
  • All hail the experts! What? They disagree with us? Then … QUESTION AUTHORITY!
  • If you want to defend someone's rights you must be prepared to take care of them for life.
  • The social or economic groups currently associated with their side are parasitic on the social or economic groups currently associated with our side.
  • The other side is deliberately pursuing unhealthy policies in order to kill off the surplus population.
  • Yes, we have a crackpot or two on our side but we have them under control. Their crackpots are running the show.
  • The other side is full of ignorant morons who refuse to find out anything about contrary opinions. We are thereby relieved of any responsibility to find out anything about the other side's opinions.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Why Judges Sometimes Make Sense

Most government people get their names in headlines by doing things. Judges get their names in headlines by stopping the government from doing things. This gives egomaniac judges (and the top people in any field will be egomaniacs) an incentive to restrain government. You can think of the judicial branch as BuSab.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Jonah Goldberg Asks a Nasty Question

Jonah Goldberg asks a nasty question:

What would the debate look like if the trends went in the opposite direction? What if most of these immigrants (legal and illegal) were likely to be Republicans in the near and middle term? Would the libertarian arguments for treating labor like any other economic good gain more traction on the right? I think so. Would liberals suddenly realize that they are undermining the economic standing of many African-American and working class Democrats? Almost surely.
If an emergency evacuation of Israel becomes necessary, the current administration will suddenly make an about face on immigration law enforcement. (It's already starting.) It will be the Elian Gonzalez case on a large scale.

I've noticed it's us libertarians who call for repealing immigration laws. Liberals want them on the books but unenforced right now. I think they're holding them in reserve in case potential conservatives want to immigrate.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Mexican Border and Future Thrillers

Since Modesty Blaise was based on an 8-year-old refugee traveling by herself, will the children at the Mexican border star in thrillers written in 2034?

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