Tuesday, August 21, 2007

And now for something completely different...

...if you're going to be off topic, do it with the correct intro...


My infomania.
Yes, I abso-fuckin'-lutely HAVE to know... EVERYTHING
My memory capacity.
Have to put all the info somewhere
My reading speed.
I need to know everything, RIGHT NOW!
My imagination.
Fueled by my infomania, enhanced by my memory
My ability to problem solve.
Usually compensates for errors in judgement;
aided by the aformentioned mental traits
My verbal communication ability.
Defending my mental territory since MCMLXXIV
My ability to seemingly seamlessly incorporate new experiences with little apparant reaction.
Be suprised, keep your sense of wonder, just don't let them know;
also known as the New York shrug
My level of discernment when adopting new friends.
This is the family YOU CHOOSE, get it right
My silly super metabolism.
Allows me to eat 22 oz. T-bone steaks in a single bound;
also allows me to survive 25 and a half hour bouts of St. Patrick's Day celebration
The strange tiny blond hair I have on various parts of my body.
Yep, I'm a mutt

Friday, August 17, 2007

I hate fake "progress".

A weeks worth, enjoy.

Section A:

Stop reading this. I'm anti-semetic.

anti- :
anti- or ant-
1. Opposite: antimere.
2. Opposing; against: antiapartheid.
3. Counteracting; neutralizing: antacid.
4. Destroying: antiaircraft.
5. Inverse: antilogarithm.
6. Displaying opposite characteristics: antihero.
1. Inverse: antilogarithm.
2. Displaying opposite characteristics: antihero.

1. Of or relating to the Semites or their languages or cultures.
2. Of, relating to, or constituting a subgroup of the Afro-Asiatic language group that includes Arabic, Hebrew, Amharic, and Aramaic.
1. The Semitic languages.
2. Any one of the Semitic languages.

Wait, I'm African, Yemeni and Saudi (as well as whatever else), and I LOVE me (and was in love with some other fellow Semites). I guess I'm pro-semetic.

pro- :
pro- 1
1. Acting in the place of; substituting for: proform.
2. Supporting; favoring: prorevolutionary.

Too bad, no easy pigeonholing here. I tell you what I am though. I'm anti-asshole.

Article here.

Let's go for this quote:

“The Americans demanded from Sharon contiguity for a Palestinian state,” said Shaul Arieli, a reserve colonel in the army who participated in the 2000 Camp David negotiations and specializes in maps. “This road was Sharon’s answer, to build a road for Palestinians between Ramallah and Bethlehem but not to Jerusalem. This was how to connect the West Bank while keeping Jerusalem united and not giving Palestinians any blanket permission to enter East Jerusalem.”

I'll take unmitigated gall for $400 Alex. Blanket permission? I'm seriously laughing at the multifaceted absurdness of that statement. The sheer incredulity it causes would destroy a sublimely logical mind. It takes a lesser (as the Architect would say) mind to really savor the reality dissonance that quote contains. I, luckily, am made of sterner stuff (I can neither confirm nor deny the the five minutes of seemingly lost time nor the puddle of drool next to my keyboard directly after I read that quote).

As a service to Americans everywhere I shall describe this via (everybody's favorite!) an automobile analogy.

It would be like the person who carjacked you being forced by the corrupt beat cop to give you a ride to somewhere that was already on the carjacker's path of travel AND listen to him complain about it while trying to avoid taking you at all, then having him drop you off six miles away from your destination because, "...hey, it's better than nothing".

I mean it would make sense if it were possible to get 500+ years of hero worship out of decimating TWO CONTINENTS worth of indigenous peoples... oh, um... hold up;

what I meant was if you could be lauded for you peace efforts because you sat down with a bunch of people and divided up land you didn't own so you wouldn't kill each other while pillaging said territories... uh, no;

well I could see if the wisdom that declared that all mankind had certain inalienable rights also decided to to place the capital of this new country in a region that claimed that certain people were in fact not people (although this region [and pretty much the populace of the whole country] was agrarian enough to know the relationship between a horse, donkey and mule), but paradoxically pierced their own deception enough to demand that these non people be given partial (3/5) voting status... wait... damnit...

...then shit, I've got nothin'. Maybe we should cut Israel some slack.

Fuck that.

Section B:
Article here

This is how the pitch conversation should have gone:

Let me get this straight. You are having problems with student performance and student integration. Well we need to fix that. What? You've got it? A solution? Good! What is it? You want the kids to pick a major? What the fuck does that have to do with the fucking problem?! Get out of my office before I shoot you in the face with a brick gun.

Haven't I already visited the education issue? Well actually, yes. Good, I can skip the background and get right to the point. I thank my stupidly broad and seemingly useless base of knowledge everyday. Why? Because it provides me with a large enough view of the world to see how certain things are related, interconnected, and influenced by other things. This allows me to be better at doing the things that I actually like (and/or that earn me [and via my enhanced productivity, my employer] money). I can adjust for outside influence by anticipating interference and preparing countermeasures or designing to take advantage of beneficial influences. So, for example, if I make boxes, I might understand how the price of tea in China might affect my cardboard supply so that I might choose my building materials appropriately.

Seriously, who needs adaptive, innovative, responsive employees here when you can get the cheap (soon to be absolutely better) foreign version. Now go sit down and watch TV with your kids so y'all can learn something.

Section C:

Remember how the United States Senate had an all-nighter recently? I do. Let me recap for you. The MAJORITY (not 60 or 67, but 53ish) basically said, "let's get the fuck out man". The minority responded, "...you're defeatist, you're going to cut and run, and a bunch of Bizzaro world's other greatest hits". But the war supporters had a new phrase/idea (it's a shame when your ideology is your phrasebook), it was essentially, "What's the hurry? Petraeus is going to give us a report in September and that's not long, surely we can be rational, responsible adults and wait until then". Stupidly (I know that is shocking to people who have been watching the GOP) they argue for more time to 'let the surge work', while simultaneously saying that the amount of time involved is so minuscule that nothing will change during it. I know, take a moment to yourself............................................ So, here we are ONE month later and we find out that the Petraeus report that we were going to find under our pillow if we were good little boys and girls, is just as real as the tooth fairy. I know you can't believe it. Read for yourself. Of course this would be a problem for normal people, but this crowd has the 'Reality? Bah, we just make up shit as we go along...' mindset, so their response was normal (for them). The White House came out and said that they were ALWAYS going to write the report, and that they were going to get INPUT from Petraeus. Yep, we're waiting an insignificant amount (I mean it's only human life and suffering and our national treasury hemorrhaging into the sands and streets of Iraq) of time for a report from people down the street. I must say I love the "CEO" White House, it's as productive and efficient as any other business run by GW.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

What is it with the labels?

Article here.

I'm not going to say much on the efficacy of torture. If torture is for you then you ultimately believe that only the strong should flourish and that the only victims are people who can't adequately defend themselves. Really, to you they aren't even victims, they're just weak. So you should just quit your job and stay home to keep the next person with an itch from killing your kids, looting your property, and enslaving your significant other. What do you mean, "How am I supposed to earn a living"? And now you realize that that isn't a theory of society, it's a theory of anarchy.

Hey, it worked for the Mongols, go get yourself a horse.

Nope, the things in the article that I am highlighting are these quotes (my emphasis added):

  • “I decapitated with my blessed right hand the head of the American Jew Daniel Pearl in the city of Karachi, Pakistan. For those who would like to confirm, there are pictures of me on the Internet holding his head.”
  • "The utter isolation of these detainees has been described as essential to America’s national security."
  • “Had that happened, I am confident that we would have obtained none of the information he had in his head about imminent threats against the American people.”
  • “The Proud Murderer of 3,000 Americans.”
  • "Until 2002, when Bush Administration lawyers asserted that waterboarding was a permissible interrogation technique for “enemy combatants,” it was classified as a form of torture, and treated as a serious criminal offense."
  • “I can respect people who oppose aggressive interrogations, but they should admit that their principles may be putting American lives at risk.”
  • "But the C.I.A.’s secret interrogation program, Senator Levin said, has undermined the public’s trust in American justice, both here and abroad."
  • "He really believed in American principles."

All of the bolded items mean the same thing. Human. Go ahead, I'll wait, do the substitutions yourself... [Jeopardy think/wait theme music]

...see, told ya.

I guess I'm anti-U. S. A. now because I don't hold our lives as intrinsically more valuable than anyone else's. Hopefully I'll get to skip the C.I.A. world tour because I'm not a high quality asset. I'd probably go directly to Gitmo; do not due process, do not collect habeas entitlement.

It's weird, I could go all Vonnegut on you and talk about false karass, but we all know the various histories of divide and conquer; from the first religions of the multitudinous "chosen peoples", through Sun Tzu, Machiavelli, various inquisitions, the conquistadores (probably also known as "explorers" in you children's text books), and the latest hip, new, old fashioned genocides, to the latest "corporate rewards" programs.

It's like a 'backdoor' some programmer left in our minds. Put in the "T.H.E.M." [*] access code and we'll do whatever you want. [* The Hated External Menace]

It actually might be some left over hard wired proto-simian response to group threats. Well, we can't beat that can we? We'd better. We left behind (and some of us were left behind) or re-purposed other primitive responses that were antithetical to modern living. We just need to get our dumb asses to realize that our group is the human group.

Yeah all of us. I know we aren't some homogeneous blend of person. I don't know about you, but I never met the average guy. Yeah, we're all different and large swaths of humanity have similar traits that make it easy to lump into a broad category. Fine, humans tend to think categorically. Just don't forget the root of your categories. They are categories of PEOPLE. You know, like you, you're a people (yes that was on purpose).

Republicans are people.
U.S.ers are people.
Hockey players are people.
Somalis are people.
Cambodians are people.
Yo momma is people.

You get the damn point.

In this case we are being divided and conquered to empower the military industrial complex. Why do we foot the bill and watch other people benefit more than we do? I don't know about you, but when was the last time you paid someone to not do what you needed them to do?

It's called the military industrial complex, so why don't we make the military, I don't know, industrious and complex?

Oh, right they're not in the business of building nations. Then what the hell is the Army Corps of Engineers all about? Oh, well, um...

Government for the people, by the people, remember? Their job is what we say it is. If I have to be a citizen of The United States, a subsidiary of The People's Republic of China (or Japan, but they don't have the population or military) , I'd at least better have a viable infrastructure, decent, nah, fuck that, good public schools, non-poisonous food, water and air, and fucking dental (actually whole body health care, but 'dental' struck me as funnier). What the fuck are we buying?

Sunday, August 5, 2007

I'm doin' stuff...

... so I'll repost an excerpt of my musings from elsewhere.

"...Black people, as I know them, are all individually excellent (at something or other) mostly because our background tends to make us dig down deep within ourselves and pull forth whatever it is that you can excel at and be twice as good at just to get by on average. That sort of crucible creates a sort of inward focus; because no one can help you with you. There really is a difference between knowing the path and walking the path and all the well meaning advice in the world will fail to be fully adaptable to your exquisitely specific life situation. So, you unleash your talent(s) on the world with the knowledge that it was really you that enabled you. This also tends to explain our collective exuberant confidence, because you know exactly what you can do and within your purview of skill no one on earth can deny you. This also generates our 'it's me against them' mindset.

I think the underlying cause is cultural. We tend to come from cultures that exult and revel in individual skill. We all know growing up that if you can be in the top percentile of anything, YOU will be respected in your community. Look at a lot of European cultures and Japanese culture which had lengthy histories of feudalism. The social class table was set, your advancement was primarily predicated by those ranking above you. If you wanted to succeed in those societies you got good at pleasing your superiors who had the power to lift you out of the muck in which you dwelled. They, and their ancestors, knew that if you can be useful to the rulers you will get advanced in social status, and YOUR STATUS will be respected in the community. This is also known as the 'good soldier' mindset.

Am I saying that (recently) African descended people aren't loyal or that Europeans can't be individually brilliant, no. I'm saying our cultures shape us to strive for betterment differently..."

P.S. You could obviously also apply this to any oppressed/suppressed group... I'm black, so when I talk about repression I usually talk about black people (that whole I have personal experience thing I suppose).

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Why just export the good stuff?

Part three in my "they're just like us" foreign tour.

Part 1

Part 2

I honestly didn't think I was going to write today. I mean come on, I made it all the way to the Australian news sites with nary an (I must speak on this) itch. Silly me.

I have no idea how long this link will last; they took it off of YouTube. (Wonder why?)

Here is the article.

Now how much of this is alcohol fueled stupidity and how much of this is people actually seeking to emulate idiots from another hemisphere, I couldn't tell you. I must admit, they do seem to have mastered the idiot part of the equation.

Unfortunately this is not the only case of KKK fanboi-dom to come out of Australia.

or how about this

I could keep linking, but you get the point.

We've got "neo"-Nazis here, they've got KKK wannabes there. I suppose if we settle Mars, there'll be a race (pun intended) to see who gets the honor of being the first cultural 'Neo'-anderthal.

For a species whose rank and file members largely frown upon education via historical reflection, a lot of folks seem to want to live in the past.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

There aren't always two sides.

This has been an effective 'debate' tactic for too long. It crops up everywhere people are discussing anything. The problem is once again rooted in the misapplication of folk wisdom. I'm referring to the adage that states there are two sides to every story. It's easy to remember, puts a dose of caution in you when you listen to other people, and it can be good advice. Like all wisdom though, it breaks down if you take it literally. It is really meant to remind you that you might want to rely on more than one source of information to guide your decision making process. Well, that is good advice. What's wrong with that? Nothing, unless you take it literally. By taking it literally you make it possible to lock yourself into a simplified worldview. Once you put on those polarizing lenses, everything looks like: career or family, patriotism or treason, good or evil, happiness or wealth, black or white, us or them.

So, these people with their simple worldview and visions of false dichotomies dancing in their heads have opinions and naturally share them with others. As long as people agree, everything is fine, but if you disagree watch out! You can't have a different opinion from them. You're either right or you're wrong, for them or against them, a team player or a God Damned Individual. If you are lucky, they like you and will attempt to amend your wrongheaded thinking. You'll have discussions and if they can't personally sway you, they'll give you literature, take you to meetings, or otherwise bring you into contact with more proponents of their outlook. Unfortunately for them, their limited worldview tends to make their 'philosophy' shallow and circular, so you really just end up recycling the same few discussions. At some point they'll get frustrated with your (what?!) stubbornness and call you close-minded. If you're really lucky, before they turn on you, they'll paraphrase their error to you by telling you that you are being unreasonable and that you shouldn't even argue about it anyway because you wouldn't understand until you saw it their way.

Life is neither fair nor binary.

There isn't always another side to a story, and I don't need the 'other' side of the story if that 'side' is invalid. If I catch you stabbing an infant in the chest with a rusty screwdriver am I supposed to take a reflective pause and hear your side?

The truth is that:

There are as many sides of a story as there are witnesses and opinions.
You can have your career and family in any mix that you can personally tolerate.
There are many degrees of loyal citizenship between patriotism and treason.
Good and evil are not absolutes, actions are. The judgements of, and rationalizations of; said actions are opinion.
Wealth and happiness have the relationship you choose for them to have in your life.
There are a multitude of tones and colors outside of black and white.
Us and them are plural pronouns which, by definition, "have a very general reference"; so we're back to opinion.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

300,000,000 people can't be wrong, can they?

Read this.

"...I came here in peace, seeking gold and slaves...."
-- quote from article

Now, as funny as that was (maybe not to you, but now you can at least go write in your blog about how I'm stupid I am) doesn't it seem that if you gather a large enough group of people they tend to "think" and behave in this manner? Why is that? Is it a function of that neatly nebulous phrase we use to describe ourselves, "human nature"?

Is it cultural? If so, which culture? Why is the mob mind so base and puerile?

This sentiment is borne out in oft repeated statements such as: "I like persons, but I hate people", "I like Americans, but I hate America", "Saleem is ok, but the rest of those Muslims are terrorists", etc...

Could this be the root of all the negative stereotypes ever attributed to any group? Think about it. Large groups tend to adopt this '...and together we'll form, the moron!...', mentality. Historically, people didn't move around alot so populations were pretty homogeneous. Explorer/trader, 'Y', experiences group idiocy in the far off land of X, upon his return to 'civilization', he reports that the X-landers are idiots because of reasons one, two and three. We all know how rumors work so I'll leave you to fill in the rest.

The historical trend seems to be that group think levels out at the least common intellect. I'd be willing to bet that this was why the Founders (of the U.S.) sought to protect us from the "tyranny of the masses".

But how do you get the herd all mooing (moving) in the same direction? This article might provide some insight. (The text of the article that this article referenced is at the bottom of the post.)

Ok, we tend to emulate the choices of others. But, if the simple minds drive the conversation, how do their ideas gain support? Here's some heavy reading in that direction:



That was long, but the key points were simple. Repetition from one and/or many and ease of recognition. Let's make a construct with this information.

Given the following:

Everyone can count,
Counting is easier than adding,
Adding is easier than subtracting,
Subtracting is easier than multiplying,
Multiplying is easier than dividing,
Dividing is easier than exponents,
Exponents are easier than algebra,
Algebra is easier than geometry,
Geometry is easier than trigonometry,
Trigonometry is easier than calculus,
People prefer difficult math that they can handle,
Math below algebra is number math,
other math is abstract math.

Let's use math type as a popularity contest in a population with a normal distribution of intellect (try using everyone you've ever met as an example). For me, pretty much everyone I've ever met (that was of an age to have had access to this information) could divide. However when I get to exponents my population experiences a large drop off, this continues up through calculus. So the majority of my population can accomplish counting through division. This makes them less familiar with exponents and 'higher' maths. Now when I hold the, "Which type of math is most fun?" contest the weight of my population is going to exclude every math beyond division as a top contender.

The people beyond division are going to pull everyone up, but the people who can't divide are going to pull everyone back down. This means that number math wins by default.

There isn't really enough data to say which math would actually win, but it is likely that an explorer to this math country, upon returning home, would report, "They're a bunch of dividers that don't understand abstract math".

You've seen this in the election cycles for years. One candidate will repeat an oversimplified non-plan regarding some issue over and over which then filters through the populace and is repeated by the populace thereby enforcing itself. Whereas his opponent will give a nuanced plan that completely describes how to actually remedy the issue, but it goes over the heads of many of the possible 'repeaters' within the populace and thus fails to penetrate the populace's collective psyche.

Is public opinion worthless? I don't think so, but I have illustrated a way in which it is easily duped.

Referenced article.

If you or your organization has a pay login in you can do more reading here.

See, this is that bullshit....

... I've been talking about.

Article here.

Three billion?! Are you fucking serious?!

Come on. Witnesses couldn't be compelled to testify? The only reason they couldn't is because you didn't let the cats missing some of that THREE BILLION DOLLARS do the compelling. I know I'd be convincing if I needed to find out about my money.

Let James run some kids' pockets on 3rd and Broadway and let the police pick up a suspect (doesn't really matter if its James or not). Someone is going to do some time somewhere.

Mandatory minimums for white collar crime.

Mandatory minimums for white collar crime.

Mandatory minimums for white collar crime.

If you have to, sell it to your gov't as, "The War on Graft (TM[pending])".