Archive for January, 2014

Fraud In France live show

Friday, January 24th, 2014

From my current band, :

Includes the first ever performance of Click of the Gate, among other songs.


Click of the gate
Road Less Gravelled
Love You
John’s Song
Hurricane Heart
Dirty Boulevard (For Lou Reed, with our best wishes for wherever he’s headed)
Turmoil Boy

Request for itunes / other mp3 player people

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

Could you coders please start encoding lyrics in mp3s as metadata and then allowing us to search our mp3 collection via lyrics?

Thanks, S.

More on money and value

Saturday, January 4th, 2014

TL;DR=Conservatives appear to me to think that what defines what we can afford is the number of dollars available, not the amount of food, concrete, steel, and other real resources available, and that is a problem

For more about this, see

So, I’ve been thinking lately about how what money is worth – and what liberals and conservatives believe is possible – represents our faith in ourselves. When conservatives talk about how there’s not enough money to solve problem X – where problem X might be homelessness, hunger, health care – or whatever – essentially what they are saying is that they don’t have faith in humanity’s ability to come up with enough resources to solve these issues. In a previous post, I discussed the dichotomy between value and money, and explained how we often destroy the former in our chase for the latter because we have a corrupted and confused idea about what money is and what it represents. I’ve also talked about how in order to accurately abstract the value available to humanity, the government should be printing and handing out large amounts of money every year, because the amount of value available to us increases every year, often by leaps and bounds as we discover new things. In a future article, I will discuss how certain types of patent hoarding destroy value and make us all poorer so that a few corperations can garner more money, and why that’s a undesirable thing. But in this article, I am going to talk about the whole idea that we can’t do things like universal health care because “we can’t afford it”.

The conservative approach to anything that involves giving resources to people is “we can’t afford it”, with the automatic assumption that the conservative will somehow be less wealthy if those lazy welfare moms get a free ice cream sundae. Now, in fact, we probably can afford it – with all we know about automation and science, and all we’re learning, we could probably feed everyone, clothe everyone, give them all free houses, etc. If our goal were to give everyone everything tangible they wanted, we probably could give them that experience. (more on that later) Whether it would be good for them is another, more complicated question, because many people have a need to draw self-esteem from their jobs, from the feeling that they’re doing something useful.

I suspect if you told a lot of people that it was possible for us to feed all the hungry, house all the homeless, etc, without taking any wealth from their pocket at all, their response would still be that we shouldn’t do it – “Because I had to work for this, if they get it free, it makes my work less meaningful and it’s not fair” is one possible explanation of this, while another one is “But if we didn’t give them free food, we could give me more.”. Conservatives, please contact me and tell me I’m wrong if I am, so I can update this and learn more about how you see the world.

I would argue that the simple knowledge that there are people starving and cold and homeless makes us all less wealthy, and that some people have not taken some factors into account.

Now, I’m going to digress from that for a minute to state something. I think everyone deserves everything they want, except insofar as the things they want are hurting other people. I even think people deserve to have the *experience* of hurting other people if they want it – just that no other people should actually be hurt. I think this is technologically achievable and I think it’s desirable.

Now on the other paw, there are those who say that we only appriciate the things we earn. I think it’s possible that this is somewhat true on earth but I think it is the result of our culture – I do not think our culture does a good job of programming us to be healthy and happy – in fact I think it often does a good job of programming us *not* to be healthy and happy. I think it would be possible to build a set of beliefs under which we could be given things and appriciate them even though we didn’t have to work for them – and I think this is a desirable thing to do, because I think – yes, really – we should be trying to give everyone everything they want.

Anyway, back to the question of “we can’t afford it.” Many times, our need to not take care of our fellow man so we can feel good about how they aren’t getting “something for nothing” ultimately costs us far more in real value than just giving them what they need would. I’ve heard of cases where people have looked at the cost of having homeless vs. the cost of sheltering them, and the cost in dollars was actually higher to keep them homeless (see Now, I suppose we could just actually say “well, if you’re homeless, you don’t deserve to live” and just execute them and/or provide no services at all. However, I’d *really* rather not live on the planet that would make that decision.

Often, in the case of theft, it would be far cheaper just to give the criminals what they wanted to steal than to keep them in jail, for example. But we’re horrified by the idea that someone could get something for nothing – even though, as automation and the number of people wanting jobs goes up, we have far more hands to build things than we have things that need built.

For some of this, I blame the particular set of morals that our modern world espouses. I think the idea that we deserve to suffer is wound all throughout several of our religions, and I think it’s deeply flawed. We *don’t* deserve to suffer. We *choose* to suffer, as a race and as individuals, and to some extent we have not yet figured out how *not* to suffer, and we do deserve the freedom to *choose* to suffer, but we also deserve the freedom to choose not to.

Anyway, back to the whole money thing. Part of why I am a left-winger is I have optimism, and hope. I believe that we *can* afford to treat everyone well, that human ingenuity and creativity is more than up to the task of making us all wealthy, healthy, loved, and well cared for. I believe that the reason it looks like, on paper, that we can’t is that we have a system of accounting that is fatally flawed, and I think we should all be holding the people who are upholding that system accountable for that, as well as educating them as to why their system fails to abstract value and is keeping us all far more poor in real value than we should be.

Of course part of the problem is that the issue at hand can get attached to theology – the honest and deeply held belief that people don’t deserve anything unless they work for it, that people should have to work harder than they are, that the poor are somehow not good enough to be anything more than poor, that they’re all gaming the system and they deserve to suffer for that.

I did have a good conversation with a member of my extended family which opened my eyes to the one glaring problem with the welfare state – that generally people need something to make them feel useful (as I’ve said, I think we could fix this culturally so people realized they were a positive force just by being them, and having friends, and living) and so people on welfare have self-esteem issues that result from them not feeling like they are useful. And I won’d deny that I would probably go nuts if I didn’t have some sort of work to do to occupy my time (although as has been mentioned many times before I really wish that that work was more music and less IT)

Note that this article has been edited from the original, which I feel was bringing in issues that are irrelevant to the discussion.

Now that we’ve talked about that, perhaps it is time to look at Resource Allocation As A Group