Archive for December, 2020

Another example of flawed conservative thought

Thursday, December 31st, 2020

So, one of the challenges that I’ve talked about repeatedly is how money isn’t value, it is a pointer to it. And I think this is a important thing to remember, just in general. However, someone who will remain nameless talked about how Biden “was going to stop all fracking and it was going to make things more expensive for me”.

Well, first of all, Biden’s not going to stop all fracking. He’s just going to keep us from expanding fracking. But second of all, fracking is something we do that increases costs to all of us enormously. It’s a monumentally dumb thing to do because we’re damaging the most valuable resource on the planet, water, something we all need, in order to get something that’s readily available, energy. (The sky is literally raining soup here.)

The thing that you have to remember, when thinking about this, is fracking’s cost is hidden in the future. It’s huge – probably trillions of dollars – but you don’t pay it now, you pay it 20 or 50 or 100 years from now.

If you don’t frack, we have less natural gas and we have to depend on other sources of power. (The same friend pointed out that there are clouds and days with no wind – I didn’t point out about hydro and pumped storage, or flow batteries, or electrolysis and hydrogen.)

Now, if we do the sensible thing (solar, hydro, wind, next-gen nuclear) all of the sources of power will be considerably cheaper in measured cost to get them than fracking. The cost of energy *in real resources and human lives* will go *down*.

If we do frack, we destroy the groundwater, we lose millions of gallons of water to the process, and we condemn our children to have to spend trillions of dollars cleaning up our mess. Naturally republicans are in favor, because to them, the money *is* the value. They see it making greenbacks now, and the idea of tracing value flows instead of tracing money is beyond them.

It opens a interesting side idea. What about a government where in order to serve as a congresscritter, you have to show certain abilities? A meritocracy, in other words. I would *love* to see a sport pilot license as a minimum requirement to be a congresscritter. (Learning to fly a airplane teaches you a lot of important life lessons). Even more interesting would be one in which you had to show significant proficiency in C. (Hey, at least that way I’d know they knew what pointers *were*)



COVID vaccines – we’re not very bright sometimes

Thursday, December 31st, 2020

So, our strategy for COVID vaccinations is both lousy and stupid.

I quote USA TODAY: “More than 12.4 million vaccine doses have been distributed across the U.S., while nearly 2.8 million doses have been administered as of Thursday, per CDC data


We shouldn’t be handing the task of figuring out who gets vaccines to the government. We shouldn’t be doing *anything* to overcomplicate this. Whoever shows up to get a vaccines, gets vaccinated. First come, first serve.


While we may minimize deaths by trying to vaccinate the most vulnerable first, we are probably maximizing spread, because these are the people least likely to be travelling, working, etc. The most optimum situation is to just get shots in arms, as quickly as posssible. Ask people to make their best guess as to what wave they should be in, and then show up and get vaccinated.


We’re not going to hit the most optimum choice of who gets vaxxed when no matter what – I’d need weeks of playing with a computer to even approximate the right answer to that. But by trying to optimize it,  and inserting a bunch of bureaucratic bullshit, we might well hit the most pessimal case.


So, my basic message – which will get ignored – is, people running the country, every person who gets vaccinated is a minimum of one less case, and if they’re a busy, active, travelling, or interfacing with the people case, it’s like 3-300. Until we’re down to less than a million vaxes in reserve, give it to anyone who will take it.




Thursday, December 31st, 2020

One of the things I really struggle with re: Trump – and a friend of mine reminded me of this the other day – is that, angry as he has made many people, and as much damage as he has done, it’s difficult to call him a worse president than Dubya.

The reason for that is, Trump didn’t start a war. Dubya killed at least a million innocents in a war over false pretenses that was largely to make money for America’s oil companies and military-industrial complex.

Now, Trump did many things that one would have expected to start a war. I think some of what happened here is the world recognized that he is, in fact, a toddler, and used some forbearance – partially because we cannot afford to have WWIII. (And hopefully – this is probably too much to ask, but hopefully – we will retool our democracy so that the loser of the popular vote can never again get into office, since that would have saved us from *BOTH* Trump and Dubya. Of course, it’s unfortunately also a open question whether Hillary would have started a war with Russia.)

However – with the side note that the jury is still out on how much Trump egged on a war between the left and right by repeatedly lying to the very gullible – Trump only got about 200k innocents killed as compared with Dubya’s million – and that’s based on the very difficult to verify theory that a more capable leader would have done a better job of managing COVID. (I do note we’re coming up on *double* the number of cases of our closest competitor – and they are a country with 3x our population – but I also note that America’s very stupid money-above-all-else capitalism-throw-everyone-but-the-billionares-under-the-bus was always going to result in us having the most cases)

My hope is that we’ll learn from all this. Another thing I was thinking about while I was doing my finger exercises today is that one of the big problems with America and maybe just with humanity in general is that money tends to buy power, but having excessive money tends to lead to brain damage. (From my point of view, having excessive money is also usually a sign of brain damage – unless you’re planning to build some enormous project like a spacecraft or a singularity, having excess money is letting the tool use you instead of using the tool – and I’ve known some pretty unhappy billionares personally or two-degrees-of-seperation, so I know of what I speak here. Not being able to have enough even when you have too much is a disease)

Another problem I suspect that comes up is that the children of billionaires never have to solve any really difficult challenges so they don’t learn as much as the children of other people, but they still end up with excessive amounts of power because they inherit the money. This is another good demonstration of part is wrong with Trump (who is one of the worst businesspeople I’ve ever read about – as I’ve mentioned elsewhere if he had just put the money from his father in a mutual fund he’d have a lot more money than he does, and of course we all know about his leaning on America’s “Socialism, but only for the rich” by having repeated bankruptcies.

Anyway, despite my criticisms, I am still thinking Trump deserves recognition as a Republican who’s managed to not start any wars.

300 hours

Thursday, December 31st, 2020

So, this marks 300 hours since I installed a hour meter on my mixer (June 27th, I believe)

Results of 4 axis test

Tuesday, December 29th, 2020

(Test at



I can’t decide if I’m sad that I’m not more ‘woke’ or happy – a lot of the questions in the quiz make me question whether 100% woke is a wise place to be.


The many meanings of God

Tuesday, December 29th, 2020

So, one of the things I have pondered over the years is how when people use the word God, they might mean any of several things

1) A personification of a massively powerful entity, possibly a superuser. Sometimes this entity is also strongly benevolent or wise, and sometimes this entity is .. less than wise, less than benevolent, or both. (I find the Official Christian God ™ to be fundamentally evil, for example). This sometimes coincides with the creator of all things, or a subset of them, who sometimes is a engineer / intelligent designer and sometimes just likes to throw some stuff on the wall to see what sticks

2) The broadcast address i.e. some sort of connection between all living things, or at least a direction one would send messages for all living things. My theory is this is what people who say “Oh, God” during sex are thinking of

3) Similar to the above, a shortcut for $PERSON_OR_GROUP_I_DONT_DIRECTLY_KNOW – for example “Thank God for cell phones” or “Thank God for dogs” both go not to #1 but to a specific group of people working over centuries to make things better

4) A interesting seldom case – infinity itself. This isn’t God (#1), it’s the set of all sets, the collection of all possible strings, the number line. It’s in fact bigger than God (#1) and not even the most powerful superuser can destroy it. In some ways, it forms the bounds of things that not even God (#1) could possibly change, which is a interesting essay that I am not going to try to write because I am not nearly a good enough mathematician to get it right.

There’s some other possibilities, but they’re less pervasive. The reason I was penning this, though, is because I’ve always wondered for the musicians who write “Thank God for the music”, what exactly they are thinking.

One of the problems with a variant of #1 practiced by some religions is that they believe that we can never be the originator of anything good. Thusly, “Thank God for the music” because God is the origin of music but we are not.

However, one thing we know from earlier in the blog is that God can no more be the origin of music than we can, because music is in fact eternal and out of the scope of things which can be created or destroyed. Music is part of the number line. You can *find* music, but you can’t exactly *create* it, although the effort of finding it is in itself sort of a creative work

From my point of view, it’s appropriate to think all four of the above for the music (depending on whether you think #1 exists – but as I’ve also said elsewhere, I find the idea that we’re the biggest and most powerful things in the universe depressing and, to be honest, extremely unlikely. I also find Christianity depressing and extremely unlikely.. see the rest of this blog etc for what I think is really going on. I should probably write more essays about that too.)

I myself think I may start adding this to my liner notes in the future, with my strongest thanks to #3 and #4.

A new understanding of a old proverb

Sunday, December 27th, 2020

So, I was reading a post by one of the christians who I *do* think understands love – Jesus Shaves – and I had one of those sudden moments of connecting the dots.

We’ve all heard that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into heaven. But I never really got it in quite the way that I did today.

With the POV that heaven is not a literal place but a state of mind, and the understanding that the “rich” on earth are not rich in the sense that I would like to be rich, it makes some sense. Too much can be as much of a burden as not enough, and certainly a obsession with material wealth that can never be filled is a guarantee of a absence of happiness.


Wednesday, December 9th, 2020

So, I think various people have talked about how clearly we’re less wealthy than we once were insofar as once a single worker could pay for a entire family to have a house and food and the like, whereas now two workers can barely pay for a family to have a apartment.

I was musing last night that even the most wealthy among us are not winning by my standards. This is not what winning looks like. I *know* what winning looks like – as I’ve said, it’s a bunch of friends and the holodeck. It’s also knowing that everyone that everyone you know knows has food and shelter and isn’t one wrong move away way from losing these things.

Of course, this is part of why I scorn so harshly the republican ideal of “personal responsibility”. We’re not gods, and life has no undo button, so in essence what they are saying is “people with bad luck deserve to starve so people with good luck can have two yachts”. It’s not a way to build a world I want to live in, but unfortunately we’re stuck with these people because they can’t be convinced that they are wrong – they have a religious attachment to their beliefs.

(And, lately, they’re willing to lie, steal, and cheat in order to keep those beliefs controlling the world. The bit about lying about the election having been stolen – and the number of them apparently dumb enough to believe the lie – is depressing. It’s impressive I suppose that Dear Leader is self centered enough to be willing to swing a sledgehammer at the idea of us being one functioning country if it will make him a few more million.)

(I actually had a friend who was gullible enough to believe that Trump wouldn’t need to take any money from people because he already had enough. This is wrong both because for people like Trump there will never be enough and because Trump is in fact upside down and probably owes the russian mob money as well. Anyway, he’s recently collected $200 million claiming it was for preventing election fraud but if you read the fine print it’s to pay down debts)

Anyway, I’ve talked before about how I want a different world – dramatically different – than the religious right and the small government right want. (Of course, ironically, the right is the party of big government – big war machine government in particular). But I also want a different world than the left appears to be championing. It seems like everyone is thinking *way* too small. It’s got to be a sign of something dramatically wrong that someone working full time can no longer afford to rent a apartment, and we really should be demanding that the bankers fix it before they find themselves no longer in control of anything. But instead we’re all pointing fingers at some of the most laughable, most obviously *not* the problem things there are – like immigrants. It takes a special kind of stupid – which unfortunately it seems a large number of people are – to think that immigrants are the problem. It takes not noticing that taxes are not really the problem ,among other things. If we gave that full time minimum wage employee all their taxes back, they still couldn’t afford to rent a apartment. We’ve built a resource allocation system that makes real value disappear.

Sheer covers Leonard Cohen’s “Democracy”

Saturday, December 5th, 2020

Sheer covers Leonard Cohen’s “Democracy”

As per usual, Arthur St James was the associate audio engineer, and I was everything else.

Government of the poor, by the rich, for the rich

Saturday, December 5th, 2020

So, I have been thinking about how often our ostensibly “representative government” does not represent. One impressive demonstration of this is marijuana legislation, but there are many. If one does some digging, one can quite often find things that 70% of the population or more is in favor of, but congress has no interest in implementing. A less evil health care system would be one obvious example. And I realized, the reason for this is that our government is in fact of the poor, by the rich, for the rich, and always has been. Our founding fathers had no intention originally of letting poor folks (them as don’t own land) vote at all, and the republican party has been keeping up the tradition of voter suppression in ways small and large for most of our lifetimes. And, while the democrats are marginally less evil (they generally are willing to allow some small social safety networks), they are also a bunch of rich old white dudes (with a few exceptions that they routinely lambast, like Bernie and AOC) who have no intention of taking care of the poor – the goal here is to make sure that the poor stay nicely enslaved so the rich can afford multiple yachts.


If we had the ability to make any changes.. which we don’t, really, the rich have always been in charge and probably always will be in charge.. one thing we should consider doing is requiring congress to consist of individuals that are proportionally representative in wealth to the people they represent. (We could also try to get them to be representative in gender and race)


I’m not actually sure how this would work given that you need people to opt in to being representatives for representative government and them as don’t have are not likely to have the spare time and energy to run for government. But what we’ve got right now is clearly not representing us at all.