Archive for November, 2014

Arms of the angels

Thursday, November 27th, 2014

This track is quite a triumph of technology.. my friend Esen (who I’m sure you all remember from many great tracks in 2004) sent me this as a vocal take recorded on a iPhone!. Stock. No fancy mic, no fancy software, recorded in the audio notes app.

I’ve always loved the track, and I couldn’t resist the challenge – could it be polished up? Without spending too much time on it?

Two hours later, this was the result, which I can’t stop listening to: Arms Of The Angels.

Avoiding facebook

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

So, I am again avoiding facebook. I’ve set to in /etc/hosts on my mac and C:\Windows\System32\Drivers\etc\hosts on my PC to help remind me that I’m avoiding it. This time, it was a post of my mother’s that drove me over the edge.. I considered just unfriending her, but I decided that it would be far more productive to just unfriend the whole system.

See, the thing is, Facebook doesn’t make me happy. I think part of it is that people repeatedly post religious and political messages on it, and I have enough friends who are right wing for that to get incredibly depressing – but part of it is just that it’s kind of like reading a list of all the people who are having lives while I am working 9.7 hours a day (my average last pay period)

One bit of good news is that $LARGE_TIME_HOGGING_CLIENT has given me a week off in November and another in December. I’ve given a few days of that to other clients, but I’m currently hogging the majority of it for me.

Anyway, so, if you don’t see me on facebook, it’s because I’m avoiding it

Pink Floyd confused about musc?

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

So, at least according to some sites, Nick Mason has stated that U2 releasing their most recent album for free ‘devalues music’. I think Mr. Mason is confused about value.

(Yes, this is part of a recurring series on the topic of value, which I think is a important topic for us all to understand if we want to have a amazing future instead of a dystopian one)

There are some things that become more valuable the more of them are wandering around in the world. A single fax machine, a single computer, not particularly valuable. Two fax machines, two computers, and now you have a network. Add more fax machines or computers, and you’re making them more valuable because more people can use them to get things done.

Music and movies and books are very similar. They form a cultural rosetta stone that can assist us in communicating with each other. They often transcend the notes and words they are made of to capture emotion and spirit and story in ways that aid communication. So, the more copies of a song are out there, the more people have been exposed to it, the *more* valuable it is.

Thinking that scarcity and price define value is a cognitive distortion that can lead to a number of unhappy things. While the free market economy makes it *appear* that scarcity means value, it is a illusion. It might raise the price, but it doesn’t make the whatever the scarce object is able to do any more or be any more, except for the few sick people who get pleasure from knowing they can have something no one else can have.

Another cop thought

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

So, earlier I suggested that we should have live streaming video cameras on all cops. That appears to be being implemented. Now I suggest we take it further.

Cop guns should be extremely smart, armed with video recognition and a fair host of complex software, and should refuse to shoot to kill without authorization from a operator who is not at the scene of the crime, but rather is sitting watching from dispatch.

Think about it. At the scene, often emotions are running rather high. Most of the time that cops shoot a innocent, I suspect that it’s a case of the emotions of the cops are making them incapable of making good decisions. Someone sitting and watching the show from elsewhere would likely have a much better evaluation of whether the cops were actually in any danger.

I am actually suggesting that the guns be smart enough to refuse to fire if the cop is aiming for a kill shot rather than a disabling shot unless either the onboard computer (via video recog realizing the target has a weapon drawn) or the dispatcher (away from the scene and not as involved emotionally) has enabled that functionality. I would also suggest we consider similar limitations for tasers to avoid cops abusing them – while tasers are not generally lethal they still can be abused in a number of ways.

I think we as a society need to be thinking about ways to end “the thin blue line”. It’s not moral, correct, or something we want in our worlds for our guardians to abuse their power whenever they want, secure in the impunity that nothing bad will happen to them because they are the cops and therefore are above the law.


Monday, November 3rd, 2014

So, I think I’ve talked on here.. certainly I’ve discussed with various of my friends.. how the best defense against a resentment is gratitude. And certainly I have a lot of resentment towards certain aspects of my childhood exposure to religion.

However, there is undoubtedly a appropriate grattitude here. Several, in fact. First, I’m not required to be any religion. The country I live in enforces no state religion, and the majority of the people in my life will be friends with me, and treat me well, regardless of what religion I am or am not.

Second, I don’t have to believe the bible. My mind is not so damaged that I can’t see the parts of it that are clearly sick and disturbing (things like the story of Job) as anything other than some very afraid people making up some very disturbing stories.

Third, I have a number of reasons to think that my final resting place does not in any way hinge on whether or not I believe the bible. My experiences with the spiritual universe have repeatedly suggested to me that I am not going to hell unless I choose to go to hell, and that the bible is out to lunch, and I get repeated reinforcement of this idea.

Fourth, the effect of some of the most poisonous beliefs of the bible is fading with time. I don’t have ‘brain bleach’ exactly, but I do have rational thought trained with over half a million lines of code written in languages that are strictly rational. Against that type of rational thought, the more broken and poisonous ideas in the religion can not stand, while the good and worthwhile ideas (and there are some, especially in the words of Jesus) stand even stronger. Rational thought turns out to be quite a powerful tool for combatting irrational fear.

So, I’m grateful both for the freedom to not believe that there’s anything wrong with the many things the Bible suggests you should kill people over, the freedom to live in a world where even fundamentalists are not allowed to stone gay people and witches, and the freedom to live in a world which contains the tools to fight the more disturbing aspects of the religion I had (at least somewhat) crammed down my throat. I also think I live in a world where increasingly we would not strongly pressure children to get confirmed even if they didn’t completely agree with or understand the religion they were supposed to be getting confirmed in. I think increasingly we don’t see children as property, but rather as fellow travellers. I even see signs that increasingly we don’t see pets as property, but as fellow travellers. And that’s all to the good.

I’m grateful for the growth and positive change I see. While I’m at it, I’m grateful that I am not required to own or even know how to use any weapons, that I’m not required to serve in our military, that I’m not required to be in favor of the state’s beliefs about money, or power – that I in fact can apparently openly criticize the state (I’ve done so many times in many forums) and no punishment results. I’m grateful for my freedom to disagree with our government, and with our societal constructs, which I do indeed seem to have. Repeated tests have suggested that at l east within the context of my web site, I do have freedom of speech.

Dividing lines..

Sunday, November 2nd, 2014

Of course, I have to be honest, there is a lot of good stuff in the Bible too. A lot of what jesus said, some of the psalms. I wonder if I did a line item edit on the book, splitting it into things that make me feel angry, things that make me feel good, and things I’m totally indifferent to, what I’d learn.

Not that it would do anything to get all the awful parts of it out of my head. I need brain bleach.

The apple

Sunday, November 2nd, 2014

So, in Genesis it’s often spoken of how we got thrown out of the garden for consuming a particular bit of fruit. Interestingly, this fruit is describe as “the knowledge of good and evil”. That sounds a awful lot like religion (at least, religious adherents certainly seem to *claim* that they know what good and evil are, perhaps in fact they know better than the rest of us)

Could it be Christianity *was* the apple? That we’re forcing the apple down our children’s throats even as the text of the bible, in the very beginning, underlines the fact that we shouldn’t actually be trying to know what good and evil are? (That in fact, knowing them might bring them to life in our minds in ways that are particularly hard on our existence not to mention our ability to enjoy ourselves?)

I mean, I will admit, I’m hostile to religions. I believe in at least one and possibly many higher powers, I believe in all sorts of “religious” things, but I hate the religions I see and would rather not have anything to do with them. It finally occured to me that I don’t in fact have to read *any* religious texts, so I stopped. Gave up searching them, because there was too much noise and too little signal and it frankly *hurts my head* that *most of the people in this country* believe this.. horrible stuff.

I won’t waste my time, or yours if I actually have any readers left that aren’t bots, enumerating. You either already agree with me or you won’t hear me or won’t understand what I’m saying, so, what’s the point. I’m moving on.

How does one uneat a apple? I feel tainted by the texts I’ve read.. I’d describe them as unclean, with a lot of toxic ideas. I think I’d describe the God of the bible as

A) Someone who regularly abused their powers. No, it’s not moral because you’re all powerful.
B) Difficult to believe. Not at all congruent with my experience of reality. My experience of reality suggests if we do have a god or gods, they’re good people or at the very least indifferent to us.
C) A really unhealthy set of things to believe in. Remembering my thesis that the connection between what you believe and what you experience is a bidirectional one – that your beliefs form resonant filters that shape your experiences – do you want to believe God would casually make a bet with a angel and torment a guy because of it? And you think you should WORSHIP this guy? Destroy the entire world via water (changing all sorts of physical constants to suit his whims) and then promise not to destroy the world again *that way*. (I’ll come up with something else next time). And these people describe this guy as being *LOVING*? Maybe in a dysfunctional the-kind-of-love-that-destroys you way. But that is not love as I know it.

Wish I could just type DELETE FROM BOOKS_STORED_IN_MEMORY_OF_SHEER WHERE Book_Title LIKE ‘%Bible%’ and be done with it. I suspect (as does Neil Stephenson I would guess) that the book is a neurolinguistic virus. It tells people “Make copies of me and tell your friends about me or they’ll go to hell” and “Don’t change me”. And people oblige. And then it disables their ability to think rationally, to change their minds, to create probability chains, and (my guess) to communicate in any way with their higher power. (It certainly contains the belief that God can’t talk to you because his voice is so powerful it’d kill ya. Yah, way to be all powerful, God!)

I think I’ve talked before about how astonishingly little faith Christians have. Abortion murders.. because God never figured out how to build a hypervisor, or how to make life hypervised so that he could casually only connect souls to bodies that are going to make it. Our religion is the only way – because this all powerful being who is also supposed to be incredibly loving couldn’t have possibly thought of the fact that people are different and need different paths to the light. I could go on for a while, pointing out the many, many ways that religion tends to put the people it’s about (Gods, angels, etc) in incredibly small and I’m fairly sure incredibly inaccurate boxes. My thesis here is that religions tend to be written by black hats, for their own reasons. (personal gain, power, that sort of thing) and that if we had any common sense, we’d realize that you can learn about all sorts of spiritual concepts *without religion*. In fact, the tendency of religions to disable a previously functioning mind really makes me think that if we want to see a lot of great things happen, maybe we should exterminate them from the earth like the damaging virii they are.

Except we can’t. The only way people are going to get better from this disease is one at a time, by thinking it through as individuals. It’s like Sting says.. Men go crazy in congregations, they only get better one by one.

I actually think this is a remarkable description of how I feel about Christianity. It’s like a disease. Now I suppose there are those who would say that it actually makes people happy, that they’re more complete believing in it. The problem is, I have no way to know. I’ve only got a sample size of one – me – and it’s really really really bad for me.

One percent

Sunday, November 2nd, 2014

So, I wanted to write some about one percent, because I think a lot of people think it’s about something completely different than it’s actually about, and also in the hopes that perhaps I’d draw some attention to the existence of Fraud In France, who really seem to get the short end of the stick, web hits wise.

First off, a link to the track:

Fraud In France – One Percent (from practice 21CN)

And the lyrics:

One percent got the money and they have all the rights
Two percent we put in prison for trying to put up a fight
Three percent aren’t sure where their next check’s coming from
Four percent are terrified of everything under the sun

Us and them, you and me
One is the lock and the other is the key
Us and them, you and me
Does our world have a future
(Will we ever be free / To be or not to be)

Tweedledum and Tweedledumber are vying at the polls
Five percent are indifferent, we all know how that goes
Six percent think the president gonna solve all their woes
Seven percent think the president is a wolf in sheep’s clothes


I’m not a number, I am a free man
They tell me nothing, I find out what I can
Some people say that this is all part of the plan
That’s small comfort when the shit done hit the fan


Okay, so, a explanation. The song is actually about the folly of breaking people into different groups and thinking you’re part of one group and not part of another – about the extreme isolation that can come from thinking you’re not “part of” or he (whoever he is, be he a billionare or the bum on the corner, a politician or a saint) isn’t “part of” – about why we shouldn’t divide ourselves into focus groups and factions when there are things that affect all of us that we should address as a whole, and about thinking you and me are not so different, even though there may be some radical differences in the choices we are making or the circles we are flying in.