5/31/22 (20:24)
  • The Uvalde shooting has been in the news lately. When there's a bombing or terrorist attack I've heard some Muslims secretly praying that it wasn't a Muslim guy. Well, when it's a mass shooting I'm praying it isn't a white guy. It's just such a dumb narrative, but that's where we are with all the race stuff these days.
  • The issue of guns is obviously in the media cycle now and nothing is likely to happen even though Democrats are in charge of the executive and both houses of Congress. I'm not a staunch 2A guy and I've written plenty of times before about my thoughts about the issue...basically I think guns are another tool and they get maligned by people who have never even seen one, much less used one. It's amazing how many reporters and anti-gun people admit that they have panic attacks around guns. It's a piece of metal. I don't get the overreaction, but whatever. Actually, I do. It's about ignorance. They don't understand how it works or that it can be used for a variety of things and so they freak out. I think people have the right to hunt for food or sport. I think people have the right to protect themselves.
  • At any rate, I think the laws need to reflect the seriousness of the power that comes with having a gun. It should be difficult to acquire a gun. Also, if you're serious about people dying from guns then you should be talking about handguns, not long guns like the much maligned AR-15. Hand guns kill many more people than long guns (I think it's like 9:1). Also, most gun homicides are not mass shooting type events. They are gang related or drug related or domestic dispute related. Basically, it's people who know each other who are taking it to the ultimate level. I don't think that changing the gun laws will do much to lower gun homicide. Oddly, criminals don't follow the law. There are some interesting ideas around requiring insurance or going after gun shops that sell to people who then use the gun in a crime. So, on the margin, there are some things we can do to address the issue, but I'm not super hopeful that any of it will be helpful.
  • Of the last 3 presidents, I believe that Trump is the only one to have actually passed any gun restrictions. So, if you care about gun control, perhaps you should applaud Trump. After the Las Vegas mass shooting he passed a ban on bump stocks. I don't think Obama or Biden did anything of substance.
  • Anyway, we need fewer idiots with guns. I'd like to focus on the idiots part of the equation, but I'm not opposed to working on the guns part of the equation at the same time.
  • Other news is that there's a shortage of baby formula. There are some people who don't even try to breast feed and I find this absolutely baffling. But there are some who don't produce enough or it's super painful or for a variety of other reasons they need formula. So this is obviously a big deal and it's another example of G(overnment) meddling and ruining the market. We effectively have 4 producers of formula providing milk for the entire country. G effectively shut down the biggest one (for justifiable reasons) and now we're fucked. This is why having core principles that guide governance is so important. One of those core principals has to be simple stuff like "don't put all your eggs in one (or four) basket(s)." Honestly, if you just govern by aphorisms you're probably 80% of the way there. Sometimes aphorisms conflict and so you need some common sense, critical thinking, localized knowledge, etc. to make a decision, but aphorisms are aphorisms for a reason. They are collective knowledge passed down through the generations. This is a de facto conservative principle, though conservatives don't do a good job of communicating this fact.
  • If you dig into this particular G fuck up you see that G restricted foreign competition (for supposed safety reasons...safetyism fucks us again), they made it onerous to enter into the market (again because of safety)...they highly regulated every aspect of the production and distribution, and, via WIC, they made it so that whatever producer won the WIC business on the state level became the primary provider and thus gave that company got a near monopoly. They effectively claimed they were doing it all to be as safe as possible and reduced competition and increased barrier to entry in the process.
  • With all these issues the particulars are interesting, but usually not all that unique or important. The general is more important. Usually what happens when you reduce competition is you have fewer firms competing over the same number of consumers and the consumers pay the price. Either in higher prices or inferior product. Often the reduction in competition comes as a result of increased barrier to entry via increased regulation. There's a reason FB/Meta wants regulation - not only does it put the ball out of their court, it also raises the bar for entry so startups are less able to compete. G claims they are doing this in our best interest, and they may even believe their own rhetoric. Unfortunately the principle holds that if you decrease competition, the people get screwed. If you put your eggs in fewer baskets, the people get screwed. The important thing when it comes to monopolies isn't if Google or Apple dominates the market, it's the ease with which their excess profits can be competed away. Business is hard enough as it is, but when G makes it even harder, capital allocators will just take their money elsewhere and competition will wither. Allow and encourage competition and the people win. Allow and encourage competition and monopolies won't last.
  • It's pretty hilarious to me that there are a lot of atheist liberal people who claim there is a God, but they don't realize they're making that argument. Let me rewind...The contention is that AI will eventually get so powerful and realistic that you could be in a simulation and not even realize it....basically the same as The Matrix. These same people will then say that since this AI and computing power is essentially inevitable that it means it's much more likely that it's already happened and we are living in one of those simulations than that we are actual real people living outside of a simulation. In other words, 200 years from now computers and AI will be so advanced that any 16 year old will have access to a Sim City like engine that could create an entire world. In this reality there will be thousands, or millions, or billions of simulations running. The likelihood that we are living in one of those simulations is much higher than that we are living in the real life that we think.
  • All this is to say that yes, there is intelligent design and there is a God. It's just that intelligent design is some computer program and God is whatever kid is running the game of this Sim world.
  • I think I've talked about this many times before, but it seems fitting here. There's the horseshoe theory of politics that posits that, on some issues, the left and the right ends are actually closer together than the middle (imagine that they are the ends of the horseshoe that almost meets at the bottom of the upside down U). It's not a great way of explaining the political spectrum, but it's a theory. I think there could be said to be a similar phenomenon with intelligence. Sometimes people are so smart that they actually become pretty close to being dumb. Fed Reserve chair people are a good example...they actually thought that inflation would be transitory. The super geniuses who think that MMT could actually work. Maybe the super geniuses who believe we're living in a simulation, but also think it's crazy to believe in God fit into that category as well. Sometimes you go so far around the world that you end up right back where you started.
  • I continue to be skeptical that Elon will actually buy Twitter. I honestly can't believe it's gone as far as it has. Funny how the media gloms onto these things and basically reports it as if it's a done deal. I never thought he would just up and sell his Tesla stock to overpay for Twitter. Now he's trying to wriggle out of it. Should be interesting to see how he gets out of the deal, or if he's just leveraging for a better price.
  • Another thing I never believed the media on was the war in Ukraine being a quickie. How many times has the media said a war will be quick and then it takes years? Everyone thinks/claims the war will be quick, but it's hardly ever the case. War has its momentum and we're just slaves to it. Vietnam had a gravity to it that just sucked us in more and more. Germany thought both the world wars would be quick. US thought Iraq would be quick. If the adversary doesn't want you there then it's going to be hell. My advice to invading armies is to win quickly or retreat and take your lumps. It hardly ever works out well for the invader if they try to occupy and outlast the host country. Didn't work well for Germany in USSR. Didn't work well for USSR in Finland. Didn't work well for USSR in Afghanistan. Didn't work well for US in Vietnam. Doesn't matter how big your dick is - if they don't want you around, then you'll be pulling out eventually. Ukrainians aren't a bunch of chumps. Russia isn't going to have a good time there and this will drag on as long as Russia wants to keep it up, because I don't see Ukraine giving in. The media don't know shit because they're overeducated morons.
  • I did something with the Java code and now my archive pull down isn't working. Going to be a couple months before I can have the time to fix it. Blah.

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    5/16/22 (22:02)

  • Long day. 13 hours working and driving. Back hurts.
  • We bit off a lot and we're absolutely drowning in work. One guy taking a week off next week. Another guy took a week off a couple weeks ago. Then the usual missed days here and there because of immigration, family issues, etc. Missed days aside, we just have too much work right now. Luckily I picked up some temporary help - a nephew of two of my current guys. So, we're at 6 guys plus me and still just treading water.
  • Truck is in the shop at the worst possible time, but it was due for a couple things and I don't have the time to do it myself so I'm hoping this new place can take care of things before it leaves me stranded at an even worse time.
  • Edwin finally got his papers...he's been a refugee from Guatemala for 3 years and he finally got the papers. Long process. Good news for him. Now hopefully I can get him to paint a room without destroying a paint brush or dripping everywhere...
  • Lots of things happened in the last month or so...
  • Will Smith slapped Chris Rock. At first I thought it was a publicity stunt/joke, but then I saw the video and it appeared to be genuine. The people sticking up for him are truly lost. I heard some defending him on the grounds that it was great to see a man stand up for a black woman. I mean, we're really losing our minds at this point. And just imagine reactions if the races were different. God, we're living in such fraught and idiotic times. Depressing. That's all the energy I have for that one right now.
  • Roe vs. Wade appears to be going down. The leaking of the draft is a big deal and I think it should lead to professional consequences (accountability being a top priority). I don't know how much I buy that it is putting lives at risk or any of that. I am pretty much a judicial realist at this point. I think that judges essentially have an opinion and then rationalize towards that. In that way I think they are as human as any of us, only more well-equiped to rationalize things, seeing as they are all of greater intelligence than the average person. I've joked before about...from 11/21/06: "i've also thought quite a bit about the abortion issue lately. i think it comes down to this: when do i believe life begins? well, i've looked back at my old ap biology textbook and found a clear definition of life, a definition that includes all lifeforms. comparing this with fetal progression charts i've come to the conclusion that human life occurs 392 hours after conception. so, my stated opinion is that abortion should be legal before this scientifically proven timeframe. after this time we must consider the child a human being, and thus abortion would be considered murder. i am a reasonable person, though. i understand that the woman is also a human with her own will, needs, wants, and rights. thus i have developed a secondary solution for the time frame between the 392 hour non-human window and birth. henceforth we shall treat these baby humans as renters, and the women as landlords. thus, the government will pay the women a small rent on behalf of the child during this window. this, of course, will be worked off by the child at a later date. further, if the woman wishes to abort her child past the 392 hour window she must give her renter one month notice. this notice must be filed in duplicate to HUD (the department of housing and urban development) as well as a new agency which will be created to link vacant landlords with renters looking for a place to live. in other words, potential surrogates with unwanted babies. if, after one month, the renter has not found a new landlord, the woman is allowed to evict the squatter at her discretion.
  • and with that post i bury all thoughts of ever holding public office."
  • In all seriousness, I think neither side is even remotely capable of steelmanning the other side on this issue. It's amazing how these issues (abortion, gun rights, etc.) turn off peoples' brains so thoroughly. If the pro-choice side had adopted a more moderate stance (like that of many European nations) earlier then maybe that would have softened opposition a bit. Instead they took the same hard line as some 2A types take on guns. Of course each party is beholden to the nuts at the extremes and I think it's to each parties detriment.
  • The things we can't say anymore is just so strange. You can say that all lives are precious and should be respected. However, if you say that all lives matter you can get fired from your job. 10 years ago such a thing would be impossible to imagine. To imagine a distinction between "all lives are precious" and "all lives matter" and to imagine the consequences for getting that distinction wrong would have been absurd. It still is, we just accept it now.
  • Back to abortion...it's funny to listen to both the left and right on this and see that each side is employing the racism attack to demonize the other. The right points out that fact that the Planned Parenthood founder (Margaret Sanger) was a eugenicist and they claim this means that abortion is about aborting unfit babies, which would include black babies. Then the left will say that white supremacists wanted to stop black babies from being born and encouraged white women to "open their loins" and procreate to further the race. I don't think any of them really care about the history of abortion. I think one side wants it and the other doesn't. From there they will find whatever facts help their side or hurt the other and deploy those accordingly.
  • Some great 1-2 year stretches in movie/music history - Julie Andrews in Sound of Music and Mary Poppins in back to back years. Black Sabbath first two albums in 1970. Led Zeppelin I and II in 1969. Beatles with Help!, Rubber Soul, Revolver in 1965-1966. Victor Fleming with Gone With The Wind and Wizard of Oz in 1939.
  • Evolution is beautiful, but not pretty.
  • Speaking of film history...There was an antitrust case in 1948 (US vs. Paramount) that was essentially about vertical integration. The film studios wanted to be able to produce and distribute films as they desired. So, MGM would produce a film and then release it in MGM theaters only. Fox did the same, etc. This is why you might still see "Fox" theaters like the famous one in Westwood. The US won the case and so you had theaters that were separated from the film studios. MGM movies could play alongside Warner Brothers, etc. What's funny about this is that it seems to have been completely forgotten. Netflix, Apple, Amazon, etc. all do this today and I've literally never heard a single person bring up this case or how it might be applied to the streaming dispersion we see today.