Something a Little More Uplifintg

Hans Rosling is a very smart man who has a lot to say.  Fortunately, he’s entertaining to listen to.  Given his age and his profession, he is a true scientist.  In his talks and lectures, he presents quite a lot of food for thought.

He has certain ethical commitments that I don’t agree with (he’s a big fan of population controls and contraception as well as curbing greenhouse gasses/fossil fuel use), but he presents the information in a manner that allows one to pick apart the data and make their own analyses.

Today’s Suggestion is this small collection of short videos presented by Rosling.  Consider it a late thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving Pie

I’m sure everyone’s too busy eating turkey and reveling in the whitewashing of history to read my blog today, so I’ll suggest something short and to the point.

I have, here, a short article that blows open the rhetorical “rich get richer and the poor get poorer” fallacy that everyone (even the Pope) seems to have fallen for.  The reality of the matter is the most valuable asset of mankind is human ingenuity.  The poorest individual in America today lives in such a way that (by most metrics) is more wealthy than the french aristocracy of just a few centuries ago, courtesy of competitive marketplace environments and increasing quality of life due to the free market.

What does all this have to do with thanksgiving?  Well, this flawed rhetoric has a name in economics: the “Fixed Pie Fallacy”.

The Rise of Victim Culture

Today’s Resource Suggestion is some food for thought over the Thanksgiving (state-endorsed genocide day) weekend.  This academic article is a survey of modern academic culture (and the areas of mainstream culture it has infected) and an attempted genealogy of victimhood culture.

Microaggression_and_Moral_Cultures

The main draw for me, and the reason I want to draw it to your attention as well, is the correlation the authors find between the oppressive power of the state and the distancing of a culture from virtues such as honor.

This ties closely to a piece I hope to post in January concerning eugenics, the free market, and statism.  This is good reading for the interim, though.

 

Also, in case you have managed to avoid exposure to the blight that is victim culture, here’s an example:

Freedom Through Agorism

The basic tenet of agorism is the belief that through simply disregarding laws and regulations, when coupled with technological advances that circumvent those laws and regulations, will be an effective tactic to either eliminate or escape from the clutches of the state.  I imagine that agorism, without violence and exodus, will not likely succeed.  This is a contentious area of discussion within the philosophies of liberty.

However, this is not a full-post concerning agorism and its strengths and weaknesses (that will have to come sometime next year).  Instead, today, I present to you something that both an agorist and a brutalist would shed a single tear of joy over:

3D printers are the means of production that Marx, Konkin III, and Bergmann each had envisioned as “the end (telos, reason for) of history”.  The AnCaps, also, have a particular place in their hearts for 3D printers, as they are the culmination of centuries of capitalist market forces.  More so than the internet, commercial space flight, or affordable quad-copters (all of which are excellent consumer products created by the free market), 3D printing is possibly the greatest contribution to society to-date.  Even though it is still in it’s infant stages as a technology, 3D printing is becoming increasingly affordable and more resilient.

Today’s resource suggestion is simply a website which showcases different 3D printer designs for things such as firearms.  It’s obviously mostly just an excuse to gush over 3D printers and an open endorsement of manufacturing firearms discreetly and outside the purview of law-enforcement.

Fun Comic: Sam Harris

I actually really enjoy listening to Sam Harris in podcasts, and only slightly less so in lectures and talks.  However, this comic is hilarious.  I believe I recommended Existential Comics in the past, but this one was funny enough that I couldn’t help but share it.

Existential Comics is funny and educational.  If one doesn’t have the requisite philosophy scholarship, each page has a “Didn’t get the joke?” section that explains the philosophy knowledge needed to get the joke.  I imagine that it would be a fun and easy way to learn the sparks’ notes of philosophers’ names and ideas.

http://existentialcomics.com/comic/other/3

Egalitarianism as a Revolt Against Nature

The term “fair” comes up a lot these days.  I have only a limited chronological sample (26 years), and I have not always been as aware of its use as I could have been, but it would seem that my generation (unlike preceding generations) never learned to stop using that word.  When I was five, things being fair was a big deal.  Of course, “fair” meant something different to each person, even grown-ups.  The more conservative (RE: less-socialist) parents would try to make each instance one of desert: “who earned what?” while the egalitarian lefty parents would try to implement some form of social justice: “Your brother is younger and smaller than you, so he always gets to go first and gets more candy.”

Of course, when one grows up, a part of that process is the realization that “life isn’t fair”.  This is because “fair” doesn’t exist, and it’s a self-contradictory concept, no matter how one defines it, much like common conceptions of justice.

Today’s resource suggestion is more Rothbard.  This time, it’s the essay “Egalitarianism as a Revolt Against Nature“.  This is a scathing reductio ad absurdum of the very premise of any sort of “equality-oriented” philosophy (feminism, egalitarianism, socialism, progressivism, statism…).

You can read the text or listen to the audio for free, courtesy of the Mises Institute.

Collectivism: the Bald-Faced Lie

Today, rather than harping on issues in the science community, or pointing out all the irrationality surrounding Paris (I wrote a whole diatribe, several pages in length, and will likely never share it with anyone), I figured I should focus on something more important and more universally applicable (one which applies to both issues, if indirectly).

Rather than discussing the book in its entirety, I would like to suggest reading/listening to the chapter on “The State” from “For a New Liberty

You can also download the full text of “For a New Liberty” here:

For a New Liberty The Libertarian Manifesto

Ben Shade Interview

This week’s full post is another audio-only post.  As compared to last week, though, I get the feeling that this one has a fair amount more utility to provide most listeners/readers.

It’s an interview with Ben Shade, professional biologist.  He provides is unique perspective on the subjects often covered on this blog.

I think you can probably play this at 1.5 speed, so it’s not quite an hour and a half in duration.

Peaceful Parenting and Healthy Risk

Today’s resource suggestion is a concise little article I found on the Washington Post, of all places.  After suggesting you take a couple hours to listen to Cantwell point out why college is stupid and my generation (and my parents’ generation) has doomed us all, I thought a short burst of positivity was in order.

The article’s title makes it sound like a list, but it is more a brief commentary on how not-bubble wrapping your kids is a good idea.

My Last Love-Letter to Science for a While

Today’s resource suggestion is another Cantwell Production.  Like Tom Woods, he consistently produces quality content… and by consistently, I mean 2-3 pieces of content a day that are simply spectacular.  I thought I was done discussing my frustrations with the “scientific” community and people’s misconceptions about how science works, but Cantwell managed to take (almost) everything I had to say on the matter and put it together into this handy little production.

 

He didn’t quite go into the fullest depths of my position concerning philosophy of science, but this effectively explains why I decided to not pursue a career in physics (which is what I was set on until about a year before going to college).

Cops in Classrooms

I’ve let this incident (and the literal hundreds of identical incidents) sit for a while before posting something on it here.  On facebook, I posted one allusion to Spring Valley in particular when discussing the criminal nature of law enforcement as a whole, but that’s about it.

I was planning on simply bundling Spring Valley into a long list (as I am wont to do in my full posts) of examples of why it’s bad to put cops in schools when addressing public education, but the guys over at Reboot Your Body/Kids AKA Revolutionary Parent.com had such a good discussion concerning three important details that nearly everyone overlooked concerning Spring Valley as well as effectively refuting a blogger that I follow fairly closely (he’s really right about 50% of the time, and the other 50% he’s just a dirty statist).

So, today’s resource suggestion is this short podcast episode.

Also, I want to make a note that the podcaster made an effort to avoid pointing out.  Matt Walsh apparently believes that Teachers and Cops are no different than wild animals: wholly devoid of individual autonomy, consisting solely of input-output behaviors.  This is more dehumanizing than I have ever been to cops.  I wish I could simply say “cops are rabid dogs, and so we should put them to sleep”, but I can’t they are human beings capable of making moral and ethical decisions and ought to be treated as such, even if Matt Walsh believes they have no autonomy of their own.

Windows 10 Harassing You?

I’ve posted resource suggestions in teh past (you can see them in the archives) About windows 10.  However, I don’t think I’ve posted this handy resource yet.  If you’re a Windows 7 or 8 user, you’ve likely been plagued with this annoying little popup and icon in the system tray that keeps insisting you upgrade to Windows 10 “for free”.  Rather than dealing it it slowing my system down and increasing the odds that my kids will be clicking around on the machine and accidentally install Windows 10, I decided to get rid of it.  This source seemed to do the trick; I haven’s seen the popup or anything for about two months.

Feudal AnCapistan

This week, we’ve got another audio-only post.  I was asked to refute a very simple claim that anarchism is synonymous with feudalism.  While such a claim demonstrates a lack of economic literacy (which I made a conscious effort to avoid getting into today), I thought it would be worth at least beginning a conversation about, given that I’ve heard it multiple times.  Not only have I heard it multiple times, but it was the argument which I presented in defense of Objectivism against anarchism during my 6-moth conversion from neoconservatism to anarchism.

In this recording, I address a few different reasons why it’s unlikely that feudalism would be the result of anarchism (I ignored the fact that feudalism and anarchism are antonyms and could not therefore be synonymous) and allow for one historical interpretation which could allow for feudalism to emerge, which also effectively explains how we got ourselves into the mess we’re in.

I feel compelled to point out, though, that feudalism is, in many ways, superior to the current situation in most of the globe (Empire included).  Additionally, in the argument presented in the OP (presumably off 4chan) there is an implication that AnCaps don’t care about the poor.  While *some* AnCaps may not, it is not inherent to the belief system of anarchism.  As a matter of fact, I recently addressed just how an anarchist is often more concerned about the poor and more willing to do what it takes to help them.
However, in a truly anarchist (AnCap) society, the only people that wind up poor are those that are unwilling to work (RE: provide a valuable good or service to others) and/or unwilling to maintain healthy relationships with other human beings.  In which case, there is little reason for one to be concerned for the poor, as it is a free choice to be such.

http://anarcho-capitalist.org/wp-content/pdfs/Rothbard%20(Murray)%20-%20The%20Ethics%20of%20Liberty.pdf

More Science Complaints

As a fun follow-up to my recent post concerning some of the troubles with how people do science, I present to you an otherwise very smart man who would rather try to fix politics than academia.

This article is primarily about The Needless Complexity of Academic Writing and the ill-effects it has on academia as a whole.

Related to that article is a fun example of what he’s talking about:

20 Grad Theses explained in common terms

“But, What Can Bitcoin Buy?”

My family physician, due to the increasingly hostile banking and medical regulations, has begun encouraging customers to pay in cash and by check instead of by credit cards, starting a few years ago.  When I and a few other customers noticed this, we suggested he look into Bitcoin.  For a little over a year now, my doctor has been accepting bitcoin.

Picture0630151828_1

I wanted to be the first bitcoin customer.  My copay is usually $25, so when I had two well-child checkups approaching, I went to Purse.io and got myself $50 in BTC.  Long story short, my insurance covers the entire checkup, so I didn’t have to pay.  It was the first time ever that I was sad a doctor didn’t want to take my money.

The price of bitcoin has been hovering in the mid-$200 range, but it sat lower than where I bought it for most of the time.  This made me sad, as I was hoping to use that bictoin to buy Fallout 4 when it came out (my bitcoin and silver is pretty much the entirety of my discretionary funds… everything in fiat is very tightly budgeted).
However, something weird happened yesterday, possibly another Willy Bot or weird government thing (like bitcoin XT or the Bitcoin Alliance doing something shady), and the price jumped up to the $400-$500 range.  I quickly took advantage of that price hike and pre-ordered Fallout 4 on Steam.  Man, I am so pumped right now… between bitcoin saving my gamership from the vicissitudes of poverty *and* having what promises to be an awesome game pre-ordered.

This whole anecdote is really just to cover one important tool for Bitcoin-enthusiast gamers.  Those of you who pay attention to steam and/or Bitcoin will know that Steam does not accept bitcoin yet, due to limitations of it’s interface with fiat money (AKA, government regulations).  So, how did I pre-order Fallout 4?  I used this awesome and easy-to-use service called SteamBitShop.

Their UI was simple, straightforward and self-explanatory, the purchasing process (which, for bitcoin, can be confusing at times) was easier than using a credit card, and the system seems adaptable enough to handle unexpected issues.

For example (warning: entering shop-talk area), I swept my paper-wallet into an electrum wallet on my desktop in order to have an easier time using the website (most websites are a pain to use paper wallets/unspent-outputs on, I’ve found).  I was kind of rushed, so I didn’t wait for the sweep to be confirmed on the blockchain.  When I made the purchase, it had a 15-minute payment period; I made the payment from the wallet with the unconfirmed transaction on it, and the website simply suspended the timer and waited for confirmation on the transaction, rather than not processing the payment despite receiving the bitcoin (which has happened to me in other places).

So, What can Bitcoin Buy?  “Steam Games” is officially on that list.

 

Edit: I closed the comments on this page because no-one was posting comments and I was getting 80+ spam comments a day.

Scientists Are No Longer Skeptics

I have previously shared resource suggestions critiquing she way in which “science” is done today.  I do this not out of distaste for science, but instead because I love it.  The primary avenue by which I chose (and dropped out of) a college major was because of my relationship with science.

I wanted to do science, but discovered that the way science is done today is totally broken.  I believe the reason for that brokenness is the lack of philosophical grounding in the science community coupled with the pernicious influence of state funding.

Today’s Resource Suggestion is an exploration of one small symptom of science’s brokenness.

http://www.vox.com/2015/5/13/8591837/how-science-is-broken