Archive for the 'technology' Category

02
Nov
08

Liberty’s Best Week Ever!

NO, I am not talking about the impending undemocratic, non-election about to be perpetrated on us a couple of days hence between Wall Street Candidate A and Wall Street candidate A’ This one has been decided already – ordinary Americans have lost, and the banksters have won.

I am, rather, calling attention to the surprising upside to the continuing global financial collapse. The completely deserted checkout lanes today at my local wholesale club underscored the rapid retreat of consumer spending that’s occurring now. What is occurring now in the public intellectual mind is both thoroughly awful, and blindingly brilliant.

Awful, due to the present and future suffering of millions, nay, billions of people around the world, but brilliant, because the fact is that the economic predictive power of Austrian-School economics has been thoroughly vindicated, no matter what stupid, nonsensical things the Keynesians and Friedmanites say. We were right, we told them all what was coming, and they failed to listen. More Important, we have the correct answers.

And, better late than never, even some mainstream journalists, conservative Republicans, and left progressives are trying to re-orient their thinking in the midst of an unprecedented global financial calamity, where suddenly “Liberal” nor “Conservative” (as we have been brainwashed to call Socialist and Fascist policy ‘solutions’) ideas seem to have no discernible relevance at all.

This week two astounding interviews took place, between serious people of the left, and two of the current stars of the Austro-Libertarian movement.

On Thursday, the charming, brainy lefty journalist Rachel Maddow of MSNBC interviewed Ron Paul, focusing on his eerie (not to us of course) prescience on the economic meltdown, and on the significance of his recent campaign, and what it portends for the future of Republican Party as well as the electoral system.

On Friday, Lew Rockwell, founder and president of the Ludwig von Mises Institute interviewed Naomi Wolf on his podcast. This is a MUST LISTEN interview with the principled, thoughtful left-wing journalist. Ms Wolf, author of several books, including “The Beauty Myth”, and more notably “The End of America”, was last heard of in libertarian circles promoting, along with Ron Paul the American Freedom Agenda, calling for an end to America’s belligerent foreign policy and its depredations on domestic liberty.

Listen to her questioning Lew about definitions of libertarianism, and her response to his answers – I half held my breath throughout the unedited 50-minute conversation, waiting perhaps to hear Lew say something to make Ms Wolf ‘fall out of the ether’ as they say in the car business.

He doesn’t, and she didn’t. It is an extended dialog on the principled embrace of universal liberty, in honest, non-agendized terms that will speak to the heart of every thinking, compassionate person on the left, right, or middle. This shows how there is not, and never has been, such a thing as Democrat liberty, or Republican liberty, only Liberty For All.

Do yourself and your loved ones (particularly intelligent, leftish and rightish ones) a favor and get them to listen to this podcast to give them an understanding why you are a principled, onsistent advocate of liberty.

Then go to www.campaignforliberty.com , and get involved.

UPDATE: If you are still, for some unfathomable reason a McCain supporter, PLEASE watch this video of Dr. Paul taking apart McCain’s dumbass foreign policy prescriptions in the St. Petersburg debate;

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10
Sep
08

The Real Way To Stop Anthropogenic Global Warming

Ah, Close, But Not Exactly

Ah, Close, But Not Exactly

We have been listening for years now the the claims that science has ‘proved’ that man’s activities on the planet are causing a malignant accelerating warming of the atmosphere, which portends disaster and possibly the end of life on earth. Having some background in the sciences, we are nonetheless loath to point out that while the evidence for some warming is pretty convincing, and the fact that man contributes some measurable CO2 to the atmosphere is plausible, the mechanism is far from proved.

Moreover, the proposals (cap and trade, 2, carbon tax, technology subsidies) that have been seriously floated to try to slow or halt “Global Climate Change” (renamed that because the warming isn’t happening everywhere, and in some places cooling is being recorded) require an even heavier hand of government, have unknown efficacy, are vulnerable to cheating, and will have detrimental effects here and especially in developing countries. These proposals will disrupt the fundamental social and economic patterns of our civilization, and cost trillions of dollars, potentially for little to negative effect on the buildup of greenhouse gases.

So what do we do then? We have come up with a plan that;

1) Will measurably reduce emissions of greenhouse gases in the US

2) Is guaranteed to work, if conscientiously and carefully implemented

3) While not costless, will require no forced transfer of funds from taxpayers to polluters

4) Will actually free up trillions of dollars for productive investment

5) Will massively incentivize innovators in clean energy-production technologies.

Our plan to reduce greenhouse gases, and clean up the environment?

The SSS Plan.

What does that stand for?

Stop Subsidizing Sh*t.

Stop subsidizing ethanol.

Stop subsidizing coal (by “permitting” pollution and destroying property rights in our lands and bodies).

Stop subsidizing oil (see coal above, also military intervention in the middle east, South America, and coming soon, Russia)

Stop subsidizing nuclear (state PUCs, the NRC, the DOE, and Price-Anderson have fundamentally retarded this very important energy source).

Stop subsidizing hybrid and electric vehicle development (it rewards the biggest culprits (GM, etc) while disadvantaging innovators).

Stop subsidizing highways (causing massive pollution, energy wastage, corruption, and economic malinvestment / dislocation)

Stop subsidizing airports and airlines (airports and skies jammed with planes jammed with people, absolute violations of 2nd, 4th, 7th , 9th, 10th, and 14th amendments).

And while we are at it, stop subsidizing solar, wind, geothermal, tidal, waste-to-energy, all of it.

When you get right down to it, pollution is a property-rights problem, but more importantly, it is an ECONOMIC problem, and a GOVERNMENT problem. Government disadvantages sustainable methods when it subsidizes unsustainable methods. Moreover, government investment in new technologies, meant to correct the previous mistake, serve to misdirect investment down particular avenues favored by particular interests, the very opposite of allowing the market, correctly incentivized, to determine the pace and direction of innovation.

It is said that if government could have seen the automobile coming, it would have outlawed it. It is, by its policies, outlawing sustainable energy policy economically. Before our leaders commit us to a path of dubious efficacy and certain harm, let us insist that they go through the books and strike every law, order, and policy that has the net effect of destroying property rights against polluters.

In just the coal-fired power generation sector alone, the costs of pollution, if fairly assessed, would make the industry as currently constituted extinct almost overnight. The resulting increase in the cost of electricity would both force conservation and incentivize innovation and production. all without a single cent of tax or seziure of property.

SSS.

(Image from Paul Goscicki’s blog)

30
Aug
08

Who Killed Bell Labs?

William Shockley, John Bardeen and Walter Brattain invented the transistor in 1947. (Alcatel-Lucent/Bell Labs)

Wired has a story on the closing down of basic physics research at the former Bell Labs (now Alcatel – Lucent) in Murray Hill, NJ;

Alcatel-Lucent, the parent company of Bell Labs, is pulling out of basic science, material physics and semiconductor research and will instead be focusing on more immediately marketable areas such as networking, high-speed electronics, wireless, nanotechnology and software.

The idea is to align the research work in the Lab closer to areas that the parent company is focusing on, says Peter Benedict, spokesperson for Bell Labs and Alcatel-Lucent Ventures.

“In the new innovation model, research needs to keep addressing the need of the mother company,” he says.

That view is shortsighted and may drastically curtail the Labs’ ability to come up with truly innovative discoveries, respond critics.

“Fundamental physics is absolutely crucial to computing,” says Mike Lubell, director of public affairs for the American Physical Society. “Say in the case of integrated circuits, there were many, many small steps that occurred along the way resulting from decades worth of work in matters of physics.”

Bell Labs was one of the last bastions of basic research within the corporate world, which over the past several decades has largely focused its R&D efforts on applied research — areas of study with more immediate prospects of paying off.

But isn’r research good? Isn’t it indispensable? What evil force has come along and removed all of the R&D dollars?;

Still for fundamental physics research there will be life after Bell Labs, though it will be dependent on the whims of the federal government.

Increasingly, long-term research is being carried out in universities and national laboratories with federal grants, says Lubell.

OH, THAT evil force.

20
Aug
08

The World’s Biggest Record Collection

Paul Mahwhinney's Ginormous Record Collection

Paul Mahwhinney

Here, courtesy of Sean Dunne and Vimeo, is a vinyl junkie’s wet dream.

Pittsburgh PA’s Paul Mahwhinney is, due to health problems and poor market conditions, forced to sell the world’s largest record collection.

The collection’s value was once appraised at $50 MILLION. In February, he closed his store, Record-Rama, when the collection failed to meet a $3 MILLION minimum bid.

The only possible buyers of a collection that size are the record companies, but they have their own problems.

(Philly people – note the Dynagroove record that pops up at 0:48. (OK, so it isn’t THAT Dynagroove))

This collection is virtually unprecedented, a veritable Library of Alexandria of vinyl.

Another library, the Library of Congress, took a look at his record collection a few years ago.

Based on their survey, they estimate only 17% of the records produced between 1944 and 1966 are available commercially.

Paul Mahwhinney has the other 83%.

Here’s hoping the collection, or the parts therof, finds a good home.

However, at the other end of the Quaker State, Philly’s own Val Shively is no slouch either;

(link from Eric O’Connor on Postal Blowfish)

19
Aug
08

Circus Devils – The Other Band From Akron

Actually only half two thirds -Todd Tobias (and brother Tim, back in Bob’s good graces apparently after a falling out between the GBV leader and the former bassman) is from Devo’s hometown of Akron, OH, Bob Pollard is from Dayton as anyone can tell you.

The sixth album under the Circus Devils moniker,”Ataxia” by Bob and Todd (and Tim) continues the experimental theme of the project, this time with Todd enlisting a few friends to make videos for several of the songs. “Give Me Extra” and “Eye Razors” manage to channel the spastic soul of early MTV-era Devo videos in a totally original way;

Also, Bob is sponsoring a contest for the best fan video for “Winston’s Atomic Bird” from his new project Boston Spaceships – “Brown Submarine”, here are two cool entries;

And of course, having sworn off touring several times already since the breakup of Guided By Voices, he will be touring to promote the new material (YAY!)

15
Jun
08

Can PA’s Liquor Control Board Get Any Sillier?

The Onion is dead. They just can’t make up stuff any dumber than real life in Harrisburg. From the Philadelphia Inquirer:

HARRISBURG – For many, the future of buying wine in Pennsylvania could soon look something like this: your arm on a biometric sensor that will determine whether you’re old enough – and sober enough – to get your favorite bottle from a machine.

This is the part (or at least one of the parts) that kills me:

The machines would carry about a dozen different wines and hold up to 500 bottles, and the opaque windows would prevent minors from viewing the bottles.

Opaque window? Doesn’t that sound a bit oxymoronic? Or maybe just moronic. Or perhaps that just doesn’t seem the least little bit ridiculous from and organization that should have been abolished along with prohibition. That’s right, kids. Don’t even think of looking at wine!

When will I get to stop apologizing for my home state’s arcane liquor laws to people from just about anywhere else in the world?

15
Jun
08

Ugh! I Give Up.

Actually, I gave up web design and database programming a while back because the workload and the hackers were getting way ahead of me. I was previously using my own home-grown blog and it served me well for a couple years. But I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m a photographer and not a web geek so here I am at a hosted blog. We will eventually get around to posting some of the more popular articles. Meanwhile, gotta go check out all the customizable options!