Yet another weird SF fan


I'm a mathematician, a libertarian, and a science-fiction fan. Common sense? What's that?

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The Former Four Horsemen of the Ablogalypse:
Someone who used to be sane (formerly War)
Someone who used to be serious (formerly Plague)
Rally 'round the President (formerly Famine)
Dr. Yes (formerly Death)

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Other interesting web sites:
Aspies For Freedom
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Dihydrogen Monoxide - DHMO Homepage
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Jewish Pro-Life Foundation
Libertarians for Life
The Mad Revisionist
Piled Higher and Deeper
Science, Pseudoscience, and Irrationalism
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Yet another weird SF fan
 

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Maybe It's Not Time to Sell Google

Last year, I was highly dubious about Google's move to invest in alternatives to fossil fuels on the grounds they didn't mention nuclear energy. Lately, they've been looking into nukes.

Maybe Obama's election (and subsequent moderation) convinced them that it was safe to make sense on occasion, as long it's dressed up in left-wing clothes.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Atlas Shrugs and BoingBoing, Victims of Google?

Recently, Google searches for phrases on the Atlas Shrugs blog have not returned results from that blog. This apparent censorship has a precedent. About a year ago, I found that a Google search for sites that link to BoingBoing gave zero results. (It got better.) I doubt if that was political and was probably just a bug in their system. In any case, Google blog searches for phrases on the Atlas Shrugs blog yield some results.

On the other hand, they might not be that eager to fix a bug until it strikes somebody they don't like.

The real question is why Google is still using secret algorithms instead of open source. I thought “security through obscurity” was supposed to be obsolete.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Maple Syrup and Freedom

The original slave crop of the revival of slavery in Western Civilization wasn't cotton; it was sugar. I suspect that may people were reluctant to oppose slavery simply because they had a sugar habit and were unwilling to be hypocrites.

If that's the case, New England may have become a center for opposition to slavery simply because they used maple syrup instead. (Ob Thanksgiving: Maple syrup was almost certainly available at early Thanksgiving celebrations.)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Leftist Bingo

If leftists are simply repeating the same stock of old ideas under the guise of “new ideas” (earlier discussed here), we can ridicule them for it. One way to ridicule people repeating the same nonsense over and over is to prepare bingo cards with the top 25 pieces of nonsense. This has been done by math teachers and even by leftists who pretend that their side hasn't opposed the best solution to a possible global-warming problem.

Anybody want to send in suggestions for entries?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

This Sounds Familiar Somehow

Arthur C. Clarke on the British economy in the 1950s (in “Armaments Race,” a story in Tales from the White Hart):

“All the better for you. Sol's come over here to apply his talents to the British film industry.”

“There is a British film. industry?" said Solly anxiously. "No one seemed very sure round the studio.”

“Sure there is. It's in a very flourishing condition, too. The Government piles on an entertainments tax that drives it to bankruptcy, then keeps it alive with whacking big grants. That's the way we do things in this country.…

This couldn't have anything to do with the American economy fifty years later, could it?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Disturbing News

I agree with George Monbiot on something:

The move by Mark Lynas, 35, is the second blow in a few months to the resolutely anti-nuclear movement. George Monbiot, another high-profile environmentalist from Britain, announced in August that, after much agonising, he had decided that nuclear power was the only credible way to tackle global warming.

There was no other way, said Mr Monbiot, 45, who has held visiting fellowships at Oxford, Bristol and Keele universities, to reduce carbon emissions in an energy-hungry world.

In a related story

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Disadvantages of Openness, II

Last year, I complained that the Republican tactic of recruiting new members resulted in recruits who were “ot-nay oo-tay ight-bray.” This past election, the Democrats went to great lengths to recruit the previously apolitical. Sure enough, guess what they got?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I Scooped Xkcd!

I made the same point as the latest xkcd comic years ago:

Hmmm... If the Second Amendment applies to all weaponry and if encryption systems are munitions then the DMCA is unconstitutional.

An embarrassing note

I must admit that this was part of a message claiming that Michael Bellesiles's alleged research was irrelevant when it turned out to have been largely fabricated.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Pointless Event, Part II

The Pointless Event recently mentioned has finally happened (seen via Bng Bng). It would have been funnier in an alternate timeline in which the surge either hadn't occurred or had been a failure and in which The New York Times weren't a left-wing paper.

By the way, I noticed the alleged prank includes an attempted satire on experts. I wonder if any of the Elitist Bastards would care to issue a rebuttal.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Leftist Indoctrination in School

According to an article in The New York Times (seen via Pure Pedantry), leftist professors have relatively little effect:

If there has been a conspiracy among liberal faculty members to influence students, “they’ve done a pretty bad job,” said A. Lee Fritschler, a professor of public policy at George Mason University and an author of the new book “Closed Minds? Politics and Ideology in American Universities” (Brookings Institution Press).

Please recall that George Mason University is the new University of Chicago. (We can expect leftists to try infiltrating it over the next few decades, though.)

If you're looking for political indoctrination, I recommend looking at primary and secondary school teachers. The teacher I had who was most likely to be a Stalinist agent taught social studies in high school. Little things gave her away, such as the time she interrupted fast when I pointed out that the totalitarian system described in Plato's Republic resembled the Soviet Union. I also remember the way she had the class debate the merits of capitalism, socialism, and communism for an imaginary nation in which capitalism didn't come out very well and in which she didn't correct obvious fallacies from students, e.g., that the nation didn't have to borrow money from capitalists because they could always print their own.

The clincher was her attitude toward Hubert Humphrey, “He was always backed by the bosses.” Years later, I found that Hubert Humphrey was one of the first liberal Democrats to combine anti-Communism and anti-racism, thereby depriving Communists of their monopoly of opposition to racism. (A mere liberal Democrat would have said, “Humphrey has changed.”)

On the other hand, the social-studies teachers I had also included a normal liberal (I think) and a moderate conservative, so the probably Communist agent didn't do that much damage.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

It's Happened Before

This isn't the first time a Democrat has been elected with expectations of reviving the “Fairness” Doctrine. For example, according to a Usenet post in 1993:

Clinton and the Democratic Party are close to utterly distroying the
freedom of speech that has made talk-radio a vital medium.

In August 1987, the Federal Communications Commission, (FCC), abolished
the so-called "Fairness Doctrine", a political tool much used to restrict
free speech of political enemies.  Not the Clintonians have slipped it
back as part of campaign-finance.  Now without much notice this provision
has passed the Senate and headed for the house.  Of course Clinton supports
it and is trying to get it through.  Time to get on the phones and call in
to your Represenative and tell them to vote no.

As Virginia I. Postrel reported in the LA Times column Column Right:

[ My comments are in brackets. ]
[She reports how the other Administrations used the so-called fairness doctrine
 to muzzle opposition view points and goes on. ]

"Clinton Administration officials aren't likely to be any more scrupulous
about protecting free speech and editorial independence.  Indeed, given the
Administrations troubles with talk-show listeners -- the outpourings against
Zoe Baird, gays in the military. --  it is hard to imagine that the Clintonians
wouldn't use the law to muzzle enemies." [ Not hard at all. ]

[ How Clinton Could Muzzle Talk Radio ]

"Some simple interpertations of "fairness" would do the trick.  The FCC could
require stations, as it has in the past, to balance the viewpoints on a issue
to issue basis; simply having both liberal and conservative hosts would not
suffice.  And it could require that stations balance audience size -- for
example, putting Rush Limbaugh on at 3am until his numbers dropped to a drivve
norm."

"The first option means airing lots of UNPAID responses.  The second means
cutting off popular but controversial hosts.  In both cases, regulators can
pick and choose where to attack, favoring their friends and punishing their
enemies.  And the can utterly the freedom of speech that has made talk-radio
such a vital medium."

It is not hard to see why some people think Clinton should be impeached.
Call your Represenative today and tell them to vote no.

Aaron J. Greenwood

We dodged that bullet.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Ballet Dancers as Enforcers?

On NRO's Corner, Lisa Schiffren writes:

(Rahm Emmanuel trivia watch: FWIW, he will surely be the first White House chief of staff who started life — after Sarah Lawrence, as Cliff May notes — as a ballet dancer. And who thinks of ballerinas as thuggish enforcers?)

That seems less strange after reading “Dark Night of the Soul” by James Blish, in which a revolt in an artist's colony orbiting Jupiter is helped by the intimidating presence of ballet dancers (the strongest people around there) armed with sculptor's knives.

Conspiracy Theories and Science Fiction

According to an article on the web site of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (seen via Orac):

Is Barack Obama a brilliant orator, captivating millions through his eloquence? Or is he deliberately using the techniques of neurolinguistic programming (NLP), a covert form of hypnosis developed by Milton Erickson, M.D.?

Wasn't that a story by Charles Sheffield “What Song the Sirens Sang”? In the story, a hack politician discovers to secret to hypnotizing voters.

By strange coincidence, the story was set in Georgia and a few months after it was written Jimmy Carter was elected for no clear reason. Wait a moment, it's starting to make a little more sense now …

Liberal Fascism Watch

Windows includes a “feature” of downloading alleged improvements without one's knowledge or explicit consent. It might be user friendly but only in ways approved by the Microsoft Soviet. I think I'll hang onto my Linux computer for a while and use the Windows computer mainly for connecting with work.

What? You were expecting a political comment?

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

I'm Not Looking Forward to the Next Few Years

I just got a new Windows Vista computer and I already hate it.

I also heard there was an election recently …

Monday, November 03, 2008

Barr vs. McCain

Earlier this year, I decided not to vote Libertarian for two reasons: 1) Libertarian votes would be interpreted as support for isolationism; 2) I thought the Wall-Street wing of the Republican Party (which McCain is currently allied with) was worth supporting against the populists.

The financial bailout made both of those dubious. Libertarian votes will now be interpreted as opposition to bailouts and the Wall-Street wing of the Republican Party looks much less worthy of support.

The deciding factor was the attempt by Obama supporters to get the votes of every conformist in the United States. This is partly a matter of the “Obamacons” and partly a matter of the possibly-manipulated opinion polls. I haven't seen this concentrated an attempt to make it looks like “everybody's doing it” since people were passing around joints in the 1970s. (In case anybody was wondering, I was in the control group during the drug-experimentation era.) A non-vote or a Barr vote would whisper that the conformists didn't succeed with me but a McCain vote would shout it. I plan to vote for McCain out of sheer orneriness.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

The Meaning of Anti

According to Joe Klein (seen via the Volokh conspiracy):

I've never met Rashid Khalidi, but he is (a) Palestinian and therefore (b) a semite, so the charge of anti-semitism is fatuous.
In related news, the Antiquarian Book Dealers Association of Long Island is running a book fair this weekend. I suppose they're firmly opposed to quarians.

 
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