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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jhertzli AT ix DOT netcom DOT com

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Small Sample Watch
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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
Jewish Pro-Life Foundation
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The Mad Revisionist
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Yet another weird SF fan

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A Few Notes on Mentally-Disabled Voters

David Horowitz has noticed that some of the Democratic vote came from the retarded-American community. This is nothing new. In 2004, the Republicans were taking steps to counter it. I don't know if that happened this time. Maybe Democratic voters were hired for Project Orca.

I also noticed much of the reaction from the Left has resembled the following Bart Simpson saying:

  • I didn't do it!
  • Nobody saw me do it!
  • You can't prove anything!
This would be more believable if it weren't for other leftists being outraged that anybody would try to stop it.

I was also reminded of the Dr. Boli bumper sticker:

I'M STUPID And I Vote!

I expected more reactions along the lines of “I thought the Republicans had the retard vote sewn up!” The closest example I found came from joe h (not me):

I actually do not have a problem with this. Ever met someone south of the mason Dixon line, NASCAR, football, and ways to consume tobacco are about the limits of there knowledge. Where do you draw the line?
Intellectual snarkiness is more impressive when you use “there” correctly.

Monday, November 26, 2012


Point number 36 on the Crackpot Index is:

40 points for claiming that when your theory is finally appreciated, present-day science will be seen for the sham it truly is. (30 more points for fantasizing about show trials in which scientists who mocked your theories will be forced to recant.)
In the case of Anthropogenic Global Warming, the pro-AGW side has been acting like crackpots. Now, someone on the other side has deprived them of a monopoly on that form of nonsense:
I am officially reporting, to the NYC police, NASA-GISS scientist James Hansen, pictured above, for manipulating and falsifying U.S. Government temperature data, with the likely intent to defraud U.S. citizens.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Keeping Food Cool during a Blackout

It would take an Einstein to figure out how to do that!

Yes, it did.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Shorter Kristof

Nicholas Kristof's recent article on outages can be summarized simply:

  • Private initiatives are more effective than public institutions.
  • Therefore we should use more public institutions.
ObSF: The Practice Effect by David Brin, in which using something automagically improved it. Unlike Kristof's article, it was intentionally set in an alternate universe.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Bravo, You Dolts

The Republicans had an opportunity to break through the cloud of smug usually surrounding BoingBoing (the comments were remarkably fair-minded for a change) but whiffed it. I don't know if the Republicans were going by knee-jerk reactions or if it was done by the occasional leftist who really did sell out.

Disclaimer: The title is not original.

Monday, November 19, 2012


For the past decade or two, one of the main Democratic talking points has been opposition to out-sourcing and off-shoring. Recently, Republicans have been replying in kind, claiming that they too are opposed to out-sourcing. That was a very bad idea.

Opposition to out-sourcing can be heard either as “blame business” or “blame foreigners.” Republicans are widely regarded as the party of business. In other words, any opposition of out-sourcing on the part of Republicans is heard as foreigner bashing, whereas it's not heard as such when Democrats do it. The tactic will not attract the votes of anti-business voters and it will repel immigrant and second-generation voters.

In other words: It's a TRAP!

As I've said before:

[Republicans] can probably get better results by running against high energy and food prices. Platform: Drill here, drill now, frack for natural gas, supplement with nukes, and stop burning corn.
The best part of that is they can do so and be pro-imports. If they must mention jobs, they should express it in terms of new jobs in export industries.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Odd Fact

An odd fact I came across in my day job today: The Burroughs–Wheeler transform, which is usually used to help compress text, can also be used to analyze DNA. Is DNA actually a language?

Crackpot Economics Is Back

The crackpot economics I predicted in 2008 (with a sighting last year) is continuing to gain popularity. The latest example is in a comment by koshandeh on The Incredible Shrinking Sugar Bag:

The problem, Megan, is not that it prevents the consumer from shifting their buying behavior, but that it disguises a looming food shortage. Between climate change killing the agriculture sector in many countries and speculators moving their money into food (from mortgages) real food prices have been inflating rapidly for two years, and it's only getting worse.
It's another case of before and after.
  • Before: Printing up funny money won't cause inflation. We've beaten inflation for good.

  • After: The inflation was inevitable in a capitalist system.

If you want a description of the same phenomenon in the last inflationary era, there's the classic article “Phyletic Size Decrease in Hershey Bars.” If you want a crackpot explanation of inflation from the same era, there was Gar Alperovitz's explanation.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Brief Note on Secession

If you want to secede from the U.S., go ahead. Why do you have to take everybody else in your state with you?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Human formerly “ate more like a cow than a Great Ape.” I suppose that means salads aren't the key to weight loss after all.

Another Important Note to My Fellow Wingnuts

Try not to sound deranged.

I was about to add a third important note (don't believe leftist gloating) but David Frum beat me to it. The only thing I have to add is that it used to take a united right-wing party to barely break even with a fractious left; now it takes a united left-wing party to barely break even with a fractious right.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Before and After

Before a regulation is passed: Businesses won't react to the regulation by laying off workers or raising prices.

After a regulation is passed: Businesses are horribly evil to react to the regulation by laying off workers and raising prices.

A Wood-Burning Generator

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Something Obama and Romney Have in Common

I recently tweeted that Obama should read “Superiority” by Arthur C. Clarke. It looks like Romney should also have done so.

The Servant Vote

On the one hand, the exit polls show that Romney carried the votes of people wealthier than average. On the other hand, Obama carried the votes of the richest counties. Put these together and there's only one possible conclusion: Obama overwhelmingly carried the votes of butlers, valets, maids, chauffeurs, and gardeners.

Preventing Future Hurricane Sandys

One reason the storm surge did so much damage is that it occurred at high tide. Since tides are caused by the moon it's time to take the advice of the late Alexander Abian and blow up the Moon. Abian's advice might have sounded strange a decade or two ago, but it's starting to sound more reasonable now.

A Suggestion for 2016

The Republicans should nominate Marco Rubio … but only if he changes his first name to Marko. After all, “No nominee whose first name contains a ‘K’ has lost.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

An Important Note to My Fellow Wingnuts

You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

Do Open-Borders Candidates Turn off the Working Class?

In the 2000, 2004, and 2008 elections, there were warnings from the wrong side of the Right that open-borders candidates turned off the white working class. Now the Republicans finally nominated a candidate who didn't give nativists a “kick in the teeth.” It didn't do much good. Apparently, occupational or religious prejudice trumped racial prejudice.

Another point: Nativists often claim that open-borders candidates don't get Hispanic/Asian/whatever votes anyway. On the other hand, there was a large Democratic swing in the Hispanic/Asian/whatever vote in a year where everybody else was swinging Republican (and otherwise not showing up). That might have made a difference in Florida.

A third point: Open borders is the Right Thing To Do. We have no business depriving people of fundamental rights because of the accident of birth. (This also goes for the timing of birth as well as the place of birth.)

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Preventing Abuses

My fellow wingnuts should recognize that some of the potential unpleasant consequences of leftists in power have been aided by policies that many of us have applauded. To take one example, drone strikes could easily be used on anybody who leaves the U.S. to avoid taxes or regulations.

To take another example, it might become necessary to carry out an emergency evacuation of Israel. (I'm sure in that case the Israelis will leave behind a note that reads “We have left it as we have found it. Take over. It's yours.”) I suspect that one reason American Jews have tended to vote Democratic is that many Jews who might otherwise vote Republican have moved to Israel, depriving the socialists there of their lock on power. In case of an emergency evacuation of Israel, we can therefore expect the Obama administration to start enforcing immigration laws. (This might be similar to the Clinton administration's enforcement of immigration laws against Cubans.) If you ever wondered why we Red-Sea pedestrians tend to be open borders…

Most important of all, civil forfeiture will make other abuses much harder to stop. In Western Civilization, the executive has traditionally been controlled by means of the purse strings. For example, the British monarchy was at its absolute most following the Dissolution of the Monasteries, when King Henry VIII hijacked church property. If civil forfeiture enables many government departments to operate without tax funds, they can be zeroed out by Congress but continue anyway. Civil forfeiture is most commonly used to fight the War on Some Drugs. (Please note that this includes bans on hard drugs. Legalizing allegedly “soft” will do little to stop this trend.) There are other reasons to legalize narcotics (legalization will keep stoners from voting and may stop the anti-American takeovers of Afghanistan or South America), but civil forfeiture is the important one.

Looking for Heroes

Are there any politicians who have resisted calls for odd–even gasoline rationing?

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Speaking as a Cranberry …

What is the point of odd–even gasoline rationing? It doesn't shorten lines. The people who fill up their tanks every six days will continue to do so. The people who fill up their tanks every five days will simply fill up every four days instead.

As far as I can tell, it's mostly based on the idea that people fill up their tanks based on random whims and that preventing them from doing so half the time will cut lines in half. On the other hand, some people claim that it will prevent “panic buying.” That is similarly based on the idea that other people's decisions are irrational but the decisions of People Like Us are rational and aren't any kind of “panic regulation.”

In the unlikely event that panic buying is a problem. It might make sense for gas stations to charge a flat fee to start filling up a tank on top of the usual per gallon charge. That need not cause resentment if the per gallon charge is reduced. Most of the panic buyers will either stop or go elsewhere and the few who stick around (because of the shorter lines) will provide an extra profit for the stations.

The title of this post is an allusion to a saying by Paul Ehrlich:

"To explain to one of them the inevitability of no growth in the material sector, or . . . that commodities must become expensive," the Ehrlichs wrote, "would be like attempting to explain odd-day-even-day gas distribution to a cranberry."

Addendum: The plague is spreading.


In 1936, the percentage of Americans willing to loot the rich was 60%. By now it's down to 50%.

Friday, November 02, 2012

A Few Notes on Hurricane Sandy

  • The preparations for Hurricane Sandy were apparently based on theory that history repeats itself and therefore Sandy would be “just like Irene.” On the other hand, see John Campbell on whether history repeats itself:
    History doesn't always repeat itself. Sometimes it just yells, ‘Can't you remember anything I told you?’ and lets fly with a club.
  • As a libertarian, I should regard government responses to disasters as a mark of a primitive society. On the other hand, in some ways we're still in a primitive society. As the saying goes: Governments are for gravity wells.
  • In related news: It's time for a Federal ban on thiotimoline.
  • I think it's very ungrateful of trees to come down on our power lines, considering all we've done for plants such as providing them with CO2 fertilizer and suppressing insect pests. This is a violation of toxic-waste emitter solidarity!
  • Product wanted: a generator that burns tree branches. There might be a shortage of pumpable gas in the area affected by Sandy but there's no shortage of tree branches.
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