Category Archives: Opinion

Left is “right”

In a previous post (Left? … or Right?) I asked your opinion regarding which on my new professional portraits you preferred. Sadly only maggie0019 formally responded with a comment. I would have preferred more data points before reaching a decision, but it is what it is. It is not too late to voice your opinion. I will update the results if I get more feedback.

As you can guess from the title of the post and the “FEATURED IMAGE” at the top, the Left portrait appears to be the “right” one.


 

The break down was interesting. My wife, oldest son, and his wife all preferred the portrait on the right. My sister, the photographer, and everyone* else chose the portrait on the left.

The Mrs thought that the Right image made me look slimmer. She also thought that my cheek in the Left image looked “bulbous”, to which I must agree.

Those who preferred the Left image thought I looked friendlier and more approachable. Maggie’s humans both preferred the Left image. Her young human Jamie cracked me up with “He looks like Teddy Roosevelt. We can call him The Square Deal now! Actually, he looks like a military person. I’m kind of intimidated right now. He doesn’t look like the guy who’d tell you to do 20 pushups…he looks like the guy who tells the guy who tells you to do 20 pushups!” Teddy Roosevelt? Hmm. I did think that some of the images I rejected in the screening session looked more like Wilford Brimley.

I have decided to use the Left image for now as my LinkedIn portrait and for other business related content, but I can mix and match as the spirit moves me.
 

 
* almost everyone else

Papers, have your papers out and ready

Did I say “papers?” I meant “permits.”

I generally try to keep this blog as apolitical as possible … but “I’m angry as hell an not going to take it any more.” Below is but one example of a nationwide epidemic.

Armed Agents Raid Park, Destroy Food, Seize Food Carts — Over Improper Permitting

http://thefreethoughtproject.com/food-raid-armed-agents/

Excerpts below …

Government agents have again let their true colors shine, in a latest attempt to fight one of the most pernicious and brutal crimes embattling far too many communities across the nation — a lack of permit.

These fearless agents of the State, peace officers, not only seized the food supposedly so in need of a permit, they dumped punch into storm drains and confiscated coolers, tables, chairs, canned soda, and literally everything in the vendors’ possession — the entire raid, captured on Facebook Live video.

Ironically-monikered peace officers claimed without elaborating or providing specific details on the video they’d received complaints — but the outpouring of support from the public and church communities, as well as outrage over the raid, did not evince any complainants relieved to see the picnicking quashed.

From diligent street vendors offering tasty bites to kids’ offering family-recipe lemonade to parched passersby, one thing has been made abundantly clear — permitting is out of control.

Permits are the government’s way of bilking people of money under the petulant guise of public safety — but the truth about permitting is much simpler and infinitely less benign. 

‘You aren’t allowed to profit unless I get my cut,’ is what the State really says when Mexican food vendors, flood victims, little girls, and countless others receive fines and tickets — or have their possessions confiscated — due only to lack of permit.

That the Sacramento food vendors didn’t shirk legal responsibilities and had applied for the necessary permits when cops seized their wares again proves the issue has little to do with the permit, itself, and everything to do with an unreasonable government running roughshod on all of us.

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

As it always has been …

It’s all about the Benjamins

Read the entire article at http://thefreethoughtproject.com/food-raid-armed-agents/


Gold, currency, and “risk-free savings”

Read the original on medium.com 


A few thoughts on Gold, currency and “risk free savings” in the wake of Brexit

Today is one of those days that I almost wish I had taken the blue pill.

As the co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer of the world’s only gold-backed financial service institution, I’ve received a lot of questions and comments today about the violent movements in gold and currency markets. The starting assumption is that I must somehow be happy for this, and to be celebrating that “we were right”. This assumption could not be further from the truth.

Gold did not make anyone rich today, the currencies built on debt and false promises, unproven and illogical economic theories, THIS money absolutely made people poorer today.

Today the gold savings accounts of our clients were spared over 9 figures in collective devaluation (no, gold is not rising, currency is failing par excellence). I’m not celebrating because this debasement of global currencies hurts the poor and vulnerable most, it is the core of their savings, it measures their contractual wage, and it’s their costs of food, energy, medicine, housing, and education that moved a little farther out of reach today.

This talk of “no inflation risks”, and “post scarcity economics” of robots and “free living wages” is peak hubris from the elites, an insult to the majority of the world’s aspiring middle class that works for their prosperity, and have been realizing at least 5% compounding inflation in EVERYTHING it means to be middle class (except their wage of course). Frankly it makes me disgusted. And today the failed promises of central planners is being manifested across the UK and Europe, as it has been the past few years for most of the worlds emerging market currencies (Russia, Brazil, South Africa, Venezuela, Nigeria, they are becoming too many and too frequent to name).

The Elites that caused this mess in the first place will be bailed out with “emergency liquidity measures” — ie printing money and devaluing the cash of many, the poor, to float asset prices of the few. This is how it has always worked, when money is unbacked “fiat” and only valued by decree (is it backed? no. Is it scarce because savers receive an interest rate? no. Do banks have to work for this interest-free savings? no.). Emergency liquidity is not magic, it does not come from magic people, its snake oil and always ends the same way.

Do you hear this version of the story anywhere in mainstream “news”? FT, where are you at? WSJ, where are you at? Economist, where you at? The view I present today is backed up in math, history, logic, physics, and philosophy. No, what you hear is that ignorant voters caused this (first they rig markets and tell you free markets and capitalism is failing, now they have a problem with democracy too?). You hear that gold, a stable money by the decree of natural law and physics, is rising irrationally out of fear. They call it a speculative commodity, with no value except that its shiny and liked by the uneducated. Oh really? So when I measure everything that is bound by the scarcity of time, toil and energy (food, energy, housing, education, health care), why is gold perfectly correlated with these things? When I price these things 30 years ago in gold, measured in gold, they are the same price today. Gold does not make people rich, debt makes them poor.

So no, our clients are not richer today because a speculative asset is in a 10,000 year bubble and went up; those that only put faith in unbacked currencies are just poorer. We built this businesses because we believed we were right about the logical end points, the case study that is EVERY instance in history, but no, it doesn’t make us happy. There is too much good happening in the world, our currencies are more volatile than the amazing economy they were designed to serve. Free markets and democracy and the invisible hand is the reason for our prosperity and social progress, not the cause of today’s panic.

Gold ascended as natural money due to the binding laws of nature: scarcity, randomness, decay, entropy. These laws make it work as money even if forgotten or obfuscated by the elites. In other words, there was no decree that made gold money, and no decree that stopped gold from being money. Our elites are so lost (or obfuscating), that they actually believe that the value of money is subjective, or valuable only because of their ivory tower decrees. They increasingly believe the wisdom of crowds is just ignorance and a random walk of bias and immorality. Don’t listen to their words, look at their actions, they don’t want free markets, they don’t want democracy. They want control. But their control is not aligned with laws of nature. Uncertainty rules, entropy rules, and this must be embraced or any unnatural system will fail.

The invisible hand has always been energy. Money is energy, everything is energy. Gold is simply its physical equivalence, the only immortal index of time, energy, labour and information you can hold. Measure your wage, measure your value, store your value appropriately. Today its easier than ever with technology.

If the past 8 hours aren’t a reminder, look to the past 8 years. If the past 8 years not a reminder, look at the past 8 decades…centuries…millennia.

If you agree, support our mission. It’s not always fun, but it’s time to take the red pill, too much good happening, to much value to be destroyed by this prevailing financial hubris and ignorance. Today proves that ignorance is not bliss.

Sincerely,

Josh & Roy

Stupidification …

YouTube, the Internet, and the Stupidification of Mankind (A Rant)

stupidification 

Noun

1) making one less intelligent

2) filling people’s mind with patently false concepts, ideas, or historical information

3) reducing or eliminating common sense and rational thought in others

stupidify 

Verb (see stupidification)
PRE-RANT

I can’t stand it anymore. If I don’t rant my head will explode.

I am a child of the 60s. I was there when it happened I saw it with my own eyes. I am also a man of rational thought and historical perspective. I understand and follow the scientific method and I have a good grasp of recent and ancient history.

Humankind has made incredible advances in the last 5000 years. We have gone from wandering about foraging for food, living in fear of nature, disease, and the elements to almost totally mastery of our environment. We have greatly improved the life expectancy and quality of life of the majority of people living on this planet. We have identified, studied, and cured numerous diseases. We have dramatically improved the food supply. We have improved sanitation, the quality of the water we drink and the safety of our work environment.

In the past 5000 years our concept of mathematics has gone from one / few / many to calculus and higher forms of mathematics. This has enabled the advancement of the sciences and our understanding of chemistry, physics, and the world around us, below us, and above us. We have gone from walking on foot to spanning the globe by land, sea, air, and space. Our roads and automobiles allow us to travel farther in an hour than ancient people could travel in a day. Modern air transportation can take us nearly anywhere in the world in less than a day. Manned and unmanned spacecraft circle the Earth in 90 minutes.

Our accumulated knowledge of the past 5000 years has allowed us to develop the technology required to build computers, routers, switches, fiber-optic cables, the Internet, online banking, video communication, websites, blogs, YouTube, streaming music, smart phones, tablets, and much much more. Geosynchronous satellites provide weather information and satellite television. Google, Bing, and other search engines provide us instantaneous access to all of mankind’s knowledge. Men and women graduating college today have never known a time without this technology and we all take it for granted.

Eratosthenes first determined that the Earth was a sphere in the first century BC and actually calculated its circumference to within 15% of its currently accepted value. The fields of surveying and geodesy have established to the nth decimal point the shape of the earth as an oblate spheroid and have developed a vast selection of projection systems (aka Coordinate Reference Systems) used by map makers and the global GIS community to map sections of the three dimensional earth to the two dimensional maps used by governments, companies, and individuals. The map applications on our smart phones rely heavily on this body knowledge. The global network of fiber-optic subsea cables that empower the global Internet could not have been laid without this body of knowledge.

Mankind has been a spacefaring nation since the late 1950s with launch of Sputnik by the former Soviet Union. Humanity has had a more or less continuous human presence in low earth orbit since the early 1960s beginning with Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin. To date Russia / Soviet Union, the United States, and China have launched men and women into space. Each of these countries has had multiple long duration space stations in orbit. A total of 544 people have been in orbit. Twelve Americans walked on the surface of the moon during the Apollo program of the late 1960s – early 1970s. The total time spent by humans in space is in excess of 131.3 man-years. The following countries have some form of manned and/or unmanned space program: America, Canada, China, Europe, Japan, India, and Russia. Unmanned scientific probes have studied every planet in our solar system. India has a robust unmanned space program and it successfully placed the Mangalayaan probe into Martian orbit on its first try in 2014. World Space Flight has documented every manned and unmanned mission to date.

The knowledge mankind has acquired in the past 5000 years is vast and deep. The technologies we have developed with this knowledge are nothing short of magical.

BEGIN RANT

The “straw the broke the camels back” occurred while preparing my previous post on the Falcon 9.  I ran across a YouTube video on “FakeX” whereby the vlogger reviewed footage of the last SpaceX CRS-8 launch and step-by-step pointed out how every aspect of the video was fake. His explanation and reasoning for each of his points indicated how truly clueless, ignorant, and stupid he was … and yet this video had thousands of views and the vlogger had thousands of followers. Most of the comments and commenters agreed with him. I won’t give you the link because I don’t want to give him another view. Across the Internet and YouTube you will find hundreds (thousands?) of videos “proving” how we have been lied to about:

The Earth is really flat and not a sphere – we’ve been lied to

NASA is lying to us – all spaceflight is faked

The Moon landings were all faked

9/11 – the Twin Towers were brought down by controlled demolition, not planes

The holocaust never happened

Pretty much if you can name an established fact, you will find a blog and a host of YouTube videos “proving” that it is obviously not true and that we have been lied to. A vast global conspiracy has lied to us about pretty much everything we have ever been taught in school or college.

Funny you think? Maybe, until you realize that this counter-culture numbers in the hundreds with followers numbering in the thousands or more. Globally. Millions of views. It is not so much a disbelief in reality as it is a readiness to BELIEVE that everything we have been told or taught about [insert topic] is a lie.

How do you teach science to kids when an Internet search is just as likely bring up even more sites and YouTube videos refuting the science. In a world where everyone gets equal time the “NASA lies crowd” get as many hits as the “NASA crowd”. Even worse Google and YouTube give you suggestions based on your viewing history. Months ago I watched some flat Earth videos and faked Moon landing videos. Now most of videos suggested for me by YouTube are exactly these kinds of videos. “There must be some truth to this if there are that many videos.” And … if someone tries to refute the “we’re being lied to video” the vlogger responds with “wow look at how hard they are working to prop up the big lie.”

Think I’m over reacting? Go to YouTube and search on “NASA lies” or “flat earth” or “Moon landing hoax” or “holocaust hoax” or “9/11 hoax” or … or … or … Look at the number of views. Look at the comments. If you personally did not experience it how do you know what is truth? Science? Laws of Physics? All lies.

Lies lies lies everything you have ever been taught about anything is a lie. AND YOU CAN’T PROVE OTHERWISE.

CALMING DOWN

Whew, OK I’m calmer now … but I’m not done yet.

The irony in all of this is that the Internet and YouTube would not even exist were it not for the very technological advances and hard earned knowledge that the conspiracy theorists tell us are all lies. Global subsea cables and communications satellites are the backbone of the Internet. Flat Earth? I don’t think so.

We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology. – Carl Sagan

So back to the title of this rant … YouTube, the Internet, and the Stupidification of Mankind

YouTube and the Internet give anyone regardless of intellegence, education, or cognitive function equal footing with the brightest and most learned among us. It is the great equalizer … and the great stupidifier … on a global scale … 24×7.

 

 

We’re doomed.

 

 

See also The War on Science