27 June 2007

learning from new zealand

i have now received my third unrequested copy from the Mercatus Center of a speech made by Maurice McTigue, a former MP+ from New Zealand. he presents some fascinating ideas on eliminating wasteful spending and activities: actions actually taken by the NZ gubmint. it's an amazing laundry list of baby steps toward a more libertarian society. maybe i'll offer some itemization plus thoughts on it some day, but i'm lazy.

i offer up these 3 CDs to the first people to request them. ideally, i won't need to pay money to the gubmint mail monopoly, but i might consider it. best would be an offer to meet for lunch (Alan!).

for those not familiar with Mercatus: it's the Austrian economist HQ housed by George Mason University and run by Tyler Cowen.

26 June 2007

EJBs: enterprise cow patties

two days in an EJB course and i'm even more convinced that java needs to be put out of my misery. i can't believe that a community that has been around this long and supposedly has so much intelligence can buy into this crap.

as an example, i went looking for a pico implementation to handle EJB "dependency injection" (the spec doesn't account for it well enough) and came across an article on IBM.
Some good consultants have expressed concern about what they call overuse of annotations in EJB technology. I also have my reservations, but EJB technology has bigger problems. The EJB group must deliver something soon, or the lightweight containers may render EJB technology irrelevant. Customers can already do most of what they need to do with Spring. By the time EJB technology is used in volume, it may be too late.
it's too late. pooled function buckets with more xml and @xml (annotations) is not ground-breaking--unless to bury itself.

25 June 2007

the tyranny of ignorance

i'm firmly convinced that individuals are completely unable to step away from their own beliefs to consider how others might think. i read the same heavily biased article on some "tax dodgers" as the folks at DoF. (i fall into the category of someone who digs the idea of "live free or die," but would not actually attempt it.) DoF makes some decent points proving my notion, but makes the fatal flaw of evoking the nazis in #2. there's a debate winner. still, i'm always at a loss that people could react this way to a fellow who is standing up for all their rights. some folks are happy to be sheep.

btw, thanks to all of you who put these boobs in power. think there's no connection? how can anyone be convinced that simply changing parties or people in power can change the state of things?

23 June 2007

that's the last time i shoppe there!

click to embiggen.

more microsoft

i'm a bit dismayed by yet another chop against microsoft innovation. while i'm too lazy to track down details about the next flare-up, i find it odd that microsoft is coming under fire for trying to implement the things that make me want a mac in the first place. maybe their practices just make it harder for others to compete, but i really want my PC to come with everything i need already.

ideas on fixing politics

by way of MJ Perry, from the book More Sex is Safer Sex by Steven Landsburg
1. Give everybody 2 votes per election, 1 for your own district and 1 for any other district of your choice, to increase political accountability. If a Michigan senator gets too much pork for his home state, the suppliers of those dollar (voters in other states) can express their opinion at the polls.

2. Redraw the boundaries of congressional districts based on alphabet, instead of geography. Congressperson #1 would represent people with last names starting with AA through AE, #2 would represent AF through AH, etc., making it harder to bring home pork to a particular region.

3. Adjust federal income tax rates in each congressional district by the amount of spending your representative has voted for - the more spending, the higher the taxes in your district. That would sure help solve the "rational ignorance" problem.

4. Abolish withholding, and make ALL taxes due on April 15, including sales taxes, and provide an itemized statement of how much each taxpayer is actually paying for defense, agricultural subsidies, e.g. ethanol subsidies, etc.

the market of free software

i preach quite a bit about the use of The Market to solve many large problems. here's a fairly good description of what a market really is:
Indeed, free software is best seen as just one example of how people free to cooperate for mutual benefit create wealth for themselves and the rest of society. Sometimes they do so through business, by selling goods and services to customers or their labor to employers. But there are plenty of examples of voluntary cooperation that is not organized by traditional market mechanisms. In addition to free software, these include co–ops, private universities, think tanks, unions (providing membership is voluntary), churches, charities, sports teams, and many other groups. Libertarians should celebrate all of those institutions as alternatives to coercive government programs.

quote of the day-or-so

We already are paying thrice for Washington's love affair with corn-based fuel, in the form of higher taxes, higher gasoline prices and higher food prices. Yet because of the prodigious amounts of energy and fertilizer used in its cultivation, corn-based ethanol provides little or no net reduction in CO2 over the gasoline it displaces.
Holman W. Jenkins, Jr, from the WSJ.

robot chicken eats grass

apparently, i can't embed this: an adult swim Robot Chicken send up of star wars.

16 June 2007

pragmatic libertarianism defined

i've come across a darned good definition of what i've been calling "pragmatic libertarianism" in Radicals for Capitalism.
[L]ibertarians have many good arguments going for them in economics, and ... they should rely more on historical-economic empiricism and less on rights language.... [T]he libertarian movement needs most in order to achieve greater academic respectability and impact are high-level books of academic rigor that can authoritatively argue such points as that capitalism did not cause the Great Depression, that the Robber Barons were not despoiling America and creating ruthless economic royalties, and that poverty can be as much the result of state policies as it is of market failures.... [T]he movement does not need further explorations in an ultimately failed quest to find the trumping philosophical/moral rights argument that will turn the world libertarian.
(emphasis in original)
in other words, libertarians need to focus on solving real problems using a rights-oriented approach. the same as socialism and communism, there will never be a situation with ideal circumstances to make all the pieces of the puzzle fall nicely into place. the key difference is a reliance on voluntarism, eschewing the implicit threat of force common to all state policies.

15 June 2007

windows update

looks like i got tricked into installing the windows genuine advantage software--that tool that makes sure you're running a legit copy of windows. windows update requires it now in order to keep the system up to date.

i think i'ma git me a mac. Chris was nice enough to compile a pricing schedule for the different versions of OS X.

gubmint price fixing is legal

here's another good description of the absurdity of price gouging laws. throw vague terms on top of poor economic understanding and bake ten years at 350°.

14 June 2007

do you speak properly?

quite right considering my birth certificate.

What American accent do you have? (Best version so far)


("Midland" is not necessarily the same thing as "Midwest") The default, lowest-common-denominator American accent that newscasters try to imitate. Since it's a neutral accent, just because you have a Midland accent doesn't mean you're from the Midland.

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13 June 2007

barney + tupac != bartok

thanks, Jen.

stamp increase justified

there's been a bit of a brouhaha in my neighborhood regarding the placement of mailboxes. many homes received notice that mail delivery would stop if the mailboxes weren't fixed by a given deadline. the offending boxes are too far from the curb. by about 2 inches, according to folks who have addressed the problem.

the post office needs the extra cash to pay for delivery of the notices and to cover the medical expenses of the carriers harmed by the incorrect placement of boxes.

you know, Ron Paul said he would legalize competition in first class mail delivery. i can't remember the last time UPS or FedEx threatened to stop delivering to my house if i didn't move closer to their distribution hub.

get off my law

environmentalists are killing babies. i think it's a moral outrage to impose conservation thinking from fat-rich-and-complacent westerners to developing countries. if we have a means of malaria prevention that works better for Uganda than DDT, we should be sharing; otherwise, back off.
Today, every single Ugandan still remains at risk. Over 10 million Ugandans are infected each year, and up to 100,000 of our mothers and children die from the disease. Recently Ugandan country music star Job Paul Kafeero died of the
disease, a reminder that no one is beyond its reach.
i think it's especially telling that WHO recommends DDT.
The U.S. banned DDT in 1972, spurred on by environmentalist Rachel Carson's 1962 book "Silent Spring." Many countries in Europe and around the world followed suit. But after decades of exhaustive scientific review, DDT has been shown to not only be safe for humans and the environment, but also the single most effective anti-malarial agent ever invented. Nothing else at any price does everything it can do. That is why the World Health Organization (WHO) has once again recommended using DDT wherever possible against malaria, alongside insecticidal nets and effective drugs.

the death of reason, professional addition

i've been in a JSF class this week that has only reinforced my opinion that java web development sucks. it's an over-engineered amalgam of crud. what i'm noticing, too, is that JSF is way behind the curve on annotations-is-the-new-xml java craze. this class has more than doubled my appreciation of ASP.NET. it has also convinced me that Rails is probably the only remaining hope for sanity left in my department, given the uninformed anti-MS snobbery.

it's too bad Sails development died off. it was the only java framework i've seen that approached what i wanted out of java web development. and i had high hopes for JSF. i have a feeling we'll make it work for us, but at what cost?

10 June 2007

apple drm-free revisted

i've recently upgraded my itunes in order to check out the itunes plus selections (tracks available without the DRM). i now have an option to pay even more for purchased albums to convert them to the new format. while i'm glad apple has provided the service, i think it's ridiculous to jack up the price of previously purchased music. the clincher for me on disliking the new service: the same albums are for sale for the same exact price now without the DRM as when i bought them. the least they could do is offer the same album-volume discount on the upgrade as for the original tracks.

09 June 2007

quote of the day-or-so

The problem is ... the idea that the world is divided into stupid people, evil people, and people who agree with me. The first thing you have to learn is that there are lots of brilliant, kind-hearted people who just disagree with you.
Peter Boettke

06 June 2007

the corn syrup generation

i grew up on soy bean oil and corn syrup sweeteners. now that i'm a parent, i am disgusted by how far into our food supply this stuff has encroached without a huge public outcry. Wife forwarded me an article that helps explain it to me: in serving a special need for parents, we've destroyed our kids' palates. Boy won't eat much of anything with flavor, preferring hot dogs, fries, and chicken fingers. Wife fed Sweet Baby Girl differently from the beginning after discovering that she didn't really care for rice cereal, preferring curry instead. she eats whatever we put in front of her.

so it's my job and yours to bring our food standards up to snuff.