Mon, 30 Jul 2007

Flying home without id

And now that I have returned home from my id-less trip, I have shown that it is possible to fly home without picture identification.

Posted [02:06] [Filed in: economics] [permalink] [Google for the title] [digg this]

Wed, 25 Jul 2007

Flying without id

Contra John Gilmore, it is possible to fly without picture identification. I am sitting in Burlington airport waiting for my flight having presented no id.

Posted [15:19] [Filed in: economics] [permalink] [Google for the title] [digg this]

Wed, 18 Jul 2007


Can we please call it "destructionist", being on the whole a more accurate term for the activities commonly called "protectionist"?

Posted [01:52] [Filed in: economics] [permalink] [Google for the title] [Tags , ] [digg this]

Deep Links

In an earlier posting I deep-linked to several Radio Shack(tm) products. I then observed that's Terms and Conditions for use of their website prohibits any linking to their website without their permission:

6. Linking to this Web Site. Creating or maintaining any link from another Web site to any page on this Web Site without our prior written permission is prohibited. Running or displaying this Web Site or any information or material displayed on this Web Site in frames or through similar means on another Web site without our prior written permission is prohibited. Any permitted links to this Web Site must comply will all applicable laws, rule and regulations.

Note to Radio Shack lawyers: NUTS!. There is nothing you can do to stop me from linking to your website. Nothing. There is no legal theory which permits you to stop me. On the contrary, there is likely to never be such a theory because of the nature of the web. Every request is accompanied by an indication of the link that prompted the request. You have complete control over how your website responds to a request issued from a user's browser in the context of a link that came from my website. What you choose to do with such a request is entirely your concern and none of mine.

Posted [01:40] [Filed in: economics] [permalink] [Google for the title] [digg this]

Tue, 17 Jul 2007

TSA Divide By Zero

I made myself an external battery set for my Compaq iPAQ. I took a Radio Shack(tm) battery case, attached a Radio Shack(tm) coaxial power connector to some Radio Shack(tm) speaker wire, insulated it with some Radio Shack(tm) black electrical wire, and filled it with Radio Shack(tm) Nickle-Metal-Hydride batteries.

Tried to take it (back) through the Portland Oregon airport after OSCON three years ago. Frigging moron bottom-of-her-class TSA inspector #1 decided it looked like a bomb. I foolishly said that I was uncomfortable watching her handle my possessions as if they might explode. She called the cops on me because I said the E-word. Frigging moron nearly-bottom-of-her-class TSA inspector #1 swabbed it and claimed that the spectrometer said that it had traces of C-4 explosive. I helpfully pointed out that the energy density of a modern battery was the equal of any plastic explosive. Not to be sexist, but a male TSA inspector came by and said "this is all stuff from Radio Shack(tm), what's the problem here?"

So the Portland cops came and bitched me out for having a bad attitude and making threats potentially subject to a $500 fine. I explained EXACTLY what I had said, offered to apologize and that was accepted. The airline representative had to be asked if he would allow me on his airplane. He was like WTF, and piss off a customer, oh, yeah, right "Yes, of course you're welcome to fly."

Posted [23:43] [Filed in: politics] [permalink] [Google for the title] [Tags , ] [digg this]

Bad Policy, Bad Investment

One of the problems with inflation is that it causes people to think they have more wealth (as expressed in money) than they really do. Thus, they invest in things which they soon won't value so highly. They then have to liquidate those investments. This can be an expensive process. The only thing that can be done is to continue to inflate, so that people don't realize that their investments are worthless .... during your administration.

There are many ways for bad policy to create bad investments. Inflation, as discussed above, is one. Another is subsidies. Another is tariffs. Another is price controls. We need to be clear, though, that these effects are caused by a bad policy. The sooner we stop the bad policy, the sooner the bad investment will be noticed and corrected.

CDarklock writes in response to a posting of mine about misbegotten criticisms of libertarianism. He points out that (for example) public schooling has sucked up uncountable amounts of investment in "the system", and goes on to name some of the unseen effects of doing away with public schools. I believe that his analysis is correct. While a plan for dealing with the bad investments would be good, I believe that it's more important to 1) stop the bad policy, and 2) recognize the bad investments sooner rather than later. In this manner, people would stop making the bad investments.

Posted [02:49] [Filed in: economics] [permalink] [Google for the title] [digg this]

Thu, 12 Jul 2007

Thoughtless Progressives

I normally avoid reading the Daily Kos, simply because of the lack of in-depth consideration of the issues. I saw a "Ron Paul" tag on Technorati and wondered about it. Found a Daily Kos diary entry. Ewwww, yuck! The comments reflected not little thought, but instead no thought at all. Here's a few representative comments: FDA, no public hospitals, no public education, etc. Hard-liner Libertarians are dumber than Communists.
Not a moment of thought put into why libertarians don't want the FDA? Don't want public hospitals? Don't want public education?

for instance, i consider myself a libertarian, but simply don't believe that corporations are persons entitled to the same rights as you and me. that takes out much of the big-L lunacy right there. i also strongly support socialized medicine...
A "libertarian" who supports socialized medicine? There's a name for people like that: socialists.

Libertarians as a breed tend to be extremely greedy and materialistic assholes who favor an utterly dehumanized concept of freedom weighted like lead toward property rights over the every day walking around liberty most of us want and need.
Okay, "greedy" and "materialistic"? No. Libertarians want people to be as wealthy as they can be, so that they will have the resources to fix the problems they see. Libertarians believe that most people are good, and if they aren't struggling themselves, will be happy to help others, voluntarily and peacefully. The reason libertarians want strong property rights is because "every day walking around liberty" depends on being able to leave your property and know that when you come back, it will still be there.

The standard of living is tied to two things: use of technology and population size. To get a higher standard of living you have to increase the availability of technology or decrease population or both.
Somehow this person thinks that more people makes us worse off. That flies in the face of logic. We have more people in the world than we've ever had before, and most people are better off than they've ever been. Not everyone; most people.

Just as hardcore communism ignores the individualistic aspect of human nature, hardcore libertarianism ignores the societal aspect of human nature.
That's a completely baseless charge. It would only be true if the societal aspect of human nature involved forcing people to assocate against their will.

Libertarianism is code for every man for himself. Yes, every man. And fuck everyone else.
Again, libertarians want free association, not forced association. You'd think that people would bother to learn more about something they have such strong feelings about.

There's more, but it's so disappointing to see progressives be so thoughtless.

Posted [00:47] [Filed in: economics] [permalink] [Google for the title] [Tags , ] [digg this]

Wed, 11 Jul 2007

Soviet Union

At the Quaker Gathering last week, I was talking economics with a fellow whom I shall call "Fred". So Fred says that Keynes got it right, not Friedman. And then he says, when I allude to the impossibility of simulating markets using computers, and mentioned that the Soviet Union failed at it, he said (get this, now): "The Soviet Union didn't last long enough." by which he meant that he thought that a market really wasn't necessary, and that the Soviet Union just needed a little more computing power to be able to simulate markets.

Scary, truly scary. As if murdering millions of their own citizens didn't matter. Some pacifist, that "Fred".

Posted [02:59] [Filed in: economics] [permalink] [Google for the title] [Tags ] [digg this]

St. Schumer

Thank God for Saint Charles "Chuck" Schumer! Just as St. Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland, Chuck is going to drive out the nasty "rogue mortgage lenders". How will he do this? Of course by interfering in the market for subprime mortgages.You see, those nasty people have been able to operate with "little oversight from federal regulators". Nevermind the fact that the Constitution (Hey St. Chuck, remember the Constitution? You swore an oath to obey it.) denies federal regulators the power to do anything about mortgages.

It's almost as if Chuck never read the Constitution. It's almost as if Chuck doesn't realize that the state whom he represents is the responsible party here. Hey Chuck, remember New York? You're supposed to be representing us, not taking away the power from our state legislators (we voted for them, too). But I guess that a guy who needs to get re-elected doesn't need to care about the little nicities like the Constitution.

Posted [02:46] [Filed in: economics] [permalink] [Google for the title] [Tags ] [digg this]

Mon, 09 Jul 2007

Ride starting Fri Jul 6 10:20:00 2007

32.77 km 107512.93 feet 20.36 mi 9391.00 seconds 156.52 minutes 2.61 hours 7.81 mi/hr

Friday's ride was supposed to be a repeat of Wednesday's ride, except that we made a wrong turn. Stayed on Quarry and missed the turn to River. This necessitated a mid-ride change in plans, so we went north on Glover to Highwaya FF, went a little west, and came south on Townsvalley. Crossed the old railroad grade three times, but only the first was obviously a railroad grade.

I went about 93.5 miles during the Gathering, and if you add in the informal riding, I'm sure I went over 100 miles.

Posted [02:58] [Filed in: bicycling] [permalink] [Google for the title] [Tags , ] [digg this]

Ride starting Thu Jul 5 10:09:53 2007

38.11 km 125018.16 feet 23.68 mi 11958.00 seconds 199.30 minutes 3.32 hours 7.13 mi/hr

Again, this track is way too long because I didn't turn it off when I got back to campus. So, you can see me head down to South Fork, back to the UC, wander around in front of the UC, etc. The most important part -- Thursday's ride -- is all there. Yes, including the wrong turn northeast on 29 halfway back to campus, sigh. You can also see where we rode out through Glen Park on the Swinging Bridge, but on the way back, failed to make a left turn and ended up on 29 anyway.

Posted [02:53] [Filed in: bicycling] [permalink] [Google for the title] [Tags , ] [digg this]

Ride starting Wed Jul 4 10:39:53 2007

24.17 km 79287.20 feet 15.02 mi 7568.00 seconds 126.13 minutes 2.10 hours 7.14 mi/hr

This track is a bit botched, since it doesn't pick up until we were well out of town, and continues after we got back to campus. Don't feel like editing it any further. In the upper-right corner, we met in worship at an old church, now a historical society.

Posted [02:47] [Filed in: bicycling] [permalink] [Google for the title] [Tags , ] [digg this]

Ride starting Tue Jul 3 10:35:30 2007

28.91 km 94858.89 feet 17.97 mi 8973.00 seconds 149.55 minutes 2.49 hours 7.21 mi/hr

Tuesday's FGC ride. Notice the little leg off the south end of the westmost leg? That's where we buzzed right past the turn. That happened on every ride. It was a little annoying that people kept getting lost, except that I did it too, and the consequences were slight. People just got back to campus a little later than we wanted -- but nobody actually got back late.

Posted [02:47] [Filed in: bicycling] [permalink] [Google for the title] [Tags , ] [digg this]

Ride starting Mon Jul 2 10:42:37 2007

18.14 km 59518.70 feet 11.27 mi 4410.00 seconds 73.50 minutes 1.23 hours 9.20 mi/hr

Been away for a week, at the FGC Gathering. Ran the bicycling workshop. Took the attenders on several rides. I had long and short rides planned. I rode the short rides because I was on a rented tricycle. This one went to the east. The long ride went a little further north, and farther east.

Posted [02:46] [Filed in: bicycling] [permalink] [Google for the title] [Tags , ] [digg this]