Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Russia Not Cooperating with SETI


Russia isn't cooperating with SETI. Instead of informing the world community about findings, the scientists over in Russia inform the dictator first, then after a year or so, if the information is not deemed useful or conclusive by the Kremlin, they inform the rest of the world. Typical.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

The Best Way to Help the Police


The best way that the world can help the respective police forces of every nation is to abandon the notion that human beings are suited to drive motor vehicles. We are not. Millions of accidents confirm this. Driverless vehicles are the way to go. There will be no need for law enforcement to squander time and resources on monitoring speeds or adherence to any other traffic laws if cars are computerized, networked (communicating with each other) and monitored by a central server. We need to stop driving cars yesterday. Humans are lousy drivers, because they want to drink, do drugs, play on their smart phones, change the radio station, talk with friends, brood over things at work, and argue with their spouses or children when they should be paying attention to the road.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Nothing Matters


To know that nothing matters is a liberation. To think that things matter betrays attachment to things. Non-attachment is the way. If one lives in a world of constant change, then a simple path presents itself, to embrace the change and flow with it.

We think things matter because it is a prerequisite of living as an animal. Breathing matters. Feeding matters. To think that these things matter is very useful to an animal. The habit of mind can become all-encompassing, leading one to believe that even little things matter, such as a parking space that one has grown accustomed to or a brand of candy carried by the grocery store. We forget the ultimate reality, which is that nothing matters.

On this planet, there are people now. They were not there in the past. They will not be there in the future. No record will be preserved of their existence. This is a simple concept, but difficult to accept. The Universe does not play favorites.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Afghanistan


Think upon the trillion dollars poured into Afghanistan. Was that a good use of taxpayer funds? Would it have been better spent here in the U.S.A.? Is a cure for cancer completely without value? Is there nothing to be gained from defeating AIDS?

Afghanistan is an unholy mess, the product of the stupidity of our leaders. Their leaders are even more corrupt than ours, and their entire purpose in life is to steal the maximum amount of money from the American taxpayer. They even steal the bullets we give them to defend them against the Taliban. I say let the Taliban take over. We should exact reparations from the land, mining valuable materials from the mountains, while napalming the populated Taliban-infested areas whenever they pose a threat to the transportation of material out of that blighted region. The Taliban is like roaches, they can be sprayed on a periodic basis to keep them in check. Who cares who governs the rest of that country? Abandon the untrustworthy people, and take back from the mountains all the money that was poured into that cesspool. At least that way, the American taxpayer will receive a certain percentage of his hard-earned money back. A check should be sent to each and every American taxpayer, once per year, for the next hundred years, to distribute the profits made by selling Afghan stones and minerals.

Why is the U.S. determined to be the perennial loser in every foreign conflict? Why is our tax money destined to be poured down the toilet and flushed away?

Thursday, August 11, 2016

I Love Chess


I love chess because it is pure. No B.S., just mathematical truth. There is a queer beauty in it.

The alternative to chess, doing what many others do, which is to say, sitting around gossiping, seems pointless and rather debasing as well. At least with chess, one exercises the mind.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Trump


The grinning crocodile, Trump, made a none-too-subtle remark recently that gun owners might assassinate Hillary Clinton, merely because she favors modest and sensible additional controls over firearm sales, such as banning assault rifles and so on. The gun control lobby in the U.S. is completely insane. There is no need to explain. Just research for about half an hour, and it should be obvious.

Let us examine Trump's thinly veiled threat against Hillary in cold blood. Let us say Hillary is gone. Her replacement would also beat Trump and might actually prove a stronger candidate. That is why Hillary is perfectly safe. I do not fear any assassination attempt against her. The ones to fear for are the likes of Martin Luther King, Jr., who gave a better speech than any human being in living history. The evil-doers knew he was irreplaceable. That is why they murdered him. They will not touch a hair on Hillary's head, because she is replaceable, and what is more, the replacement might be better.

Cassandra


I thought this morning that I'm a Cassandra. It is my doom to see things and tell others what I see, but never to be believed. My Father disregarded all I told him to his detriment. I tried to protect him, but of course he would not listen to me. I do not have the additional power of persuasion. I've grown well-accustomed to not being listened to, but sometimes, I tell people things anyway, out of affection, loyalty, a sense of duty or perhaps just an old habit that was never quite completely broken. Sometimes it amuses me as inexorable Fate proves me right, but people never like to admit they were wrong. Cassandras are resented universally. Silence is best, in general.

The quest after Truth is like the serpentine dance of the dragon. When you think you have her, she has eluded you altogether. Nothing is easy. If someone thinks that the world is easy, they have missed about ninety-nine per cent of the equation.

Out-Christian the Christians


There are many who profess to be Christians and proclaim loudly their religiosity. I am amused by their designs to make others think they are good. They sometimes succeed through strenuous efforts at self-promotion and frequent, very public attestations of faith. They gain leverage among others of like mind in order to advance in their careers and in the world. That is their goal and their machinery is transparent to those who watch and listen.

When possible, I like to out-Christian the Christians, not in words but in deeds, and to operate, not necessarily seen or recognized, as a force for good in the world, by helping and assisting others who are good. I do not mind being anonymous. I like doing good just because. Not because I believe some invisible man is watching, a godling or some such, though perhaps that is so. My opinion is unsettled on that matter. How would I know other than how I feel? Feelings are not infallible. I could well be mistaken.

But if there were a god, she is rather a goddess, because I cannot conceive of a masculine god. The power of generation is feminine. The male can only subtract, not add. We subtract rather too often in my opinion. It is regrettable.

As for Tacita, she is not the primary goddess, but a relation. Distant, I think.

A Master's Degree in Marketing


This is the funniest IT story I've read in ages.

You know, the best way to drum up business is to design a good product and provide good service. Little tricks don't get you far.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

U.S. Foreign Policy


The Syrian War is the result of Assad being the dictator. If he had been willing to negotiate and make concessions, then much death and destruction could have been avoided. He is the big loser, as is Syria, because that area will remain devastated for quite some time to come, unless the Western powers foolishly donate billions of taxpayer dollars to rebuild it.

Our leaders are misguided anytime they donate money to foreign powers. Such a decision should be left to the voters in a special referendum. I do not consent for $1 of my tax money to be used on Syria, either on bombs or on reconstruction, and certainly not on both. Why not spend that money on improving our country, if indeed money must be spent at all?

The U.S. seems a foolish country, because we fund both sides in foreign war that does not involve us. We fund both the bombing and the reconstruction and get taken advantage of throughout the entire process by corruption. Trillions of dollars are flushed down the toilet.

The anger I feel over this probably explains the popular support for Trump. But Trump is disingenuous. He would do and say whatever to benefit himself. I do not think he has much concern for either the country or for humanity at large. I have never trusted Trump. His record speaks for itself. There is no need to listen to Trump's opponents. Listen to Trump and look at his history. Hillary's history is certainly better than Trump's. She is a worker, she is dedicated, and she works for what she believes to be the good of the country. She does not cheat and she does not steal. The greatest criticism of her is that she was around when hard decisions had to be made, and she made hard decisions in difficult times. What has Trump done, other than line his own pockets? That is why, despite my disapproval of U.S. foreign policy, I will vote for Hillary.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Iran


I think the Obama Administration needs to send a letter to every citizen in the United States to let them know how much of their tax money has been sent to Iran. I can't imagine a more boneheaded enterprise than sending money to a nation that supports terrorism against American citizens and kidnaps American citizens. Now the kidnapping game is on in earnest, since everybody knows the U.S. will cough up $100 million for a single military person.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Opposing Change


Conservatives oppose change because their personality dictates it. They don't like to think about things much. They fear the unknown. They don't want to bother with studying anything, because that involves work. In short, they have a case of the La Zee Bonez, a disease that is rampant throughout the human race. Those who oppose change get awfully upset at the very idea that things might change, because then, they would have to exert a few seconds, maybe even a minute, of actual thinking. That is a huge thing to ask of them, when normally they do not think about anything at all.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Corruption and Waste


Corruption is rife in the world. In general, people do not listen to what is right, but what is best for them. Morality appears to be a new innovation in the human ape.

Government service is sometimes viewed as an opportunity to be idle and, sometimes, to steal.

Perhaps it is true that people get the government they deserve. If bad leaders are voted into office, then the people do actually get what they voted for, after all. Those regions that elect good people get better government out of the bargain. I wonder whether the U.S. deserves Trump? I certainly hope not.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Astral Stuff


I am not sure what to make of the concept of astral travel. I have read in Tyson's works that anything that happens in the astral plane happens in the mind alone and not outside of the mind. If so, what is the difference between astral travel and reading a good book? To me, it seems silly to imagine an unseen place without a good script, as found in a good book.

Also, what is the difference between astral travel, as defined by Tyson, and writing fiction?

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Germany Bleeds


The news streaming in from Europe seems a never-ending stream of Muslim-manufactured atrocities. The politicians in Europe lack basic common sense. Germany is learning what should have been obvious to anyone with a functioning brain. When you invite a bunch of Muslims to the party, what you get is brain-splatter on the walls and blood all over the floors. Europe is a strange region. If you like them, believe in their culture and philosophy and want to contribute, you are unwanted. If you hate them, want to kill and rape them, then they will bend over backwards to let you in. Moreover, they will pay you not to work. This fits in with the general hypothesis that people, perhaps unknowingly, worship Thanatos, want to die and want to suffer. It is a basic impulse at conflict with happiness and progress. They want to bring the wolf to the table. Of course, the fanatical Muslims are only too happy to oblige.

Erdogan is Ugly


Erdogan, the dictator of Turkey, is just an ugly human being, sitting on the toilet and pretending to be a leader. When he dies, Turkey will be better off. That reptile won't ever give up power while a pulse still beats in his skin. There is going to be a lot of killings and a lot of imprisonment and torture while he lives.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Doing and Thinking


I think that individuals are capable of surprising changes, including improvements, in their beliefs. If my father were alive today, I believe his views on marijuana would change, just as he changed his mind on the subject of homosexuality. When I was a boy, he was a big homophobe, referring to gays as "perverts" and probably worse. He never invited any gay person over to his house and had no gay friends. All of that is ironic, because his son was gay and would have turned out better if things had been normal rather than paranoid and ignorant. At the age of nineteen, when I came out to my father, he decided to educate himself on the subject of homosexuality for the first time. He read books and discussed the subject with others. His views underwent an alteration for the better.

I had a dream of my father last night. I dreamt that he searched my room, as he always used to do. It was his favorite pastime, rationalized as necessary, due to my typical teenage vices of cigarettes, alcohol and pot. He boasted of confiscating my vaporizer. I then pointed out that A.) the thing cost over a hundred dollars, and I really didn't appreciate having to buy a new one now, and B.) I was an adult now and in fact I was his equal, because I supported myself and was independent in every way. Moreover, he was elderly, and it was I that looked after him, rather than the other way around.

For item C, I pointed out that everyone with an education had by now accepted that marijuana was, well, not necessarily health food, but a medicine, and certainly not any more dangerous than alcohol, or for that matter, aspirin or coffee. My father was a learned man that liked to read magazines of the world's opinions and discoveries. In 2016, the truth is out there, for those that wish to listen. My father sagged his shoulders and said, "We know different, now. I was mistaken about this, and I am sorry. I concede to Science." Because Science was his God. And science has spoken about the medicinal plant, a gift to mankind. He apologized for having confiscated my vaporizer but had already destroyed it.

Perhaps in a way, my father's spirit was apologizing for all those searches and seizures, for all those angry scenes, a pointless parade of imagined parental duty. People do tend to act automatically, like robots, behaving in ways they have been programmed to do, rather than pausing to consider the merits of things. Perhaps there isn't always time or energy left over from doing to indulge in much thinking.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Europe Gets a Lesson in Common Sense


Europe is getting a lesson in common sense when it comes to accepting so many "refugees" from Muslim nations. Those nincompoops need to stay where they are and fix Islam, not come over to the West and start problems with their wrong-headed notions. If you let in a bunch of people that have no stake in your culture or philosophy, then they may actually be interesting in killing, robbing or raping your people. That is a lesson Europe is starting to learn, unfortunately. It is a pity that the politicians over there are so boneheaded, they think everyone around the world wants to hold hands and sing Kumbaya. There is a reason that people are voting for the right-wingers, and it is because they see this, because it is obvious, whereas the politicians don't see anything.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Police Need Job Insecurity


Police need to know that when they do wrong, they will be fired. They should be fired from the police force when they pepper-spray people for no reason. They can go to work for Wal-Mart as Wal-Mart greeters. "How may I help you today?" would be good therapy, repeated daily for the next ten years. I do not understand when police officers that shoot, beat, spray, or kill people are reassigned, suspended, or given some other silly wrist-slapping. In any other job, they would be fired, at the very least. Firing would be the minimum consequence. Police need to learn about job insecurity like the rest of us. They are not employed for life. Who among us is employed for life? None of us are very secure in our jobs. None of us can count on that paycheck being there tomorrow. Police need to learn that they are living in the real world, not the fantasy world of never getting fired. Also, police unions should be banned altogether, and any police officer that joins some kind of secret union should be fired. There is no place for unionization or job security for anyone that holds a loaded firearm.

This would put a cap on all the negative stories circulating about law enforcement. The majority are decent, but there needs to be ongoing culling, just like in any other profession. Unfortunately, today, the bad cops just get reassigned or suspended, and go on doing bad things until one day they show up in the headlines.

Turkey's Last Chance


Turkey's last gasp as a republic expired over the weekend as vampire Recep Tayyip Erdoğan managed to fend off a rebellion. Now the ghoul is greedily preparing the deaths of thousands to ensure he can rule until his last, evil heartbeat. Turkey should never be allowed in the European Union, and should be regarded as a second-class citizen in NATO. After all, evil Turkey assisted ISIS and is regularly on the side of NATO's enemies. The only reason Turkey doesn't openly declare itself an enemy of the West is because it is scared of Russia. Russia has no illusions about Turkey, whereas the West has been very mild and tolerant of Erdogan's wickedness and duplicity. Turkey hates the West, hates democracy, and hates science, technology and culture. The only thing Turkey wants is beheading, torture, and fanatical Islam, in large doses, preferably televised, with all other television and Internet censored.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Nocturnal Perfection Achieved by Linux Mint 18


What I want in an operating system is simple. I want to look at a screen that is easy on the eyes. I spend a lot of time on the computer, and I don't need to be staring into a light bulb. I do not like headaches and I do not appreciate eyestrain. After twenty years, Windows does not understand this. Windows insists upon burning out the eyeballs of its users. Ubuntu is no better. Only Linux Mint understands, as of version 18.

I'm happy with Linux Mint 18, because it has included a dark theme that just works all the time. Fastest and easiest route to nocturnal perfection that I have ever experienced in any operating system. I liked it so much, I donated to the project. In my opinion, Mint-Y-Dark is reason enough to convert to Linux Mint 18. Meanwhile, I don't know what Windows and Ubuntu are doing, but they are not doing anything for me.

Mr. Developer, please. Think, for a moment, about the human body. In particular, have pity on the human eyeball. It is not designed to stare into the Sun all day long. Try to design your product so that it works in harmony with the user and is not harmful to the user.

My Radical Idea


I have at least one radical idea. I believe we can safely reduce the number of police by about 25 - 50% without consequences, other than a temporary unemployment bump. I think that would reduce a lot of the officer-involved shootings in America. There are too many police without enough to do. That is the central problem. They are driving around looking for something to do to bump up their quotas. I do not think police suffer from a huge racism problem. I think that police suffer from not enough work to do and from most of their work being petty nonsense that doesn't make any difference to the community.

If there are to be less police, then the ones that remain will really be working on meaningful things, like crime, rather than driving around wasting gas and harassing poor people. To reduce the burden on law enforcement, we should also legalize marijuana and prostitution.

I don't really know what to say to people that think marijuana needs to be illegal in 2016 and beyond. Read some books, get educated, try to advance in learning. Go to Norml.org and learn the facts rather than the old, disproved propaganda.

Prostitution is a more honest form of a trade that goes on anyway under various pretenses. People will always be attracted to money and to power, and nothing is going to change that. Sex for goods or services is as old as sex itself and is practiced in all the animals.

Also, have the mentally ill homeless people taken care of by a specially trained mental illness service. We should not call cops to deal with the mentally ill. Cops are not therapists, psychologists, or anything like that. Cops deal with crime. The mentally ill need help, usually in the form of anti-psychotic drugs or just rest and food. Some people additionally need guidance and advice.

Another thing we can do to reduce the burden on law enforcement is install a governor on all motor vehicles to prevent their traveling above 80 mph. That would reduce speeding using a simple technical device, which can be verified as functional by a cellular internet connection, without the need for cops. Using millions of cops simply to enforce speeding laws is inefficient. I really do not think that people go into law enforcement with the desire to hand out tickets to lead-foots.

Knock Idols Off Their Pedestal


Whenever one creates idols, it is wise to knock them off their pedestals whenever possible. Idols beget idolatry, which is supposed to be naughty. I do not believe a human being qualifies as a deity. Such an elevation oversteps a boundary. Some human beings do approach the divine, but not quite there, surely.

I like to gather knowledge about my idols, using tools that are familiar to me, and that serves to humanize and demythologize them. Then I can incorporate my former idols into my understanding of reality and human existence.

Best of all is to have a belly-laugh over a former idol. Thanks for that, Donald.

Friday, July 15, 2016

France's Muslim Problem


One perceives in the distance the dim possibility that France will administer bitter medicine to herself in order to correct a systemic disease. One sees it in the distance and one sees France's majority inching towards the solution. There is a historical precedent. The tolerance and benevolence of modern folk can only be tested so far before they adopt a solution that worked for their ancestors.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Relations with the U.K.


Now that the U.K. has voted to leave the European Union, we in the U.S. need to rally around our long-time ally and fellow English-speaking nation. The U.S. always has had and always will have a special relationship with the U.K., and I think it is right we should always protect that island and the people in it. If the U.K. is leaving the E.U., then perhaps it can forge some kind of economic partnership with the New World, possibly even joining an expanded NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement). The U.K. may be farther away than most North American countries, but certainly not farther than Argentina, and let us all remember that the U.K. owns islands in the New World, notably the Falkland Islands off the coast of Argentina. I think it is entirely logical and right for the U.K. to enjoy special trading privileges with the U.S. I think that is all that the English people want. They do not want to share our currency or political system or immigration policy. They just want the economic advantages, without all the political intrusion that the European Union represented. However, one way that the U.K. and the U.S. should combine is on the metric system. We should adopt the metric system. Also, we should develop some kind of consistency in regard to our mutual language. Let us spell words the same.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Left-Behinds


The Left-Behinds are the unhappy individuals who just don't enjoy life like the rest of us. They are angry all the time or sad all the time or a mixture of both. They have been left behind by the peace, prosperity and exuberance of this modern age, which is such an easy and enlightened era to live in. Compare the modern times to ancient times, and I think we can all breathe a sigh of relief that we don't live in a world where slavery, torture, starvation and disease are commonplace. These artifacts of the bad old days have been relegated to the barbarian outposts of the world, that is to say, Muslim nations for the most part.

In the U.S., we need some kind of outreach program, preferably Internet-based, to open channels of communication with desperate criminals that are on the verge of doing something horrible. Granted, it may not even be possible to reach them, because they tend to isolate themselves, or only associate with like-minded cretins, but it may be possible to reach someone with sense close to them, who may observe signs and symptoms. A free online mental health forum and chat service, staffed by psychologists, interns, and college students might be the ticket. The online service would not cost much money, and would offer paid experience to thousands of unemployed Americans. Just have a service with a domain name like help.gov that operates 24 / 7 / 365. Tips can be forwarded to the law enforcement as needed, emergency services can be dispatched as needed, and people that really need help really should be offered help in the form of free therapy and free medical care. Now, that part (free medical care) might be costly. The thought of socialized medicine raises hackles among the right-wing crowd. But I wonder which costs more. Treating the ill, or letting them just do whatever with a bunch of firearms and bombs or drinking and drugs and driving? If a person goes crazy, I grant you the most likely victim is the crazy person himself. After that, the most likely victims are the people around him. But the community also suffers. Who wants a bunch of crazy people running amok, anyway? It is bad for public order and morale. We need to get serious about mental health in this country and do something to put an end to the mass shootings, drunk and drugged driving, addiction, overdoses, violence, crime and everything else. I think that more cops on the street is not the answer. We have enough cops on the street. What we need is communication and therapy to heal the afflicted, or at least identify them and try to help them and reduce the amount of damage they do to themselves and others.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Britain, Stay in the European Union


If I were British and against the Euro, I'd change my vote, based on the horrible assassination of the bright lady, Jo Cox. If that cretinous assassin believes so-and-so, then it almost definitely is wrong, no matter what. Shooting and stabbing an unarmed, unguarded woman, a mother of two at that, is about as low as you can go. If people that want the UK out of the Euro are that low, then they have to be wrong in what they believe, no matter what. It was an act of absolute evil. Seldom in politics are things so clear-cut as that. Jo Cox has got to have been right in what she believed, if she was assassinated for it. I am in favor of the UK remaining in the European Union, based on that incident alone. Either postpone the vote by a year, or vote against leaving the Union. I don't see any other moral choice.

Friday, June 17, 2016

The Anti-Hillaries


I've encountered a ton of anti-Hillaries in my day, even among the left-wing crowd. The specific grievances people have against Hillary Clinton seem to me rather dubious or petty. Private email server, Benghazi, the Clinton Foundation, and some people even claim Hillary killed somebody or ordered them to be killed. Well, I don't know about all that. The right wing says a lot of crazy stuff, like Obama is a Muslim or the AntiChrist, and so on. The right wing seems to suffer from paranoia. Just because you call someone something, does not make them so. Some people do not know the difference between words and reality. As for all the accusations levelled against her, it seems to me the facts just don't pan out in some cases, while things like the email server and the Clinton Foundation do not seem egregious. Hillary has had a long career and has been careless in some regards, but if she were really guilty of anything serious, there is little doubt the Republican majority in Congress would have gotten to the bottom of things by now. One thing about the Republicans, they are not in the habit of letting the Clintons off the hook about anything, great or small.

I think Hillary's real problem is just that she is not really photogenic and personable. Some of the photos the media prints of her are not flattering. Maybe it is because members of the media dislike her. Hillary is kind of a nerd. But I think that being a nerd is cool.

In a way, George W. Bush was photogenic and personable. I disliked George W. Bush and thought he was stupid, unfit for the job, but as a face, well, he was all right, and as a personality, certainly he would seem acceptable at a party. He probably spent most of his formative years in parties, while Hillary was out there working. Hillary is a worker bee, that is what she is. A workaholic. Would you have a good time with Hillary at a party? Maybe not, because she'd be on her phone texting, worrying, emailing and getting work done while you were goofing off. I can't imagine Hillary kicking back and drinking a beer in a hammock and doing nothing all day long. Hillary is all about the job. She is on a mission. She wants to do right and make a mark in history, a positive mark. I think she is good and grounded and does right by her own code, which is probably not too different from the code of most Americans.

Now, comparing her to Trump, I think it is clear that Trump has more problems with honesty, accuracy, and every other moral quality. I think any analysis of Trump can begin and end with Trump University. I rest my case on Trump University. If America wants to learn about Trump, then graduate from Trump University. Listen to all that Trump has said about Trump University. Let Trump be the star witness. I think that a Trump Presidency will be amusing, if not scary. I don't think it will happen. People will turn out to vote in droves to see to it that Trump does not become President. But I could be wrong. We will just have to see, won't we?

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Muslims and Barbarism


The only time that Muslims do anything newsworthy is when they are either killing Americans or complaining because Americans don't like them. Well, stop killing Americans, and maybe they will like you. When the Muslims learn basic manners, then that will be considered progress. But it is not the job of the West to teach the barbarian Muslims right from wrong or to help them in any other way. The Muslims need to teach themselves right from wrong and learn about basic morality. The West can only do so much. It is not our job to lift up the rest of the world out of barbarism.

Not a year goes by that Muslims aren't killing a bunch of Americans, usually young people with their whole lives ahead of them. The Boston Marathon. Now the gay bar. The targets are calculated, always young people with a lot of promise and potential. The Muslims take our technology, which they never could have invented on their own, and use it to harm Westerners. Go back to Saudi Arabia, go back to Syria, go back to wherever in the hell you came from if you don't like it here. See how many rights Saudi Arabia grants you. I understand Saudi Arabia sentenced a liberal blogger to 1,000 lashes. That is the Islamic ideal, Saudi Arabia. Go back there and live the Islamic life, if all this Western stuff rubs you the wrong way. Why do they come to America, if it is so bad? They want to create trouble for us is why.

Trump is right about closing our borders to these people. The number of Muslims that should be allowed into the U.S. per year is zero. There should be a net outflow of Muslims, not an influx. We need to encourage departure, rather than making things so easy that they have the time and resources to plan attacks. They need to learn that U.S. citizenship is a privilege. Other people from other countries work hard, obey the laws, and do what is right in order to become a U.S. citizen. These refugees come over, get made citizen just because of their refugee status, and then hate and kill Americans. Something is wrong with the immigration policy. Instead of coming over to the U.S., these people need to stay in their own country and make it better. Why is it that the U.S. has to bleed in Iraq and Afghanistan? These refugees need to stay and fight for their own countries, instead of coming over here. We do not need more terrorists and criminals. Go back to Afghanistan, go back to Saudi Arabia.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Obama


I think Obama did well in the context of the leader of a conservative Western nation with a conservative, right-wing Congress composed of right-wing, conservative Democrats and a Republican majority. Democrats are practically indistinguishable from Republicans on many issues, with only the most outlandish things, like forcing prayer in schools or torturing prisoners, being the hallmarks of the Republican party. He did about as well as he could on most fronts. The paranoid white people that claimed Obama was a communist, Muslim or antiChrist have been exposed as crackpots by his mild, caretaker administration. Meanwhile, Obama has brought wars to an end and tried to deescalate all the other conflicts around the world that the U.S. has been embroiled in. Easing the situation in Cuba was a good idea, and not getting too involved in Syria was also right.

I read today some quotes from his appointed Supreme Court Justice, Sonia Sotamayor, and was impressed by how good she is. Whenever I read quotes from Scalia, I always wondered what a cold person he was. Now he's cold for real, but even back in the day, he was pretty cold, always siding with whatever was bigger and more powerful against whatever was weaker.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Trump?


I'm not opposed to the idea of a businessman as President. I do think there are many skills that translate directly from the business world to the political realm. However, in elections, we deal not with generalities, but specifics. The specimen before us is Trump. First of all, how did he make his money, and what kind of skills has he demonstrated, and what was the nature of his deeds? Simply having the money is not impressive by itself, nor is making it. If Trump could indeed make America great again, I'd vote Republican. His career is a long history of enriching himself at the expense of others and not bringing a lot of benefit to his community. When does Trump think about anyone else besides Trump? Never, would be my guess. A Trump Presidency would be rich on self-gratification and self-promotion. Trump has shown himself to be thin-skinned and vengeful, so he would have a lengthy enemies list and punish anyone that said or did the slightest thing against him. He would spend most of his time combing his hair, looking in the mirror, and acting important. Trump does not strike me as particularly intelligent or original. He has street smarts, though, and made short work of the nitwits that the Republicans usually place before voters. Perhaps he is a better choice than they were.

I'd prefer a normal manager-type, one that knows what she is doing and is used to it, like Hillary Clinton. I hope that she does the right thing and selects Bernie Sanders as her running mate. If they have a rocky relationship, so much the better. VPs and Presidents don't have to be best friends, and I think that Hillary would gain credibility by having a prominent and vocal critic in her administration.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Silence


I admire those that have learned to be, or who always were, quiet watchers and listeners. Silence is really underrated. People, politicians and socialites, talk and talk, out of nervousness, anxiety, or boredom, not realizing that in many cases, they help themselves not at all. It best to talk when one has something to say. When one has nothing to say, silence is best. Talkers help their listeners in forming opinions and gathering information. One conserves energy and prestige by saying as little as possible. To observe, retain, and use knowledge is really the way. Except when there is something useful to say, silence is best. Silence has the tacit approval of Tacita.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Tacita


For the most part, we see in this world as through a glass darkly, but to see with clear vision is a gift.

I derived the name of the Goddess from a phrase that came to me in a dream. I did not recognize the phrase as an acrostic until I had turned it over in my mind a hundred times.

What little we know is that the ancient world thought of Tacita as goddess of the dead and importuned her to exact vengeance upon hated enemies.

She does nor preside over, but remembers the dead, who are truly gone. She remembers what was & sees what can be.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

The Model vs. the Ideal


I compare myself to the ideal, as conceived by me, and come up short. I know there is room for improvement, in areas such as memory and intelligence, and suspect that improvements are the name of the eugenics game being played by modern scientists around the globe. Indeed, who cares about workers and their rights, because the future won't need workers, or at least not as many of them. If H. Sapiens improves (evolves), becoming stronger, more robust, more agile, smarter, and longer-lived, then the world could get by quite well with a tiny fraction of the existing population of workers. How many living people are really required to run a society? That is open to debate, given the emergence of automation and robotics, as well as the possibility of improving human DNA. If future people become capable of living thousands of years or forever, then that is a huge advantage over current models of people. If future people will be ten times smarter than me, then I suppose that people like me can be dispensed with. Of course, that is what has always happened on this planet. H. Sapiens is only the latest iteration of many different models of the walking ape. Maybe there will be a successor created not by evolution but by the laboratory and market forces.

This seems to be the thinking, or rather the deeper, unspoken, secret thinking, behind trends in the world. Technology, philosophy, and economic forces point in the direction I have described. It is not necessarily wrong, even if it is unpleasant and frightening. If the end result is a better H. Sapiens, then perhaps sacrifices need to be made, in terms of quality of life or even life itself. I don't like it, but that seems to be the way that the world is headed, whether I like it or not. I would hope for a gentler transition, but I think that may not be part of the program. One can't count on stability. Stability is a bonus, a prize denied to many of our ancestors.

If I am fortunate, I will survive to an appropriate old age, such as eighty or so, and then cash in my chips, well-liked and well-remembered by those who know me. I hope the economy does not crash, or war break out, or something foolish like that, but one never knows, with Trumps and Putins and Khameinis and Kim Il-Jongs running around in the world stirring up trouble with their nuclear bombs, missiles and tanks, and nasty threats and disregard for others. Many people seem to think that hatred and warfare is the way, and that peace is for sissies, and morality is for losers. The warrior ethos still holds great appeal for wannabe candidates to Valhalla. This may be a fatal flaw in H. Sapiens, given the capabilities of our weapons. Hatred and warfare, so much of it, reinforced over generations. To recover from traumatic violence may require more than one lifetime, and cycles tend to repeat and reinforce.

If I am not fortunate, then that is okay too. I think the world will go on turning.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Yes to Tariffs


I do support the idea of tariffs to protect American jobs. Too much is made in China, which seeks to conquer the world, beginning with its backyard. China will soon eclipse the U.S. in economic might, and then the military will follow. We need to add twenty to fifty per cent to the cost of goods manufactured overseas, to encourage companies to manufacture goods in the U.S. If this results in a trade war, then the U.S. will win that war, because it is the largest consumer economy in the world at this time. Another idea would be to include all of North and South America in a development zone that is free trade, and then place a tariff on goods outside of the New World. Just about everything can be produced in the New World. We need to take an interest in our neighbors and friends, rather than enriching future military adversaries like Russia, Iran and China.

The idea that one day, America will be able to compete with China on jobs is ludicrous. China has zero protections for workers and the environment. They will always be cheaper. Either you want an America where your child will grow up to flip burgers at the Waffle Goon, or else you want an America where future generations can get decent jobs that pay well enough to enjoy a good quality of life. It seems pretty simple to me. The only people that benefit from so-called "free trade" are the stockholders in the big corporations. Workers don't see any benefits.

I do realize that slapping tariffs on China would result in a drastic increase in prices for all computer parts and all kinds of other goods. My purchasing power would go down, in the short term. There would be a long period of pain, maybe even a whole lifetime. That would be a price I am willing to pay. One has to think, not just about today, but about fifty years from now. What will America be like? People just don't think about anything other than themselves and today. That is why America is in the situation it is in, where good jobs are hard to find.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Naming a Spirit


Despite my skepticism, it pleases me to experiment with Tyson's as yet unproven hypothesises. Skepticism seems wholesome, robust and right. Morally, I think we should be skeptics about everything, save goodness and love, in which we should be true believers. Credulity is a big problem in H. Sapiens. We must question, or we seem like ants. People will vote for Trump only because they lack skepticism. He is confident, sure. He is more confident than he really should be. Is he right? Is he good? People don't bother to look past the bravado. They want their tribe, Republicanus, to win, and "Trump=Win" seems to be the thought behind all the brouhaha. Well, Hillary is a known quantity and, I suppose, predictable. Boring, I think, is better than Bad. Perhaps people have forgotten. History provides us with many examples. But I digress.

Skepticism seems a tedious pose to maintain long-term among believers, and I feel swamped by believers in various things that don't make much logical or physical sense, and there seems no real harm in indulging in a bit of magic, whereas there would be real harm in supporting a bad politician. So, although I don't believe very much, I suppose I can manage to pretend just a little bit, sure. Perhaps pretending is what this thing is all about.

I shall attempt to take notes of my ongoing experiments. Based upon my reading, I believe imagination may be the best interpretation of what magic is to the believer. Whatever one thinks of, if it seems to arrive from an external source, might be, instead, a communication of sorts or even a divination. Intentions, motivations and environment seem to be relevant. Good attracts good, evil attracts evil, and so on.

Unlike Wiccans, I do not place much stock in rituals, spells or suchlike, which strike me as silly and ridiculous, especially in this modern age. It seems like so much nonsense and rather debasing and primitive. If Tyson felt free to deviate from tradition, then why not deviate further, and dispense with much of the nonsense, forging one's own way, provided it seems right or makes sense to the user. One seeks a dignified and original approach. After all, languages and cultures vary, and so too will words, inflections and practices, so I don't think any of that matters very much. Thoughts matter, if anything, but not specific formulas of words or marks. Tyson's treatise on sigils gave the game away. None of that really matters. The sole purpose is to inculcate patterns of thought in the user. That can be done with or without sigils, and the shape of the marks clearly is irrelevant.

I have thought about certain words that seem interesting or meaningful. The first name that occurred to me was Fra. It is convenient to have a monosyllabic handle, no? This is in accord with Tyson's recommendation to have a name for one's familiar. Apparently, it is possible to manufacture one.

A second word, Mishante, occurred to me whilst walking in the rain, and may or may not be a name. I think, rather than a name, it may be a subject and an action verb, as in, "I sing," or "Me chantez," which is poor French grammar. It could also be méchant, or wicked, but that is a depressing and paranoid thought and not at all what I felt when the word occurred to me, for I felt good then, even though it was raining. The rain does not bother me. I like walking, and I did have an umbrella after all. I prefer the "Me chantez" interpretation, because rain is the way that water "sings", and presumably Fra is of water, so there is a bit of poetry from Brother Fra.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Veneration for Things Ancient


I'm dismayed by a certain writer's reverence for the ancientry, their practices and beliefs. We moderns have, most of us, concluded that our ancestors were wrong about a great many things. And in any event, whether they were correct in any specific instance, there is no question but that modern, Western societies are nicer places to live than ancient kingdoms. I would not want to go back two thousand years. Ancient people hurt others for little or no reason and waged war as a regular profession. Cruelty was commonplace. Everything was the fault of invisible demons or gods or spirits, and people were afraid of the dark and did not understand anything about science. Ignorance was rampant, reason in short supply, and people died for stupid reasons.

Also, our ancients were not that old, in the cosmic sense. Ten thousand years is not really all that much compared to the age of the planet we live on. What reason have we to suppose that there was anything the ancients knew that we do not? What sort of advantage accrued to the practitioners of magic? We do not today see any on the public stage. Why should they hide, and why should they be in the minority, if their practices work, even in some small way? These questions should occur to anyone that reads about magic. If magic were a really useful thing, would we not learn about in school?

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Donald Tyson's Sexual Alchemy


I suspect people dabble in magic to horrify the orthodoxy. Christians seem upset by mentions of witchcraft, fearing it comes from the Devil. The Islamists behead people for witchery, along with a thousand other supposed crimes. The Jews, who knows? They invented the Kaballah back in the day. But most modern Jews are probably amused by witchcraft and don't take it seriously. There really is not a clear Jewish position on magic.

I think witchcraft comes from foolishness, not the Devil. I don't believe in the Devil, but if he does exist, then he is a rather weak and unimpressive bogey. I quit believing in the Devil around the age of thirteen. It is an easy matter to establish whether the Devil or any other entity has real power and authority in the world. Invoke the thing by name, and if it does not appear, insult it. Nothing happen? Fine, then you know the thing is the fantasy of shaman from long ago.

I've been browsing Donald Tyson's book on sexual alchemy, in which he discusses how to attract and recruit a spirit lover, presumably, one that has no material existence in the world as we know it. One never really knows what is meant by the word "spirit" or "spiritual" when it is bandied about by those who really believe. I am not sure Tyson knows what is meant by the word "spirit," either. He seems unperturbed by pesky logic.

Tyson lays out an intricate system for harnessing magic. He is rather vague on material results, but who cares about the material world, anyway? He does not promise material results--a wise and prudent move on his part as a writer, because in my opinion, there will be none. Instead, he talks about communing with spiritual entities and traveling through the astral plane, which is a more achievable goal for the self-deluded. For me, airplanes are more effective than the astral plane. Magic seems like a mind-trip people indulge for pleasure and amusement. If it were effective, then we would all use it, not only lonely dabblers in the dark. It is not prejudice or close-mindedness that keeps us from magic. Magic does not work. Even if magic worked a little bit, people would use it. People use software all the time that doesn't work that great. We don't expect miracles, but need to see a little bit of benefit in this world, not the imaginary world.

As for Tyson, I can't help but feel like he is in magic for profit. People want to achieve power beyond the human capability, so they buy his books, because he promises that the process is easy and just requires certain rituals and a lot of patience, I assume a lifetime of patience, because nothing will happen in a whole lifetime spent dabbling in magic. He explains a complicated system, which fills up hundreds of pages to the end of his book, and then counsels patience. Clever, no? He regurgitates a mixed salad of superstition from the ages: astrology, mythology, the Kaballah, and who knows what else, flaunting his knowledge to establish himself as an authority on magic. I suppose this is pointed at other magicians, who might dismiss Tyson if he didn't know all of the lore they knew, but might accept him if he reveals things they did not know. If someone believes all of that and takes it seriously, then by the time they reach his book's end, they will have invested a lot of time learning and constructing their own reality with his ideas. I think magic only works when people believe in it. Thus, it is the same as any other delusion, such as religion. I do not think that Tyson can achieve power or knowledge over me or anyone else by using only magic. If only the world were that simple, then life would be easy indeed. The Tysons of the world are these romantics that hope human beings are more powerful, and human life more meaningful, than it really is. In reality, we are numbers generated by other numbers, and math is at the heart of the cosmos and explains everything. Magic appeals to those befuddled by arid, difficult math, like Tyson, because it is easier and more accessible.

Magical practice can transform the self, like any other exercise that people do, but whether for good or ill depends upon the nature of the practice. I do think there are odd things in life that beg explanation. We do not understand them yet, but magic is not an optimal hypothesis. Old gods and demons are not the answer. The lore of the ancients can be discarded. Direct experience and experimentation is the way. That which is called a goddess, what is it really but a facet of ourselves, and why should we not call it by another name?

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Hadrian


This prediction concerns not the future, but what remains unknown in the past. After watching a BBC documentary of the Roman Emperor Hadrian, I have the uneasy feeling that he slew his beloved Antinuous. The Emperor Hadrian's ego was out-sized and improper, smacking of hubris. His innumerable statues and monuments give testimony that their patron valued himself too highly. Towards life's end, he became increasingly paranoid. And he was terrible toward the Jews, making their rebellion inevitable. I believe he certainly had to have been capable of fratricide. Perhaps he was one of the so-called good emperors, if "good" means nothing more than effective. He was not a very good man, though. What emperor was?

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Donald Tyson


Donald Tyson has written two books based upon the mythology invented by the old, dead pioneer of horror, H.P. Lovecraft. Given the derivative nature of Tyson's work, one might assume it pales before the stories of the original creator, Lovecraft. Yes and no. Lovecraft is good, sometimes very good, but uneven. There are flaws in Lovecraft's writing that put me off. I really enjoy Tyson's Necronomicon and Alhazred. Tyson's style is crisper. He is an economical writer that does not waste my time telling me that the horrible horror was horribly horrible. Lovecraft blathers with a hundred words to convey an idea that Tyson can convey with twenty. Tyson is sparse even to a fault. I sometimes have to go back and re-read paragraphs to remind myself of what he assumes I already know. He does not paint pictures with very much detail, but is more of a sketch-artist. He also takes a lot of shortcuts as a writer and cheats when it suits him. In that respect, he reminds me of my own style. I find his stories endlessly fascinating and better for being built upon the solid, well-thought out foundation of Lovecraft's universe. There's no harm using a popular author's creations if they are excellent.

Nose Buried in His Phone


I vaguely remember an attractive young man, a friend of a friend, who introduced himself to me and several other people, then sat down at a table with us. After a few words, he buried his nose in his phone, surfing the web or whatever it was he was doing, and that was the end of him. I had been preparing polite questions in my mind, but discarded them and decided instead to forget his name, and to this day I don't remember it. That's okay, because he had no relevance. His phone indeed is more interesting than he is, as his behavior implied. He had fought traffic to meet us, but then blown any chance of making a positive impression. I do remember that he was an actor, and I found it amusing that here was a presumably social person, whose career depends upon interaction with others, and his nose is buried in his phone, and he has nothing remotely interesting to say. I learned later that his career went bust, he lost his job and had to move back in with his parents. I guess there isn't a big market for actors that stand on the stage silently fiddling with their phones.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

My Review of GalliumOS v1.0

When Google first released the Chromebook, my interest was piqued, because here was a laptop designed from the ground up, hardware and all, with Linux in mind, albeit Google's stripped-down, mutilated monster, rather than the full-fledged penguin we know and love. Still and all, the hardware is good, good with Linux, which is the real pull, and cheap, too. Ever priced Acer's refurbs on E-bay? Do so today. You might be in for an eye-opener. Google gives Chromebooks away, but makes bank in their ChromeOS, because the business user has to pay to play. The App Store is what the Chromebook is all about. Understand the business model? Even so, Google left a little backdoor open for all the poor hackers of the world.

I have nothing to do with GalliumOS's developers and, indeed, have no idea who they are. I found GalliumOS through Googling for a fix for my Chromebook. My Chromebook is a cute little web kiosk, but what if I want to FTP, RDP, run LibreOffice, and do all of the other nifty things that Linux can do? I don't like being prevented from doing things. I despise ChromeOS. It's wonderful if you don't understand computers. It protects the user from himself. But if you need to actually get things done, then ChromeOS is terribly limiting. Goodbye, ChromeOS. Enter GalliumOS.

As always, I highly recommend torrenting the .iso for GalliumOS, because by doing so, you are assured an error-free copy, besides saving the developers bandwidth. I did so and then followed very carefully and very slowly--the only way to ride on a new pony--the instructions for installing. Yes, the instructions are a wee bit more involved than a veteran Linux user might be accustomed to, but that is not the fault of GalliumOS developers. Whose fault is it? Why, the manufacturer, Google, of course. Google does not necessarily want you to be ridding yourself of their ever-loving, money-making ChromeOS. For my part, I could not wait to be shod of the thing, and my feelings were, if I brick my computer, then so be it. As a matter of fact, you must feel this way in order to install GalliumOS. You will be required to type a similar phrase in order to install. Otherwise, GalliumOS will not install. There is a risk. You could make a typo or something else could happen. Be at peace with your decision before proceeding.

All went well for me, and I had GalliumOS installed in less than half an hour. Not much sorcery is required and little in the way of prayers. Fear not. If you read the instructions very carefully, and then go back and read them again, and don't rush off in an all-fired hurry, then you should be okay. Just slow down, sip your coffee, rub your beard, ponder the situation, and get things done. Trust me, it's easy. I can't really improve upon the wiki's installation instructions. The GalliumOS wiki is your friend, and you should read everything there that might assist you.

The wiki has instructions for making a backup of your ChromeOS, in case you suffer a knock on the head and decide to go back to ChromeOS just because it's easier. I went ahead and backed up my ChromeOS to a flash drive, but I will probably delete the backup, because I'd rather have the flash drive for other purposes. You can optionally create a multi-boot system with both ChromeOS and GalliumOS or even something more exotic. I went the nuclear route. Out with ChromeOS, in with GalliumOS. Whole disk, baby! I don't ever want to see ChromeOS again, seriously.

The Chromebook is "prepared" by running a special script that wipes out ChromeOS and hacks the BIOS to allow the booting of a nonstandard operating system. This is a script made by John Lewis, and it worked flawlessly on my Acer ChromeBook running an Intel Broadwell cpu.

In the end, I am presented with the following screen when I boot my Chromebook. GalliumOS calls this the "scary screen," but I guess I don't scare easily. I just think it's an ugly BIOS-type screen with some misinformation thrown in by Google.



At this screen, we must press Alt-L. If we neglect to press Alt-L, eventually our Chromebook will play the nanny and suggest reinstalling the ChromeOS, which we don't really want to do. Unfortunately, a hack has not appeared to bypass this screen. It is merely a minor annoyance, courtesy of Google, again to protect the clueless business suit from himself. Remember, the suits have more money than we do, and almost everything is designed for them, not us. But that's okay, because we can fix the Chromebook to do what we want it to do, and I'm at least grateful for that.

After Alt-L, we enter hackland:



All we do here is press Esc, followed by 1 to boot the system, and that's it. We enter the familiar territory of good old Linux.




You will notice I encrypted my entire disk. I think this option is a no-brainer. A laptop can get stolen, duh. I chose a very difficult password and wrote it down in a secret place. I then configured the system to log in automatically, because there's not much of a case for requiring a log in, if the encryption itself requires a password. I really don't understand why everyone does not use full-disk encryption. It is like they are not living in 2016, with all the identity theft, password theft, fraud, hacking, and so on.

GalliumOS is based upon Xubuntu, which I am familiar with, but lacks Xubuntu's Software Manager. Instead, it has Synaptic Package Manager. Otherwise, it's pretty similar to Xubuntu, with additional optimizations to ensure a smooth experience on the Chromebook. My hardware, consisting of the Chromebook itself, a USB drive and a USB-connected Ethernet cable, all worked OK. I installed Qbittorent, Remmina (an RDP client), Filezilla, Firefox as my default browser, and Gcolor, and now feel like my Chromebook is actually worth something to me.

The desktop comes with a picture of a high-rise building as seen from the ground. I suppose that is an allusion to the idea that they intend to be moving up, going places, improving, since they are on version one right now. I replaced it with solid black, as I always do.

Other than the missing Software Manager, I did not see much difference between GalliumOS and Xubuntu, which is intended. This OS boots fast, is responsive, and I feel like I can actually get things done, as opposed to ChromeOS, which was great as long as all I wanted to do was surf the web.

The one thing that bothers me about GalliumOS has nothing to do with the technical side. I want to know who the hell they are. Just a name, a location, a picture, and a little bio, you know? In fact, post a life story, with twenty-nine chapters, a thousand pages. Knock yourself out. That may seem hypocritical coming from me, mystery man that I am, but then again, I'm installing their code on my machine. I am giving them root access. It would be nice to learn that the developers aren't actually the Russian mafia, the NSA, the Chinese Red Army, Iran, or North Korea. Just post a dozen or so pictures of the developers strolling through a garden sipping tea, holding hands and singing or dancing or vaporizing. That would be nice. Seriously. It might also jumpstart the donations, so the public knows the money isn't going to ISIS or something. I don't get why there are no names at all on the GalliumOS web site. It's not like they are discussing anything controversial. Perhaps they are in fear of getting sued by Google. Is that even possible? I don't know. I'm not a lawyer. Is it legal and okay to hack a device that one owns? I think it is. But again, I'm not a lawyer.

The next version of GalliumOS will be based upon the next LTS of Xubuntu and should be coming out this year, 2016. I'm looking forward to it.

Step-by-step instructions that are easy to follow, a distribution that just works right out of the box, and a distribution optimized and customized specifically for my machine. I'm gushing with gratitude for the perceived added value to my Chromebook. I award GalliumOS a 10 out of 10. It converted my Chromebook from a fairly useless hunk of junk to something I actually will use. I feel like Distrowatch should definitely add this to their list of distributions, because it is extremely useful to owners of Chromebooks.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Reinvention

A good skill I developed is reinvention. I have the capability of reinventing myself. I can reduce this trait, increase that trait, in order to cope more effectively with my environment. Some have less of this capability, and I pity them.

Why persist in behavior that produces results contrary to one's interests?

"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds." I think Emerson wrote that, although Longfellow also may have. I first saw the quote not in a book or classroom, but in a ward. A counselor that I liked, a fine physical specimen who was the most effective counselor, the most perceptive, and one that gave me good advice, had written the phrase on a marker board. I doubt any of the others understood. But I place great stock in the written word, in ideas. I remember the ideas, when I have forgotten the names of every person in that strange place, even the ones that liked me, or that I liked, or that hated me, or that I hated. The only name I remember is that of a doctor. He was strange, alien, cold. I have no use for such doctors. I think the process of getting the doctorate annihilates competence. Perhaps the doctorate programs are wrongheaded and rife with corruption. But he didn't matter. None of the stupid doctors mattered. The only reason I remember his name is because I wrote a story about him. I deleted it decades later, because I felt like he didn't matter and the story didn't matter. The memory had no basis for surviving. One day, it will be gone.

One adapts. Already I am getting close to what is needed in the role I find myself in. There are just some tweaks that need to be made. Silence, patience, watchfulness, preparation, and deliberateness. These are the traits I need most.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Mr. Robot

I've been watching Mr. Robot lately. Everyone on that show seems slimy in one way or the other. I suppose this is the modern method of scriptwriting--no heroes. I don't like that. I like there to be a hero or, at least, someone that has a reasonable proximity to good. Modern writers seem to have a lot of difficulty with good. Is no one good? Come on. Surely there are some good folk left.

At any rate, I don't approve of Elliott's incessant hacking of everyone. I think that sort of thing is below the belt, like reading someone's diary. Not cool. Besides, the only people that tend to get victimized by that sort of thing are the ones that are open, social, merry, and communicative--just the sort one should wish to protect rather than exploit.

Still, I'm hooked, because the show does seem tapped in to the zeitgeist somehow and is technically literate. It reminds me an awful lot of work.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Vampires

Some are vampires, requiring the proximity of others to replenish their ever-diminishing supply of vitality. They drain. It is well to avoid them, when possible.

Others are independent, drawing energy from the earth and the air. These I count among my friends.

Calling the 2016 Election

It is obvious Hillary Clinton will be the next President. I find it so obvious that I don't even feel the need to explain. I'm far from alone in seeing this. Probably everyone with a functioning brain sees the same outcome.

I prefer Bernie Sanders, but perhaps he is too old and obscure. He does not enjoy name recognition, unlike Clinton. I don't think Bernie can beat Clinton at this time. Young voters prefer Bernie, but young people are apathetic and don't tend to vote. I see grayhairs when I go to the polls. Young people stay at home playing video games or whatever. That is why the country is in the jam it is in.

I will vote for Hillary Clinton, because the alternative, Trump, would be unpleasant. I think Trump may even win some televised debates, because he's a seasoned TV personality, and what seems to matter is style rather than substance. Trump has a more flamboyant style than Hillary Clinton. Even if Trump wins all the debates, he will not win the election. I will be surprised if he carries the white vote.

Guns WIll Be Obsolete

By 2100, guns will be obsolete, because the purpose of guns, slaying humans, will no longer serve a purpose.

Humans will cease to inhabit their corporeal forms. They will, instead, exist in data. We are just a series of numbers, like anything else. By digitizing our personalities, we can exist eternally and endlessly replicate through cloning. Thus, slaying a single clone will not have quite the effect that gun violence does today. Not only will guns be obsolete, but all forms of violence, which will be diminished in status from a great evil to an annoying rudeness. Once one body dies, another takes its place.

The great question is who will be cloned, and what sorts of people will they be? If history is any guide, they will probably be a better sort of people.

The physical body is such an obvious horror in so many ways that people will eagerly embrace their liberation from its cruel tyranny. In virtual reality, one can exist in a perfect heaven of one's own construction. This may indeed offer the solution to overpopulation. Given a choice, most people would choose to die immediately, if guaranteed eternal life in virtual reality, because millions of years in virtual Heaven is better than a short span of years in a form subject to pain and suffering. There only need be a few physical avatars tending to the needs of the computer system, ensuring continuous power and smooth operation.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Reality Is What We Make of It


Reality is what we make of it. I feel this is true about everything. My opinions seem like the simple truth to me. Others have contrary opinions and seem to have great conviction that they, instead of me, are right. I am impressed by those with conviction, but also suspicious, because I wonder how quickly they arrived at their opinions, and whether they considered the other sides much at all. Perhaps their opinion was formed long ago on the basis of information that has since been discredited.

Marijuana has had reams of misinformation broadcast about it. So many lies have been cultivated about marijuana, it is a strange wonder that anyone at all likes it. Based upon the lies, you would think every human being on the planet would be actively engaged in eradicating the demon seed. Yet that is not the case. Instead, hundreds of millions of people adore marijuana, and great numbers have done so since ancient times. Why? Who is right? Is marijuana good or bad?

I like to call marijuana "weed," because it is, in fact, a weed, particularly in areas where it is illegal. It grows quickly and spreads on its own in the wild, and humans have declared war on it, for better or worse, ever since the 1930s, although before that time, Americans found marijuana useful. Abe Lincoln liked to smoke it.

Some have the modest and humble opinion that weed is, at the very least, better than alcohol. They are not saying it is good, but only that it is better than alcohol, which is not saying very much at all, because we know alcohol is bad. I have this opinion, and I think it is self-evident, requiring very little in the way of debate, that is, if both sides are being honest and objective. Many believe this based upon direct experimentation with both substances, individually and in combination. Their opinion is, therefore, grounded in direct experience, which is the best manner to form an opinion. Their reality is evidence-based. Bolstering their position is a pretty vast amount of scientific literature. To ignore the science surrounding marijuana is not dishonest, but it is lazy. In summary, alcohol is toxic to the human body, while weed is not. Twenty years of drinking will devastate the body and mind more surely than an entire lifetime of vaporizing. Emphasis must be placed on the verb, vaporizing. One does not smoke in 2016. Smoking is a relic of the past, and anyone who believes that weed is smoked is not living in the modern age. All of the arguments about the negative effects of smoking must be revisited to come to terms with modern methods and to come to terms with legal weed, a product that is pure, unadulterated, unsullied by crime and by criminals, and sold in well-lit and state-sanctioned retail stores.

A diminishing minority of Americans, less than fifty per cent, believe weed is worse than alcohol, and therefore should remain illegal. Within this group, some have never tried it. Their reality is based upon what others have told them. Other people have constructed reality for them, and they have accepted that version of reality, often without question, much as religious zealots do. Others within the group have tried weed, and for whatever reason, have concluded weed is worse. I heard from a man today who once smoked marijuana, but quit. He told me "Dope is wrong," and his reasoning was that weed makes people stupid. Well, it so happens that I agree. Inebriates tend to make people stupid. No one is arguing that weed makes anyone smarter. The effect, however, is short-lived and does not persist. He also said that when he used weed, it gave him the munchies, and he overate, resulting in his obesity. Well, weed varies. Some weed does trigger appetite. This is extremely useful in those suffering from nausea. For an obese person, abstinence may be best. But to conclude from all of that that people should go to jail for possessing weed is ridiculous. Nevertheless, he seemed to think that there is nothing wrong with locking people up for weed. I think that he simply likes the idea of locking people up, and it pleases him so, he does not stop to think about the rightness or wrongness of the law. What profit is there, after all, in debating the merit of things? Why not just accept everything as it is, however bad?

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Lovecraft Bubblegum


I want to scrape the bubblegum off my shoe after reading Lovecraft. I'd describe him using a word he frequently deploys, queer. His main characters are always naive, feeble, pretentious intellectuals, and by a story's end, are screaming or fainting at the terrible, horrible horrors of the terrible terror, or whatever. And he really does describe his horrors using the word "horror" or "horrible", and his terrors are "terrors" that are "terrible." Lovecraft is not for subtlety. When Lovecraft struggles with the science of his time, the result is embarrassing. The planet Pluto, uh-huh, the Einstein space-continuum, uh-huh, the vibration rate of electrons, uh-huh. His aliens and gods are all meanies out to get the human race, leaving unexplained why titans would concern themselves with the affairs of fleas.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Looking for Problems Where There Are None


There are two types of troublemakers in the world.

The first are obvious, the ones that start trouble because they delight in it. They are also known as criminals, terrorists or nitwits.

The second are the ones that invent imaginary problems and then go make trouble to try to solve the imaginary problems. These folks don't like trouble and are trying to prevent trouble, and in so doing are targeting what they think is a source of trouble. The trouble with that is, it is just imaginary trouble.

Many problems are imaginary, rather than real. If a problem has not been analyzed exhaustively from every angle, in cold blood, without passion, then it may not be a problem at all, but just a symptom of one of H. Sapien's finer attributes, creativity. We love to create things, and one of the things we create is imaginary problems. Much of what is perceived as reality is in fact imagined, distorted, or misinterpreted. For the same reason, humans have difficulty beating computers at chess. Computers analyze exhaustively, from every angle, in cold blood, without passion. Should we wish to improve ourselves, we should emulate our wondrous machines, without abandoning our good quality of love.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Visitors to North Korea


Any American that visits North Korea has got to have something wrong with them. Their intelligence is clearly sub-par, and their allegiance to this country is at best questionable. The U.S. should not intervene when they are arrested, confess their crimes, talk about how bad the U.S. is and how great North Korea is, and generally play the traitor. Let them serve their sentences. This might put a cap on all the nitwits that decide for whatever reason to ignore the advice of the U.S. State Department and common sense and travel overseas to that blighted nightmare of a country.

If the world were run better, North Korea would not be the tragedy it is today. The only reason North Korea exists at all is because of China. And the only reason that China is a great world power today is because greedy Western businessmen took the jobs away from Westerners and gave them to the Chinese, to save money. Now we have a lot of people in the West without very much to do, and not many good jobs other than of the "Would you like an order of fries with that?" variety. China makes everything, including war material. In the not-so-distant future, Americans will have to learn Chinese just to make a decent living.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Lovecraft


Lovecraft betrayed his secrets with his writing, which mixes autobiography with the supernatural in a sublime way. I do not find his gods appealing, but I am not meant to. His gods are evil, after all, creations of a mind fascinated by evil, but an evil of an altogether higher magnitude than the usual. His gods are transcendental, not of this world and not intended for mankind.

The dark light is not without attraction, though it does not nourish.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Thoughts on Linux Mint Hack


I've always wondered whether somebody may have hacked any of the Linux distros I have used over the years. And now the day has come when I've been informed of precisely that. Well, Windows is not exactly the most secure OS in the world, either, so stick that in your pipe and smoke it.

Anyway, Clem, the founder of Linux Mint, informed everybody almost immediately of the hack, and in my opinion that's best practice. Some people are now saying, oh dear, Linux Mint is horribly insecure, go back to Debian or Ubuntu or Windows, etc. Anyone that uses this occasion to criticize is just a dirty bird. Not fair play. Was the United States government never hacked? If the State gets hacked, then who is safe? Get real, read the news, drink a cup of coffee, whatever it takes to return to the reality that the rest of us are living in. I honestly do not know what planet some of these naysayers live on. Oh, Wordpress is insecure, is it? Well, then how come my WP site never gets hacked? Learn about security, for one thing, and then talk.

The Internet is a Wild, Wild West, always has been, but nevertheless, much progress has been made on the security front. Things are better now, because fences and gates have been invented and refined, and backups, logs and site analysis tools are now routine, although definitely not everyone understands these things. Some shops don't have a proper web site admin, and they tend to be the shops that get hacked.

The downside to all of this is that Clem is being forced to worry over security, and less time will get devoted to the version 18. The other downside is that the forums look very primitive now. It is like a bomb went off on the web site, and it looks worse. As if Clem didn't have his hands full just coping with GNOME's peculiarities, trying to get it incorporated into Cinnamon.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Regets of an Older Person

I have grown old enough to remember times past. Now I regret several trends in the modern world.

First and foremost, I dislike that cold hard cash is going away. I think money is a good thing. It is hard to trace, which is both good and bad, depending on the situation. I like less information in the hands of governments, because I do not trust governments. The American government is one of the better ones, but I still do not trust it completely. That which is mortal is prone to failure--and to corruption. Money is good for human beings, because we evolved along with it for thousands of years, and it has a long history with us. When money is invisible, as in the case of a credit card, then it is hard to fathom. I see young people getting into debt all the time, and not idiots either, but extremely intelligent young people, who should know better, but they have been seduced by the siren call of easy credit and getting things now as opposed to saving up for them. Where is wisdom, forbearance, and delayed gratification? Young people are the ones that will suffer most, because they have been unschooled by money.

And money is a school. I know exactly how much I can spend at any given time, because of the money in my wallet. I can see it. I can feel it. It has a texture. It even has a smell. If it takes a little bit longer to make change at a cash register, then that delay allows time for reflection over my purchase. The easier and the faster that a purchase is, the more likely it will be made upon impulse and not grounded in reason. Credit cards are horrible tools devised by clever marketing specialists. They use psychology, mathematics, and statistics, just like casino owners, to overwhelm the feeble human defences against overspending and impulse purchases. Remember, it was not long ago that there existed no money, no market, no economy. We were hunter-gatherers. Money in itself is a recent and radical innovation. Before money, there was bartering. Credit cards have arisen just within the last hundred years, and the human race is far from ready for them.

I regret that America is less than what it once was, and that no-one seems capable of reversing its decline, while China rises. China will cause many problems in the world, because their leadership is ruthless. America appears to be ruled by crony capitalists who seem only interested in their own affairs rather than those of their country. There is too much corruption and too little efficiency. Much money and time is wasted upon pointless exercises, such as adventures in the Middle East. It would be better to attend to domestic problems than to meddle overseas. Improve infrastructure and invest in scientific research and education is the simple answer and the correct one. But people want to stretch for bloody glory against weak enemies, foes that die easily but reproduce their numbers continually, so that a never-ending quagmire of money-draining goes on. Meanwhile, China improves infrastructure and invests in scientific research. Can anyone read the writing on the wall? Perhaps I will be gone before the fate I see comes to pass.

I am neutral, rather than partisan, on the issue of books and newspapers. They were good and bad. There was a lot of bad. Some people don't remember. They think of Shakespeare when they think of books. I remember bad books, bad newspapers, bad magazines. So now the world derives information online. I do not think that is necessarily a bad thing. I think it may be good, but I reserve judgment. I do like books, too. But most books are probably bad. There are some authors that I really like to escape with and join them in their mental space for hours and days and months at a time. Their books are good. They can be formative, even life-changing. I think books will always be with us. Videos can be tedious, and they are hard to produce, but not only that, some people express themselves best through thought, rather than theatrics, and books are the most efficient medium for thought.

Health care is a big PITA in the U.S.A., and is only getting worse. Nurses and doctors are now expected to be accountants and programmers. Instead of studying medicine, they must study computer programs and insurance plans. Instead of paying attention to the patient, they pay attention to the computer. So health care is terrible. When you go to see a nurse, she has to stare at the computer screen instead of listening to you. Meanwhile, other countries like Canada have health care figured out. Unfortunately, in the USA we have something called the Republican party that opposes anything that might potentially improve the lot of the poor or minorities. If you have insurance, then you have to navigate a maze of different insurance companies, different insurance policies, updates to said policies, HSA debit cards, insurance cards, toll-free numbers with wait times in excess of one hour, and so on, ad nauseum. I am sick to death of insurance companies. I have four different insurance companies for different facets of my health care, four different usernames and passwords, four different phone numbers I need to call, and I had no choice in the matter but was given this by my employer. The Democrats are stupid because they want to make health care more complicated, rather than less. The Republicans are stupid because they don't even want people to have health care in the first place. Both of the stupidities intermingle and combine to create an ever bigger stupidity. And what we are left with is health care in the U.S., which is boneheaded stupid.

I will have to continue this post another time.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

I am the Minority Opinion

Mine is always the minority opinion... until it isn't. I'm amused with the world. Oftentimes I've lamented I was the only one to think so-and-so, such as: gays are equal to straights and not worse (!disputed by everyone I knew!); or, marijuana is better than alcohol and should be legal (!disputed by every adult I knew!); or, religion is dangerous and harmful whenever it is dogmatic (disputed by most, though my father agreed). These, my opinions, stirred controversy. Sometimes, I felt alienated to be a member of what seemed, to me many years ago, only a tiny minority.

The succession of years and momentous events in the world proved me wrong, not in what I believed, but in believing that I was the only one. Indeed my ideas have gained mind-shares, and not through advertising or money or power, but because they are right and because their truth can be experienced by everyone. The merit of my opinions has been vindicated. How lucky that so much change should happen in my lifetime for me to witness it. I have been touched upon the forehead, I have been blessed. My wonder is great, because there was a time I wished to leave this world. I am glad that I opted to remain and would recommend a similar course to anyone.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Blogging and the Ban

What's the common denominator between NORML and Linux Mint? Neither site's blog posts comments from yours truly. I suspect it is due to the unwelcome baggage accompanying the innocuous comment, namely this url. The censoring editor, whoever that may have been, took a gander at this web site, grew afeared by the opinions, and decided the safest path was to ban the comment or the commenter. There is a prevalent trend now of avoiding controversy by not posting urls. Urls are distracting, first of all, and there is the danger a visitor could leave the site for the site of the url.

In time, I forget I'm censored, or suppose myself mistaken in my assumption, because I'm never sure about anything, unlike Donald Trump. I like to be fair and give second chances, and besides, there are technical reasons a comment could fail to post. With all of that in mind, I try again, months later, typing from one to three paragraphs in a comment, only to encounter the same result, which is the vaporization of my verbosity. I don't mind that I try and try again, wasted effort though it is, because I like confirmation of my assumptions. On each occasion when my comment fails to post, I perceive a door remaining shut, and that is a good reminder, if nothing else. Of course, as with everything, there are advantages and disadvantages. It is easier to move past a closed door than an open one, where one might feel curious enough to look in on occasion to see what is inside and offer assistance and advice. There are those that I can help and those that don't seem to need help. Through the years, I've gotten better at sorting the types and then moving on.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Dumbed Down OSes

Modern operating systems like Windows 10 and all smart phones have been dumbed down to the point where they work great if you're dumb and terrible if you're not.

My Chromebook won't let me do anything without installing and more likely buying some app from the app store. There is no GUI even for something as mundane as renaming a file. I regard ChromeOS as crippleware, with little more functionality than a browser. Forget about any utilities such as FileZilla that other desktops run. The Chromebook is basically a browser, period. Google has gone to great lengths to cripple their product and "protect the user from himself."

Windows 10 likes to hide things from the user. When I tried to shutdown Windows 10 today, it told me to Please wait and Do Not Turn Off the Computer. Doubtless it was uploading all the spyware-data it stole from me to Microsoft's marketing department, so that Microsoft can sell the data to advertising firms. But there wasn't enough bandwidth available, so the process got stuck and was still going on an hour later. I defied Microsoft and restarted the computer anyway, because I wanted to run Linux, which I like, as opposed to Windows 10, which I distrust and hate. All Windows 10 is, is Spam, Advertising, and Malware all rolled into one big, nasty ball and prettied up to look like a smartphone. However, we have to go with Windows 10, because it will continue to be supported in the future, whereas Windows 7 will not. My plan is to use Windows 10 about 1% of the time, and Linux 99% of the time, until such time that I can dispense with Windows altogether by replacing the few apps that only work on Windows.

The only reason I continue using Windows is ACDSee and Call Clerk. Once those applications support Linux, I'm done with Windows forever. Krita is starting to get pretty good as an image editor, and can do a lot of important things that ACDSee never got around to doing, so perhaps I will not buy any future versions of ACDSee. As for Call Clerk, I might have to discontinue my land line service in order to avoid needing to use it. I doubt Call Clerk will ever be ported to Linux, because landlines are on the wane, and with it the market for Call Clerk.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

The Supreme Court

I feel curiously unmoved by reports of Scalia's passing. I have not really kept up with anything involving him in the news. His replacement could be better or worse. He certainly lived a long life.

I haven't followed Supreme Court cases much. Even the gay marriage case I am not adequately familiar with. As for Scalia, sometimes I agreed with him, but more often I think, not. He was a jurist, not a politician or philosopher. His merits can be debated among legal scholars. I do not think he was either the best or the worst. He was not consistent in his philosophy but seemed biased in his interpretations, giving a lot of bend to his principles when it suited his personal beliefs. I prefer other jurists.

I don't really like the idea of a Supreme Court with power to make or reinterpret law. Ideally, that is, in an imaginary perfect world that does not exist, law should be determined by the legislative branch. However, our legislative branch is conservative and slow to act, except in cases of war. They act fast where there is any chance of military action. It seems to me they are hungry for it, because that means lots of extra money for their rich clients. For other things, such as social reform, they are glacial. I think that many reforms should be passed to make our legislative branch better. Then the Supreme Court would not be asked to do those things the legislative branch is too ignorant to do.

However, a thing may be judged on its effects, rather than its appearance. The effects of some Supreme Court rulings have been good in some case, ill in others. On balance, perhaps, good?

There is something to be said for a law issuing forth, not from a group of politicians, but from the ultimate transcultural, material and spiritual symbol of justice and power in the world, the Judge, dressed in his robes, reigning in court, like an ancient king in his awesome dignity. Is it not right that we should do as the kings and queens bid of us, even as our ancestors did far back into time immemorial? Our docile submission is in our blood. Even the wise feel awed by a Supreme Court decision, grounded in reason and invested with all the authority that only a group of judges can give. Much is just show, but how many perceive that, and how many, even perceiving, feel awed all the same?

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

China

There are folks out there that think China is hunky-dory. I guess because they think General T'zo was a great military leader. Or they discovered green tea in the grocery store.

The reality is that China is a bad actor on the Internet, and here's just a recent example.

American companies that offshore jobs to China should pay a tax for each job they offshore, to reflect the hidden costs such as a more dangerous world, a more dangerous Internet, and a weakening of the U.S. economy. Some CEOs simply have no scruples, no sense of responsibility whatsoever to their country. It is too bad that they get rewarded by Wall Street for reducing the number of jobs in America. There needs to be some accounting for the costs of giving power, money, and jobs to a nation like China that has no ethics, abides by no law and respects only force. A thousand dollars per year per job sent overseas would be a good start on a new and just tax. Apple should be paying the U.S. debt down with all the billions of dollars in fines that they so richly deserve. Steve Jobs had the most ironic name in the history of American business. Apple should rebuild Detroit and other decayed American cities with all the wealth they gathered by short-changing the workers. If the elite do not take care of what is happening in this country and see to it that jobs are there for the workers, then in the not-so-distant future, the U.S. will cease to be a world power at all. There are too many people either unemployed or underemployed.
techlorebyigor is my personal journal for ideas & opinions