Thursday, December 21, 2006
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Ayn Rand - Anthem
Dan Brown - The Da Vinci Code
Hank Haanegraf - The Last Disciple
John J. Pilch - Choosing a Bible Translation
Malcolm Gladwell - Blink
Michael Hedges and John Stropes - Rhythm, Sonority, and Silence
Rob Bell - Velvet Elvis
Robert Heinlein - Methuselah's Children
Thomas Friedman - The World is Flat
Sun Tzu - The Art of War
Various Authors - Farscape Forever
Various Authors - Finding Serenity (on the television show Firefly)
Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader
Paul R. Scheele - Natural Brilliance
Paul R. Scheele - The Photoreading Whole Mind System
Stephen Hawking - A Brief History of Time
Murray Rothbard - For a New Liberty
Murray Rothbard - What Has the Government Done to our Money?
Gene Callahan - Economics for Real People
Thomas DiLorenzo - Lincoln Unmasked
Thomas Woods - The Politically Incorrect Guide to the History of America
Thomas Woods - The Church and the Market
Lawrence Vance - Christianity and War
T.S. Eliot - Poems
Robert Heinlein - Methuselah's Children
What are some of the cool books you read this year?
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Once again, Stephen Colbert makes history by making up a word and then having it win the 2006 Word of the Year award. What the?
"the quality of preferring concepts or facts one wishes to be true,
rather than concepts or facts known to be true" (American Dialect
Society, January 2006)
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Hello there, my precious few loyal readers. I apologize for being so absent as of late. I have been so extremely busy writing papers about war, planning experiments in the lab, studying nanotechnology, practicing New Testament Greek, and researching economic history that I just haven't had the time to write blog posts. I know, I can't believe it either, NO TIME FOR BLOGGING!
So here's some recent news:
My best friend's wife had their first child! He is healthy and apparently confused, just like his daddy.
My brother and I were just eliminated from the Fantasy Football playoffs in the first round due to a series of unfortunate events.
I finally made my first good polymer films last week. It was the wafers, @#$^*!
I wrote a paper called Against War and the State. Apparently, it has made the rounds without my knowing and is receiving both vitriolic denouncement and critical acclaim. I can't wait till I revise it for official publication.
We went to St. Louis for Thanksgiving. It was awesome!
We have one week of classes left. I'm done in exactly 9 days. I can't wait to focus in on lab work! We've been getting good results this last week...
I am currently writing an concluding an extremely random blog post. See you later!
Friday, October 20, 2006
Oh God in Heaven, deliver us from this evil.
To President Bush: Your words are lies.
To all who see this: wake up!
The transcript of Olbermann:
We have lived as if in a trance.
We have lived… as people in fear.
And now — our rights and our freedoms in peril — we slowly awake to learn that we have been afraid… of the wrong thing.
Therefore, tonight, have we truly become, the inheritors of our American legacy.
For, on this first full day that the Military Commissions Act is in force, we now face what our ancestors faced, at other times of exaggerated crisis and melodramatic fear-mongering:
A government more dangerous to our liberty, than is the enemy it claims to protect us from.
We have been here before — and we have been here before led here — by men better and wiser and nobler than George W. Bush.
We have been here when President John Adams insisted that the Alien and Sedition Acts were necessary to save American lives — only to watch him use those Acts to jail newspaper editors.
American newspaper editors, in American jails, for things they wrote, about America.
We have been here, when President Woodrow Wilson insisted that the Espionage Act was necessary to save American lives — only to watch him use that Act to prosecute 2,000 Americans, especially those he disparaged as "Hyphenated Americans," most of whom were guilty only of advocating peace in a time of war.
American public speakers, in American jails, for things they said, about America.
And we have been here when President Franklin D. Roosevelt insisted that Executive Order 9-0-6-6 was necessary to save American lives — only to watch him use that Order to imprison and pauperize 110-thousand Americans…
While his man-in-charge…
General DeWitt, told Congress: "It makes no difference whether he is an American citizen — he is still a Japanese."
American citizens, in American camps, for something they neither wrote nor said nor did — but for the choices they or their ancestors had made, about coming to America.
Each of these actions was undertaken for the most vital, the most urgent, the most inescapable of reasons.
And each, was a betrayal of that for which the President who advocated them, claimed to be fighting.
Adams and his party were swept from office, and the Alien and Sedition Acts erased.
Many of the very people Wilson silenced, survived him, and…
…one of them even ran to succeed him, and got 900-thousand votes… though his Presidential campaign was conducted entirely… from his jail cell.
And Roosevelt's internment of the Japanese was not merely the worst blight on his record, but it would necessitate a formal apology from the government of the United States, to the citizens of the United States, whose lives it ruined.
The most vital… the most urgent… the most inescapable of reasons.
In times of fright, we have been, only human.
We have let Roosevelt's "fear of fear itself" overtake us.
We have listened to the little voice inside that has said "the wolf is at the door; this will be temporary; this will be precise; this too shall pass."
We have accepted, that the only way to stop the terrorists, is to let the government become just a little bit like the terrorists.
Just the way we once accepted that the only way to stop the Soviets, was to let the government become just a little bit like the Soviets.
Or substitute… the Japanese.
Or the Germans.
Or the Socialists.
Or the Anarchists.
Or the Immigrants.
Or the British.
Or the Aliens.
The most vital, the most urgent, the most inescapable of reasons.
And, always, always… wrong.
"With the distance of history, the questions will be narrowed and few: Did this generation of Americans take the threat seriously, and did we do what it takes to defeat that threat?"
And ironic ones, Mr. Bush.
Your own, of course, yesterday, in signing the Military Commissions Act.
You spoke so much more than you know, Sir.
Sadly — of course — the distance of history will recognize that the threat this generation of Americans needed to take seriously… was you.
We have a long and painful history of ignoring the prophecy attributed to Benjamin Franklin that "those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."
But even within this history, we have not before codified, the poisoning of Habeas Corpus, that wellspring of protection from which all essential liberties flow.
You, sir, have now befouled that spring.
You, sir, have now given us chaos and called it order.
You, sir, have now imposed subjugation and called it freedom.
For the most vital… the most urgent… the most inescapable of reasons.
And — again, Mr. Bush — all of them, wrong.
We have handed a blank check drawn against our freedom to a man who has said it is unacceptable to compare anything this country has ever done, to anything the terrorists have ever done.
We have handed a blank check drawn against our freedom to a man who has insisted again that "the United States does not torture. It's against our laws and it's against our values" and who has said it with a straight face while the pictures from Abu Ghraib Prison and the stories of Waterboarding figuratively fade in and out, around him.
We have handed a blank check drawn against our freedom to a man who may now, if he so decides, declare not merely any non-American citizens "Unlawful Enemy Combatants" and ship them somewhere — anywhere — but may now, if he so decides, declare you an "Unlawful Enemy Combatant" and ship you somewhere - anywhere.
And if you think this, hyperbole or hysteria… ask the newspaper editors when John Adams was President, or the pacifists when Woodrow Wilson was President, or the Japanese at Manzanar when Franklin Roosevelt was President.
And if you somehow think Habeas Corpus has not been suspended for American citizens but only for everybody else, ask yourself this: If you are pulled off the street tomorrow, and they call you an alien or an undocumented immigrant or an "unlawful enemy combatant" — exactly how are you going to convince them to give you a court hearing to prove you are not? Do you think this Attorney General is going to help you?
This President now has his blank check.
He lied to get it.
He lied as he received it.
Is there any reason to even hope, he has not lied about how he intends to use it, nor who he intends to use it against?
"These military commissions will provide a fair trial," you told us yesterday, Mr. Bush. "In which the accused are presumed innocent, have access to an attorney, and can hear all the evidence against them."
'Presumed innocent,' Mr. Bush?
The very piece of paper you signed as you said that, allows for the detainees to be abused up to the point just before they sustain "serious mental and physical trauma" in the hope of getting them to incriminate themselves, and may no longer even invoke The Geneva Conventions in their own defense.
'Access to an attorney,' Mr. Bush?
Lieutenant Commander Charles Swift said on this program, Sir, and to the Supreme Court, that he was only granted access to his detainee defendant, on the promise that the detainee would plead guilty.
'Hearing all the evidence,' Mr. Bush?
The Military Commissions act specifically permits the introduction of classified evidence not made available to the defense.
Your words are lies, Sir.
They are lies, that imperil us all.
"One of the terrorists believed to have planned the 9/11 attacks," …you told us yesterday… "said he hoped the attacks would be the beginning of the end of America."
That terrorist, sir, could only hope.
Not his actions, nor the actions of a ceaseless line of terrorists (real or imagined), could measure up to what you have wrought.
Habeas Corpus? Gone.
The Geneva Conventions? Optional.
The Moral Force we shined outwards to the world as an eternal beacon, and inwards at ourselves as an eternal protection? Snuffed out.
These things you have done, Mr. Bush… they would be "the beginning of the end of America."
And did it even occur to you once sir — somewhere in amidst those eight separate, gruesome, intentional, terroristic invocations of the horrors of 9/11 — that with only a little further shift in this world we now know — just a touch more repudiation of all of that for which our patriots died —
Did it ever occur to you once, that in just 27 months and two days from now when you leave office, some irresponsible future President and a "competent tribunal" of lackeys would be entitled, by the actions of your own hand, to declare the status of "Unlawful Enemy Combatant" for… and convene a Military Commission to try… not John Walker Lindh, but George Walker Bush?
For the most vital, the most urgent, the most inescapable of reasons.
And doubtless, sir, all of them — as always — wrong.
-MSNBC's Keith Olbermann on the loss of habeas corpus
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
It all started when the Belo Corporation excluded Texas gubernatorial candidate James Werner, a libertarian, from a debate that did include two independents, Kinky Friedman and Carole Keeton-Strayhorn. This was untenable, and hence we wanted to give Werner an opportunity to speak to the UT-Austin campus. I was tasked with convincing him to come (not very hard) and then it immediately blew up to the point where we were calling television stations and newspapers, posting flyers all over campus, and telling as many people as we could about it. Michael Badnarik also spoke at the event, and somewhere around 10 other candidates were also in attendance.
At any rate, the event was held two days ago and was quite successful, in my opinion. THREE television stations came to check us out. Now, I don’t agree even with everything these candidates say, but it is a good step in the right direction.
And you also get to see me in front of a camera...
News 8 Austin covers the Libertarian Longhorns' Candidate Forum
Look below on the page for the link to pop-up a video clip… Enjoy!
Posted by Norman at 1:45:00 PM
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Thomas DiLorenzo has a new book out called Lincoln Unmasked: What You're Not Supposed to Know About Dishonest Abe. Already it is receiving both praise and vitriolic rhetoric from both left and right. Why don't you get the book and decide for yourself?
And here are some articles to help you decide...
Posted by Norman at 6:57:00 AM
Friday, October 06, 2006
Here's some science news for today:
The Science Blog reports on quantum teleportation today. Keep in mind that this sort of teleportation is not Star Trek style. You're not poofing atoms from one place to another. Rather, this is a communication transferrance, and hence is applicable to quantum computing or quantum cryptography. I'm not really sure why it got tagged as "teleportation" at all, because it's an entanglement phenomena and it isn't what people expect when they hear about it.
Damn Interesting posted a classic article today on German theoretical physicist Burkhard Heim, who developed an extremely advanced theory that claims to rectify the differences between quantum mechanics and Einstein's theory of relativity. The result is a theoretical framework that provides for the basis of a hyperdrive to travel through interstellar space. I know nothing about this sort of thing or whether this is even close to feasible, but if it is eventually proven true than Heim will clearly go down in history with the likes of Newton, Leibniz, Plank, Bohr, and Einstein.
Posted by Norman at 9:03:00 AM
Thursday, October 05, 2006
Friday, September 29, 2006
Today, September 29, 2006, marks the 125th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig von Mises. Although he has not been with us for quite some time, Mises inspires us regularly through his excellent writing about government, politics, and economics.
I love what Murray Rothbard had to say on the day of Mises's death:
When Mises died, and I was preparing an obituary, Professor Raico kindly sent me a deeply moving passage from Adonais, Shelley's great eulogy to Keats, that, as usual for Raico, struck just the right note in a final assessment of Mises:
For such as he can lend — they borrow not
Glory from those who made the world their prey:
And he is gathered to the kings of thought
Who waged contention with their time's decay,
And of the past are all that cannot pass away.
Of course, the Mises Institute and others are writing essays in his honor.
Rest in peace, Ludwig von Mises, you have not been forgotten, and your work was not in vain. Tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior ito!
Update: The Mises Institute is selling Human Action: The Scholar's Edition for 20% for the next two days in Mises's honor. That is an absolute steal. And here is another link to more tributes to Ludwig von Mises.
Thursday, September 21, 2006
You are a "Pure Nerd"
82 % Nerd, 47% Geek, 8% Dork
For The Record:
A Nerd is someone who is passionate about learning/being smart/academia.
A Geek is someone who is passionate about some particular area or subject, often an obscure or difficult one.
A Dork is someone who has difficulty with common social expectations/interactions.
You scored better than half in Nerd, earning you the title of: Pure Nerd.
The times, they are a-changing. It used to be that being exceptionally smart led to being unpopular, which would ultimately lead to picking up all of the traits and tendences associated with the "dork." No-longer. Being smart isn't as socially crippling as it once was, and even more so as you get older: eventually being a Pure Nerd will likely be replaced with the following label: Purely Successful.
Thanks Again! -- THE NERD? GEEK? OR DORK? TEST
My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
|Link: The Nerd? Geek? or Dork? Test written by donathos on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the 32-Type Dating Test|
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
The blog will be in flux the next few days as I am converting to full Blogger Beta. I'm still figuring out how to write effective html code... I probably should call my programmer brother instead of trying to figure it out all by my lonesome... [Hint!]
Posted by Norman at 12:02:00 PM
Monday, September 18, 2006
Pierre Bensusan, one of my favorite guitar artists, has just released a new website. Go check it out for some free videos of him playing, some free sheet music, but no free mp3s (sorry).
DADGAD Music - Pierre Bensusan
I attended Pierre's concert in Austin nearly a year ago, and I'm telling you he sounds even better live than on his recordings. His sense of rhythm and use of sonority in his compositions is stellar. I wish I could go to one of his seminars and learn from him for a while!
Here are some of his CDs you can purchase from Amazon. I highly recommend each one:
Posted by Norman at 6:04:00 AM
Thursday, September 14, 2006
NERO: The Neuro-Evolving Robotic Operatives Game
I saw this random thing on Digg for a game about training robots to battle against other trained robots online. I checked out the site and found that it is a student project run at UT-Austin in our computer science department as an experiment in artificial intelligence. I am definitely checking this out!
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
I admit, I've used one or two of these in my time too, but this is a good reminder of the TANSTAAFL Principle (There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch) and an inspiration to do well in your college classes.
Top 10 No Sympathy Lines from a Professor's Point of View
Posted by Norman at 12:36:00 PM
Saturday, September 09, 2006
I often lie awake late at night pondering very tough questions... Lately, what has kept me from glorious sleep has been, “What would Snakes on a Plane be like if it had been written by Geoffrey Chaucer?”
I'm sure you do this too.
And you'll be relieved to know that there is an answer!
Here's another one I wonder about: what would have happened if Thomas Aquinas had written tabloids?
Thanks to my dear philosopher friend, Rod Long, for helping me sleep more easily.
Posted by Norman at 7:26:00 AM
Friday, September 08, 2006
Thursday, September 07, 2006
I have now graduated into the next stage of scholarship. No, folks, I have not attained my PhD, nor have I published some grandiose paper, nor have I written a paradigm-changing book. This new phase of uber-intellectualism is none other than wearing glasses!
I'm quite pleased with them. I don't have a reading problem, amazingly enough, just a distance problem. So I won't even wear them all the time, I expect to use them during classes and presentations and while driving.
Soooo, take a look at that handsome guy... Sorry ladies, he is married...
Posted by Norman at 7:52:00 PM
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
I often think about the best way to educate myself in a subject. In history, I think I now have a pretty good idea of how to do so. The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History by Thomas Woods is, in my opinion, one of the greatest ways to learn about American history. The format is fairly simple, Woods takes topics from American history and demystifies them from all the politically correct crap that surrounds it. Here’s the table of contents:
1) The colonial origins of American liberty
2) American’s conservative revolution [note: he uses the word “conservative” here because it’s what people will understand readily, technically he’s talking about classical liberalism]
3) The Constitution
4) American Government and the “Principles of ‘98”
5) The North-South division
6) The War Between the States
8) How big business made Americans better off
9) World War I
10) The Misunderstood Twenties
11) The Great Depression and the New Deal
12) Yes, Communist sympathizers really existed
13) The approach of World War II
14) World War II: consequences and aftermath
15) Civil Rights
16) JFK and LBJ
17) The Decade of Greed?
… all in 246 pages. Given, he doesn’t cover everything in excruciating detail, but here’s the cool part – he has an extensive bibliography and at least 3 or 4 recommended “books you’re not supposed to read” (that is, what the PC folks don’t want you to know about) per chapter!
My recommendation would be to go through the entire book in no more time than 1 semester, preferably something like half a semester, but whatever. Then, you pick out some books that he recommends that interest you and do further research. Alternatively, you could go at your own pace and research topics of interest as you meet them. For instance, you get to the chapter on the Constitution and then take a week to read and study the aspects of it. Read some of the Federalist Papers AND the Anti-Federalist Papers (I beg of you to not read just the Federalist Papers, the more I’ve looked the more I think one should be aware of both sides). Afterwards move on through the book.
I think this would be an excellent way to do independent study or fun and different way to approach history in a homeschool or private school environment. I've already recommended it to two families, and both have reacted very postively.
If anything, you definitely should buy this book and learn about the history of this great country without all the PC garbage.
Posted by Norman at 8:46:00 AM
Monday, September 04, 2006
A quick post for today on one of my favorite new web apps...
Need some free online storage? How about Box.net, where you can get a gigabyte of storage for absolutely nothing. Zip, zero, nothing. Pretty nifty huh? This works really well for backups or other random files which you want available at anytime, anyplace where internet is available...
Posted by Norman at 3:33:00 PM
Saturday, September 02, 2006
Joss Whedon, creator of such magnificent television as Firefly, had this to say about Battlestar Galactica:
I'm just sneaking in to say I've been continuing to watch BSG, the wife and I are about halfway through season one and gushing isn't gonna cover this one. You guys have heard me gush, so it won't have any real meaning. You have to imagine Pauline Kael bursting into song, Lionel Barrymoore In "Wonderful Life" jumping up and jitterbugging with George Bailey, the Grinch's heart growing three sizes... you gotta start down there to explain what it feels like up here. I'll put it simply. The show is humbling. Not since the Matrix (the first one) have I had such a strong desire to go to writing school. I think it's so passionate, textured, complex, subversive and challenging that it dwarfs everything on TV. Or in theaters. Or boho perfomances spaces. Stuff hanging in the Tate? Not as cool. I'm not gonna go on, because I have to get back to work and because if I really start, this post will crash the internet from sheer length. Only downsides are a) I was already having a crisis of confidence, thank you very much and b) I can't go near any Sci-Fi mags for fear of spoilers. Apart from that, life is to be loved. The Gods are to be praised. Back to the job. -j.
Coming from Joss, that means quite a lot. Mark your calendar for Oct. 6th, the air date for season 3!
Posted by Norman at 4:46:00 PM
Thursday, August 31, 2006
This just in from GGL.com: the University of Texas at Austin has been rated the top computer gaming school in the country. That's pretty neat, I didn't know that. Of course, it also means that the potential for time-wasting is highest here too, but that's first and foremost a matter of personal discipline - not atmostphere.
GGL's First Annual Top Gaming Colleges Survey
UT's Section in the article
Posted by Norman at 8:55:00 AM
Libertarian congressional candidate Bob Smither has an amazing opportunity in Texas district 22 to make a difference in the November election due to scuzbucket Tom DeLay’s scandals and withdrawal from the election. But look what Rick Perry, our glorious governor [/sarcasm], did  to "facilitate damage control" for the rest of the congressional session [end edit, apologies]. They’re getting desperate, and this displays that, at the very least, the GOP here in Texas, outside of Ron Paul, has very little principle…
Special Election Set For the Texas District 22 Race
There are some new developments in the race for Texas's 22nd Congressional District.
From the Houston Chronicle:
“Gov. Rick Perry ordered on Tuesday a special election for the unexpired term of U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay to coincide with the general election Nov. 7, when only two months will remain on DeLay's term. Candidates wishing to run in the special election must file with the Texas Secretary of State by 5 p.m. Friday.”
Here is the response from Stephen Gordon, Communications Director for the Libertarian Party:
“Our founding fathers fought and died to prevent Americans from being taxed without adequate representation. Governor Perry could have called for a special election some time ago to ensure that the voters of Texas 22 were properly represented in Congress.
As opposed to governing in a responsible manner, Perry's priority is to facilitate Republican Party damage control in the wake of Tom DeLay scandals and the GOP failure to place a candidate on the ballot for the general election. Once again, Republican leadership has violated the trust of the voters.”
While there will be two names on the general election ballot in November, voters who prefer responsible government and constitutional leadership have but one choice: Libertarian Bob Smither.
From the Libertarian Party Blog
Is this the way that a politician should go about acting? I think not. Responsible government doesn’t call special favors for itself…
Posted by Norman at 6:45:00 AM
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
From the sweet website Reason:
We're a few days late to note it -- blame the Space Squirrels, or maybe the Amsterdam air -- but the Libertarian Futurist Society announced the winners of its annual Prometheus Awards last Friday. Best Novel went to Ken MacLeod, for Learning the World. Alan Moore and David Lloyd won the Hall of Fame Award, given to classic fiction, for their graphic novel V for Vendetta. And a special prize went to Joss Whedon's film Serenity.
Congrats to those awesome writers. Excellent work!
As I recall, Serenity also won a Hugo Award!
Posted by Norman at 7:15:00 AM
If you are a thinking adult aren't watching Battlestar Galactica, you should be ashamed of yourself. It isn't just a Sci-Fi show, it's a drama that hits on issues across the board. There's so much to talk about here, but I'll give you 3 reasons for watching (maybe sometime I'll expand it to 10):
- Compelling characters - The Adamas, Starbuck, Colonel Tye, the President, the Chief, Boomer, Baltar. The actors are amazing, and you feel what they feel. One character you love to hate, the next you hate to love. They make you think and rethink about who you identify with in the show.
- Compelling story - Battlestar isn't just about humanity fighting for survival against machines bent on destroying everything, it's about humanity fighting against itself for survival. Will humanity be guided by might, or right?
- Compelling issues - The writers take on issues like torture, abortion, rigging elections, unethical politics, militarism, statism. I'm hoping to work on a paper with Rod Long of the Mises Institute on this stuff.
Why not check it out at Scifi.com? While you're at it, see director Ron Moore's blog.
Posted by Norman at 6:49:00 AM
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
I've been toying with the new Blogger interface, which is in Beta right now. It's very nice, but to use it requires that you destroy much of the custom coding that you put into the template. I reverted back to my original look and will probably wait until the new interface allows for HTML editing before I use it all the time.
So don't forget, if you convert your Blogger blog to the beta, you lose a lot of your work. Fortunately, you can REvert back to the old system of html editing with no problems, so there is no risk AT ALL in trying it if you want...
Posted by Norman at 1:05:00 PM
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
For the first time, the Mises Institute makes it into the Wall Street Journal!
powered by performancing firefox
Posted by Norman at 9:04:00 AM
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
This just in from the UT School of Law Events Department...
September 13-14, 2006
8a.m. to 5p.m.
Thompson Conference Center, UT campus, Austin $390.00
"Governmental Accounting Demystified"
That'll sure be worth the $390! [/sarcasm]
Posted by Norman at 12:23:00 PM
Sunday, July 30, 2006
Friday, July 28, 2006
There are multiple services for sharing your photos on the internet, and the three most notable that I have seen are Flickr, Photobucket, and Snapfish. Okay, my extremely non-numerous readership, which do you think is the best service and why?
Here are the links:
Posted by Norman at 12:07:00 PM
So this should make you laugh like a gangsta...
Quantum-Mechanic gets Gizoogled
Check out the opening line and read a few posts... Totally hilarious!
[Author's note: In no way, shape, or form is the link to be taken as serious writing from this author. Any offense that you take is not my doing, period. Get it, foo?]
Posted by Norman at 7:56:00 AM
Thursday, July 27, 2006
Here's an interesting website for you: Lala.com, a place where you can exchange your old cd's you don't want with people who have what you DO want. Novel concept... You'll notice below how old many of my cd's are... Heheh.
Click here to get any of my CDs for $1
Posted by Norman at 5:49:00 PM
Wow, I have been so busy this month it is absolutely ridiculous. I have been running from lab to church to home to the hardware store to Steve's to Dave's to the library like there's no tomorrow. And since, technically speaking, tomorrow doesn't exist yet I guess there isn't one. Uhh... Okay that just blew my mind.
Anyway, there are tons of things going on. Next week I'm going to Mises University in Auburn, Alabama. Hopefully, I will have a chance to blog it for all to see. Get ready for a week of intense intellectual inspiration, otherwise known as III.
Wired magazine just published their new issue with a huge DIY (do-it-yourself) section. It features the writing of Stephen Colbert, David Allen, Merlin Mann, and many others. I'm telling you, it's really cool!
Here's another article on getting rid of nasty money habits, which I think is very useful.
I once said that I was going to post a series of articles on how to use the web more effectively. Well, I'm finally getting around to some of it, but I found that many people have done the same thing. Why should I try to write something that someone else has done better?
So, this is the important part: here's a non-technical explanation of RSS by the Of Zen and Computing blog. Hopefully, it will explain things better than I could. More to come in the future...
Posted by Norman at 9:41:00 AM
This is the only real post I've ever put on Xanga... and now it's here...
I find it quite interesting that so many of my friends are into Xanga. I actually remember when it first started. I had been running a blog for quite a while at the time, and then suddenly, out of the blue, my Rolla friends started using Xanga for their personal website. This was curious, because I had been using Blogger for quite a while and felt it was a superior service. I wanted to be able to comment on my friend's xanga sites, though, so I started my own, posted that my real blog was somewhere else, and moved on with my life.
Now, years later, I find that my St. Louis friends have moved to using Xanga, shortly after I restarted my old blog. I still think that Blogger is superior, but there are obvious benefits to using Xanga. The email updates are probably the primary one, but there are other features which make Xanga quite useful to some people. Anyway, suffice to say that I am pleased to see my friends enjoying the benefits and community of blogging. It truly is a wonderful experience.
For those interested, it isn't intuitively obvious how to get a Xanga site to work in an XML format for an RSS feed, but there is a way. At the home location of the Xanga page you want in XML, go to the address bar and put a "/rss" by the address. An XML page will result and you can cut/paste into your feed reader. For example, you would type the following into your address bar (click on the link to see the XML):
Posted by Norman at 9:35:00 AM
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Recently I discovered that the website Damn Interesting has some really neat information. They post one article every day that can be about almost anything, from psychology, to history, to medicine, to science. It has to be one of the coolest sites since How Stuff Works.
Here are a couple of recent examples:
The Emotional Bankruptcy of Alexithymia
The Life and Death and Life of Dark Matter
Posted by Norman at 8:15:00 AM
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Thursday, July 13, 2006
Today the Federal Trade Commission declared that a popular Texas real estate website was de facto public property. The FTC prosecuted the Austin Board of Realtors (ABOR) because the association restricted publication of listings on its Austinhomesearch.com website. ABOR passed a rule limiting the site to "exclusive right to sell" listings. The FTC said the site should also include "exclusive agency" listings... This effectively means that any web site's editorial content is subject to FTC control under the agency's mandate to identify and punish "unfair competition".
See the original Mises.org Blog post
Just when you think the Feds couldn't get any stranger...
Posted by Norman at 3:34:00 PM
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Summary of Human Action by Ludwig von Mises: A contributor to the Mises Institute finds an old issue of The Freeman where one George Kather summarizes Human Action. For those who don't want to take the time to read the 900 page tome, these are probably the perfect cliff notes.
YouTube - The New Political Arena: The LP blog comments on how the now infamous YouTube will affect elections and politics in general...
Posted by Norman at 10:09:00 AM
Saturday, July 08, 2006
What if Walter Matthau was in Star Wars?
That would be a bad, bad thing...
Posted by Norman at 9:30:00 AM
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
Found this via Digg, I think. This guy plays in the spirit of Michael Hedges, perhaps the greatest fingerstyle guitarist of the 20th century. Eric is truly an inspiring artist!
Posted by Norman at 4:30:00 PM
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
It's amazing how in the face of the evidence that government intervention inevitably harms rather than helps, that pundits are so blind to the foolishness behind the so-called "Net Neutrality".
Here's some real balance. Try out Reason.com's latest article: Neutering the Net.
Posted by Norman at 12:46:00 PM
Saturday, June 24, 2006
I receive emails whenever somebody comments on my blog. Last week, I received one of those emails saying that one E. Schulman has commented on a post I made in April, three months ago! I ask myself, "Self, why would somebody comment on a post I made three months ago? What post is it anyway?"
Schulman commented on a post I made on How to Write a Scientific Paper. So, I clicked on my own link to this silly paper, and found that the writer of this humorous piece was, ironically enough, the same Eric Schulman, the master of science hilarity!
Schulman frequently writes scientific humor. He has a cool book out called A Briefer History of Time, which you can download as an eBook (free on his website) or purchase on Amazon.
He also has an excellent piece out called The History of the Universe in 200 Words or Less, which I will now paste here so you don't even have to click on the link. I am assuming he won't mind me doing this...
I am honored to have been visited by such an esteemed and eminent guest such as Schulman. I hope he comes back to my blog more often. So, without further adieu:
The History of the Universe in 200 Words or Less
Quantum fluctuation. Inflation. Expansion. Strong nuclear interaction. Particle-antiparticle annihilation. Deuterium and helium production. Density perturbations. Recombination. Blackbody radiation. Local contraction. Cluster formation. Reionization? Violent relaxation. Virialization. Biased galaxy formation? Turbulent fragmentation. Contraction. Ionization. Compression. Opaque hydrogen. Massive star formation. Deuterium ignition. Hydrogen fusion. Hydrogen depletion. Core contraction. Envelope expansion. Helium fusion. Carbon, oxygen, and silicon fusion. Iron production. Implosion. Supernova explosion. Metals injection. Star formation. Supernova explosions. Star formation. Condensation. Planetesimal accretion. Planetary differentiation. Crust solidification. Volatile gas expulsion. Water condensation. Water dissociation. Ozone production. Ultraviolet absorption. Photosynthetic unicellular organisms. Oxidation. Mutation. Natural selection and evolution. Respiration. Cell differentiation. Sexual reproduction. Fossilization. Land exploration. Dinosaur extinction. Mammal expansion. Glaciation. Homo sapiens manifestation. Animal domestication. Food surplus production. Civilization! Innovation. Exploration. Religion. Warring nations. Empire creation and destruction. Exploration. Colonization. Taxation without representation. Revolution. Constitution. Election. Expansion. Industrialization. Rebellion. Emancipation Proclamation. Invention. Mass production. Urbanization. Immigration. World conflagration. League of Nations. Suffrage extension. Depression. World conflagration. Fission explosions. United Nations. Space exploration. Assassinations. Lunar excursions. Resignation. Computerization. World Trade Organization. Terrorism. Internet expansion. Reunification. Dissolution. World-Wide Web creation. Composition. Extrapolation?
Copyright 1996-1997 by Eric Schulman.
Reprinted from the Annals of Improbable Research, Volume III, Number 1, January/February 1997, page 27.
Posted by Norman at 1:06:00 PM
Thursday, June 22, 2006
Thursday, June 15, 2006
Gray North speaks on homeschooling and self education.
This article is an interesting comment about homeschooling and self-education. North starts by saying that he has known for twenty years that homeschooling, and private schools, are superior to the public school systems in terms of education. However, there are still flaws in how homeschoolers "do school". In essence, his criticism is that homeschoolers have focused too much on protection and environment than developing a comprehensive cognitive skill set ready for intellectual confrontation.
I love this quote:
We need a hard core of graduates who are prepared to challenge the statist presuppositions of this era and the one to come. We need college students who can think for themselves, research for themselves, and develop comprehensive alternatives. Such students should not be asked to feast on the dumbed-down pabulum of the committee-screened high school textbook.
Amen, Gary. Too bad this is not what is happening. Homeschooling, in a way, is a victim of its own success. People are entering the homeschooling movement who do not identify with the original core values of the older homeschoolers, nor do they have the courage and tenacity to go against the coming tide of state absolutism. The private schools bailed on this one years ago, and if homeschooling does not recapture it we will probably be doomed to failure.
Posted by Norman at 11:22:00 AM
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
I was recently informed by the Mises Institute that I have received a scholarship to attend the Mises University 2006 session in the first week of August. It is an intense week of learning and deep scholarship of economics and philosophy, taught by the eminent scholars of the Mises Institute. This is an exciting and once-in-my-lifetime opportunity to learn more than I ever have before about the economics and classical liberal philosophy (to remind you, classical liberal is not leftist, like socialist democrats are).
The university is held at the Mises Institute in Auburn, Alabama. Scholars teaching will include Thomas DiLorenzo, Robert Murphy, Thomas Woods, George Reisman, Hans Hermann-Hoppe, Walter Block, Joseph Salerno, Peter Klein, and more. Considering that I rarely get to talk to more than one or two people at a time who share my views on limited government and free-market economics, to me this is the equivalent of a 14 year old sports nut getting to hang out with Michael Jordan, Nolan Ryan, and Joe Montana for a week.
Link to Mises University
Posted by Norman at 1:10:00 PM
Monday, June 12, 2006
The Mises Institute has put together an interesting set of links regarding the hot issue of net neutrality. My view is that this is the government's attempt to latch onto the internet and begin another regulation monstrosity. I guess I'm not surprised, though, the Feds have been dying to make a stab at it. The so-called "unfair treatment" that would happen without this regulation (what a bunch of bunk) just gives them their political justification. Now, they can popularize that they are doing "what's best for the people." Whatever...
Posted by Norman at 4:41:00 PM
Saturday, June 10, 2006
This is perhaps the single greatest website I have seen in the last month. Imagine the fun you can have by creating your own motivation posters!
Here's something I thought of right after I found this...
Try your own, comment with a link!
Posted by Norman at 7:58:00 AM
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
Saturday, May 27, 2006
Well this was quite a surprise! Apparently, a liberal slams the Republicans for anti-free market activity in the agricultural business. Check this out via Club for Growth.
Mr. Chairman, I am here to confess my reading incomprehension. I have listened to many of my conservative friends talk about the wonders of the free market, of the importance of letting the consumers make their best choices, of keeping government out of economic activity, of the virtues of free trade, but then I look at various agricultural programs like this one. Now, it violates every principle of free market economics known to man and two or three not yet discovered.
So I have been forced to conclude that in all of those great free market texts by Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek and all the others that there is a footnote that says, by the way, none of this applies to agriculture. Now, it may be written in high German, and that may be why I have not been able to discern it, but there is no greater contrast in America today than between the free enterprise rhetoric of so many conservatives and the statist, subsidized, inflationary, protectionist, anti-consumer agricultural policies, and this is one of them.
In particular, I have listened to people, and some of us have said let us protect workers and the environment in trade; let us not have unrestricted free trade; but let us have trade that respects worker rights and environmental rights. And we have been excoriated for our lack of concern for poor countries.
There is no greater obstacle, as it is now clear in the Doha round, to the completion of a comprehensive trade policy than the American agricultural policy, with one exception, European agricultural policy, which is much worse and just as phony.
Sugar is an example. This program is an interference with the legitimate efforts at economic self-help in many foreign nations. So I appreciate the leadership of the gentleman from Arizona [Jeff Flake] and the gentleman from Oregon [Roy Blumenauer]. Here is a chance for some of my free-enterprise-professing friends to get honest with themselves, and now maybe we will see some born-again free enterprisers in the agricultural field.
Well Mr. Frank, you have certainly made an impression... I hope you continue reading Mises and Hayek, then transform into a libertarian. Here's to hoping...
Posted by Norman at 4:43:00 PM
I have officially downloaded and begun using the Beta 2 release of Office 2007. I think I'm going to really like the ribbon style menus more than the previous drop-down options. It's much more elegant this way. Outlook has been improved, but I'm not sure I like the RSS options yet. I'll test run it with a few of the Office 2007 blogs, but I have a feeling that I will continue to use Sage...
Posted by Norman at 3:25:00 PM
Friday, May 19, 2006
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
I am currently in Missouri, writing this post from my wife's parents' house. We will be away from Austin for about two weeks. This is the first real vacation I have had in years, and I am going to soak it for all its worth! Reading, fellowship, sleeping, eating - that's all I plan on doing.
I had a great discussion with my Dad and my father-in-law about government, hopefully my parents don't think I'm quite so crazy anymore, haha. I found out my dad is called "Yoda" at work. What a lucky guy. I just get called "insane".
It's nice to see old friends again. I talked with Eric, Zach, Stuart, and David today at length about music, life, and getting away. What a grand time! I hope David finds what he is looking for, and I especially hope he takes me up on my offer and visits UT.
Tonight, I will be attending the first concert of one of my mother's choirs in four and a half years. How odd, it seems like such a short time ago I was helping set up chairs, singing great music, and playing SWCCG afterwards. How time flies...
Posted by Norman at 3:22:00 PM
Thursday, May 11, 2006
Good morning folks, I am putting up a link to my del.icio.us bookmarks. If you are interested in finding out what I'm looking at online, you can check there. More than likely there will be new websites there on a daily basis, unless I'm out of town. Hopefully, it may also persuade you to give del.icio.us a try. If you've never done social bookmarking before, you should try it!
My del.icio.us bookmarks!
Posted by Norman at 5:21:00 AM
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
So, if anyone is feeling particularly generous to me, they can buy the entire Mises.org store collection of books for me... It only costs $2000, and will certainly keep me occupied for the rest of my natural life. If you would like to make this significant donation to a friend of freedom, please do so... Maybe I should start a donation account on this blog...
And if you need persuasion to do this amazing feat of charity, here's some stuff I wrote today regarding the problem of utility infrastructure, such as electricity, water, and communications, and how they relate to Federal government.
On roads… Historically, trade routes and roads were developed as a natural response to competitive advantage (this is clear in the near east). One coastal city had a particular advantage in an industry, another city its own advantage, and they decide they want to trade. (Eventually, by the way, this results in a sort of cultural standardization of precious metal currency.) Why is it necessary for the federal government to step in and create roads in the first place, when part of the natural response to economic forces will be to make roads? (Note the emphasis on federal, it is reasonable that a smaller community/city could make their own attempt based on their own knowledge of their own situation – there is no knowledge gap as in the Federal government. Perhaps after the attempt they may decide it was more beneficial to let market forces determine the road structure through the price system.)
On electrical, communication, and water infrastructure… What would have happened if the government had not enforced infrastructure? Similar to the road systems, I don’t see as much of a problem when local governments get together, with consenting citizens and consenting businesses, to work on their own infrastructure. They may be successful, or they may decide to just let the market hammer it out. Obviously, it is in a business’ best interest to have the best resources possible, and if they think it is profitable to have their own power system rather than be dependent upon the city, that is their decision. It would also work for them to sign-up to a company that provides electrical services in some way (whether through special power lines or through fuel cells / batteries, whatever), the likes of which developed as a result of market forces. This argument could be extended to water and communication services.
The problem is when the national government in DC thinks that they know what is best for every individual city, because the politicians in DC have an innate lack of knowledge about what happens in, say, New Orleans and their water barriers. (I have slightly changed the topic, but I think you understand what I mean. DC didn’t provide the resources for their barriers because they didn’t think they needed it. The market in New Orleans can handle that issue much better, as it is in the best interest of the businesses to have those barriers in order to protect their investments from a hurricane.) So, it doesn’t work to have national government handing down orders for the rest of the country to follow. Furthermore, remember that advances in technology have a sort of trickle-down effect by necessity. It’s like luxury cars. Fifteen years ago, only luxury cars had CD players. Now, they nearly come standard, or you can easily buy your own and improve your vehicle. Now, the luxury car nifty gadget is GPS and directional systems. Given a few more years, those will probably become standard too. But if the government came in and said that every car needed a GPS system, the result would be disastrous! People would not be able to get the car they really wanted because they would be effectively forced to spend more on the GPS. Likewise, car companies would not be able to sufficiently serve their customers with the products they really want. So, I’m not really saying that nothing was gained from these interventions, but only that if the market had been allowed to work, things very likely would have evolved naturally and would have used resources more effectively.
One objection to this is that there are still places in the US without these amenities, and why is something not done about them? The answer is that either it simply is not profitable to do so, or that they are being neglected by the government.
Either way, the failure of that sort of system should be noted. First, if it isn’t profitable or beneficial, why should massive amounts of taxpayer money be used for the benefit of very few individuals such as those who choose to live outside of the market realms of infrastructure? Because of pity? Government charity, though in isolated instances has worked, for all intents and purposes has been a dismal failure (welfare, anyone?). However, private charity continues to be successful in accomplishing their goals, and if they choose to provide such services free of charge that is their business. Second, if they are being neglected, then it shows once again that the government is incapable of true economic calculation. If it were profitable to power/water those areas over time it would be accomplished. It does indeed come back down to individual’s self-interest. The person who lives outside of the infrastructure has displayed his self-interest in is choice to live there, despite the lack of infrastructure. The power/water/communications company is acting in their self-interest by not providing an expensive service to a person who, by their choices, has effectively said they are not willing to pay the cost to get that good/service. The government, however, manages to bypass those economic preferences and forces their will on both the consumer and producer.
There is a book written by Austrian economists Robert Bradley and Richard Fulmer called Energy: The Master Resource. I really want to read this book. Here’s the description:
“Author Robert Bradley, together with Richard Fulmer, have put together an outstanding book that covers this huge subject, beginning with answers to the most fundamental questions (What is energy? Where does energy come from?) through current policy applications (Are we running out of oil? Is the globe warming?). It is ideal for students and classroom use. But it is also the best book for anyone who wants to think and talk intelligently about this huge topic.
It is set up in the form of a textbook, with excellent graphics and clear text, but also contains enough documentation to provide resources for further study. The organization is outstanding and the discussion thorough. For example, under the topic of electricity, we find short descriptions of coal-fired plants, nuclear fission, natural gas, hydroelectric plants, wind power, geothermal energy, microturbines solar power, biomass, fuel cells, and more. A great merit of this book is that it discusses not just the technology but also the economics of various alternative energy sources--a point which is nearly always neglected in the usual literature.
Also not neglected is the area of energy regulation and its effects, and the authors take a free-market perspective.”
My point is that the Austrian School does try to address these issues. I am not fully aware of the breadth of work out there regarding these, but we also have the principles of the free market to help us understand the situation, which is how I’m approaching this.
Posted by Norman at 11:35:00 AM
Monday, May 08, 2006
To Rule is to Destroy :: A fantastic article calling for radical reform in the classical-liberal sense - free markets & non-intervention. This is exactly why I believe radical change is necessary for the preservation of freedom for ourselves, our children, our churches, our nation, our world. We cannot stand by and let either Republican, Democrat, or bureaucrat keep slowly cutting into our God-given freedom. I agree with Ludvig von Mises that the principle way this change will occur is through education, and I encourage you to think deeply about what the government is doing both at home and abroad and judge for yourselves. We need to understand the problems at hand and be able to argue persuasively to others, then give them the solution – free markets, an intervention-less government, a simple judicial system. I refuse to end up like Europe, under complete socialism.
Who Owns the Internet? :: The net-neutrality debate is going haywire. Whoever thought government could solve this problem should know better. Congress doesn't have a clue about science or technology, and would YOU let your tech company be run by somebody who knows nothing about the subject? This is a clear calling for de-regulating the communications industry and abolishing the FCC.
Congress apparently has passed a bill to punish so-called "price-gougers" of oil. What a crock. Read Cato's article and the Mises blog for info on this latest development.
Posted by Norman at 10:40:00 AM
Thursday, May 04, 2006
An interesting perspective by Lew Rockwell...
The problem with American conservatism is that it hates the left more than the state, loves the past more than liberty, feels a greater attachment to nationalism than to the idea of self-determination, believes brute force is the answer to all social problems, and thinks it is better to impose truth rather than risk losing one’s soul to heresy. It has never understood the idea of freedom as a self-ordering principle of society. It has never seen the state as the enemy of what conservatives purport to favor. It has always looked to presidential power as the saving grace of what is right and true about America.
Obviously, there are those conservatives who agree entirely with this position and are true friends of liberty, but any governmental philosophy, no matter the name, that adheres to what Rockwell rejects above is clearly not compatible with individual liberty, free markets, and ultimately non-intervention by government.
Posted by Norman at 6:05:00 PM
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
Regardless of what you think about the character of the various leaders of the US, you must admit that most of them are simply idiotic. Most seem to have no clue about real economics, and they believe that they, the almighty thinkers and planners of 270 million person's national destinies, can manipulate the market any way they choose for the supposed "betterment" of their constituents. Not even mentioning the inherent moral problems with their views, the efficiency at which they accomplish these goals is nothing short of ridiculous. If the governments' operations were performed in the private sector with the same results, they would be out of business faster than a dotcom bust.
If you have no idea what I'm talking about, then you need to go to Mises.org and start reading. In the meantime, here's some more reading from the Cato Institute on oil, LewRockwell.com on state hypocrisy, and an article by Karl Beisel on the REAL ID act.
Markets or Manipulation?
Karl Beisel on REAL ID
Posted by Norman at 11:18:00 AM
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
"Although few believe it, the oil industry would have to earn record profits for a long time before it would produce above average returns for its long-term investors.
Even were profits more extraordinary than they are, a special tax would be a mistake. Windfall profit taxes threaten to institutionalize a form of one-way capitalism in which investors are allowed losses or meager profits but average or better returns are disallowed. Who would want to invest money in an industry like that?"
My point exactly.
Socialist Recipes to Continue Being Poor
An interesting quote...
In a presidential debate with Al Gore on October 11, 2000, in Winston-Salem, NC, Bush said: "I don’t think our troops ought to be used for what’s called nation-building…I think what we need to do is convince people who live in the lands they live in to build the nations. Maybe I’m missing something here. I mean, we’re going to have a kind of nation-building corps from America? Absolutely not."
Really? I guess he decided he missed something... From Bush Styled Pax Americana
Liberty, free markets, peace.
Posted by Norman at 9:29:00 AM
Monday, May 01, 2006
Yesterday I got comment spammed on this blog. It wasn't a big deal, and it was only two comments (I think), but I have enabled the Blogger feature which requires word verification to post comments. That should stop any spambots.
On a much cooler note, check the right sidebar. Notice something new? That's right, now we have random Mises quotes 24/7. It pings Mises.org for a quote from the database whenever you refresh. Go ahead, try it! It's so beautiful, it makes me want to cry...
Posted by Norman at 5:52:00 AM
Saturday, April 29, 2006
At Rolla, we were talking about this for years. I've been thinking about this for even longer. If only I had been the to invent it! Anyway, here's some photos of some concept devices that might help us replace textbooks altogether. Imagine, your entire libary - in a pseudo-Star-Trek pad.
It's about time...
Posted by Norman at 11:04:00 AM
Friday, April 28, 2006
Matt Leinart Wins Beauty Contest Portion of the NFL Draft!
Sometimes "The Onion" is just beyond awesome. Vince Young is the man. From the city of the national champion Texas Longhorns... QM out.
Posted by Norman at 10:50:00 PM
*** Update ***
Libertarian Party Speaks on the $100 Gas Rebate Check
Once again, the rebate idea is such stupid scheme. A total political ploy to divert people's attention from the real issue. Quote:
"If Senate Republicans and Democrats want to provide immediate relief to consumers the first step should be the repeal of the federal excise tax on gasoline. The money saved by consumers would be more than the $100 refund.
To help increase the nation's supply of gasoline in the long-term, Congress needs to ease the environmental regulations governing oil refineries. The United States has not built a new refinery since 1976."
Hmm, that sounds like what I said...
Republicans target "Economic Crimes by William Anderson, care of the Mises Institute.
The article is well worth the read, and is more detailed than my post from a couple of days ago.
This leads me to another point which is probably becoming apparent, and may disturb some people who know me well. I have been steadily losing respect for the current manifestation of the Republican party, mainly due to the following:
The Patriot Act
Handling of Katrina
Handling of oil
Inability to create a balanced budget, and record deficit spending
Continued interventionism across the world
Restricting free trade
Socialist health care
Social security stupidity
This does not mean I am now a Democrat. I like them probably even less. No, I think the most accurate description of my political position is Libertarian. Frankly, I have extremely little faith in government in general, but at this point I think the Republican party has failed miserably. America needs to move back to the principles of true free-market economics, international free-trade, and non-interventionism abroad. If the next Republicans up for election adhere to these (somebody like Ron Paul, who is definitely the man), or Democrat for that matter, I would vote for them. Otherwise, down with tyranny! I offer no apology for these views, and I hope none of my friends think less of me for it. Logic dictates that I must do this.
By the way, for all you Libertarians out there, Michael Badnarik is running for 10th District in Texas, which includes north Austin. Too bad I'm downtown, or else I could vote for him...
Posted by Norman at 8:07:00 AM
Thursday, April 27, 2006
And here are today's headlines/articles with color commentary...
Nuclear Regulatory Confusion: A good article on nuclear power regulations.
Why we should have a gold standard.
FEMA News: So a bipartisan panel says FEMA should be scrapped because of the Katrina failure, but what's the next part of the plan? Build another ridiculous disaster-relief organization! When will you people learn? "The first obligation of government is to protect our people," says Senator Susan Collins. Government consistently fails in any form of "protection" from national disaster, and it consistently fails in relief efforts too. Letting the market deal with it is the answer. For more information, see Mises.org, as usual.
Congress 'discusses' gas prices? This op-ed piece by Dana Milbank is idiotic. Cmon, you think you have some sort of right to tell people what kind of car you can drive? Give me a break. If I want to spend my money on a gas-guzzling car, it's none of your business! Now, personally I don't drive one of those vehicles (too expensive), but who am I to restrict somebody ele from driving one?
The Omega Number, Godel's Theorem, and a Theory of Everything: This is a nifty article for all you math gurus out there. I think I'm going to put his book on the reading list...
What's this? A Battlestar Galactica prequel? Very cool.
Posted by Norman at 2:36:00 PM
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Piracy vs. Child Pornography
The Inquirer reports that under a new law that might be passed by our ever-so-ingenious (probably more like disingenuous) Federal Government, bigger punishments would be given to people who burn a cd for a friend than to those who participate in child pornography. You have to follow a couple of links to get to the original Cnet article, but this quote is telling enough:
"Although sentencing varies in the US, the new law does send a very strange message as to what the government considers 'bad' in the 21st century.
For example assaulting a police officer will get you five years, downloading child porn will get you seven years, assaulting without a weapon will get you ten years and aggravated assault six years.
So in other words if you copy a Disney CD and sell it you will be in the same league as a paedophile who is distributing pictures of sexual attacks on children.
If you copy Craig David's CD you get ten years, but if you punch him in the face and pummel him into a seven day coma you will only get six."
Posted by Norman at 5:53:00 PM
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
McCombs School of Business Database Breached: 197,000 SSN's stolen
This is absurd. Mr. Hacker, you should be put in jail and beaten severely for this, especially if you manage to use any of these people's information to hijack their identity for your selfish, putrid gain.
Posted by Norman at 2:47:00 PM
I'm sitting in the UT Pharmacy, and CNN is on. The Pres is talking about gas prices, and apparently 2/3 of Americans think high gas prices are a 'hardship', whatever that means.
People think that because oil companies are making so much money these that they are evil or something. They think the government should do something about it. Get a grip America, you don't know a thing about economics if you think that these high gas prices are the result of price gouging and 'evil' big business. I can't stand the prices either, but I'm not going to accuse an oil company.
Here's the reasons why gas prices are so high. This is as simple as economics gets.
1) Demand - Over the past 10 years, 100 million people in the far east (China, Japan, Taiwan, etc.) have moved to a standard of living comparable to the USA. They now want fuel. This means the demand has increased dramatically. Think about it. If there are 300 million people in the USA, and 100 million new consumers now want gas, you can expect for the price to go up.
2) Supply - The barrier towards creating new refineries and developing new sources of oil in the USA pretty much shafts any effort to increase the supply of oil in the USA. The demand has gone up, but the supply has remained relatively unchanged with respect to the demand. Coupled with the control that OPEC wields on prices in general, you can't possibly expect anything but a price increase.
3) Taxes - How much in taxes do you pay per gallon of gasoline? Do you know? In 2002, the average taxpayer paid 42 cents per gallon in taxes. (Source: Gas Tax Statistics) I couldn't find anything for 2006, but you can bet that your taxed-to-the-bottom dollar that they are higher now. Guess what else? The Federal Government gets more money from gasoline than any company does in profits. (Source: The Tax Foundation) So who benefits most from high gas taxes? The government. Who gets hurt? You do.
Let's be frank. If the government is really concerned about gas prices, they should eliminate all taxes on oil. Period. CNN, socio-liberals, and all you silly people out there who think Exxon is evil, look at the facts and try telling me again that we should punish oil companies for doing their job as best they can. The laws of supply and demand refuse to be violated. And go read some Mises or Rothbard, or some other book where you can learn some real economics...
Posted by Norman at 9:14:00 AM
Sunday, April 23, 2006
| You scored as Neo, the "One". Neo is the computer hacker-turned-Messiah of the Matrix. He leads a small group of human rebels against the technology that controls them. Neo doubts his ability to lead but doesn't want to disappoint his friends. His goal is for a world where all men know the Truth and are free from the bonds of the Matrix. |
Which Action Hero Would You Be? v. 2.0
created with QuizFarm.com
Posted by Norman at 6:38:00 PM
MIT has just released their OpenCourseware website, where you can find class notes from hundreds of MIT courses spanning nearly every discipline offered at MIT. Thanks to my father-in-law Jack for letting me know about this...
Posted by Norman at 6:29:00 PM
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
Librarian Scott Savage has been acuqitted of charges of sexual harassment over the suggestion of the book "The Marketing of Evil" by David Kupelian. See my post from a couple of days ago...
Posted by Norman at 10:30:00 AM
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Posted by Norman at 11:37:00 PM
Generally, when one creates a budget, the point is to understand your incomes, track your expenses, and thereby not go into debt. Though some individuals fail at this, I doubt anyone quite misses the mark like the Federal Government. This article from the Mises Institute describes in numbers how the Federal Government spends its money.
How Big is Bush's Big Government?
Posted by Norman at 7:25:00 AM
Monday, April 17, 2006
This just in... I was wrong in telling people that there were 46,000 pages of Federal tax code. There's 66,000. That's right.
Cato Institute Daily Commentary: The Simple (Tax) Life
By the way, the Bible has ~775,000 words, depending on your translation. The Federal Tax Code has over nine million words.
I thoroughly believe that "if 10% is good enough for Jesus, it oughta be enough for Uncle Sam." Actually, I think he deserves far less than that, but that would ruin the song quote...
Posted by Norman at 7:43:00 AM