Friction can be a drag

In the interests of free speech…just make it interesting

Happiness nonsense

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The assertion that “people are surprisingly bad judges of what makes them happy” seems quite prevalent in recent happiness literature. Well-being fanatics  claiming to know better than ordinary people or politicians what is good for us is not new.

Cameron has announced that the coalition government will be addressing happiness and wellbeing as part of its economic policy. Do you feel comfortable with ministers emboldened with new happiness metrics poking your personal happiness buttons and making policy according to results?

Happiness is subjective and transient, causing problems for researchers trying to measure it scientifically. Many believe that the most effective way to measure happiness is simply to ask people. Respondents are asked to make judgements about their life as a whole. Ask yourself, do you feel ‘happy’ or ‘very happy’…  Holla if you think this is nonsense.




Written by tree2one

January 24, 2012 at 3:32 pm

Posted in free speech

Should everyone have the vote?

with 7 comments

Apologies that this is a plagiarised article but it sums up quite well the problems that universal suffrage can cause…

“Despite dire warnings from all types of politicians that we really ought to give a damn, it rather looks as if most people entitled to vote in Britain’s first referendum for 36 years will not bother to do so.
Yes, I’m talking about today’s poll on the Alternative Vote. Wake up at the back there! But here’s an idea that might really stir up some interest – and improve our nation’s governance.
Why don’t we restrict votes to people who actually pay something into the system? No, I am not suggesting a return to property-based eligibility; although that system worked quite well when Parliament administered not just Britain but most of the world. Today, income would be a much better test, setting the bar as low as possible; perhaps including everyone who pays at least £100 of income tax each year.
That minimal requirement would include everyone who gets out of bed in the morning to go to work and could easily be extended to include, on grounds of fairness, several other groups. For example, all pensioners – because of the fiscal contributions to society they are likely to have paid earlier – and mothers – because of their contribution to defusing the ‘demographic time-bomb’ of an ageing population.
This modest proposal would, however, exclude large numbers of people who have no ‘skin in the game’ and who may even comprise the majority of voters in some metropolitan areas today. Their contribution is not just negative in financial terms – they take out more than they put in – but likely to be damaging to the decisions taken by democracies.
For example, it is sometimes said – and uncertainly attributed to Alexander Tytler – that: “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury.
“From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy.”
Hard to believe? The credit crisis afflicting democracies around the world demonstrates the truth of this observation. So does the fact that our less  democratic competitors in the emerging markets suffer no such crisis.
We have been voting ourselves better benefits than we have earned for decades and – sooner than later – that has got to stop. Restoring the link between contributing to society and voting about how it is run would be a sensible first step.
If all that sounds rather dry, then – with apologies to regular readers – here’s anecdote from Max King, global asset allocation strategist at Investec, which sets out to explain the macroeconomics of tax and benefits in terms we can all understand.
Suppose that once a month, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all of them comes to £100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes and claim State benefits, it would go something like this;
The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing. The fifth would pay £1.
The sixth would pay £3.
The seventh would pay £7.
The eighth would pay £12.
The ninth would pay £18.
And the tenth man (the richest) would pay £59.
So, that’s what they decided to do. The ten men drank in the bar every month and seemed quite happy with the arrangement until, one day, the owner caused them a little problem. “Since you are all such good customers,” he said, “I’m going to reduce the cost of your weekly beer by £20.” Drinks for the ten men would now cost just £80.
The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes. So the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free but what about the other six men; the paying customers? How could they divide the £20 windfall so that everyone would get his fair share? They realised that £20 divided by six is £3.33 but if they subtracted that from everybody’s share then not only would the first four men still be drinking for free but the fifth and sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer.
So the bar owner suggested a different system. The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing.
The sixth man paid £2 instead of £3 .
The seventh paid £5 instead of £7.
The eighth paid £9 instead of £12.
The ninth paid £14 instead of £18.
And the tenth man now paid £49 instead of £59. 
Each of the last six was better off than before with the first four continuing to drink for free.
But, once outside the bar, the men began to compare their savings. “I only got £1 out of the £20 saving,” declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man, “but he got £10!”
“Yes, that’s right,” exclaimed the fifth man. “I only saved a £1 too. It’s unfair that he got ten times more benefit than me!”
“That’s true!” shouted the seventh man. “Why should he get £10 back, when I only got £2? The rich get all the breaks!”
“Wait a minute,” yelled the first four men in unison, “we didn’t get anything at all. This new tax system exploits the poor!”
So, the nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up. Funnily enough, the next month the tenth man didn’t show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had their beers without him.
But when it came to pay for their drinks, they discovered something important – they didn’t have enough money between all of them to pay for even half the bill.
That’s how non-contributory democracy led to the credit crisis in a nutshell. Or a joke, on the basis that you don’t need to be solemn to make a serious point. It’s time to restore the link between paying something into society and voting on decisions about how it is run.”

Written by jackshaftoe

May 5, 2011 at 12:20 pm

Posted in free speech

New opium war needed

with 5 comments

So we all know that the opium wars between the UK and China were started because there was a serious trade imbalance between the UK and China, with China taking all the silver….

So with China now taking all US dollars, what can America invent which would be as significantly useful for the trade balance as opium was?

Oil is the best candidate but eben with control over Iraq and soon to be control over Iran that horse has already bolted, plus the USA is not an effective middle man there.

No what is needed is a new substance, tied to american culture, which also doesn’t compete well given China’s decent movie industry….

I encourage all patriotic Americans to think hard on how best to accomplish this necessary creation… And then lets force it down the chinese throats….

Suggestions welcome

Written by rexinfinite

December 13, 2010 at 12:48 pm

Posted in drugs, policy

Tagged with , , ,

How wikileaks is a foreshadow of the stateless nation

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The author Neil Stephenson, in his book diamond age explores the notion that the nation state will become irrelevant and that people will group together on the basis of culture.

Wikileaks is a spy operation funded by wealthy liberals from around the world who wish to have deeper access to corporate and government secrets.

In the past, only a nation could afford such an operation, and only a could provide justification for the “righteous” acquisition and utilisation of such material.

Of course, Al Qaeda is also a stateless cultural unit with global tentacles, but it is simply a precursor, a rough attempt.

What is infinitely more interesting about wikileaks is that it is making a mockery of the laws of the state, and abusing the artifice that is the global legal system, while informing it’s cultural affinities just how entrenched, corrupted, duplicitous, and idiotic are the state laws and institutions we venerate. 

We now see clearly how Amazon and Paypal obey government orders.

We now see how our own laws can be used against us in trumped up cases.

We now see how our politicians justify assassination to cover up their secrets.

We see from those secrets how trivial, petty, and simple are those in upper echelons of power.   We clearly see that nation states do not operate on a more advanced level than squabbling cousins interested in each others dirty secrets and fighting for grandmother earths inheritance money.

Frankly, I have more trust and confidence in the people behind wikileaks than I do in my own governments.   At least they don’t pretend to know what is best for me, lie to my face, then compel me with brute force and threats to obey even when I don’t agree.

The end of the nation state won’t come easily.

First we will be confronted by the monster of a global state run by a corrupt oligarchy using their wealth and corporations to influence nation states and the people within them.

Then we will have only the corporations themselves as unique operators able to provide for their employees in the way if a nation state.

The tesco and apple village….

But there are principles of humanity which can bind deeper than simple basics of life, and those will form the genesis of the cultural units which coalesce human energy in the future.

Some will be racial expat communities, others will be religious, and yet others elk be bound by ideas, others will remain commercial, and in that new world, we will need a new framework for interacting.

Shamefully, it won’t be any less peaceful, but we will have more choice of where we belong.

And some of those communities will be truly horrible, like paedophile collectives,  but may be allowed to survive on the basis of live and let live….

Written by rexinfinite

December 7, 2010 at 5:04 pm

They say the future is mobile, but today is mobile

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If I ask myself the question, what can’t I do with my android phone, I have to say, not much.  And whatever I can’t do, I expect to be able to do… And in all probability will do soon.

That’s actually an astonishing thought.  That a device in my pocket can power pretty much my entire digital life, harnessing the power of the cloud, to serve and feed our modern appetite for instant communication, news, gossip, games, data, heck even controlling things remotely, and all through radio signals which will probably make all of us sick.

But what price is too high to pay for gratification of the senses on this scale?

The point about the cloud combined with always on pleasure to use devices is that it’s finally possible for anyone to make it work.   This revolution is like email all over again, but the winners haven’t been decided yet.   It could be facebook, but they are consumer and their user group is fickle and free.   Google has more aces than anyone, but they don’t know how to do service, they please themselves first.   Apple has set the standard, the way they did with personal computing, but you can’t compete with the world, they are already at full stretch.

Rim lost it when the email age was superseded by the mobile social cloud.

Microsoft is desk bound.

Interestingly though, the hub system Microsoft has pioneered, and similarly the widgets of android and amazons kindle point the way, with still serious flaws.

Put the user in charge of their content, their display, make it easy to access any feed beautifully, make it available across platforms, and the swarm of users will make it real.

Written by rexinfinite

November 24, 2010 at 7:00 pm

Posted in technology

Supporting the underdog

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Now that android mobile operating system is number two globally and well on its way to number one, do I need to get a windows mobile or apple phone in support of the underdog? 

These devices are transforming how we interact with the world, who are we empowering with our consumer choices and can we trust them to really empower us back?

There are natural monopolies, windows pc,  google search, facebook social network, apple ipod, android smartphone?

I usually prefer the alternative but somehow I find myself using all the natural monopolies, have I changed or has the dominating value of the natural monopoly changed?

My only justification is I have gotten better at picking winners and I use companies I find early, or underdogs to show some independence.

Actually, my next computer will be ubuntu all the way.   It finally works after much teething, but I just can’t do apple for phones.   Maybe palm?

Written by rexinfinite

November 11, 2010 at 6:13 pm

Humans and Haemorrhoids: Can we co-exist?

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Are piles just about itching and soreness around your bottom and the occasional sharp pain up said ringer? I think not. We should all be working together with our piles to create a more harmonious world for both us and our bum-grapes.
Many believe that they are merely varicosities of the veins draining the territory of the inferior rectal arteries, which are branches of the internal pudendal artery, but I believe they are so much more than that.
Whether internal or external these beautiful and unique creations deserve more than Sclerotherapy or the even more barbaric ‘Rubber band ligation’
Far from being withered or destroyed, your anus decorations should be nurtured and revered. I impore you, take up the cause and save the Nobbys!!

Written by yeahbutnobut

July 6, 2010 at 1:54 pm

Posted in free speech