Penguin Suicide Bombers

The Terrorism of Open Source

The open source movement is widely recognized as “an important development” in the computer industry and has been both lauded and criticized by many pundits. However, despite exhaustive analysis and discussion, the phenomenon of open source has remained singularly vexing to classify. Variously, the open source movement has been classified as socialism, communism, a “gift economy”, charity, futilism and gullibilism. It has even caused distinguished Yale professors to wave the proverbial white flag and invent remarkably catchy new phrases such as “commons-based peer production”. Rolls right off the tongue.

Because it is widely understood that for anything to have any real meaning or be properly studied that it must first be stripped of its outward trappings and pigeon-holed as narrowly as possible, I, The Objective Observer, have risen to the challenge and will now properly classify the open source movement. In three scintillating acts I will first describe what open source is, dispel certain myths and pejorative characterizations of it (what open source isn’t) and finally analyze the open source movement’s goals and tactics to properly and succinctly explain its true nature.

The layman’s definition of open source software is software that is non-proprietary or “free” and can be modified by anyone with the requisite programming knowledge without the constraints of overly restrictive licensing. Now, there are certainly those that will decry this definition as incomplete since there are apparently entire organizations, such as the Open Source Initiative, whose seemingly sole reason for existence is to maintain the exact definition of the term “open source”. Thus, it is highly unlikely that a single sentence definition for so complex a term as to require its own dedicated organization to define it; no matter how expertly crafted, will universally satisfy everyone. However, the important thing to remember here is that open source software is different than commercial software because commercial software makers incur expenses from employing software developers, charge for their software, have restrictive licenses on its use and do not release their source code. Conversely, open source software is built by a process in which one or more individuals collaborate to create software and then release that software and its source code to the public domain. These individuals are not paid to create the software and they may never make a dime from it.

As altruistic and benevolent as this all sounds, open source is not without its detractors; who have variously categorized open source as “socialism” or even “communism”. Most notably, SAP; a large European software manufacturer has criticized open source as “intellectual property socialism” and Bill Gates has even hinted that the open source movement is communism. For some perspective, remember that Bill Gates has been feuding with the “free” software movement for over three decades. These characterizations are used pejoratively and are highly inaccurate, proving yet again the age old adage that technologists know much more about bits and bytes than they do about socio-economic systems.

Socialism and communism are both economic and political ideologies typically characterized by State control of property, distribution of wealth and/or means of production. Open source has no “State” or governing body and thus it is perhaps more correctly characterized as Anarchism or Fascist socialization, which is not really as bad as it sounds; look it up. However, the problem with all of these characterizations is the same; they make certain incorrect assumptions and thus fail to capture the core essence of the movement. All of these characterizations attempt to fit the open source movement into the presupposed category of a political ideology or socio-economic system. But this is most definitely NOT what the open source movement is all about because it completely and utterly misses the mark with respect to the origin of the open source movement, its goals and its tactics. Under this ridiculously broad characterization, two neighbors who borrow sugar from one another in order to make cookies for a volunteer church function could be categorized as socialists or communists.

Another myth that must be dispelled is the analogy of a charity or non-profit organization. While there is most definitely an element of volunteerism present within the open source movement, again, there is no clear organization that masterminds or directs giving. In addition, most true volunteer efforts offer direct assistance to specific groups of individuals. For example, after a flood, the Red Cross might show up on your doorstep and give you a bucket and mop or if you are house-bound “Meals on Wheels” might show up on your doorstep with some vittles. With open source, there is no central organization and there is no direct beneficiary to benefactor relationship. Open source projects are simply posted online and it is up to potential beneficiaries to find them. This is akin to the Red Cross keeping a warehouse of mops and buckets and expecting flood victims to come get them or “Meals on Wheels” cooking mass amounts of food and hoping people show up to eat it.

This volunteer aspect of the open source movement is frequently reinforced by such things as the “Bee Keeper” model. In this model of open source development, alternatively known as the “Profiteering and Exploitation” model or “Rape and Pillage” model, open source development volunteers are the bees and a professional services organization, such as Red Hat, are the “bee keepers”. Thus the bees volunteer their time and the professional services organizations profit from their labors. While this seems to be an accurate analogy, businesses may wish to keep in mind the phenomenon of “colony collapse disorder” and the bees may wish to keep in mind that the worker bees literally work themselves to death for the sole glory of the “queen bee”.

This brings us to the second biggest issue with the characterization of open source as purely volunteerism which is that it completely misses the strong narcissistic drive present within the open source movement. Many open source or free software products are named after their lead developers or else the lead developer’s name is strongly associated with the product and used as a means to gain notoriety. Linus Torvolds and Linux is perhaps the best example of the former while examples of the latter are too numerous to mention, being characterized by individuals such as Bruce Perens who regularly brags about the notoriety he has gained from his work on open source projects. That, despite the fact you have almost certainly never heard of him and he will likely never sleep with a super-model.

The biggest issue with characterizing open source as purely volunteerism, however, is the same problem as classifying it as a socio-economic system or political ideology which is that such a classification focuses on only a single aspect of the open source movement. Any characterization which focuses on a single trait instead of all traits is undoubtedly flawed.

Having debunked the typical characterizations of the open source movement, the question remains as to exactly what IS the open source movement? To answer this, the only objective thing to do is to first make a list of the open source movement’s defining characteristics and then draw some sort of analogy or conclusion. Research shows that there are five primary characteristics or traits of the open source movement.

First and foremost, the open source movement is to some degree a rejection and opposition to the direct capitalization of software but is perhaps more specifically and correctly defined as the rejection and opposition to what is perceived to be a “unipolar, capitalistic superpower”, in this case Microsoft. This appears to be a widely accepted attitude within the open source community as there are endless quotes spanning a large number of open source projects to the effect of “the enemy is Microsoft”.

Second, the open source movement is organized as a loose confederation in which a relatively small percentage of highly skilled and charismatic leaders exert influence over legions of faceless, and often fanatical, volunteers. Individuals such as Linus Torvalds and Eric Raymond are the leaders who admittedly serve as “benevolent dictators” and nearly everyone else is, well, a faceless minion.

Third, the open source movement by and large uses crude propaganda and hate-filled rhetoric to defame and demonize its opposition. For example, this third point can be easily demonstrated by the coarse language used by Linux proponents when debating or characterizing peers that utilize Windows-based technologies. More often than not, Linux proponents and other open source advocates go out of their way to characterize their opponents as “stupid”, “ignorant”, “retarded”, “evil” or much, much worse. If you don’t believe me, go browse any forum frequented by Linux or open source proponents. In addition to the name calling and hate speech there is even advocacy of sending Windows users to concentration camps or purposefully spamming their email with viruses.

Fourth, a favorite tactic of the open source movement is the use of fear as a weapon. Again, this can most readily be seen by Linux, Apache and Firefox proponents that tout the perceived security of their systems while attempting to instill fear, uncertainty and doubt in those that use Microsoft technologies by claiming that Microsoft systems are inherently insecure or inferior in terms of security.

Fifth, the open source movement often skirts the boundaries of the law with its open disregard and disdain for intellectual property rights (patents), association with criminal hacking elements (whose primary motivator is also often an attempt to damage or humiliate Microsoft), open advocacy of harm to Windows users (outright support or at least turning a blind eye towards Windows virus creators) and even outright theft, such as Bruce Peren’s self-admitted “stealing time from Pixar to work on Linux”. As a side note it might be interesting to conduct a study regarding the cost in unproductive time to corporations who employ developers that also work on open source projects.

Given these five characteristics, there is one and only one inescapable conclusion. The open source movement most closely resembles a terrorist organization. Now, I do not say this to be pejorative or otherwise mean-spirited to the open source movement but the similarities are rather striking. To point…

The main motivation and rally cry for terrorists, especially Islamic fundamentalist terrorists, is the destruction of the United States, which, as the world’s sole super-power, is perceived to be the “Great Satan”. The parallels between this and the open source movement’s attitudes towards Microsoft are inescapable.

The organizational structure of terrorists into cells and the open source movement into projects, the loose confederacy between these cells and projects and the tendency to form “splinter cells” or “forks” is also quite strong. In addition, within both groups, the followers tend to exhibit a particular penchant for fanaticism to the cause.

Both terrorism and the open source movement use propaganda and defamatory rhetoric to demonize the opposition. The level to which this occurs within the open source community is simply unforgiveable.

Perhaps the most telling characteristic is the use of fear as the primary weapon of choice. This fact is inescapable and irrefutable as the “security” argument is a mainstay in the propaganda of major open source projects such as Linux and Firefox. The main goal or aim of terrorists to defeat their adversaries is to cultivate fear within their enemies. Similarly, the use of the security argument is a weapon of fear and is apparently the primary method by which open source advocates hope to defeat Microsoft.

The criminal, or at the very least questionable, tactics and guilt by association is yet another trait that the open source movement shares with terrorism. While terrorists’ criminal activities are obviously much more violent and physically destructive, the point remains that the activities and tactics of both groups tend to skirt, or at the very least, flaunt the law.

I am not aware of any other entity, group or idea that matches these five primary characteristics of the open source movement as exactly as terrorist organizations. Even more telling, one final similarity that deserves mentioning is the complete disregard both groups have for “non-combatants”. In the terrorist world, innocent bystanders and civilians are fair game and considered acceptable collateral damage. So too are non-technical folks in the open source realm of thinking. The open source movement seeks to destroy Microsoft even though open source technologies are not as easy to use or intuitive for non-technical users. If the open source movement was to succeed, those non-technical users would be brushed aside simply as collateral damage.

I want to stress here that I am not a Microsoft apologist and bear the open source community no ill will, but facts are facts. Besides, it has been stated that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter so I am not here to judge but rather to simply provide an objective analysis. My sole purpose is to point out for academics and scholars that attempting to study the open source movement by latching onto a single trait or characteristic is a flawed endeavor. No scientific knowledge can be gained from incorrectly classifying and studying the open source movement in terms of socio-economic theory or as a charity organization. True progress can only be made by instead recognizing the open source movement for what it truly is, a form of terrorism.

Originally published March 2008

Is This the Web That We Created?

God Save Us From The Idealists

Call me an idealist but I still remember and believe in the original dream of the Internet and the web. Back in the late eighties and early nineties, when the Internet was just starting to spread like wildfire across college campuses, the Internet was the purview of a relatively small number of colleges, universities and government agencies. Most of the people on the Internet at that time were either students, professors, researchers, military and other government personnel. Sure, there was a small population of CompuServe and early AOL folks, but they weren’t considered “real” Internet users, at least not by us students anyway, and were generally self-contained within their own network.

Back then, we didn’t even have the world wide web yet. We had tools like telnet, ftp, Archie and Gopher. In fact, the world wide web almost didn’t make it as there was serious debate on whether Gopher should be the dominate protocol. But Gopher was originally purely text-based. The web made it easy to display graphics. The web won and the rest is history. I created some of first web pages on my college campus with a DOS text editor and viewed them in NCSA Mosaic, the first web browser.

The original dream for the Internet and the web was to build a global communication medium in order to freely share information and knowledge, thereby breaking down the corrupt corporate and governmental power structures and building a better tomorrow. Like I said, we were idealists. Perhaps too few of us still are.

The Internet and the web today do not resemble this idealistic notion…at all. Today the web is infested by spyware and adware. I actually I had to forbid my wife from searching for song lyrics because of the hours required to clean off spyware and adware. Worse, the web is used to steal money, music and identities, is the primary distributor of pornography and is used by sexual predators to find and abduct children. Not to mention the worms, viruses and spam that infest email, the most prevalent use of the Internet. Back in the day, if you spammed, you were “email bombed” into oblivion and had your privileges revoked by your service provider or administrator.

Today, precious little sharing of information and knowledge takes place. Even universities, which are supposed to be the bastions of free thought and knowledge sharing, do not share information and knowledge. Their websites are simply advertisements for their own selfish interests.

Sure, you can find out the answer to just about any inane question but how useful is that…really? Much of the information out there is useful solely to us technical geeks who while away endless hours tinkering with computers and other electronic devices.

And then there are the questionably redeeming characteristics of the Internet and the web. We have Internet shopping and chat rooms. What boons to society. People can live as shut-ins, not exercise and become socially deficient.

No, I’m afraid the pessimist in me sees that we idealists have done more harm than good. Where once I was full of idealistic dreams of changing the world through the Internet and the web, today a part of me is regretful that we ever unleashed such a haphazard monstrosity upon the world. Another part is angry that such a beautiful dream has been destroyed and the rest weeps for the dying of that dream. Perhaps God truly does need to save us from idealists.

Originally published March 2005

The Failure of America

Trusting Government is Un-American

The grand experiment in liberty that was the founding of the United States of America has failed. This statement may seem to fly in the face of the fact that a country called the United States of America still exists and is, essentially, the world’s sole super power; but small details such as that do not make the statement any less true. Let me explain.

To prove the opening statement of this article, The Objective Observer shall quote the current, sitting President of the United States, Barack Obama, at this year’s commencement speech at The Ohio State University.

Unfortunately, you’ve grown up hearing voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that’s at the root of all our problems; some of these same voices also doing their best to gum up the works. They’ll warn that tyranny is always lurking just around the corner. You should reject these voices.

Reject these voices”. Interesting. Let’s objectively stack up the President’s words against recent events, shall we?

First up is the IRS scandal over IRS agents using their position of power to unilaterally target conservative groups for additional scrutiny over their tax exempt status applications. It is important to note here that while the IRS has tried to explain this procedure away, pointing to a spike in applications for tax exempt status from “political” organizations, the same level of scrutiny was not applied to labor organizations, which are also “political” in nature. On the surface, this seems sinister enough and a direct assault on free speech in America, since the groups targeted were politically oriented. But, that is really just the tip of the iceberg.

The Obama administration quickly condemned actions and pinned all the blame on “low level” employees solely in the Cincinnati office. However, subsequent evidence has exposed the fact that IRS offices in Washington and California also unfairly targeted conservative groups with similar practices as those employed by the IRS office in Cincinnati. Therefore, the administration’s immediate assessment of the issue smacks of outright lying to the public.

Call all of this “sinister” if you must, but it certainly seems like an objective, fair and reasonable reason to distrust the government and a clear demonstration of governmental abuse of power. And considering the additional control that the IRS will exercise over the lives of Americans as Obamacare takes full effect, it is certainly chilling.

Next up is the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) secret seizure of two months of Associated Press (AP) phone records. Ostensibly, these records were obtained as part of an investigation into the “leaking” of classified information related to a foiled terrorist attack. of These phone records potentially reveal communications with confidential sources and will certainly have a chilling effect on whistleblowers who want to reveal government wrongdoing. Sinister? Well, not even Nixon went this far in trying to cover up Watergate. Indeed, would Nixon even have been forced to resign had he taken such measures to sinisterly quiet Watergate whistleblowers?

Finally, we come to Benghazi. It is now obvious to anyone with a pulse and some semblance of responsibility to keep informed of current events, that the story about the terrorist attack being a “spontaneous demonstration” prompted by an “Internet video” trotted out by the administration was clearly known to be false by the administration long before it concocted such a cockamamie fable. That fact, along with the ample evidence that brave American soldiers were effectively left to die; well, one might consider that “sinister”, or at the very least “cynical” government actions.

By now, it should be clear to any objective observer that those voices warning of a “sinister” government that leads to tyranny are, for all intents and purposes, pretty much spot on and should, in fact, not be rejected but rather embraced. But, this article is not solely about why we should not trust government, but rather about why America, as envisioned by its Founding Fathers, is effectively dead and an utter failure, a little over 200 years since its inception. To point…

The simple fact that the United States has a sitting President that effectively says “trust the government” is essentially proof positive that the America envisioned by the Founding Fathers has failed. In point of fact, the Founding Fathers repeatedly and without fail expressed a distrust of government. But, do not take The Objective Observer’s word for it, here is just a small sampling of what America’s Founding Fathers had to say about “trusting government”.

The very definition of tyranny is when all powers are gathered under one place.
James Madison

The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government — lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.
Patrick Henry

All men having power ought to be distrusted to a certain degree.
James Madison

It cannot be understated that America was founded on the premise of an overwhelming distrust of government. One must understand that America’s Founding Fathers came from a world of authoritarian and tyrannical British rule which targeted and persecuted certain religious groups, just as the IRS targeted and persecuted certain conservative groups. The British crown also conducted unjust searches and seizures of property, just as the DOJ secretly seized and searched the AP’s phone records. And finally, British rules unfairly levied taxes upon the American colonies, sort of how Obamacare effectively levies unfair and, might I say, underhanded taxes against Americans.

Therefore, it is an inescapable conclusion that America, as envisioned by its Founding Fathers has utterly and completely failed. An America in which the current IRS, DOJ and Benghazi scandals could occur would have been thought impossible, tyrannical and, quite simply, un-American in the eyes of America’s Founding Fathers. Again, don’t just take The Objective Observer’s word for it…

One the IRS scandal, America’s Founding Fathers might say this:

The jaws of power are always open to devour, and her arm is always stretched out, if possible, to destroy the freedom of thinking, speaking, and writing.” – John Adams

The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them.” – Patrick Henry

The DOJ scandal?

The means of defense against foreign danger historically have become the instruments of tyranny at home.” – James Madison

They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security.” – Benjamin Franklin

And what of Obamacare?

I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.” – James Madison

Think of it this way, it has only taken a mere 226 years to go from the ratification of a Constitution founded on the very premise of a DISTRUST of government to an actual, bona fide President of the United States advocating to TRUST government. 226 years to go from a truthful, honest, transparent government with little power over its people to a government where lying, secrecy and reckless abuses of power are rampant. A final quote seems appropriate…

Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself.” – John Adams

Rest in peace America.

1776 – 2013

Originally published 2013

Redistributing the Wealth

A World of Trailer Parks

American politics today seems to be downright nasty. In analyzing the various issues involved, it really seems to boil down to a key issue, perhaps best epitomized by Joe The Plumber’s iconic question to then candidate Barack Obama about wealth redistribution. In answering that question, Barack Obama clearly indicated that he stood in favor of wealth redistribution. It was equally clear that Joe The Plumber apparently did not favor wealth redistribution; in particular, his (Joe’s) wealth redistribution. Believe it or not, all of the other issues in play this election season can essentially be distilled down to this fundamental ideological disconnect.

Take, for instance, the debate over big government versus small government. Well, in order to effectively redistribute wealth, it is necessary to grow the government in the form of more taxes, agencies to collect and enforce those taxes and agencies to redistribute the resulting revenue.

Or how about the proper means for economic stimulus? Well, relying on the private sector and therefore capitalism necessarily means that wealth disparities stay at the same level as they are today or perhaps even grow more disparate. Conversely, relying on government leads to higher taxes and larger government (see above).

What about health care? The new health care bill is a prime example of wealth redistribution. The new health care regulations increases the cost of delivering their services for insurers, which would lead to higher insurance costs unless everyone is forced to buy health insurance by way of forcing them to pay a penalty if they do not. You may look at that penalty as a sort-of tax. So, tax some people in order to deliver “affordable” health insurance to others. Yes, that would be wealth redistribution.

But what about Cap and Trade? Ah, this one is tricky but watch this. Cap and Trade is an energy tax on polluting companies that eventually filters back down to the individual per the analysis of the Congressional Budget Office. This tax ends up as higher energy bills in the form of higher rates for energy consumption. Wealthy individuals use more energy than poor individuals. It takes more heat to warm 5,000 square feet of house versus 1,000 square feet of house. Wealthy individuals own jet planes, which require fuel while poor people do not. Thus, wealthy people end up paying a larger share of the tax than poor people just like a progressive income tax. Presto chango! Wealth redistribution.

Immigration? Easy. People immigrate from poor country (Mexico) to wealthy country (United States) which obviously redistributes wealth to that those immigrants, and often their families back home, from the United States.

Class warfare? Even easier. Class warfare is essentially a synonym for wealth redistribution. What are the classes warring about if not wealth?

And what about social justice? Super easy. Social justice, by definition, is the creation of an egalitarian society or institution based upon the principles of equality and solidarity. In other words, part of any social justice agenda is more equal wealth distribution, which necessarily means wealth redistribution in a society of unequal wealth distribution. So actually, social justice is basically a synonym for wealth redistribution while the other items in the list are more appropriately thought of as manifestations of a policy of wealth redistribution/social justice.

OK, so, since wealth redistribution is at the heart of all issues this election season, and perhaps at the heart of all issues in all election seasons, one might consider it a worthy topic to explore. God knows that is not the case with candidates and the media, but a logical mind can come to no other conclusion. Thus, the central question is what is the correct view of wealth redistribution? Is wealth redistribution a positive or a negative?

Supporters of wealth redistribution claim an ethical basis for its implementation, that the rich have an obligation to help the poor and that the rich exploit the poor. They also argue that a larger middle class is beneficial to the economy, economic inequality contributes to crime, fairer access to education and health care and even greater voter participation. Greater voter participation…no joke. Look up Roland Benabou if you don’t believe me. He’s the Professor of Economics and Public Affairs at Princeton University. Roland Benabou. Wow. Apparently he never heard of Acorn.

Anyway…

Detractors view wealth redistribution quite simply as government sanctioned theft and believe that it can never possibly be done in a just manner or without a crippling effect on the economy, particularly economic efficiency and overall economic output. In addition, critics argue that wealth redistribution creates a “nanny state” upon which people totally rely thereby usurping all real freedom and individual liberty.

So, who is right? It is a purely academic question based upon personal ideology that no one can possibly answer, right? Well, not so fast…let’s give it shot.

First, since we are ostensibly redistributing or not redistributing it, we need to define “wealth”. What the hell is “wealth”? Well, there are actually a number of different ways to define wealth, but for our purposes let’s define wealth the way most people think about it, as net worth. In other words, wealth is the value of physical and financial assets less debts. Therefore, wealth defined in this way represents the ownership of capital. This is how most people think about wealth anyway and capital is widely believed to disproportionately impact economic success and overall wellbeing.

With that out of the way, just what wealth are we redistributing? One might argue that the wealth redistribution debate is really purely a national debate. In other words, it is really only about redistributing wealth locally within the United States. But the immigration debate pretty much blows that view out of the water. Plus, we here at The Objective Observer are not into namby pamby half-ass-ism. If wealth redistribution is a good thing, then it is good for the United States and it is good for the world as a whole. Remember that, no half-ass-ism allowed at The Object Observer.

So, what would world-wide wealth redistribution look like? What a mind bogglingly impossible task to envision such a thing. Well, not really. In fact, there is this handy dandy report from the World Institute for Development Economics Research of the United Nations University (UNU-WIDER). Not exactly certain that fits the strict construction principles of an acronym, but what the hell, that’s what they call themselves.

According to this report, using currency exchange rates, global household wealth amounted to $125 trillion in the year 2000. That amounted to $20,500 per person. After adjusting for differences in the cost-of-living across nations, the wealth per person comes out to $26,000 when measured in terms of purchasing power parity dollars (PPP$), whatever the hell those are.

So what does this really mean? What this means, my friend, is that under a world-wide wealth redistribution plan, you would be allowed to own exactly $26,000 worth of assets or money. So, what does this mean?

Well, consider the following items that you might have in your house and what the Salvation Army says they are worth in charitable donation value:

#ItemLow High
1Washer$40.00$150.00
1Dryer$45.00$90.00
1Refrigerator$75.00$250.00
1Microwave$10.00$50.00
1Stove$62.50$137.50
1TV$75.00$225.00
1Car$1,000.00$4,000.00
1Couch$35.00$200.00
1Chair$25.00$100.00
1Dining set$150.00$900.00
1Rug$20.00$90.00
1DVD Player$8.00$15.00
1Bicycle$5.00$80.00
1Mower$25.00$100.00
1Radio$7.50$50.00
1Stereo$15.00$75.00
1Vacuum Cleaner$15.00$65.00
1Bed$50.00$170.00
1Chair$25.00$100.00
1Coffee Table$15.00$65.00
1Dresser w/Mirror$20.00$100.00
1Lamp$5.00$75.00
3Jackets$22.50$75.00
1Pajamas$2.00$8.00
20Shirts$50.00$240.00
5Shoes$17.50$125.00
5Slacks$25.00$60.00
1Suit$15.00$60.00
3Sweaters$7.50$36.00
1Swim Trunks$2.50$8.00
5Undershirts$5.00$15.00
5Undershorts$5.00$5.00
20DVDs$40.00$100.00
20CDs$40.00$100.00
5Socks (Pairs)$2.50$6.25
5Books$5.00$15.00
5Towels$2.50$20.00
5Plates$2.50$15.00
5Kitchen Utensils$2.50$7.50
5Glasses/Cups$2.50$7.50
1Coffeemaker$4.00$15.00
1Blanket$3.00$15.00
1End Table$10.00$50.00

Now, we will give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you shop at Kohls or Target or something and thus your items are valued on the “low” end of valuation. If you add up all of the items that you have in your possession that you own, it comes out to $1,994.50. Subtracting that from $26,000 you would have $24,005.50 which is just enough to buy a small, single-wide, 600-800 sq ft mobile home of “economy construction” with $5.50 left over in your bank account.

God forbid you shop in higher end stores, have more than 5 pairs of socks, or have any of the following in your house:

  • Ceiling fan
  • Knick-knacks
  • Toilet
  • Cabinets
  • Showers/tubs
  • Purses
  • MP3 Player
  • Computer
  • Fishing rods
  • Roller blades
  • Mixer
  • Knives
  • Toaster
  • Christmas tree
  • Curtains

All those items mean that you can’t even afford to live in a trailer park, you might be able to afford a nice tent perhaps. Also consider that even though you may have enough money to live in a trailer park, you most certainly do not actually own the land upon which that mobile home sits, not when that land is going to cost you $1,000-$10,000. Note, $5.50 < $1,000.

But, let’s take this a step farther. What happens to the economy in a wealth redistributed world? Well, let’s assume that everyone is like you, the reader, with your 5 pairs of socks and other items, your single-wide mobile home and your $5.50 in the ol’ bank account. This means that the entire economic output capability of the entire world is exactly $5.50 per person.

With 6 billion people, that is $33 billion, which sounds big until you realize two things. First, that the GDP of the United States is around $14 trillion. $33 billion is about the GDP of Bostwana. You know, Botswana, with the Kalahari desert? Of course you don’t. Second, once everyone spends their $5.50, that’s it, no more purchasing power, everyone has everything they need, in total parity with one another, the economy is dead. You can’t spend any money to get anything else because then you would be above the wealth parity threshold and the Orwellian wealth police would come haul your sorry, highfalutin, rich snobby ass away.

Therefore, what can we conclude about wealth redistribution? Well, for starters, it seems to really suck out loud. For those of you that desire a more in-depth analysis, it basically makes everyone poor and destroys the economy i.e. “sucks”.

But wait, you say, forcing everyone to live in trailer parks with five fiddy in their wallets isn’t really the aim of wealth redistribution and could never be practically possible. Well, first off, of course it is possible. Given a tyrannical police state of sufficient resources and power, people could be forced into trailer parks in mass. As proof of its practicality, one need look no further than the recent health care legislation and proposed cap and trade legislation which has been/is being pushed through in the United States by a single party hell bent on ignoring populist sentiment.

Second, if true equality of wealth worldwide isn’t the goal, then what is? Perhaps the goal is instead redistributing the wealth only to a degree that it fits with and benefits one person’s or one party’s particular goals and consolidates and enhances their power? Is that any better or is it perhaps even worse since one is simply using what might initially be seen as good intentions only to achieve greater power and control? Stopping short of true world wealth equality can only be viewed as hypocritical and a power grab. And, could the implementation of even marginal wealth redistribution be achieved by any means other than outright tyranny? No, as again evidenced by recent history in the United States.

OK, but what about income inequality? What happens if that is taken to its logical conclusion where a single person owns all of the world’s wealth? Isn’t that also practical and wouldn’t that be equally bad? While one might very well be able to fantasize about such a scenario, it is; as a practical matter, an impossible scenario. Such an outcome is simply not achievable in a free market system.

Look at the United States, the best embodiment of a real free market system. This has not happened and, in point of fact, has led to many “super rich” individuals and a burgeoning middle class. Income inequality may grow but it will never reach the limits of all and nothing. Instead, as wealth; and perhaps income inequality, grows, the wealth of the entire population is increased. The “poor” in America live like kings compared to the poor in most other countries. In fact, the only way for such an extreme income inequality to happen would be to have a single individual with enough power and control to force everyone else to give up their wealth, which is again an implementation of tyranny, not capitalism.

In conclusion, it can therefore be stated unequivocally that wealth redistribution ends up making everyone just as poor as everyone else. There is simply not enough wealth in the world that could be redistributed to allow everyone to live equally in any other state than abject poverty. And, perhaps even worse, a society with such an equal wealth distribution would effectively destroy the world economy and thus provide no hope of improving anyone’s situation and household wellbeing.

Wealth redistribution is, on its surface, an attractive notion that speaks towards the charitable and sympathetic nature of mankind. Unfortunately, its practical implementation is pure tyranny and ends up harming everyone, including the people it was originally designed to help. Capitalism and its associated income inequality may seem unfair and unjust on the surface, but then such is often the case with “tough love”.

Single Payer

Universal Wage Care

Thank God. I mean it, thank God that Congress has finally passed health care reform that will lead us down the path of a single payer system. It is about time. Of course it makes absolutely no sense for corporations to be providing health insurance to their employees. Of course it makes sense for the government to instead be providing this health insurance to its entire population. It is about time that all of these numskulls in our legislative branch have finally extracted their pea-sized craniums from their rectums and come to this conclusion, that a single payer health care system is the most logical and fairest system possible.

I do not think that I can adequately express in words just how tremendous and important this development is. It cannot be stressed enough that this is perhaps the single most significant development in the history of the United States of America short of the election of President Taft. Oh, you doubt my sincerity because of my reference to the election of President Taft; widely regarded as perhaps the most “do nothing” President in the history of the United States. Oh contraire. Without a Taft Presidency, there would have been no 16th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which created the income tax. And without an income tax, the federal government would never have been able to grow to the size where it could even consider giving universal health care to its citizens.

So, now that this whole health care issue will finally be resolved, the country can finally…FINALLY…get on with much more important business. I know, I know, what could possibly be more important than a single payer system that provides universal health care? Simple, a single payer system that provides Universal Wage Care.

What is Universal Wage Care? Think of it as taking the pearl of truth and hope that is Universal Health Care to its logical conclusion. The concept is simple enough to understand. Since it makes zero, zilch, nada sense for corporations to be furnishing health care to their employees and every conceivable sense for the government to be providing such health care, then it also follows that it makes similarly idiotic sense for corporations to be providing wages to their employees and eminently more sense for those wages to be solely provided by the federal government.

Think about it, if it makes sense to provide a government option in order to increase competition in the health insurance industry and keep all of those greedy, capitalistic health insurance companies honest, then it makes just as much sense to provide a government option for wages, thereby keeping ALL companies honest. You see, the problem with corporate wages is essentially the same as with health insurance. Just as greed causes health insurance providers to overcharge for their premiums, similarly, greed causes corporations to undercharge for wages. By providing a government option for wages, backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government, corporations would be forced to pay employees what they are worth versus underpaying those employees.

With a government wage option, the government could pay otherwise productive workers more than they currently make for simply doing nothing, forcing corporations to pay those employees more, or risk losing their employees to the government wage care program. And, since we all know that “all men are created equal” then this entire notion of a doctor being “worth more” than a janitor can be eliminated. We are all members and contribute to the same society, of course we should all make the same amount of money.

How do we pay for it? Simple. We make the entire system revenue neutral by increasing taxes on corporations as well as the wages themselves. Sure it is circular reasoning, makes no sense and simply defers the real cost of the program to future generations, but if we have the votes in Congress to do it, why on Earth wouldn’t we? And if the program runs into trouble, we simply print more money. This is the United States government for crying out loud, what harm could come from creating more money out of thin air?

Once Universal Wage Care is passed, we will finally, FINALLY, be able to realize the progressive American dream started back in 1913 with the ratification of the 16th Amendment to the United States Constitution of everyone making the EXACT same amount of money! Sure, it will take decades for all of those greedy corporations to lose all of their employees and go out of business, but the end result is inevitable once a government option exists for Universal Wage Care. Hooray for Obama and Pelosi, the Progressive American dream is finally at hand!

Originally published April 2010

Higgs Bozos

Caveman Car Smashers and A Brief History of Abject Failure

Predictions are dicey…at best. Therefore, I tend to eschew predictions in favor of simply focusing on what is directly observable. Not only is it less risky, but it is generally also more interesting. However, there is a glaring area with some might interesting observable data that almost screams out for someone to make the next logical leap and predict the near inevitable. And that area is particle physics.

Particle physics is a branch of physics that studies the elementary subatomic constituents of matter and radiation and the interactive relationship between them. That means “the study of atoms” to you and I. And the latest great mystery to be solved in particle physics is “Why do things have mass?” Or, in other words, “Why do things exist at all?”.

For particle physicists, the overwhelmingly accepted answer to these questions is that there is this mysterious, as yet unseen particle dubbed the “Higgs Boson” that gives neutrons, protons, electrons and every other elementary particle mass, which in turn gives everything in the entire universe mass and hence what makes it possible for anything to “exist” at all. The search for this Higgs Boson is so important to particle physicists that they spent about 14 years and $10 billion dollars building and subsequently repairing the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) to smash proton beams together in search of the elusive Higgs Boson.

Unfortunately, it is highly likely; if not a near certainty, that the Higgs Boson does not exist at all or at the very least isn’t going to turn out to be what the particle physicists expect. I say this with the utmost confidence. Why do I say this and how can I be so confident? Well, you see, the problem is that particle physicists as a whole are not very bright. I realize that this may fly in the face of conventional wisdom, seeing as how particle physicists would appear to the casual observer to have “unlocked the secrets of the atom” and so on and so forth. But, if one takes a closer look at the historical evidence, one can immediately come to the conclusion that the history of particle physics is not a series of grand successes, but really a series of spectacular failures.

The abject failures of particle physicists start with its inception. In the 19th century, John Dalton, through his work on stoichiometry, concluded that each element of nature was composed of a single, unique type of particle. Dalton and his contemporaries believed these were the fundamental particles of nature and thus named them atoms, after the Greek word atomos, meaning “indivisible”. Not only was Mr. Dalton wrong, he was way, way off the mark. Subsequent experimentation proved that each element was NOT composed of a single, unique type of particle, but that all elements were composed of the same kind of particles. Notice that “s” on the end of particle? Oh yeah, near the end of the century, physicists discovered that atoms were not, in fact, the fundamental particles of nature, but conglomerates of even smaller particles and hence the term “atom” is a complete misnomer since they are, in point of fact, divisible. Don’t believe me? Just ask the Japanese, they will tell it to you straight. So, in the end, John Dalton = FAIL!

The next great particle physicist “genius” to come along was one Ernest Rutherford. This guy had his two lackeys, Hans Geiger and Ernest Marsden, fire alpha particles through a sheet of very thin gold foil. Rutherford, and the rest of his colleagues, expected all of the alpha particles to pass straight through the gold foil, thereby proving the “plum pudding model” of the oops, it’s divisible, atom. The plum pudding model of the atom, first put forth by J. J. Thomson, proposed that the atom was composed of negatively charged electrons contained within an immaterial sphere of uniform positive charge. However, what Rutherford found was that a certain, small percentage of the alpha particles did not pass through the gold foil but instead actually bounced back at angles much larger than 90 degrees. Hence, the plum pudding model of the atom was disproved as the actual physical evidence overwhelmingly pointed to the fact that atoms contained a dense, positively charged center or nucleus. Therefore, J. J. Thomson = FAIL! Ernest Rutherford = FAIL!

Not content with simply splitting the atom, particle physicists decided instead to simply bash them together and this led to a series of particle colliders being built in the 60’s followed by 50-60 years of trying to interpret the results. By way of explanation, a particle collider spins proton beams in opposite directions and then crosses the beams in order to bash protons together. The LHC is simply the biggest and baddest version of this. However, when physicists bashed subatomic particles together, it didn’t exactly turn out as planned. Instead of finding a nice, neat orderly universe of sub-subatomic particles, what they found instead was a bewildering “particle zoo” of hundreds of particles. The next half-decade finally seemed to make some sense of this, producing the “Standard Model”, which breaks the hundreds of particles down into Fermions (Quarks and Leptons) and Bosons.

The “Standard Model” is essentially a theory that explains the fundamental building blocks of nature and the fundamental forces of nature, the electromagnetic, weak and strong nuclear interactions. Unfortunately, the Standard Model cannot explain gravity, dark matter or dark energy. It fails to correctly account for neutrino oscillations and the fact that they have non-zero masses. In fact, in the Standard Model, neutrinos HAVE to be mass-less, but they aren’t. And finally, the Standard Model gives rise to the strong CP problem (why there is matter in the universe versus equal amounts of matter and antimatter) and the hierarchy problem (otherwise known as “where did all the mass go?”). The bottom line? Standard Model = FAIL! Modern particle physicists = FAIL!

So, taken as a whole, the history of particle physics is really the story of abject and utter failure in predicting, well, pretty much anything. Now, to be fair, the history of particle physics does include some relatively minor predictive successes, most notably Paul Dirac’s prediction of antimatter by way of the electron antiparticle, the positron. But, when it comes to the “big” predictions, the predictions that will explain the fundamental nature of matter, there is only failure after failure after absolute and complete failure. Therefore, if past behavior is in any way a prediction of future behavior, then the odds of the particle physicists being correct about the Higg’s boson is slim to none.

But, I can already sense the vague hint of skepticism still ingrained in the cynic (read the theoretical particle physicist that is reading this right now). I can hear it now, “Well, history isn’t necessarily a good predictor of the future.” “Well, none of this proves that particle physicists aren’t very bright, scientists expect failure.” Or even “Well, the true genius of scientists is not the predictions they make but rather the experiments they envision to prove or disprove those predictions.” So…let’s wrap this up and put the final nail in the coffin of the Higg’s boson.

Think about the “brilliance” of particle physicists. Sure, they are constantly wrong but think about how smart they are in terms of the experiments they have invented to test their hypotheses. Think about it, for the last 100 years or so, starting with Ernest Rutherford, the “genius” particle physics experiments have consisted of smashing particles into things or each other. To put this in context, this would be like a couple cavemen trying to figure out how a car operates by smashing two automobiles into one another at high speed. Think about that. Think about how likely those cavemen are to be able to figure out how a car works by analyzing broken and fused chunks of metal from the cars’ engines. The phrase “when hell freezes over” comes to mind.

Let’s face it, the odds of cavemen being able to figure out how a car works by smashing them together is effectively nonexistent. And that is exactly what today’s particle physicists are, cavemen smashing cars together. I don’t mean this solely metaphorically either, I mean this pejoratively as well, in the most pejorative manner possible. Just how smart can you be if when trying to figure out how something works the best “experiment” you can come up with is…“Heck, let’s just smash it and see what’s inside?” This is Neanderthal-level intellect. And yet this is the best that the “brilliant” minds in particle physics can come up with, the intellectual reasoning of a caveman or 3-year old trying to figure out how a toy works? Sad. Truly sad beyond belief. All hail the most “brilliant” minds in science.

Just thank your lucky stars that not all scientists have the intellectual reasoning capacity of small furry rodents like particle physicists. I can just imagine if other scientific disciplines had similarly intellectually ungifted individuals. “We need to figure out why the Earth is warming…let’s smash it into Mars and find out.” “Gee, look at this incredibly huge, fossilized bone…let’s smash it.” Morons.

And THAT boys and girls is why there is no “magical” particle that physicists will find to explain everything. Because even if they do find the Higgs Boson, it will almost undoubtedly lead to more questions than answers or not quite be what they expected to find. It’s because particle physicists aren’t very bright. In fact, the only brilliant people involved in the whole thing are the engineers that figured out how to build their $10 billion dollar caveman car smasher.

Oh, and one other small, teensy weensy detail. Particle physicists have already admitted defeat with their LHC in finding the Higgs boson. They’ve already admitted that their search will likely require the construction of a new $10 billion machine to conduct “an entirely new sort of experiment”. What is this evolutionary machine and experiment that will once again prove the brilliance of particle physicists? It is the “International Linear Collider” or ILC. With the ILC, particle physics takes a quantum leap forward. Pun intended. You see, instead of spinning protons around in circles and then bashing them together, this “ingenious” device will simply bash them directly into one another. You can’t make this stuff up folks.

Originally published November 2011

Who Wants to Live Forever?

The Threat of Longevity

Immortality for humans is just around the corner. You may not believe this, but regardless; the threat that longevity poses to personal freedoms is real. New research into fruit flies is extending the life of these organisms by 2-3 times their normal average life span and the research indicates that we may be able to allow these flies to live indefinitely, remaining mature and vigorous effectively forever.

Scientists have found that aging can be manipulated within a species through genetic manipulation, through manipulation at a cellular level of DNA strings called telomeres and through the manipulation of diet. To scientists, aging is simply a “disease” and like a disease, cures can be found that slow or even completely stop the disease.

But what implications will this have for society as a whole? To answer that question, we simply need to apply logic and reason to deduce what a world of immortals will look like and despite what you might first believe, the picture is not as rosy as it might first appear.

To really understand the intricacies of the effects this will have on society, you have to understand that when I say “immortal” what I am really talking about is a stop to the aging process. I am not talking about bringing people back from the dead or anything like that, people will still be susceptible to death long after “immortality” is available. This point is absolutely crucial to understanding the effects immortality will have on our society.

First, we must understand that the instant that human immortality is available, or at least if longevity is extended to a few hundred years, everyone in the developed world will quickly become immortal. It will be fast, as in it will happen within just a few years. Why? Simple economics.

Think about it, people today can get a 30 year home loan of $100,000 for a monthly payment of about $800/month. Now, let’s say that when the procedure for immortality is first introduced that it is expensive, as in $1,000,000. Now, if you are going to live forever, then you could take out a $1,000,000 loan over 300 years at an interest rate of say 1% and you would effectively have a house payment to contend with in order to become immortal. A pretty small price to pay! Every bank in America would give out a loan for this amount because you effectively have forever to pay it off!

As a majority of individuals within a developed nation become immortal, or a minority of individuals organized into an effective lobbying group, there will be swift social changes made to protect that immortality. The primary result of this will be an effort to eradicate other, preventable causes of death. The primary driver for these changes will come from the immortals themselves but also from the insurance companies. The reason the insurance companies will get involved is due to the loans that individuals will need to take out to secure the treatment in order to become immortal. Similar to how car loans work today, banks will require a life insurance policy that will effectively pay off the loan in the event of one’s death. Hence, it is a no-lose proposition for the banks, if you live forever, then you will continue to pay on the loan until the loan is repaid. If you die, your insurance policy will pay off the loan.

This inevitable series of cause and effect will result in the systemic elimination of things that can cause pre-mature death. Chief among these will be cars. Car accidents account for a staggering number of deaths each year, deaths that the insurance companies will want to prevent. Thus, cars will be outlawed, as will other things that can cause premature death such as smoking, alcohol, obesity, motorcycles, airplanes, guns, etc. Anything and everything that could possibly cause premature death will be outlawed or at the very least become heavily regulated.

The reason these things will be outlawed follows exactly the thinking of today’s social reformers in the institution of seat belt laws, helmet laws, child seat laws, etc. The thinking is that there should be absolutely no choice involved in whether or not to wear a seat belt or a helmet because if you do not use such a protective device, then everyone’s insurance and health care premiums go up as a result. People not wearing seat belts or helmets and the like cost the insurance companies more money and thus the insurance companies lobby to pass these kinds of laws “for the children”.

Furthermore, procreation will become heavily regulated. If everyone is living forever, then if the current, nearly non-existent procreation regulations are not amended, the world will quickly become overpopulated. Therefore, it will be inevitable that the government will need to regulate all aspects of procreation including provisions regarding how many children, what types of children and when children are born.

Thus, what you will end up with is a society in which individuals may very well live forever, but it will be a society where you cannot do anything except walk around and be safe. By becoming immortal, you will effectively agree to submit to the will and control of the banks and insurance companies. And even if the price of immortality shrinks to the point that it is cost effective to have the procedure without mortgaging one’s life, those that submit to the procedure will have a vested interest in protecting their lives, which again leads to the elimination of all preventable causes of death.

Which begs the question, “Who wants to live forever?”. In the near future, you will need to make that choice. Do you live forever in a world in which nearly all of your personal freedoms are sacrificed, or do you live for a short time in a society ruled primarily by personal freedom?

Immortality will bring with it a schism within society between those that value longevity versus those that value personal freedom. These two ideologies are fundamentally at odds with one another and will drive a rift between the two segments of society such that there will be two societies within developed nations. I believe that the schism will be so fundamental to one’s individual beliefs that it will drive the creation of new nation states. In America, there will be a nation of immortals and a nation of non-immortals, each nation state populated by those individuals that either believe in the mantra of immortality or the in the mantra of personal freedom.

I think that this fundamental argument has application to today’s society. The added safety of a society has always and will always result in reduced personal freedoms. At what point does this cause a revolt among those that value personal freedoms above the safety or cost-effectiveness of society as a whole? That point may be even nearer than human immortality, which I believe is at most 100 years away. You and I will need to make that decision within the next 25-50 years and in fact are making those same, fundamental decisions today. So…who wants to live forever?

Originally published May 2003

The Price of Gas

How Al Gore is Robbing You Blind

Al Gore is playing pocket pool with gas and oil prices. I’m not just using that metaphor solely for its shock value and gross factor…well, ok, I admit it, that is exactly why I am using that particular metaphor. Sorry, it is something about Al Gore playing pocket pool that I just find absolutely hysterical and squeamishly offensive at the same time. Probably because the poor guy is actually forced to do so; I mean, have you seen the fat bastard lately? I doubt his wife is giving him any, that’s all I’m saying.

But, it’s not just solely about shock and, well, disgusting grossness, it is also to make sure you still remember the difference between a metaphor and an analogy. Don’t remember? That’s OK, go look it up on the Internet, I’ll wait. Ho dee hum, hum, hum, hummmmmm. OK, you’re back? Great. So what I am saying is that Al Gore is manipulating, I know, eww, gross!, but I am talking about gas prices now, not his shriveled testicles tucked way up under his prodigious stomach. See, there’s the metaphor.

How you say? Well, that’s the easy part. You see, you simply put your hand in your pocket and then you have easy access to your…oh, wait, you’re asking about the “manipulation” of the gas prices. Sorry, you’re confusing me. I kind of thought the pocket pool one was rather obvious and didn’t need explaining as long as you are not an idiot or over 70 and use some other term for “pocket pool” like “23 skeedoo”. Good to know. If you are, I’ll save you the trouble of Googling “pocket pool” and finding that unfortunately named PlayStation game. Pocket pool = masturbation. Got it?

OK, so gas prices, finally. How is he manipulating, eww, still gross using that word, gas prices? Well, that one is a little more difficult to explain. Allow me to simplify the issue by introducing the concept of…eggs.

No, I’m NOT being metaphorical again, get your mind out of the gutter God damn it. We’re leaving that gross ass metaphor behind, I’m talking about actual eggs now, you know, with a yolk and cytoplasm. That’s the white of the egg for those of you that got less than a C in Biology.

Now, I realize that the traditional wisdom concerning gas prices is that the collapse of the real estate bubble and corresponding home mortgage industry left investment bankers in a bind because they lost their “sure bet” and thus they went looking for their next sure bet, ending up on oil futures which consequently resulted in the current, otherwise inexplicable stratospheric swelling of gas prices. But, as obvious and true as that explanation might be, the corollary, that the price of oil is thus “the mother of all bubbles” that will surely burst in a gooey, sticky mess…well…not so fast.

One word, eggs. No, I am not talking about that stupid, hokey idea floating around out there that if we all bought only two eggs at a time rather than by the dozen that somehow egg prices would be reduced and thus gas prices would work the same way if we all just filled up half-a-tank at a time. News flash, regardless of how many you buy at a time, if you don’t reduce demand you might as well piss into the wind. Dumb. No, what I am talking about is something entirely different.

Suppose Al Gore invented a replacement for eggs, a substance that tasted like eggs, could be used like eggs, digested like eggs and had the same nutritional properties as eggs. This new substance is more expensive than eggs but because it does not involve the exploitation of animals, Al Gore, PETA and the animal rights lobby convince enough US Senators and Congressmen to provide subsidies to Al Gore’s companies and the resulting industry around “Chemical Replacements for Edible, Ingested via Throat Substances”, or CREDITS, as they come to be known. Now, these “Egg CREDITS” slowly start to gain in popularity and soon corporations are being demonized by animal rights activists if they are not serving Egg CREDITS in their cafeterias. Suddenly, it is good corporate business and policy to start using Egg CREDITS and other types of animal friendly CREDITS. Almost overnight, nearly all businesses enact a “No Harm” policy towards animals. This culture finds its way into people’s personal choices as well and everyone is encouraged to “Go Blue”, the color of non-oxygenated blood in the veins to symbolize not spilling the blood of animals.

So, what would the effect of this be upon OPEC, the Ovum Producing and Exporting Corporations cartel in Al Gore’s fictitious egg CREDITS world that controls roughly 50-80% of all egg production and exporting? The corporations of this cartel have invested hundreds of millions or billions of dollars in massive steel structures to house millions of chickens for laying eggs and many more millions and billions in the chickens themselves and the resources required to coax eggs from their buttocks.

These corporations might take a look at the current market and realize that they have perhaps 10 years before the largest egg consuming nations achieve “egg independence”. Now, those same corporations were betting on having at least 30 years of solid profits from these massive egg farms. So, they are faced with the very real prospect of being saddled with huge metal structures that are of no value and will thus go derelict, creating a potential environmental issue that will require millions of dollars to clean up; not to mention the millions of chickens and billions of gallons of chicken crap.

As a final straw, even the smaller egg farms that operate outside of the direct control of the egg cartel and normally keep egg prices low by flooding the market with eggs every time the cartel tries to raise the prices too high also realize that their way of life and “easy” money is coming to an end and they too will be stuck with their suddenly unwise investment in egg production technology.

Faced with such a scenario, it would be insane for the corporations involved to not immediately begin raising their prices by any and all means possible. The laws of supply and demand would not necessarily apply in such a circumstance because the corporations are facing obsolescence of their business model and thus would begin attempting to raise prices artificially in order to recoup their investments and cover any environmental cleanup issues. To put this in The Dukes of Hazzard terminology, because why not, those “Dukes” had better “Get while the gettin’s good”.

So, if you want to lay blame at anyone’s doorstep for the high gas prices you are paying at the pump, it is idiotic to blame the oil and gas companies, gas stations or current administration. The real culprit here is Al Gore and the environmental movement and the near hysteria they have purposefully created regarding Global Warming. Remember, Al Gore is a multi-millionaire that flies around in his own personal jet, consumes more electricity in his multiple mansions each day than most people do in a year and profits heavily from his investment in “green” companies that sell carbon credits. He has set himself up as the prophet of his new “scientific like” religion and thus profits so heavily from this enterprise that he can afford the gas prices that are driving everyone else into the poor house and recession.

The last guy that was this successful at establishing and profiting from a new religion based upon pseudo-science was L. Ron Hubbard and at least in his case he only exploited the gullible, versus screwing over everyone, the entire country and world economy. Thanks a million Al Gore. Jackass.

Originally published May 2008

Earth to Hollywood!

You ARE a Joke

OK, I have to confess, last night I watched the “Earth to America!” special held in Las Vegas. I know, I know, but I couldn’t help myself. It’s like a bug light to a mosquito. Irresistible…even when you know it’s ultimately bad for you. zzzzZAP!!

But, thanks to the wonderful technology of digital video recorders, a.k.a. Tivo, I didn’t actually have to sit through the whole stinkin’ thing, and I DO mean P friggidity U!! Basically, I gave people 30 seconds to say something funny and then skipped through them and the commercials. And I just completely skipped right past that insufferable Leonardo DiCapprio…snore. It’s not like he has any HOPE of saying anything clever or funny…or even mildly interesting or intelligent.

All I can say is thank goodness for Steve Martin and his banjo playing with Eric Idol and Tom Hanks as backup, otherwise it would have been a complete and utter waste of 2 hours of television. But Tom, what is up with your hair? Dude. You are completing your devolution as an actor. You used to make good, classic, high-brow entertainment movies like Bachelor Party, Big and Turner and Hooch. Then, you regressed to failed Apollo missions and falling in love with volleyballs. Now, you look like you are turning into a freaky hippy activist with a bad haircut and poor shave. Pull yourself together man! Ray Romano wasn’t bad either. And Ben Stiller was OK. Cripe! When did Ben Stiller go grey? I hope it is not because he is worried about Global Warming! Mr. Stiller, save your hair color by buying some Grecian Formula and reading the rest of this article.

So, in actuality, the only truly funny part about the entire show was Steve Martin’s and Eric Idol’s inside joke on the Hollywood elite and clueless audience. Oh and maybe Wanda Sikes’ grandmother “tickle your balls” joke. And when Wanda Sike’s is part of your laugh highlight reel, there’s major trouble folks. Not sure if Tom was in on the joke, I couldn’t get past the hair. Hell, I’m not even sure that there was an inside joke, but I’m pretty certain. First, Mr. Martin and Mr. Idol are simply too intelligent to really get suckered into this whole Global Warming idiocy. Again, I would have put Mr. Hanks into this category as well, but I am questioning his intelligence now after the hair… Second, Mr. Martin has a long history of poking good-natured fun at the Hollywood establishment. Third, the general tone of the skit tended to demonstrate a complete lack of taking the topic and even the show seriously. But the kicker, or “topper”, was Eric Idol’s song. Something tells me that the “bugger all” lack of intelligent life on Earth comment was directed squarely at the show’s producers and the audience. And to top it all off, during his intro, they pretty much deservingly insulted the completely unfunny nobody Larry David who set the whole show up.

So, first things first, let’s get one thing straight. Human beings have no more influence or control over Global Warming than we have over plate tectonics or the tides or the sun rising and setting. To believe otherwise is completely irrational and unadulterated hubris. Not to mention requiring the reasoning capacity of a small, furry rodent. No big surprise then that squirreled-brained morons like Mr. DiCapprio are on board. You see, the warmness or coolness of planet Earth is not controlled by humans, it is controlled by grand processes and cycles beyond the scope of most people, especially Hollywood types, to even comprehend in any meaningful way.

Think about it, the Earth, during its 4.6 BILLION year history, has been up to 60% warmer than it is right now and has also been in the midst of ice ages. There is even reasonable scientific evidence that indicates that the Earth may have once been a giant “snowball”. All of this warming and cooling occurred without any contribution by humans BECAUSE WE DIDN’T EXIST YET YOU PRETENTIOUS, SELF-IMPORTANT, IGNORANT BASTARDS.

In fact, let’s HOPE that the Earth is warming and continues to warm at least a little because we just came out of an ice age that started over 2 million years ago and just ended about 10,000 years ago. For all you Hollywood actors who never finished high school, that’s 2 MILLION years of ice age compared to only 10,000 years of non-ice age. 10,000 years, that’s barely even a blip of a blip in geologic time. I live in Ohio (because all Americans live in Ohio) and if we go back to another ice age, my house is going to be under a couple miles of ice. I’d much rather lose the coastal areas to some slightly higher ocean levels, but that’s just me.

The basic problem is that human beings are short lived as individuals as well as a species. People only live about 75-100 years at most and the human species has only existed for about 30,000 years. Recorded history is much, much shorter than that, try about 5,000 years. Modern, scientific climate measuring is only about 30 years old. Incidentally, since modern climate record keeping has been kept, while SURFACE temperatures of increased slightly, satellite and weather balloon measurements show no increase in temperature. Even more telling, the same environmental wackos that are now bringing you global warming are the same ones that advocated “global cooling” back in the seventies and “acid rain” and “the population bomb” and an endless litany of other ignorant claims and hoaxes that have ALL turned out to be overblown or just flat out WRONG.

The Earth, solar system, galaxy and universe just do not really care about us puny ass little humans and our pathetically weak and doomed attempts to exert control and domination over the Earth. They simply do not really operate on that small of a scale. Hell, Danny Hillis’ “Clock of the Long Now”; which is designed to keep perfect time for 10,000 years and is perhaps the longest unit of time humans have thought in terms since the Mayans, is still like half-a-millionth of a second in Earth geologic time. Most people don’t think beyond next week, let alone 10,000 or 4 billion YEARS.

The things that affect the Earth’s temperature are things like plate tectonics, or, as Eric Idol pointed out, the fact that our solar system orbits the milky way’s galactic core once every 200 million years or so. Many warming and cooling cycles and their reasons are well known in the scientific world and they have nothing to do with humans. There are 11 and 206 year cycles of solar sunspots. There are also the “Milankovitch cycles” which are things like the 21,000 year cycle of the precession of the equinoxes – the Earth’s axial orientation, the 41,000 year axial tilt cycle and the 100,000 year “cycle of eccentricity”, cycle. The Earth is 4.6 BILLION years old people, the universe, over 14 BILLION. Humans have been alive .0006% of the entire HISTORY of the planet, .0002% of the entire HISTORY of the UNIVERSE. I THINK that maybe, just maybe, the Earth and the Universe MIGHT be able to take care of themselves. Just sayin’.

All of these things are well known and yet we point to a scant 30 years of collected data and claim catastrophe? Idiotic. I…di…otic!! But, is this to say that we shouldn’t care about conservation and the Earth? Absolutely not. But to couch it in terms of “global warming” disaster and catastrophe is intellectually dishonest and morally reprehensible. If these Hollywood types REALLY cared about the Earth, they would actually DO something about it. And, being the nice guy that I am, I am going to tell them how they truly CAN save the Earth and all its inhabitants from excessive energy consumption, which they believe leads to global warming. Are you ready? Here it comes.

First, stop making movies. Second, stop making unfunny, intellectually dishonest, hair-brained specials such as “Earth to America!” or academy awards shows with god awful, and I DO mean GOD AWWWFULLL opening skits and dance numbers. Think about it. Think of all the energy that is consumed in making movies. All the driving for the actors and stage hands and directors from their homes to the set and then back again. Also, there is all of the energy consumed making props and sets for things that are NEVER used again. What a complete and utter WASTE of energy!! And what about all the energy in actually SHOWING the movies, the electricity that is consumed by the movie theatres as well as all of the moviegoers driving from their homes to the movies and then back again? There is also all of the energy consumed by the popcorn poppers and the making of candy for the movie theatres, not to mention the manufacturing of DVD’s, DVD players, TV’s and home entertainment systems in addition to all of the energy consumed by these devices.

All of that energy consumption is COMPLETELY superfluous. It doesn’t actually accomplish ANYTHING and the world could go on perfectly fine WITHOUT it. Thus, more than any person driving an SUV to work or the manufacture of USEFUL products, making movies is the ULTIMATE WASTE OF ENERGY. Think about how much less energy would be consumed and how much better the world would be if instead of everyone spending their time making and consuming movies, everyone spent time doing something good for the Earth. Not to mention the fact that none of you intellectually worthless pieces of human flesh would be living in two or three million homes or driving 20 different cars or wearing $5,000 suits and dresses or throwing lavish birthday parties. Think of the energy conservation!! Even better, the rest of America wouldn’t have to be pelted by your images in the movies, MTV and in magazines and think that THEY need to own all of those things and consume all that energy just to be happy.

So, Hollywood, ultimately, I applaud you. Keep on talking about global warming and how despicable frivolous energy consumption is. Eventually, the people will come around to your way of thinking and start to eliminate all non-essential expenditures of energy. First up, canning all of your sorry, non-essential, frivolous energy consuming asses. Keep on talkin’ and keep on keep on talkin’ yourselves out of a job.

Originally published November 2005

A Cure for the Flu

The Case for Extinction

So everyone’s all scared to death over this whole “avian flu” thing. President Bush even rolled out a $7.1 b, as in BILLION, plan to combat it. Scientists estimate that it could wipe out 50% or more of the world’s human population. Ouch. Well, lucky for you, The Objective Observer is here to save the day. I can tell you how to pretty much cure this whole annoying flu thing once and for all and for much, much less than $7.1 billion. Want to know how? Listen up!

First, you have to understand that the term “avian flu” is kind of a misnomer in so far as this actually refers to a general class of flu, influenza A viruses, not a PARTICULAR, individual flu strain. You see, there are three general influenza genera, A, B and C. B and C only infect humans. Influenza A infects other mammals and birds as well as humans and is otherwise known as avian influenza. Epidemics and pandemics are far more likely to be caused by influenza A because it can undergo something called antigenic shift where two flu strains combine to form a new strain that can be problematic for our immune systems to combat. Influenza B and C only undergo antigenic drift, which is the natural mutation over time. Now, the second thing you have to understand is that wild birds are widely held to be the source of influenza A in all other mammals and humans.

So, obviously, all you have to do is wipe out all the birds on Earth and POOF! no more influenza A, no more flu epidemics, no more flu pandemics and no $7.1 billion dollars. I mean, hell if these damn birds are really the descendants of dinosaurs, then they should have gone extinct 65 million years ago right? We already thought they were all dead so now we’d just be making sure of it. Now, sure, at $.40 per shotgun shell and even with 100% accuracy, wiping out 250 billion birds would run you $100 billion but poison is WAY cheaper than shotgun shells. Besides, you could factor in the sporting aspect of it and maybe some meat sales and you could maybe even come out ahead financially.

Now, I am sure that there are some mamby pamby environmentalists out there whose eyes are just about bleeding right now. They’ve got the veins bulging out of their temples and nearly sucked their computer keyboards down their throats gasping in horror. And I am sure that even some of you reasonable people out there are having second thoughts. I mean no more fried chicken, no more Thanksgiving turkey, say it ain’t so!! Sure that would suck, but would it suck more than an avian influenza pandemic wiping out 3 billion people? Not likely.

But, what about the children you say? Meaning; of course, all of the little chicks and chicklettes. Isn’t wiping out almost 10,000 species of birds a little inhumane you say? Not at all. You see, you aren’t being rational and OBJECTIVE about the matter. You are getting all gooshy and sentimental about things. Or worse, you have bought into all this environmentalist nonsense about the “unnaturalness” of “human-caused” extinctions. Pish-posh. You see there is nothing unnatural about extinctions. 99.9% of all species that have ever existed on earth are extinct. What’s more natural than THAT?!? The only thing unnatural about extinction would be to NOT go extinct. THAT, would be unnatural.

But, you are going to say that while extinctions may be a perfectly natural part of the life cycle, humans causing extinctions is “unnatural”. That is, without a doubt, one of the most IGNORANT ideas ever conceived. No small surprise that environmentalists dreamed up that WHOPPER of an idiotic notion. How in the world they have been able to pull this one off for so long, the world may never know, but it ends today.

Think about it. Do you REALLY think that if, oh; say, a land shark were to evolve and start eating people that it would worry one whit about whether or not human beings went extinct? KNOCK! KNOCK! “Candygram.” NOOO!!! In fact, that is the way it works in “nature”. Basically, everything competes for ecological niches, eat or be eaten. If certain species become vulnerable to a particular adaptation and do not adapt quickly enough to overcome that vulnerability, guess what? That’s right, they go extinct. And NATURE does not give any quarter or exhibit one iota of regret or sentimentality. Nature is a harsh ass world. You show even the slightest weakness and BAM!! You’re history. Thanks for tryin’ out, have fun becoming a fossil.

You people need to understand, everything may LOOK nice and pleasant sitting here at the top of the food chain, but this is just intermission. Evolution and nature are still out there and they will eventually come back for another round, with a VENGEANCE! Whether you know it or not, we are in a war for survival every day of our lives. Lizards, birds, insects and all the rest haven’t just given up on their quest to be the biggest and the baddest, mammals. We have just temporarily achieved the upper hand. Hell, we humans aren’t even safe within our own Class or even our own Genus. Cripes, we just took Neanderthal out less than 30,000 years ago! And you better believe a mountain lion, given the chance, is going to eat your sorry ass, fancy jogging jumpsuit or not! All it would take would be one little stumble and BAM!! Nature would be on us faster than the cancellation of a Chevy Chase late night talk show. Oh yeah, THAT fast.

We are fools, FOOLS, I tell you for not IMMEDIATELY wiping out any and all animals that pose a significant threat to our existence, or even might POSSIBLY pose a significant threat. We need to wipe them out before they wipe us out.

Some may say that I am a cold-hearted bastard. I say, the passenger pigeon and the dodo were a good start.

Originally published November 2005