Monthly Archives: August 2015

Capitalism – the necessary evil

Capitalism works because humans are naturally greedy. Yes Gekko nailed it. But it only works — on its own — to a degree. Without intelligent rules constraining capitalistic practices capitalists all gravitate toward that ultimate market force, the monopoly. Without boundaries capitalistic entities seek to control all that they can; their resources, their costs and their consumers, for their ultimate goal of maximum capital.

The problem today is that regulations which govern markets are not intelligent enough. If they were we wouldn’t need the DOJ to continuously investigate companies like Microsoft. While Gates was “doing the rest of us an immense service” he was also making boat loads of money and scheming how to make more. His greed, as does all pure capitalists’ greed, lead him to subsume and control all that he could. Better rules would help level the playing field between the 1s and the 99s, between the rentiers and the renters, between the capitalists and the workers.

Socialism does suffer from being a coercion of sorts. Although altruism, some believe, allowed humans to group, team-up, support and help themselves and each other during evolution’s long march, its influence cannot compete with greed. Greed wins every time. So to get people to share, openly and consistently, against their natural tendency toward avarice, people must be forced to contribute in a socialistic society. Which, as we know, in its pure form, tends to break down (primarily due to this conflict between greed and enforced altruism).

The rules are inadequate. Better rules are required. Our current rule set, the U.S. Constitution, may need some adjustments (corporations are not people, congressional term limits, campaign contribution reform). Without more intelligent constraints capitalism will continue to be looked at as a necessary evil, but an evil none-the-less.

The problem with the Metric system…

“That island is reported to have received about 250 millimetres of rain from the event.”

250 millimeters? How much is that? Well, what is a millimeter? Hmm, about a fingernail thickness.

Let’s see 250 fingernail thicknesses…. Um, well 10 fingernail thicknesses, FTs for short, are a centimeter so we have 25 centimeters then. But what’s a centimeter? Um, about thickness of your pinky finger. OK, so we have 25 pinky finger thicknesses PTs for short. But let’s see 25 PTs… hmm, a PT is still not so helpful. But about 5 PTs are as think as a good hardback novel. So we have 5 novel thicknesses. OK, now we’re getting somewhere. 5 thick novels stacked are about 10 inches. An inch being about the length of a knuckle. 12 of them being about the length of your foot. Ooh that’s right! Feet!

“The recipe calls for 250 milliliters of milk.”

Hmm, well, a milliliter is a cubic centimeter of water, so that’s about half a teaspoon, and since I drink tea I figure that’s about 125 teaspoons, 125 good sips of tea, about a cup of tea.

You see, the metric system has no human basis for context. Millimeter? Milliliter? What are they? How can you quickly judge distance or volume with such numbers?

So the question is, do Europeans who use the metric system, intrinsically know what distance 250 millimeters is? What 250 milliliters are? To me they’re just abstract tiny increments that have no real world contextual basis and so must be converted into something that has *meaning* to humans.

Google Glass — rebooting that soiled brand? Bad idea

First thing google needs to do for Glass is CHANGE THE NAME. “Google Vision” maybe. Or “Google Sight” Google Glass has an ugly stigma against it now and those wearing it will never get away from being called glassholes. How about “Google View”!!!

Restaurants — no workers to be found.

“Build a wall across the southern border!” — Yeah, right. Don’t they realize that immigrants are the heart and soul of America? We are a country of immigrants. We revel in and require immigrants to drive not just the lower wage jobs but the entrepreneurial spirit they bring — abandon everything at home and strike out for the new world and the land of opportunity. That spirit… That frame of mind is the key to what made America great. Now we’re just a sad case of protectionism.

The food business suffers from the concept that food is cheap. It “seems” to be, commodity prices are at near relational lows. Chicken is cheaper than eggs? What? There is a huge dairy glut driving prices down all over New Zealand / Australia. Grains are all way way down. Sure beef suffered from the Texas drought and pork from the asian sicknesses that crop up. But overall, food really is cheap. And consumers believe that meals served in restaurants should be cheap too. A working wage for a skilled chef or sou chef should be at least $25/hr. It takes me at least an hour to prepare a quality meal, and my time is worth at least twice that.

A crisis is looming and this is just a sign of the times…

On suicide or humanity’s self professed reason for existence

Suicide is just the obvious conclusion of the rational mind regarding the whole of time and matter. Death now or later, it matters not.

Titus Lucretius an ancient Roman era philosopher was in tune with such understandings. The Universe will be no different before or after your birth or death. Thinking that an extra 20 or 80 years of life of a human makes a difference in the Universe is the height of hubris.

Everyone you know, everyone you have ever known, everyone anyone will ever know will die. The planet will die. The sun will die and in a trillion trillion years, the universe itself will die. Suicide a “tragedy”? Nonsense. Humans think their lives are some sort of special gift the universe bestows upon itself. Upon deep and careful examination of ones presence in the cosmos one realizes that there is no “reason” for existence therefore there is no reason to remain alive. DNA just makes us frightened of the end that’s all. DNA does NOT want to die. Are you a slave to your DNA? Or its master?

~~~~~~ On further reflection ~~~~~

Humans are THE tragic species. The matter and energy that makes up every particle of the universe, when combined in lumps and clumps, 99.999999% of the time, results in just matter, clumped. Then, that 1/millionth of a percent of the time, matter somehow combines such that it creates life. But what is life? The same clump of matter and energy there is dead. But that same clump of matter over here is — alive! That’s a strange, strange phenomena. Don’t you agree?

But the next stage is stranger still. One out of a trillion times of those original 1 one millionth clumping events results in — consciousness. If life weren’t hard enough to define and understand, consciousness is many times harder still. And you see, that one thought, that one strangeness of realization that conscious conditions like depression, loneliness, joy, and love exist… What is that? Where does something like love fit in the scheme of matter and energy? It doesn’t really. It’s something above the universe’s existence. Is that what humanity’s purpose is? To transcend the mundane chemical and physical aspects of matter and energy, to reach beyond what the universe presents as its only offering? If being human, being conscious is that rare and unique spark that extends beyond what the universe was slated to remain as, maybe that spark is something to be marveled at. To be cherished. To be protected.