Category Archives: Society

Writer’s Log: 1884 PBBFH

This is a bit I wrote at the end of a vicious emotional extraction, e.g. breakup, way back in my mid-twenties.

PBBFH = Psychotic Blond Bitch From Hell

~~~

Twilight finds me dyin’
from the daggers thrown by you.
Insinuation, lies, deceit
flowin’ blood, I’ve paid my dues.

I see a tear fall from a dark eye
shattering, it strikes the stone.
Your hands reach out to touch me
but grab the knife and twist it home.

The pain has spread, but all pain fades
memories of you are just a shade
of a need I licked, a fix I’ve kicked;
my thoughts of life no longer stick
on your love of jealous jade.

I’ve pulled the knife, healed my wounds
I smile and tilt my chin.
I check the blade, the one you picked
a narrow minded tongue of tin.

A dagger dull to a heart like mine.
I trace the scar and sure enough I find,
that I was only nicked.


Reading in one’s own accent

Here’s a strange thought: do we read in our own accents?

If you’re from Boston, or Atlanta, or Winnipeg, or Edinburgh do you mentally verbalize — as you read — in your own accent? That is, does your own mind’s voice speak to itself in the particular accent of your locality?

Got you thinking, right?

Of course, we can (probably) never know the answer. And the question is a bit of a tautology or more so, an impossible question. What happens in our Vegas mind, stays in our Vegas mind.

But to examine the question anyway: when we hear our own voice in a recording we do not notice our own accent. Actors no doubt can detect intentional accents of their own making. But average humans? Everyone else has an accent — not us.

So, I suspect we don’t read to ourselves in our native accent, or none that we can identify. But, perhaps, if we could tap into the biological wires that connect our reading mind  / speaking mind to our listening mind I bet we would recognize individual accents. It’s rather intriguing to think that someone from Mumbai is reading to themselves in a Mumbai accent.

It’s concepts like this that, from time to time, drop into my brain and make me wonder.

 


China to invade Russia

There was a recent map published which showed population as area rather than area as area. What struck me was the juxtaposition of China and Russia.

Russia has 16.3 million square kilometers of land. China 9.3 million.
Russia as 144 million people. China has 1,415 million people.
Russia shares a border with China that is 4,200 kilometers long.

When China needs to expand guess which direction they’re heading?

We wonder about Russia’s vast military build up, maybe we shouldn’t wonder at all. Russia’s might to fight the US or NATO or the EU? Naw, they have a much bigger problem south of the border.

RussiaVsChina

With global warming turning the Siberian wasteland into potentially viable farmland. That and access to the Arctic Ocean might entice a Chinese takeover of Eastern Russia. All them resources just begging to be turned into high tariff products bound for the US and elsewhere.


You know? Yeah, I know already

Have you noticed the growing trend of people who use the verbal tick, “you know?”

“You know, I was a high functioning expansive vocabulary guy before I got caught up in this insidious affectation, you know?”

Hooboy, what an irritant that is. I find myself counting “you know”s now — ignoring whatever the person is saying, and just clicking my internal counter, you know (click).

How do these things get started? And more importantly, how do we stop them? I don’t feel comfortable mentioning to someone, after their tenth “you know” that, fuck, would you listen to yourself? I don’t know what you were talking about but I counted fifteen “you know”s just now. In like, two minutes of talking.

I’ve tried to respond, at times, with “yeah, I know.” But then once they catch on, they get miffed. Or, more often, they don’t catch on and I get exhausted trying to keep up.

Is it insecurity, you know? Like they don’t trust their own thoughts and words, you know? Like they’re seeking constant confirmation of their notions, you know?

I won’t win. These people won’t change because they realize how stupid they sound using such a repetitive pointless phrase. Hell, they don’t know they’re doing it. And even when they do realize, the awareness gets lost within seconds, you know?

Yeah, I know already.


Burn one with Elon

Ran across this:

https://www.space.com/41749-elon-musk-living-in-simulation-rogan-podcast.html

And had to chuckle. Elon Musk describes cannabis as “coffee in reverse,” which I thought insightful. I haven’t watched the 2.5 hour long video, but who would blame me? Sheesh, even with the 2x speed increase (I watch almost all youtube videos at at least 1.5x), this is too much. Ten, maybe twenty minutes to waste (spend) on entertainment like this. Hours? Hell no.

Anyway, Musk pontificates the notion that 1) we’re in a sim or 2) civilization will die. And I get his logic and it makes perfect sense. However, there is a third option 3) we are the first species to have gotten this far. We will be the ones to create the sims. [Sure there may be a 3.a) VERY few species get as far as we have.]

Would be a gas to sit around chatting, sipping whiskey and smokin’ a doobie with Elon.


Anti-trust: Bust ’em up, or?

Clearly Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple and a few others are too big, too market expansive, too monopolistic. Apple less so, but the argument would still hold for them.

Those first three are market behemoths with the power and capital to quash any competition — primarily through acquisition. Don’t like that company competing with your searches, online shopping or online ad market? Buy them up.

That’s how monopolies become monopolies. Price fixing (like Apple and Uber) or price gouging, (like Amazon and Microsoft) which drives out competition (or shrinks the competition down so that they become easy acquisition targets), are all tactics to build monopolies.

The Big Three will get disassembled here in the next few years, no doubt about it. The DOJ, once the IBI* in Chief is out of the picture, will get back on track working for the U.S. Citizens.

But what about eliminating the problem created by such companies in the first place?

The below linked Senate Bill tries to do just that. But I wonder if there’s a simple rule that could be put in place that would kill the M&A practice like the evil corporate consolidation game that it is.

What if we use the market capitalization of any company as a filter to determine which companies can buy other companies?

Surely a $Trillion dollar company like Apple has so much cash they could buy nearly any other company they coveted. Apple Buys Uber and then becomes a massive captive distributed transportation monster. Obviously, we’d want to stop that.

So, at what size does a company become too big to allow it to swallow up competition (or expand sideways like Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods)?

Here’s a simple concept to limit monopolies:
A company that sits at the 90th percentile or higher of market capitalization as ranked on the S&P500 — is banned from ANY and ALL acquisitions.

Right now that would take the top 50 companies out of the possibility of buying other companies. Right now that’s a market cap of about $100B. As this is a percentage, it wouldn’t matter how big or small the actual market cap would be. A simple rule that would severely limit monopoly creation (It might be that the 80th percentile would be better, but you get the point.)

Here’s that senate bill:
https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/1812/text?r=22

And here’s the list of FINDINGS that were listed in that bill:

(1) competitive markets are critical to ensuring opportunity for all people in the United States;

(2) when companies compete, businesses offer the highest quality and choice of goods for the lowest possible prices to consumers and other businesses;

(3) competition fosters small business growth, reduces economic inequality, and spurs innovation;

(4) concentration that leads to market power and anticompetitive conduct makes it more difficult for people in the United States to start their own businesses, depresses wages, and increases economic inequality;

(5) undue market concentration also contributes to the consolidation of political power, undermining the health of democracy in the United States;

(6) the anticompetitive effects of market power created by concentration include higher prices, lower quality, significantly less choice, reduced innovation, foreclosure of competitors, increased entry barriers, and monopsony power;

(7) monopsony power— (monopsony means only a single BUYER is available)

(A) allows a firm to force suppliers of goods or services to cut their prices to unreasonably low levels, resulting in reduced business opportunities for suppliers and reduced availability and quality of products and services for consumers; and

(B) can result in workers being forced to accept unreasonably low wages;

(8) horizontal consolidation, vertical consolidation, and conglomerate mergers all have potential to cause anticompetitive harm;

(9) unprecedented consolidation is reducing competition and threatens to place the American dream further out of reach for many consumers in the United States;

(10) since 2008, firms in the United States have engaged in over $10,000,000,000,000 in mergers and acquisitions;

(11) between 2010 and 2015, there was a 50-percent increase in the number of mergers and acquisitions reviewed by the Federal Trade Commission and the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice;

* Incoherent Bloviating Imbecile

 


MTBF: Life

* Fermi Paradox topic alert

MTBF is a manufacturing term meaning Mean Time Between Failure. On average, what is the amount of time a product operates without failure.

In our analysis of the paucity of life in the universe, this concept — as applied to life — is less frequently addressed. But it’s critical to understanding why humanity is “probably” alone in the universe.

If you were an abiogenesis researcher trying to create life in the lab and one day you astound yourself and world by creating replicating, mutating life in a petri dish. You run out of the lab, shouting to your peers and head to the bar to celebrate. Meanwhile, Billy-the-janitor, runs across your ugly-smear of creation you left on the counter and tosses it in the trash headed to the incinerator. Poof. MTBF of your abiogenetically created life? About 24 hours.

As we investigate the probabilities of life in the universe, we must not only imagine the conditions that we believe are required for life to spawn spontaneously in the strange seas or tide pools of exotic planets, but we must include the MTBF of that life. If a comet smacks such a life-foundational planet every few months, wiping out Darwin’s crucible — over and over — that must be a part of our calculations.

If life gets started but the periods of prosperity are so short lived, despite the initial conditions that engendered such life, it doesn’t matter that such a place is ‘perfect’ to harbor life. A short MTBF will exclude it from our tally.

And it’s not just microbial life that we’re considering. MTBF of a society killing asteroid: 50 million years? MTBF of a super volcanoes: every 100,000 years? And my favorite the MTBF of a technologically advanced society, reliant on electricity coursing through wires, due to coronal mass ejection (CME): About 200 years.

There are dozens of other types of life erasers, each with its MTBF. Pockets of life must not only navigate such continuous disasters, but it must grow large enough so that as these calamities occur, the likelihood that any one catastrophe kills the entire genome of the planet (or the species) is reduced.

We look for the exo-conditions that we think are favorable to life. But we must remember to include the windows of opportunity life has, interstitially inserted between extinction events. What is humanity’s real MTBF?