Your mind, with a full belly

The Older Mind May Just Be a Fuller Mind
http://newoldage.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/01/27/the-older-mind-may-just-be-a-fuller-mind

A very interesting take on ‘cognitive decline’ and how it might be a measurement artifact. I sort of discuss it in a post on why thinking takes longer as you get older, it is interesting to see my opinion might have some science behind it.

Of course, as the author says, it might be old people grasping at straws to try to keep even with you young punks. However, keep in mind you young people: old age and treachery will always overcome youth and skill!

The United States: a government of fear, by fear, and for fear

Fifty States of Fear
http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/01/19/fifty-states-of-fear/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0

A very interesting article that sort of consolidates a lot of my own arguments. A bit long for the average web article, but I recommend it to my reader(s). The author alludes to the us of fear by monied interests, which dovetails nicely with my continued rants against the oligarchy. Divide and conquer: the strategy of the elite (can’t call it a conspiracy when they do it right out in the open) is to keep us in fear and in anger against each other. That way we can’t organize to cooperate against them. They have to be terrified of that organization; Russia, France and China are large reminders of what happens when the peasants organize (you can be sure ‘they’ think of ‘us’ (1% vs 99%) that way) so they will work non-stop to keep us in fear. Fear of abortion (pro/anti, it doesn’t matter), guns, ‘terrorists’ (e.g.), lately the poor, etc. Why not global warming? Well that would put them in a position to have to spend money, though you can be 100% certain once one of them thinks of a way to make money off of the fear of global warming the fear level will be ramped up to max.

Not that it matters, humans in general, and seemingly Americans in particular, are so easy to lead, to trigger fear, to trigger self-loathing (where ‘self’ is membership in the 99%), even if I had an audience beyond my 1 or 2 readers (even my wife doesn’t read my blog, but then again, she hears it all orally) I am quite sure nothing fundamental will change. I guess I have the same elite mentality: humans are sheep (sheeple!) that have to be managed and fear is the easiest way to do so. Since collectively we won’t take any time to analyze why we are being led around by the nose, I guess collectively we will continue to be led thus.

Statistical discrimination

A Separated Economist Gets Discriminated Against — Online
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/businessdesk/2014/01/a-separated-economist-gets-dis.html

An interesting concept I hadn’t given much thought to, so worth it to me in that element alone. I also think it will appeal to my reader(s), so wanted to bring it to their attention.

I guess I statistically discriminate against humans. I feel the default state of humans as idiotic, lowest-energy state seeking blobs of flesh that, none-the-less are quite dangerous if provoked sufficiently. Sort of like a porcupine, humans are best to just leave alone, but if you learn a few tricks you can get an easy and tastee meal out of one (thinking of con men, here). Occasionally I am pleasantly surprised by non-idiot humans who invest in a bit of effort to lift themselves out of their lowest energy state, but I generally find my preconceived prejudices and biases confirmed, so rarely ignore any sign of a trend.

Maybe humans aren’t so bad as a species and I have just put on blinders to anything good from the maggoty lowlife scumbags. I don’t see that, though; it is just a theoretical possibility ;-).

More idiot rich statements

Investor compares U.S. wealth debate to Nazi Germany
http://money.cnn.com/2014/01/26/investing/tom-perkins-nazi-kristallnacht/index.html?hpt=hp_t3

Right, the Jews are _exactly_ like the rich elite in the US: they have no power to influence events, no control over media, police or government, so they are in imminent danger of being swept up into cattle cars and sent to death camps. I have mentioned the idiot rich before (I have also explained why they actively work against expanding the economy), so this is just another case of a rich asshole with clearly way more money than sense (disclaimer: I hope to achieve that state) spouting off and winding up on the news because he is a rich asshole.

I was just discussing with my wife last night on our regular 2 hour trip home from our place in the country how Russia and China were both ‘communized’ because the idiot rich elite completely lost touch with the common man and the common man decided to get rid of the idiots. Somehow I doubt it will get to that point here in the good old USofA any time soon, but if the idiot rich don’t get a damn clue soon I see us getting there in a couple of decades.

Authorities getting desperate

Russian man faces weapon of mass destruction charges in Pennsylvania
http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/26/justice/pennsylvania-teen-bomb-arrest/index.html?hpt=hp_t3

This is the best they can do? Haven’t heard from the FBI in a while, with their manufactured terrorists, I guess we were due something that would make some good press. This dude sounds like a bit of a knuckle head (I know a lot and have been one from time to time), but a ridiculous far cry from someone producing a WMD with any intent of mass murder.

It reminds me of when a friend got busted for carrying ‘explosives’ when he had train torpedoes in his pocket. Then they added ‘aiding and abetting a minor’ because one of his friends with him was under 18. Of course, this was 30+ years ago, but he didn’t wind up on the front page or on the evening news like this guy did (imagine what would have happened if he were Muslim!).

However, we want the media to assure the credulous sheeple that all our loss of privacy is worth something!

Before and after

Found this not so amazing-to-me article:

Australian Personal Trainer Debunks Those Infuriating ‘Before And After’ Weight Loss Pictures
http://www.businessinsider.com/before-and-after-weight-loss-exposed-2013-8

and this is her product:

Before and After1

What a huge difference wearing the correct sized clothes, lighting and posing make, eh? What a transformation! That article links to this second one:

Seduced by the Illusion: The Truth About Transformation Photos
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/andrew-dixon/weight-loss-secrets_b_3643898.html?ncid=wsc-dl-cards-readmore%3Dedlinkusaolp00000009

With these ‘amazing’ transformations:

Amazing 2
Amazing 3

I have tried, without much success, to convince my wife that any pictures of her that aren’t flattering are due to my inexperience as a photographer, not any inherent flaws in my subject (you can see a few pictures from before we got married here; in my opinion she is hotter now than she was back then, but she won’t let me document that). In the past I studied glamor photography quite intently, I still remember a lot of the ‘tricks’ to getting the best out of a model and I see many of those ‘tricks’ when I see a lot of these before and after pics, so it is nice to see a few people document the power of posing and lighting.

It is so easy to manipulate images _before_ Photoshop I think most people totally fail to appreciate the skills of a good photographer. Maybe these articles (and my tiny effort to promulgate them) will have some impact.

Jerk CEOs

Why So Many Tech Founders Who Are Jerks Become Insanely Rich And Successful
http://www.businessinsider.com/jerk-tech-founders-often-become-kajillionaires-2014-1

As I read this article I started thinking about my past. I used to be a total asshole (as opposed to the partial asshole I am now, though since my wife only sees the ‘after’ she really doesn’t appreciate the transformation). Had I achieved the success I was aiming for (millionaire by 25, billionaire by 30, my corporate offices in orbit by 40; you can see I am a wee bit behind the times) there is no question in my mind I would be exactly like the dick CEOs we read so much about (I suspect we don’t read much about the non-dick CEOs because, being collaborative, they don’t seek out the limelight). It took homeless destitution to humble me (well, as humble as I get), a fairly life altering experience that was relatively painless only because I had a couple of good friends that took care of me. Kinda like an alcoholic is always recovering, I am a recovering asshole and backslide from time to time (which causes my wife to grit her teeth quite a bit). However, if (when?) I achieve success I think I can keep a lid on my asshole-ness and not be a jerk CEO.

Poor memory makes room for creativity?

Memory is the Enemy of Creativity
http://dilbert.com/blog/entry/memory_is_the_enemy_of_creativity/

Scott’s blog entry sort of speaks to me. I have often thought that if I had been born with a better memory for details I would be a lot less creative. Because I have such a crappy memory I wind up somewhat randomly rearranging what I ‘know’ from time to time and occasionally that results in some idea I think is novel (most of the time it isn’t), I do some research and sometimes (rarely, but probably once every year or two) my idea appears to be novel, useful and practical (an example: my DNA sequencing chip idea). Of course, taking concept and turning it into reality is generally a long labor intensive (and usually capital intensive!) process that requires dealing with emotional ups and downs, something I have yet to achieve (except for our house construction, though really that didn’t require any ‘forgetfulness’, though I believe starting on our current greenhouse/pool project did require us to forget a lot about how much we often hated the process). I believe (clearly biased, though) that perfect recall allows you to perfectly recall all the reasons why something won’t work, so you never attempt (or even consider) doing something that has been judged impossible. Since anything deemed ‘impossible’ should really be labeled as ‘no path forward yet proven’, really in my mind there is no such thing as ‘impossible’. ‘Impractical’ has certainly reared its ugly head many, many times, though. Often what is ‘impossible’ just needs reinterpretation on what is actually being sought. Something I have been thinking about lately is directly related to the speed-of-light ‘barrier’. For our fleeting 75 year life span exploring the galaxy requires faster-than-light (FTL) travel. However, if suddenly your lifespan becomes a million years, poking along at the reasonably easily attainable 1% of the speed of light (about 7.7 million miles an hour) nearly the entire galaxy becomes accessible. You get to spend a long, long time in between stars, but we are learning more and more that there is some interesting stuff out in between (that is incredibly difficult to observe so deep in the sun’s influence). So, perhaps solving one ‘impossible’ problem (FTL) could be done via an entirely different approach (longevity). Of course, my crappy memory might be making this ‘solution’ more feasible than it is in reality, but that is the nature of my brain. Like Scott points out in his blog, it isn’t something I can turn off, it just happens. It is how I relax; indeed, I am more ‘creative’ when I relax.

On the other, other hand, because I have such a poor memory for details (I often must write something down for even as little as a minute because I will forget and have to recheck it; very tedious!) I would really love to have some capacity for perfect recall so I could store some stuff (like phone number! My wife can attest how annoying it is to have someone who can’t remember a phone number long enough to dial it!), but I don’t want to lose my ability to reshuffle what I ‘know’, so it needs to be something I can control. When we finally get to having direct brain connections to computers I will be one of the first in line!

The amazing cluelessness of people

Facebook faces suit over private messages
http://money.cnn.com/2014/01/03/technology/facebook-privacy-lawsuit/

It is amazing to me that people insist ‘free’ mean without cost. No one anywhere does anything for free. Even those who donate ‘out of the goodness of their heart’ are doing so because it give them the warm and fuzzies. If they got nothing out of the effort they would direct their effort elsewhere. That isn’t just human nature, that is life, the universe and everything: just like water flows to its lowest point. So we have people who use these amazing ‘free’ systems (Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) without a second’s thought, even though if they take the time they can easily read that their information is being used to generate revenue (sometimes very substantial revenue!), not to mention huge stock valuations, gigantic bonuses, etc. Free to use doesn’t mean free of cost. The cost is the ‘invasion’ (how can it be an ‘invasion’ when we sought it out?) of privacy. It is certainly possible to communicate securely across networks, but only if the endpoints are controlled. When you add in a middle man who gets to look at the unencrypted data (Google, Facebook, etc.) then you should _expect_ the middle man to examine each message as it travels through their network. If the traversal is ‘free’ you should _expect_ the middle man to somehow monetize the traversal, if for no other reason than to pay for the resources used.

Sort of like asking the lion why eats the gazelle: its purpose is to eat gazelles, what else _should_ it be doing?