Jan 05

No site, no service

I’ve been doing research for a major personal project that Rose and I will be embarking on at some point soon, and I’ve been amazed again by how few small businesses have websites or even a Facebook page.

Now, a Facebook page is useless to me* and many others, but having no web presence at all? Why would you do that?

That’s like Fedex taking away all its trucks and planes and equipping its delivery people with horse carts and steamboats.

I know why most small businesses fail, I think. It’s because most people are idiots and ergo most small businesses are run by idiots.

*On my computer, Facebook is blocked altogether, so Facebook and anything tainted by it does not load at all.

Jan 04

Pie Right

The leader of a pirate group has been sentenced to five years in prison.

Meanwhile, the penalties for manslaughter in most states are lower.

“The California sentencing schedule for manslaughter requires the judge to sentence a defendant to 36 months in prison unless mitigating or aggravating circumstances are present. With mitigating circumstances the sentenced is reduced to 24 months and for aggravating circumstances it is increased to 48 months.”

That corporations – and in my view completely evil ones at that – have complete control of our legislative system should be beyond the doubt of any sane person.

Jan 02

I

It is a bit annoying something that you’ve been shouting from the rooftops for years (and thinking about for decades) is finally taken up by someone with “credentials,” only then is it taken seriously.

Not that I have anything against credentials. They are more valuable and useful than not, and as social signals are even more valuable (though far more counterproductive used in that way). Principally, they serve to sort out the complete crackpots at probably a bit better than the rate of chance. And that is valuable.

I don’t have the stamina nor the interest in pursuing any sort of degree, as the things I can learn from books I can learn much more quickly if I just read them myself and don’t pay $1,200 and a quarter or semester of time for something I can spend 25 hours and $0 learning.

What’s that, most people can’t do that?

Good thing I am not most people, then.

Well in the end it doesn’t bother me that much that I’ll never get credit for the ideas that I had well before the academics who will get the discovery thereof attributed to them, as I have made my mark (and will continue to do so) in the Real School of the market, where it doesn’t matter what credentials you have – all that matters is your P&L.

And at that I have a fucking PhD.

If this post sounds a tad bitter, I am really not. The ideas aren’t that revolutionary (in fact they are obvious), I just had them and took them seriously before I saw anyone else do so. No one stole them from me – like most discoveries, they were in the air. The difference is that I sniffed the air sooner, and in fact when I first started writing about these ideas contra accepted economics, my contentions were considered laughable. Now they are becoming mainstream.

Jan 01

Shoddy scholarship

I’ll be glad when this shoddy article quits being cited, about how men and women just can’t be friends.

Fucking Christ, only cloistered academic geeks can credibly produce and cite bullshit like this as they spend so little time in the real world.

Every other normal person in the world ever has had a female or male friend to which they aren’t attracted – and so what if you are attracted? Does that make the person any less of a friend somehow?

Attraction doesn’t mean action, and it doesn’t even mean the desire for action.

At least one commenter utterly destroys the article.

The SciAm summary hugely misrepresents the published data.

For instance: "The results suggest large gender differences in how men and women experience opposite-sex friendships. Men were much more attracted to their female friends than vice versa."

Um, no. On a nine point self-reported scale men and women on average rated their attraction between 3.9 and 4.9. Though men were very slightly more attracted. Similarly:

"[M]ales on the younger end of the spectrum were four times more likely than females to report romantic attraction as a benefit of opposite-sex friendships, whereas those on the older end of the spectrum were ten times more likely to do the same."

Uh, yes. Because merely 10 percent of middle-aged men and 1 percent of middle-aged women listed "the possibility of romance" as a benefit of same sex friendship, the men were technically 10 times more likely. But the real headline (which I find much more surprising) is that 90 percent of middle aged men and 99 percent of middle aged women did NOT find "possibility of romance" to be a benefit of friendship. So treat this article with some caution.

It’s amazing how results can be twisted to fit the societal narrative, even when it makes no sense at all or flatly contradicts them.

A more valid interpretation of the results would be, “Most normal men and women can be just friends, and do so all the time.”

Jan 01

Once there was a Hushpuppy

I highly recommend Beasts of the Southern Wild.

It’s a rare film that takes the perspective of a child and treats it as a serious and valid viewpoint. Children after all are not automatons and many of them are smarter and more observant than most of the adults around them (I certainly was).

And it’s an even rarer film – even now – when that child whose viewpoint is adopted is not a boy.

Quvenzhané Wallis as Hushpuppy is amazing and fierce and yet vulnerable and precocious in a realistic way in the film. She really dominates the screen much as Elle Fanning did in Super 8.

And the film itself blends elements of magical realism with harsh reality in a way I’ve not seen before.

We live in times just as mythical and myth-filled as any. I don’t know if that’s the lesson the work was trying to impart, but that’s what I took from it. Very much worth watching.

Jan 01

Goat

If I negotiated my salary at work like Obama and the Democrats negotiate for things, I’d be living under an overpass eating banana peels and discarded fast food wrappers.

It’s a general principle in negotiating that you at first ask for much more than you think you are likely to get – rather than as Obama does to make massive concessions from the beginning in the hopes of bringing your opponent to you.

This never works.

For instance, the last time I was up for salary review I did something completely absurd – I demanded a 40 percent salary increase.

I am pretty good at my job and am a bit underpaid, so I can get away with things like that. Now I knew I’d not get 40 percent. But I knew if I didn’t fight for it, I’d get nothing — which is exactly what a lot of people did get.

In fact because my company did not have a great year last year mostly due to acquisition expenses being much larger than expected, most people did not get a raise above inflation nor a large bonus.

However because of my negotiating (and being in a position to do so) I got a raise above 9 percent and my bonus was larger than the year prior. In addition, I got a promotion I didn’t even ask for I think mostly due to my boldness.

That’s how you fucking begin negotiating.

What the hell Obama and team are doing I have no idea, but I’d use words like “sniveling” and “pusillanimous” and “spineless” rather than anything to do with how one should negotiate.

Dec 31

Obama voters

Here’s what you voted for when you voted for Obama. I know, Romney was no better.

But this is the sentence that really stood out to me the most.

Everywhere the social gains of the twentieth century are either being eroded, or destroyed.

Yes. I’ve long suspected that in the long sweep of human history, the belle epoque might be now, or might have been some time in the recent past. It’s unlikely to be in the future unless we tame fusion (I’d say 20% chance of that) or something similar.

After Rome fell, it took Western society nearly a thousand years to recover. This time, we won’t have the convenient crutch of fossil fuels to depend on.