Monday, October 17, 2011

I wear the chains I forged in life, mon!

Ha ha ha ha ha! We just came up with that in the office here. Maybe a little obscure, but it pleases me…

Secure yourself to heaven.
Hold on tight, the night has come.
Fasten up your earthly burdens,
You have just begun.
Indigo Girls

That pleases me also, because I have no idea what it means, but it sounds neat.

I like to be able to think of the world as a deep and complex place, with lots of secrets and interesting things I haven’t seen yet, where the lit-up parts that I understand and inhabit are a nice small-and-secure corner from which one could venture out.

Songs sung in unknown tongues…

Be kind to me or treat me mean
I’ll make the most of it
I’m an extraordinary machine

Heard that on the radio yesterday (yesterday?), and liked it. Seems to be an original Fiona Apple; my main mental impression of Fiona Apple is that she is too thin. Maybe I should listen to some of her music! I wonder who else has covered this ditty.

What Do They Want?

Here is a This Modern World on the subject. (Apologies for any Daily Kos popovers or anything.)

My sympathies are to a large degree with the Occupy Wall Street (and Things In General) protestors (protesters?). As are even some folks at Fox, which gives me a warm feeling. I think.

So what is economic justice, in this context? I can think of a few examples that one might work for. I’m not sure whether or not I favor them all / each of them in any particular sense.

  • Tax income from capital gains just like any other income. For: why favor rich people (who get lots of capital gains income), after all? Con: if we don’t favor rich people, they might take their ball and go home.
  • Let the Bush tax cuts expire like they were written to. Gets rid of most of the projected federal deficit with one blow.
  • Regulate the shadow banking system about like we regulate the normal banking system. ’cause now we know that otherwise they go crazy.
  • Bring back Glass-Steagall since on the whole it appears to have been a good idea after all.
  • Announce that the U. S. Government will no longer be bailing out failed financial institutions beyond what’s in the FDIC and so on. “Moral hazard” ain’t just a theory anymore, eh?
  • Stop lopsidedly favoring investment over savings in Federal economic policies. Savers are people, too.
  • Regulate corporations. I know, kind of general. But as the very interesting The Conservative Nanny State points out (free pdf available), being able to create this fictional construct to shield yourself from liabilities is a huge benefit; government has a perfect right to require a certain amount of good behavior in exchange.
  • Aggressively prosecute and convict (and get some of the billions back from) the people who ruined the world economy to enrich themselves. Seems like a no-brainer, but apparently not everyone is on board, even with prosecuting the most blatant and obvious parts of it, like fraudulent mortgage foreclosures.
  • Remove those administration officials with the most obvious conflicts of interest. The argument that only these people have the skills to clean up the mess is unconvincing; the only skills we know they have are to make the mess in the first place, and to enrich themselves and their friends and firms. Get rid of ’em.

Seems like a nice start. Hello, White House and Congress and all? You there?

Let’s see, what else we got?

Two postings on how the “SCADA” systems that control things like air traffic and the electrical grid are really not all that mega-secure after all, and in fact are probably not any more secure than one might expect. Which is a little worrying.

High-Performance Computing at the National Security Agency, not a book title one would necessarily have expected to find on the open Web. :)

The Best Thread in the History of the Internet; and I think they have a plausible case to make for the title.

Fleepgrid, a fun example of someone’s personal desktop virtual world that they’ve made available to everyone, just because why not?

I’ve been playing Glitch, which is kind of fun in a silly and amusing and relaxing way. I think I have like three invitations; tell me if you want one! I’m Orbst.

(Glitch has gotten some very positive press lately, which is notable. I have no idea how long I’ll keep playing in it; I think (sort of like WoW and utterly unlike Second Life) it will have alot to do with what the developers do to move the story that we’re all living in along in interesting ways.)

And I’ve been playing lots of Second Life, including a real clothing-acquiring spree in the last few days for some reason. (Evidence here and here and here and so on.) Perhaps decompressing after releasing my second major Serendipitous Exploration product in SL, which was great fun. (Sales are light so far, but I’m sure it will bring me worldwide fame and wealth soon!)

Otherwise, things are good in general. Missing Dad (and Mom for that matter) in wistful but nontraumatic ways, hoping that they are doing interesting things in whatever one does after one is done doing this. Loving the coming of Autumn, vaguely regretting that I can’t smell it (but not enough to go back to ENTs and talk about nose operations and stuff). Wondering about how one chooses an evaluation function (the answer being that ultimately one doesn’t, more or less inevitably, but then what?).

And writing in my weblog! Woot! :)

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3 Responses to “Monday, October 17, 2011”

  1. “Remove those administration officials with the most obvious conflicts of interest. The argument that only these people have the skills to clean up the mess is unconvincing; the only skills we know they have are to make the mess in the first place, and to enrich themselves and their friends and firms. Get rid of ’em.”

    Defining conflict of interest isn’t always simple or obvious, is it? Which is to say, it’s pretty hard to have a disinterested person when it comes to important things. Sort of. But I’d love to see this applied to Supreme Court justices, too.

    I like all these idea.

    • Yeah, conflict of interest can be hard to judge. I think there are a number of highly-placed cases in the current administration that wouldn’t be hard to judge, though; like former heads of huge firms making decisions with multi-billion-dollar impacts on those firms. Some nice easy cases.

      Supremes: Yeah! Thomas not recusing himself due to his wife’s connections in particular seems pretty disgusting. It would be great if we could just trust them to make their own decisions on these things (as we have until now), but apparently we can’t. Grrrowl!

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