Friday, February 27, 2009

The relationship of my two loves: Food and Linux

I like being able to see how things work. Windows is much more "the magic box that does computy stuff", where as in linux, even if you don't understand it all, it is there for you to see. Immersion is great for learning, and Linux organizes things in a good way to learn anything and everything you want. Windows trains you to click the mouse when a window pops up.

BASH, as others mentioned, is a wonderfully powerful language that has completely changed the way I work with my computer since I made a complete switch years ago now.

But personally, I love and live Gnu/Linux for cultural reasons. Sure, it is more secure, faster for near all tasks, but would I switch from a community of people that believe that the purpose of information is for it to be shared to paying someone that believes I should be in jail if I try to understand how things work? Hmm... no, doesn't really appeal.

I guess I think of Windows as a restaurant with really good food, but really rude service, and while you are reasonably satisfied with your experience, you can't help but notice the health department makes an uncomfortably large number of visits. But if you are careful, and have a lot of money, some of the best chefs in town offer their dishes here exclusively.

Linux is more like a farmers market filled with chefs whose greatest joy in life is for you to share their food and ideas. There is no limit, and everyone welcome. You can have all the food you want for free, and there seems to be this kind of rule that if you bring food, you are supposed to tell people what you put into it. If you use other peoples ingredients or change someone else's dish, then you must tell people what you put in it, and where you got the recipe from.

So people ask where to eat. Well, I think we are all really used to and understand the restaurant model, and paying ala cart. We even got special toilet paper every time we get food poisoning. On the other hand, there is an orgy out in the wilderness where they hope you know how to cook so you can share and play, but even if you don't know how to cook, or even know what a frying pan is, your still welcome, just be mindful the conversation may just be a little different then what you are used to.

So know what? I don't really care if that other place got the latest iron chef. Its expensive, and he usually never shows up anyway. They keep changing everything around every time they move, and make you keep buying things you already paid for. Not to mention there is a door charge before you even get any food, but that is usually part of the package deal anyway.

So maybe sometimes the food gets better, or even really amazing on a rare occasion. Maybe the food gets cheaper every once in awhile. If you are really lucky, maybe they fired that waitress that kept spitting in the food. That's wonderful... but know what, while I thought I was initially tempted by the free food and dreams of being a chef, I've found something of a community.

But it is nice to know that in addition to the great community, the food is actually better, even if you can't get everything out there.

Monday, February 23, 2009

A comment on Ways Beyong Empiricism

I see empiricism in a way as a clearly definable aspect of Rationalism. I do not believe any rationalist ascribes to pure empiricism any more than Cartesian philosophers ascribe solipsism. I think that is part of the beauty. I agree completely with your observation that all human truth is an merely an abstraction of truth even before we consider the implications and limits of language, but some abstraction results in group think, and other abstractions result in particle accelerators.

There is empirical evidence to show that empiricism is not a fundamentally complete construct for truth, but rationalism also says sometimes we just don't know. Rationalism is a powerful tool used recklessly with Occam's razor can cut up and justify any truth you like. In a way, it is still just a path. But, the difference from other philosophies like Christianity, rationalist, hopefully, reject any dogma, including science, for a pragmatism that says there are no limits to what we can discover.

When it comes to spiritual / supernatural beliefs, just try to keep it in perspective with what can really be known and how ideas can be communicated in absolute ways. Least for the sake of self evaluation and clear communication so you and others can really study it and improve. Keep in mind the potential of mathematics and study things that let you express yourself in challenging ways. With infinite knowledge out there, how can you know where you are going without really knowing where you are?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Idea #17763: Every program in Ubuntu is using different way of handling the same problem

Sorry, I think this is a really bad idea. Programs have an individual way of working. One of many problems I find with KDE is that there is obviously a standard way of doing things that almost nobody follows; there are extra menu items in nearly every application that are unused, but there because it is part of some standard.

The place this should actually be added is to glib or qt; give developers a simple "Add default components and configuration" type thing to the library so that default items will perform default actions such as exit. There could even be a simple way to integrate a 'new' item subroutine.

Sound cool? Well guess what, it already exists! There are always new tools and hot plates and SDK IDE skeletons to make things easier on developers.

I think maybe rather than see something and assume that just because it is different that there must be something wrong with it because it is "inconsistent". Personally, I pick my applications based on the interface. There is variety.

This has been an age old war, and I guess it will never die, but FOREVER it has always been "Which is better, vi or emacs?". The different is the interface, but in this case, everything is the interface!

Rather than criticizing the devs in their UI design, maybe give then a little credit and assume for a moment they put a little time and effort into their work and things are designed with a purpose to work best for their application.

My solution: Tell your friend that because the software is community developed, not only do individuals have the freedom to develop independently, but there is no marketing department trying to make everything look the same for the sake of making everything look the same. It is just one of the quirks of the organic nature of Gnu/Linux et al. Improvements are always coming about, but just like nature, evolution needs diversity to progress. Gnu/Linux is always evolving and that is part of what makes it great, rather than feeling stuck looking at doing everything the Windows way, or the Apple way. If you have ever felt like that choice left you deciding the lesser of two evils, Linux can be a breath of fresh air.

A friend and I were discussing the issue with paradigm shifts: They are not all of the sudden, no matter how much the new ideas may have appeared to have reached critical mass in your mind. Even after profound paradigm shifts, we can continue to try to stuff new ideas into old boxes; compartmentalizing the new data in the old ways. Usually that just doesn't work.

In this case, for a new user, it is probably a good opportunity to remind them to pay attention to the application they are using, and don't just start clicking at the mouse and keyboard thinking all applications are the same, unless investigation is the purpose at that moment; there is always an appropriate time and place.

For the more adventurous types, qt and glib are reasonably straight forward at least with regard to changing the name of menu item names or hot keys in fully developed applications. While there is always more you can do knowing more, encourage them to be pragmatic about looking for the key piece of code they want to change, and worry less about the parts that don't necessarily make sense. It isn't as scary as it sounds, and interfaces is a fun simple place to start that requires almost no previous programming experience, just a bit of imagination.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A poem

So I had expected this to be a poem about the word Ubuntu, my feelings on the monetary system, about copyright law, but somehow it turned into something else. Oh well.

I had an occasion to write a poem, and below is what I came up with.
They say ignorance is bliss, and it must be
because the more I read, and the more I learn
the more angry I feel I become.

I never cared about politics. I had long believed
it was only a place for hurt and disappointment
crooks and thieves with agendas we can't even begin
to comprehend.
But maybe the politics are simple, and where we see
conspiracy is just ignorance taking on a life of its own

Does one belief say worse about humanity than the other?

Last year I was inspired: I didn't feel so alone in my opinion
I thought I really had a chance to discover what the big deal was
and with such a leaning telling me things were going to go the right way
I knew I could be part of something good.

I spoke, I wrote, I rallied.
And I did so in places where I was not only going to be heard,
but could stir up some controversay, and hopefully made an impression
many people made an impression on me as well and helped me learn what we were really up against.

By election day I was calling around, and picked up friends to take to the polls,
many not knowing they could still vote on the provisional ballot.
Thrilled, pumped, and excited, I knew I had done some good.

Aparently I was not on the side of the majority.

How did it happen that the message of new trains and happy chickens
had made it into peoples hearts, but love between two people fell on deaf ears
even if for just a small majority of Californians. Further, alternatives
to an over crowded prison system filled with people that never should have been in there
in the first place isn't much of an issue for those of us on the outside.
I doubt the two minorities find much solice in their common defeat.

As I was struck later with the final numbers,
the realization that so many could be driven to the polls,
and driven there by fear and hate.
All I could do is cry and scream out in rage...

...but honestly I don't know if it was more from the blunt force of reality,
...or a fierce jealousy for the cynics that that already knew the truth.

Many gay and lesbian friends couldn't understand my response,
"havn't you been paying attention?" they would say.

"I thought I was"

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Wikipedia Standards

I take exception to the idea that only scholarly journals may be sources of information.
There, fixed it for you. I'd even agree in proportion to the triviality of such information. As far as "Only scholarly journals are primary sources", the only other type of primary source is direct observation and personal opinion, but they needed to be stated as such and kept in context. The easiest thing to do here is when it isn't a scholarly journal, cite in text the context of your supporting argument, like "Joe the Plummer, some idiot tax cheat with no license that calls himself a plummer that happened to be standing around near Barack Obama one day while the camera was on him says we need XYZ to fix the economy" is reasonable, but saying "some people believe we need XYZ to fix the economy", and your source is Joe the Plummer and you cite it hurts your integrity. There is a really important difference.

Though honestly, my BS alarm always goes off when I hear the phrase "scientists say" or "doctors agree" us often followed by a line of bullshit. Truth or not, it is the epitome of lazy "journalism". Just take a short line to explain who is saying it, and a rough idea of their credentials. Then, not only can the information be put in context, but when it is proven wrong it doesn't send creationists in a frenzy writing their local school board.

This way when people share interesting stuff they read, they can say "Hey, some doctor guy is looking into investigating a possible link between mercury and autism." rather than "Hey, did you know the reason your kid has autism is because of those vaccinations you gave him?" Not that people are going to stop being idiots and grossly exaggerate things out of context, but at least when someones BS alarm goes off, they can more easily hunt down the source and confirm some kind of validity.

I would hope that despite publications [that suck], we can have slightly higher expectations for something we are going to call an encyclopedia.

Security vs. Obscurity

This was a great quote I had to share, if not at least write down for future reference.
If I take a letter, lock it in a safe, hide the safe somewhere in New York, then tell you to read the letter, that's not security. That's obscurity. On the other hand, if I take a letter and lock it in a safe, and then give you the safe along with the design specifications of the safe and a hundred identical safes with their combinations so that you and the world's best safecrackers can study the locking mechanism -and you still can't open the safe and read the letter - that's security.
Another element from other articles I have read is that security only exists in relationship over time. While the above example is true, it is not true with respect to reality... at least for an approach. There are always limits to security. Security can always be better, and all security can eventually be broken. So when designing a security system, how secure is not whether or not it can be broken, how secure is what is the minimum amount of time we can be reasonably assured the security is going to hold. Or further, how much effort would be necessary to break a system in relationship to cost and skill level of the cracker.

Maximize the cost and skill necessary to crack a safe, and you have a very secure safe. Minimize the investment of such a system and you have a very good safe.

From my understanding of today's computer security, some people stumble over vulnerabilities, and others hunt them out. If it is a problem with Microsoft software, the cracker / hacker can report the vulnerability and hope that Microsoft fixes it before anyone else that might not be so kind reports the issue. The person to discover the problem also gets no notoriety unless they publish a proof of concept, or no a full scale attack on a computer system. Frequently Microsoft will not fix issues until that point has been reached anyway. Why fix a problem unless that specific problem is going to hit your bottom line. Linux and BSD are different. Hacking and cracking are not only encouraged, but eluded to above, it is encouraged. If you find a vulnerability, write your proof of concept and, because you have the code, a possible fix to take care of the problem. If it is a design flaw, explain why the flaw exists. You get famous (within that circle) and the system gets better. Once the problem is fixed and a patch has been distributed, the proof of concept gets public release, and the nerds and geeks cheer and update their system, if it hadn't already done so automatically.

For hackers and crackers, operating systems are like puzzle books. Microsoft puts the same puzzles out there every time, and each time a puzzle is solved, they may or may not change the puzzle at their leisure if there is a chance so many puzzles are solved that it might become hard to keep selling the same book. Gnu/Linux/BSD on the other hand, is... harder. Every time a puzzle is solved, no one else is allowed to take a shot at it because whoever solved the puzzle and whoever wrote the puzzle work together as and with a community to make it harder.

Now consider this: these are the nerdiest people in the world offering hypothetically the most challenging puzzles in the world that have real life consequences... and they have been going at this for ~25 years. Security patches are frequent, but most often very obscure, unlikely circumstances that create hypothetical vulnerabilities often proofed in the most ideal of environments.

Not to discredit Microsoft for their desire to be secure, but there really isn't any money in fixing software that has already been sold. There is no community to improve the software because no one is allowed the source code that makes it easy to make the software, and further, even if someone were to get their hands on the code, or miraculously is able to write their own patch without knowing how it works, such activity is not only illegal, but there is virtually no process that allows for such fixes to be certified.

The last MAJOR bug for Gnu/Linux / BSD was in SSH where some .01% of computers were statistically likely share the same list of some 100,000 "random" keys due to a glitch in the standard distribution of key generation. WTF?? Are you joking? This is the most critical vulnerability discovered in years?!? Not to mention that the guy that even discovered the vulnerability had a fix submitted upstream within a day that pretty much fixed the problem world wide within maybe as long as 48 hours? Compare that to a Microsoft Exchange bug that allows an attacker to do anything they want after simply sending a cleverly malformed email.

Personally, if Microsoft says that if looking at the code would expose the software to an unlimited number of critical vulnerabilities compromising your network and all your data, that doesn't make me concerned about Gnu/Linux, that makes me concerned about Windows.

Like seriously, the code is that bad?

I'd tell customers with that concern that Gnu/Linux have been openly audited by the nerdiest geeks for roughly 25 years and worked together to develop the best security ever. Linux community says that open source is more secure; if Microsoft is saying that being able to see the source code exposes you to limitless vulnerabilities, maybe there should be some concern that the code to Windows has been leaked to the Internet for quite some time? Not to mention, didn't they recently change to some "shared-source" BS where you can look at the code, but it doesn't actually mean shit like with OpenOffice?

Anyone else having as much difficulty following Microsoft's supposed argument here, and how if true, just makes everything look worse for Microsoft?

Further, this article is a study of "Automatic Patch-Based Exploit Generation" where the simple process of Microsoft even attempting to fix the software is done so poorly that is ca be used to have quite the reverse intended affect.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


I keep loosing this. I thought I had made reference to it in other articles, but evidently not. I don't know why or who dot the Dreyfus model wrong in terms of the names of the stages, but whatever the reason, here is the real study. And despite all the sites that want to sell you the article, they are archives of public domain. This study was government sponsored, and if you read the notes, this is public domain.

If you like to learn, or ever wanted to be really great at something, are a fan of the scientific method, or a militant atheist, you will LOVE this read. This is likely the best short read ever for me.


Best Gun Control Legislation for Public Safety: 2nd Ammendment!

This was a must share from a commenter, mitch77 ,on digg regarding the above poll.

OK only the occasional moron is suggesting that this does not apply to every citizen..
That is hopeful.
However it's important to understand why they were so adamant about this.

It's because the 2nd amend is the whole deal.
If we lose the right (power) to defend ourselves and the rest of the constitution
how long would we be able to keep any of it? The founders had this fact as their motivation.

A LITTLE GUN HISTORY (Death estimates are the lowest estimates - far from the highest)

In 1929, the Soviet Union established gun control. From 1929 to 1953, about 20 million disarmed dissidents were rounded up and exterminated.

In 1911, Turkey established gun control. From 1915 to 1917, 1.5 million disarmed Armenians were rounded up and exterminated.

Germany established gun control in 1938 and from 1939 to 1945, a total of 13 million disarmed Jews and others were rounded up and exterminated.

China established gun control in 1935. From 1948 to 1952, 20 million disarmed political dissidents were rounded up and exterminated.

Guatemala established gun control in 1964. From 1964 to 1981, 100,000 disarmed Mayan Indians were rounded up and exterminated.

Uganda established gun control in 1970. From 1971 to 1979, 300,000 disarmed Christians were rounded up and exterminated.

Cambodia established gun control in 1956. From 1975 to 1977, one million disarmed educated' people were rounded up and exterminated.

Defenseless people rounded up and exterminated in the 20th Century because of gun control: 56 million.

It has now been 12 months since gun owners in Australia were forced by new law to surrender 640,381 personal firearms to be destroyed by their own government, a program costing Australia taxpayers more than $500 million dollars. The first year results are now in:

- Australia-wide, homicides are up 3.2 percent.

- Australia-wide, assaults are up 8.6 percent.

- Australia-wide, armed robberies are up 44 percent (yes, 44 percent)!

- In the state of Victoria alone, homicides with firearms are now up 300 percent. Note that while the law-abiding citizens turned them in, the criminals did not, and criminals still possess their guns!

- While figures over the previous 25 years showed a steady decrease in armed robbery with firearms, this has changed drastically upward in the past 12 months, since criminals now are guaranteed that their prey is unarmed.

- There has also been a dramatic increase in break-ins and assaults of the ELDERLY. Australian politicians are at a loss to explain how public safety has decreased, after such monumental effort and expense was expended in successfully ridding Australian society of guns. The Australian experience and the other historical facts above prove it.
You won't see this data on the US evening news, or hear politicians disseminating this information.
MEANWHILE...every state (48) in the US that has passed "concealed carry" laws
has seen a clear reduction in violent crime rates. (the looser the law the more the reduction)
And virtually NONE of accompanying lawlessness predicted by the leftists who opposed the laws has been a problem.

"In a comprehensive study of all public multiple shooting incidents in America
between 1977 and 1999, economist/mathematicians John Lott and Bill Landes
found that the only public policy that reduced both the incidence and casualties
of such shootings were concealed-carry laws.

Not only are there 60 percent fewer gun massacres after states adopt concealed-carry laws,
but the death and injury rate of such rampages are reduced by 80 percent."

I actually can't imagine a coherent argument against this but I'm willing to listen...

Russia and a National OS. Just another bureaucratic mess?

In response to this post on Slashdot regarding the Russian ideal to mandate everything:

Possibly similar to what I see in the United States. Schools force kids to read great books against their will, rather than ending up with well educated kids, just a lot of kids that really hate to read and will likely not pick up another book once they are out of school.

What is going to matter is implementation. With the reading example, it is intended that kids end up reading really good books, but it comes down to the teacher that often has the biggest influence on what a student ends up with, and how they appreciate it.

Standardization and organization for efficient use of resources to develop a base infrastructure, I believe, is one of the few legitimate purposes of government. Allow for free market competition, but standardize public education and government offices to use an open standards and basic system tools so everyone can play nice. This will expand opportunity for the private sector / free enterprise to build upon these tools. Both the public and the private sector can have influence on the future development and auditing of the tools so that bugs get fixed and if necessary, forks are made.

The problem you identify already exists with Windows. The difference with Linux is that open standards make it much less of a hack job to implement interoperability. Building tools on Windows has you at the mercy of the closed tools you use. If an API is buggy or needs to be changed in some way, you are not allowed to. A free base system gives people options and proprietary software developers on their toes.

If Russia is going to fork Fedora and say "screw it" to the GPL and close source it because they feel like it and make one system everyone will be taught, and stop developing it once it is "good enough", then it will be a disaster. I get the impression that is not their plan; honor the GPL, get help from Red Hat as necessary to train their own developers, become an equal partner with respect to the community and provide upstream contributions, keep the source open and available to the public. This will provide new opportunity in many ways for all people, not just Russia.

I understand where you are coming from, which what encouraged me to respond, but the Russians have never been so insidious or oppressive of its people as Microsoft has been to its user base, unless you think gallop polls are the heart of democracy and liberty... then who knows. A national OS based on Linux is like collecting taxes to build roads, not telling people where they have to drive. Private sector can have their tour buss and taxi cabs, but let that be far different than gated highways mandating police escort.

My feeling with regard to user apathy is to look at the above situation and think "who cares if I get where I need to go?", not to mention all the other great advantages of not having to do any work or remember how to get places.

It isn't the standardization that is the problem, so much as the centralized control of such standardization that creates problems. I am certain the Russian government is going to do a better job of oversight with regard to enabling the Russian people to get the most out of their computing experience than Microsoft.

I look forward to when the United States will consider catching up with the times, but I don't expect much from a country that still regards Ricardian Economics as God's Will... but that's another issue. :)

As far as any perceived irony of Russia and China embracing Linux:

Even worse case scenario, Russia and China want total control over their country, and where they may not be able to have control, the most important thing is to ensure that others DON'T have it. Software freedom will ensure that Microsoft isn't a dictator, and in "oppressive" countries like Russia or China, I am sure their leaders are the first and best to recognize a regime hell bent on global domination and control. Have it their way, they would take credit for giving Microsoft the idea in the first place.

Americans have been spewing their Liberty, Freedom, and Democracy rhetoric so long without any thought to the meaning, they wouldn't know a dictatorship if it kicked them in the face, stole their money and replaced it with "notes" depicting people that used to know what those terms meant.

Too subtle?

Woot to Russia. I look forward to seeing where this goes in many respects.

Friday, February 06, 2009

The American Monetary System - Part 2: comentary on the charts development

As mentioned before, the poster started simple. The Black square, white square, and colored text in the box marked United States were all added afterwards, as well as the title. While each of those make the information more bias, I figured why not. However, I think they provide poor analysis of the more important part of what was being explained. There are also very obvious missing parts due to the necessity of sticking to the scope of the monetary system. Otherwise the chart would have completely lost any flow that it might have had. Even at present I think the black and white boxes are distracting from the important information and the part of the chart that actually had some flow. The text on the side seemed so small and dense compared to the large, clear parts of the graph that after putting in the black box, I felt compelled to completely pack the entire page full of text.

I think splitting up the info in several different ways could improve its impact / flow. For example, take all the text other than the labels and put them on another page. Another idea (and this is a great thing about SVG) is cover the flow of the chart through an ODF presentation.

The greatest problem I was trying to show (but don't point out directly) is the logistical end of this system. Sure, it is implied that these bankers are "evil and bad", but just objectively taking a step back, lets follow the chart.

1. Government / congress authorizes the treasury to issue Treasury Bonds to the Federal Reserve. Government can not issue money directly unless it is backed by gold or silver according to the Constitution. The question of being on the gold standard or not is whether or not the Treasury issues those bills. Not being on the Gold Standard, as we are right now, means Gold and Silver Certificates are not being issued as legal tender. The Federal Reserve Act (questionably) without violating the constitution allows the government to issue bonds. These bonds are used as collateral, and authorize so many dollars to go into circulation.

2. The money is given to the Federal Reserve to be deposited exclusively into accounts of the 12 Regional Banks.

3. The only legal tender for the United States is in these banks available as loans to Government, Private Corporations (including minor banks), and people, at interest.

4. When money is borrowed, money is created in two ways. Ignoring loan initiation fees, which could technically be a portion of the money borrowed in payment of the service of providing the loan, interest begins to accrue on a daily basis. The amount loaned (or "principle") + the Interest charged = more money created from nothing. This isn't more being printed, this is money that exists only as a matter of record, but still owed in paper. This is hypothetically part of the fundamental flaw. Oversimplifying it in terms of mathematical limits, if all the money is returned, how do you pay back the money that doesn't exist. Think of a credit card. If you owe $110, and you only pay back $100, what can happens? What does happen?

5. The last example isn't what seems to happen in reality, so instead lets say there are two borrowers. Two people want to start a business, so they go to the bank and each take out a loan of $100. To keep it simple, lets say that the interest in 1 year comes to $10 each. Each company pays its employees and can either spend their money on Company A, Company B, or save it. Assuming people spend all their money, lets say over the course of the year Company A was more successful than Company B. Company A doesn't want to keep paying interest, so they pay back the $110. This now leaves Company A with only profit that it can use to continue to pay its employees and operate a successful business. There is now $90 in the economy ($200 - $110). If people have no money because they always spend it, Company B has $90 - profit / holdings of Company A. This is why it is said that whatever money you have is someone's debt. With Company A's debt paid, how successful would Company B need to be in order to acquire the money necessary to pay off the $110 debt? With only $90 in the entire system, it is not possible; the company will fail to pay its loan with absolute certainty. Applying this situation to today, lets say Company A likes company B because unemployed people don't have money to spend, and the only people with money already work for Company A. Company A was most profitable getting money from the employees of Company A and Company B. Lets say Company A decides to bail out Company B for the sake of the economy. Company A takes out a loan for $110 and even rather than loaning it (which would be guaranteed income) it just gives it as a gift to stimulate the economy. Company A owes $121 ($110 + $11 interest), but $90 Company A has + $110 Company B has now makes $200 again. We are back where we started... except that in the beginning Company A + Company B owed $220, now Company A + Company B owe $110 (+$11 interest for an additional year) + $121 ($242) to keep the economy in equilibrium of $200. From here the cycle repeats itself.

A) Does it matter how successful the companies are, proportionally, or otherwise?
B) What happens if people save their money and don't spend it in the economy?
The cycle of moves faster. This is why it is said that people need to spend money to stimulate the economy. If companies don't get money, they can't pay employees, and work by those companies doesn't get done.

6. The fractional reserve. This is pretty clearly covered on the chart, but one issue: b can not ever be less than c. This relationship can be seen in the difference between the prime lending rate and the prime lending rate. I hope this argument is obvious.

In the next part, I hope to address what Ron Paul is talking about; how the collapse of the banking system will set people free is a good thing, and the effect of bankruptcy on the system.

The American Monetary System

Free Image Hosting at

So I spent WAY too much time putting this together, but I am fairly happy with it. Looks great in Inkscape (original is SVG), but wouldn't export, and imported funny to Gimp. Oh well. Also, sadly, I have don't see any image hosting site that handles SVG. wtf? oh well.

I was inspired by Henry Fords quote, and it started with a simple explanation... but then I just kept adding stuff. I would love to blow this up as a poster and just put places. Maybe give one to my local Bank of America... or maybe just wear it in front of Bank of America. :)


Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Text Editors - More people should know Lyx

simple CL text editor : nano
advanced CL text editor : vi or emacs
simple text editor : gedit
basic text editor : abiword
basic online text editor : Google Documents
fancy text editor : OpenOffice Word Processor
fancy online text editor :
professional document processor : Lyx

Abiword is great for those that love or need low use of resources, don't like memorizing anything, and just want to start putting their ideas down. I am a fan of gedit, but it only handles plaintext. Google Documents has the same features as Abiword, but everything is stored online.

If you need images, fancy layouts, or tables; you are going to want OpenOffice. Much more resource heavy, but gives you all you could want and a bit more for those familiar with Ms Word 98 - 2003. has just about everything the average user would want to do, but missing some of the features of OpenOffice most people don't even know about.

A highly under rated application is Lyx. Ever notice that professionally published documents typically have a certain clean feeling that at first thought seem impossibly complicated to manage in a program like OpenOffice? that is because professional publishers use a language called TeX to do all the work for them. TeX is like a printing / layout programming language. TeX is difficult, but is made much easier with something called LaTeX, which basically adds macros for making common tasks simple rather than having to know every little detail of what you want to do. Lyx takes it to a whole new level with what they call a WYSIWYM word processor (What you see is what you mean). The annoying thing with fancy word processors is not making the layout, but going back and fixing or doing fine adjustments. Trying to get things lined up frequently requires fine motor skills with the mouse, and carefully eyeballing everything you do. Lyx makes it easy to create a layout, and allows you to see the straight forward LaTeX code that lets you know for certain things are the way you want. My favorite part is that layouts (like bibliography, glossary, index, table of contents) are all data driven. For example, with the built-in BibTeX, make a reference in text, and it automatically adds the entry into your bibliography. From the Gui, the data for that reference can be minimized. You can also use a reference in multiple places throughout a document, and LaTeX understands that you are citing the same reference and will only make one entry.

There can be a little bit of time to setup a new document, and the learning curve for everything can seem a bit high, but if you need to make professional looking documents for publication of more than ten pages, it is worth your time in the long run to learn it. Your 10 page documents will be easier to manage and tweak to look just the right way without the usual poke & hope that often fails. For large, fancy publications, Lyx enables you to do amazing things that would be otherwise impossibly difficult in an application like OpenOffice. Ever wonder how Dummies books are put together, or math textbooks? Think it would be impossible in word? Your right! They use LaTeX. Lyx makes LaTeX easy and familiar.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Problem with the real economy? There isn't one.

I can not escape it. Of all the stories I hear about the troubled economy, I feel like the scope of the problem isn't being fully realized. The talk about bailouts, economic stimulus, and predatory lending, supply and demand, are just components of a very regulated system... well, except not regulated by the United States government, by the banks. The 12 banks. The 12 only significant banks. Sure, there are many banks that are allowed to play in the financial market, but they play at the will of the 12.

While I might love to go into many arguments that have been made and use them as sources to support my claims, I have not reached that point in my argument, however, here is a quick list of sources that I draw my beliefs from.
Let me issue and control a nation's money, and I care not who writes its laws ~Mayer Amschel Rothschild
and he succeeded.

Consider the way we perceive money. It is an important part of our society, but we give it value in a way that no commodity would ever receive. Gold does not yield the immediate exchange power we have given to our currency. The value is abstract, and I understand that. But consider the role money plays, and imagine a person or corporation that could operate freely outside the system.

The best analogy I can make is to virtual worlds. World of Warcraft has an economy. Gold plays a powerful role in acquiring items and potions and such. There is also the economy of gold sellers that making the farming of resources very difficult in some cases, but in turn lowering the price of those goods making it a buyers market. Large guilds and small guilds, big players and small players have large and small amounts of gold. This gold gives them power to play a role in the game.

Now consider a GM.

How wealthy is a GM?

A GM is a God in every possible meaning. How much money does God have. Gods' have no need for money because their power is divine. That which can only be manipulated by mortals through the flow of money is granted by these gods.

Well, I have talked about God in reality, and sorry, but there is obviously no God. The power that exists in World of Warcraft by GM's is the type of power Christians consider their God to posses. Personally, I've moved on. I am not going to waste my life waiting for something that isn't there, especially in the presence of such a rich beautiful environment around us to explore and learn about... but I digress.

Some people talk about the great power of the GM and the great things that they have. I am baffled by how 'impressed' some people are by this power when "HELLO!!! They are programmed that way!" Further, Blizzard would not benefit from destroying its own economy. It thrives off of subscriptions, and while they could possibly finance a great guild to become powerful beyond all measure... the power is only an illusion. If Blizzard decided it didn't want to do World of Warcraft anymore, no amount of game gold is going to have any influence on the future of the game.

In a very similar way, the Big 12 operate on the economy, media, and government with the same level of control Blizzard has over the distribution of game gold...

...but in not nearly a nice way.

Zeitgeist Part III covers the basics the best that got me into looking at this mess. The only thing that makes this entire monetary system even appear to work is that it is so greatly distributed, it is not apparent how insidious it is as a whole.

  1. The federal reserve prints money
  2. The money is deposited into 12 exclusive banks, and only these 12 banks.
  3. The money is loaned out at interest to the government and the people / corporations.
  4. ALL the money that exists is one big loan from these 12 banks + interest, so even if all the money in the entire world were to be returned to the banks, interest is still owed to the big 12.
  5. The only way to pay off this interest is:
  1. To print more money that is further borrowed and loaned at interest.
  2. Liquidate the assets of the borrower.
One defense in the case of 5.1 is that the federal reserve can only issue money at the approval of the Treasury, but in the case of 5.2, the real value (as in real economy versus finance economy) of any default (which is inevitable when the amount of money owed is and always will be greater than all the money in the world) goes to the loan holder, any of the Big 12.

Sure, there are smaller banks. and those banks collect on defaulted loans, or even make their money on loans being paid back. It is even possible that the banks could be using only money from depositors and not borrowing the money from one of the Big 12, but even in that case, that money is SOMEONE'S debt owed SOMEWHERE.

What do you buy with that type of power, and in what cases do you use your influence of forgiveness to these loans to extend your power? Invest in real property, invest in big media. Only let the people live on YOUR land, using your money, and watching your news and media, and invest in politicians with nice happy ambitions that will bring about change, so long as it is within the system, and not OF the system.

We may have issued a Declaration of Independence, fought a war, and say we won because we have this constitution, a congress, and a president, and all these laws...

...but who cares. The only people that really cared were the British bankers. Only too shortly after the war was this country sold out. Only 2 of the 12 banks are domestically owned. Look for yourself which banks these are, and which family leads them, and tell me how much good it has ever done for the American people.

It is musical chairs in this monetary system, and we are arguing over their color and the softness of the seats. We argue over capitalism and communism, supply and demand, and we don't look at the big picture. THERE IS NO REAL ECONOMY when the system operates at the will of bankers, because there is no money, there is only debt.

Does it really take a logician to see this; to see the limit of this system of inflation and liquidation? Why are we working for these bankers? Why do we appoint them the gods of our economy and complain like as if it was anyone else's fault; we have appointed an evil God, or maybe we should have learned a lesson or two about humanity and the bestowing of absolute power to anyone.
It is well enough that the people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning. ~ Henry Ford
If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. ~ Thomas Jefferson
We've done it. We have lost the revolutionary war.

The one nice thing? There is statistically NO chance that Obama would be assassinated. Every president that has ever been assassinated has been close to eliminating the central bank of the United States. Of the others whom have had attempts on their life, two-thirds of them argued against the central bank. So as I said, Obama is pretty safe.

Has he said anything about nationalized banking? Guess I'll need to check. If so, that will be the real threat: trying to give everyone the red pill and possibly displeasing our gods. The threat would never be over the color of his skin.

So consider this: Look at the power and control of the media. Control of the media is almost completely centralized. They have influenced copyright law and culture to devastating levels. All of this to ensure censorship of radical ideas like abolishing the federal reserve. The media can control much from its position... now consider on top of that the same families controlling the banks. Hypothetically, what would be the limits of control for 12 companies cooperating to ultimately control all the banks, the media, and using its wealth to purchase land effectively for free in the end (What useful labor has been produced by these banks that get free money to loan out at interest?)

The only hope I see in seeing anything resembling benevolence from these gods is: You play buy their rules. You play by their system. You obey their laws. You worry about whatever the news tells you to worry about. You pick a political party and when you are upset you write theiryour congressmen. You can hold your signs (after you get your permit).

Just don't think for a second you could beat them, or that the world might be able to work in some different way.

I am not advocating violence, but I wish someone could please explain to me how this might end any other way. Of course there is one nice, easy, non-violent solution. Just keep playing along, and pretend like everything is fine. For real measure, just never get into debt, and never give anyone money you can't stand to loose. Oh, and of course it is important that you never stop working, because don't forget inflation takes money away from you no matter where you hide it. Of course there is hope that you die early.

Anyway, while I am certain that the gods' would not allow it, here is what I believe would be a superior monetary policy, both the necessary transition, and the self sustaining system that would follow. Keep in mind this is a work in progress, and this is my initial proposal:

1) Treasury takes over Federal Reserve and void all promissory notes / bonds issued to Federal Reserve.
2) Declare eminent domain over all bank debts and Federal Reserve notes (the money).
3) Outlaw usury (charging / earning interest). Allow only the issue of dividends / stocks.
4) Nationalize banking: Tellers would be public employees and ATM's would be a public service, giving people a safe place to keep their money.
5) Eliminate the IRS (part 2)
6) Pass the Fair Tax Act (part 2)
7) Draft a Federal Employment Act (part 3)

Looking at the evidence, the problem is not a lack of the gold standard. The gold standard is a way to control bankers, but fiat money can be self correcting without the wild swings of the whims of the bankers, particularly when you eliminate interest from the equation.

1) Government prints some fixed amount of money each year.
2) This fixed amount of money is the federal budget. This money can be spent on all the things necessary. Initially money can be given to state governments proportionately. All employees of the government would be paid in these dollars in the same fashion Lincoln paid soldiers of the Civil War (he printed his own money). Each year, this same amount of money would be printed. There would be no debt ever because the government isn't borrowing it or taxing it from other people that borrowed it. It would be merely a tool of the economy.
3) (part 2) Money enters the system through (sorry mises) the governments planning of what would be best for people to do in terms of useful labor. This would inspire people to acquire dollars in the same way they did before. The value of the dollar would be others incentive to produce goods and accept these dollars as payment. Once those privately produced goods were purchased, then the cycle is complete, the government is entitled to a tax. The fixed portion of the price of newly produced goods over time should reach an equilibrium of ( one trillion dollars + money in economy ) * .23 = one trillion dollars. Normal Free Trade should be able to operate at this point.
4) If a large volume of money is taken outside of the country, or if lots of money is saved, then an inflation does occur. If the money re-enters the market, taxes should bring the system back to equilibrium. This may sound very similar to what we have now, or at least theorized, but I disagree. The equation above has a set equilibrium based on the forces of supply and demand and the natural movement of the REAL economy. Right now we have a fake economy controlled by a finance economy that limits out over time to give everything to the bankers + infinite inflation of the dollar. That is NOT the same kind of equilibrium.
5) There should be a legal right to work. Virtually anyone can join the military and make money if necessary. Why not extend this to any useful labor. People don't need the threat of starvation and death of their family to be motivated to higher learning and career advancement. If there is anything people ever need, that is a job because assisting people with what they need IS useful labor as ascribed by Adam Smith. The goal isn't the money, the goal is useful labor. Government paying you just means they are the ones telling you what to do that is useful. Money is only the instrument. Again, those dollars are promises to stimulate the private sector. When those dollars are spent in the private sector, taxes take a portion and return it to the government. Useful labor by government stimulates the private sector in proportion to the tax rate.

Rothschild won his bet, control the money supply, control a nation. And sadly, if this is the only way it can be understood:
The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender
-- Proverbs 22:7
Our own government is a slave to the interests of bankers; it is no wonder the government is powerless to do much about the economy. Wealth comes from useful labor. For whatever role of leadership the government is meant to play, people are suffering and yet there is nothing useful for people to do? This has always baffled me on a very simplistic level, but after going through many of the sources above, it makes a lot more sense.

Let the bankers get / maintain their control, and we will always, as a whole, owe more to them than everything we have. It is the way the system was designed.

If you are content with the way things are because you as an individual is getting by, I can understand. Just be aware that what you are content with is the idea that every American patriot and revolutionary fought for nothing.
God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion.
The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is
wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts
they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions,
it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. ...
And what country can preserve its liberties, if it's rulers are not
warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of
resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as
to the facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost
in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from
time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants.
It is its natural manure.
~Thomas Jefferson
The answers are meaningless if we are asking the wrong questions about how things work.
Computers are useless. They can only give us answers. - Pablo Picasso
Answers to our present situation have been given by so many people over and over. It is time for some new questions, and begin to challenge the things we take for granted. I have generally been a big fan of small government, but looking at what appears to me as the real problem, our government is powerless. The government only appears powerful as attempts are made at eliminating privacy and other rights.

Power is the ability to get things done, not simply an ability to oppress. To trust the government may seem a dangerous thing to do, but I do believe they may have our best interests better than a bunch of foreign bankers. Hell, just look at what the domestic banks are doing.

Eliminate usury and give the power to the government to make interest and debt free direct investment and we will see a government with the power to do good, and beginnings of a real economy.

Monday, February 02, 2009

OS Discussion: What have people talked about by TLD

I've talked about Google Trends before, and controversy keeps being brought up about Ubuntu v. Windows Vista, as well as other combinations. Today I wanted to take another approach. Not what people are looking for so much, but what has been said. I was inspired by an article on Slashdot about the Department of Defense setting up their own site like Sourceforge, which happens to reside at a .mil top level domain(TLD). So I thought, if .mil sites are heavily regulated and organized, what is the trend of references to various Operating Systems? Further, how closely does this relate to other 'special use' TLDs?

Because I really hate when people don't put the raw data or method for data collection with a study, here is the code I used. Sure, I could have done this by hand, but Linux, for me, is all about making things easier.

note: The reason for the sleep 1s; is because of this

echo "Search results for OS's by TLD\n\n"; for j in '' '' '' '' '' ''; do echo -e "\nMatching terms for $j"; for i in 'Microsoft' 'Windows' '"Microsoft Windows"' 'IBM' 'Apple' 'Unix' 'Linux' '"Red Hat"' 'Solaris' 'AIX' 'Novell' '"Sun Microsystems"' 'OSX' 'Fedora' 'Suse' 'FreeBSD' 'NetBSD' 'OpenBSD' 'Ubuntu' '"Windows 3"' '"Windows 95"' '"Windows 98"' '"Windows NT"' '"Windows 2000"' '"Windows XP"' '"Windows Vista"' '"Windows 7"' '"Windows Server"'; do sleep 1s; echo -en "$i\t\t"; lynx "$i$j&btnG=Search" -useragent="Mozilla/5.0 Lynx" -dump | grep Results | sed -e 's/^.* of about \([0-9,]*\)\ .*$/\1/' | head -n 1; done; done | tee TLDresults.txt

Should I have formatted it and saved it as a script? Probably, but that wasn't how it was done. :) I love the terminal. Ooh, and run at your own risk. I got multiple computers banned testing this script.

Anyway, here are the results I got (reformatted):

Company / OS .edu .gov .mil .org* .net* .com*
Microsoft 7420000 1320000 64700 64000 30100 548000
Windows 11000000 1620000 65900 171000 48500 893000
Microsoft Windows 596000 84600 5190 4650 3170 59100
IBM 6460000 1420000 21500 40400 5950 185000
Apple 1920000 606000 11500 40600 15200 318000
Unix 7350000 775000 10300 25100 12000 68400
Linux 2130000 693000 5450 104000 51600 254000
Red Hat 796000 201000 2620 3960 1660 17000
Solaris 612000 68700 2560 13400 2320 21600
AIX 328000 68100 2480 4790 1680 15100
Novell 144000 20600 1190 2170 1050 12200
Sun Microsystems 225000 29000 2240 4180 731 16600
OSX 885000 142000 7090 19300 7440 85500
Fedora 788000 21900 680 6810 3620 13800
Suse 283000 19200 359 4630 1880 9230
FreeBSD 356000 9770 177 10400 2420 9910
NetBSD 46500 2520 136 3270 321 1890
OpenBSD 28300 2450 102 2080 437 2430
Ubuntu 486000 29100 49 14200 9340 44100
Windows 3 57500 3410 271 108 165 2290
Windows 98 83800 16000 1260 2790 1440 46400
Windows 2000 231000 45700 3690 3660 1880 39100
Windows XP 1450000 51400 3450 12600 7590 144000
Windows NT 390000 39700 4010 4810 1700 22900
Windows Vista 296000 8880 905 5830 5440 117000
Windows 7 15500 1150 134 1440 3550 61700
Windows Server 54800 8130 1040 1890 1970 29900
(* thousands)

note: eek, formatting didn't come out as expected. Will fix soon.
update: ok, so my html sucks, but the table is easier to look at than before.

Unfortunately have run out of time make any remarks considering the trend, but I see some interesting relationships. Will comment further tomorrow.