Sunday, December 26, 2010

Saturday, December 25, 2010

WOD Alert!

I used this one in a conversation with my daughter the other day, she asked me what it meant and I realized that I don't remember ever having looked it up:
co·gent   /ˈkoʊdʒənt/ Show Spelled
[koh-juhnt] Show IPA

1. convincing or believable by virtue of forcible, clear, or incisive presentation; telling.
2. to the point; relevant; pertinent.
Use cogent in a Sentence
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1650–60; < L cōgent- (s. of cōgēns, prp. of cōgere to drive together, collect, compel), equiv. to cōg- ( co- co- + ag-, s. of agere to drive) + -ent- -ent

Friday, December 24, 2010

Well, I don't think it's possible to miss out on that whole White Christmas deal

at this point.
That cone of snow on the left is taller than I am. I was standing in the bed of my stepson's truck to take the picture. It's FWD, so the camera was up about 9 feet.

Here's the snow depth. I'd say that's pretty respectable for down here.
This pic is a companion to my weather report over here. But that was settled snow a week after the storm. Here we've added five inches of fluff. Easy shovelin'.

Why not toss in a picture of the tree.
'Liina and I made that Belle ornament. Or, rather, we painted the ornament made by whoever the Disney licensee was. I thought it looked great with the light shining through it like that.

Monday, December 20, 2010


And an eclipse as well!  A lunar eclipse, though it will begin well after midnight.  But that's when our snowstorm is supposed to end, so maybe some night owls will be able to see it.  Since my soul was apparently born somewhere off the west coast, it's quite possible that I'll be up.

I'm not sure who these people are - the article appears to have been translated from Chinese - but they say:
The NASA has recently reported that this is the first time an eclipse has coincided with a solstice since December 21, 1638. And next occurrence will be until 2094. The most spectacular in the sky does not end there because the Ursids meteor shower will also take place.
The Universe is being very entertaining tonight.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The weatherman said it'd get up to 30 today.

I don't know what the high was, but it's frickin' 9 right now.

At least we won't be shocked by anything we see in January, eh?

I was readin' Germanic Myths and Legends the other day. I'm not now, because I have no idea where I set it down. Oh, here it is! Right behind me. German Myths and Legends, rather, by Donald A MacKenzie.  German mythology is the same as Norse mythology because the only people who wrote it down were the Icelandic saga-ists.  Snorri Sturluson and that other guy...  I guess I shouldn't know his name; the Poetic Edda is anonymous.  Correct me if I'm wrong.

I'm sure I brought that up for a reason...

Oh, yeah, the weather has me thinking about Ragnarök.  Ragnar means 'gods', rök means 'wreck'.  Now you know.  The German name is so much more poetic sounding: Götterdämmerung - Gods Twilight.  Sounds downright lovely, doesn't it?

Completely changing the subject, my daughter did her Christmas program at church today.  I went and filmed that.  I cursed myself the whole time for not bringing the darn tripod.  So the video is all jiggly.  The younger girl and I watched it and then we went back and watched a bunch of others. 

My God, she was the cutest little thing when she was two and three!  It's incredible that I could take that for granted.  And the older girl was just lovely - and smart and funny and energetic.  I'm afraid my taciturnity has infected her of late.  But it seems like the tough period is over.  She's starting to make funny jokes again.

I'm afraid I kinda freaked out when she went quiet on me.  Uh, in my case, I suppose that looked like I made one extra worried-sounding statement a week.  I think it's just that I need to let her know that like her.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Hey, kids! It's Bill of Rights Day!

Prob'ly shoulda said somethin' this mornin'.  (That's closer to how I really talk.  You could take out the 'th's too, actually, but I didn't 'cause I figured the words needed to be somewhat recognizable.)
I did some thinking about the First Amendment today.  It pretty much says that you can think anything you want about anything and say whatever you want by any means you want and the government can't stop you.  The Federal government, anyway.  The Constitution wasn't supposed to stop the states from stopping you, though most, if not all, of the states have adopted the Bill of Rights in their own constitutions.  At the least, it's a good moral principle and a good moral example of how speech and expression should be handled.

Some of us have difficulty understanding where the line is between expressing views on political or conscientious matter and the incitement of mayhem.  Not a big problem for those of us who hold The Non-Aggression Principle as the basic social standard and try to apply it to all of our actions, but most people have never heard of it.

So, anyway...  Hey, if the government is quartering any troops in your home at your expense, tell 'em to knock it off.

And, in regard to Free Speech, think about this:

Sunday, December 12, 2010

It's the Snowstorm of the First Half of December!

Actually, I think it's the biggest one of the century, so far.

Chopping from the comments on the previous post:

I've been shoveling the driveway since 9:30. Oh, I stopped for half an hour to drive the truck around and let the wind blow the giant drift off it. Can't park in the garage right now; there's a sauna in pieces.

I still have about a third of the driveway to clear. I just came in because my toes were about to go numb.
You can get in and out of it now, but I have to finish the job because ...who can say that this will be the last snowstorm we'll have? I'd be seriously behind the eight ball if I left it like it is.
We only got about a foot of snow.  Maybe 13 inches.  They usually get bigger amounts south and west of here.  I think that sucks.

Here's what I look like.  I don't know if Blogger's thingy shows what I titled it, so I'll tell you; I called it "Winter Dorkiness."

I thought this one came out great.  I think those kids down the road are looking to make some money shoveling people out.  They're dragging a big load on a sled.  Could be a body.  I didn't stick around to ask.

Oh, I guess the Metrodome collapsed - it's like a big balloon - so they'll have to play today's Vikings game in Detroit tomorrow.  Somebody's got a good picture of that.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

We're having a snowstorm here today

I stuck my camera out the front door and snapped a couple pictures.  Wanna look?

Salerno's done it: a clear explanation of price theory

It would undoubtedly be helpful to read the examples he describes at the beginning of the article, but this is very clear even without them:
Now despite countless instances like these that we all regularly encounter in our market activities, most people still take for granted the view that costs of production basically determine prices. Furthermore, they believe that if prices greatly exceed costs, it is the result of price gouging, monopoly, or some other nefarious scheme on the part of producers. But as Carl Menger, the founder of the Austrian School of economics, brilliantly explained nearly 140 years ago, past expenses incurred during the production of a good are completely irrelevant to the determination of the current price of a good. For Menger, the market price of a good is determined solely by the relative valuations of goods and money by the buyers and sellers of the good, in conjunction with the number of units of the good currently in existence. The records and memories of how much money was spent to enlist the labor and other resources needed to produce the good have absolutely no effect on how much money people are currently willing to exchange for a unit of the good.

But Menger went even further and demonstrated that the (anticipated) selling prices of goods actually determine the costs of production for a good. Using the example of tobacco, Menger argued that if people completely lost their desire for consuming tobacco, not only would the prices of cigarettes, cigars, and pipes fall to zero, but raw tobacco and the machines specifically designed to produce these items would cease to command a price greater than zero, no matter how much it cost to produce them.

For Menger and modern Austrians, then, the ultimate source of value is the ceaseless efforts of individual human beings to use their scarce resources and money to improve their well-being by interacting with one another on the market to achieve their most cherished goals and desires while renouncing less-important desires and satisfactions. The actual market prices and costs of production we observe are simply the objective manifestation of this war of scarcity in the human soul. It is the current or future goods we have to sacrifice and the opportunities for satisfaction that we have to renounce that are the only relevant "opportunity costs" of the things that we purchase. These subjective and immediate experiences of renunciation and sacrifice — and not some recorded sum of money that one guy paid another guy to perform a production task last month or last year — these are the costs that will influence our decisions about what to buy and what not to buy and, thereby, determine the prices we pay during this Christmas shopping season.
The point in talking about this is that people are constantly demanding that the government pull it's guns out to protect them from high and low prices - depending on whether they're currently the buyers or the sellers - regardless of the availability (the current - usually temporary - state of scarcity) or the desirability (the current - also usually temporary - state of demand) of the good under consideration. Boiled down, they want a guy with a gun to take what they want from someone else and give it to them. Never considering that, if it's not worth the original producer's time and resources to produce it, it will not exist. Or it will not be transported to their location. It will remain rare in that location and become rarer until it ceases to exist.

That is the formula for de-civilization.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

It's that time of year again!

Time for another swipe at the old mythology. Here's a bit of Ebenezer Scrooge and Economic Freedom by Russell D. Longcore
Look at the headlines coming out of Washington today. The DC criminals wish to punish the wealthy for accumulating wealth, while it works to lighten the tax burden on the poor and middle class. Belle must have been a closet Socialist, since she had no respect for Scrooge's work ethic. And, in her defense, we might say that Scrooge spent too much time at the office. But wealthy people don't get wealthy acting like wage-earners. They put their time and capital at risk, and reap financial rewards. Belle would not have had a philosophical problem spending Ebenezer's money if she had married him.

When Scrooge is with the Ghost of Christmas Present, the Ghost states plainly that if Cratchit's situation does not improve, Tiny Tim will die. But ol' Spooky lays the blame at the feet of Scrooge, not the boy's own father! As we mentioned before, Bob Cratchit had other options to working for Scrooge. Mrs. Cratchit gets mad when Bob raises a glass in toast to Scrooge... like it's his fault they are poor. Then Bob tells about his son Peter, who is trying to get a job that pays five shillings and sixpence a week, and about daughter Martha, who is an apprentice to a hatmaker. These two children are apparently contributing their incomes to the family, as they should. But Scrooge is not to blame for their predicaments... they alone are responsible for their lives.

In another scene, Scrooge's nephew Fred, says: "His wealth is of no use to him. He don't do any good with it. He don't make himself comfortable with it. He hasn't the satisfaction of thinking—ha, ha, ha.—that he is ever going to benefit us with it." Ever hear a more exacting expression of a mentality of entitlement? According to the author, Scrooge has some duty to spread the wealth that HE earned.

When the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come appears, Scrooge sees himself dead lying under a sheet while the Laundress, the Cleaning Lady (Charwoman) and "Old Joe" ransack Scrooge's house and steal what belongings they can carry off. Dickens makes no assertion that this is theft.
Dickens was a marvelous writer, and A Christmas Carol is, doubtless, his greatest product...he even manages to tell a great deal of Scrooge's side of the story. But he never digs very deep into economics. He has a very shallow understanding of it.

To his credit, though, - to his very great credit! - I think his stories about children are the biggest contributor to the improvement of childrearing that has occurred since his time. Having Tiny Tim and Oliver Twist in your head will eat away notions about 'little brats.' I sincerely doubt that anyone who has read those two books was a terrible parent.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Friday, December 03, 2010

Julian Assange is right and the people calling for his execution are wrong

Not to mention, evil.

Apparently they don't really believe in Jesus.

What does Jesus say about how to behave in battle?

People join the military (and police forces) to defend their family and friends from enemies, foreign and domestic. That's a very noble motive, no question about it. But that's not really what our military is up to. Our soldiers (and policemen) are the cutting edge of our government's efforts to f$*& everything up.

Here's some William Anderson:
In the post-World War II era, the "experts" that run our Administrative State not only have bankrupted this country, they have driven out productive people and productive entities, involved our armed forces in intractable wars (none of which have been declared by Congress, as the Constitution requires), put troops all over the world, and created a police state at home. Furthermore, they have managed to get away with it and have convinced Americans that any attempt to do away with this sorry state of affairs is an act of treason.

And what is the response when this folly is exposed? Yes, arrest those who have exposed it and give more power to those people who have been destroying our economy and our future.
There are also some great comments there. Like this:
I don't see much difference between what Assange and Wikileaks are doing from Daniel Elsberg and the Pentagon papers. And if the Wikileaks data dumps get us out of unconstitutional wars and illicit foreign activities as the Pentagon papers got us out of Vietnam, all the better. Critics can cry and moan and yell treason all they want but firstly, publishing the Pentagon papers was upheld by the Supreme Court as a first amendment right, and secondly how can Assange, a national of Australia be treasonous to the U.S. - as he holds no claim of loyalty to our nation in the first place?

Moreover, if it is believed that Assange should be assassinated for putting people in danger and hurting nation's diplomacy and reputations, then what should become of the actors in our government who's foreign policy, covert actions, and special interests have killed countless people around the world and hurt our national reputation and standing in the world?

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Here's a point I don't think I've heard before

From Bryan Caplan's Anarchist Theory FAQ:
If everyone drives on the right side of the road, isolated attempts to switch to the left side will be dangerous and probably unsuccessful. But if everyone drives on the left side of the road, the same danger exists for those who believe that the right side is superior and plan to act on their believe. Similarly, it is quite possible that given that a government exists, the existence of government is a stable equilibrium; but if a system of competitive protection firms existed, that too would be a stable equilibrium. In short, just because one equilibrium exists and is stable doesn't mean that it is the only possible equilibrium. Why then is the state so pervasive if it is just one possible equilibrium? The superiority of this equilibrium is one possible explanation; but it could also be due to ideology, or an inheritance from our barbarous ancestors.