Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Good News

According to this Robert Zubrin article at National Review Online, this years Pacific Salmon catch has quintupled from previous years average numbers. 

Read that again; this years salmon catch is 5 times as large as the average catch over the last decade or so - and environmentalists are up in arms about it too.  So that would be a two-fer, right?  Plenty of inexpensive, really tasty fish this summer and self-marginalized demi-tyrants to point and laugh at.

Personally, I'm gonna stick to Soylant for the most part, which means I can afford a good cut of steak along with my salmon fillet for the occasional cookout.

h/t to Rand Simberg

Thursday, April 17, 2014

A Question Of Carry

Uncle asks Appendix Carry, What Say You? and I chimed in with my recollective viewpoint:
My personal direct experience with firearms only goes back to the mid-1960′s, but my admittedly hazy memory of this type of carry was that it was for DA revolvers, SA revolvers with an empty chamber under the hammer or small semi-auto pistols carried Condition 3. Which was all a part of the concealed carry concept of a century-or-so ago; a concealed weapon was implicitly assumed to be intended as a surreptitious option for personal defense. No “fast draw” capability was expected, or even considered desirable as a safety measure. If the situation warrented a more pro-active weapons stance, you readied your gun for that circumstance beforehand or cussed yourself for not paying closer attention to your surroundings. 
I haven’t made any sort of historical research effort on this, but this is my memory of what the “old timers” (my grandfather and his age cohort) said when I first started getting seriously interested in guns back when. I personally have occasionally worn my S&W 431PD in a belly holster at 11 o’clock for a r/h draw, but I’m a few kilo’s away from that option being what anyone other than the Texas legislature would call “concealed” today.
 As Uncle and several other of his commenters point out, modern holster and firearms designs expand the possibilities of safe carry well beyond those of a more historical standard.  Also, modern personal training opportunities and standards alter what was historically considered acceptable (the 4 Rules are important, but were never really more than a recommendation) (let's see who is humor deficient).

Personally, appendix carry (inside the waistband, immediately to the right of center-torso) never has been all that comfortable for me, especially when sitting down or bending and twisting at the hips (as you do when lifting items into or out of a vehicle, for instance).  I own shoulder holsters, several IWB and OWB holsters, a belly band holster, pistol pocket guard and even a FAG bag (for when I need to legally conceal a gun but want to create a good bit of uncertainty amongst others as to whether or not I'm actually carrying).  Find the option that suits you best and carry your gun in the most situationally suitable condition you hope not to have to use it in.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


Second day back at work yesterday and the seat support thingee I bought didn't help me make it to the end of the shift as well as it seemed to Monday.  Paid vacation for a day or two until I can put together a more effective lower spine support for use on a forklift truck.  Already sent the money to Amazon after I got home from work for attempt No. 2.  A couple different designs of L-spine/abs braces and a small seat pad to alter the angle I sit on the seat.  If this doesn't work I spend the hundred bucks for the pro-model seat back cushion, I guess.

There certainly seems to be real science behind all of this technology design, but I'm not doing any of it.  Vitamin I stacked with codeine will get you through the night though.

Sunday, April 6, 2014


Spent much of the day moving out of WinXP.  Well, sort of and mostly - if some casual passerby should happen to point out where/how I can put my established email account (Outlook Express) (don't judge) onto Win7, I could complete my escape and would snivel much less in coming days.  I resorted to the (temporary, damnit!) measure of moving most of my favorites/bookmark list onto the blog, so there's some added content to wade through.  Maybe you'll find something of newish interest.

It was a terrible day to go outside anyway.  Thunderstorm(s), inches of rainfall, the day's high temp was 51F and only got there after the wind dropped.  Can't say I'm actually excited to go back to work Monday, but my banker is looking less nervous and I have to pay for all this new technology I'm likely mis-using. 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Went to the 4pm matinee Friday afternoon; the theater was about 80% filled with more adults than kids.  If you are a fan of the Marvel Comics universe of movies, you definitely want to see this one.  The writers deftly weave references to other characters and events into the dialogue, which gives an added sense of substance to the story, and the dramatic events don't interrupt the suspension of disbelief a story of this type absolutely requires.  There are a few moments that won't bear up under the strain of even a casual application of high school science class rigor, but a smooth application of handwavium in the dialogue makes it mostly go down easily enough.  Stan Lee almost slipped his trademark cameo appearance past us too.

One thing I've noticed as the Avengers storyline has developed; with the exception of 7 people (I counted), the audience stayed quietly in their seats through the closing credits.  I expect to see this technique of having an added segment of the movie being tacked onto the end of the credits spread to other production companies than Marvel Studios.  This particular viewing audience reflex/expectation has been well and truly established now.  I wonder how soon the cable film producers will adopt it for their work?

Two thumbs up and several "like" buttons for this one.

Monday, March 31, 2014

The Strategy Of Money Redux

On March 4th of this year, Mr. Porretto published The Nature Of Money And Currency.  In that piece, Mr. Porretto relies on an incomplete definition, an outright falsehood and an appeal to authority in crafting an argument in support of his thesis, rather than the more traditional (not to say honest) method of letting the facts demonstrate the conclusion.

Mr. Porretto says:
Being an old fart, my education included a few items that are, let us say, no longer deemed suitable for dissemination to the impressionable young. However, had those young folks been exposed to a few of those items, quite a lot of our current miseries might well have been averted.
Two of those no-longer-chic items were the original definitions of money and currency:
money n: A medium of exchange and a store of value.
currency n: a proxy for money often employed in commercial intercourse.
I submit that a more fulsome (dare I say educational?) definition of money might be: An entirely imaginary medium of exchange providing both a mechanism for determining, and a store of, value (itself an equally hypothetical and transitory measure). 

Which is not to say that money isn't real or that things or ideas can't have real and lasting value.  But back to Mr. Porretto and his repetition of a common falsehood:
Money shares an important characteristic with language: it was a "crowdsourced" development. No one "invented" money ...
 Even a casual glance at human history will make obvious that the earliest of records from ancient human civilizations discovered so far, all center on recording the assets of the government (often in its function as religious authority).  These records make clear that the items themselves (food animals, agricultural produce, worked items, brewed or distilled liquids, raw land, etc) gradually were replaced by the entirely imaginary human concept of "money" instead of (and often in addition to) the quantity of item(s) being recorded.  Not "crowdsourced" by anonymous "no ones", but through a process of deliberate development of accounting mechanisms in support of a hypothesis toward more efficient (or at least more thoroughly documented) government.

And, finally, the appeal to authority:
Many astute and observant things have been said about money. Some of them are even true. For my money (sorry about that), the most piercing statement ever made about money occurred on the floor of the United States Senate, in 1912. The great financier J. P. Morgan had been asked to testify to that august body on monetary matters. This was the very first inquiry put to him:
Senator: Mr. Morgan, what is money?
J. P. Morgan: Gold is money, and nothing else is.
Morgan's understanding of the properties required of money was clear and unshakable.

Not to mention entirely (and no doubt unapologetically) self-serving.  Can we take it as a given that by 1912 J. P. Morgan had amassed a quantity of refined metals (and more specifically, gold) sufficient to make any other answer financially damaging, if not ruinous, for himself and his many business interests? A less partial or more biased source of opinion seems unlikely to me.

I have given attention to the concept of money before now.  One of the aspects of the construct we call "money" that I have yet to see given much consideration is the distributed network effect the concept creates.

Contra Mr. Morgan (and, apparently, Mr. Porretto), gold and other refined metals are currency, not money.  As such, they provide a physical mechanism to achieve the storage characteristic that money allows, along with being one of the physical transactional proxies of money during "commercial intercourse".

Money is a theoretical expression of transactional value.  It is this which removes any physical material from consideration as being itself money.  Accounting is the documentation of the (however spirited or lethargic) transaction process; money is the idea that permits any object or idea to be accounted at a determined value at any point in the exchange process, and currency is the stipulated unit in which value is expressed, stored and exchanged.  It is this complex nature of currency that also permits it (as a proxy of money) to operate as a distributed network between distant, and even actively opposed, peoples.

One of the great failings arising from this early network effect is the widespread conflation of specific forms of currency with money, along with the equally common belief that value has a fixed or permanent component to its nature (I suspect because almost anything has some value almost anywhere at any given moment, causing the illusion of intrinsic value).  Because money is accounted and denominated in currency values, there is a strong and widespread impulse to manipulate those values (even if only to stabilize them beyond the moment).  Indeed, one of the most prominent claims to legitimacy of any government or nation is the stability and value of its currency.  This points out the fallacy of gold as money, as gold must have a denominated and stable value as currency, but doing so severely limits the value of the money the gold currency serves as proxy for (and thereby limits the hypothetical wealth of nations, so to speak).  Currency is a complex concept, but not capable of the stretch that level of complexity demands.

For the reasons Mr. Porretto notes, refined metals are historically the most common form of currency used in value transaction.  From this facility at commercial intercourse, the monetary network effect also measures, transmits, receives, recalculates and re-transmits (wash, rinse, repeat ad nauseum) information just as well as it facilitates transaction in physical items.  Not to the standards of speed or specificity of data a modern human would expect, but far more quickly and complexly than any individual of a more ancient era could ever achieve directly. 

What is needed still is a non-currency value of measurable, but reasonably directly equatable, quantity.  I suggest the electrical value: erg.  An erg of electricity can be expressed in watts, which are themselves an established measure of "work".  Any nation's monetary value can be reasonably (and surprisingly accurately) expressed in the electric (or equivalent) capability to perform "work", and thus an international value can be assigned to a country's currency entirely unrelated to the local (or even planetary) availability of any given refined metal, or even necessarily the actual quantity of "work" performed (contemplate the electrical concept "potential" as it might be applied in this context).  Regardless of national origin, money is measured as the work capable of being performed by a stipulated amount of electricity (as measured in ergs), and a country's currency is valued by the total amount of work that nation generates (or controls?) over a stipulated time period.  No one needs to enforce this system, as anyone can perform the required calculations from a compendium of recent historical data for that country (the compiling and certification of which is a potential business opportunity all in itself).  As ideas go, this one undoubtedly needs more work. 

Mr. Porretto writes in support of a particular political ideology that appears to feature as a short term inevitability the violent disruption of his and my country at the very least.  He is certainly not unique in this belief, but his beliefs serve as a preconceived outcome to his essay rather than a truly logical conclusion drawn from the facts he presents.  Given the influence his work has on other writers I admire, this is unfortunate and misleading.  Mr. Porretto has written further on this topic here and here, but I expect they are also examples of his pursuit of an ideological aspiration rather than informed economic essays. 


Friday, March 28, 2014

Yee, Hee Hee

I predict that California state Senator Leland Yee will be post facto "discovered" to have been a state undercover agent the whole time, once the Democratic Party masseuses have there way with the "evidence".

You read it here first (I hope), but you know you've been thinking the same thing since you first heard this story.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

More Away Game

BobS at 3 Boxes of BS has an update to (relatively) recent changes in Texas' CHL legislation.
This removes considerable worry about a shirt riding up or the wind blowing a cover garment up and exposing the firearm.Combine that with the protection of displaying in situations where the use of force or deadly force would be appropriate and the really helps the gun owner.      
Not quite Open Carry but on the way. Even more importantly was the fact this bill wasn’t a stretch, it wasn’t an oddity in an otherwise hostile legislative session; it was 1 of 14 bills that generally improved the rights of the people.

Never one to simply bask in my admittedly very faint share of the glow of satisfaction resulting from all this, it absolutely was not beneath me to poke a stick into the corner of this series of tubes where the determinedly down-spirited portion of the 2A community like to point and pout, and give it a vigorous stir:
This right here is one of the strong arguments against the fatalist position that “we can’t/won’t vote our way out of this”. Over the past 20+ years, Texans have worked within the standard legislative process to indeed vote ourselves out of the restrictive legal environment we owned and carried firearms in. The same is achievable in any other state or Federal District, Possession or Territory within the Union too; it only needs the citizens resident there to not meekly accept the denial of their rights by those who profit from doing so.
3-pers Rejoice! Your model of success is before you! :)
 Running counter to form, I'm not being the least bit tongue-in-cheek there either.  We live in a Republic; the responsibility is ours to each work within that political process to keep the legal and regulatory burden our form of government imposes at a level we collectively find least intolerable.  If you aren't willing to do that, you're as much a part of the problem as those who work to increase the burden to deny exercise of our rights.

And, just for the record, if you're one of those posturing narcissists who claim to anticipate "another American Revolution", I direct your attention to the "...and Domestic" language in the Oath administered to all members of the US armed forces upon entering service.  They follow right after the "Enemies Foreign ..." verbiage.

Americans change our own government without shooting* at each other.  Don't be that other guy.

*Yeah, Yeah ... ACW/War of Somebody's Aggression; look how well that turned out for us.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Quick Thinker

If this story doesn't have you laughing around watering eyes, you need to smack both elbows into the concrete very hard to stimulate your funny bone.

Thanks Joe.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

That's Right(s)!

At his blog Alpha Game novelist Vox Day offers commentary on how rights are expressed and offers an interesting conclusion:

Either my observations and Roissy's observations are true or they are not true. That is the sole relevant metric. They cannot be undermined by racial preferences anymore than they are undermined by sports team or ice cream preferences.

My only objection to the above would be the lack of the qualification "personal" in the statement.  "... by personal racial preferences ..." and "personal sports team or ice cream preferences."

Many people (though Vox Day does not number among them by my reading) fail to acknowledge that the American Revolution of 1776 was a political revolution only.  Indeed, considerations other than the strictly political were rather ruthlessly bargained over to keep proceedings as narrowly focused on the political dispute with Britain as possible.  The phrase, "all men are created equal", is an explicit declaration of political condition, and no other.  This has resulted in most of modern America being dominated by attempts to resolve social and ethical perceived injustices by the political process developed as a result of determinedly ignoring those same social and economic inequities.  That the political shoe pinches is only to be expected really.

Arguably the fundamental precept of the United States of America is that everyone has "rights".  Government is the means by which we by-and-large agree to regulate the means and manner in which we each get to express those rights equilaterally.  The Men's Rights Movement is the response to the modern assertion that women have greater claim to government support of expression of their rights than do men.

As can be seen, we can and do quibble and remonstrate with each other over when, how and to what degree we get to exercise our rights.  To the point that we effectively deny expression of rights entirely sometimes as a means of entrenching expression of the rights of some over others.  Government exists for the sole purpose of guaranteeing the expression of rights by the individual through the collective mechanism of partial regulation of the means chosen to express those rights.

The foundational viewpoint that underlies classical strategy is that the concepts are explained hierarchically, but they are exercised as a closed circle of actions that must be balanced in the totality of their individual expression.

Much like human/civil rights in the modern world.

We discuss our rights in a hierarchical fashion because that's just how language works; point A is supported by point B and etc.  Actual expression of those rights is as part of a balanced whole of actions taken.  Individual preferences influence how and with whom we choose to exercise our individual rights, but that fact cannot deny us the exercise of our rights at all, except as we allow it to.  Actively denying someone the ability to express his rights makes you the legitimate target of his efforts to do so anyway.  If you insist upon hanging a target around your own neck, don't cry when the inevitable happens afterward.

"War On Women" indeed.