Some Youtube Browsings

First of all, I’ve changed the theme! Hopefully it’s more readable and maybe a bit easier on the eyes. Let me know if it poses a problem, okay? 🙂

I’ve been watching the Yale Open Course series recently on Youtube, and one course that looks really fascinating is this Post-Emancipation African-American Experiences course! I’m already hooked and will probably watch the lectures through to the end.

On a more prosaic note, I’d like to make reference to Fundamentals of Physics. It’s a very good, reasonably accessible lecture series – by which I mean that the professor teaching it doesn’t try to overwhelm with math, but instead tries to get across the physical meaning of what it is he’s talking about. So if you have a few hours to spare and you want to learn some physics, go for it. 🙂


This is not the capitalism you’re looking for.

So I was browsing around imgur, and I ran across this image. A little bit of checking revealed the original reddit post. Now, readers who remember my comments from over on Slacktivist will know I’ve occasionally made ironic comments about the USA morphing into some kind of bad copy of the USSR.

Now, the USSR had a systemic tendency to resist innovation, and added to problems with the central planning apparatus, this created a country with an economy that was becoming more sluggish with every passing year. Now, in the Soviet Union, technological innovation would have proved beneficial and probably helped quite a few of the problems they were having, but when you have a society whose political and administrative apparatus is geared to doing the same thing over and over and over because it works, it produces a huge inertia that’s hard to overcome.

Well, that has finally come home to roost in the USA too it seems, in a uniquely capitalistic individual utility-maximizing fashion. Technological innovation apparently too often results in companies pursuing “rational” goals of maximizing the profit and monetary gains to a small core group who operate the company, while tossing employees out onto the street by the store-load.

Capitalism, unlike the Communist system employed in the USSR, actively seeks out technological innovation. It has to, because the drive for profit necessitates slashing costs as much as one can.

But, in the very course of this innovation-seeking, the people who run businesses have become used to the idea that innovation lets them get rid of workers instead of keeping workers to do more productive things with their time.

So in a rather perverse way, resistance to technological innovation by employees is now almost mandatory as a way to preserve the jobs and interests of fellow employees!

As this commenter said:

As a MySQL/Oracle DBA whose girlfriend works in retail, I whole heartedly approve of your saving people’s jobs at the cost of maintaining the inefficiencies of a soulless corporation that takes every chance it can get to fuck over it’s employees.

When the economic system we live in requires the generation of purposeful inefficiencies as a way to keep people from being mistreated by corporate bigwigs, it’s time we had a serious look at why we still seem to need to work 40 hours a week when that’s been the norm since the 1950s.

EoA: The Commissioner Acts

Edge of Apocalypse: pages 314-315 (Chapter Fifty-Three)

Hello all! I apologize a LOT for being absent from this blog for so long. Chalk it up to sheer laziness. 😛

(A note: I’ve added italics to some portions of my extracts to set them off from other parts of the text; the text itself has no italics for this part.)

So we’re back to the office of FCC Chairman Jacob Daniels. He’s consulted with all the commissioners and is now ready to make his brave last act:

At 4:10 in the afternoon, […] he finished his note.

After consulting with Commissioners KC and JL, I have made my decision. I will so order World Teleco to honor their contract with AmeriNews. Commissioners KC and JL concurred, making it a majority vote.

Welp, we’re off to the races! His decision’s been filed and that’s that. World Teleco is Not Happy:

Cheavers threatened the chairman with leading a “conspiracy to drive World Teleco out of business.” Daniels calmly replied that he had no such intent. “Unless, of course,” Daniels continued, “you violate our cease-and-desist order and fail to honor your service contract with AmeriNews. In which case we will revoke the authority of your company to do telecommunications in America, which you and I both know I have the power to do–and I have the votes.”

“I’ll appeal,” snarled Cheavers. “You’ll lose. You’ll look stupid. Then the president will finally get around to yanking you off the FCC.”

“All that may be true,” Daniels said. “But not until Wall Street and NASDAQ react to your corporation being suspended from doing business. I wonder what the record is for the fastest, deepest drop for the stock of any American Corporation. You folks at World Teleco might just break the record.”

After this, we switch over to AmeriNews: The Brave Patriots! Well, not the brave patriots part, but anyway, World Teleco apparently rather gracelessly backs down, and agrees to send out AmeriNews stuff. First up is their side of the story about Josh Jordan, naturally:

At 4:31 p.m., on the order of World Teleco executive Bill Cheavers, AmeriNews was launched to half of the Allfones in America. The headline read:

An American Hero Persecuted: Senator Lies about Joshua Jordan’s RTS Missile Defense System

That’s skirting pretty close to defamation, folks. And if that wasn’t enough…

The subheadline read:

Treason in Congress?

Oh, that’s not going to be unnecessarily incendiary or anything.

I had occasion to watch Atlas Shrugged Part II, and it’s even more blatantly graceless and anvilicious than Part I. And one thing that sticks in my mind about it is how the high officials in the government are all such obviously bad people who don’t even believe in what it is they’re claiming as the justification for what it is they’re doing.

It’s exactly the same here. For LaHaye and Parshall, the only thing that matters is that they say that the Democrats in Congress and in the Administration are a pack of lying weasels, even if that’s not factually true. I mean, this is serious business, accusing Congresspeople of committing acts against the interests of the United States. While Republicans often like to act as though Democrats are almost totally Un-American, I don’t think any of those wise guys has ever dared outright claim Democrats were committing treason. Here, because of the manufactured conflict that exists over the RTS-RGS, LaHaye and Parshall can, as the saying goes, Go There.

It’s a pretty audacious and outrageous claim to make, and I’m sure LaHaye and Parshall seem to think that Josh Jordan, as LaHaye’s apparent author avatar (if it’s not Pastor Campbell, but then again, as in Left Behind, LaHaye seems to like having multiple author avatars) is, on LaHaye’s behalf, standing up in unabashed heroic fashion, calling out the Satanically-inspired “worldly” government for what it is.

For LaHaye, the solution is obvious: Put God (or Jesus) in charge. Failing that, their appointed representatives shall serve. And as it happens, some Republican politicians make much of a muchness about their devotion to God, the USA, and Apple Pie, and according to people like LaHaye, these people are clearly the appointed representatives of a Godly government.

But absent clear direction from God, who’s to say they’d do any better of a job? Sin is part of human imperfection, and we’re all still imperfect and we all still make mistakes and do wrong things. Sin is not erased from this planet and as long as it persists a person claiming to be God’s representative to run a government has no greater standing than an atheist in that matter.

The wages of sin is death, and we all still die.