Yearly Archives: 2011

Broken MetroCard Vending Machines

I’ve started having problems with the NYC Subway MetroCard machines.  Every once in awhile, my card becomes unreadable.

I didn’t have this problem until recently.

Even more bizarre, some MetroCards are unreadable in the turnstyles and cash vending machines, but they are readable in the credit card only (no cash) vending machines.

I figured out why.

The MetroCard machines are 10 years old.  The magnets and parts are wearing out.  Nobody is doing the maintenance.

If there’s an error, your MetroCard gets stuck in an unreadable state.

The cash machines are also pretty worn out.

The credit card machines are like-new.  Most people pay by cash rather than by credit card.  The credit card only machines are newer than the cash-only machines.  That’s why my “damaged” MetroCards are only readable in the credit card vending machines.  If you put a damaged metrocard into a credit card machine and add value, you can get it to reset the card.  (I have a transitcheck debit card now, so I use the credit card machines.)

Also, with the new subway fare scheme, you get a 7% bonus when you put money on a card, but the fare is $2.25.  That leads to MetroCards with odd amounts on them.  I realized that you can get token clerks to combine the money on two cards.  However, not every token clerk knows how to enter the transaction on his computer.  The token clerk will tell you “You’re not allowed to do that.”  Also, if you have a damaged card, you can move the value to a new card, but many token clerks don’t know how to do that transaction.  (For the MetroCard, the value of the card is stored both on the card an on the MTA’s server.  By entering the serial #, the clerk can discover the value on a damaged MetroCard, and transfer it.  Most token clerks don’t know how to do this, and they’ll lie to you and say you need to mail it to the MTA for a refund.)

That was pretty funny.  Recently, I’ve had a lot of problems where my MetroCard malfunctions and gets stuck in an unreadable state.  I figured out why.  The magnets and parts are wearing out!  Nobody is doing repairs or maintenance!

MF Global Lesson – Don’t Buy Futures, Only Physical

If you buy any paper gold, there is a risk of default. You should only accept physical gold, and never paper.

Some people say “Buy a future, pay cash, and hold a COMEX warehouse receipt. There is a specific numbered bar that belongs to you. You pay a small storage fee. Your investment is safe and liquid.”

There’s one problem. Your broker was MF Global.

The MF Global bankruptcy showed that COMEX warehouse receipts are worthless. If you owned a COMEX warehouse receipt through MF Global, you are SOL.

This illustrates a technicality is the US brokerage system. If you own stocks, bonds, or COMEX receipts, they technically are *NOT* owned by you. They are owned by your broker and held in trust for you.

Under normal circumstances, it makes no difference. However, when your broker commits fraud and declares bankruptcy, you get cheated. You thought you had a secure investment, and then you’re just another creditor in bankruptcy court.

When you own a COMEX warehouse receipt, you don’t actually own it directly yourself.  You own it via a broker.  If that broker pulls a Corzine and robs you, then you are SOL.

You also can be exposed via gold ETFs. Suppose that the GLD ETF was using MF Global as their broker. According to the fund prospectus, fund shareholders get hit with any loss, in the event of a default.

This story on zerohedge had an interesting bit. Two MF Global customers claimed the same bar of gold! They thought they had a specific numbered bar that belonged to them. MF Global told two customers that they owned the same bar!

There’s another technicality. Suppose an MF Global customer has a warehouse receipt for a 100 ounce bar of gold, valued at $170,000. The customer paid in full and has $170,000 equity in his account. However, MF Global is only required to keep a 5% margin requirement at the COMEX. MF Global can steal the remaining 95%. Jon Corzine stole $161,500 of the customers’ equity and spent it gambling on European bonds.  After bankruptcy, the customer can’t claim his gold bar, because MF Global’s account only has 5% equity and not the 100% equity that the customer had.  The customer becomes a creditor in bankruptcy court just like every other creditor, even though he had a paid-in-full COMEX warehouse receipt!

This is the classic fractional reserve banking scam. Two MF Global customers were given “demand deposits” or “warehouse receipts” on the same bar of gold. A customer thought he had a full reserve warehouse receipt, but MF Global stole the equity in his account.

This post on zerohedge illustrates the problem. All MF Global customers are now creditors in bankruptcy court. Even if you had a paid-in-full warehouse receipt, you’re only going to get 65% or whatever the other customers get in the bankruptcy. The customers with a warehouse receipt are treated the same as all other creditors, getting paid off a % of the equity in their account.

Amusingly, adding insult to injury, MF Global customers are being charged a store fee from COMEX, from the time of bankruptcy until final liquidation. Jon Corzine stole your gold bar, and he’s still charging you a storage fee, even after he got caught stealing!

This quote tells the point:

The bottom line is that apparently some warehouses and bullion dealers are not a safe place to store your gold and silver, even if you hold a specific warehouse receipt. In an oligarchy, private ownership is merely a concept, subject to interpretation and confiscation.

There is literally *NO* safe investment.  If you invest in a checking account or bonds, you get robbed by inflation.  If you invest in the stock market, you underperform true inflation (gold).  Stocks have earnings and pay a dividend, but you have all the fraud and waste and theft associated with a large corporation.  If you invest in paper gold (ETF or COMEX receipt), you can get robbed by a crooked fund manager or broker.  If you put gold coins in a safe deposit box at a bank, the bank can steal it, and then it’s your word against theirs regarding the contents of your safe deposit box.  Plus, safe deposit box contents must be reported to the IRS/State.  During the 1933 gold confiscation, your bank was legally required to rob you, if you held gold coins in a bank safe deposit box.  If you hide gold in your home, you can be robbed by common criminals.  If you hide gold in your home, you can also be robbed by criminals wearing badges and uniforms.  They will claim “Only a criminal hides gold in his home!”, and via “asset forfeiture”, you have the burden of proof to try and recover your property.

That is one of the brilliant aspects of the State financial scam.  There is literally *NO* safe investment!

I used to fall for the “exponential growth” model of investing.  That’s a lie.  If your returns don’t outperform inflation, then your investments follow asymptotic growth and not exponential growth.  If my investments underperform inflation by 10% per year, then the maximum value of my savings is 10x the amount I save per year!  (Don’t pro-State troll with “The CPI is an accurate measure of inflation!”  Hopefully, none of my regular readers are dumb enough to fall for that one.)

This post on zerohedge had another interesting bit.  MF Global lost money speculating on European bonds.  The market value of those bonds decreased, but if those bonds are held to maturity without default, then MF Global might have profited.  According to that article, those bonds were sold to JP Morgan Chase at a 5% discount to fair market value.  Even after MF Global’s bankruptcy, MF Global customers were still getting fleeced!  That 5% was taken from MF Global’s customers/creditors, and transfered to JP Morgan Chase’s executive bonus fund.

There was another loophole.  The CME has a rule that the clearing fund reimburses customers in the event of a clearing default.  HOWEVER, this was not a clearing default!  MF Global never defaulted on its obligations to the CME.  Instead, Corzine stole segregated customer funds!  That isn’t covered by the CME clearing fund rules!  You have to read the fine print!  However, there may be some liability for the CME and COMEX, because they had an obligation to regulate MF Global.  There is an argument that the clearing fund shouldn’t be used to reimburse MF Global’s customers, because then other banks would be responsible for MF Global’s fraud.  They would get bailed out by the State anyway, if they were forced to reimburse MF Global’s customers.

This post on zerohedge was also interesting.  It agreed with some of the points I made.  Jon Corzine isn’t some fool who misplaced $1.2B of customer money.  He knew exactly what he was doing.  He raided segregated customer accounts to cover a shortfall elsewhere.  Jon Corzine was probably smart enough to leave no trail of E-Mail messages or paper.  He paid off his subordinates to not testify against him.  Most of MF Global’s other executives are well-connected scum; they will find high-paying jobs elsewhere, in exchange for keeping quiet and playing stupid when they’re asked to testify.

This illustrates the problem with the State banking system.  If you invest in banks, stocks, gold ETFs, or COMEX warehouse receipts, there’s nothing that prevents someone dishonest from robbing you.  The only safe investment in physical gold and silver hidden someplace safe.  Even then, you’re at risk for being robbed.  With physical gold and silver, you can be robbed by common criminals or criminals wearing badges and uniforms.  There is literally no safe investment.

Reader Mail – 12/11/2011 To 12/17/2011

Note: Due to a defect in the rawr plugin, the formatting for this post shows up wrong on the blog homepage, but it does show up correctly if you view it as a single post or in a RSS reader.

There were two interesting flamewars this week.

My post on node.js was discussed on a node.js mailing list. This led to a lot of negative comments on that post.

There also were some negative comments on my post on the Climategate scandal.

These actually are sort of related. When people react with hostility, that's an indication that the subject is important and that I'm right.

If I write

aspfho asduh rgpuh rgh prh gdrpsx;r xruxuxur;o w
Does that offend anyone? Of course not.

If I write

Node.js is a lousy language/framework. Stupid people and evil people are using node.js because they listen to the hype and don't seriously evaluate the technical merit.
"Carbon dioxide causes global warming!" is a scam. It's fake science. A lot of people listen to the hype regarding "global warming" and ignore the details.
Based on my observations, homosexuality is a mental illness.

Those statements really offend some people. For each of those statements, I'm mostly sure that I'm right. I'm not 100% certain, but I haven't seen any convincing counter-arguments.

That is one thing I've learned from blogging. The more hostility people have towards an idea, the more likely it is to be true and important. Pro-State brainwashing and the Matrix are very powerful. That helps me evaluate the importance of an idea, just from the amount of hostility it generates.

The truth is not determined by a majority vote. Even if a supermajority of people disagree with me, that doesn't automatically mean I'm wrong.

In the node.js discussion, if you follow the discussion on the node.js discussion group (linked below), most of the people were merely calling me names. They didn't address any of the real concerns I have about node.js.

There was similar poor reasoning demonstrated by the people arguing in favor of "Carbon dioxide causes global warming!"

marc calderwood commented on About FSK.

Just found your comments on BMI. My wife and I opened an open-air arts and crafts market 2 years ago. We built a small stage, a place for local musicians to come out and play. We're open only 60 days a year, we have musicians play about 2 hours a day and the rest is radio. I'm paying ASCAP a fee for radio, but they want performance fees. Ain't gonna happen! I don't charge for anyone to listen and we collect tips so that the musicians might get a tank of gas or a meal. Since I set up my little stage I've had the musicians tell me there are fewer and fewer places to play. I can only imagine this due to the "extortionist licencing pigs." I've already visited with a state legislator who will sponsor a bill, limiting how much these folks can soak us for. I'm intentionally targeting small business's under 100K gross. Most of the coffee shops and smaller venues cannot afford these fees. I have not finished your article, but will soon. Do you know of any other states that have limited what these thugs can collect?

Thanks for any help you can give.


There really isn't much you can do. They own Congress and the judges, and they know it.

State law won't help. Federal copyright law takes precedence over state law.

It isn't a true free market negotiation. It's "Pay what we demand or we sue. BTW, we own all the judges and never lose."

It can get worse. Under the new proposed SOPA law, copyright infringement will be criminal and not civil. Not only could you be sued, but if the law is changed, you can go to jail!

Current copyright law is totally the result of lobbying by big media corporations. The little guy gets squeezed out.

andy commented on node.js Is VB6 - Does node.js Suck?.
wow. so everyone who doesn't agree with your cock-eyed view of the world is obviously a parasite or a psychopath. you really need to take a step back and listen to the nonsense you are spouting. your article is so full of factual inaccuracies i don't even know where to start. maybe you should put your LAMP stack aside for a few hours and take some time to actually do some research on scalable server design. node.js is far from perfect but it get's a lot of things very right and has a lot of very smart people working on it. i really hope you don't get the job because you will obviously just get fired again within a few months for not being a team player...

cheapest commented on node.js Is VB6 - Does node.js Suck?.

It must be nice being able to fit the technologies you use in a four letter acronym. I'm sure its easier for you, stick with it!

Philipp Dunkel commented on node.js Is VB6 - Does node.js Suck?.

Interesting Article,

However if I were you, I would never have published it. Why you ask, because it proves that you are unable to find your behind with two hands. Now you might be right about the people across the table from you, but every bit of analysis you did is plain misinformed.

If you had any real idea, what you were doing, you would have done a more thorough assessment before spouting off. You would have had an in-depth look at the nodeJS source code. You would have then had deep hard think about the concepts involved. You would then have had a look at the nodeJS documentation. And after that you would have (presuming your intelligence is anywhere near what you claim) come to the realization that maybe you should rethink what you believe to know.

Now you might ask: "Why is he so confident in making these claims?" Well because I sam the CTO of a startup; we started out doing a prototype on a LAMP stack as a proof of concept. We have since been funded and have rewritten our site to be more easily able to expand. We did so by implementing all our back-end services in nodeJS and we did that in the time of 3 months, including redoing the front-end, and adding several verticals expanding our offering significantly.

Oh and yes, as a startup we are a small team and the CTO actually has to code. So I actually have a clear and present example of how things can turn out using nodeJS. Of course "disasters" can happen using nodeJS as well. Just like in Rails, Perl, PHP, or any other language/environment. In my time I have seen a bunch of disasters happening. One thing I noticed is that it never was really a problem of the language or the environment. Usually it was bad management, bad resource use, or a bad design.

If I were you, I wouldn't take myself as the fount of all wisdom. I'd reevaluate my preconceptions and try to imagine a world where I was completely wrong. And once that is done, I'd try to get myself some actual experience and try to look at the bigger picture a bit. Maybe when you get another 10 years of experience under your belt, you'll be able to find your behind with two hands; who knows, maybe you'll even be able to find it with one.

Anonymous Coward commented on node.js Is VB6 - Does node.js Suck?.

You're just a jerk, no wonder you're in the job interview state..

I do have a job now. It's with a company that isn't going to be bankrupt in two years. I'm using ASP.NET and ASP and VB.NET. I've never used them before and I'm doing fine. (Actually, ASP.NET is very similar to PHP, except that the underlying language is VB instead of Perl-like PHP.)

I did look at the node.js documentation. It was unreadable garbage just like the Rails documentation. Why should I have to look at the node.js source code just to understand how to use it?

My article was probably discussed somewhere else. A bunch of people made negative comments at the same time.

If you're writing small services in node.js, that might work. If you're writing a complex application, it's probably going to be a disaster. There's no way my current employer's application would work in node.js.

The node.js idiots still haven't got a working website. They did say "It'll be ready in a month", and it still isn't done. They updated their placeholder website from "Sign up and we'll E-Mail you when we launch in late 2011." to "Sign up and we'll E-Mail you when we launch."

The node.js idiots were all using Macs. The "Rails Advocate" from my old job had a Mac. I'm starting to be pretty convinced that if you're a computer programmer and own a Mac, you're probably clueless. That should be Apple's slogan "A computer so easy to use, that even an evil person can use it." You're pretty stupid if you pay a lot extra for hardware, just so you can have the Mac OS. I also can't stand the iPhone, because it's way more crippled than Android.

Yes, bad management is also a factor. Bad management is much more likely to chase the latest trend, rather than do things right. I'm convinced that node.js is the latest hot trend, hype over substance.

I saw one amusing code fragment. He had "self = this" in every function. You have to preserve the "this" variable for the callback, because "this" always refers to the current object. If you have "self = this" at the top of every function, that's a sign that there's something wrong with your language.

Callbacks are a disgusting way to code. It rapidly leads to a mess.

There was another amusing "feature" of node.js. If you have a bug in your code, then the entire server crashes! That was amusing and pathetic.

Philipp Dunkel sounds like a world-class douchebag. I hope I never work for scum like him again. Also, his website looks like a spam site. Just because you're the CTO of a startup, doesn't mean you actually know anything. There are plenty of VCs willing to waste money.

I'm still convinced that node.js and Rails are garbage. I'll stick with VB/ASP or LAMP over node.js or Rails anytime. When evil people strongly disagree with me, I see that as evidence that I'm right.

I certainly can refuse all node.js and Rails jobs, and still find other jobs. It's actually helpful. If a job ad says "Rails required" or "node.js required", then I know they're idiots and don't waste my time.

I am openminded. I've noticed that "uses lousy languages" is highly correlated with "idiot/evil management".

Philipp Dunkel commented on node.js Is VB6 - Does node.js Suck?.

Thank you very much!!!

being called a "world-class douchebag" and "scum" by you is something I consider a mark of quality and I believe most of the world would agree with me.

Aside from that: reread my earlier post and take the advice contained, to which I only add one piece:

Just because you spew vitriol does not mean you are not clueless, quite the reverse in fact.

Paul commented on node.js Is VB6 - Does node.js Suck?.

I like node.js, but the author does have some valid points about some of the node.js pain points (albeit in an abrasive manner). Some of it is even kind of funny, especially if you've ever had to work with "difficult" people.

alFReD NSH commented on node.js Is VB6 - Does node.js Suck?.

Well EACH NodeJS process is one threaded, but that doesn't mean you should run just one thread! In production of NodeJS application, we usually use more than one process(usually one for each core). You can have a load balancer which redirects the requests to processes. By this way you can scale and use more than one server easily. Node also have native clustering support. Using one thread for the whole application is not a good idea, since if there's any unhandled exception, that will kill the whole application. Beside the idea of using a load balancer, you can even use which is a provides a fancy TCP, for different processes of your application to talk to each other. With you can have one process for each component, using multi-core advantage, you can even have an easier error management design. The only thing that I find NodeJS might not be good enough, is that it is not faster than C! Though thanks to V8, it executes JavaScript faster than PHP, python and ruby. You can even easily have your async modules written in C, that can expose the library API to JS.

Sean commented on node.js Is VB6 - Does node.js Suck?.

Try doing 100,000 open websockets with PHP or ASP and you'll realise why Node.js is the right choice for it.

alessioalex commented on node.js Is VB6 - Does node.js Suck?.

@alFReD NSH don't even bother, leave the man along with his LAMP stack and hatred towards Node.js, Rails and Apple. I'm sure he knows what he's doing #no #not_really

How many websites actually have 100,000 simultaneous users?

There's more to evaluating a language, than the # of "hello world" jobs it can do per second.

Try writing something with complex business logic in node.js, and you'll understand my point. I can see node.js working for small simple things, but not for anything complicated; if it's small and simple, you could use any language or even C.

My experience with a Rails disaster was very educational. If node.js is the Rails replacement, I definitely want to avoid it.

I probably have more experience than most of the people advocating for node.js. By programmer standards, I'm an old man now. In most of my job interviews, I was the oldest person there, and I'm not that old!

If you have to install a bunch of other packages and tools to get proper behavior out of node.js, that's a symptom that you're building on a flawed foundation.

You have not convinced me that node.js is not hype over substance.

Anyway, you're free to work with node.js, and I'm free to work for people who have a clue. At this point, we're just calling each other names and not really having a discussion.

I only looked into node.js because of that job interview. They still don't have a working website, and I know I could have done it by myself in a month. It reminded me a lot of the Rails disaster. I briefly researched node.js, and concluded it was garbage like Rails. In fact, many of the people who loved Rails are following the hype and moving to node.js. I wrote a post summarizing my conclusions, hoping to warn some of my regular readers. Some of them appreciated it, and one said that he avoided wasting time on node.js based on my recommendation. My old post was cited on a node.js discussion group, and now some people there are upset. All of the comments they made about me were name-calling without addressing any of my points.

There is one point that is true. If you're an evil hiring manager, it definitely would be a disaster to hire me. Fortunately, I found a job working for people who have a clue and seem to appreciate me.

I have a new job working with VB.NET and ASP.NET. Those will definitely still be around in 5 years, so that's good experience. I have no reason to investigate node.js anymore. PHP/LAMP/WordPress is fine for this website.

Nathan commented on More node.js Observations.
Your angry rant seems to have little to do with Node and more to do with disliking other programmers / business people. Are you sure that you aren't the sociopath? Sounds like you have trouble understanding the actions / emotions of others.

Isaac Z. Schlueter commented on More node.js Observations.

I also disagree with the fictional person you made up to prove your point.

No, Philipp Dunkel is real. Such clueless evil people are typical of node.js and Ruby on Rails supporters. (He actually looks like the Rails advocate from that old job. He also uses a Mac, which is another strike against him.)

That is pretty funny. Philipp Dunkel was so obviously evil that someone thought I made him up to discredit the people promoting node.js.

This is exactly the personality opposite I was talking about, "abused productive" vs. psychopath. I claim that Philipp Dunkel is a psychopath and he claims I'm evil. An evil person can go very far in a world where everyone is insane. The evil people get the illusion that they're a genius, when they're really criminally insane like Bernard Madoff.

I found the thread where they were discussing this post.

The title "realfreemarket spewing node.js hate" was amusing. I wrote two posts on the subject. This post is already more than a month old. I've moved on to other things, but a good flamewar is always amusimg. My current ASP.NET and VB.NET experience should be worth more than the node.js experience would have been, especially if I don't want to work for idiots. Maybe my current employer will really appreciate me and I'll be their awhile.

Yes, I do have a new job. Yes, they are getting good value. Here's something that happened today. They had the indexes on their database set up wrong. I explained it to them and now their website isn't slow.

They had a bad experience hiring someone clueless like the node.js advocates. They nearly wrecked the company. So, they are appreciating someone competent.

Back to node.js, it's nothing but name calling.

FSK: Using node.js is a bad idea and here's why ...

Philipp: FSK is an idiot.

FSK: You're an idiot.

There is no meeting of the minds. It's just a name-calling contest.

I do have specific criticisms of node.js, which nobody ever answered.

In these days of multi-core servers, why would anyone make a single-threaded-only server? You can spawn child processes with node.js, but then you lose the benefits of node.js in the first place. Why would I manually manage child processes and threads, when the OS can do it for me?

Someone said "Node.js has a package manager! Therefore it's awesome!" A package manager isn't anything special. I've used CPAN (Perl), apt-get (ubuntu). I haven't used PEAR (PHP) or the one for Rails. Also, many node.js packages aren't that good, because it's all new.

Callback functions lead to an ugly mess, if you're doing anything nontrivial.

I'd rather let the OS handle scheduling for me, rather than do it all myself in my code.

In node.js, you have to use self=this, to preserve the current class for when the callback is called. That's a mess.

In node.js, if you have a bug anywhere, the entire server crashes.

Node.js might work for small simple services. It would be a disaster for anything complicated.

I did look at the node.js documentation. It wasn't very helpful. It was very similar to the Rails documentation.

Some people said "We're at a funded startup and FSK isn't. Therefore, FSK sucks." There are plenty of VCs willing to fund something stupid. Chasing hype actually helps get VC money. If you say "We're using ASP.NET!", then the VC will say "Boring! Next!" If you say "We're using node.js! It's the hot trendy thing!" then the VC will say "How much money do you want?!"

Philipp Dunkel's website sucked. I tried to paste it into Google Translate, but Google Translate chocked on his node.js port redirecting.

I don't waste time trolling node.js or Rails discussion groups and tell them they're wasting there time. Why are you wasting time posting here and calling me names? If I'm such an idiot loser, then how pathetic does that make you for wasting time posting here?

If you genuinely have something good, it doesn't matter if people criticize it. If you called my employer and pointed out that they should fire me, they would laugh at you.

If you're running a con, you don't want anyone criticizing you at all. You don't want anyone saying anything negative, because that ruins your scam.

If I say "The emperor is naked!", you respond "FSK has a vision problem!" At this point, it's just a name-calling contest. There's no further progress to be made.

I think that this post is now #2 in Google for "node.js sucks"! That's quite an accomplishment. I hope I help a few other intelligent people avoid wasting their time. (My google might be biased, because Google now custom-fits search results based on what you do. I need to find an objective way to measure my search result rank.)

In another comment, someone said that he decided against learning node.js, after I pointed out the flaws. I helped someone, even if everyone else who reads this post is offended.

Paul commented on TV Shows That End At :01.
Program defensively. Pad your end time by 5 min. Sucks if you have only one tuner however.

Anonymous Coward commented on Climategate Dismissed.
I haven't investigated global warming (now called climate change [who decided to change the name and why?]) thoroughly enough to talk definitely.

1) Even if carbon dioxide does reflect heat back to Earth, is its concentration enough to be significant? Maybe the concentration could go up an order of magnitude before it has any warming effects?

2) Is the increase of CO2 levels just a correlation i.e. cause and effect has not been provided?

3) Could the increase in temperature be due to sun spots?

4) Could it be some areas of the Earth are getting warmer and other areas colder?

5) Is the Earth really getting hotter? Could it just be the thermometers are located near hot cities?

Remember this comment, because I'm going to refer to it again below. I'll call this comment AC#1.

Anonymous Coward commented on Climategate Dismissed.

Can we do an experiment i.e. increase carbon dioxide levels on another Earth-like planet and see what heating effects it has?

Anonymous Coward commented on Climategate Dismissed.

Do you think regardless of the validity of climate change/global warming, we should have a diverse energy policy that includes solar, wind and more advanced forms of nuclear energy (i.e. with fuel reprocessing potentially getting 60x more energy out of the uranium)?

Obviously oil and gas is getting harder to extract if companies are having to get it out of deep water and develop new techniques (horizontal fraction, steam heating of heavy oil etc).

Anonymous Coward commented on Climategate Dismissed.

Off-topic I know, but I have a solution to the debt problem.

Jupiter and saturn are made up of a lot of hydrogen which can be used on Earth as clean energy.

We should issue bonds to raise money backed by the hydrogen on Jupiter.

This would solve our debt, energy and global warming problems all in one easy step!

gilliganscorner commented on Climategate Dismissed.

A number of people have replaced religion with climate change. You'll observe the *EXACT SAME* response when you challenge the existence of god as you do when you challenge the legitimacy of climate change.

Nathan commented on Climategate Dismissed.

Two people were discussing carbon dioxide and global warming being a scam.

I mentioned, "Did you hear that almost all peer reviewed publications by climate scientists supports climate change? Did you know that zero national or international bodies of science hold a dissenting opinion on the issue with few holding neutral opinions?"

They replied, "That's false!" They didn't provide any details. It was an emotional cut-off response. Their body language made it clear that they weren't interested in discussing anything that challenged their pro-Oil brainwashing.

This actually is a common trick. You used it here and it also was mentioned in the node.js flamewar. An evil person uses the language and attitude of an intelligent person, and turns it around. You took the point I made and inverted it. To a clueless observer, the two arguments cancel.

I have provided details. Peer review is a censorship process. If you have a dissenting view, you can't get your papers published, you can't get grant money, and your career is ruined.

The truth is not determined by a majority vote. Even if every single professor employed in a university believes "Carbon dioxide causes global warming!", that doesn't make it true.

It's a name-calling contest. If you question "Carbon dioxide causes global warming!", then you're accused of being a shill for big oil. If you support "Carbon dioxide causes global warming!", then I say you're a shill for the State.

Even if you believe that "Carbon dioxide causes global warming!" is true, none of the proposed laws are any good. All the "cap-and-trade" and "carbon credit" proposals are huge corporate welfare proposals. They have no merit.

Really Cowardly Anonymous commented on Climategate Dismissed.

(Apologies for the essay, I got carried away with what I wanted to say!)

Sorry FSK, but I'm going to have to disagree with you here. I am pretty sure (though obviously I can't be certain myself - I haven't done the experiments) that climate change is a genuine threat. As far as I am aware most of the science stacks up very well, and I am a chemistry student so I generally like to think I know what I'm talking about here. There are some holes, but they aren't very large ones and to be honest every theory has holes anyway. Just like with the Climategate business - it seems to be an open secret that scientists tend to fudge their data a bit most of the time. Nobody admits to it because of the whole scacrosanct edifice of science etc, but PhD's talk. and yet with all that fudged data, chemists have produced a huge number of remarkable discoveries that have vastly advanced human technology since the 50s. So it does work somehow, because bad data doesn't get corroborated.(Though even so it is jaw-dropping how many were actually made in the 1910s and 1920s, even if they didn't have the technology to understand what they'd found).

To get back on topic, who do you think has the most to gain from making people believe climate change is a scam? The oil industry sure has a lot of money to lose if people stop using their products. Remember how viciously the tobacco companies fought against claims smoking is bad for you? How long leaded petrol was standard even though everyone knew it's an environmental disaster, but the lead companies had the State behind them? The "Climate change is a scam!" argument sounds to me very much like an astroturf created by corporatism to protect their interests.

Of course you could turn that around and say that it is used by solar panel manufacturers to get more money, or a controlling state as an excuse for more control. But lets be honest, evil corporatism tends to support the status quo as new companies have no lobbying power. And controlling states have much easier ways to get control, like "Terrorists will kill you if you don't do as I say!". Besides, the US government seems to be doing staggeringly little about climate change anyway, at least in comparison to Europe. Oh yeah, and carbon trading and all that BS? Just an excuse for companies/the state to make money while nothing changes.

Finally to attempt answers to the first poster's questions:

1) It is believed that yes, the concentrations are enough to be significant. This is perhaps the shakiest foundation of the climate change argument because the Earth is so complex that it's really hard to be sure. But the climatologist people are pretty convinced based on past records.

2)There is definitely a correlation (from polar ice caps, which keep a record of atmospheric composition for the past million years or so), and the greenhouse effect is pretty well accepted. It makes sense due to various chemical reasons (vibrational spectrum of CO2) and also there is the example of Venus, which has a metric shitton of CO2 in its atmosphere. I don't think it's 100% that the correlation doesn't go the other way (temperature change causes CO2 release), but no one's found an alternate cause for the temperature change if that were the case.

3) No, it's not sunspots. They just don't match.

4) In fact I think that is likely to happen to an extent, especially if the Gulf stream shuts down due to temperature changes (in which case northwest Europe gets a LOT colder). But certainly over the past century or so the whole planet has definitely got much warmer on average. Look at the extent of the Arctic ice cap. It's shrinking rapidly. Hell, for the first time in recorded history the Northwest Passage is navigable in the summer.

5) A good theory, and one that was tested. I'm pretty sure in the end they disproved it though.

I'm not going to give a full reply in detail here, but I'll point out one huge mistake in your reasoning.

AC#1 said "Point 2: Correlation does not imply causation." You replied "Correlation is proven! Correlation does imply causation!"

Yes, there is an alternate explanation. We're in a warming cycle for the Earth anyway. Solar output is increasing. The Earth goes through warming/cooling cycles normally, without human activity.

Also, anyone who starts out with "Fudging data is common and OK." does not get my respect. The "proof" of correlation is based on forged data.

Nathan commented on Climategate Dismissed.

Yes your argument of "this anecdote happened therefore climate change isn't real" is completely valid and intelligent. How could I have been so blind.

It was pretty shocking, because the people in that anecdote were otherwise reasonably intelligent.

I'm getting pretty good at recognizing when people are thinking for real, and when they're just reciting propaganda. For example, your hostility is also interesting.

AF commented on Climategate Dismissed.

I all for conservation and sustainability, but the alarmist threat of climate change

has jumped the shark.

One of my favorite observations is "Climate change may be the modern-day equivalent of eugenics."

Here's another analogy. The banking cartel has nearly completely corrupted mainstream economics. Except for the Austrians, almost every economics professor believes "A central bank is great! Paper money is great! Gold is evil!" In a similar manner, mainstream university discussion of "climate change" has been corrupted.

That's why I'm not convinced by "Almost every university professor disagrees with FSK!" That doesn't convince me. If you apply the same argument to economics, I'm nearly 100% sure that I'm right and mainstream economics is wrong.

Anonymous Coward commented on MF Global Conspiracy Theory.
> “I’m incompetent!” should never be a valid excuse if you’re the leader.

I once worked with a scumbag that left a large, infamous bank to set up his own company.

For most of the time I worked with him I wondered whether he was stupid or dishonest or some deadly combination of both. Regardless of the explanation, any project he came into contact with would be wrecked or compromised. The only way to do anything sensible was to run away from him as fast as possible.

I thought that he could make decent money by doing honest, useful work and I could never understand why he preferred to make money by ripping people off with substandard work.

Two of the banks this clown was involved with had to be bailed out big time by the taxpayer.

Long after I left this scumbag I saw a newspaper headline saying the business he is involved with is responsible for putting _x_ pounds on everybody's tax bill per year.

He had the same personality type as his bosses. He was just like them. He fit in perfectly.

Robert commented on Games vs. Blog.
More blog please! I was thinking in my car yesterday about the all-christmas music radio stations and the christmas music everywhere you go that bombards my ears whether i want to hear it or not. As i've gotten older this has effectively ruined christmas music for me in that, after being forced to listen it non-stop outside my home, i have no inclination left to put on christmas music at home. I'm not a scrooge or anything, i love being with my family and friends for good food and get-togethers, but i can't escape the thought that the State pushes the "retail" christmas on us and that beyond even the retail, it's like some kind of yearly distraction ritual to keep us occupied and thinking everything is normal and happy, even though quality of life is eroding for most people. What are your thoughts on that?

Jason commented on Games vs. Blog.

It may be easier to blog from your phone but it doesn't seem to encourage you / happen...

Nevertheless, in three sentences you remind us of the power of "divide and conquer" i.e. the distraction from thinking and realizing the important things as accomplished by games in phones for example. Note how the system naturally protects itself from the creation of too many system critics - it is very stable but also struggling a little more than usually - so it may be a good time to act.

Christmas is indeed both a reason to return to "normal" human behavior for a limited time (socializing with family and perhaps friends) as well as a powerful distraction from the culminating global and local problems we are facing.

I too fall victim to distraction by games (or other things) occasionally but I like to think I do deserve a break from observing the worrying part of the world.

You have plenty of posts I haven't read yet - so enjoy those gaming highs :)

I am trying to keep a "one post per day" rule, which forces some discipline. I used to keep a queue of 5-10 finished drafts. I'm falling behind.

The "reader mail" posts helps me get one post per week easily. It helps that, on my Linode, I have a PHP script that scrapes the WordPress comment table and prepares the post template for me.

Weird Legal Document

I got the information for the health insurance at my new job.  Almost every clause in a legal document comes from some bad thing that happened once.

The description of the dental document was interesting.  “Cleaning – Limited to two times per consecutive 12 months.”  That line was reasonable.

I was amused by “Tooth extraction – Limited to 1 time per tooth per lifetime.”

Who gets the same tooth extracted twice?  Where did the “per lifetime” restriction come from?

Games vs. Blog

On my new cell phone it’s much easier to blog.  I also have a lot of games, mostly emulators.

I’m spending much more time on the games than on my blog!

MF Global Conspiracy Theory

This post on zerohedge was really interesting.  Did Jon Corzine lose MF Global’s customers’ money on purpose, so his confederates could profit?

The conspiracy theory is that MF Global’s losses weren’t to random banks.  Some of Corzine’s friends were the beneficiary.

Derivatives trades are mostly zero-sum.  The State subsidizes the derivatives market via negative real interest rates.  Other than that, it’s zero-sum.

If MF Global lost $1.2B, someone else made a profit of $1.2B.

There is a precedent for this sort of thing.  Goldman Sachs created a defective mortgage CDO, so that their hedge fund buddies could profit.  The CDO was packaged with the worst bonds they could find, and sold to customers as if it was a good investment.  When the CDO performed poorly, those customers lost money.  That money went straight into Paulson’s hedge fund, the people who organized the scam.  A CDO is completely zero sum; the customer’s losses were exactly equal to Paulson’s profits.

Did Jon Corzine lose customers’ money on purpose?  Did he take a page from Goldman Sachs’ playbook?

Is Jon Corzine pretending to be an incompetent CEO, when he knows exactly what happened?  Did he and his associates set up a hedge fund somewhere that made a ton of money off MF Global?

Jon Corzine is responsible for the loss, whether he did it on purpose or if he’s so incompetent that he didn’t know what’s going on.  “I’m incompetent!” should never be a valid excuse if you’re the leader.

It is offensive that CEOs and State leaders play the “I’m incompetent!  Therefore, I’m not responsible!” card whenever something bad happens.  It is offensive that the mainstream media doesn’t say “If you’re the CEO, you’re responsible for what happens, whether you did it on purpose or if you’re incompetent.”  The mainstream media present’s Corzine’s argument as valid, rather than saying “Liar! Liar! Pants on fire!”

The financial industry is one big cesspool of corruption.  Why would a bank need competent and honest employees, when they can get the State to give them free money?

My last job was at a large financial institution.  I suspected that some of my coworkers were writing defective software on purpose, so they could steal and launder money.  There were a lot of red flags and suspicious things.

For a proper investigation, they should discover exactly who got the money.  Investigators are saying “We can’t reconstruct what happened.”  That’s nonsense.  Banks are required to keep records for 7 years.  They may be covering up what really happened.

It is possible that one of the lead investigators is in on the scam!  Bernard Madoff served on many boards before his Ponzi scam imploded.  Most State leaders have the same personality type as Bernard Madoff.  They won’t be eager to see someone evil like them get in trouble.  They all will be thinking “If Jon Corzine goes to jail, I might be next!”

That is a very interesting conspiracy theory.  Did Jon Corzine lose money on purpose, so he could dump the profits to confederates?

The State Is Partially Responsible For Peter Figoski’s Death

This story is interesting.  Peter Figoski was a NYPD policeman.  He was murdered while investigating a robbery.

The State is partially responsible for Peter Figoski’s death.  How is that?

Officer Peter Figoski, a 22-year NYPD veteran, was killed early Monday during a botched armed robbery by Pride and four other men of a marijuana dealer living in a basement apartment in Brooklyn, police said. The men allegedly met to plan the robbery at about 1 a.m. and arrived at the door of their target at about 2:15 a.m.

The robbery victim was a marijuana dealer.  Because it’s illegal to sell marijuana, he was a tempting robbery target.  In that sense, the State murdered Peter Figoski.

Of course, the murderer also is responsible.  I’m pointing out that the State is partially responsible for the murder, by creating a crime-friendly environment.  His accomplices are probably going to get a much stiffer sentence than they would have otherwise, because one of them stupidly murdered a policeman.

A marijuana dealer is shut out of many State services.  A marijuana dealer can’t use the State banking system, due to “money laundering” laws.  This forces the marijuana dealer to keep cash in his apartment, making him a tempting robbery target.

A marijuana dealer can’t complain to the State police, if he’s robbed.  A marijuana dealer can’t legally get a gun to defend himself from crime.

These two factors make marijuana dealers a tempting robbery target.  A marijuana dealer can’t use the State banking system, forcing him to hold a lot of cash.  A marijuana dealer can’t complain to the State police, if he’s the victim of a crime.

It should be legal to buy, sell, and smoke marijuana.  It is probably bad for users, but they’re only hurting themselves.  A pro-State troll says “But people fry their brains on marijuana and then go on welfare!”  My response is “There shouldn’t be a Welfare State!”  A pro-State troll says “People steal to get money to buy marijuana!”  If marijuana were legal, it would be much cheaper, and people wouldn’t need to steal to feed their addiction.  Also, any marijuana-related robbery should be treated just like any other crime.  Also, if marijuana were legal, it would be easier to identify and help people who have a problem.

The State is partially responsible for the murder of Peter Figoski.  If marijuana were legal, this murder would not have happened.

“Conflict-Free Minerals” And Economic Illiteracy

This story was interesting.  People are protesting against Apple.  They want Apple to stop using “conflict-free minerals” in their products.

What is the definition of “conflict minerals”?  The definition is “Minerals mined by a government we don’t like.”

Suppose that the protesters got their wish, and Apple stopped using “conflict-free minerals”.  What would happen?  People would pay slightly more for their iPhones and Apple products, and the “conflict minerals” would sell for almost the same price.

Why is that?  It’s basic economics.

Suppose that the demand and supply for X is 1000 units per year.  Apple uses 100 X per year .  The supply of “conflict-free X” is 900 units per year and the supply of “conflict X” is 100 units per year.

The protesters get their wish and Apple stops using “conflict X”.  Now, other businesses start buying conflict X instead of Apple.  The price of X remains almost unchanged.  The price of “conflict-free X” is slightly more than “conflict X”, but not by much.

The boycott only works if *EVERYONE* refuses to buy “conflict X”.  Then, the price of “conflict-free X” becomes higher then “conflict X”.  Now, there’s an incentive for someone to cheat the boycott.  The people who mine “conflict X” would probably launder their product through a country with “conflict-free X”.

This boycott demand shows ignorance of basic economics.  There’s no point in botcotting a fungible commodity from a specific source.  The boycott only works if everyone joins, and then there’s a huge incentive for people to cheat.

Climategate Dismissed

Here is an amusing conversation.

Two people were discussing carbon dioxide and global warming.

I mentioned “Did you hear about that climategate scandal?” They replied “That’s false!” They didn’t provide any details. It was an emotional cut-off response. There body language made it clear that they weren’t interested in discussing anything that challenged their pro-State brainwashing.

That is more evidence that “Carbon dioxide causes global warming!” is one big scam. The people emotionally dismissed my point, rather than providing any details.  I was prepared to provide details for “Carbon dioxide causes global warming is a scam!”  They weren’t interested in discussing it at all.

Some people say “All the anti-global warming propaganda was funded by the Koch brothers.”  Most of the pro-global warming propaganda is funded by the government.  I evaluate the details, and not who’s funding it.

Via its grant-making power and by corrupting the peer review process, State funding is biased in favor of the people who want to make government bigger to “solve” the fake crisis.  That was one interesting aspect of the Climategate scandal.  Scientists were bragging about how they corrupted the peer review process to silence their critics, preventing them from getting their papers published or getting funding.

In the mainstream media, there’s a lot of emotional propaganda for “Carbon dioxide causes global warming!” Anybody who disagrees is “not cool”.  Most people follow the propaganda and don’t think for themselves.  It was very interesting that the people dismissed my concern without thinking.  That is evidence that “Carbon dioxide causes global warming!” is one big scam.

Reader Mail – 12/04/2011 To 12/10/2011

Esse commented on They Upgraded It And Now It Sucks.
This has been driving me crazy for some time now. Everything is going to shit. It's a very rare product that actually improves over time.

Here is what I have observed often happening. A company suddenly has a fantastic product. The product gets better. Everyone buys it. The company grows market share.

What is happening behind the scenes is a really good developer was working there creating the product. After a few years he points out he brings millions of dollars to the company. They tell him he is not worth that much and his job can be sent to India. So he quits and starts his own company. The company then hires a bunch of college graduates who don't know anything, or they outsource to India. The new team then proceeds to screw up the product big time. The person with the vision that made the product coherent and cohesive is gone and with it is gone the soul of the product.

A successful web startup has one or two superstar programmers on the early team. When the company is successful, parasitic "professional" management takes over. The first thing they do is fire all the competent people, or make sure they get so disgusted that they quit.

With software, one great programmer can produce more than 100+ average people. The successful startups get that one great programmer, usually because they're lucky. If you're a full-time manager, it's almost impossible to tell the difference between someone who really is a great programmer, and someone who's good at faking it.

Once the startup has a degree of success, the people who are good at faking it take over. The good people are fired or get disgusted and leave.

Esse commented on Baseball Whores.
Yikes, those Fireproof movie excerpts on the linked site were horrific. Total narcissistic whore!
I should do more bits on how many people are crazy, when it comes to dating. Most people are brainwashed to either be victims or abusers.

A 20-25 year old woman can have a bad attitude, and guys will still be aggressively pursuing her. When you're 35 with a bad attitude, that's really pathetic.

Here's an amusing anecdote. When I was going recreational dancing, there was a woman around 30-35 years old, decent but not awesome. I flirted with her a little and she acted interested. Then, she started ignoring me to talk to her friend. After a few minutes, I gave up and walked away. She seemed shocked, that I would walk away, and started acting interested again. I left anyway. She was decent, but if she's going to have an attitude problem I'm not going to bother. I never saw her again after that.

Anonymous Coward commented on Bob Costas, Jerry Sandusky, And Ben Bernanke.

Nobody asks David Cameron on mainstream television about the war veteran he promised to get back to, but never did.

Nobody asks George Osborne about his family's use of trusts to reduce inheritance tax.

Nobody asks the State why if they get so little money from inheritance tax, why they don't get rid of it altogether.

Nobody asks the State why wealthy people avoid inheritance tax, but people that just own a house or flat have to sell their property when a family member dies.

Nobody says property prices are too high and that government benefits from high property prices via percentage taxes and property going into higher taxed categories.

Anonymous Coward commented on Broken Windows.
> or any infrequent transaction

You are correct. Any business that does not require repeat business from you, has an opportunity to cheat you.

I've heard it said that as an average person only sees a solicitor (= lawyer) once every few years (or even less than that) and there are lots of different solicitors to choose from (a typical high street has lots and lots of different law firms), that UK lawyers typically give bad service at high prices.

We have currently been cheated over shared repairs and billing with neighbours whose property shares walls and roofs with us. They know suing them is too expensive and slow and so they can get away with it.

Anonymous Coward commented on Broken Windows.

>There is plenty of opportunity for someone to cheat you, because you will almost

>definitely not be dealing with them again.

The same goes for employers and software developers. Because the pool of software developers is so large, employers can easily abuse and fire software developers because there are tens of people waiting in line for the job.

Perhaps that is why it is intentional to keep millions unemployed.

This is an important point. Dishonest people know that the State has their back. It's almost impossible to sue someone and recover damages, if you're cheated.

It's also illegal to punch someone who deserves it.

dionysusal commented on Subway Air Vents.
Yeesh! Remind me never to come to New York. At least here in Chicago dogs have the common decency of going in the middle of the sidewalk where you can step in it.

Anonymous Coward commented on What Is The Definition Of "Lying"?.
Also lying by omission is the same as lying.

It is easy to completely distort events by missing out one fact.