Monthly Archives: July 2012

Web Design Whitespace Addiction

There’s a new disturbing trend in website design.  Fill up the page with whitespace.

One example is the new delicious.  They went form a compact design, to a design cluttered with whitespace.

Google also did this with the new UI for Blogger, Google Analytics, and Gmail.  For gmail, there’s an option to go back to the old-style compact layout.  I stopped using Blogger and Google Analytics.

Is the same stupid UI consultant advising everyone?  Is everyone copying the bad practices from everyone else.

A lot of websites now use a lot of whitespace and a very large font.  It’s a disturbing trend.

 

Colorado Mass Murder – James Eagan Holmes

There was a mass murder in a Colorado theater at a Batman premiere.  One criminal killed 12 people and injured more than 50 others.

The #1 question for a murder like this is “What prescription drugs was he taking?”  That information is almost never publicly disclosed.  Allegedly, psychiatric drugs play a role in many murder-suicides, and the mainstream media covers up this detail.  If someone takes drugs and stops, that can also cause a problem due to withdrawal.  Technically, this wasn’t a murder-suicide, because the criminal surrendered to police.

Also, this wasn’t “random”.  He had some grudge against someone there, or against that theater.  I haven’t seen any information on the motive.

Here is a mugshot photo of the murderer, James Eagan Holmes.  For something like this, the police almost always get the right criminal.

You can tell from the photo that this is probably someone with low emotional intelligence and medium/high logical intelligence.  For example, there’s the 45 degree laugh lines on the face.

Most mass murderers are not evil in the sense of Bernard Madoff or Chuck Schumer.  Instead, they are intelligent people pushed past their breaking point.

I’ve heard some people refer to mass murderers as “pyschopaths”.  Maybe a proper distinction is psychopath or sociopath?  One criminal personality type emotionally manipulates people, but rarely does something flagrantly illegal.  The other criminal personality type is an intelligent person who isn’t successful, and then snaps.

It actually takes a reasonable amount of intelligence, to plan and pull off a mass murder.  In a healthy economy, It’s effort that should have been spent productively.  Instead, many intelligent and hardworking people are frustrated, and some of them snap.

People with high emotional intelligence and low logical intelligence can usually manipulate other people and get what they want.  They are incredibly dangerous, but in our society they are usually the leaders.

People with low emotional intelligence and medium/high logical intelligence get frustrated.  Some of them “go postal”.  They realize that they were cheated, but can’t explain it clearly like I can.

Whenever I hear about a story like this, I wonder “If I had the opportunity to explain my point of view to the murderer, could I have convinced him to try other ways of fighting evil, rather than something pointless?”

Incidents like this are hyped as an example that police and the State are needed.  Actually, the State encourages incidents like this.

Whenever there’s a mass murder, it’s the #1 story in the news.  The hidden message is “If you’re disgruntled, the best thing you can do is murder a bunch of people.”  Paradoxically, the way the mainstream media covers these stories, encourages other people to do it.  Pointless violence is promoted, instead of things that might be more effective.

The State disarms the population.  If some of the movie theater customers were carrying weapons, they might have stopped the murderer before he killed so many people.  If he knew that people in the theater were likely to fire back, he might have not tried it.  By disarming most of the population with gun control laws, the State makes it easier for a single criminal to murder many people.  Incidents like this are used as an excuse for stricter gun control laws.  If more people carried guns, incidents like this would be less likely, or cause less damage when they do occur.

The State gets to be the hero.  There will be a high-profile trial and conviction and execution.  However, that ignores the fact that the State failed to prevent the murders.  The police have no obligation to prevent crime.  They merely clean up afterwards.

In a trial like this, the defense will raise an “insanity defense”.  That gives defense lawyers something to do, because they can’t argue “The police got the wrong guy!”  In an adversarial legal system, an “insanity defense” gives the illusion that someone is looking out for the criminal’s interests.  The “insanity defense” is stupid.  Everyone is responsible for what they do.

State police have no obligation to protect you.  Free market police would have a positive obligation to prevent crime.  If James Eagan Holmes was a customer of a free market police agency, they would have had an obligation to identify him as potential trouble, and make sure he got help before murdering people.  In the present, police have few options.  They can either arrest someone or do nothing, with few options inbetween.

There are a couple of interesting points, when there is a mass murder.  Was the criminal taking any prescription drugs in the months before the murder?  That information is almost never publicly disclosed, to preserve the illusion that all drugs are wonderful with no negative side effects.  A mass murderer is usually an intelligent person who is pushed past his breaking point and snaps.  A mass murderer is not a criminal in the same sense as Bernard Madoff; those are two opposite personality types.  Gun control laws make mass murders more likely, by disarming potential victims.  The State police claim to be the heroes, but they’re merely cleaning up after the crime.  State police have no positive obligation to protect people.

Lesson For Daniel Tosh – How To Tell A Funny Rape Joke

This story was interesting.  Daniel Tosh got into trouble, for telling a rape joke after a woman heckled him.

Here’s the proper way to tell a rape joke.

1. A man gets married.  The woman has an affair with another man and gets pregnant.  She spends all the money in their joint checking account.  She divorces him.  He owes alimony and child support for the kid that isn’t his.

2. A man goes out on a date with a woman.  They make out a little but don’t have sex.  The man decides he isn’t interested and doesn’t call her back.  She makes up a lie that he raped her.  The district attorney believes her.  The man’s lawyer advises him to accept a plea bargain, and he goes to jail for 5 years.  That’s hilarious, especially when it happened to Brian Banks.

If you’re going to make a joke about rape, “man physically assaults woman” isn’t funny.  It’s much more funny when the State rapes a man, on behalf of a woman.

For these “State rapes man” scenarios, it’s the woman’s fault for exploiting the system.  Blame also lies with the State, for making it easy for a woman to profit from ruining a man.

It’s too easy for a woman to rob a man via marriage.  A marriage “contract” is not a real contract, because the woman can break it and you still have to pay her.  It’s also too easy for a woman to make a false rape accusation.  That’s a lot more common than the scenario “a complete stranger physically assaults a woman”.

Why Are So Many NBA Players Getting Max Contracts?

This article was interesting.  A lot of NBA players are getting max contracts, many more than usual.

That article missed the point.  They were saying “Teams are stupid to give max contracts to so many players.”

The NBA players’ union took a beating on the most recent CBA.  The salary cap was slashed from 57% to 50%, a cut of 12%. (50/57=0.88)

The “maximum salary” was also cut by approximately 12%.

The new CBA also had a clause that says “For the first 2 years, the cap number is equal to the number on the previous CBA.”  This year’s cap is effectively lower than last year’s cap.  Adjusting for inflation and increased revenue, the maximum salary is less this year compared to previous year.

It’s simple arithmetic.  If the “maximum salary” is cut by 12%, then many more players will get a max contract.

It isn’t because teams are stupidly handing out max contracts to undeserving players.  The max salary was cut.  Therefore, more players are now worth the maximum salary.

Business Insider Trolls Against Gold

This post on Business Inisider is an impressive bit of pro-State trolling.  It has a bunch of arguments against investing in gold, backed by charts that misuse statistics.

I found that post, because someone linked to my blog in the comments.  I’ll point out all the errors in that post.

Myth #1: Gold Is An Inflation Hedge

It shows a chart of Gold vs. CPI.

The CPI is a biased and manipulated statistic.  One error is that the chart starts in 1975.  From 1975-2000, central banks dumped gold to push down the price.  That’s the reason gold did poorly compared to the CPI in that time.

That chart shows a *HUGE* spike in the past few years.  That isn’t a symptom of “gold is a lousy inflation hedge”.  It’s actually a symptom of hyperinflation, combined with the fact that the CPI severely understates true inflation.

Myth #2: Gold Serves As A Currency Hedge

It shows the price of gold denominated in various currencies.  Again, there’s bias introduced by starting from 1975.

Actually, this chart shows that gold is an awesome currency hedge, no matter what country you live in.  Why is that?  All the lines for “Price of gold in local currency” are nearly perfectly lined up!

If you buy gold in one country, move to another country, and smuggle your gold with you, then you should preserve most of your purchasing power.  There are laws restricting the ability to take gold out of a country, so you would have to smuggle your gold if you’re serious about moving.

To cover up inflation, various countries inflate in tandem.  If you want to know inflation, it’s foolish to look at dollar/Euro or dollar/yuan.  All central banks are inflating nearly in lockstep.  You only see this when you look at the prices of gold.

Myth #3: Gold Is An Attractive Alternative To Assets With Low Real Returns

Oh boy, lots of innumeracy on this chart.  Superficially, this chart compares Gold to TIPS (Treasury Inflation Protected Securities).

Look more closely.  The x-axis is TIPS.  The y-axis is gold/CPI.  That is wrong.  The CPI is already included in the TIPS price!  The y-axis should be gold, and not gold/CPI.

There’s another huge error.  The chart uses monthly prices.  In a short time period, there’s a lot of fluctuation, leading to a scatter plot of results.  If you draw the same chart with annual prices or 2-year or 5-year prices, then gold is a clearcut winner.

Myth #4: Gold Is A Safe Haven In Times Of Stress

Again, it has the same scatterplot error as the previous chart.  It’s looking at monthly intervals rather than yearly or 2-year or 5-year.  By choosing an artificially short time period for the comparison, you get a scatterplot result instead of a chart that shows gold’s clear dominance.

Myth #5: Gold Should Be Held Because We Are Returning To A De Facto World Gold Standard

Here, they show a chart of US government official gold holdings.  This time, they start from 1870 instead of 1975.  If you look at the chart after 1975, it’s nearly flat.  If you start in 1870, there’s a spike due to growth in the US economy starting from 1870.  There also was a spike in 1933, due to Roosevelt’s gold confiscation order.  There was an increase after WWII due to the Bretton-Woods agreement.

Also, the “central bank holdings” may be a lie.  Allegedly, a lot of the gold was secretly lent to short-sellers, while governments claim to keep it on the books.

Myth #6: Gold Is Underowned

Here, they show central bank gold reserves.  That’s missing the point.  It isn’t “gold owned by central banks” that matters.  It’s gold owned by individuals.

Individuals don’t own much gold, because they’re conned into trusting the State financial system.  If only a couple percent of people converted a huge chunk of their savings to physical gold (not paper), then the price really would skyrocket.

Finally, they look at some prices in terms of gold.  They only use 2 points, one that shows gold is desirable and one that shows gold is undesirable.  They cherry-picked two examples to illustrate their point.

A proper comparison would involve a lot of products.  It would be better to look at gold-denominated prices over the past 10, 20, or 100 years.  If you did that, it would come clearly ahead.

For example, a Model T car cost ~20 ounces of gold.  Now, you can get a very nice new car for less than 20 ounces of gold.  That reflects the improvements in the economy.  In 1900, you could not get a computer or cell phone for any price.  Now, computers and electronics double in quality every 1.5-2 years, for the same inflation-adjusted price.

For example, consider “gasoline/gold” or “peanut butter/gold”.  For those items, the price has crashed in the past few years.  The price in State paper has sharply increased.

“Gold investors are idiots!” is an important lie.  Therefore, that lie must be repeated over and over again.  Similarly, “Support the troops!” is a lie, which must be repeated over and over again.

It is important to keep up the lie, that State paper investments are desirable and physical gold and silver are lousy.  In a Ponzi-based economy, it’s important to keep people fooled.

Overall, that post on Business Insider is an excellent example of statistics abuse.  They make a lot of Math errors, to produce a chart that supports their propaganda goal.  They pick charts that have nothing to do with the conclusions in the text.  They selectively pick the date range for the x-axis, to prove their point.  They used gold/CPI instead of gold on the y-axis.  They looked at monthly returns instead of 1-2+ year returns, to exaggerate volatility.  When performing a comparison of prices in gold, they cherry-pick two examples to illustrate their point.

NHL Owners Cancel Next Season

This story is interesting.  The NHL players’ Collective Bargaining Agreement expired.  The NHL owners made their first offer.  It was unreasonably harsh.

According to that article, the NHL owners demanded

  1. Reduce players’ share of revenues from 57% to 46%.
  2. Players must be in the NHL for 10 seasons before becoming an unrestricted free agent.
  3. Contracts can be at most 5 years.
  4. Eliminate salary arbitration.
  5. New players get 5 year contracts instead of 3 years.

These are severe concessions.

Actually, (3) is reasonable.  Under the current CBA, teams were signing players to ridiculously long contracts, as a cap loophole.

The cut in revenue from 57% to 46% is harsh.  That isn’t an 11% cut.  It’s actually a 19% cut!  (46/57=0.81)

If the owners cut the cap number by 19%, the other stuff is meaningless.  With a really low cap, it makes no difference if all players are free agents right away, because the owners’ expenses are limited.

This is an offensive part of CBA negotiations.  It’s due to the way State labor law works.  Once you make an offer, you know that the final contract will be no better than that offer.  Therefore, the owners ask for draconian concessions and then slowly reduce their demands, instead of making a reasonable initial offer.

The NHL Players’ union hired from MLB Players’ Association head Donald Fehr.  If the owners aren’t making a serious offer, the players should make the following counteroffer.

  1. Eliminate the salary cap.
  2. All players become unrestricted free agents when their contract expires.
  3. Eliminate the draft.  All new players are unrestricted free agents.
  4. The NHL commissioner must kiss each player’s ass.

With a 19% pay cut demand, it may make rational sense for the players to hold out and miss the season. At the end of the NBA lockout, the players were faced with giving up only 4%, or missing the whole season, making the deal somewhat attractive. However, the NBA players gave up too much in their CBA negotiations.

The owners’ offer is insulting to the NHL players.  After cancelling a whole season, the CBA and salary cap was suppose to solve all of the NHL’s problems.  It’s insulting for owners to come back now and demand even more severe concessions.  The NHL owners saw the NBA and NFL get huge concessions from players in their negotiations.  They’re trying to get similar concessions from the NHL players.

The NHL players have to decide if they’re prepared to miss one season or possibly even two seasons.  If they are prepared to hold out, they should refuse.  If not, they should bend over and accept it.  There are professional hockey leagues in other countries, so locked-out NHL players have more options than NBA players.  However, if a player was currently under contract, he’d have to sign a contract that lets him come back to the NHL if the lockout expires.

It is offensive, that the NHL made such a draconian demand in their first CBA offer.  Unfortunately, State labor law forces owners to do that, because the initial offer becomes a baseline for future negotiations.  If the owners started with a reasonable offer, then they’d be negotiating up from there.

FSK Asks – Writing A Book?

My blog expenses are $20/month for my Linode, plus $10/yr for domain registration. There are cheaper options that Linode, but I like the full Linux setup, root password, fixed resource allocation, and Linode doesn’t oversell. (“Overselling” occurs when a hosting vendor promises more resources than they actually have, relying on the fact that most users don’t use their full allocation.) Overall, I’m happy with my Linode. I learned a lot configuring and tuning it. With Linode, I can put up my own code, which I can’t do with other vendors.

The biggest expense for my blog is my time. However, this is mostly a hobby, with the possibility of someday turning it into a real business, or using the blog to launch other things.

Not counting the cost of my time, I want my blog to cover its expenses.

I’m considering putting up ads again. However, that has many problems. With an eCPM of $0.50, I’d need a *LOT* more pageviews, just to make $20/month. Both with AdSense and AdBrite, most of the ads were spammy, rather than high quality. I don’t want to pollute my blog with lousy ads.

On that post, someone proposed writing and self-publishing a book. I looked into that, and it seems worth trying. The best option seems to be Amazon Createspace. I can make a book available either for hardcopy print-on-demand, or Kindle/eBook. I also considered iTunes, but it wouldn’t be worth the effort to set that up unless I get great sales from Amazon.

There were amusing clauses in Amazon Createspace’s TOS.

You get a higher royalty rate publishing copyrighted content rather than public domain content. I consider my blog content public domain. I specifically edited my theme to remove the copyright notice! When spammers copy my content, I don’t send legal threat letter takedown notices. However, for Amazon self-publishing purposes, I should tell them it’s copyrighted and I’m the author and copyright owner.

You can publish a book under a pseudonym. I can still publish as “FSK”  I’d have to give Amazon my real name and SSN so they can pay me.  I don’t want to publish under my real name, because potential employers might refuse to hire me based on my writing.

You aren’t allowed to provide a link to your personal website in your book description. However, a search for “FSK” or the book title should lead here.

The Kindle self-publishing guide assumes MS Office. I have Open Office. The features should be comparable.

Amazon offers a non-exclusive publishing agreement. That isn’t like a traditional publishing agreement, where you have to assign over copyright ownership.  If the sales are good, I can always publish it again elsewhere.

At the same time, I can submit the book for Kindle sales and Amazon’s print-on-demand service.

Overall, the Amazon Createspace terms seemed reasonable.

There is another advantage of publishing on Amazon. People who search the Kindle store may find my book, leading to a wider potential audience.

I also could put up the pdf here and directly solicit donations. However, I don’t have a PayPal account. I’d just be collecting a bunch of posts in book form. You can already read it free via my blog.

There is one negative of using Amazon or PayPal. I pay a taxes on the sales. I pay a fee to Amazon. However, receiving some money is better than nothing. No matter how I earn money via the State economy, I pay taxes.

Maybe I shouldn’t put an exact copy of the book here. You’ll get most of it reading my blog.

I wanted to fill out the “FAQ” section of my blog. I can do both at the same time, filling out the FAQ section and using that as a starting point for a book. Based on Amazon pricing rates, ~200 pages seems like the right size.

My propsed title is “The Federal Reserve Is Evil, Taxation Is Theft, Emotional Manipulation Tricks, And Other Important Ideas.” That seems long, but it covers the most important things. I wonder if that’s too much for one book? I did a Kindle store search for “Federal Reserve”, and it was just the Jekyll Island and other conspiracy theory books.

Would you buy a copy? Is it worth my time? If I use Amazon Createspace, you’d have the option of ordering electronically for Kindle, or ordering a hard copy via their print-on-demand service.

If I make at least $240 in earnings, that covers my blog hosting costs for a year. Then, I wouldn’t need to consider ads. If it’s successful, I can always write more than 1 book per year. After blogging for a few years, I’m a much better writer. Maybe the book will find an audience, other than people who already read my blog?

Reader Mail – 07/08/2012 To 07/14/2012

Ed Porter commented on PHYS/PSLV Underwriters Steal $3M+ From Shareholders.

Thanks for the article. Just interested in one thing – you mention that the GLD fund manager can lend gold to short sellers, but when I read the Prospectus it specifically said it didn’t do that :

“Gold held in the Trust’s allocated account is the property of the Trust and is not traded, leased or loaned under any circumstances”

So I wonder if you have seen something else which is contrary to this?

Regards

Ed

Not all of the trust’s assets are held in the allocated account. Read the bit on subcustodians. You have to read it carefully.

Do I have to spell it out for you? This link, page 11.

Besides, even if there was no “subcustodians” clause in the prospectus, the fund manager can run off with customer money like Corzine (MF Global) or Peregrine.

The clause you cited does not exclude the possibility of rehypothecation. “Rehypothetication” is when the gold in the bank’s vault is pledged as collateral for other trades, or if the same gold bar is promised to multiple customers. You won’t find out about that fraud until the bank declares bankruptcy.

If the bank that manages GLD goes bankrupt, one of the first things they will probably do is raid the GLD fund, leaving shareholders holding the bag. If you believe “Wait a minute, the CEO can’t flagrantly rob customers and shareholders!”, then you haven’t been paying attention.


Glonim commented on Common Hiring Myth – “Better To Reject A Good Candidate Than Hire A Bad Candidate”.
One day there will be a start-up which hires mostly kick-ass outliers then takes just about every out of business, or at least changes business as we know it now. That day may be coming sooner than we think since it’s only a matter of matching the right groups of people with the right organizations. On the other hand, though the internet speeds up the ability to do this substantially, it also makes choosing talent more complicated.

That isn’t as easy as it sounds. Most existing businesses are protected by the State.

Google claims to hire mostly kick-ass outliers, but that wasn’t my experience when I interviewed there.


That isn’t worth it for $20/month. I’d rather investigate Google alternatives.

Besides, if I did get another AdSense account, I could get banned again just before I earn $100.

Yohan commented on FSK Asks – Advertising Options?.

At a few $ a month I wouldn’t bother either you will just pollute the blog with ads that the kind of readers of this blog don’t care about anyway ;) So unless you are getting a high CPM, then you may not get enough clicks to reach your 20$/mnth target.

That’s my biggest complaint with the ads, both from AdSense and AdBrite. They were mostly spammy/scammy, and not serious ads.

Anonymous Coward commented on FSK Asks – Advertising Options?.

I’m sure FSK would choke on the LLC idea as he/she believes they promote irresponsibility by protecting the owners from the effects of their actions!

Anyway LLCs do require State filings at some level and they will take up time and cost money. Even at the cheapest level they will consume hundreds of dollars a year either in time and money.

Also, an LLC does not protect a small business owner. When there’s a lawsuit involving a small business, the owners are usually also named as defendants.

Justin commented on FSK Asks – Advertising Options?.

FSK instead of ads write a book. Advertise it on your blog and turn your readers into a market. I think $10 is a good target for price imo.

Selling 100 copies for $10 each still isn’t that much money.

Do you advise 100% self-publishing? Do you advise using Kindle or one of the other e-book services?

I agree that it’s better to use my blog to leverage other business opportunities, rather than profiting via ads. That isn’t easy.

commented on FSK Asks – Advertising Options?.

Yeah, and it would be a miracle if you could sell 100 copies of any book, especially for ten bucks a piece. The publishing industry has been taken over by self-publishers, which is good, but now everyone thinks they are an author and the self-publishing market is flooded with junk and it would be a miracle if anyone ever even noticed your book was there, let alone bought one.

The idea was that, if each of my regular readers bought one copy, that would be 100+ sure sales.

I’m not interested in hiding my content behind paywalls. Equivalently, I could just upload a PDF and solicit donations. If I use Kindle, I pay a fee to a middleman. If I directly sell or solicit donations, I keep 100% (minus taxes).

That would be really offensive. For each $10 sold, the State gets $5+ via taxes!

commented on FSK Asks – Advertising Options?.

Since you already have an audience, your best bet is to keep plugging away at this and add a Paypal Donation button. Also, you can write PDF books and email them to anyone who donates a certain amount or higher.

Penny Arcade is switching from ads back to donations. They’re having a Kickstarter campaign.

Why use Kickstarter and pay a fee, rather than solicit donations directly yourself? If you’re famous enough to successfully raise money via Kickstarter, why not ask fans to pay you directly?

Penny Arcade has some advantages. They were one of the first webcomics, which gives them an advantage. They’ve been doing it for a long time, which is an advantage.

Here’s an interesting link on self-publishing options. That post recommended Hyperink, specifically aimed at someone trying to turn a blog into a book. However, that site was ugly. The modern trend is to stuff a website with too much whitespace. I didn’t see how Hyperink is better than me using Open Office to write a pdf. If they take a cut of 50%, I don’t see the benefit compared to just putting up the pdf up my website, or dealing directly with Amazon or iTunes.

Amazon Createspace seems to be the best option. That minimizes 3rd party fees. Createspace also offers a non-exclusive contract.


Justin commented on American Greed – Phuong Truong.
I guess its a good thing that most engineers are good people in my experience. Since their job is grounded in reality. However a small conspiracy can cause large damage.

In the financial area, the parasitic/psychopathic personality type is more dominant. Even if you’re evil, you still can have some programming ability, such as Mark Zuckerberg.

Superficially, you might think that financial software is awesome. Overall, it’s very lousy. I’ve been working on some key financial software infrastructure, and was disappointed with the lousy quality.

At my last financial job, there were lots of exploitable bugs in their software. Was it lousy software? Was it defective on purpose? I suspected several people were in on the scam. They had all sorts of excuses for why those bugs were acceptable.

The majority of people are good. The 1% really evil people can do a lot of damage, in the right situation. In the right environment, 10-20 criminals working together can steal a lot of money, both in casinos and with intentionally-defective financial software.


Anonymous Coward commented on Banksters Rob Cities Via Interest Rate Swaps And LIBOR Rate Manipulation.
Talking about corruption:

1) David Laws technically cheated on his Member of Parliament expenses and was forgiven because he was too shy to admit his partnership arrangements.

2) The Head of Ethics at the UK’s tax collection department is avoiding tax!!!!

See

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2170325/Revenue-chiefs-face-tax-avoidance-row-undercover-investigation–including-head-ethics.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

3) Woman who sold sex to pay for her university education is given 16 month prison sentence for not paying the right tax.

See

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2170899/High-class-hooker-went-game-pay-Masters-course-fees-jailed-failing-pay-120-000-tax.html

So if a civil servant does not pay tax or a Member of Parliament fiddles his expenses, it is OK. If a woman sells sex to pay for her university education is a crime worthy of a 16 month prison sentence.

This is very wrong. The government has no moral authority to kidnap, assault and steal from women when its own members fiddle expenses and avoid tax.

The government only has the authority of a violent thug.


anthony commented on Peregrine Financial – Another MF Global.
i don’t understand you sometimes fsk ! on one hand , you’re an anarchist ( like myself ) but on the other , you blame bank failures on the lack of government regulations ! what gives ?

Currently, the government has a monopoly for regulating banks, and failed miserably. It’s an argument against government.

Maybe I was unclear. “The CFTC said they audited all commodity brokers after MF Global. They either lied or was incompetent. Therefore, the government regulatory monopoly is evil. The CFTC regulators should have personal responsibility, when they either lied or were negligent. However, the State protects police and regulators via sovereign immunity. The Peregrine customers can’t directly sue the CFTC regulators personally to collect damages.”

Do I have to add “Therefore, the government police/justice/regulatory monopoly is evil!” after each paragraph? It gets redundant when I say it in every post. I feel like I’m whining, when I say that too often.

This may lead to an insurance on commodity accounts, similar to FDIC/SIPC insurance. That just shifts the costs from dishonest brokers to honest brokers, via a tax.

In a really free market, if you invest in a bank that commits fraud, you do deserve to lose your investment. In a really free market, you would be able to directly sue all bank employees and auditors, which would encourage responsibility by everyone.

For example, a teller in a dishonest bank doesn’t deserve a crippling liability of $1M+. However, there should be some payment and liability. The teller’s salary should be considered stolen property, and subject to forfeiture/clawback.

In a really free market, if I worked as a free-market bank auditor, and I say “Bank XYZ is sound!”, then I’m personally liable if I’m wrong. All the bank executives and employees would also be liable for a loss due to fraud. State regulators get a perk of immunity, when they’re negligent.

Justin commented on Peregrine Financial – Another MF Global.

Being an anarchist doesn’t imply no state, it implies no involuntary state. You can have a voluntary state and not violate morality. I would not submit to our current state voluntarily therefore its a mafia.

The State refers to the evil use of the government monopoly, all the people who directly or indirectly benefit from corruption, and all the people who are pro-State brainwashed to believe this is desirable or a necessary evil.

The CEO of a big bank counts as part of the State, even though he is not directly employed by the government. Due to State subsidies, bank CEOs are very dependent on the State and Federal Reserve.

For example, Ron Paul works for the government, but he isn’t necessarily part of the State. When Ron Paul pushes the limits of the debate ceiling, he isn’t part of the State. When Ron Paul provides a distraction for people who want more freedom, he is part of the State.

If a CFTC regulator was smart enough to do a proper audit, then he might not be considered part of the State. Due to increasing corruption, such people tend to get weeded out.

Even without a government monopoly, criminals would be caught and forced to pay restitution plus punitive damages. If caught criminals don’t owe punitive damages but merely restitution, then you’re actually encouraging crime. Without punitive damages, if the criminal is caught, he merely repays what he stole; otherwise, he gets to keep it.

Fraud would still be caught in a free market. In a really free market, there would be greater incentive to not commit fraud. Every person who profits from the scam, directly or indirectly, is partially liable. There is no “limited liability incorporation” in a really free market.

Here’s another interesting link. Here’s how the CEO tricked regulators with forged statements.

He falsely listed the bank’s address, instead listing a mailbox or PO Box he controlled. He mailed his forged statements from this fake address.

The regulators are so incompetent and lazy, that they didn’t check the bank’s address.

According to Piwik, a lot of people are finding this post via a Google search of “Who audited Peregrine?”

This link has the answer. It was the National Futures Association (NFA), a self-regulatory organization (SRO). “Self regulatory organization” means that the bank gets to audit themselves. That leads to the obvious problems.

That’s the model for banking regulation, you get to regulate yourself, and when there’s a problem too bad. If you’re a true insider (Corzine), you get away with it or get a bailout. Small fry like Wasendorf go to prison.

Here’s another interesting link.


Justin commented on “Best Of FSK” – v2.0 Implemented.
How about year on year% or mom :) Just wanna keep you busy fsk.

What? You mean daily/monthly/yearly visitor count and % growth?

I’d just been doing that myself in MySQL. I didn’t think it merited a page.

I also get that information in piwik. It’s interesting to compare the piwik stats with the raw Apache logs. The raw Apache logs show 200% more visitors than piwik!

Robert Ferguson commented on “Best Of FSK” – v2.0 Implemented.

Long time blog follower and friend, I think you know that. So I support your efforts! Off topic from this post but I wanted to make an observation about what I have seen with this “Dr. Drew” on tv. First off all, the show is on the State-postured more “respectable, adult” networks like CNN Headline News Network. So funny they have all these different names to suit different favors while all of which come from the same three or four State backed media companies. Anyway, I have watched the Dr. Drew program probably because I liked the “Loveline” show he did with Adam Corolla on the radio years ago. Flatly put, I have noticed that he ALWAYS supports a position which emasculates men. He rushes to support gay rights and heterosexual man abuse at every turn. Female guests and callers are always given a lot of latitude to talk negatively about men and also make a case for a woman who wants the beta male. Meanwhile, any male guest or caller or exhibits even the slightest shade of alpha is quickly shot down for being “un-evolved”, and so forth. I could go on, but I am convinced that the State, actively and on a daily basis, and has for years, seeks to destroy families and weaken men because a strong man and strong family among the masses is a threat!

There’s a lot of pro-State brainwashing on this issue.

The mainstream media promotes homosexuality a lot, often in hidden ways.

The mainstream media also promotes beta/loser values.

Many “romantic comedies” encourage men to think like a beta/loser. In a romantic comedy, the man meets a woman, the woman initially rejects him, he is persistent, and eventually she accepts him. That’s not the healthy way to do it. If a woman isn’t interested, you should find someone else. However, that doesn’t make for an interesting movie.


Justin commented on Test Driven Development – How Stupidity Spreads.
If you do work there, get paid daily in cash :) Don’t work for a company that you don’t believe in.

I’d work for a company I didn’t believe in, if the pay was right. When I was writing financial software, I knew it had no real economic value, but it paid well and I didn’t have to worry about my paycheck bouncing.

It’d be silly to work for a startup you though was doomed, if the equity was party of the paycheck. I haven’t been earning that much, so the cash-only component of a startup job might be worth it.

Also, it’s lousy to work for a startup that doesn’t offer health insurance. COBRA is a ripoff.

Actually, now that I think about it, getting paid in cash isn’t so stupid. If he’s paying me out of his own pocket, cash is better, because it cuts out the State middleman. If I avoid taxes, it’s like getting paid 60% more! He didn’t seem like the kind of guy who’d go for that.

Anonymous Coward commented on Test Driven Development – How Stupidity Spreads.

>However, many people would say that about me, because I switched jobs too many times.

>It becomes a sort of career death spiral. I’ve switched jobs too many times,

>therefore

>employers reject me. Many employers would reject me for superficial reasons,

>therefore

>I’m forced to take sketchy jobs. My most recent job counts as a sketchy employer.

I had three sets of interviews at a bank in London on three separate days. One interview consisted of an hour long written test. I was told I scored 100%.

The last interview was about an hour long and consisted of a stream of technical questions. I got all of them correct, except maybe for the last one which was a trivial question about a specific proprietary development environment name for a config file. A stupid question to ask.

Despite an almost perfect performance in their written and oral questions, the most likely reason I didn’t get the job is because the non-technical interviewer pointed out in had 5 different jobs in almost 10 years.

It is a pity they didn’t spot that before I had to waste 3 different trips to their offices.

A friend of mine says pretty much the same as you. He had a series of contractor jobs on crappy death-spiral projects. In the end the recruitment agencies only put him forward for rubbish jobs and some of them were very brazen about it.

In one job he couldn’t put up with the dishonesty and rubbish strategy anymore and left. The recruitment agency berided him for not sticking it out for a bit longer, even though they both knew the project wasn’t going anywhere and the staff turnover was very high.

I had one headhunter that only sent me on sleazy interviews. It actually was amazing. I met with a bunch of different clients, all of which were nearly complete twits. I was surprised both by the volume of interviews, and how clueless/sleazy most of the clients were.

At one interview, after 6+ hours, they rejected me for “not having enough Java experience” along with “FSK is overqualified”. I never pretended to have much Java experience, so why waste my time? They may have had another reason for rejecting me, but gave that as the superficial reason. According to the headhunter a month later, the position was still open.

Anonymous Coward commented on Test Driven Development – How Stupidity Spreads.

Testing is important. I always test the code continuously as I develop it.

However I’m sure going overboard with formalized testing and code to test code can cause problems.

Testing is good. But anything good that involves clowns gets wrecked.

Instead of realizing the cleverness is in writing code and solving problems, clowns think the cleverness is in repeating mantras. Unless you say exactly what the clowns say, then you are stupid. Stupid clowns can’t write good code. Clowns can’t solve problems.

I once worked for a famous tech company. Another group pushed out some code that didn’t work. The bug got sent to our group to fix. The buggy source code was under version control and only the other group had permissions to change the responsible source file. I told them repeatedly their code was buggy and they should fix it. They repeatedly tried to shift responsibility even when evidence was emailed to them.

One of their interns said as their automatic overnight testing had passed the code it couldn’t be buggy!!!!!!

Of course code to test code doesn’t find all the bugs.

Eventually the clowns fixed their code.

There’s a big difference between testing your own code as you write it, and setting up automated tests, and writing the tests before you write your code.

Automated tests only matter when you have more users. It’s a waste at an early-stage startup.

“Test Driven Development” is particularly stupid. How can you write the tests before you write the code? If you do have automated testing, see what problems come up, and then add test for it.

Anonymous Coward commented on Test Driven Development – How Stupidity Spreads.

I guess another piece of stupidity that spreads is having programming tests that last from 10am to 5:30pm on a day of interviews.

I went to a day of interviews at Microsoft and each interviewer asked two whiteboard programming questions. As I had to wake up at 5am to get to their offices it was a bit too much.

After the first few interviews any more technical questions becomes increasingly pointless. It is an exercise in endurance rather than off real long-range intellectual skills.

The trouble is a lot of other companies copy this style.

Anonymous Coward commented on Test Driven Development – How Stupidity Spreads.

Forgot to mention I had 4 programming questions before the interviews (3 by email and 1 via Internet whiteboard).

My favorite are the multiple-choice programming questions on a computerized pre-screening. Why did I get a CS degree from a top university, if every interviewer is asking a multiple-choice pre-screening test? Is their 15 minute test going to measure more than my CS degree?

I like it when the multiple-choice tests have errors. Then, I have to guess the intelligence of the question-writer. One question assumed that C++ had closures, but “Hey! C++ doesn’t have closures!” wasn’t one of the choices. (A closure is when local variables are preserved after a function returns, usually local variables that are used in anonymous functions declared locally. One example is the callback function style in node.js, where variables must be preserved for when the callback is called.)[/rawr]

Who Does Citigroup Think They’re Fooling?

This story was hilarious.  Both MF Global and Peregrine stole segregated customer funds.  For the first time ever, futures customers lost money due to default/theft/fraud.

To alleviate concerns, Citigroup decided to start informing customers about segregated customer fund balances.  Previously, this information was not disclosed daily.

That’s completely missing the point.  What prevents Citigroup from lying?  Both MF Global and Peregrine lied to regulators.  What prevents Citigroup from lying to its customers, regarding segregated fund account balances?

GrowMap Anti-Spam Plugin Defect

The “GrowMap Anti-Spam Plugin” greatly reduced my spam.  However, it did not reduce spam to zero.

If you have a vanilla WordPress setup, it’s too easy for spammers.  They can POST directly to the comment.php file, without even reading your blog.

The “GrowMap Anti-Spam Plugin” fixes this problem.  The spammer can’t directly post to comment.php.

The GrowMap Anti-Spam Plugin uses simple JavaScript, to determine if the poster is a real human.

However, there is a glaring defect.  The spammer can update his script, to account for the GrowMap Anti-Spam Plugin!

One spammer did this.  I had to take additional measures to block him.

There’s an obvious solution.  Instead of making it the same all the time, the spam plugin should semi-randomize its output.  It should always seem similar to a human user, but extra fields can be added or renamed, to keep out the spammers.


I also added a trackback verifier. It greatly reduced trackback spam, but it isn’t perfect. I can get a “real” trackback from a spam blog. A “spam blog” is a computer-generated blog that’s 100% content scraped from other sites, designed to fool Google into ranking it highly from certain keywords.