Reader Mail – 09/23/2012 To 09/29/2012

Khadija commented on About FSK.
I came across your old blog on superheroes not killing.

I can give a pretty straightforward explanation:

Before WW2 superheroes and pulp heroes were usually independent vigilantes, who might work with the police but usually spent just as much time fighting and avoiding them. They weren't afraid to slap a judge or a mayor around, and would kill thugs almost casually. A major theme of pre-WW2 superhero comics was some villain or another trying to embroil the U.S. in the continental wars.

WW2 changed all that. Superhero comics, in order to be allowed to be printed, were more or less forced to convert into propaganda rags for the American and British murderers. What economic pressure didn't do brain-dead statist ideology did.

Of course, the superheroes killed plenty of Nazis. It was after WW2 when the 'comics code authority' was implemented, essentially similar to the rating system of today; a ridiculous and arbitrary set of rules in order to keep the State from doing something even worse.

It is out of these two events - WW2 and the Comics Code Authority - that we get the superhero who cooperates with the police, has moderately left-wing/pro-democracy political views and doesn't kill people who clearly deserve it. This is also why almost every exception to the rule ends up being a supervillain (Supreme Power comes to mind).

It's so entrenched with the major players in the industry, along with the mainstream leftism that typifies most artists and writers in America or Europe, that it is pretty much impossible to expect a repeal before the copyright scam collapses. A few exceptions exist (Punisher being a noteworthy example), and these are more or less floating aberrations which are ignored by the cognitive dissonance which most people are expert at.

That is the problem when a few media corporations control all publishing. It leads to censorship. If your ideas are non-approved, you don't get published. That's the reason almost no celebrity publicly criticizes the IRS or Federal Reserve. If they did, the mainstream media would never promote them.

The Internet changes the equation somewhat. However, the mainstream media wields a lot of influence. It's almost impossible to reach a large audience without mainstream media support.

Almost everything that was written in the 20th century is copyrighted and owned by some corporation. Characters like Superman and Batman should be in the public domain. If I wrote and sold my own Superman or Batman story, I would be sued.

It's ironic that Disney's early movies were based on public domain stories, and now they're one of the biggest advocates for stricter copyright law and copyright extensions.

I'm offended that most superheroes act like an extension of the State.


8==D--(-_-) commented on node.js Is VB6 - Does node.js Suck?.
At least I don't come across as many smug assholes in the PHP community.

It's really hard to want to try it at all without being afraid I'll wind up as arrogant and douchy as you.

There's a lot of amateurs because it's the language of choice for the vast majority of web developers, and subsequently wannabe developers. It's like how Mac partially receives less viruses only because it is less common.

At the end of the day, it's a personal choice, like Coke vs Pepsi. Stop trying to make it a fucking war.

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

With nosql, you lose transactions and all the other nice things your rdbms does for you.

Actually, this is not true. I know one nosql database, Mnesia that is fully ACID:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mnesia


DRK commented on Motorola Droid 4 Mistake - No Removable Battery.
Let me add, my son's Droid4 went nuts last night. Out of the blue playing LOUD music at full volume ---- we could not turn off the droid nor control the audio volume. He panicked and tried to remove the battery, only to tear the battery flex harness in killing the phone. Now I find we cannot buy a replacement repair battery either.

There is NO user Master RESET button on the Droid4 to disconnect the battery from the Droid for a hard turn off/reset. In this the Droid4 is a crap design in not allowing battery power removal to invoke a hard reset!!! Sr. Test/MFG EE w/MS-EET.

I have a Droid-X and I find I need to do a hard master reset about ever two weeks due to it going into some funky operation. A hard battery removal reset always fixes it!!!


Ron Helwig commented on Business Insider Trolls Against Gold.
"You can get 1/10 or 1/4 or 1/2 oz silver coins from APMEX, which is good if you’re using silver as barter money. APMEX fractional silver is a better deal than Shire Silver."

If you're talking about investments, yes using APMEX is a better deal than Shire Silver. But Shire Silver isn't meant to be used as an investment. Its meant to be used as a currency or barter tool.

No one except hardcore gold/silverbugs are going to use traditional bullion for trade. Its too inconvenient, bulky, heavy, and the smaller coins are difficult for people to use. For example, how many times have you dropped a penny or dime on the floor only to have it roll under the store counter?

The masses moved to paper because for most purposes it is superior to coins. They don't really care about inflation as long as its low and relatively consistent - even if in the long term it is very harmful. And even if we could temporarily get people back to using coins during a SHTF scenario, as things settle out people will desire a return to the convenience of paper. And of course, the typical "Problem! Reaction! Solution!" solution of the banksters would have everyone returning to a system that gives them control. That is where Shire Silver really shines. It breaks the cycle of control by giving the people a precious metal based currency that is approximately as convenient as paper.

And seriously, ounces are retarded.

There are lots of defects with Shire Silver.

Silver rounds are a much cheaper cost per ounce than Shire Silver. I don't see the point of paying the substantial premium for Shire Silver.

Shire silver still is based on FRNs as money, according to this link. 1 gram = $2, 5 grams = $10. That is wrong thinking. The exchange rate from silver to FRN should be floating and not fixed.

1 troy ounce is 31.1 grams. 1/10 fractional APMEX round is $4.67 right now. To get 3.11 grams of shire silver, that costs $6.22. Shire silver is 33% more expensive than generic silver rounds.

It isn't that hard to convert from grams, troy ounces, or FRNs. I know how to multiply and divide and use a calculator. Fortunately for you, the people who use Shire Silver are mathematically and economically illiterate. They are idiots for paying such a huge premium to generic silver rounds.

Shire Silver is another scam like the Liberty Dollar, charging people ridiculous premiums compared to generic silver rounds. You're exploiting people who want to use gold and silver as money, and charging ridiculous markups.

I don't see the advantage of cards vs. rounds. I could always laminate or protect my rounds. Even if cards are better, it isn't worth a 33% premium.

1/10 of an ounce is small enough to make change for most transactions.

And seriously, you are retarded and anyone who uses Shire Silver is retarded. Shame on you for overcharging people for silver. Shame on the people who use them, for getting fooled so easily.


Anonymous Coward commented on Shire Silver Is A Scam!.
I prefer silver coins with a matt or satin finish compared to reflective and shiny.

Ron Helwig commented on Shire Silver Is A Scam!.

Wow, you got a bunch wrong.

First, the exchange rate does float. Watch the price for a while and it'll be obvious. Duh. Maybe actually read about it on the MSRP page? http://shiresilver.com/msrp

The markup on the 5 gram card is the same as on the half gram card because that's required for it to be a workable currency. I used to make them different, with the 5 gram being at a lower premium than the 1 gram, but people complained. Besides, making the 5 gram cards is way more work - trying to place the strips of silver nicely is a pain. But then you wouldn't know until you tried it, and that takes work; something you probably don't understand.

As far as the premium being too high, how much do you complain when you order a salad? After all, most salads are priced higher than the spot price of lettuce. Even then, if you compare equivalent products Shire Silver does well. Heck, they're selling a one gram silver bar for $9 ( http://www.apmex.com/Product/60730/1_Gram_Rose_Silver_Bar_999_Fine.aspx ) so how does that not deserve being labeled a scammer?

And just because you might not see the benefit in laminating the metal into thin cards that fit well into wallets doesn't mean that other people don't. Merely not accepting the value does not make something a scam. Is a Ferrari a scam just because I think the price is too high for me?

Shire Silver is NOT intended to be used for investing. We've made that clear. If you want to buy a bunch of metal to sit in a safe then go buy something else. But the kind of silver you'd stick in a safe for eventual redemption is not appropriate for everyday trade, and pretty much no one is going to use that on an ongoing basis. That's where Shire Silver shines. You can have some with you all the time without it being a pain in the ass. Comparing a half gram card's markup to that of an ounce bar doesn't make sense. They're different markets. Its like comparing a car's value for travelling to visit the relatives on the other side of the country to that of a bicycle used for a short business commute.

"1/10 of an ounce is small enough to make change for most transactions. APMEX fractional silver is intended for use as barter money." - that made me laugh. You pointed out that 1/10th ounce is almost $5, which is no where near small enough to be change for an everyday transaction. Besides, no one is going to haul those around all the time. Seriously, just think about the ramifications of trying to use rounds. Do you think people will return to using pouches or coinpurses tied to their belts?

And just so your other two readers know, we never would have found out about this backwater on the web if it wasn't for Google Alerts. It scans the web, doing a search for specified terms, letting watchers know about instances of the term. I thought about not responding since almost no one is going to read your post anyway, but the Internet remembers and people can search. There's more I could write, but if anyone cares they can check for themselves and I've spent enough time on this as it is.

c la commented on Shire Silver Is A Scam!.

Interesting silvershire website is no longer active, needs to renew with godaddy.

sounds like a shady company, only playing into peoples fears and ignorance. In my opinion... silver will only be used for barter in isolated instances. we will always have a fiat currency, less a mass population decrease. via ww3, famine, or disease. Otherwise it is simply a hedge against the endless money printing going on worldwide.

Consider this. Today if I went into any retail store and tried to pay in silver they would turn me away. However, today at this very minute I could use my silver to trade for goods with individuals. Neighbors, friends ect... anyone who knows what the current value of silver is.

Conclusion... Silver is only a hedge against a shrinking dollar. It has real value but lacks liquidity. Recommendation... Trade any dollar you don't need to spend into silver(as close to spot price as you can find). Also Keep dollars on hand because in the event of an economic collapse, Credit and debit cards will be the first thing to stop working. Retailers won't accept silver in the early stages cash only! Then they will just close there doors because of the uncertainty and wait untill the new system emerges. During this time ur silver will be worthless, people will only want to trade for tangable goods they are no longer able to get at the market, food, medicine, ect... Dollars will also be worthless. This is where silver has the edge, as the new system emerges silver will have retained its value, along with all other comodities (gas, food, oil, ect...) and you will be able to trade your silver for the new FIAT currecy, as the dollar will no-longer exist. Basically you need to diversify! Most in Silver/Gold, keep some dollars for the transitional period (or natural disasters, where power outages occur) Oh! and don't forget to stalk up on food and clean water. Guns and Ammo should have been a forgon conclusion.

c la:

The best place for long-term savings is in physical silver/gold/platinum. Platinum is impossible to counterfeit, compared to gold and silver. Another advantage of metal is portability. If you need to leave in a hurry, you can take your savings with you.

In a potential SHTF scenario, you should keep some small-denomination silver, in case you need it as barter money.

If you keep your long-term savings in physical metal, you limit your loss to theft via inflation. It's too inconvenient to live without any State paper money at all.

Ron Helwig:

I can tell by your hostile tone that this is an important subject and I am right. Shire Silver is essentially the same scam as the Liberty Dollar, charging ridiculous premiums to spot silver.

The Liberty Dollar changed its "official price" when the melt value came close to the face amount. When silver reached $8/oz, the Liberty Dollar moved from $10/oz to $20/oz. When silver reached $16/oz, the Liberty Dollar would have moved to $50/oz. Shire Silver does periodically change the "official price", but always leaves a huge premium.

To be most honest, the exchange rate between silver and State paper money should float daily. With Shire Silver and the Liberty Dollar, the exchange rate does not float daily, because the premium is ridiculously high.

Let's review the actual cost of the 1 gram card. I'll stick with the numbers in the original post, where spot silver is $34.55/oz and the 1 gram "Shire Silver" card costs $2. There are 31.1 grams per troy ounce. The silver content costs $1.11.

If you buy silver wire in bulk, you pay a premium of only 5%-10% to spot silver. For example, this source seems to sell silver wire for an 11% premium to spot. You can do better if you shop around. If you know someone with the right tools, you can make your own silver wire.

So, the silver wire costs $1.22 per $2 card.

You can buy laminating machine blanks for $20 per thousand. So, the laminating machine blank costs $0.02 per $2 card. The paper insert also costs less than $0.02 per card. If you include the depreciation of your lamination machine, printer, and equipment, the total laminating cost is less than $0.08 per card.

So, the actual cost is $1.30 per $2 1-gram card.

The remaining cost is labor, $0.70 per $2 card. If you have a good setup, you should be able to make 30+ card per hour. That's an effective salary of $21 per hour. That's a pretty nice salary.

The 5 ounce cards are an even bigger bargain for you. The silver cost is the same percentage, $6.10 per $10 card.

The cost of lamination is the same, $0.08 per $10 card. The raw materials are $6.18 per 5-gram card.

Your labor is $3.82 per $10 5-gram card. If you can make 30 per hour, your salary is $114 per hour!

That's a pretty sweet deal. If you can trick people into buying your overpriced Shire Silver cards, that's a really nice salary. My estimate of 30 card per hour is conservative. I bet you can make more than that per hour, unless you're as stupid as your customers.

When I estimate the actual costs of your Shire Silver card, you're obviously ripping off your customers.

Also, the 5-gram card should not be 5x the price of the 1-gram card, especially when the card has such a huge labor cost. If the "labor cost" of the card is 0.5 grams of silver, then the "5-gram" card should have only 3 grams of silver. Then five 1-gram cards would have the same value as one 5-gram card.

APEX fractional silver has the same defect. Five 1/10 oz silver rounds are worth more than one 1/2 oz round.

I considered the possibility of using copper rounds for change. I could not find any reasonably-priced copper rounds.

Regarding the other points in your trolling comment.

It is invalid to compare the 1 gram Shire Silver to the 1 gram trinkets on APMEX. Those are intended as collectible/numismatic, and not for use as bullion or barter money.

The salad analogy is invalid. A better analogy is one store sells a salad for $2 and another store sells the same salad for $3. The salads are identical (portion size, quality, store location, etc.). Obviously, the $2 salad is a better deal. Every business, including APMEX, charges more than the cost of raw materials. My complaint is that Shire Silver is ridiculously overpriced compared to the cost of raw materials and labor.

If the store owner prices his goods in terms of silver, prices in multiples of 0.1 ounce, then silver as barter money should work. You can always use State money for change.

The best fractional silver/gold system is E-Gold and E-Silver. That was ruined by State violence, and not because it's a bad idea. Ideally, you should be able to get a bank account denominated in gold and silver, then use it as easily as writing a check or a debit card.

When the Internet first became popular, some E-Gold businesses started. The laws were changed to make such a business illegal and unprofitable. The biggest risk of E-Gold is that your metal will be stolen by criminals wearing badges and uniforms. There is the risk of theft by ordinary criminals. There is the risk of theft by the bank, via fraud or fractional reserves.

I don't understand why you're insulting my reader volume. My website has an Alexa rank of 850k (300k in the USA). Shire Silver has an Alexa rank of 2.8M. Freekeene.com has an Alexa Rank of 1.3M (250k in the USA). I have a much better Alexa rank than your website, and a comparable Alexa rank to freekeene.com. The Alexa Rank probably underestimates my true readership, because my regular readers probably won't install the Alexa spying toolbar.

According to Piwik, I have ~150 regular readers. According to my raw Apache logs, I have ~500 regular readers, but I don't filter out bots from the raw Apache log script.

If laminated silver wire really is the wave of the future, there will be competitors who undercut you on price.

I stand by my original analysis. Shire Silver is priced at a ridiculous markup compared to the raw materials and labor. You are hostile to my post, because I pointed out your scam. Just like Bernard von Nothaus, you are exploiting people who want to use an alternate currency, but are too stupid to analyze things. Shire Silver is inferior to APMEX fractional silver, for people who want to use silver as barter money. When I buy something, I typically spend $10 or more, so APMEX fractional silver would suffice. If necessary, change can be made with State money.


Anonymous Coward commented on New Job! - Data Analyst.
Congratulations on getting the job, although it isn't a good job for you.

As you say you are free to do creative work in your free time. Hopefully your job won't sap your creative energy and leave you free to do what you want at the weekends.

I just hate recruitment for software developers. It is just an insane buzzword bingo.

I hate dealing with fools that act as job gate-keepers.

As you prefer they prefer to interview people for months rather than just take someone and let them learn new skills in the first month.

I got contacted by a big company recruiter a few months ago. I program in C# and haven't programmed in Java and C/C++ for many years, although I did do lots of programming in those languages. I wanted the recruiter to contact the interviewing team to see whether they would make allowances for a C# programmer, but it seems I couldn't get him to consider this point. Just another stupid waste!

It's a "good enough for now" job. It isn't a dream job.

Reasons it is a bad job:

- I'm ridiculously overqualified. It's a waste of my abilities. However, I've also been ridiculously overqualified for all the programmer jobs I've had.

- It's useless experience if I go back to a wage slave programmer job. However, if I get experience in language X, that has zero value applying for jobs using Y.

Reasons it's a good job:

- Maybe I should make a career switch from programmer to data analyst?

- The pay is decent, comparable to my last few programmer jobs.

- I'm old enough for age discrimination to start mattering. I'm not that old! A 25-30 year old evil hiring manager will never hire someone older, more experienced, and smarter.

- For a programmer job, you need an exact skills match. For this job, they are spending a *MONTH* showing me how to use the programs. There must be a shortage of data analysts, if the employer is willing to do this.

- In programming interviews, I'm insulted by many of these questions. I have a CS degree from a top university and 10+ years of experience, and they're asking me basic skills questions and trivia about obscure language features? Sample stupid questions are "Q: multiple inheritance in C++" I don't use multiple inheritance, and you normally shouldn't. "Q: In C#.NET, what happens if you edit a collection while looping over it." Seriously, what kind of idiots edit a collection while you're looping over it?

- A lot of people say "There's a shortage of programmers!" If that were really true, employers would be willing to hire people who aren't a perfect skills match.

- I suspect the programmer job market is flooded with mediocre workers, and evil management. If you're an evil manager, it's easier to try to extract productivity out of mediocre people, than hire someone talented. As a really talented person, I'm different and therefore rejected.

- If a mediocre evil programmer is looking for a job, he'll lie on his resume. He'll say he has 20 years of .NET experience if that's what the ad requests. Liars have an advantage over me, because they pass the keyword screening phase.

- In 50+ interviews over the past few years, not a single employer has said "Wow! FSK is really smart! I want him working for me!" I know I'm really talented, but employers don't appreciate it. In fact, most evil managers feel threatened when they see I'm competent.

- It's better than staying home all day. Seriously, I've had zero traction in my search for a computer programmer job. It's time to try something else.

- I can still write software in my free time. With a non-programming job, maybe I'll be more motivated to work on personal projects? The only drawback is that I have very little time left over after working.

I've never heard of a programming job where they let people learn on the job. It's always a demand for an exact skills match.

Why leave a job open for months, instead of hiring someone and letting them learn? If you're an evil manager, it's an ego boost when lots of people are sucking up to you and begging for a job.

Anonymous Coward commented on New Job! - Data Analyst.

You seem to express more elegantly that I could in writing, my own exact thoughts about ludicrous software developer recruitment.

You have a bunch of fools in big tech companies doing very little that is really productive and defining themselves as clever because they got through the recruitment process rather than actually doing real, useful work. They cannot do real useful work because the companies they work for only exist through monopolies.

The initial founders did the difficult technical work. Eventually the company ends up hiring dumb cannon fodder. They congratulate themselves on how clever they are.

But we only know the HARD TRUTH.

CLEVER IS STARTING UP YOUR OWN COMPANY THAT MAKES A REAL PROFIT.

Profit is not stealing via a monopoly position.

Who is more clever? The person who makes a huge salary while stealing and destroying wealth? The person who builds a business, only for others to steal it via taxes and other tricks?

In a real sense, the evil parasite is more "clever", until the entire system collapses under increasing corruption.

When a VC invests, he wants a good Ponzi or a business that can survive on inertia once its run by idiots. Examples of a good Ponzi are FaceBook, Twitter, Groupon, etc. Examples of businesses that are sustainable via the State once idiots take over are eBay, Coca-Cola, Microsoft, GM, Google, etc.

It might be a bad idea to build a genuinely profitable business (unless you do it agorist-style), because then you're only feeding State crime.

Justin commented on New Job! - Data Analyst.

Grats FSK. Be good, survive to the end, and parlay this into something better :)

It's a 3 month contract, with the possibility of an extension.

I'm starting to wonder about "I'm ridiculously overqualified." They gave us a bunch of instructions.

- If A, do X.

- If B, do Y.

- If C, do Z.

My coworkers are saying "If B, do X.", and I'm having a hard time explaining it to them.

Anonymous Coward commented on New Job! - Data Analyst.

> Examples of businesses that are sustainable via the State

>once idiots take over are eBay, Coca-Cola, Microsoft, GM,

>Google, etc.

The Google clowns have an interesting business model.

They seem to have given up trying to write any more useful software (i.e. Google clown search) and are just about buying in stuff with a check book.

The Google Clowns purchased the Android operating system (itself based on Linux) from another company.

The Google Clowns then give away the Android operating system FOR FREE to hardware manufacturers of smartphones such as Samsung and Motorola.

They presumably hope to get some payback from buying and giving away free at a later date. Someone else will in effect by paying for the Android operating system. This could be advertisers.

The Google Clowns are about a big check book funded by advertisers.

If the Google Search is good, then there is less need for a producer of a good product to pay for an advert.

Herein lies the conflick. If the Google Clown is a good and honest clown, it won't make as much money. What should a clown do?

Anyway there are a bunch of arrogant clowns and they have given up writing software and they just take code from Konqueror for "their" Chrome web browser and buy in stuff as they need it.

They aren't really a technology company anymore.

They are just a shell that is only capable of moving money from advertisers to third party companies writing real software.

Google has one big cash cow. That's the search engine and search advertising. Google loses money on everything else they do.

Really, Google should stick to that, and pay out all the profits as dividends.

For the CEO of a big corporation, the goal is empire-building. As a large corporation, Google can borrow at artificially low rates. Hedge funds borrow cheaply and buy shares of Google, making it easy for Google to finance buyouts by issuing new shares.

Because Google may borrow at negative real interest rates, the incentive is for the CEO to buy up as much stuff as he can, rather than return profits to shareholders. The bigger Google is, the more executives can leech via salary and option grants.

Google has become another boring big tech corporation, rather than truly innovating.

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