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Ahhh, sometimes being a supergenius (and by supergenius I mean drooling mouth breathing moron) is tough

May 21st, 2013 by Chad

Once upon a time, back in June 2007, I suggested an experiment to test the theory of the gold standard:

On the major planks in Ron Paul’s Presidential campaign is the abolishment of the Federal Reserve and a return to the gold (or hard currency) standard.

after reading this article on Chinese gold farmers in World of Warcraft it occurred to me that we don’t have to guess what would happen. We could model the effect on a World of Warcraft server

At the time I was interested in testing Ron Paul’s assertions that returning to the gold standard would cure all of America’s economic ills, but as part of my thought experiment I threw out the a couple other suggestions:

It would also be interesting to see some variations on this theme in which an ulimited amount of gold can be purchased from Blizzard but items are strictly limited. Huge inflation I would bet. Or items and gold can be purchased from Blizzard. My bet there is the local trade economy would tank (Globalization analouge).

Well it turns out that Blizzard went ahead and tested the theory about unlimited gold and limited goods even if it was by accident:

in the last few months, various outposts in that world (Diablo III) — Silver City and New Tristram, to name two — have borne more in common with real world places like Harare, Zimbabwe in 2007 or Berlin in 1923 than with Dante’s Inferno. A culmination of a series of unanticipated circumstances — and, finally, a most unfortunate programming bug — has over the last few weeks produced a new and unforeseen dimension of hellishness within Diablo 3: hyperinflation.

Basically Blizzard created a virtual economy in which infinite amounts of gold could be accumulated very quickly and it drove the prices of goods through the roof.  Precisely what just about anyone would have expected but since I wrote about this back in 2007 I am claiming prescience and genius.

It should be noted that as soon a Blizzard cracked down on the gold supply prices began to drop.  The author of the Zero Hedge article thinks this proves the need for a gold standard.  I think in my own uneducated way that it proves Friedman’s theories about control of the monetary supply more than it makes the case for a specie based currency, but as I said in the title I am a drooling mouth breathing moron so what do I know?

The rumors of America’s death may have been greatly exaggerated and other stuff 4/9/2013

May 9th, 2013 by Chad

The TelegraphChina may not overtake America this century after all

Ooops, awkward.

Seriously though I think if you thought this thru you kind of had to see it coming.  China is aging itself out of competition with it’s one child policy, and there have been rumors about them cooking the books on their economic growth for a long time.  This reminds me of the “Rising Sun” era in the 80’s and early 90’s when the fear was Japan was going to dominate the world and buy out the US.  Look how well that worked out.

If I was betting on a country that might (might mind you) eventually supplant America as the dominant world power I would bet on India, except they are so damn resource poor, but the have the population and it is a growing young population and they have the educational infra structure and are making market reforms that have already substantially expanded their economy.  If they play it right they could really explode over the next few years.

EndgadgetSo about those Indian reforms (subtitle “Chad you F’in idiot”)

A new system for monitoring almost everything that’s going on inside India’s telecoms network has been quietly launched. The Central Monitoring System will offer tax collectors, law enforcement and and other agencies the ability to scrutinize phone calls, text messages, emails, social networking and general web activity.

So possibly a little hiccup in the general reform policy, but I think in general my theory still holds since I offered the massive qualifiers about them playing their cards right.

GizmodoBe a superspy like the NSA

Following a Freedom of Information Act request by MuckRock, the National Security Agency has been forced to make public a book it produced called Untangling the Web: A Guide to Internet Research. Understandably, it’s full of gems

Whoo-hoo let the games begin.

New York TimesStephen Hawking joins anti-Israel boycott.

Personally I am not a fan of Israel, purely on the basis of some of their past actions not because I think the state is illegitimate of some simmering anti-Semitism, but when comparing the two sides to decide that the Palestinians are the good guys is just retarded.

TechCrunchWatch the Earth change on Google maps.

a series of interactive time lapse images that progress year-by-year, showing exactly how things have changed in key areas like the Brazilian Amazon Rain Forest, booming metropolitan areas like Las Vegas and Dubai, and the progress of large bodies of water like the Aral Sea.

Interesting.

The Hacker News#OpUSA has begun

Basically groups of Middle – Eastern and North African hackers have decided that America is evil and so they are going to launch DDoS attacks against banks and government websites.  How that will make us less evil isn’t exactly clear but that’s their plan.

Slashdot asks, “What if we never run out of oil?” and other stuff 4/1/2013

May 1st, 2013 by Chad

SlashdotFollowing up on the Atlantic’s article, “What If We Never Run Out of Oil?”

Slashdot poses that question to it’s readers.  Neckbearded Tree-huggery fun follows.

Ars TechnicaApple proves once again that taxes like rules are for the little people.

Which brings us directly to the third point: Much of Apple’s $145 billion in cash and investments come from sales outside the US and it’s locked down in bank accounts on foreign shores. Simply closing those bulging Swiss, Irish, and Cayman bank accounts would make Apple’s cash subject to so-called repatriation taxes. As much as one-third of that cache would go to Uncle Sam. The company only has about $45 billion in dollar-denominated All-American cash on hand to power that generous dividend and buyback program.

So to recap Apple’s position as a company which overwhelmingly supported President Obama and the Democrats – Taxes on upper middle class and lower upper class families and small to medium businesses – good.  Taxes on mega-wealthy corporations and their overseas earnings – bad. 

That’s really all I have today, sorry.

Books, Books, Books

April 28th, 2013 by Chad

Hmmm, I haven’t written a book post in quite awhile, mainly because I colored in all the pictures and the sticker books are just boring, but here we go:

What have I been reading lately

Read the rest of this entry »

Microsoft Caves and Other Stuff 4/16/13

April 16th, 2013 by Chad

Note:  Any discussion of the Boston Marathon Bombings will be incidental, except for my initial speculation offered in a second. 
The reason for this silence is that as far as I know there is very little hard data about perpetrators or reasons. People will have their own wildly differing theories but there is no proof. 
My personal wildly unscientific and unprovable assessment is that this will turn out to be foreign Islamic radicals in the US on valid visas; but that is just speculation based on the style of attack, AND  again there is no proof and I can certainly be wrong.  That’s all that I am going to say on the matter for now.
OK on to the show
The VergeMicrosoft will introduce boot to desktop option to bypass ‘Metro’ interface in Windows 8.1 (Windows Blue)
So they are caving – kind of – you will have the option of skipping the start screen and going directly to the desktop.  It’s a sop to IT departments that think its too hard to teach users to point at the corners or hit Win + X.
Ars TechnicaFTC May Investigate Patent Trolls
Finally someone besides George W. Bush that all the world’s woes can be blamed on and the FTC is taking them on.
Ars TechnicaContrary to Initial Reports the Boston Cell Phone Were Not Shut Down
AP had a report from a law enforcement official who said that they had been shut down but all the providers and the FCC say that the system was just overwhelemd with traffic.  (see incidental reporting)
Hacker NewsClimate Scientists Struggle to Explain Global Warming
This kind of sums it up -

“The climate system is not quite so simple as people thought,” said Bjorn Lomborg, a Danish statistician and author of “The Skeptical Environmentalist” who estimates that moderate warming will be beneficial for crop growth and human health.

TechcrunchMore H1B visas on the way but employers will have to pay more

it (the immigration bill – ed.) nearly doubles the number of high-skilled visas (H1-B), from the 65,000 to 110,000, with a maximum of 185,000 in the future. However, as the Washington Post reports, it will also require employers who heavily rely on H1-B visas to pay fees and higher salaries.

More details here

I For One Welcome Our New (Liberal) Technocratic Overlords

April 13th, 2013 by Chad

(Hey everyone, I know it’s been awhile but stuff has been happening lately that makes me think that it may be time for Independent Sources, which honestly in my opinion was one of the better blogs, to make a comeback.  Let’s see how it goes)

Washington Post (LA Times,  and TechCrunch among others) – Mark Zuckerberg Announces New Lobbying Group – FWD.us
In the Washington Post, yesterday, Mark Zuckerberg announced the formation of a new lobbying group spearheaded by a number of the tech worlds all stars.  Initially this group, FWD.us, will have three main focuses, Comprehensive Immigration Reform, Higher Education Standards and Accountability, and Scientific Research.

Why these three areas? In theory, because Zuckerberg and his friends see them as the cornerstones of an expanding “knowledge based” economy.  There is probably some truth in this but I think they also see it as a way to extend the liberal agenda.  The accepted wisdom is that immigrants vote Democrat,  Education is a Democrat stronghold and I strongly suspect that “Scientific research” will mainly be aimed at “green energy” “green jobs”.

Maybe I am being overly cynical but when you start out talking about the need for H1B visas and then segue into a path to citizenship for illegals (blatantly appealing to a group that votes 70% Democrat) I wonder where the priority really is.  The same for Education reform, where “support for good teachers” is highlighted.  Every time that phrase is mentioned it is in support of union backed measures to prevent things like measuring teacher effectiveness, and rewarding the best teachers with merit pay.

I am also not reassured by the members of the tech community that will be “focusing on these issues”:

These leaders, who reflect the breadth and depth of Silicon Valley’s entrepreneurial culture, include Reid Hoffman, Eric Schmidt, Marissa Mayer, Drew Houston, Ron Conway, Chamath Palihapitiya, Joe Green, Jim Breyer, Matt Cohler, John Doerr, Paul Graham, Mary Meeker, Max Levchin, Aditya Agarwal and Ruchi Sanghvi.

15 names, only 5 have donated to any Republican candidates according to opensecrets.org, 3 of those 5 overwhelming donate to Democrats (ex. Marissa Mayer made one donation to Olympia Snowe).  Mary Meeker and Chamath Palihapitiya are the only two with strictly GOP donations.  So it’s easy to see why this “bipartisan” group’s platform so closely mirrors that of the Democratic party.  Even better the group intends to utilize their social media clout to get their message out (read they control the distribution  so they control the information we see):

Under a section called “our tactical assets,” the prospectus lists three reasons why “people in tech” can be organized into “one of the most powerful political forces.”

“1: We control massive distribution channels, both as companies and individuals. We saw the tip of the iceberg with SOPA/PIPA.

“2: “Our voice carries a lot of weight because we are broadly popular with Americans.

“3. We have individuals with a lot of money. If deployed properly this can have huge influence in the current campaign finance environment.”

So yeah, maybe there is a little reason to be concerned.

Om Malik also has problems with this group but from a different direction.

Talaban Singles Online

August 26th, 2010 by Insider

Living in a cave can get lonely…

The Mistress

August 26th, 2010 by Insider
Mistress

A husband and wife were having dinner at a very fine restaurant when this absolutely stunning young woman comes over to their table, gives the husband a big kiss, says she’ll see him later and walks away.

His wife glares at him and says, “Who the hell was that?”

“Oh,” replies the husband, “she’s my mistress.”

“Well, that’s the last straw,” says the wife. “I’ve had enough, I want a divorce.”

“I can understand that,” replies her husband, “but remember, if we get a divorce it means that you don’t get any more shopping trips to Paris, no more wintering in Barbados, no more summers in Tuscany, no more Ferraris and Lexus’s in the garage and no more yacht club. But the decision is yours.”

Just then, a mutual friend enters the restaurant with a gorgeous babe on his arm.

“Who’s that woman with Jim?” asks the wife.

“That’s his mistress,” says her husband.

“Ours is prettier,” she replies.

Guess Who Flunks Econ 101?

June 7th, 2010 by A Senior Administration Official

Hint: it isn’t the libertarians.

Link

Hey, I want one of those …

April 7th, 2010 by A Senior Administration Official

… umm, I guess I’ve already been sold one …

Taking Our Country Back

February 19th, 2010 by Insider

Child Prodigy

January 1st, 2010 by Insider

40 Hottest Female Athletes of the Decade

December 20th, 2009 by Insider

Our long-time friend Jeremy Gilby emailed us a link to a story about the 40 Hottest Female Athletes of the Decade. Say what you want about the declining quality of investigative journalism, it is these stories that give us hope that there is still a role for that writer who throws himself into a topic and produces something of such importance.

The FoxxyNews piece in turn pointed to the Bleacher Report post that included pics of all 40 athletes. Of course we don’t really think of female athletes as hot or not. That is so shallow. After all these are accomplished athletes who’d like to be recognized for more than just their looks. So instead we like to rank them on how much we’d like to do them. Of course there really wasn’t a single one on the list who we wouldn’t want to take to bed–Tiger style that is. But tough choices have to be made so below you will find our most favorites of the Bleacher’s Top 40:

1. Not everyone would put Natalie Coughlin on their short list. But this gal has a smokin’ hot body that she used to win six gold medals. One wonders what else that body is capable of doing. Damn!
nataliecoughlin.jpg

2. If all Serbians look like Ana Ivanovic then someone needs to tell me why we were bombing that shitty little country instead of raiding it Viking style. Damn. I hope they don’t hold a grudge:
anaivanovic.jpg

3. No list of doable athletes would be complete without Allison Stokke, the high school pole vaulter who made near pedophilia almost socially acceptable:
allisonstokke.jpg

Please note that we are purposely omitting the two most obvious (Maria Sharapova and Anna Kournikova) because they get automatic bids on to the list. Let’s face it, anyone missing out on their hottness is either gay or insane.

h/t: Jeremy Gilby

In Support of Airline Rules Requiring Our Larger Friends….

December 1st, 2009 by Insider

… to purchase double seats.

passenger_1532425c.jpg

Source

Why Gavin Newsom Is Out of Governor’s Race

November 3rd, 2009 by Insider

gavinnewsom-a.jpg

The real answer is that he was never really in it. Down 8 to 1 to Jerry Brown in fundraising and 20 points behind in the polls, Newsom never had a chance. Citing family obligations in his decision to pull out, the only role these had in his decision to bail was that it was unlikely that even his family would vote for him. Newsom’s campaign strategy blessfully showed the limits of the impact of “campaigning 2.0″ on elections not to mention the ridiculous narrowness of his base (gays, progressives, and greens) beyond San Francisco’s city limits. Newsom’s team actually thought that by using Facebook, Twitter, and blogs that he’d be able to raise 50% more than the leading Democratic candidate did in the last election.

But the real problem was that there was nothing there for non-moonbat voters to sink their teeth into. He never did anything to demonstrate fitness for governor nor counter his well-deserved reputation for self-absorption.

The larger issue, which plays into some of the disillusionment of his staff, is that Newsom doesn’t have conversations – he lectures. The same guy who can speak smoothly at a town hall meeting never seems to shut down the informational fire hose and relate on a human level.

It might be fun for the lefties to believe that their viewpoints are the mainstream but if a politician doesn’t take the time to understand what the majority of voters really want then they are going to fail–numerous Twitter followers notwithstanding.