Saturday, August 17, 2013

Love Scalpers, or Hate Them?

This week's sign of the Apocalypse

Loyal KPC reader HC sends this actual photo from the actual Wisconsin State Fair:

Now maybe children are selling political influence and there is just a grammar issue in the first line (kids not kid's)?

Or maybe it's something worse?

Here's how HC describes the scene:

Me: what's that sign about?

Guy at booth: It's for a contest but it was this morning.

Me: for what, the kids were selling things?

Guy: no, pedaling, like a bicycle.

Me: that's not how you spell pedal.

Guy: I didn't make up the sign. You’ll have to talk to Pick ‘n Save about that.

First I have to say, WAY TO GO HC!

But then I have to say, if crap like this can happen, why do we even have a government at all?

Friday, August 16, 2013

Solar Fail

So, this article has my silky-soft boxers all knotted up and pinching.

Let's get something straight:  I'm a fan of solar power.  A big fan.  Solar power is the energy of the future.  It's going to work, and we are going to depend on it.  Unlike wind power, which is a mature technology, and based on mechanical generators that are heavy, expensive, noisy, and dangerous, solar power is great.  To start with, let's note that right now solar power has three problems:  generation, storage, and transmission.

More after the leap of faith...

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Why Not Try?

A lot of people get all giggly and (even more) condescending when someone says, "Why not try a society that is more libertarian?"  But then those same people get all upset when they see stuff like this:

Seems like a disconnect.  Government regulation benefits two groups: (1) Government.  (2) Big corporations.  People watch stuff like this, and say, "That's terrible.  We need more regulation."


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Casino Virgins!

It's Billy and Adam, Casino Virgins!

And there's more...

Bertrand Russell on Hayek (Sort of)

(Okay, not exactly ON Hayek, but it is rather Hayekian.  The timing doesn't work out very well, since this was published in 1912.  But who knew that B. Russell was a proto-Austrian?)

From Proposed Roads to Freedom (1918): "We come next to the consideration of the economic power of the State and the influence which it can exert through its bureaucracy. State Socialists argue as if there would be no danger to liberty in a State not based upon capitalism. This seems to me an entire delusion. Given an official caste, however selected, there are bound to be a set of men whose whole instincts will drive them toward tyranny. 

Together with the natural love of power, they will have a rooted conviction (visible now in the higher ranks of the Civil Service) that they alone know how to be able to judge what is good for the community. Like all men who administer a system, they will come to feel the system itself is sacrosanct. The only changes they will desire will be changes in the direction of further regulations as to how the people are to enjoy the good things kindly granted to them by their benevolent despots. 

Whoever thinks this picture overdrawn must have failed to study the influence and methods of Civil Servants at present. On every matter that arises, they know far more than the general public about all the definite facts involved; the one thing they do not know is "where the shoe pinches." 

Very cool.  Sent by the optimally skeptical Zach Weinersmith...  (Good one from Zach yesterday, btw)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

V for Vendetta, Gun-Phobia Edition

You may recall the scene from V for Vendetta where the government decides that, to increase its power, the citizens should be terrified.

Apparently the Democrats have decided to use the same tactic.  And they are good at it.  Here's the gun version of the approach.  Be....AFRAID!

James Taranto breaks it down pretty well...

Thomas Sowell on Vision

Thomas Sowell has two books with similar themes, but both are worth reading, this one and that one.

Anyway, this came up with respect to Harold Myerson, who is so far beyond self-caricature that he has actually created his own reality.  That reality transcends logic and evidence and simply allows HM to make pronouncements based on metaphors that amuse him.  The applicability of these metaphors is completely beside the point.  I'm thinking of this screed, or perhaps this bizarre and fact-free squib, cited here.

What Sowell said was a general remark, but it is an apt description of HM.

What all the [ideological crusades of the twentieth-century] have in common is their moral exaltation of the anointed above others, who are to have their very different views nullified and superseded by the views of the anointed, imposed via the power of government....

[S]everal key elements have been common to most of them: 
1. Assertions of a great danger to the whole of society, a danger to which the masses of people are oblivious. 
2. An urgent need for action to avert impending catastrophe. 
3. A need for government to drastically curtail the dangerous behavior of the many, in response to the prescient conclusions of the few. 
4. A disdainful dismissal of arguments to the contrary as either uninformed, irresponsible, or motivated by unworthy purposes....(p.5) 

What is remarkable is how few arguments are really engaged in, and how many substitutes for arguments there are. This vision so permeates the media and academia, and has made such major inroads into the religious community, that many grow into adulthood unaware that there is any other way of looking at things, or that evidence might be relevant to checking out the sweeping assumptions of so-called "thinking people". Many of these "thinking people" could more accurately be characterized as articulate people, as people whose verbal nimbleness can elude both evidence and logic. This can be a fatal talent, when it supplies the crucial insulation from reality behind many historic catastrophes. (p. 6) 

And, to be fair, this is a fine description of plenty of neocon ideological crusades, also.  "National greatness" and "the ownership society" and...well, it's not just the left, by any means.  It's just that the fantasies of the right don't get echoed quite as much in the halls of academe, or the (now nearly empty) press rooms.

Nod to WH

Monday, August 12, 2013

Monday's Child

1.  Our good friend Richard Epstein becomes a deconstructionist:  What does our Prez really mean?

2.  Wow.  Scanners randomly switch numbers in scanned documents, sometimes?

3.  Disturbingly "convenient" that NSA spying was crucial to finding the "threat" to US facilities....somewhere....sometime.  Because now NSA cannot be questioned.  Unless you read stuff like this.And they hope the misdirection move toward "Cower in helpless fear!" will distract you from this.  I often feel like we are watching a sequel to "V for Vendetta," live.

4.  I had always assumed that the "pee on 3rd rail, die of electrocution" stories were urban legends.  But this one has actual names and dates.  Ick.  Ow.

5.  This is a perfect visual metaphor for a LOT of "alternative" technologies.  They don't actually work. 
SO much more after the jump....

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Zombies and Shot-Blocking

I always thought Manute Bol was a shot blocker who looked like a zombie. (No, that's not photo-shopped).  But perhaps he was a zombie who looked like a shot blocker? (In fairness, Bol was also a first-rate human being). But on to the research question:

Aggressive Acts Increase Commitment to New Groups: Zombie Attacks and Blocked Shots 

Negin Toosi, E.J. Masicampo & Nalini Ambady 
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming 

Abstract: How do individuals who switch between opposing sides develop a sense of commitment to their new groups? Study 1 examined these dynamics in a live-action tag game known as Humans versus Zombies, in which players transitioned from being Human to being Zombie, thus turning against their former fellow Humans. Study 2 examined data from professional basketball players in the National Basketball Association who moved to a new team and had to play against their former team. Aggressive acts against former group members in these competitive settings determined commitment to the new group above and beyond other factors. Aggressive acts against former teammates, such as simulated killing (Study 1) and blocked shots (Study 2), promoted more positive self-reported attitudes toward the new group (Study 1) and more collaboration with new group members in the form of assists (Study 2). 

Nod to Kevin Lewis