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Comment The True Problem With Commercial Space (Score 1) 328

As the person credited for the first law commercializing space launch services (credited by the law's sponsor, Ron Packard during his introduction of my Congressional testimony on space commercialization) there truly _is_ a problem with privatized space and it is a capital market failure.

This capital market failure systemically suppresses technology investment and it derives from something that should be obvious to anyone in venture finance:

Economic activity is taxed rather than liquidation value of net assets.

A venture financier, or angle, or anyone else who takes dollars out of a bank account and puts it into a high risk venture, is rendering their capital illiquid. If you cease taxing economic activity (income, capital gains, sales, value added, inheritance, gifts, etc.) and instead tax only the liquidation value of net assets, for all practical purposes high risk investments cease being taxed.

This is why, the year after I testified before Congress on the initial legislative direction for companies like SpaceX, I wrote a white paper titled "A Net Asset Tax Based On The Net Present Value Calculation and Market Democracy" wherein I proposed a shift away from centralized government provision of technology development and, at the same time, a shift away from politically biased government delivery of social goods (ie: the welfare state), by taxing net assets at the rate of interest on the national debt and distributing tax revenues as an unconditional citizen's dividend. Later I clarified the assessment mechanism to be liquidation value as well as some of the further aspects of government to be privatized.

Its obvious why so-called "liberals" don't want this since by-passing the welfare state without regard to any politically defined criteria other than citizenship, it would gut their political base.

Conservatives, in particular neo-libertarians of the Austrian School, on the other hand, have much to answer for here. A net asset tax, so assessed, is a big step toward the anarchocapitalism of the American school of libertarian thought exemplified by Lysander Spooner in his definition of "legitimate government" as "a mutual insurance company". Protecting property rights is according to the American school of libertarian philosophy (as contrasted with the Austrian school), the primary role of government and it is entirely legitimate to charge for that service just as it is legitimate for a property insurance company to charge a premium that is approximately proportional to the value of the property being underwritten. Moreover, it is entirely legitimate for any company to pay dividends and a mutual company would pay dividends to its members -- members who, quite reasonably, could be called on for service in times of emergency such as war and could, therefore, quite reasonably be assigned one share and exactly one share each.

Indeed, I view it as a moral responsibility for men like Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Mark Zuckerberg -- particularly as beneficiaries of network externalities aka network effects that could not exist in the absence of government protection of those monopolistic property rights -- to at the very least lend their vocal, if not material, support to such a capital reform.

It would be smart for risk investors like Elon Musk to do so.

Comment Electing a New People is Treason (Score 1) 485

In the US We the People are sovereign. Dissolving The People and electing a new one is treason. It doesn't matter if that is accomplished by throwing the "old" people into gas ovens or simply rendering the conscientious portion of the middle class effectively incapable of responsible replacement reproduction -- if you do either by commission or omission from a position of public trust and authority, it is an act of treason.

To go from there to saying "Oh, gee, we're suffering a demographic collapse so let's import lots of immigrants to replace The People." you are making those immigrants accomplices to genocide.

Either treason or genocide are hanging offences and the vast majority of the US Federal Government officials are guilty.

Comment NYT Owner Married Into Lebanese Warlord Mafia (Score 0) 259

"Carlos Slim’s Late Wife Was a Member of the Most Bloodthirsty Lebanese Warlord Clan"

Mrs. Slim was a Gemayel on her mother’s side. The name “Gemayel” brings back memories...
After visiting the Berlin Olympics in 1936, Pierre Gemayel founded Lebanon’s fascist-oriented, pro-Western Phalange Party...
Sheik Pierre’s son Bashir Gemayel was the most ferocious Christian warlord of Lebanon’s civil war that began in 1975. (Above is Geraldo Rivera’s 1982 interview with Bashir.) It should be kept in mind that much of Bashir’s violence was devoted less to fighting Muslims than to making the Gemayels supreme over the other Christian warlord clans, such as the Chamouns.

Carlos Slim bought the New York Times on the strength of his corrupt relations with the Mexican government that gave him monopoly on cell phone communications in that country.

Comment Re:Not all H1B positions are equal (Score 1) 331

It never ceases to amaze me how guys like you refuse to go back where you came from to set up shop in an environment where not only will you have all of the amazing talent you need, but you will be getting it at cut rate prices and benefitting your people where they live rather than sending them abroad to create hatred of your country of origin.

PLEASE, do everyone a favor:


Comment This Proves the Failure of Secondary Education (Score 1) 585

The fact that there is any need to restrict speech means the thoughts behind them weren't banned to begin with. By the time students enroll in higher education, they should already have been thoroughly trained in Crime Stop. Since the verbal analogies section of the SATs were removed it seems high time for there to be a Crime Stop section added as an appropriate replacement:

Crimestop means the faculty of stopping short, as though by instinct, at the threshold of any dangerous thought. It includes the power of not grasping analogies, of failing to perceive logical errors, of misunderstanding the simplest arguments if they are inimical to Ingsoc, and of being bored or repelled by any train of thought which is capable of leading in a heretical direction. Crimestop, in short, means protective stupidity.

-- 1984

Comment Slapper (Score 1) 276

Something that has occurred to me is the possible use of a nuclear detonator technology developed by Lawrence Livermore National Labs called a "Slapper". A slapper, used to propel mass at high velocities, overcomes some engineering problems with railguns by not fighting the vaporization of metal in the ammo, but rather using it as the propulsive "gas" behind a dielectric material which can be made refractory.

Comment Female Worker Insects (Score 1) 449

In eusocial insect colonies, the workers are all parasitically castrated females.

They are parasitically castrated by their own queen mother who uses them as cells in her extended body called the hive or colony.

The real problem we face is that human civilization isn't as highly evolved as the eusocial insects: Civilization's components (erstwhile "humans") don't have the phenotypic plasticity that allows ontogenic paths so radically different as to permit the same genome to become either a queen or a parasitically castrated female worker depending on its upbringing.

We must fervently work to correct this deficiency.

Comment Re:Libertarians and Unconditional Basic Income (Score 1) 1291

Excerpted from MLK's "Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?" (New York: Harper & Row, 1967).

“In the treatment of poverty nationally, one fact stands out: there are twice as many white poor as Negro poor in the United States. Therefore I will not dwell on the experiences of poverty that derive from racial discrimination, but will discuss the poverty that affects white and Negro alike.

Up to recently we have proceeded from a premise that poverty is a consequence of multiple evils: lack of education restricting job opportunities; poor housing which stultified home life and suppressed initiative; fragile family relationships which distorted personality development. The logic of this approach suggested that each of these causes be attacked one by one. Hence a housing program to transform living conditions, improved educational facilities to furnish tools for better job opportunities, and family counseling to create better personal adjustments were designed. In combination these measures were intended to remove the causes of poverty.

While none of these remedies in itself is unsound, all have a fatal disadvantage. The programs have never proceeded on a coordinated basis or at a similar rate of development. Housing measures have fluctuated at the whims of legislative bodies. They have been piecemeal and pygmy. Educational reforms have been even more sluggish and entangled in bureaucratic stalling and economy-dominated decisions. Family assistance stagnated in neglect and then suddenly was discovered to be the central issue on the basis of hasty and superficial studies. At no time has a total, coordinated and fully adequate program been conceived. As a consequence, fragmentary and spasmodic reforms have failed to reach down to the profoundest needs of the poor.

In addition to the absence of coordination and sufficiency, the programs of the past all have another common failing—they are indirect. Each seeks to solve poverty by first solving something else.

I am now convinced that the simplest approach will prove to be the most effective—the solution to poverty is to abolish it directly by a now widely discussed measure: the guaranteed income.

Earlier in this century this proposal would have been greeted with ridicule and denunciation as destructive of initiative and responsibility. At that time economic status was considered the measure of the individual’s abilities and talents. In the simplistic thinking of that day the absence of worldly goods indicated a want of industrious habits and moral fiber.

We have come a long way in our understanding of human motivation and of the blind operation of our economic system. Now we realize that dislocations in the market operation of our economy and the prevalence of discimination thrust people into idleness and bind them in constant or frequent unemployment against their will. The poor are less often dismissed from our conscience today by being branded as inferior and incompetent. We also know that no matter how dynamically the economy develops and expands it does not eliminate all poverty.

We have come to the point where we must make the nonproducer a consumer or we will find ourselves drowning in a sea of consumer goods. We have so energetically mastered production that we now must give attention to distribution. Though there have been increases in purchasing power, they have lagged behind increases in production. Those at the lowest economic level, the poor white and Negro, the aged and chronically ill, are traditionally unorganized and therefore have little ability to force the necessary growth in their income. They stagnate or become even poorer in relation to the larger society.

The problem indicates that our emphasis must be two-fold. We must create full employment or we must create incomes. People must be made consumers by one method or the other. Once they are placed in this position, we need to be concerned that the potential of the individual is not wasted. New forms of work that enhance the social good will have to be devised for those for whom traditional jobs are not available.

In 1879 Henry George anticipated this state of affairs when he wrote, in Progress and Poverty:

“The fact is that the work which improves the condition of mankind, the work which extends knowledge and increases power and enriches literature, and elevates thought, is not done to secure a living. It is not the work of slaves, driven to their task either by the lash of a master or by animal necessities. It is the work of men who perform it for their own sake, and not that they may get more to eat or drink, or wear, or display. In a state of society where want is abolished, work of this sort could be enormously increased.”

—Henry George, Progress and Poverty

We are likely to find that the problems of housing and education, instead of preceding the elimination of poverty, will themselves be affected if poverty is first abolished. The poor transformed into purchasers will do a great deal on their own to alter housing decay. Negroes, who have a double disability, will have a greater effect on discrimination when they have the additional weapon of cash to use in their struggle.

Beyond these advantages, a host of positive psychological changes inevitably will result from widespread economic security. The dignity of the individual will flourish when the decisions concerning his life and in his own hands, when he has the assurance that his income is stable and certain, and when he know that he has the means to seek self-improvement. Personal conflicts between husband, wife and children will diminish when the unjust measurement of human worth on a scale of dollars is eliminated.

Two conditions are indispensable if we are to ensure that the guaranteed income operates as a consistently progressive measure. First, it must be pegged to the median income of society, not the lowest levels of income. To guarantee an income at the floor would simply perpetuate welfare standards and freeze into the society poverty conditions. Second, the guaranteed income must be dynamic; it must automatically increase as the total social income grows. Were it permitted to remain static under growth conditions, the recipients would suffer a relative decline. If periodic reviews disclose that the whole national income has risen, then the guaranteed income would hgave to be adjusted upward by the same percentage. Without these safeguards a creeping retrogression would occur, nullifying the gains of security and stability.

This proposal is not a “civil rights” program, in the sense that that term is currently used. The program would benefit all the poor, including the two-thirds of them who are white. I hope that both Negro and white will act in coalition to effect this change, because their combined strength will be necessary to overcome the fierce opposition we must realistically anticipate.

Our nation’s adjustment to a new mode of thinking will be facilitated if we realize that for nearly forty years two groups in our society have already been enjoying a guaranteed income. Indeed, it is a symptom of our confused social values that these two groups turn out to be the richest and the poorest. The wealthy who own securities have always had an assured income; and their polar opposite, the relief client, has been guaranteed an income, however miniscule, through welfare benefits.

John Kenneth Galbraith has estimated that $20 billion a year would effect a guaranteed income, which he describes as “not much more than we will spend the next fiscal year to rescue freedom and democracy and religious liberty as these are defined by ‘experts’ in Vietnam.”

The contemporary tendency in our society is to base our distribution on scarcity, which has vanished, and to compress our abundance into the overfed mouths of the middle and upper classes until they gag with superfluity. If democracy is to have breadth of meaning, it is necessary to adjust this inequity. It is not only moral, but it is also intelligent. We are wasting and degrading human life by clinging to archaic thinking.

The curse of poverty has no justification in our age. It is socially as cruel and blind as the practice of cannibalism at the dawn of civilization, when men ate each other because they had not yet learned to take food from the soil or to consume the abundant animal life around them. The time has come for us to civilize ourselves by the total, direct and immediate abolition of poverty.”

Comment Expand the Hutter Prize (Score 1) 20

Expand the Hutter Prize for Lossless Compression of Human Knowledge to include the entire edit history of Wikipedia as well as the entirety of Wikipedia's current contents.


Because it solves the artificial intelligence problem and does so in a way that optimally enables natural language communication of the accumulated knowledge of humanity.

What I mean by "optimally enables natural language communication" is what every professional writer uses as the first rule of composition:

Write to your audience.

In other words, let's say you are attempting to write an article about quantum mechanics and your audience is a 12 year old from New Jersey, raised without a father in an impoverished, crime-ridden neighborhood. This is a very different composition task than communicating quantum mechanics to a college educated liberal arts graduate from Iowa who is considering a career in accounting. Indeed, it is the essence of pedagogy -- universalized.

By including the entire edit history of Wikipedia, the worldviews, perspectives, biases and agendas of a large number of editors will provide insight into the cognitive as well as social structure of a wide array of humans.

Moreover, while Google and companies like it are increasingly casting their role as "publishers" with the "right" to "editorialize" their search results, the Hutter Prize has a mathematical objective function that is simply not subject to editorialization: Kolmogorov Complexity. KC is a rigorous definition of Ockham's Razor that is mathematically sound and provably an optimal measure of mastery of knowledge.

Comment Libertarians and Unconditional Basic Income (Score 2) 1291

Libertarians need to think more deeply here.

The state of nature is one in which a natural person has de facto rights to fight for his survival — which includes not just his own personal survival but the right to sire and raise children to equally viable adulthood. When I use the word “fight” I mean it: Animals will fight for territorial access for the lives of themselves and their progeny. The Austrian and Lockean schools fail to recognize the situation which arises in nature when an animal is without the means of intergenerational sustenance, and the necessity of aggression in some of those situations. Civilization attempts to ignore this by proclaiming “property rights” as “natural” against “aggression”. This foolishness at the heart of these schools of thought renders them forever vulnerable to collectivists. The way out is trivially obvious: Follow Lysander Spooner’s definition of legitimate government as a mutual insurance company into which men voluntarily invest their natural rights in exchange for shares in and dividends from the company. The premiums paid for property rights take the place of taxes. The dividends take the place of social welfare. The violation of this simple and obvious paleolibertarian construct sacrifices the bedrock principle of liberty upon which civilization is founded for the high purpose of becoming politically impotent against collectivists.

As for socialists, all they need to do is find out who is responsible for ignoring Martin Luther King Jr’s final advice which was quite congruent with this paleolibertarian notion of natural rights investment being compensated by a dividend.

They need to find out who is responsible for ignoring MLK’s advice and do whatever it takes to neutralize their power — and I mean whatever it takes.

I’d start with the Southern Poverty Law Center.

If it's worth doing, it's worth doing for money.