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The Matrix

Journal Journal: CNN: The "Create a Situation" Room 2

We have to create a situation in which it becomes in their interest to participate in a larger, international initiative to define the rules of the game and the solutions for the current problems which go beyond Syria; that is to say the overall potentially explosive state of the Middle East."

--- Zbigniew Brzezinski 01 September 2013 ~ 10AM ET - [link to transcripts.cnn.com]

User Journal

Journal Journal: Best Syria analysis I've seen yet: it's all 2014 17

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/sep/1/curl-obamas-2014-calculation-lets-have-war/

Whatever happens, this much is clear: We`re no longer talking about the IRS targeting tea party groups, the Justice Department tapping reporters` phone lines, the NSA`s surveillance programs, Benghazi. The president has smartly changed the subject to the most important decision a commander in chief makes: war.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Victory Davis Hanson identifies harsh Obama critic: Obama

Setting a series of Obama quotes over the years vs. the current Syria situation:
http://pjmedia.com/victordavishanson/obama-indicts-obama/?singlepage=true
His concluding four analyses are astute, but I think a fifth one that varies (D) is also there: American global hegemony is just threadbare in the Information Age, and in bad need of a recalibration.
Government

Journal Journal: President Lawnchair's Best Play Yet 3

President Barack "Lawnchair" Obama delivered in his speech this weekend likely his best play in government yet. He is facing a decision between a number of options where none are a winning play; attack Syria and anger people (not to mention killing them), don't attack and you let people die which will also anger people.

But here, he can place the blame for the outcome on congress. With nearly everyone in congress who has said anything to the media opposing action, he can follow their vote (which will likely be against action) and then say "congress said so" when the world is mad at us for not doing anything.

Well played, sir. Well played.

For the record, I think Assad is scum who shouldn't be in power. That said, I don't think we should be attacking the regime, either as that only opens up a different can of worms. The conflict in Syria doesn't really reflect American interests at this point and as terrible as it is I don't see a good reason for us to commit resources to someone else's war. I really can't imagine a scenario where attacking Syria - even if we send just a small number of cruise missiles to kill Assad and his top brass - would work out in our favor.
Cloud

Journal Journal: On the dreaded phrase: "I have an idea for an app" 9

In the past few weeks different people came to me with the dreaded phrase: "I have an idea for an app". If you feel targeted, you probably are, but you're not the first, and you won't be the last. Some even trusted me enough to tell me what their great idea was. Many, though not all, couldn't code their way through a paper bag and thus they look for someone "to code the app for free".

You even might find someone like that, and if you do, it's someone with a lot of time on their hands like a student with not much experience.

What those ideas (if I get to hear them) all have in common is that they need infrastructure behind it. Uploading pictures, movies, heck, even simple text need a place to be stored. That's definitely not your phone, especially if others need to be able to access it. Yeah, you can start off with hosting a little database and web front end on your DSL line (if you have one), but in the long run this will require some serious money. I'm not even talking about the people managing and creating it for you. I'm just talking about bandwidth, storage, electricity.

So, if you have an app idea, assess where you want to store what: if you have no concrete answers to those questions, shelve your idea until you do.. An app is nothing magical, it requires real resources, real work and thus real money.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Windows Sound

I was doing some work and listening to music. The music was coming from the desktop that sits in my entertainment center, connected to my TV via hdmi. I'm no audiophile and my tv's audio is good enough for me. It was playing an Audioslave album in Google Music.

In the middle of a song the audio just cuts out. Total silence.

I kick over to a regular tv channel and it is fine. So the tv works.

I check the volume control and nothing is muted. Then I start digging around and there are a crazy number of places that have audio options/hardware settings. I was thinking, "Man I wish this was KDE - so much easier." I finally tracked it down. I'm not sure what happened - maybe an update to a driver for the audio stuff? There's a new audio manager program and I have no idea what started it or why it decided to change my default audio device, but it did. The machine had been up and running for quite a while. And the easy to find interface wouldn't let me switch the default. I had to find another menu via the control panel.

Pretty funny.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Rodeo Clown Foreign Policy Gets No Respect 4

Daladier, a classic leftist politician of the era, became Prime Minister three times. French politics were rough and tumble, with alliances made and dissolved, and little attention paid to foreign policy. There was a general refusal to acknowledge that Germany was re-arming and preparing for another round. Daladier was a voice in the wilderness. He saw the threat coming from Germany and became particularly alarmed by the Nazi-Soviet Pact. Unlike many others of his time, and today, he understood that Communists and Nazis comprised two sides of the same totalitarian coin. Daladier became PM for the last time in April 1938. By this time, the West's appeasement policies towards Hitler were firmly set. Daladier desperately tried to convince Britain's Neville Chamberlain to take a firmer stance against Hitler. Chamberlain would have none of it, and France's parlous military state prevented Daladier from striking out on his own. Chamberlain had decided to yield to Hitler's demand for the Sudetenland, and to the effective dismemberment of Czechoslovakia. Daladier argued against this, but found himself helpless to do anything but go along. To his life-long shame, Daladier became a signer of the September 1938 Munich Agreement, the now universally recognized monument to appeasement. Heading back home from Munich, Daladier assumed angry French patriots would rip him to shreds. He, instead, got a hero's welcome. Enthusiastic crowds sang his praises, prompting him to turn to an aide, and utter the famous, bitter, and prophetic words, "Ah, the fools! Why are they cheering?"
. . .
I have written before about the Obama foreign policy (here, here, and here, for example). We are firmly in the grip of an appeaser, perhaps even worse. Other countries have begun to see that quite clearly.

All I can say is that I've worked harder to restore sanity to our system the last five years than in the preceding 20. Too, you can't wholly blame Obama; the structural drivers precede #OccupyResolutDesk. Nevertheless, he'll be the one to run us aground. So, brace for shock and stand by for a rough one.

First Person Shooters (Games)

Journal Journal: Another Bad Gun Owner 7

An 8 year old boy in Louisiana found a loaded and unlocked .38 and killed his own grandmother. Apparently he was taking a break from some wholesome and age-appropriate activities while she was watching him, too:

the boy was playing the video came Grand Theft Auto IV on another television set behind her just minutes before the incident

They also mention

Under state law in Louisiana, where the shooting occurred, the child cannot be charged.

Which is pretty reasonable in this case as the kid likely didn't have a clue what he was doing. They specifically said

It was determined that he did the shooting and it was an accident. He thought it was a toy gun, a play gun

Which certainly makes sense for a kid who plays GTA IV.

I'll bet $10 to anyone that nobody faces any kind of charges for this (child endangerment, anyone?). Whether the gun was grandma's or belonged to someone else hasn't been stated.

User Journal

Journal Journal: A new democratic model 4

This is a work in progress, which I will continue to expand upon. I feel it is important to share it in it's unfinished, because I am frequently misunderstood when I attempt to communicate my ideas in conversation, and am attacked by people based on a false understanding of what I propose. This is intended to be a tool which I deliver as a gift to mankind, to use or ignore as they see fit, and not something I impose upon anyone.

The Principles:

Any person who wishes to participate in the running of society has the right to do so. They operate in the fashion that suits them best in each sector, and they do as they will with their spare time. They have the right to vote in the operation of the society they participate in and have their vote counted.

Some people cannot choose to actively participate in society. Children who are too immature to be safe, invalids who are unable because they are in too much pain, those too elderly to function properly.

People need to be involved to have the right to make decisions. If they are not involved, their vote should not count. To allow their vote to count is to those who are ignorant to rule. When one man knows, and another does not, the second should bow his head, and the first should take responsibility.

However, people who are not involved should still have the right to cast votes, propose changes to the system and express themselves just as any other. Wisdom can come from those who are young, elderly and infirm, and it is important that we respect that fact. We can all remember bearing witness to hidebound foolishness amongst our elders at some point in our youth, and those of us who are not yet elderly and infirm can rest assured that we most likely will be.

Those who are not involved and cast votes should not have their vote counted towards a decision, however, those who are involved are free to assign their vote to them, and those votes will count. Thus, a wise elder or visionary invalid who cannot participate through deeds may still be the voice of those who do participate through deeds, for as long as they believe his leadership is wise.

Children should be treated as a special case.

It is important that children continue to be born and that the system should treat them as future citizens of vital importance to us all and not the same as mature or invalid dependents who are cared for out of compassion.

Therefore, parents should be considered to have an additional vote that represents their child, for so long as they continue to nurture to them.

Children should still continue to be able to cast a vote for themselves when they are mature enough to understand what that means, participate in the process and develop their voice, and if mature adults choose to appoint a child as their representative, those votes should be assigned according to the choices of the child and not automatically be passed along to the childs parent.

All data and information should be available to everyone in principle, and it shall be an ongoing goal of society to see that all measures available to make it accessible in practice are implemented. Transparency of information shall never be compromised in support of other concerns, because it is essential to the sane and wise operation of a democratic society.

Where secrecy exists, the act of participating in democracy is itself insane and unwise. It is through exploitation of this truth that those with arcane knowledge make themselves parasites of the ignorant, leading to weakness and suffering of those kept ignorant, the inevitable execution of the parasitic ruler, and often the destruction of the entire human culture.

Preventing this situation from arising is the responsibility of all humanity.

The Tools:

The Watchers - A sensor network, intended to gather data and allow all people to be aware of the environment to the maximum practical degree

The Testaments - Personal mesh networked voting devices with record keeping and personal sensors, intended to allow a person to demonstrate their votes to their peers, review the ongoing operations of the culture and propose changes to the way things are run.

The Witnesses - Stationary mesh networked recording devices, intended to decentralize vote archives and create enough forensic evidence to make wide scale vote tampering impossible

The Web - Wired network, intended to act in a supporting role to the Watchers, Testaments and Witnesses where it is advantageous to use Artifacts of Mankind to analyze data and discover patterns.

The Transition:

This presupposes that the infrastructure for the new model for representative democracy has been designed and distributed and the vast majority agree in principle with its use.

I started writing this proposal with the idea of applying it strictly to legal systems, but realized that it really should govern all common systems, which would include all large scale infrastructure and commonly used systems for governing human affairs. This is a statement with far reaching implication and is going to have to be expanded upon significantly for it to make sense.

1) Cataloging:

We should create a catalogue of laws and systems, together with the justification for those laws and systems, an articulation of the sacrifice they represent, and an articulation of any conditions which would justify their being revoked.

The population should have x number of days to create a catalogue of the laws and systems which exist, together with the justification for those laws and systems continued existance.

2) Judgement:

The population should vote to determine if the closing period for contributions to the catalogue should be extended.

Any laws and systems which are not indexed after the closing period will be judged to be unsupported by anyone and therefore eliminated (there being no reason why they cannot be re-introduced at the end of the migration process)

The laws and systems should be indexed in terms of those which are justified by core values and those which are justified because of how they affect other laws and systems, and a map created that articulates these justifications.

The laws and systems sould then be considered in terms of the relevance of their stated purpose, how well they fulfil their stated purpose, and a consideration of how and if the current conditions are right for them to exist. The population should vote to keep them or remove them on this basis.

At the conclusion of this process, there should be no laws and systems which do not have justification, common support, and some thought put to the time when they might cease to be sane and wise.

3) Ongoing Operation

Any person may:

    a) Propose a new law or system with novel justification

    b) Propose that a new contraindication be ratified for an existing system
                  When the conditions of our culture are x, this rule will cease to be wise.

    c) Propose that a new sacrifice be ratified for an existing system
                  This rule causes hardship in x way, and that hardship should be acknowledged.

    d) Propose that the conditions for revoking an existing system have been met
                  This contraindication was set down long ago when this rule was made, and I propose that it now applies

    e) Propose a new law or system to supersede an existing system by meeting it's justification with:

                - less sacrifice (demonstratable justification)
                          We can meet need x with this different system, and hardship x which the previous system demanded
                          would cease to be necessary
                - less contraindications (deductive justification)
                          Existing system x will become a poor and unwise tool when condition x occurs, and this new system will meet
                          the need without the risk of becoming defunct under condition x.
                - both

A system will have to be agreed upon to determine at what point a proposal must be put to a vote. Possibilities might be that a certain critical number of people must "second" the proposal, or perhaps a critical percentage of the population.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Sunday Comics

I never thought about this before. I was 11 when Bloom County started and 26 when Calvin and Hobbes ended. I consider myself very fortunate to have had the opportunity to read both as they were published.

I don't think either have been matched since. Not for a guy growing up anyway. I don't want to take anything away from Trudeau and others. But for me that was an amazing thing that my youth and those strips lined up so perfectly.

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