The Intellectual Wilderness There is nothing more useless than doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.

2017.10.4 23:37

Las Vegas shooting prediction: Most casualties were not due to gunshot wounds

Looking over the data for large stampedes and crowd crush events at concerts and sporting events, and comparing this to what I know personally from a career spent mostly handling various weapons in a tactical environment, I expect that we will discover fairly soon that the vast majority of casualties during the Las Vegas shooting — both injuries and fatalities — were actually due to stampede, and not anything to do with gunshot wounds at all.

Of course, in the confusion this issue has become politicized to an absolutely ridiculous degree by various anti-gun factions, and much of the US and European media is loathe to report anything other than anti-gun statistics for the moment, so we are seeing language tailored to evoke images of hundreds of people with actual gunshot wounds and zero people with stampede injuries.

For example: “Shooter in Las Vegas [blah blah blah] over 500 wounded.” This makes the reader or listener immediately envision 500 people actually wounded, as in due to violent trauma — and deliberate violent trauma at that. Which in this case would be exclusively due to gunshot wounds. But we have never seen a breakdown of causes of bodily harm by type, and this data will take a while to assemble.

By the time we do see these stats most people will not really be interested because immigration in Europe or stubborn people in Madrid/Barcelona or NFL SJW activity or whatever else will steal the spotlight and public attention before then. In other words, people will be distracted with another issue-of-the-day by then and forget that the new factoids they see relate to a previous event they felt very strongly about at the time it occurred.

Watch for this one.

2007.08.16 10:04

Trashy Media and Trashy News

Filed under: Ancient Posts — Tags: , , — zxq9 @ 10:04

I couldn’t help but notice this book cover… I’ve never seen such an outstanding example of a meaningless title before. The amazing thing is not that the title and the subtitle are in direct opposition to one another, rather that this is the sort of thing that not only sells well but is expected in political discourse today. Further, its not just tabloid trash — this kind of crap is taken seriously.

At any rate, its hilarious.

In other news… New York is worried not about centrally controlled groups, but about Middle Eastern immigrants who will project their personal problems on the society they now live in in a violent way. Wrap that in a little Islam and you have a terrorist, true. Nobody has dared to actually say this before, though, because it sounds too much like profiling.

Here’s another ridiculous tragedy in the making. If this guy killed his wife first, then his son, then the estate will pass to his surviving children. If he killed the son and then the wife, the mother-in-law will be entitled to part of the estate. How is she entitled to the estate when all she did was push her daughter off on a steroid-freak wrestler who later murdered her? So we’re giving her fabulous cash prizes for being negligent and raising her daughter to hang around dangerous, unstable men? This seems completely ridiculous. Also rather callous of her to fight some children over an estate to which she shares no blood relation. Nice going, Inheritance Law.

In other worthless news we have more empty gestures from people wealthy enough to engage in such self-therapy. Where was she when the crisis was actually still going on I wonder? I could research this and find some way that her apathy in the 1990’s somehow assisted the genocide in occurring, but why waste my time?

In somewhat worth-while news… This is an amazing turn of events, if it works out and doesn’t get exploded by some nutbag Palestinian… Japan has decided to support a special economic zone in the West Bank that is for Israelis and Palestinians both. Israel has done this many times and my recollections of living and working in Israel in the late 90’s and early 2000 was that there were no problems and the Palestinian peace party was all supported by Palestinian businessmen who understood that peace and hard work bring prosperity and eventual true democracy. They also understood that Israelis are outstanding technical achievers and impeccable businessmen and the benefits of working and investing with them instead of against them far outweigh the personal disgust they may have been educated to feel when dealing with Jews.

Economic progress is not something you can give someone, though. It is also something that you can’t really teach. Its like giving a car to a tribal society that in all their years never invented the wheel on their own. You can’t expect that car to run or be well maintained a year later. So this might work out, if the timing is right, but on the other hand, there have been numerous business parks in the West Bank since the late 1990’s, and they were all bombed into oblivion by the anti-Israeli Palestinians who know that if economic progress really takes hold and there is peace, they will be out of a job. The freedom-fighting industry tends to shrivel up and go away when you have real freedom, and then you have to get a serious 9-5. Its far more fun to call yourself a freedom fighter and run around the hills with guns taking what you want and oppressing your own people (in the name of freedom!) than buckling down, managing a family and a business and exiting this world in a quiet and far less spectacular way than self detonation.

Politics, Media, Synthetic Experiences

Filed under: Ancient Posts — Tags: , , , , — zxq9 @ 10:03

I mentioned earlier that this would be good news for the Democrats and the media types who have staked their careers on a failure in Iraq, and in fact, they are playing it up. Weirdly there’s not a lot of space to expand this story to sound worse than it is because its a fairly unambiguous event and it happened too close to Syria to be completely blamed on a “failing policy in Iraq” or on Bush himself.

The bombing news will likely fade away soon since it involves Kurds and ethnic cleansing, and people do not like to talk about that right now, as it might indicate that we’re doing the right thing by being there. This leaves the anti-Warrists with a choice between two unpleasant alternatives in media focus: they can focus on the bombing event which looks bad on first look, but upon deeper inspection reveals some serious and strong motives for actually being in Iraq as opposed to abandoning it to mass slaughter; or they can focus on the troop reduction plan Petraeus is working on now.

Which type of media event an anti-Warrist will focus on reveals which type of anti-Warrist he is. There are those who genuinely do not accept war as a policy (which in practice every society accepts war, or they soon cease to exist and are quickly stricken from the record of human history), and there are those who wish to be seen as original and free thinkers who are bravely rebellious antiestablishmentarians.

The vast majority of anti-Warrists are of the latter category. It will be easier for them to focus on the bomb news but not deeply explore the issues that go with it than to focus on the troop reduction plan. This type of political thinker will recognize that without a war to stand resolutely against they will be out of a job and require a new thing to stand resolutely against in order to maintain their perceived relevance. The focus on the scary aspects of the bombing and ignorance of the underlying issues it raises that are potentially pro-War is made easier by the contemporary media consumer’s lack of interest in complete stories. Very few make it to the end of a serious in-depth piece even on TV today. There are so many other things to do now that are more entertaining than understanding the real world. WoW, pr0nz, drinking, pr0nz, football, pr0nz… man, the day just fills up with synthetic experiences so fast.

The political media today is usually little more than entertainment anyway — just another synthetic experience. My words here are written just for me, read for the reader and in any event have no impact on what happens in Iraq or anywhere else. It is completely plausible for me to enrage a reader and start an online posting war back and forth over issues that are completely removed from us in space and time but we both simply feel very strongly about. Our realities are defined by our perceptions, and with that in mind, I restate that the news media is largely about entertainment value and not the faithful relay of current human events.

2007.08.15 10:01

Malleable Media

Filed under: Ancient Posts — Tags: , , , , — zxq9 @ 10:01

More charming words from a foreign in England. How sweet, they are trying so hard to share their culture.

In other news, this girl is ready to make herself famous! Nice going, Arab Educators, your Kung Fu is definitely stronger than the Korean hate-instilling version. I’m fairly certain that while growing up in Texas if I were to have drawn similar pictures with Mexico, Canada, American Indians, Nazis, black people or even the good old fashioned fun-to-hate Jews as the subject, I would have been suspended at a minimum (and likely gotten my ass kicked at home by my father for being a hate-spouting retard). If American children did this today with Muslim terrorists as the subject, they would be disciplined harshly. Of course, that does not work both ways. If you are a Muslim living in the non-Muslim West that you must destroy, you can file what amounts to an EO complaint and be taken seriously.

But then again, there is no money for Americans, Japanese or Europeans if they write hate literature, develop victim cultures or teach their children to hate. They’re already on top of the world and have proven in the no-holds-barred arenas of science, commerce and war that their cultures are simply more efficient and worth working within and for, living within and for and dying for… though at the rate of roughly 700,000 Muslims to 3,600 Americans so far, the inefficient societies are showing just how drastically more inefficient they are already. That is not sustainable, regardless how many media stunts are attempted to the contrary.

On the subject of media stunts, it still amazes me that Middle Eastern media releases will base an emotionally rousing statement on a completely facetious event. It is even more amazing to me that Western media will take such releases seriously without investigating, despite the inevitable retraction (I suppose that on the balance breathtaking stories are worth more than the slight sting of a retraction, so long as the retractions aren’t too public or too frequent). In this case, the proposed attacks on holy sites is something they pulled straight out of their ass, but the strong-sounding, resolute and unifying commitment to a harsh retribution is what they wish the public to see. Of course they expect, and rightly so, the majority of their target audience to not read the entire article or realize that even the falsely stated threat is not from the United States, but by absence of knowledge the local Middle Eastern media consumer and likely most of the Western media consumers as well will fill in the blank in their mind with the United States or Israel.

[Note on edit: It seems they have already filled in the blank completely, taken down the old story, – which is already now a dead link, unsurprisingly, as it didn’t mention the US 2 hours ago – and the new reality has been woven to include specifically anti-US rhetoric. Its history-changing in action! Amazing. And you saw it here first! Or second… or whatever… this has been going on for quite some time, I’d imagine… Its weird to actually watch it happening, though. I wish I could stay up for a few more hours and watch the story of the story unfold and chronicle it… I should have screenshotted these changes to post them. Damn… missed opportunity.]

Humans never cease to amaze.

2007.06.27 00:22

Support for the Iraq Campaign

Filed under: Ancient Posts — Tags: , , — zxq9 @ 00:22

Watch out, everyone… “Republican support for the war is slipping” says this article. This means, of course, that two senators have decided that having the war move to America instead of stay in Iraq is a good idea.

Whenever I run farther than a half-marathon I start telling myself that walking sounds a lot better than running. It sounds like a great idea at the time, until I realize how crap I will feel at the end when I’m last place… so I keep running and step it up a notch to silence the rebellious dissent within my mind.

Stopping the war in Iraq for the reasons listed is preposterous at best and dangerous at worst, and with terrorists, I always assume the worst. They propose that the solution is to turn things over to the Iraqi Army and “its neighbors” and they will keep the bad guys busy so we can live peacefully in our sector of the world. Which neighbors are we talking about? Surely not Syria or Iran, I would hope. Not Saudi, a kingdom run by detached, elitist “royal” families who support us up front because they desperately need us to buy their dinosaur grease but who must pander to their bronze-age inhabitants who still (fervently) believe in a flat-world religion and wire money in support of our enemies. Jordan maybe? Jordan has enough problems of its own keeping bad guys from operating inside its own space, and has internal moral qualms about even doing that much to stop terrorism. Turkey? Maybe, sorta… depending on how their ongoing politico-social evolution turns out. But trust them to be the honest broker in the Kurdish situation? I think not… and on the flip side, trust the Kurds with anything Turkish? If the region were capable of maintaining its equilibrium then it would have found it long ago and we wouldn’t be in this mess in the first place.

This is a region of people whose basic logical assumption by which every other aspect of reality is postulated is that America is the embodiment of evil and all things not Muslim must be conquered, murdered or subjugated (and taxed under Islamic law) for there to be peace on Earth. This attitude extends to the various competing sects of Islam as well, so if the whole world were subjugated already, there would be plenty of fighting left to go around as every sect must fundamentally define the other sects as “false believers” who must be killed (subjugation for false believers is not allowable by the Koran or the Hadiths, let’s remember, for they are worse than non-believers by their own account). So once every sect but yours is dead and the whole world conquered and murdered or subjugated, then we can have peace… provided that no groups splintered from yours somewhere along the way and granted that nobody within your group accidentally draws any attention to concrete contradictions within your cult’s magic book (like provably false things, like the shape of the Earth or nature of the stars, for example).

The above situation does not describe a peace that I can accept. These are also not allies that make acceptable promises for this reason. I have had nice Muslim LBG’s working for me plenty of times, but I and they both know that in a few years things could turn ugly between us because just as I was using them to do a job, they are using me to survive because at the moment I was the biggest dog on the block.

Dog-eat-dog, that’s the way it goes. Let’s remain the biggest.

2007.06.25 00:14

Points on Environmentalism

Filed under: Ancient Posts — Tags: , , — zxq9 @ 00:14

Best Engrish I could find in Hiroshima. Bad picture quality, though.

Environmentalists still like ramming their heads against brick walls.

Lately environmentalist stories and short-sighted “green” ideas have been blooming on the internet faster than Chinese algae. Christian Science Monitor hit the nail on the head about carbon emissions today with this article, and then went completely the other way with a mainstream-friendly article (one can only wonder if the editor felt it necessary to post a self-rebuttal after being frank about environmental issues). The former is the only one I’ve seen that addresses the problem with power plants. It does not offer any solutions, however, as is typical in journalism.

Short-sighted and unrealistic environmentalist ideas bother me on a deep level. Let me take you on a bullet-point journey to organize why… or at least cut down on my ramblingness:

  • The environment is important, regardless which one you are talking about (I, for one, don’t stop at this planet when contemplating our habitat).
  • Broadly speaking, all other animals adapt to their environments. Humans have gotten ahead by finding ways of adapting the surrounding environment to suit our needs. We need not be ashamed of this natural ability of ours (self-loathing is self-defeating). And we should also consciously admit that this is indeed a natural phenomenon.
  • We have an influence on the environment, but we do not know to what degree despite the claims of certain knowledge by many trusted sources (Al Gore’s co-stars and anyone driving a Prius in Hollywood as a statement (as opposed to those who do it to save money or because they like the car itself)).
  • The environmental/green lobby is generally left-wing, anti-corporate and somewhat anti-American/West/Successful Nation. This is strange in itself, as the 1st World center-to-right nations (yes, in the big scheme of things France is more center than left when compared to, say, the DPRK) are the only ones contemplating environmental issues with any seriousness and allow their populace to mouth off against them; try that in the lovely republics of China or even heavy-polluter India.
  • Being left-wing, the general environmental lobby does not understand and does not want to understand the economic forces that guide the majority of decisions that drives lives and nations, and thereby the impact humanity has on the Earth.
  • Most environmental proposals are ridiculous for their lack of practicability, and are blown off immediately by engineers, industry investors and governments. Any that gain media attention (like Gore’s piece) suddenly become the big talk because it is politically incorrect to deny any environmentalist ideas the privilege of being both technically ridiculous and ridiculously vacuous. Being nice sounding does not, however, change the fact that most environmentalists’ ideas are preposterous and tend to, in the end, be far more energy wasteful than the current status-quo (consider this article).
  • Humanity will always need more and more energy.
  • Cars are not the devil. Neither are power plants. But electric cars powered by power plants that burn coal are far more wasteful than cars that burn regular old gasoline. The difference is that you can choose to not see the smog produced at a distant locale when you look through your shiny new rose-tinted windshield (cars from any number of movie award ceremonies? or how about giving technology innovation awards away to ideas everyone has already had for a long time… like an electric car?)
  • Humanity, as a whole, will not allow itself to self-destruct (though several constituent societies appear to actively seek destruction).
  • The world of humans is driven by need. This need is commoditized and expressed in economic systems, whether we like that idea or not. In the end no matter which way the flag waves this has always and forever made businessmen powerful, whether they were bankers, investors, traders (or in the case of suppressed, State controlled economies) the King Himself. This is true whether we’re talking about the gloriously disastrous socio-economic experiment that was the USSR, ancient Carthage or modern day USA.
  • Convincing consumers the benefits of eco-ventures is not practical or effective. Convincing the businessmen who will profit or lose by these ideas is far more important. All the sweet love and genius of human harmony will not make any money; only having something someone else needs will. Something someone else needs is not to be confused with something someone else wants. Need, whether perceived or real, drives economies; personal desires fueled by popular fads merely nudge economies in fantastically disastrous directions for short periods of time.

Environmentalist thinkers will never arrive at a sound alternative to our energy needs that are cheaper than what we have now. Their own dogma precludes this because their approach to marketing their ideas will always miss the mark, even if one of them comes up with a great idea. Businessmen with the capital and know-how required to manifest new ideas will be interested only concepts like “cheap power” and “sellable power” not “clean power”. They need something that can sell at a profit, not something that will bust them financially and maybe earn a tip of the hat in some tiny info box on a children’s textbook page long after they are dead.

Society will never band together to buy expensive, restrictive-use power.  The key here is “good” power all being restricted in some way, or “bad” power requiring some element of restriction to render it “good”. This makes “good” power expensive and “bad” power cheap. Which forces a quirky singularity in environmentalist economic planning: an ideal environmentalist economy is possible only for societies with the resources to afford it, making the only societies capable of “good” behavior a very small, elite, club. This makes those societies a power elite if they take the environmental crusade a step further by making environmental policy into rules, and enforce those rules the only way possible (with violence). Thought creating an elite class would not be the intent at the outset, maintenance of elite status will always become a goal of its own later on (the universal rule underlying this is “capacity drives intent” — memorize that).

Alert readers may have noticed that the situation described above applies to any technology that gives one society (or set of societies) an advantage over others. Technology, and indeed evolution itself, always tends toward monopoly, and monopoly always tends towards instability, and instability is ultimately the only reliable monopoly breaker. (Yes, this is depressing and ugly if you think about it carefully.)

2006.10.12 23:53

DPRK Handling

Filed under: Politics / Geopolitics — Tags: , , , — zxq9 @ 23:53

[Pic unrelated: On sale at Jusco. They have no idea how this appears to a Westerner.]

I’m writing because I’m a little upset about the shallowness of the Left’s current stance on the North Korean nuclear and ballistic missile issues. Even more broadly, I’m disappointed in the way the media flashes past complex issues like this without ever explaining anything while trying to engender a sense of understanding in their audience. It makes issues such as DPRK “crisis” situations an easy tool for politicians who are ready to lie while rendering them useless for politicians who prefer to talk straight about international issues*

[*Granted, the only politicians who talk straight about such things are the minority of American politicians who understand that it is an effective style of rhetoric only because it is a shocking style of rhetoric. That is only possible because the US controls its own hemisphere. If the truth comes into vogue again then shocking lies will become the winning strategy, so any victory for Truth will be inevitably short-lived. It just so happens that politics everywhere is so deeply invested in lies that the truth is an effective, and winning, shocker.]

The DPRK is not going to bend to anyone because the DPRK is not a manifestation of pro-national governance, it is a manifestation of pro-elite governance. Come to think of it, that’s what the Left is all about as well: taking power from the average person under the cover of saying that they must make everyone’s decisions for them for the “greater good”. The DPRK is one of the few remaining functional dictatorships. Or it is a cult*.

I prefer the cult characterization because it carries an accurate sense of what I have observed there. The State is inseparable from Kim Jong Il, the people must venerate the State and therefore Kim Jong Il, and they do everything but use the words “Lord and Master” or “The Holy Father and Son” to refer to them. It distinguishes the idea of Hitlerite dictatorship which seeks to become a cult from a power elite which actually manages to manifest the Mayan political dream.

[*2015 post-military retrospective edit: I believe it is a cult. It is far more religiously zealous than any of the Christian or Islamic places I’ve worked. Insanely so. I can’t even begin to count the ways in which it is profoundly cultish. With Kim Jong Il now moved into the position of “Eternal Secretary” they now have a proper Holy Trinity: father, son and ghost.]

Here are some quick points:

  1. The DPRK is a dictatorship run by a strict egoist. This may not have been the initial goal, but its the only way to run a tight communist country in Asia in a post-Cold War world totalitarian regime effectively.
  2. The DPRK is obligated to generate crises on a schedule. It doesn’t really matter if the outside world throws (useless) sanctions at them or not, throws a few rounds of actual hot death at them from time to time, or throws a few baskets of gift-wrapped chocolates instead (or more often barges full of rice or cash). So long as KJI is going to stay in power he must play a brinkmanship game on the outside and internally stir a sense that “We are embattled by the whole world! Its Us against Them!”
  3. The world thinks China can magically change the way the DPRK works. It can’t. Only KJI can do that, and he’s not going to because it would put him out of a job, and that’s equivalent to the destruction of the DPRK. Besides, without him holding the country together famine and lawlessness would ensue. Consider other necessary dictatorships, like Libya — Koreans are far more socially advanced, but their already dire survival situation would immediately become critical without KJI. There wouldn’t be an overnight smooth, non-violent transition to unity with South Korea, not by a long shot — that’s purely a daydream of peaceniks who have lost touch with reality. Even the West doesn’t want a unified Korea just now. A united Korea (whatever way that happens) would ultimately not be an ally of the West (or Japan). When Seoul talks about “unity” what they mean is under their leadership. When Pyongyang speaks of “unification” they mean under their control. There is no middle ground on that, and therefore there will be no unity until internal disintegration grips one or the other. (Sorry ideologues, it actually appears to be a fair toss between which one will disintegrate first — South Korea has a profoundly weird list of internal problems the DPRK lacks thanks to its nearly universal state religion. Religion really is a near-perfect way to enslave masses of people.)
  4. The US is wise in avoiding direct dialogue with the DPRK. The game has a pulse to it which usually begins with the DPRK deliberately provoking “the global community”, whatever that means. This week they announce nuclear research, next week they launch a test missile over Japan, another time they send a boatload of missile parts to Iran, another time they sink a South Korean ship, etc. The details of the incident are irrelevant, the whole point is to stir shit so the “world” must “do something about it”. This is code for “the U.S. must do something about it”. Why the U.S.? Because, frankly, the combined might of Europe is utterly incapable of fielding a military force that can influence East Europe, much less East Asia. Beijing and Moscow are interested in seeing what they can get out of the U.S. in return for deliberate avoidance on other issues, making the cost for genuine engagement in the issue unacceptably high. The Japanese are afraid of their own latent might (they might “become evil” through strength, as if “good” and “evil” have a place in geopolitics). The U.S. list of international heavyweights capable of keeping South Korea calm is short. Any dialogue with the DPRK runs immediately and necessarily to military brinkmanship. There really isn’t any place left to go after you fire “test missiles” over a country like Japan or sink a South Korean vessel.
  5. Neither Pyongyang nor Washington would benefit from an actual war. The DPRK, being controlled ultimately by a tiny power elite, is flexible in its interpretation of political consistency and can therefore grandstand with “We will destroy the South unless ___!” The US, on the other hand, has a policy against making idle threats and so can’t match the DPRK’s rhetorical “We kill you all!” talk without actually doing it. Either way, the US will look like diplomatic assholes because any American action can be perceived by any given public as the wrong one. “Oh, world policing again, are we?” on the one hand and “You’re so powerful that its your responsibility to do something, you selfish bastards” on the other. The reactions to brinkmanship are even more severe, and the stakes higher. So its best to just sit things out until the DPRK’s provocations have run their course and the issue has faded from the public consciousness — a process that takes all of a week depending on how many family feuds get started on reality TV in the same span of time.

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