Thursday, September 27, 2018
In Praise of Irresponsibility, Part II
But such a compendium of irresponsibility appears to shed little light on the question of what is praiseworthy about any of it. Let us therefore backtrack a bit. First, we will define responsibility. Then we will expose its numerous deplorable, detestable, reprehensible aspects. And then, finally, through the simple trick of negation, we will get at irresponsibility and its laudable, praiseworthy aspects. Let’s get cracking!
Monday, September 24, 2018
When Money Stinks
But even then Roman money was already starting to stink a little bit: in 64 AD emperor Nero debased the denarii by 25% by mixing in copper. This process ran its course in the 3rd century AD, by which time a typical denarius was over 50% copper. And then emperor Caracalla introduced a two-denarii coin that weighed 1.5 times as much—an additional 25% debasement. No doubt the Roman legionnaires who were charged with protecting Rome’s frontiers from the ever more numerous barbarians, and who were paid in this increasingly worthless money, thought that it did indeed stink, and acted accordingly, as did the barbarians.
Thursday, September 20, 2018
In Praise of Irresponsibility, Part I
What is remarkable about all of these appeals to responsibility is that by and large they are being made by people who themselves range from the blithely short-sighted to outright paragons of irresponsibility, all of them far more interested in bolstering their own power and authority than in pursuing any notion of the common good. What if a case can be made that these attempts at public moralizing are strictly manipulative attempts to steer us into a cul de sac where we can be easily slaughtered or fleeced? And if so, what would constitute a properly responsible response to such hypocritical, cynical, egotistical manipulation?
Tuesday, September 18, 2018
• A houseboat that makes a comfortable tiny house big enough for a family
• A competent, seaworthy sailboat, with masts that can be put up and taken down by a single-hander with the boat in the water
• A motor boat with an outboard motor for an engine that can be installed and removed easily, positioned in an engine well to prevent cavitation, collision damage and other problems with transom-mounted outboards
• Never needs a haulout: copper-surfaced bottom resists marine growth; settles upright and can be dried out and scrubbed at low tide
• Can be beached and relaunched by rolling over logs using anchor winch
• Can be assembled quickly from a kit on a beach or a riverbank by moderately skilled people
• Uses materials that are readily available almost everywhere: plywood, softwood lumber, bolts and screws, fiberglass and epoxy, galvanized mild steel, polypropylene three-strand rope
• Designed for all climates and seasons, from frigid to torrid
• Can be constructed and maintained at minimal expense
Over the past four years since I launched this project several people have made significant contributions to it: modeling, prototyping, contributing ideas and criticisms, helping spread word of it. Taking our sweet time with it has been very helpful in preventing us from building the wrong boat.
But what would be the right boat?
Friday, September 14, 2018
Terrorism of the Absurd
Officials charged with formulating responses to Western informational warfare have been forced to acquire new skill sets inspired by théâtre de l’absurde, for many of the recently alleged terror plots bear the hallmarks of this genre: “broad comedy, often similar to vaudeville, mixed with horrific or tragic images; characters caught in hopeless situations forced to do repetitive or meaningless actions; dialogue full of clichés, wordplay, and nonsense; plots that are cyclical or absurdly expansive; either a parody or dismissal of realism and the concept of the well-made play” [from Wikipedia]. In processing the recent British allegations, a particular British font of absurdist comedy, Monty Python’s Flying Circus, is proving invaluable. Here, the “Chemical Weapons Shop Sketch” and the “Dead Special Agent Sketch” are most apropos. A quick education in absurdist theory is turning out to be most useful in devising counterattacks.
Tuesday, September 11, 2018
Useless Information is Useless
Thursday, September 06, 2018
The fake story that May has been pushing is that it is “highly likely” that the Kremlin ordered a hit on the former British spy Sergei Skripal (and his daughter) using a “Russian-made” chemical weapon called “Novichok.” In turn, from what we already knew, it is highly likely that this story is a complete and utter fake. As I explained in the previous article, it is not our job to establish what really happened. We would be unable to do so with any degree of certainty without gaining access to state secrets. But we don’t need to; all we need to do is establish with a reasonable degree of certainty that the British government’s story is a foolishly, incompetently concocted fabrication. Doing so will then allow us to properly classify the British press, which repeats this nonsense as fact, and the British public, which accepts it unquestioningly at face value. Then we can drop the erroneous appellation “great”—because great nations don’t act so stupidly.
Tuesday, September 04, 2018
The Truthers and the Fakers
The most common avenue of escape, and also the least valid, is to indulge in a bit of ad hominem fallacy by claiming that the challenge to your treasured certainties is the wrong kind of challenge because it comes from the wrong sort of person. For example, these days, it doesn’t take much to run afoul of certain people, and to get them to label you as a “fascist racist misogynist homophobe.” Nor does it take much to cause certain other people to label you a “libtard.” And both of these groups would be only too happy to declare you to be “Putin’s troll” the moment you try to say anything vaguely positive about Russia.