Sunday, December 28, 2003

I finished reading Paul Johnson's Intellectuals. The book does a great job examining the personality cults built around intellectuals. The cults are anything but open societies. Many of the great intellectuals of the past might better be described as bullies than as thinkers.

It is very interesting the way that supposed thinkers mark territory with ideas. The class between Wittgenstein and Popper was as animalistic as elk vying for mating rights in the woods.

Unfortunately, the end of the book concludes the problems are with ideas. The problem is with elitism and closed societies. Anyway, I will be adding notes on

Saturday, December 27, 2003

I finally went to see the Lord of the Rings. I put a review of Salt Lake's Megaplex Theatre on my site. We had about 18 inches of snow, so getting to the theatre was a big challenge.

Once again this production of the LOTR triology lived up to expectations. Of course there is the disappointment that the movie did not have time to deal with the Diminishing of the Shire and the great battle to drive Saruman from the Shire. Of course, 3 hours and 30 minutes pushes a movie to its limit.

The one episode that the movie really missed was that in the second to last confrontation between Gollum and Frodo, Frodo used the ring to place a curse on Gollum that if ever Gollum tried to take the ring again, Frodo would cast him into Mount Doom. This curse is important because essentially the ring destroyed itself. I suspect that Tolkien would have been interested in the reflexive paradox which was one of the great issues of his day.

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Forgot to mention...I made a page of things you can order online at the last minute.

Proud Uncle Again

Colleen and Bert completed the adoption procedures for the three new young Stolps in the household. The procedings took place at the Scott Matheson Courthouse.

Lawyers were out protesting IHC's force arbitration clause which threatens to seriously erode the fees that lawyers will get for malpractice cases. I have mixed feelings on the issue. I prefer arbitration to litigation, but force litigation by an organization that controls the market share of the industry is likely to lead to abuse.

Tha Pat Cutting book ended with no bids and only 4 page views. I will relist the book one more time. Never ask me to be in charge of a marketing campaign. You will get zero response.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

My first go at selling Pat Cutting's book at ebay was a bust. There was a total of 6 page views...4 of them were me. I will give it a second shot: ebay auction.

Saturday, December 13, 2003

I haven't been able to post to Blogger. Let's see if this on takes.

I decided to remove the math book reviews from Descriptive Mathematics and put them on linksalive. That way I have only one cyber bookstore to deal with.

There's a large number of interesting new titles on the market. So I will need to do a lot of work here. This is why there is zero chances of me making it as an internet marketer. I insist on reading a book and liking the book before it goes into the store. That means an empty store.

Well, I am about to touch the publish button. Here goes. The last three times I tried this it failed and I lost my post.

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Several months ago, Pat Morrison gave me ten copies of her book A Saga: Choosing Yourself...

To date, I have managed to sell a grand total of zero copies. Hmmm, I was unable to help sell any copies of my sister's book either. My web site for Ryan Hiller has yet to see a sale either. Hmmm, I seem to be very good at not selling stuff.

Anyway, I thought I would take a stab at an ebay auction. I need to pay Pat $7.50 for each book. Being unemployed, I decided to start the auction at what I need to pay her. The only eBaby autions I ever actually sold were penny auctions. I usually ended up selling the work for a penny.

Sunday, December 07, 2003

I vote for the new e-voting system.
I vote for the new e-voting system.
I vote for the new e-voting system


for (i=1; i < 10000; i++) {

system.out("I vote for the new e-voting system\n");

There, I did my part in bringing on the brave new chad free world.

Thursday, December 04, 2003

I am happy to hear that Bush removed the tarriffs on steel.

The fact that he did listen to international pressure on the issue is very positive. That it the way the international community works. The US doesn't need to be a stick in the mud 100% of the time. The US was setting a bad example by ignoring international concerns on far too many issues. The Iraq war would have been avoided if Hussein had made a better show of going along with international arms inspectors.

As for steel and other raw materials industries, the weak dollar gives these industries a competive edge. How much more incentive does big unionized steel really need?

Yesterday was a nephew's b-day party. Today the nephew, mom and a niece flew off to Disneyland. Wow, that is quite a treat.

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

I am finally getting near the end of the program for maintaining a dictionary for roots of sound rational thinking. Man, I am slowing down in my old age. The program is fairly simple with very easy to define relations between terms, but it taking forever to get up the desire to write the program.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Yikes, I hadn't looked at the treasury's debt to the penny page for awhile. Man, the Bush Administration plowed through the $6 billion dollar mark quickly. Here's November's numbers: 11/28/2003 $6,925,065,499,881.34. I thought we had elected a Republican to the White House. Now that the Republicans have become democrats, I wonder who we are to vote for if we want lower government spending.

My attempt to stimulate the economy is a small x-mas gift page. As it stands, I did not make enough money this year to pay taxes. If the page makes sales, I might someday start helping pay my $23,000 dollar share of the deficit.

Thursday, November 27, 2003

The hope of the Critique of the Diagonal Method was that math teachers would realize the many flaws of the method and do a better job of presenting it. After reading Everything and More, I decided that maybe I should move away from subtle hints that teachers improve their method to a stronger refutation.

In the article on the diagonal method on finite binary strings, I decided to emphasize that the diagonal method is simply a new variety of the liar's paradox. The liar's paradox is any statement that includes a self negation, like "This sentence is false."

The goal of the article dialectics is to show that the method was one of several foundational theories based on oppositional logic that were popular during the German Idealist movement. Freud, Hegel and Marx have been widely refuted. The dichotomy created by the diagonal method is really one of the last of these massive theories of everything left standing.

The next article will explore the Galileo paradox. That piece is really necessary to show the true origins of Cantor's dichotomy.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

I finished reading David Foster Wallace's everything and more [See Notes]. The story provides an extremely one sided view of history with Aristotle (and his bastard child logic) as the greatest enemies of civilization. Zeno, Plato, Hegel, Cantor and that crowd are the greatest champions of truth (I should say truth after it is properly redefined) Justice (again, justice after it is properly sanitized) and the academic way.

Anyway, I now need to take a couple days and write a rebuttal in which the people who have defended logic, liberty and the individuals are the heros. The problem is that Cantor has given us such a twisted view of the infinite that it is extremely difficult to unravel. Discussions about the transfinite simply turn into shouting matches with one group saying "I can see the completed infinity." the other group saying "no, I cannot." I guess I should add a third group. The Wittgenstein's who know the whole thing was just a game.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

This quote is from a blurb that appeared in yahoo about an Alabama Judge who defiantly had a large statue of the 10 Commandments at the courthouse.

The Alabama case has fueled a long-running U.S. debate pitting defenders of the First Amendment against Christians who believe the Ten Commandments should be viewed in schools or courthouses as a reminder of basic values.

This quote is about a dispute between atheists and christians. When I first read the quote, something about it appeared wrong. I had to read the thing twice, then it jumped out at me. The Ten Commandments is not "a reminder of basic values". A true believer should hold first and foremost that the Ten Commandments are a direct covenant with God. These are not simple values, these are a law that transcend any written human law.

If the judge does not understand that his having this statue carved in stone at the courthouse tells the world that he holds his religious beliefs to be higher than the laws of the land, then the Judge Roy Moore is showing that he either does not understand the premise of the rule of law, or that he does not understand the nature of the ten commandments.

Commandments are not basic values. In the Judeo-Christian tradition, the Ten Commandments are a law that was written in stone by the hand of God. A true Christian who understood the theology would know that spending taxpayer's dollars to put up an expensive statue with the Ten Commandments carved in stone directly tells the public that the court holds The Ten Commandments to be a higher law than the Constitution, and to be a higher law than any law passed by the legislator.

A true Christian would know that the ten commandments is a set of laws that they themselves must obey. However, the rule of law does not permit us all to run around with our own laws. A Judge who swears an oath to uphold the laws of the land is derelict if he holds another set of laws in supremacy to the laws of the land. If there was an Islamic Judge that claimed Shari`ah was a higher law than the Constitution, he would be drawn and quartered in Alabama.

Although I think the Atheist's movement to prevent the Ten Commandments from being discussed in schools is horrible, I agree 100% that Judge Roy Moore needs to be tossed on his keister for this absurd little symbolic battle of his.

Personally, I think Christians should be more up in arms about these people who are claiming that the Ten Commandments are just a moral principle than about the statue issue. A true Christian who understand both the nature of the covenent with God, and the nature of the rule of law would understand the conflict and why a Courthouse should not have a statue of the ten commandments on their steps.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

First off, I believe that Rational and Irrational numbers are different things. For the reasons I express in Rich Theory, I believe that there are more irrational numbers than there are rational numbers. Essentially, the crossectional mapping creates a set of rational numbers that is less than n^2. Building the power set implies that the irrational numbers are better described with exponential functions...2^n. 2^n > n^2.

Anyway, Set Theorists determine that the size of the set of irrational numbers is great than the size of the rational numbers through a reverse reasoning. They start with the assumption that the Real numbers are at a higher level of infinity than the rationals. The term irrational number refers to a real number that is not rational. As the reals are the union of rational and irrational numbers, set theorists conclude that the irrational numbers must be part of this higher level of existence shared with the real numbers. In fact, the theory is essentially saying that the irrational numbers are so dense that they give the real line dimension.

I need to repeat that. The rational numbers do not have any dimension. As you know, a point has no dimension. If you took all of the rational numbers together, you would not have any dimension. The supposition is that the irrational numbers are so dense. The irrational numbers are at a higher level of existence. There are so many of them that they actually create dimension. If you draw a line from point A to Point B, you do not see any rational numbers. If you look at the line going from point A to B below. You don't see any rational only see irrational numbers:

     A _________ B

Let's jump out of dialectical metaphysics, and get back on track.

Premise A: I understand that set theorist hold to the belief that all irrational numbers can be expressed with a unique infinite string of digits. (NOTE, this is a supposition that may or may not be true).

Anyway. If you hold to premise A, then you come across a very interesting point. There is a rational number between any two irrational numbers. This falls instantly from premise A. If two irrational numbers have a unique digital representation, then there must be some digit in their representation that they differ. You can create a rational number simply by finding this point where the two numbers differ and truncate the larger of the two digits to that precision. Voila. You have a rational number that is between your two irrational numbers.

This is easier to discuss in binary than in decimal mode. Binary numbers are expressed as strings of 0s and 1s. You can use binary digits to express numbers less than 1. For example 0.1 is 1/2, 0.01 is 1/4. The nth digit in the string is 1/2^n. The number .1011 is 1/2 + 1/8 + 1/16. This happens to equal 11/16.

The rules for binary digits follows are the same as the rules for decimal numbers. Rational numbers will
either end in an infinite string of zeros, or in a repeating pattern. .01010101... Where 01 repeats forever is equal to 1/3.

Okay, so we have two irrational numbers a and b where a < b. By definition neither a nor b end in an infinite string of zeros. If I find the first digit where a and b differ and simply truncate b to that digit, then I have a rational number that is between a and b. This is a demo:

a ...111011010101010100010...

b ...111011010101010110110...

Note, the number ...11101101010101011 is between a and b. Not only that. I can append an infinite combinitions of repeating strings (rational numbers) to the string and show that there is an infinite number of rational numbers between each irrational number. (BTW, it is possible to show that there is an infinite number of irrational numbers between each pair of rationals using the same technique.)

Back to Premise A.

If I hold to the position that irrationals can be represented by a unique infinite string--the keyword being unique. Then I must conclude that for irrational number a, there is some digit at which a differs from all other irrational numbers. Truncating at that digit, I get a rational numbers. With a little bit of finagling, I can create a theoretic 1-1 mapping between rationals and irrationals. It is a theoretic mapping because we are dealing with strings so large that they are transcomputational, but I know of no limits that says I can't imagine a set of irrational numbers larger than the number of quantum states on the planet earth.

As dialecticians are granted the divine right to change definitions at a whim. The route around this dilemma is probably just to say that two numbers might have the exact same digital representation, but still be unique.

Lesser folk, like myself, simply stare and wonder we've pushed this convoluted dialectical system into the foundations of modern mathematics.

The integers, rational numbers and real numbers are all different types of numbers. This transfinite theory that tries to claim that the rational numbers are just a different type of integer is really one of the most bogus theories ever to be forced on man.

Monday, November 10, 2003

My presentation on transfinite theory did not go quite as well I would have hoped. Of course, this was the first time I tried my hand at public speaking since high school. Not only that, I had given myself some extremely difficult obstacles to surmount. The first was that half the audience were not familiar with the theory. I wanted to give these people an unbiased view that would show both the positive and negative side of the debate.

I also forgot to mention transfinite theory was essentially based upon the same dialectical method developed by Kant and Hegel that were used by Freud, Marx, Jung and others. The basic formula was to inject, at a metaphysical layer, a thesis, antithesis and catharsis.

The truth is that Cauchy had developed an adequately rigorous foundation for the Calculus. What Cantor did was to inject a the dialectics at a metaphysical level. Mathematics is simply waiting for enough of the vanguard that is propounding the theory to die off. When they are dead and gone, the disease will eventually cure itself, just as economics and psychology have gradually been curing from the diseases caused by Freud and Marx.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that companies started hiring again. There was positive growth in the number of employed and a drop in the unemployment rate.

Sadly, the most interesting job listed in the Computer section of the trib was:

Web Developer good pay.
light warehouse work

I think combining web development and warehouse work is a good combo. As warehouse workers tend to get paid more than $6.00 my guess is that the company values web development at less than minimum wage, but can pull the web developer salary up to $6.00 if they do some real work.

Friday, November 07, 2003

The Night of a Thousand Dinners had a good showing. There was about 150 people. The night featured middle east dancing, and everyone had a good time. I am anxious to find out how much the dinner raised.

With the land mine ban accepted by most nations, the program is making great strides in cleaning up mines around the world. Hopefully, there won't be a need for such fund raisers in the near future.

The US is one of the few nations that has not signed the ban. The main reason is the minefield between North and South Korea. Considering the delicacy of that situation, I have to agree that it is best not to address the problem.

Anyone interested in hosting a dinner can go to

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

I wasted a day and a half reading the new Harry Potter and I now have a Harry Potter head ache.

Winter's hit Salt Lake with a vengeance. We got a foot of snow in the first snow of the year.

I will be giving a presentation on the diagonal method at the next iies meeting. It would be an interesting topic to discuss, but I suspect there will be zero attendees. The last meeting had 6 people.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003


I hate modern computer companies. A month or so ago, I installed QuickTime to watch a movie. Today, I need to view a TIF. Unfortunately, QuickTime decided to register itself at the TIF viewer and freezes up when I try to view the TIF.

Of course, all of this is really Microsoft's problem because they created an operating system that makes it easy for programs to reregister program viewers, but have made it devilishly difficult for end users to determine what programs will view what program. I still think it is complete garbage that just about every single one of these programs try to take over the entire machine.

Now that computer companies know that installing adware means they get to take money from the end user, things are going to get substantially worse before they get better.

Sunday, October 19, 2003

The community sites really don't seem to be attracting any attention. So I thought I would turn my thoughts back to mathematics.

In my diatribe about transfinite theory, I never really explained what I thought was wrong with the theory. For the benefit of people who would like to bash my head against a brick wall. I thought I should add a clarifications page.

I think the error in the proof isn't that the Real Numbers are denumerable, but that the Rational Numbers are not.

Friday, October 17, 2003

I crashed the Utah Java User Group yesterday. It was a very interesting presentation about all of the ins and outs of XML. At least I feel good about my decision to stick with the RDMS / HTML combo.

The meeting was at the IHC facility which is in this massive Decker Lake office park. The thing that is interesting is that there is a humongous office park designed with no through streets into West Valley City. When you think of that from a societal point of view, it is quite freightening. Here you have the state's largest employers (IHC, Discovercard, USANA,...) essentially cutting their workers off from the rest of the society in this styrofoam packaged, insulated world.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

I discovered yesterday that the Night of a Thousand Dinners is on November 6th. I thought is was in December.

That does not give much time for publicity. I made a web site for the Salt Lake Adopt a Minefield dinner. Hopefully we will be able to find people to host dinners in Provo and Park City.

I made a page for the Utah Adopt-A-Minefield effort. For information on US and international events, check out: Night of a Thousand Dinners or The Adopt A Minefield site by the UNA.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

The big bag of goodies just came in. I am an evil person. When the kiddies come to trick or treat, I intend to fill their bags with healthier stuff. Last year, they got Bug Bites...this year they will get a combo of gummy bears (from natural ingredients), Fig Newmans, Glee Gum (all natural again). I might get a bag of the cheap stuff to hide the fact the fact that we are giving out the good stuff. I would hate for a trick or treater to toss a pumpkin though our window for giving out organic foods.

Monday, October 13, 2003

Well, we are getting ready to do the presentation on the Logic of the founding fathers. We have a massive pile of research, and I didn't get the web site done. The only thing on the web site is information on the Faith of the Founding Fathers. This is not the prime research, the stuff on the logic is more interesting, and more revelant to the visions they would have had for the US.

The sad thing is that after several years of having web sites that no-one ever found, I am finally starting to get a small amount of traffic. Yet, I am now just too burned out to do what I really want.

Sunday, October 12, 2003

Conservation bill light on conservation... [Forbes].

I really think the conservatives misunderstand the economy. They look at growing unemployment, the glut in the market and determine that the thing we need to do is to increase consumption.

The problem is not with the amount of consumption, but with the quality of consumption. Were the Bush Administration to jump on the conservation band wagon and demand that we improve energy efficiency, it would due more to create jobs than feeding the glut of resources currently on the market.

Let's approach this from a different direction: The BLS essentially is trying to define productivity as the amount of goods (material wealth) that a worker creates in hour. Well, when we find a short cut to making more of something, the labor is still around. The labor then gets wasted on something less productive. The big productivity jump in programming means no more jobs for second rate programmers like me; so I must do something inefficient like affiliate marketing.

Conservation, on the other hand, concentrates on resource productivity. By employing extra labor, we get more for our gallon of gas. It increases the quality of consumption.

Let's try another tact. The US places its highest taxes on wages. In many cases the US actually subsidizes the extraction of material. Taxing something means you want less of it. So taxing jobs means we want fewer jobs. Subsidizing oil extraction means we want more fuel burned. The conservationist sees this equation as backwards. What we should do is tax labor less and resource production more...this creates jobs as companies employ more and more workers to get the most out of the resources we do put into production.

As soon as this founding fathers talk talk is over I hope to get some time to work out ideas on Crass
Day three of the drug experiment. Ringing in ears continues, but the pressure is a bit less. The big problem is that I am supposed to take the Prednisone pills with breakfast and lunch...and I usally skip breakfast and lunch, so I will gain weight ... yuck.

I added a section of Southern Utah Posters to doubt I will ever see a sale, but it is a quick way to add some graphics to a rather boring site.

Friday, October 10, 2003

Rush Limbaugh has admitted to being addicted to pain killers. So we can now all ask: "Well was that Rush being a big fat jerk, or the pain killers being a big fat jerk?"

Speaking about drugs, I am on drugs big time right now. About a month ago, I had a pop in my left ear...since then I've had a ringing in my ear. A doctor at this company (I had a doctor's visit yesterday) put me on something called Prednisone to see if it will reduce the inflamation and hearing loss in the ear.

Now I have a rining in my ear and a head ache. I haven't had one of those for awhile. Uh, what what that you said? Could you type louder?

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

I had my birthday party at Cafe Italian restaurant on 3300 South. Not much else going on at the moment.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Hi, I won the idiot of the month award! I designed a quick admin page for a site. Since it was for quick administration, I didn't add much security. I just gave the page an odd name, and never added any links to the site. The really big mistake was that I added a link that would let me delete elements on the page. Anyway, I accessed the page with a computer that was running Alexa. Anyway, apparently decided to run a scan of the admin page. It dutifully executed all of the delete links.

Fortunately, I have current backups. But I still deserve a whack upside the head for my short sighted design.

Lesson learned. Never have anything on a web page that performs a database operation as the result of a click.

On the commercial side, I added a silly ad page for Surplus Computers. I doubt it will save me from my financial doom. See, I proved that I am a fool. I need money to be parted from!

Monday, September 22, 2003

In the grubbing for cash department, I put up a page with Halloween Promos. Of course, my grubbing for cash never really seems to work all that well. I don't think my plan of making a living by being a phantom living on the Internet will work out.

On the upside, there actually were new ads for programmers in the want-ads on Sunday. That doesn't happen all that often. Unfortunately, the two most interesting companies were asking for ASP (the dark side of the force). That means I don't get to use all the nifty PHP tools I've designed in the last year.

Maybe the grubbing for cash idea will work, and I won't have to.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Yikes! there were 2079 spams in my email today! I hate logging into to the computer. I used to scan the headers. Now I just delete. Most of my spam actually comes because I own the domain is a popular email service for Grand Junction, unfortunately, the people using aren't all that bright. They sign up for email lists with invalid addresses. It's a real head ache.

BTW, if you are one of the idiots that buy email lists. They are all garbage. They are full of bad addresses. Don't feed the problem.

Monday, September 15, 2003

I finished the first draft of my Failure of Capitalism paper.

It took me a long time to realize this, but the term "capitalism" was coined by the enemies of the free market. The term is essentially defined as a system where people are ruled by money. It is a form of slavery.

Of course, the Marxist tradition that defined the term was way off base, but they created a horrible sistuation for future thinkers.

The best way for us to proceed is to toss out capitalism and concentrate instead on rebuilding the logical foundations of the free market. The free market is simply a system where the government gives people a great deal of freedom in making their own personal economic decisions.
I finally saw "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon." Due to the large amount of praise for the movie, it had been on my list of movies to see for several years. It was a very unique, stylized film. Come to think of it, my list of movies I plan on seeing is pretty much down to one: "The Return of the King" and that is not out yet. It will probably be a year for the DVD to come out.

Having treated myself to a luxury. I realized I better do something to keep myself from going totally broke. So, I put up a page with Last Minute Gift Ideas.

Monday, September 08, 2003

The first meeting of the Intelligent Inquiry organization for the 2003-04 season was at the beautiful Salt Lake downtown library.

This subject of the day's debate centered on intellectual property. I was expecting the typical /. flaming that surrounds recent IP abuses by groups like Provo's SCO Group and the absurd little internet patents on the obvious things like online auctioning.

To my delight, a Professor Lee A. Hollaar (who's written a book and several others with a great deal of information on digital copyright issues showed up. So we switched from a one sided debate of IP abuses to an extremely informational conversation on copyrights, patents, etc.. Overall, it was one of the best iies meetings. Hopefully the move to the downtown library will re-ignite interest in the group.
I finished the first draft of my article on the sense of value. This is a central piece in my own philosophical outlook. The idea is simply that wealth comes from people. So the best way to develop the wealth of a nation is to develop its people.

Sunday, August 31, 2003

Yep, turns out that writing a Site of the Day for multiple towns is a rather boring, unprofitable way to spend a day. In towns like Moab I have fewer possible sites to review than days in the year.

For Provo, I just came across a gem ofa site: The Provo Canyon School. This is a reform school located in conservative Mormon Utah...a place with archaic beliefs toward discipline. So I wrote a review that includes both the pro and con views of Provo Canyon School.

Friday, August 22, 2003

I went to the Lollapalooza concert at the new USANA Ampitheatre.

This was my first trip to the USANA Ampitheatre. The ampitheatre was built on the largely undeveloped far west side of the Salt Lake Valley. This is one of the last areas of the Salt Lake Valley to be hit by the massive waves of development that paved the valley from the Oquirrh Mountains to the Wasatch Mountains. The grass fields in the foot hills of the Oquirrh were spared development largely because of fear of chemicals leaching from the Kennecott Mine.

I suspect USANA chose this land because it was among the least expensive large plots they could get in the valley. It also saved the organizations the hassles of fighting the NIMBY's that have managed to completely thwart development within Salt Lake proper for the last half century. NOTE, the actually population of Salt Lake City is dropping with the suburbs swell. The reason is that it is next to impossible to remove old structures int he NIMBY controlled city.

Anyway, it is a real pain to get to the theatre. My guess is that the amount of money spent on gas to drive out to the theatre each year will exceed the cost of buying the land and building the structure. It is a good example of the way developers externalize costs. The goal of a developer is to push off as much cost onto society as a whole. Power comes from your ability to force others to pay for your excesses.

Back to the concert. The show itself was quite melange of mixed messages. The The Axis of Justice had a booth that distributed literature on various cause celebre. There were also big fat gas guzzling pick ups, Hummvees and Jeeps on display each screaming about the fun of getting out into the desert and tearing up some wilderness.

Audioslave has been quite active on many issues. This makes the show more interesting. In the middle of a rather violent sounding song the pop out a peace sign. In a clearer mixed message, Jane's Addiction had three scantily clad girls dance on stage as they sang tongue in cheek about the dangers of getting mixed up with the wrong girl.

Of course, I see the whole set of mixed messages to be very disturbing. The last several years, we are seeing more and more things that are getting the way of our ability to communicate.

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

I don't know why I didn't notice it before. Anyway, while at the new Salt Lake City Library I saw they had an auto check out station. It is really cool. You can check out your own books. I simply scanned in my library card, and ran the books through the scanner, and was finished.

A marvelous technology. Of course it means one less librarian job.

Monday, August 11, 2003

I finished reading Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer. Being a gentile in Salt Lake, I found the book to be quite depressing. The same group think mantality that led to the Mountain Meadows Massacre and widespread coverup (involving a few thousand LDS in So. Utah) that followed.

The problems that define the local church come out clearly when looking at the polygamous cults that exist on the fringes of the city. The philosophy of the religion is simple. There is an "us" and there is a "them". The "us" are moral and righteous. The "them" are evil and corrupt.

"Truth" is revealed to the prophet, seer and relavator at the top of the hierarchy. Truth then flows through the political hierarchy. There is no independent object criteria for truth. It pretty much reduces to whatever is good for the body politic.

It is really funny how this organization that defines "truth" as relative to the body politic lambasts the scientific community for moral relativism as scientists have accepted that they do not know truth.

As there is no truth, the Mormons tend to concentrate solely on image and anecdote. (A lot of the local culture seems to revolve around this strange thing called a testemony, where people try to find an essense of revelation in personal stories.)

Back to truth, as truth is simply a matter of adherence to the body politic honesty simply reduces to the simple appearance of honesty.

In doing business, you will often find the management pulling these self destructive stunts and everyone simply turns a blind eye to the self destruction. The group think mantality simply doesn't have the ability to repair itself. For example, about a dozen people knew that Ron Lafferty intended to kill Brenda Lafferty. But everyone managed to hide the truth in their little illusions of the world and let the self destruction take place.

For example, Krakauer points to the abuse of welfare from the Mormon polygamists. The polygamists simply look at the government as the beast, welfare and tax abuse is simply a matter of bleeding the beast.

Of course, these faults don't just exists in Mormonism. For some odd reason, the people who've laid claim to a superior spirituality or morality seem to do a good job of hurting the people that have the misfortune of knowing them.

Saturday, August 09, 2003

Been There. Done That.

I can now add downloading and playing an internet movie to my "been there, done that" list.

I downloaded the Harry Potter Chamber of Secrets flick from MovieLink. I used the paid service MovieLink because I happen to be one of those old fashioned drones that hold the outdated ideal that people should pay for the things they use. Anyway, the movie was 850 MB. It took 8 hours to download over DSL. The MovieLink download manager worked well. The download manager let me turn off the download when I wanted to surf the net. So the download didn't get in the way of the other stuff I was doing. I eventually just let the download run overnight.

MovieLink is a bit anal about rights, and they had annoying things flashing at me about rights. Sheeshkkk, you would think they would realize that the people using their service are the goodguys who are using their program specifically not to pirate their work, and would have cooled it on the copyright messages.

I think everyone interested in the technology, copyright, etc., should try the program. You get your first movie for half price. The list price for the HP movie was $5. I paid $2.57 for the movie. It was a fun program. Unfortunately, I am broke. So I don't know if I will use it again. Hopefully there will be other distributors in the pay for download market.

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

The Nova Special Fire Wars brought up an interesting observation. Toward the end of the special, they discussed the amount of green house gasses released by wild fires and the role that fires play in the various heat and energy cycles.

From about 1910 to the 1980s, the forest service engaged in total fire suppression. The result is that during these decades, there was an unusual amount of carbon sequestration in the forests. The forests became excedingly dense. The main thing that means is that todays' fires have more fuel and are stronger and hotter.

From a carbon content view, it also means that the forests were pulling substantially more carbon than they usually do.

Now, I am wondering what this means for global warming. The extra carbon sequestored during the total suppression years was basically just stored for release in this decade. This feeds the doom and gloom crowd's view that global warming with hit hard and with a vengeance in the upcoming decades.

The conservative view would use this as justification to return to total fire reduce green house gasses, and to beef up logging operations...since landfills are the great unnatural method of carbon sequestration.

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

I confess, I haven't been updating the blog regularly. As you see, my addiction eats into the available time I have for blogging.

This isn't the type of thing you want to say in public, but, well, when the PC first came out I started playing Rogue.

Yes, that's right, I am an addict of the silly little game where you are an @ symbol running through a fixed space font maze battling letters of the alphabet. Players of rogue usually several terrible bloody deaths at the hands of Hs, Cs, Ts and the dreaded W.

Those few times you get past the Ws...Rogue players find themselves face to face with Gs, Us, Vs and the almost invincible D. The Ds are able to through dashes at you. The Vs take away your hit points and the Gs can run faster your @ sign.

Earlier this year, I discovered a java version of Rogue on the internet. I was safe at the time. My laptop did not have a I was able to stay away from the maze.

But, with my expensive new computer, I can start playing rogue again.

Friday, July 25, 2003

The programming feat for the the day: I added a rating report to the community sites. This way people can view the various web site ratings. It will also help me figure out what sites to promote to site of the day.

Thursday, July 24, 2003

The big news, I spent the day and added a new Site of the Day feature to Salt Lake Sites, and Provo. I figured that since July 24th, 1847 was the start of Salt Lake, I would make Pioneer Day the start of my new program.

Monday, July 14, 2003

To add to the previous post, the EFF's call to support Fair Labeling for copy-protected media is right on the nose. It is showing a little covert action that the RIAA is taking to try and change the current fair use laws. Other letters such as the one against CIPA are correctly addressing very important issues.

I was reading through the EFF website. I like reading different people's opinion on issues, but hate when their opinions really are clouded by logical fallacies. The EFF has a letter to Congress asking for hearings on the P2P and the musical industry's current move to start prosecuting people for having P2P servers that share unauthorized copies of music. The first paragraph in the letter has this plea:

As a constituent, I urge you to call for Congressional hearings on how to compensate artists without breaking the Internet or turning millions of American citizens into criminals.

The logical fallacy of this statement is that it implies the RIAA and the music industry is the group that is "turning people into criminals." The truth of the matter is that the people who put up their little KaZaA servers to exchange music have turned themselves into criminals. Installing a server and sharing music is an act of volition.

The fact that a large number of people engage in behavior X does not change whether or not behavior X is currently illegal. It does, however, indicate that there needs to be a dramatic effort to look at and adjust existing laws. The fact that millions of Americans are posed against a rather corrupt music industry in what will be a very loud and angry fight should be a concern for Congress. The fact that, in reaction to this illicit copying of works, both the computer industry and music industry are created extremely intrusive new technologies should be a matter of concern.

My fear is that by making logically incorrect statements, organizations like the EFF are really not helping the cause of creating a better copyright law, but are simply adding to tensions.

P2P is a situation like the speed limit where a large number of people believe that behavior-x should be allowed.

We are also in an area where there is not a set of easily enforceable rules. With the development of modern computers, we've gone from a state where it was difficult to copy material to a point where it is a breeze; so the real logical argument is of the EFF is that copying and sharing music is no longer a difficult chore and is a difficult behavior to control.

We have a serious problem. What should we do? Should we depend on the system of laws and individual restraint? Should we legalize unlimited copying of music? Should we demand that the music industry create better mechanisms to assure easier, less expensive access to the large music libraries? Should we have more intrusive systems that control how and when people can listen to music?

The disconnected, flawed arguments like the one above are only adding fuel to the flame and are not getting the world closer to a better system of law.

Sunday, July 13, 2003

I ported the last chapter of The Roots of Sound Rational Thinking to the new format. The format looks good, but I worry that that the author will have a hard time adhering the the HTML. I guess I need to figure out how to write an HTML parser in PHP so I can keep the the format correct.

Friday, July 04, 2003

I am finally finishing up the new format for The Roots of Sound Rational Thinking. Here is a taste of the new site: The Big Puzzle.

This page, of course, is PHP/MySQL driven. I have started documentation on the programming process.

Thursday, July 03, 2003

I got my new computer in the mail today. It is a refurbished HP Pavilion...about 1GhZ with 256 MB RAM, a 40GB hard drive and a DVD player. My laptop skipped when playing DVDs, I suspect that this new computer will handle them with little ado. I got the system from Tiger Direct for about $375.00. It is not a budget buster...Well, being unemployed, all expenses are budget busters.

The machine has XP, so I get to learn a new operating system. Best of all, it has a flat screen monitor. Hurray.
I made a nice little retort on slashdot to the "Information wants to be free" argument that seems to justify everything. Unfortunately, I was in anonymous mode.

Anyway, was the retort:

Buyers want all goods to be free. Sellers want all goods to have a high price. The goods themselves really don't "want" anything. Inanimate objects really don't have complex desires and social lives like the gurus pretend they do.

Saying a car "wants" to go fast or information "wants" to be free is just an anthtropomorphism. It is you, as a buyer, assigning your emotions on to an object.

Although OSS appears to be a matter of discussing ideals, from a market perspective it is still about exchanging goods. When work hard to create something of value, you don't want to give it away. Also, there is a drive of artisans to create, trade and reinvest.

This new idea that all intellectual creations must be given to the public with no benefit to the creator is simply a one sided argument. The great statements like "information wants to be free" is rather meaningless.

Basically, the buyer is stating that information is extremely easy to steal, borrow, or what ever.

Saturday, June 28, 2003

I spent the day sitting at the UNAU booth at the KRCL Day In Park (DIP).

On the home front, my neice gave a demonstration for a Kirby vacuum. Alas, I am now web site has been trying to sell Oreck Vacuums through my site. I even have a good tag line: Buy a vacuum through the ether.

Our family will now be torn between vacuum vendors...such cruel fate.
I must confess, I am addicted to cross sums. The great thing about cross sums is that you can come back and do the same puzzles every couple of years. It is good mind exercise.

I was roped into manning a booth at the KRCL Day In the Park for the United Nations Association of Utah. So I wont get work on web sites today.

Friday, June 27, 2003

Yahoo reports that People are adding their names to the National Do Not Call registry in droves. Yahoo reports 1,000 names a second being added to the directory.

Which brings up an important question. The only names not on the list are those who don't know about it, or have a private number. So, why not just make any telemarketing a criminal offense and charge $10k per call to the telemarketers?

Wednesday, June 25, 2003

It is now time for a little more irrational stomping around, because the biggest risk to the US economy right now is inflation. The marked drop in the value of the dollar coupled with the increased cash flowing through the economy does not spell good things for our future.

The scary truth is that we could well see a spurt of inflation that is not accompanied by wage growth. It would be the worst kind of inflation...the type that makes people significantly poorer. The type of inflation where the masses see a major drop in their spending power, with fewer jobs and no increase in salary to offset costs.

The problem is that there is a good nine month lag between any action taken by the Federal Reserve board cut rates and the affects appear in the markets.

Right now we have the situation where a large number of companies have failed. Companies have pushed their sales margins to the limit, the dollar has devalued in the world market -- meaning higher priced imports. The scariest thing in our economic horizon is the $6.6 Trillion deficit.

When all is said an done, it is likely that these acts will lead to higher prices. Meanwhile, the jobless recovery threatens to keep wages low. The fed missed the clues at the end of the last cycle. My guess is that they are misreading the current cycle.

Saturday, June 21, 2003

I added a photo gallery forthe 2003 Utah Arts Festival. Hopefully the rain will clear by the afternoon. My parents are hosting a party for their RCIA group, the party is outisde, and it has been raining all morning. Let's hope for a break in the clouds.

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

One of the most telling moments on Nova's special of the exploration of
U869 (a sunken German U Boat off the coast of New Jersy) was the final moments when the explorers confronted the German U-Boat historian with their evidence that U869 sunk off the coast of NJ and not Gilbralter. This historian continued to poor over all of his documents claiming the boat sank off the coast of Gilbralter...not near NJ.

First it is interesting that we depend so heavily on our papers and records and historical fact, that we have a hard time assimiliating that a humongous sunken hull of a ship is as good evidence as mark on a piece of paper. The other thing that is interesting is that the evidence in the paper work was largely dependent on itself. That is the historians worked until all the paperwork was consistent, then later assumed that the paperwork was all correct. Basically, the paperwork was dependent on the fact that sub was ordered to Gilbraltar and that a French ship recordered an explosion near Gilbraltar that may have been a sub.

The piece was a good example of how science works. Depending on paperwork for decisions is not a bad way to go, but we can see how easilyt it is to create a historical error from the data, and how easy it is for all of the paper work to remain consistent, when in fact it is in error.

Monday, June 16, 2003

One of the mantras preached by Galileo and the western scietific tradition is that the goal of science isn't to explain things, but to describe things. When it gets down to scientific exploration of an idea like gravity, Galileo didn't simply try to divine the meaning of gravity, he simply measured it. Scientitists still don't have a good explanation of why gravity exists, but are very good at describing how it behaves and how to measure it. A good scientist doesn't just blathering about theory, but spends time investigating and trying to learn about things.

One of the results of the Kantian/Hegelian/Marxist revolution has been to turn this process of scientific inquiry on its heads. The Kantian tradition isn't content with description, but tries to divine explanations for things. In generates an impression that there are hidden reasons behind actions, and it trains people to look at all events for motives and reasons.

Time and time again in history, efforts at explanations have failed, while the efforts at simply creating accurate descriptions have resulted in discovery upon discovery. Those tending to seek explanations have a nasty habit of bending facts to their ends, while those concentrating on the accuracy of the facts tend to come out with a better understanding of what is and what is not.

People who bend facts often turn into tyrants. They get everyone caught up in their game of the big lies, while they push people further and further from the truth. Dialecticians tend to become dictators as their games turn more and more away from finding truth and turn more and more toward manipulating others.

One of the most damaging tricks of the German idealist dialectics is the process of assigning base motives to your enemies and high motives to your friends. It is really easy to assign motives to others, and when you get everyone in the game of questioning other people's motives, the dialectician can often weasel their way into power.

Think about office gossip. Why did Jack say good morning to Jill? He didn't say good morning to Jane! (The answer might be that Jill's desk faced the door, Jane was on the phone, Jack and Jill happen to be friends, but you can also assign motives to Jack. He was trying to get sex, or was bucking for promotion, or is trying to manipulate Jill.)

People used to teach that men should open doors for women. I remember a great deal of debate in school about the ulterior motives men had for opening doors for women. The teacher was convinced that it was a horrid form of oppression. Men opened doors for women as a matter of politeness and respect. Assigning the act a base motive can acheive the goal of denigrating your enemy.

Instead of talking about what people do and how they behave, the dialectic gets people into this act of questioning motives.

Of course, to make the dialectical questing of motives more entrenched the dialectician teaches his students that their every action has a motive. While studying education theory, my professor emphasized that every action of a teacher is either a praxis in the revolution or an act of oppression (This is the central theme of Friere's Pedagogy of the Oppressed). A teacher must always consider the impact of their actions and whether their actions will advance social cause or continue the tyranny of the American system.

The professor's world view created a nightmarish world where there was a dubious motive behind everyone's actions, and he re-inforced his world view because he had conciously assigned ulterior motives to his actions.

The scientific system where we simply look to describing the world, and not trying to explain it has provided us with a lot more than the dialectics of hidden motives.

Saturday, June 14, 2003

I was upset last night. I caught a blurb from Entertainment Tonight (which is apparently some sort of Hollywood celebrity gossip fest.) The anchor made an extremely disparaging remark. about the Antique Road Show. I don't have the exact quote. It was essentially "The Antique Road Show is popular because people hope to find an extremely valuable antique in their closet."

I was upset because I realized that this is how Hollywood views its audience. It seems to me that Hollywood tends to assign all the world these extremely base ulterior motives to all of their actions then tries to fit the world to their skewed set of base motives such as greed, sex, fear and hate.

Undoubtedly, there are some people who are motivated by these base feelings some of the time, but I suspect the world falls far short of Hollywood's view that all the people are compelled by base motives all the time. Unfortunately, the industry is so powerful, that petty little gossip shows like ET can have a widespread negative impact on our culture.

A case in point is the reality shows like Survivor. I was intrigued by the concept of man pitting himself in nature, and I was interesting in seeing real live people like me on the screen in exotic parts of the world. Unfortunately, the show was really about this absolutely stupid political game. Most of the viewers turned off the show after the first episode or so. The networks polled their readers and found of the people weren't turned off by the political game, that they were intrigued by the political. Hence, Hollywood's polls supported its preconceived notions.

Anyway, back to the popularity of the Antique Road Show. I think when you get down to it, most people are interested in the show because they are interested in learning about history, and to learn about what we as a society value. People enjoy hearing the prices of appraisals because the mathematics of assigning relative values to items is a very interesting process. I remember reading a poll about the nightly news. They discovered that the weather report is the most popular part of news shows in LA, because it involves reporting numbers. Many non investors are enchanted by the DOW Industrial average and employment statistics, because they provided objective numbers that give us information on how the world works.

The problem is that Hollywood's assigning base motives for the popularity of the show might some day affect the format...reducing the quality of one of PBS's most popular creations.

Friday, June 13, 2003

Well, my RHM CD sale was a bust. It only got two bids, and the CD went for $1.25...well below cost. I figured it is worthwhile to run a test or two to work out the selling process, but there has to be a better way to get new music in front of the ears of the public.

Monday, June 09, 2003

The Salt Lake City Dining directory had grown too large; so I split it into categories. I also realized how few restaurants I've actually eaten at.

Yesterday a helicopter crashed into Mount Olympus three miles south of here. I had been intending to climb the mountain this Spring, but have too many projects to complete.

Friday, June 06, 2003

I thought I'd try a penny auction for a Ryan Hiller CD to see if it would bring any traffic to his web site, or to Ryan's MP3 page. The first hours of the auction brought squat. We will stir, wait seven days, and see what it is like in the end. I hope the CD goes for more than a penny. It is always embarassing when a penny auction gets only one bid.

Wednesday, June 04, 2003

June is busting out all over. My parents will have a party on the 21st, and had decided to tear apart the house to prepare for the occasion. Can they get the house back together in time?

As for me, I finally started uploading my work on the
prime numbers, I hope I have time to complete the project, but people are very good at stealing my time and keeping me from completing the projects I care about to work on their projects. I hope I can get time to work on the project.

Saturday, May 31, 2003

Three days after the trip, I am finally getting around to labeling my pictures of Angels Landing and Zion's National Park. (Over Memorial Day, I took a trip to Saint George.

Oddly enough, the people I visited wanted to see Matrix Reloaded. Making Morpheus a cult figure and Neo a prophet took a little bit away from the experience. However, the movie did a good job in capturing the ideal of a system architect. That is a system architect is a self absorbed jerk. The movie fits in well with the image of Plato's Philosopher King. The king works on a higher meta level, has no compunction about killing millions, and really is a source of misery for all concerned.

Anyway, the pictures of Angels landing turned out well, and I need to get more exercise.

Wednesday, May 28, 2003

We ended up with an unexpected guest in Salt Lake. The guest had a friend she wanted to visit in Hurricane, Utah. So I took an unexpected trip to Saint George and Zion's National Park over Memorial Day week end. I usually try to avoid camping trips on the busiest day of the year. We were lucking and found a camping spot.

If I can find my compact card reader, I will upload the pictures from the trip when I do. The discouraging thing: When I got home I found 1654 spams awaiting deletion (I have multiple domains, I get a great deal of spam for bad addressess.)

Lets see...The message header of one of the spams was about how you can make money through big time spamming. Another had a deck of cards with pictures of 54 people who opposed the Iraq mindless hicks can play the fantasy game of seeking out and killing people who are smarter them and who think independently.

Personally, I still have hopes that the US's good intentions will shine through and that the US is not simply trying its superpower hand at 21st century imperialism. Yet I am more worried about the acts of the US right now than the acts of the Arabs.

The Arabs, after all, are people infected with a bunch of mindless hicks who've been handing out decks of playing cards with the names of all Arabs who want peace.

Friday, May 16, 2003 Home Page says "By 2000, there was enough space to have a page of data for every 3.5 minutes of each life."

Today we are probably already into being able to have a page per second. This five minutes used to add to this blog didn't even scratch the surface of my allotted time. Of course InfoUSA knows who I am, and that I spent five minutes writing in a blog. that is a bit scary.

Thursday, May 15, 2003

I made a few good improvements to Al's Infinite Hotel. The conclusion does a pretty good job of showing that the different approaches either end up doubling up guests in a room or leaving one guest in a hall.

The hardest argument is against the idea of a simultaneous shift between rooms. However a rules based system clearly would prevent such a shift. If the rule is that two people cannot occupy the same room, then you can derive the rule that a person cannot shift to the right unless the room to the right is empty. Since the infinite hotel is full by definition, then no-one can shift to the right.

Despite Hilbert's best efforts, n+1 is still greater than n.

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Mill Creek

Last night I had dinner at Log Haven in Millcreek canyon with
Jim Dorn of the Cato Institute. He seems to like Utah's wilderness. I am in line line with the greater part of libertarian thinking, but fall short when it comes to development of the last wilderness in America.

I am not of the opinion that Government needs to control everything, but believe strongly that these last bits of wilderness should be left alone. The wildlands of Utah and Idaho simply do not need to be part of the economy. There is no great rush to put every last asset of the nation into the burner. Some assets should be held for the future.

It was a fun dinner. The total bill was more than my websites make in a month, but I guess that is the way relative values work in an economy. See, my greatest fear is that the deflation that has rocked the tech sector will work its way through the rest of the economy. Mr. Dorn does not think so. As computer engineers take dish washing jobs in restaurants, the economy will just shift.

Inflation and deflation is simply the product of monetary policy.

Being in the tech sector, I still fear that we could get in to a situation where the technology starts to gnaw at wages. If the big drop in employment is accompanied by big drop in wages then we will start seeing millions of people lose their foot hold in the economy and become destitute.

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

I just added an article Al's Infinite Hotel to Descriptive Mathematics. I realized today that for the infinite hotel model to work, there must be a logical sequence that works backwards from infinity. This is probably common knowledge, but it fits well within my refutation of the Diagonal Method

Monday, May 12, 2003

The Register reports that Google is considering the removal of blogs. The problem isn't blog v. nonblog, the real problem is distinguishing authorative from non authorative sources of information.

There is a large number of non-authorative sources of information like link lists and affiliate programs. The truth of the matter is that that there needs to be a mechanism for denoting the type of information.

For that matter, the most part of what appears in newspapers is not authorative is a reprint of an article that appeared on the news wire.

For the Net to really thrive, there needs to be auditable mechanisms that report the type of information. For example, something should be marked as an ad, an opinion, a researched article, etc..

I feel that the best mechanism for such an event would be a human edited source like Zeal or DMOZ.
I wrote a keyword tracking program that I am adding to my sites. I noticed I am getting hits on the education of a philosopher king; so I did a quick editing session to fix some awkward sentences and added the rating bar.

I wonder what people think of the story. It is a total jab at Plato's ideal of a society ruled by a philosopher king and Machiavelli's Prince...both are favorite reads by today's academia.

Sunday, May 11, 2003

Connie is in town. She is going on a book tour for "Walking Without Footprints." Her first stop is Grand Junction of all places. She will then head through Denver then to points east.

When paying off my Discover bill I was pleased to see the company finally has a no-paper option. That gets rids my life of another piece of scrappy paper. While at I-Link, I argued unsuccessfully for the company to move to totally electronic billing and save postage. Why waste the earth printing paper things that we are going to toss out?

Saturday, May 10, 2003

Am I clever or what? Last night I was thinking of ways to porting my rate engine from Salt Lake Sites to my short story page. Then I realized that all I needed to do was copy the rating link. So I will be doing this will all my stories.

Here are a few of the stories:

  • Brainwashing is my attempt at serious fiction. It is the tale of a janitor who gradually turns his back on the society that rejected him and reaches toward niravana in his cleaning.

  • The Detectometer is an entertaining piece of sci-fi. A doughnut eating cop places his skills against a forensic probe. It has a few good lines in it.

Friday, May 09, 2003

I added an HTML Cheat Sheet to my PHP/MySQL course. I intend to link it to the different forum programs and documentation programs I have in the work.

Come to think of it, it would be a valuable resource for it shows the html that you are most likely to use in a blog. Hmmm...

Thursday, May 08, 2003

My waste a day project is to make my online PHP/HTML course valid to xhtml strict. To be quite frank, I think the arrogant snits at W3C are doing the world a grave disservice with their pretentious little pronunciation of what is good or bad HTML. For example, you are suppose to end lines with a <br /> instead of a <br>. Image tags have to have a </img> and other rules that do nothing but makes it harder for people to hand code HTML.

The goal is to remove web page design from the common man and into the hands of the ruling elite. IMHO, the cool thing about the web is that it provides the underdog a chance to be heard. Who cares if the tags are in caps or lower case.

Tuesday, May 06, 2003

Professor Matthew Pamental spoke at the Intelligent Inquiry Educational Society meeting. The discussion brought up different methods of democracy and focused primarily on Dewey's thoughts on deliberative democracy.

Pamental used the Utah initiative No More Homeless Pets as a demonstrative example of deliberative democracy in work. Basically, a group of animal rights activists, and concerned pet owners have gotten together to reduce the euthanasia of unwanted pets. Using principles of deliberative democracy, the different groups had been able to overcome many of their personal political views on the subject, and came up with a mixed bag of solutions that is making a dramatic difference in the number of pets that get put down in Utah. One of their activities is Strut Your Mutt.

The principles of deliberative democracy does a good job of showing how groups can get over their personal conflicts and get down to work. It also does a good job of showing how smaller community groups can have a bigger, positive impact that national initiatives and laws. The smaller groups do a better job of involving the people in the group, and allow people to make concise deliberative steps. Professor Pamental agreed that he now sees local actions as a better way to solve difficult problems than federal action.

However, the ideal falls apart when you try to apply them to other problems. Many of the big problems of our day involve bigger groups than the pet activist crowd. When you deal with larger problems you suddenly have  a system with hundreds of different groups with different methodologies interacting. Group A and Group B may have deliberative processes, but the two groups are likely to come up with different solutions to problems and will end up being in conflict.

You can't just morph the solutions of two different groups without changing the entire balance of both groups.

Pamental blasted George Bush as the ultimate example of non-deliberative democracy. Personally, I disagreed with the war for oil. However, it is not an issue of deliberative v. non-deliberative activities. Bush is famous for his ability to build coalitions. He had received substantially more international support for the invasion than one would have expected. The only true hurdle were parties that would opposed dramatic action regardless. There were other voices that wanted to sucker the US into all sorts of things like increased grants.

The truth of what happened with the Iraq War was that Bush realized that the UN was not designed as a deliberative he went elsewhere. He was dealing with the problem of interaction of groups.

No More Homeless Pets showed the same kind of initiative in their organization. The Utah Legislature is the legitimate authority for establishing social policy. Organizations like PETA lobby the legislature for action. No More Homeless Pets realized that it is a dysfunctional forum for true they worked outside the legitimate channels and built its own contingency. By working outside the legislative channel, they are able to have a more profound impact.

The frustrating thing about Dewey is that he developed this silly putty approach to logic to make his arguments impenetrable. There are no faults to Dewey's work...because the silly putty arguments are self sealing, and would warp around any criticism. The Dewey scholar is above all else, and has the tools to switch positions as politics dictate. Any thought that leads to a less than popular conclusion would glossed over...Dewey is very much the founders of politically correct thought.

The better conclusion from Dewey's work on deliberative democracy is not to say that it is an ideal that we should seek to attain, but to use it in descriptive terms. We can look at different groups and say if they are a deliberative democracy or if they could benefit from adopting a more deliberative paradigm...but it does not work well as a filter of ideals.

Saturday, May 03, 2003

Big news. My order from just arrived. I got a new PCMCIA Network Interface Card (to replace the one that got broken on my mother's laptop.) It is a 3Com card with an x-jack adapter. Hopefully it will last longer than the Linksys self destructing dongle cards. I had been using a USB NIC on my laptop...So I put the USB NIC on my parent's machine, and will use the PCMCIA card. (I like to make things complicated).

The other thing in the box was an CD Writer. For those of you who have been deligently following my computer woes. My laptop has been suffering from bad clusters. All of the bad clusters are at the end of the drive. With the CD Writer, I am finally able to create secure back I made back ups of all my photo files, deleted the lot and did a defrag. Hopefully, I can get a few more months from this worn tired laptop.

Thursday, May 01, 2003

Last night I crashed the business to business expo sponsored by the Salt Lake Chamber. I pretended that Salt Lake Sites was a business, when in fact it is really just a big waste of time. I was surprised, they offered free wine (this is Utah after all) and a lot of great free food. Hmmm, so this is what marketers get to do with their days while programmers work 80 hours a week in dimly lit space. No wonder no one in their right minds enters computer science and engineering in the US.

It is fun having a project that I can pretend is a business. I hope they have more of these shin digs.

Tuesday, April 29, 2003

Clue one...don't ever ask me to help with your web sites publicity. Ryan Hiller is a very talented young musician. So far, the MP3 upload I did for him has attracted a paltry 4 hits after three months. Considering that I played each of the songs once. This seems to indicate that only one of the people I directed to the site played the music. I suspect that Ryan himself was responsible for the fourth hit.

Even when I start with excellent material, I can't seem to draw any interest.

I am in a funk, because I received a nasty gram from a marketer who wanted to rub in the fact that my Provo site has an Alexa rank in the upper millions, while his site has a 500,000. My rank seems to fluctuate between 1.7 million and 3 million. Few of my other sites are ranked at at all. Proto Photo cruised in with a 550,000.

Of course, I don't have the Alexa toolbar installed. Installing the bar generally skyrockets one's page rank.

The scary thing is that employers might be checking out this information. I guess when you have 500+ resumes per position you can do a great deal of weeding out just by checking the page rank of applicant's sample sites. It might explain why I haven't been able to get a job in the last two and a half years.

Monday, April 28, 2003

Mowed the lawn for the third time this year.

I am working on a CSS page. So I am too miserable to write anything. CSS is worse the filling out tax forms. I nominate for the most poorly conceived mark up language ever conceived.

Saturday, April 26, 2003

Alas, my blog archives have disappeared. The directions on reviving disappearing archives does not work. So far, the time spent trying to fix the blog has been for not. I clicked on several other blogs...their archives have flowns south as well. It is probably the simple matter of waiting until someone at corporate gets their head in gear and fix the problem.

Hmmm, you might visit photo gallery site while you wait for the computer geeks to get their heads in gear.

Friday, April 25, 2003

The number of acts bearing the name patriot is become a little bit unnerving. This /. post was in regards to an act concerning software encryption. The rules about what type of encryption is allowed and the access that the government has to databases really has nothing to do with patriotism.

The fact that the proponents are misusing calls to patriotism is extremely worrisome. When oppressors want to take over, the language is the first thing to go.

For most of my life the far left had been the biggest it breaks my heart even more when the conservatives pull stunts like naming 9/11 Patriot Day.
My father's computer is on the fritz. He has serial mouse, and it appears that his serial mouse has gone south. We now have two ill computers in the house. The lack of income tells me to simply live with the cards dealt. Boy, I now have a big load of expenses, if ever I get a job again? I am scared that at 40, I will be lucky to make $30k a year. To make matters worse, not being LDS, it is almost impossible to find a job in Salt Lake. The few interviews I get generally make it quite clear that they only look for LDS employees. Now that it is warm, I think I might take another stab at crossing the mountains and looking for employment in Denver.

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

The coffee pot remains broken, I put at scathing review on epinions. I noticed the other reviews for this coffee pot had similar complaints of the computer going south. Gosh, who'd a figured that a computer would break in an environment that gets super hot several times a day? Adding computers to all the devices in the world really doesn't make our lifes any easier. People want an appliance to do what the appliance does...we really don't need more clocks that show the wrong time or other things computers why put a computer chip in everything?

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

Josh Gold spoke at the UNA Utah Meeting. He is a PhDed professor currently teaching at SLCC. The talk brought up speculations of the US agenda in Iraq, and he brought up the thesis that many smaller countries, in the wake of the Iraq war, are desperate to find ways to defend themselves against US aggression. As such we are likely to see more countries trying to go nuclear or join anti-US pacts.

From an academic point of view. It is interesting the number of times he delved into metaphors from game theory. For example, he brought up the prisoner's dilemma twice. The first was in reference to countries that felt the cost of opposing the US was greater the gain. The second was in context of the US unfettered support for Zionism. In this case the lobbying is one sided. The support or withdrawal of support by AIPAC far outweighs any benefit a politician would gain by an open minded approach to the Palestinian question.

As for the plight of the UN and international community. Professor Gold would simply bring up the problems of the commons. While there are many people who would want to have the benefits of collective action, there are few willing to bear the cost.

Post 9/11 America is an extremely sad affair. The US has given in to the primal instincts to destroy our perceived enemies and it is now a very difficult time for people who believe in rationality and hold the hope that there is a better way to approach international affairs than through either brute force of poised diplomacy of the UN security council.

If there were only an International Criminal Court.

Anyway, back to the issue of game theory. The unilateral and controversial actions of the US really have created a horrible situation for the world. It is as though the US has cast aside the whole concept of right and wrong, and the world has digressed to an irrational game of different parties that simply seek advantage over one another.

Professor Gold had a great deal of knowledge about the problems in the Middle East, and had a great deal of insight into the different positions and motivations of the interested parties in the region, but when asked about solutions, or best path to follow from here, he had little to offer.

And so it is with the fog of war. No one knows what the future will hold. It is all up in the air. There are no simple patches to fix injustices of the past. When you stare at a problem and longer even see a clear path to solution, the mind simply has to fall back and find other explanations.

As such, the political economist will turn to game theory. It is all a game where parties seek comparative advantage. Saddam may have lost the battle, he may even be dead, but at the moment he won the war because the world has just been taught a great lesson by the US Administration.

It is sad. The US had served as a beacon of hope and justice for many in the world, but they now see that it is all about power. If people give up hope that we can define a right way and a wrong way of going about important international issues, they will simply fall back to the belief that it is all a game of parties vying for power and the strongest party ruling.

The UNAU is a fantastic organization. It gives people of Utah a chance to learn about and discuss international affairs. Yet I am sad today, because we have fallen in a sad state that makes no room for civil discourse. Should I fall into the trap of the dour academician and say it is all game. It is all parties seeking relative advantage over each other...or should I hold to my naive believes that there is an ability for people to engage in rational, mutually beneficial discourse?
Well, I wasted several hours working on Hello Utah!. This poor site was marked as a 0 in Google's Page Rank program. I take it that means that the site will soon be delisted. The goal of the site was to provide a place to put articles on Utah. To quickly make the site interesting I added population statistics by county. I think the real problem is that I have too many projects going on.

Monday, April 21, 2003

I broke a hundred points at Zeal...Gosh, I am being such a wonderful netizen. Here is a list of Contributed Sites. I figure doing things like this helps counter some of the SEO spamming done by companies and helps worthy organizations float to the top. This whole karma thing going on with search engines is quite fascinating, a site like this has a little itty-bitty tiny amount of points that transfers to zeal. Zeal aggregates of this Karma, then sends it to the sites that it deems worth listing. Google and other search engines then use the karma points to help determine search order. The topology is quite fascinating.

Friday, April 18, 2003

So the big reports from Iraq concern looting of zoos and museums. Much of the looting appears to be organized.

That was one of the questions I had from the beginning of the war. How much priceless art would be lost in the incursion?

The shame isn't on the Americans. Iraq was run by thugs and created a culture of thugs. The looters undoubtedly had keys and new which pieces to steal.

Undoubtedly, Mr. Hussein had lined his pleasure palaces and bunkers with all the art he could steal. US TV has let to tell us how much was destroyed in these pleasure palaces.

The business of war is still messy...even with laser guided bombs.

Thursday, April 17, 2003

My neice is gracing the Internet with another set of her pictures from Europe. She did a quarter in Torino, and is now traveling around freely.

On the annoying side of things. I just got several bounced messages. It appears that a porn spammer sent a boat load of spam with my domain in his forged return address. I hope it is only on a few thousand mails, and not a few million.

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Yesterday, we had a fierce winter storm (fierce enough that I decided to forego the festivities of ritual midnight tax return mailing) it is so nice that it should be illegal. Weather in Utah is always a hoot.

Neff Creek (behind our house) has started to flow when it rains. While on a walk, I discovered that someone had done some illegal dumping of dirt in an empty lot several blocks above our house. The dirt washed away, and has effectively clogged all the storm drains in his neighborhood. The city now has an expensive drain repair project to complete.

The reason that Neff Creek is flowing is because the rain water from this neighborhood flows down to a cross over piple into Neff Creek. Neff Creek isn't rated to take the run off from both Neff Creek canyon and this if we were in a flood year, the clogged drains could cause serious damage.

It is amazing that people fail to realize that if you put a big pile of loose dirt on a slope that the pile of dirt will erode.

A few years ago, I came across a construction project where they were dumping excess tar into a storm drain. The idiocacy of some people is astounding.

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

The IRS rejected my efiling...So I had to print out my return and mail it. So much for the efficiencies of the net.

I finally gave up on Resendable Greetings...I will now just use it to host the silly short stories I occasionally decide to write.

Saturday, April 12, 2003

I decided to move the ads of descriptive mathematics and on to a new separate ad only site called A Fountain of Bargains. I wish I had a better way to pay for web development. I also reread the Return of the King today. Pretty much a wasted day.
It is good to be gardening again.

I was disappointed, the mulch pile was completely dry and hadn't done any magic dirt making during the winter. I poured some water on the thing and stirred. Considering that it is a drought year, I don't want to have to water the mulch pile in the summer. Seems to defeat the rabid eco jabbering meadow muffin in me.

Turning the mulch pile made me realize that I am horribly out of shape.

Friday, April 11, 2003

Alas, the new Cuisinart Coffee machine is dead again. The little computer won't respond to commands. We got about five pots from the fool thang then it died. Why is there a friggin' computer on a coffee machine anyway? I prefer the old mechanical style with a physical on/off switch. A computer is a thing that breaks and can't be fixed.

Speaking of broken, I ran scandisk and got two more bad clusters, so it's official ... this computer is at the end of its days.

I got an email from SEO Chat saying Google is dancing...but I checked Salt Lake is still in the high 200s. I did all sorts of nice things for Google last month. I made all my URLs shorter and added juicy sections of public service links, and what do I even lower rating.

Yahoo is being nice to me, and has Salt Lake Sites on page one. Hooray for Yahoo!!!

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

My six year old niece broke her left arm on the monkey bars yesterday.

She is now spending the day in rehab, and will be getting a cast tomorrow. The young lady is very interested in what the doctors do. Wouldn't it be exciting if she grew up to be a doctor...instead of a computer geek like the rest of her relatives.

Monday, April 07, 2003

This month's Intelligent Inquiry Educational Society meeting featured Michael Yount. He is the editor of the Salt Substitute insert in The Salt Lake Tribune. The topic of conversation was The Influence of Religion and Environment on Language.

The topic started a lively debate about language, language education and communication and the idiosycracies of Utah dialect. It is fun being part of a group discussing ideas. It would have been "funner" if "funner" was actually an English word and not just a jumble of syllables that I use when I mean more fun.

I should start a society of people who want "funner" to be recognized by Webster dictionary as a word.

Sunday, April 06, 2003

For a brief moment today, ProvoUtah.US was pointed to a porn site. It was disconcerting because I couldn't figure out where the hackers were attacking. All of the index files, .htaccess and DNS entries were okay when I looked at the files. It may have been an attack at my webhost or perhaps something wrong with the DNS entry at xmission.

So I spent an hour changing passwords. There certainly are a lot of useless people in this world. Anyway, back to checking logs.

Friday, April 04, 2003

Here is a big waste of time. I was interested in how different areas of the world are represented on the web. So I took different names of cities, and compared the number of pages google returned to recent population reports. It looks like a complete waste of time. However, I find population statistics and knowledge of other places fascinating.

Here is the page: Google City.

Thursday, April 03, 2003

I crashed the Utah Information Technology Association annual meeting. UITA is a political action committee for Utah hi tech.

The center piece of the meeting was Governor Mike Leavitt's signing House Bill 240 -- The Venture Capital Enhancement Act. The meeting was largely about self congratulations. No one explained how common folk like me can get our grubby little mits on the $100 million treasure trove...which is how it should be.

The timing of the act is pretty good, since there will probably be a small amount of growth in the venture capital industry in the next few years.

Anyway, it was fun hob nobbing with CEOs. I pretended that I owned my own company. I do own the web site Links Alive. If you have $12 you can own a web site too.

Tuesday, April 01, 2003

Talk about obnoxious design. I wanted to see if a friend still had an AIM account. Anyway, I went to load AIM. The program said I had to upgrade. Yeah, Yeah, I knew it would do slimy things like start loading AIM on startup...I knew how to turn that feature off. Well, the new AIM now attaches itself to Microsoft Outlook and has some type of hook into internet explorer.

To be even slimier, the program loads an ad page. That means I have to wait for thirty seconds to load then close a piece of garbage software by AOL. This is my punishment for loading the program. I knew I was making a mistake. Now I have a resource hungry parasite draining a few seconds of my day away. This computer will die soon; so I won't waste much time fixing things. What a waste of time.

I suspect corporate America will get slimier before they ever start getting better.
I thought I would whip up a short outline for the Rich Theory idea a few days ago. Three days later, the half day project isn't completed. I appear to be getting slower, slower and slower.

Rich Theory really is just a brain fart about about a better way to present the concepts of large sets, power sets and the introduction of transfinite theory to students in lieu of the bug ridden diagonal method. It is something that I spent entirely too much time on.

I admit, I had toyed with the idea of sending this draft out to schools to see if it would be of any interest. The problem, of course, is that the article really isn't aimed at the academic mathematician. The problem is that transfinite theory as it is presented in most introductory texts has a major bug, and it ends up creating a great deal of confusion.

This Rich Theory outline ins't meant as a completed paper, but as an outline that textbooks writers could use to expand into a better introduction to the theory.

I still need to add some stuff about ordering sets and multiple dimensions, then I will call the project half-assed.

Sunday, March 30, 2003

main 2Well folks, I completed the worst task of the year. I did my 2002 taxes. Why is that I lose all desire to live when I do my taxes? It doesn't matter what I made or whether or not I am filling out the taxes on paper, on a computer or via the Internet. Just the shear act of doing taxes seems to suck the life out of me.

I used the H&R Block program again this year. The program is straight forward and quick. It cost $30 to file the return. At least it didn't take too long. I hope to someday make enough money to pay an accountant to do this for me.

Saturday, March 29, 2003

The other nasty news for the day...North Korea cites the invasion of Iraq as justification to beef up its nuclear arms development.

In theory, the invasion of Iraq is supposed to show that the UN will have the resolve to carry out its dictates.

Instead we have a UN in shambles while dictators are learning even worse brutality and worse convolutions of thought from the war.
Iraqis fire a missile at random into the heart of Kuwait City. It hits a civilian shopping mall at night. Fortunately, there are few casualties. Kuwait City was lucky. Saddam's forces kill refuges trying to escape Basra. Intentional killing of not only civilians, but his own people.

An explosion rocks hits a civilian area in Baghdad. The Muslim world ignites.

The US is naive if we believe that we can fight a war with no friendly or civilian casualties. There is not a quick and convenient path to regime change with a surigical application of cruise missiles. The US also probably has miscalculated the extent to which brain washed religious fanatics will find ways to filter information that reinforces their world view.

The followers of Sun Tzu would laugh at the US for believing that there are rules to war. The art of war would cast aside the notion that there are rules. The whole point of a war is that it is a time without rules...this is why revolutionaries tend to call for total war means the suspension of all logic, just simple brutality. It is the chaos that sickened minds such as Nietzsche adore.

Perhaps having the world see the polluted reasoning in actions like this, people might some day start readdressing epistemology and openly acknowledge that wealth comes from a general acceptance of sound principals of reason.

The Arab world has great cause to be angry at today's events. Killing is horrible. Yet it is not a US v. Arab world problem. It is a matter of the perverters of reason against civilization that is the real problem. Such people exist everywhere. Perhaps the greatest examples were the international forces that helped Saddam get into power in the first place.