Wednesday, January 28, 2004

The other interesting point from the UNAU meeting, apparently Utah is now considering legislation to secede from the UN. GetUSOut, an anti-UN group run by the John Birch society snuck through a proposal for the Utah legislator to denounce the UN and suggest the US withdraw from the UN. This legislation will be good for the UNAU (United Nations Association of Utah) as it might help increase membership.
At yesterday's UNAU meeting, Hakan Yavuz made an extremely salient point. America's foreign policy is largely run by ethnic group centric lobby groups. This type of set up creates a situation where US foreign policy often takes rather nasty racial tones.

The US forbids foreign lobbies. However, ethnic groups within the US can have a lobby group. This ends up creating a situation where we have a very powerful organizations pushing for racially centered policy. The result is that we are more apt to see the ethnic differences in Iraq (Kurds, Shiites and Sunni) rather than the political situation of a country that has several different political division already existing.

Turkey is adamently opposed to independence for the Kurds. Turkey has a horrible record of mistreating Greeks, Kurds and Armenians (The Turks slaughtered 1.5 million Armenians in 1915...they killed 70% of their Armenian population...Hitler killed only 38% of his Jewish population.)

Turkey is worried that having an independent Kurdistan might re-ignite long seated racial resentment. Personally, I think the opposite might be true. Allowing a Kurdish state might allow the region to get around its racial hatreds. With Turkey joining the EU and the the Kurds getting an independent government, an ethic group with a long history of being oppressed might finally be in a position to feel safe on all fronts.

It is a difficult game. Sometimes splitting a country by racial groups leads to Balkanization and more hate, other times it reduces the tension. There is not a clear cut answer to the Iraq problem.

Regardless, Hakan Yavuz point about US foreign policy being run by ethnic lobbies is very important, as it probably makes the US administration give greater credence to ethnic considerations than they otherwise would.

Friday, January 23, 2004

This is a bit scary: Howard Dean is calling for Alan Greenspan's removal...the criticism is that Greenspan is too political for supporting Bush's plan for tax cuts in lieu of spending increases as the economic stimulus during the recent recession. In this area, I think Greenspan did a good job tip toeing around a politically charged issue by warning about the problems of increased deficit spending, but in conceding tax cuts are preferable to spending increases. In this case, he did what the economy required.

The only mistake I believe that Greenspan has made was in jacking up interest rates at the end of the dot com bubble. The bubble was bursting on its own. I believe that the added weight of high interest created a more dramatic bust.

I do agree that Greenspan and his personality cult has been in power too long. For that matter, I have greater admiration for Paul Volker who stepped down early to demonstrate that Federal Reserve was more about monetary policy than personality. Greenspan's reign has had the negative effect of rising the position of chair of the Federal Reserve to a Godlike status.

I agree with Dean that Greenspan has been in office too long. I worry about Dean though. Dean is the candidate who is more likely to have a politically charged monetary policy than any others. I suspects Dean's projection of political motivations on Greenspan is a warning sign that Dean's will push for highly politicized monetary policy.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

I decided to try the Google toolbar, and it has a blogger button. Making it easy to blog about pages.

Hmm, my Provo Web Directory only has a Page Rank of three and 6 back links. I was thinking people would be interested in linking to a community directory. Live and learn.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

The internet is a place to rant and I decided to a little bit of ranting about the job figures on

IMHO, The main problem we have with our economy is in distributing the productivity gains of the information age the populace at large. The problem is that the majority of people have no assets beyond their physical presence...their labor. The profits from products of the productivity gains will show up on the ledger as more cash for the richest in society and fewer jobs. The really absurd thing is that the economy is distributing gains by thrashing with stock booms and busts.

Governments high taxes and regulation of jobs prevent salaries from being a means to distribute gains.

Think of it for a second. Taxes discourage the activity taxed. Placing an excessive tax burden on wages means the government wants to discourage wages.

The only way our current economy has for distributing productivity gains to the people is through lowered prices and more leisure.

This leads to a political crisis. The US has a 7 trillion dollar debt, and has a slew of entitlement programs that spend trillions each year. Lowered prices and more leisure time means that the government will get less money to cover its obligations. It is a difficult situation to resolve.

Saturday, January 17, 2004

A penny saved is a penny and a half earned...In his original equation, Franklin forgot to take in the effect of taxes.

If you really want to be happy in life, then spend less time trying to push the edge of consumption, and more time getting the most of what you have.

BTW: If job creation is the primary goal of the economy, then why do we put the heaviest tax burden on the thing we want to happen? Taxes generally discourage the activity being taxed. So massive taxes on wages discourage jobs.

I was thinking about the poor job report this last week. Only 1000 new jobs were created. However the unemployment rate fell.

There is an infinite number of jobs in the world. The problem is that people haven't dropped their wage expectation enough to take the lower paying jobs. What this really seems to mean is that people are spending more time on leisure...why is that bad?

The reason it is bad is because the way we have our business structure set up, individuals have to be working at full tilt 100% of the time to survive...even though the greatest challenge in most businesses today is excess capacity.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

A friend suggest that I read Intellectuals by Paul Johnson. It is an entertaining look at the lives of those who considered it their duty as intellectuals to transforms the lives of society and others.

The work probably should have been called "Intellectual Bullies." Rather than a treatise on ideas, it is more a recounting of how alpha males simply use their cunning to manipulate others. I disagreed strongly with Paul Johnson's conclusion that there is nothing worse than the tyranny of ideas. Johnson's entertaining list of foibles of intellectuals is more about people using their cunning to manipulate others than about ideas.

The worst part of the book is that Johnson, a conservative, chose only to look at the foibles of of intellectuals on the left. By doing so, he essentially invalidates any real conclusions we can make from the it is possible to point at Johnson and denounce him as partisan.

Regardless, I found the book quite interesting. Since the rise of Kant, the intellectual community has been afflicted with a strange notion that there is a trascendental system of ideals that our betters are in touch with.

I think the common thread in the works of many such as Kant, Hegel, Marx, Cantor, Russell, etc.., is that there is a higher ideal that an elite few can perceive. This elite group are the masters of the paradox and are the shifters of paradigms.

Paradigm shifting is not simply a process of ideas, it is a process of politics. The paradigm shifters determine who is in power and who is not. Although paradigm shifters use ideas as a disguise, paradigm shifting is first and foremost a political process.

The failed dot com world littered the business landscape with paradigm shifting wannabes.

Paul Johnson does a great job of questioning the qualifications of intellectuals and super stars who took on the role of intellectual. The debate at the end of the book, however, should not have been about the character of the philosopher king but about the nature of philosophy itself. What role should philosophy play in society?

The underlying premise of many intellectuals (especially after the rise of Kant) has been that philosophy is a pursuit of the ruling class. The philosophy of the philospher king dictates how people should live their lives.

I believe this very premise is wrong. I believe that everyone holds their own individual philosophy. The primary concern is not the philosophy held by the elite, but in the philosophy held by the people.

The goal of my short story Brainwashing (the story of a philosophical janitor) was to show that everyone holds a philosophy. The philosphy helps manage their triumphs and failures. Having worked several jobs as a janitor and having personal experience with janitors, I realized they had very profound views of the world. I also realized that what maintenance workers do is extremely important.

Our goal as a society shouldn't be simply to elevate a few to the role of philosopher king, but to elevate everyone and to encourage more thought about what we are doing as a people. Back to the janitor: In Nickle and Dimed, Barbara Ehrenreich works a brief stint as a cleaner. I find it very interesting how she begins to apply her knowledge to the task, and realizes that the firm that hired her was doing more to spread germs with bad cleaning technique.

Our goal in education shouldn't be just getting people out of the cleaning industry, but to increase knowledge so those that are in the field do a better job.

Paul Johnson's discoveries are not about the tyranny of ideas, but about the tyranny of intellectuals who try to deny others the legitimacy of their personal thoughts.

Friday, January 09, 2004

What a waste of two months!

I know this sounds stupid, but after reading Everything and More and giving a presentation on the diagonal method, I felt a sudden burst of energy to write a refutation of the diagonal method.

Transfinite theory is a hideous scar on mathematics. The theory is essentially a dichotomy couched between two paradoxes. It starts with Galileo's Paradox to infer that the rationals and the integers are the same size. It then uses the diagonal method (a form of the liar's paradox) to suggest that the reals are a different size. This creates the denumerable/nondenumerable dichotomy.

I had been following the thread that the diagonal method doesn't create a dichotomy, but it actually shows that Bolzano's interpretation of the Galileo's paradox was incorrect. I did this by showing that Cantor's methodology implies that the set of namable numbers is both denuemrable and non-denumerable.

Everything was looking fine. Until I reread the thesis. Then it dawned on me that I was using the same garbage techniques of the German Idealists. I was trying to derive meaning from paradoxes. Suddenly, I could see a thousand different interpretations of the paradoxes. That is the whole friggin' point of building house of cards on paradoxes, as paradoxes allow you to conclude whatever you want.

In this refutation, I wanted to emphasize that if you pulled the denumerable/nondenumerable dichotomy, you would be left with a richer version of the infinite where there are multiple layers of infinite sets. Rich Theory is really based on the size of arbitrarily large sets. All it really does is say that different sets have different attributes. The Natural Numbers are different from the Whole Numbers which are different from the Integers, which are different from the Rationals, and so on.

The reason I detest transfinite theory is because it injects paradoxes into the foundation of mathematics. We can follow these absurd little chains of reasoning from our contemplation of infinite paradoxes, but they will all be aburd as paradoxes allow you conclude anything you desire.

The true refutation of the theory is simply to point out that it is based on paradoxes. Such a refutation falls on deaf ears because it the proliferation of paradoxes is the very reason that the theory is popular. People love paradoxes. Give mankind a big lie and they will be your friend for life.

I think Rich Theory still has some promising. Rich theory was really based on studying the relative size of arbitrarily large sets. Such sets are not subject to the paradoxes of the infinite. My interpretation of the infinite paradoxes was simply indicating that there is no reason to think that layering that occurs with arbitrarily large sets disappears when you take them to infinity.

My current thoughts are that the best way to refute transfinite theory is to show that the system paradoxical reasoning in transfinite theory has the same roots as Marxism, Fascism, Nazism and the other repressive regimes that made minced meat of civilization in the 20th century.

Marxism used similar combinations of paradoxes and dichotomies. For example, you often see the liar's paradox used to prove that Democracy is wrong. A democracy might elect a leader who intends to dissolve the democracy. Marx's dichotomy was between the capitalist and worker.

Regardless, I can't stand to spend another second on the stupid beast.

Friday, January 02, 2004

Well, everyone seems to be bringing in the new year by spending tons of cash. The folks just bought a FujiFinepix A210 camera. It was $179. We added another $50 in accessories. I figured that with the weak dollar, 2004 will probably see a substantial jump in electronics prices.

Being the start of the new year, I renewed all of the domain names I had picked up over the years. The renewal fees came to over $300.00. There are a few names I hadn't started developing yet:, and So I will try my hand at auctioning off the names. I really feel bad about giving up the names. I had wanted to develop an open program that people could use to record information about different trails. I just can't find a way to make an effort like that profitable.

The community web sites are just barely at break even. I looks like I will end the year $400 beyond my hosting fees. That is not enough to live on. Database programming is not a good industry to be in at the moment.