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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

MIlton Friedman's birthday

There are so many excellent quotations from Milton Friedman that it's impossible to choose - I've included a few below, but feel free to add more in the comments.

Government has three primary functions. It should provide for military defense of the nation. It should enforce contracts between individuals. It should protect citizens from crimes against themselves or their property. When government-- in pursuit of good intentions tries to rearrange the economy, legislate morality, or help special interests, the cost come in inefficiency, lack of motivation, and loss of freedom. Government should be a referee, not an active player.

Only government can take perfectly good paper, cover it with perfectly good ink, and make the combination worthless. 

The great virtue of a free market system is that it does not care what color people are; it does not care what their religion is; it only cares whether they can produce something you want to buy. 

Inflation is the one form of taxation that can be imposed without legislation. 

Most of the energy of political work is devoted to correcting the effects of mismanagement of government

I would cut the real taxes borne by the American people by cutting all government spending ten percent across the board. 

I am favor of cutting taxes under any circumstances and for any excuse, for any reason, whenever it's possible.

If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in five years there’d be a shortage of sand.

One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results.

~ Milton Friedman (wiki) (variously attributed) 

The long-term solution to [to high unemployment] is to increase the incentive for ordinary people to save, invest, work, and employ others. We make it costly for employers to employ people, and we subsidize people not to go to work. We have a system that taxes work and subsidizes nonwork.*

~ Friedman (in U.S. News and World Report, 7 March 1977) 

Today is the anniversary of the birth of Nobel prize-winning American economist Milton Friedman (wiki) (1912-2006) in Brooklyn, New York. Friedman studied at Rutgers, Chicago, and Columbia and earned his Ph.D. in 1946. He was widely regarded as the leader of the "Chicago School" of monetary economics, which stressed the quantity of money as the cause of business cycles and inflation and thus the importance of government monetary policy. 

With his wife, Rose D. Friedman, he wrote many books and a series of columns for Newsweek between 1966 and 1983, also serving as an advisor to President Reagan from 1981 to 1989. Friedman received his Nobel prize in 1977 for his contributions to quantitative economic science. He is also credited with the well-known observation, "There's no such thing as a free lunch," but in fact it probably appeared in common parlance after the "free lunch" became customary fare in saloons around 1840 - when you had to buy a beer to obtain it. The Chicago-school economists began using this phrase regularly in articles and speeches in the 1970s. 

Be that as it may, Friedman did note in his book, Capitalism and Freedom,

"History suggests that capitalism is a necessary condition for political freedom. Clearly it is not a sufficient condition."

* N.B. But I would add that "nonwork" includes the fiscal chicanery and crony capitalism that merely moves money around without producing any tangible product - to the enormous financial advantage of the movers.

There are a lot of videos of Friedman discussing various topics - below are a few short ones that give you a feel for him and his policies:

On greed:


Why drugs should be legalized:


On the minimum wage:


Socialism is force:


Responsibility to the poor:


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Tuesday links

For Aldous Huxley's birthday, an infographic of Huxley Vs Orwell, a letter from Huxley to Orwell explaining why he (Huxley) was right, and audio of Huxley narrating Brave New World.




Sir David Attenborough narrating Pokémon Go is a hoot. Related: the fatwa against Pokémon Go: it spreads Darwinism.



ICYMI, Monday's links are here, and include a cringe-inducing set of fashion ads from the 1970s, a 1923 car that turned into a boat, diagnosing Hitler's flatulence, and a compilation of the 100 greatest action movie punchlines (NSFW language).

Aldous Huxley's birthday

A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude.

~ Huxley Brave New World

Well, duty's duty. One can't consult one's own preference. I'm interested in truth, I like science. But truth's a menace, science is a public danger. As dangerous as it's been beneficent. It has given us the stablest equilibrium in history. China's was hopelessly insecure by comparison; even the primitive matriarchies weren't steadier than we are. Thanks, I repeat, to science. But we can't allow science to undo its own good work. That's why we so carefully limit the scope of its researches – that's why I almost got sent to an island. We don't allow it to deal with any but the most immediate problems of the moment. All other enquiries are most sedulously discouraged. 

~ Huxley ("The Controller," in Brave New World, Ch. 16)

So long as men worship the Caesars and Napoleons, Caesars and Napoleons will duly arise and make them miserable.

~ Huxley (Ends and Means, Ch. 8)

Today is the anniversary of the birth of English novelist Aldous Huxley (wiki) (1894-1963*). Although he is now remembered largely for his dystopian novel Brave New World (wiki), I was most impressed when I first ran across him, back in the 60's and 70's, by Island and by his exploration of mescaline-induced experiences in Doors of Perception**

The grandson of famed biologist and evolution proponent T. H. Huxley (1825-1895), Aldous attended Eton and Oxford to study English literature. His poor eyesight kept him out of World War I, and he embarked on a writing career while still an undergraduate. Subsequently, he joined the Bloomsbury set and turned out the first of his novels, Crome Yellow (1921) and a long series of essays on wide-ranging topics. 

At the Central London Hatchery and
Conditioning Centre's Embryo Store
His novels were often inspired by his fear of the dehumanizing potential of scientific progress (as in Brave New World) and his life-long pacifism (as in Eyeless in Gaza, 1935). In 1937, Huxley emigrated to the United States and spent the rest of his life in southern California, where he dabbled unsuccessfully in screen-writing. Late in life, he developed a passionate interest in the Vedic philosophies of India and experimented with psychodelic drugs.

*Huxley, along with C.S. Lewis, actually died on November 22, 1963 - the same day that JFK was assassinated.

** I re-read Doors of Perception (supposedly, by the way, the inspiration for the name of the band The Doors) several times over the years, for reasons that I will no longer admit to. 

Here's Huxley narrating Brave New World (audio from a 1979 LP of a 1956 CBS Radio Workshop broadcast):


From the website of Letters of Notea fascinating 1949 letter from Huxley to Orwell on the subject of Nineteen Eighty-Four (read the whole thing)
Within the next generation I believe that the world's rulers will discover that infant conditioning and narco-hypnosis are more efficient, as instruments of government, than clubs and prisons, and that the lust for power can be just as completely satisfied by suggesting people into loving their servitude as by flogging and kicking them into obedience. In other words, I feel that the nightmare of Nineteen Eighty-Four is destined to modulate into the nightmare of a world having more resemblance to that which I imagined in Brave New World. The change will be brought about as a result of a felt need for increased efficiency. Meanwhile, of course, there may be a large-scale biological and atomic war --- in which case we shall have nightmares of other and scarcely imaginable kinds.
And here's an infographic of Huxley Vs Orwell (Huxley's Brave New World (wiki) vs Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four (wiki):

Monday, July 25, 2016

How to blow a cow

If you're easily grossed out, go away. Now.

Cow blowing, per Wikipedia:
Kuhblasen, phooka, or doom dev, is a process used in many countries according to ethnographers, in which forceful blowing of air into a cow's vagina (or sometimes anus) is applied to induce her to produce more milk.
Cow blowing was the reason why Gandhi abjured cow milk, saying that "since I had come to know that the cow and the buffalo were subjected to the process of phooka, I had conceived a strong disgust for milk."
There is, of course, a video that shows how it's done - for those with delicate sensibilities (and if this is true of you, what the hell are you doing here?) it's below the break.

Previously in the "disgusting things having to do with cattle" department, there's this: 

Monday links




Compilation: 100 Greatest Action Movie Punchlines (NSFW language), with bonus Conan The Barbarian, The Musical.



ICYMI, Friday's links are here, and include why old men have big ears, illustrated travel books of the Edwardian era, calculating how many fireflies it would take to match the brightness of the sun, a set of child labor photos from the Library of Congress, and the universal law of urination in mammals - everything pees for (approximately) 21 seconds.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

A couple of grandbaby pictures

For those of you who requested it, here are some recent photos of the new girl cousins (Addie, born 2/4/16 is sitting up, and Charlotte, born 4/14/16, is reclining) in their semi-matching pink camo outfits:


And just hanging out:


Their "Best Friends" shirts, which their parents purchased when they found out both were pregnant:


Earlier, Addie, age 11 weeks, and Charlotte, age 10 days:

 Charlotte:


 And Addie:




And here's a group shot of all of our local grandkids (seven of them, out of a total of fourteen scattered about):

Sir David Attenborough narrating Pokemon Go is a hoot

On encountering a Spearow: "It is, of course, a bird."

Yes, of course it's fake. David Attenborough didn't really narrate Pokemon Go, but it's a really well done fake! 

The Irish website Lovin Dublin posted the clip to its Facebook page last week, and it now has more than 2.4 million views. On coming across a Zubat:
“Bats, with their fluttering zig zag flight are not easy targets ... That is one bat that will not return to the roost tonight.” 

Related:

Fatwa against Pokémon Go: It's prohibited, #1 modern spying tool worldwide and spreads Darwinism.

Gently but flamboyantly launching the over-sized walnut down the frozen river: David Attenborough Narrates Women's Curling.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Fatwa against Pokémon Go: It's prohibited, #1 modern spying tool worldwide and spreads Darwinism

Via MEMRI: You Pokémon Go players may not realize it, but you're participating in a game that promotes the idea of evolution, and you're a spy because everything on your camera goes directly to the global servers.

Dr. Khlifa Al-Makhrazi, head of the Family Consultative Council in Dubai, speaking on Sky News Arabia TV, discussed the new Pokémon Go rage. Dr. Al-Makhrazi declared that playing this game is prohibited, in keeping with a recent fatwa by Al-Azhar and by "some jurisprudents." He further explained that Pokémon Go is "genuinely and directly" linked to Darwinism and to the theory of evolution. He concluded by saying that anybody playing the game is a spy. The interview aired on July 14.



Transcript:

Dr. Khalifa Al-Makhrazi: 

"For us Muslims, living in an Arab and Muslim society – what is the ruling of playing this game (Pokémon Go)? Well, there is a clear and official fatwa from Al-Azhar prohibiting this game. Some jurisprudents have also rules that this game is prohibited. One might ask: 'This is just a game. It's fun. Why is it prohibited?'

These jihadists have their religious priorities straight.
It is prohibited because it is connected to things we are not aware of. It is connected to one's faith. This game is genuinely and directly linked to Charles Darwin's doctrine of Darwinism, to the theory of evolution and to the transmutation of the species, where a weak species transforms into a superior species. In our religion, this doctrine is forbidden. Therefore, Al-Azhar issues a clear fatwa prohibiting playing this game.

[...]

"I take full responsibility for what I am saying. Any person playing this game is a spy, because the pictures he takes go straight to the global servers. All the places, all the streets and even inside the homes all the way to the bedrooms – the pictures go straight to the global servers, where they are saved, in order to expose all that is private. This game is the number one modern spying tool worldwide. A person unknowingly turns into a spy by playing this game."

More:

No word yet from the pope, but
presumably he's OK with the game.
Saudi Arabia issues fatwa against playing Pokemon Go: Edict first issued in 2001 when Pokemon was played with cards is renewed with warnings the game contains devious and forbidden images:

First issued in 2001 when the game was played with cards, the decree says Pokemon violates Islamic prohibitions against gambling, uses devious Masonic-like symbols and promotes “forbidden images.” 
...

The edict notes that a six-pointed star in the game, for example, is associated with the state of Israel and that certain triangular symbols hold important meanings for the Freemasonry. Crosses in the game are a symbol of Christianity, while other symbols are associated with polytheism, says the edict.

Friday, July 22, 2016

'Game of Thrones' Season 6 Blooper Reel

HBO debuts new Game of Thrones blooper reel for Comic Con:

Fashion Ads From The 1970s

There's approximately a gazillion of these available on the interwebs, and I've probably posted way too many of them - once I started I had a hard time stopping! The vast majority of what I've included here are ads for men's clothing, because they're so many standard deviations from the norm - the women's versions look (relatively) normal.

I have to say, too, that I lived through the 70's, and although this stuff was, obviously, advertised, I don't remember actually seeing much of it. On the other hand, I don't remember an awful lot about that time period.

The only person who pulled this fashion statement off, sort of, was John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever, and I'll bet it's been waaay to long since you watched it  (watch full screen):



This ad seems to be patterned after Travolta:







I don't know what to make of this:





















I'm pretty sure I never heard of Flagg Brothers, but I love the pimp style and the women hanging onto their legs:




















A couple for the ladies:







And for the whole family: