Monday, December 1, 2008

My blog "personality"

Typealyzer says my blog is:

INTP - The Thinkers

The logical and analytical type. They are especialy attuned to difficult creative and intellectual challenges and always look for something more complex to dig into. They are great at finding subtle connections between things and imagine far-reaching implications.

They enjoy working with complex things using a lot of concepts and imaginative models of reality. Since they are not very good at seeing and understanding the needs of other people, they might come across as arrogant, impatient and insensitive to people that need some time to understand what they are talking about.
Here's what Wikipedia says about INTP:
INTP types are quiet, thoughtful, analytical individuals who don't mind spending long periods of time on their own, working through problems and forming solutions. They are very curious about systems and how things work, and are frequently found in careers such as science, architecture and law. INTPs tend to be less at ease in social situations and the "caring professions," although they enjoy the company of those who share their interests. They also tend to be impatient with the bureaucracy, rigid hierarchies, and politics prevalent in many professions, preferring to work informally with others as equals.[8]

INTPs organize their understanding of any topic by articulating principles, and they are especially drawn to theoretical constructs. Having articulated these principles for themselves, they can demonstrate remarkable skill in explaining complex ideas to others in simple terms, especially in writing. On the other hand, their ability to grasp complexity may also lead them to provide overly detailed explanations of "simple" ideas, and listeners may judge that the INTP makes things more difficult than they are. This to the INTP, however, is incomprehensible: They are merely presenting all of the information.[8]

INTPs' extraverted intuition often gives them a quick wit, especially with language, and they can defuse the tension in gatherings by comical observations and references. They can be charming, even in their quiet reserve, and are sometimes surprised by the high esteem in which their friends and colleagues hold them.[8]

When INTPs feel insulted, however, they may respond with sudden and crushing criticism. After such an incident, INTPs are likely to be as bewildered as the recipient. They have broken the rules of debate and exposed their raw emotions. This to an INTP is the crux of the problem: their emotions are to be dealt with in a logical manner. If improperly handled, they can only harm.[9]

My overall personality type from a few different, informal MBTI tests suggest that I'm ENTP. It seems to be more predictive of me, with a bit of INTP showing up when I go through my rare quiet times.

Here's what Wikipedia says about ENTP:

The ENTP has been described variously as the innovator,[5] the originator,[6] the lawyer,[7] the inventor,[8] the explorer,[9] and the visionary.[7] ENTPs also fall into the general categories of thinkers, rationals, and engineers.[10] Using their primary function-attitude of extraverted intuition (Ne), ENTPs are quick to see complex interrelationships between people, things, and ideas. These interrelationships are analyzed in profound detail through the ENTPs auxiliary function, introverted thinking (Ti). The result is an in-depth understanding of the way things and relationships work, and how they can be improved. To the ENTP, competence and intelligence are particularly prized, both in themselves and in other people.

ENTPs are frequently described as clever, cerebrally and verbally quick, enthusiastic, outgoing, innovative, flexible, loyal and resourceful. ENTPs are motivated by a desire to understand and improve the world they live in. They are usually accurate in sizing up a situation. They may have a perverse sense of humor and sometimes play devil's advocate, which can create misunderstandings with friends, coworkers, and family. ENTPs are ingenious and adept at directing relationships between means and ends. ENTPs "think outside the box," devising fresh, unexpected solutions to difficult problems. However, they are less interested in generating and following through with detailed plans than in generating ideas and possibilities. When ENTPs are used correctly on a team, they offer deep understanding and a high degree of flexibility and problem solving ability. The ENTP regards a comment like "it can't be done" as a personal challenge, and, if properly motivated, will spare no expense to discover a solution.

Still, I'd like to step outside of both these styles to stretch my writing capability. One interesting thing I saw in myself while looking at the MBTI type descriptions -- aspects of Judging are offensive to me. Not people with those traits, per se, but those traits in my personality. I actively eliminate them when I discover them.

Hat-tip to my friend Unacoder

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Carroll Quigley, Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in our Time
The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and policies, one, perhaps, of the Right and the other of the Left, is a foolish idea acceptable only to doctrinaire and academic thinkers. Instead, the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can “throw the rascals out” at any election without leading to any profound or extensive shifts in policy.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Thursday, October 16, 2008

the fall of mankind, the history of lies

Theodore H. Smith recently posted the fall of mankind, the history of lies on the progstone yahoo group about a topic I've been considering lately. Civilization enables psychopaths with the power to control us.
So... I was thinking...

So it's clear that there is something very wrong with humanity. That there is something very wrong with this world, that as humans we create.

So... it's clear that our ancestors, must of, at one time, been more in-tune with nature. Because we evolved from animals, and animals are more in-tune with nature.

There must have been some point, that humans decided to do everything in reverse.... To lose health for money, instead of spending money on health. Or women looking sexy for money, instead of looking sexy simply for the sake of it. Or to leading and being popular to dominate and oppress, instead of leading to inspire and uplift.

I think I know when it was. It was when humans became clever enough to lie. When humans developed enough intelligence to lie, that was when everything became fucked up. If you want a specific date, well I don't know... I guess that narrows it down though. All you need to do is find out when ancient humans first became smart enough to lie.

Of course, women lie more than men... so I guess it's fair to say that women caused the downfall of humanity, and turned us away from nature. [Ed: I strongly disagree with this misogynistic point, but it can be ignored and not change the meaning of his posting.]

There must have been a point, when our ancestors, after learning how to talk... learnt how to lie. The lies spread and spread. People started refusing to undo their lies. It became easier to kill a liar than to make them stop lying. People who didn't lie, became influenced by lies, and started lying themselves.

Because everyone was lying all the time, people started having to develop enough intelligence, to survive a society full of lies and liars. And develop enough intelligence so that they survive despite their own self-destructive behaviour.

So, because some guy ruined a project (perhaps building a dam to hold in water, or something that primitive people might need) with his lies... his project is doomed.

Imagine that there are 10 liars who each ruined their own project. But... one liar is clever enough, to find someone else, who is foolish enough to swallow some of the lies, but smart enough to know how to fix the project. The liar, who is now acting like the leader, takes all the credit for fixing the dam. Or perhaps he finds a way to be honest about the dam, but instead, lies about something else. So he switches his lies, because he is sadistic and doesn't want to stop lying entirely.

Well... now he is more likely to survive than the liars who just destroyed their own project. And so... modern society was born. People became smarter at lying, and getting away with it, passing on the destruction to other people in soceity, and onto nature.

And of course, people had to develop enough intelligence to survive lies, quite often just become better robots, because they still believe the lies, they just now have to survive with an added burden, meaning they need more intelligence to survive.

Until we reached this point in time, when there will soon be nothing left to destroy. All the lies will end up destroying themselves, the liars, the plants, the animals, and everyone else.

I guess... that history makes no sense, unless you study the history of lies. How most people lie, because most people are sadistic. How it's not the fault of a few powerful people, it's the fault of most people. How it's not self-interest that makes people lie, but SADISM. And how sadism is a BAD THING, and there is no excuse for it. Anyone who says sadism is OK or says it's a result of evolution, is also just
a liar.

Humans are both sadistic and self-interested. It's multi-dimensional. Like left and up. Going up doesn't stop you from going left.

Self-interest is the positive aspect of humans that makes them cooperate, invent, share, love, save.

Sadism is the negative aspect that makes us lie, refuse to hear the truth, destroy the environment, torture, steal, murder, fight wars, let innocent people die in front of you when you could easily save them, support evil leaders, etc.

Some people don't have sadism, they just have self-interest. Some people have self-interest and higher natures too, like true-care, or "natural-respect" (the opposite of sadism). Some people have self-interest and coldness. Or self-interest, true-care, and sadism (making them twisted).

But most humans are self-interested and sadistic. Even if it's only 1% sadism, it's still sadism.

But that doesn't mean life has to be that way. There must be other planets out there, where most people are just purely self-interested. And so almost all the negative events on Earth, don't happen there. It would seem like paradise, compared to Earth, and that's just people who are purely-self-interested.

There must be other planets out there, where people have self-interest, and true-care, and no sadism. That would be a far higher existance than even that lovely self-interested world that is already better than Earth.

The way I see it... is "souls" are categorised, and sorted according to their nature, and end up on the planet where most people are like them. Most of the time, anyhow. So you end up with planets of self-interested people, planets of self-interested and sadistic people (Earth), planets of people with self-interest and true-care (somekind kind of real paradise), etc, etc.

For what it's worth, most humans aren't that sadistic. Maybe only around 1-5% sadism

Follow-ons to that post led me to Of Psychopaths and Sycophants by Hari Heath which strongly resonates with me.

What use is this knowledge? I'm not sure yet.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Interesting Quote

Nassim Taleb:
I wake up every morning knowing that I don't understand what's going on.
Our understanding of the world has been proven to be extremely weak.

Monday, October 6, 2008

"We Are the One's We've Been Waiting For"

"We Are the One's We've Been Waiting For"
A Hopi Elder Speaks

"You have been telling the people that this is the Eleventh Hour. Now you must go back and tell the people that this is the Hour. And there are things to be considered . . .

Where are you living?
What are you doing?
What are your relationships?
Are you in right relation?
Where is your water?
Know your garden.
It is time to speak your Truth.
Create your community.
Be good to each other.
And do not look outside yourself for the leader."

Then he clasped his hands together, smiled, and said, "This could be a good time!"

"There is a river flowing now very fast. It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid. They will try to hold on to the shore. They will feel they are torn apart and will suffer greatly.

"Know the river has its destination. The elders say we must let go of the shore, push off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes open, and our heads above water. And I say, see who is in there with you and celebrate. At this time in history, we are to take nothing personally, Least of all ourselves. For the moment that we do, our spiritual growth and journey comes to a halt.

"The time for the lone wolf is over. Gather yourselves! Banish the word struggle from your attitude and your vocabulary. All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration.

"We are the ones we've been waiting for."

-- attributed to an unnamed Hopi elder

Hopi Nation
Oraibi, Arizona

Friday, September 26, 2008

Prometheus 6 still on a roll

Because as regards our civic religion, I am an atheist
There's a lot of erroneous information that is integral to American mythology, buried so deeply that extracting it will feel to a lot of folks like an appendectomy performed with a fork and butter knife. Fortunately for most of out pundits, most people are as unaware of the mythic nature of our civic religion as they are.

I'm actually working on a posting describing parts of the American Mythology. It's reassuring to have synchronicity with smart, aware people.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Gas shortage questions should've been asked years ago

Gas Shortage Takes A Toll On Drivers In The South
Money quote:
The right to the pursuit of happiness is an American birthright, but how can we pursue happiness without a full tank of gas? I need gas to drive to the movies, get away for the weekend, or patronize my favorite restaurant.

Without a full tank of gas I'm less of a man; I'm a prisoner restricted to amusements that are within walking distance.

It's unnerving to drive by gas stations with signs indicating that they are out of gas. I know that this is a temporary situation, but it's scary because I realize I may be getting a taste of the near future. If there's a gas shortage in some states because a few refineries shut down due to Hurricane Ike, what in God's name will happen if terrorists destroy the Saudi oil installations or if the Arab states stop selling us gas if Israel attacks Iran?

We're a bunch of naive, stupid gits easily distracted by our shiny TVs.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Need proof of the mugging?

Fury at $2.5bn bonus for Lehman's New York staff

Prometheus 6 "massive wealth transfer"

The follow up economics post
The best is the clear admission this is a preventative strike. That they are supporting companies that haven't failed yet. And they will not require salary adjustments for the executives that made the bad bets because we don't want to be punitive?

It looks to me like a final, massive wealth transfer under the assumption that it will take hella long to get back in power to dream up the next one.

Massive wealth transfer == take your money and put it in Their pockets

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Prometheus 6 on "The fundamental problem"

The fundamental problem:
Our corporate economy declares its goal to be infinite growth. The growth we seek is an increase in the number of transactions, not necessarily the creation of new wealth. We graze on those transactions, skimming a little off the top to divert to our personal wealth building (if we are smarter than I was...). And the venture WILL have unpaid debt to discharge at the end of its days. That's why cash flow is so important, more important than the actual outcome of the business venture itself.

It's rarely said this directly, but we not only want the corporate economy to grow every year, we want the rate at which it grows to increase every year. Everything that actually exhibits that pattern of behavior kills its host.
These Wonderful Captains of Industry and Capitalist Geniuses at Corporate HQ and Wall Street have created sophisticated engines whose sole purpose is to siphon off the value created by the resources they exploit. Those of us who actually create real value get stuck holding the crap that's left over.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Prometheus 6' quote on "Legal Persons"

The NY Times gets soooo close to the problem...:
We have not been the victim of unfettered capitalism. Capitalism in the USofA is fettered as hell, bent to benefit the collective entities known as legal persons. All of you are just fuel for the machine.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Republicans: The Party that Wrecked America

Eight years of Republican leadership has flushed us all down the economic toilet.

Friday, August 29, 2008

I'm a "do-er"

I would classify myself as a doer. I started life playing in the dirt and I love to touch everything! But being all touchy does not make me a doer. It does certainly set the stage though: actively interacting with the world around me to "feel" how it works. Although my chosen career is as a software programmer, it is the constant "touching, molding" of the code's behavior that so appeals to me. Still, I sit at my desk and long to put my hands in the dirt.

Update to my first rocket stove

Put a small charcoal grill on top, less the ash catcher. Et voila, an oven!

Don't put uncovered food directly over the vent or ash will stick to it.

In response to Dave Pollard's "How to find Community"

How to find Community inspired me to more clearly reveal my current actions and plans. In particular, Dave's comment, "...that I would not be prepared to spend a lot of money or invest a lot of sweat equity because I don't think life should be or needs to be that much work, or that expensive," needs to be addressed.

So Dave, you're right, sort-of. Unfortunately, there will always be an initial inertial cost to get things moving in the direction you want to move. After it's moving, if it takes much energy, then you know you're on the wrong path.

A permaculture forest garden, for instance, will need planning, soil prep, planting, and adjustment to learned lessons. Once you have it growing, it will only take small bursts of energy to manage successions. My own personal experience, which began this spring, has shown me that startup cost and effort are substantial. I've only achieved 1/10 of my goals -- just in soil prep! Yet, I can see the systems coming together. That 1/10th of soil that has been prepared only needs a few minutes a week to maintain now. The composting bins will soon start contributing organic matter which will displace the purchase of mulch, manure and top soil. The garden of annual vegetables is displacing some of my need to buy vegetables from half way across the world. The greenhouse (which has taken about a day to build so far and needs a couple more yet to finish) will allow me to grow food year-round and plants that can't survive harsh winters. I plan on putting a rocket stove mass heater in the greenhouse. Rocket stoves are very efficient, simple to make, and can burn carbon sources other than wood such as (dry) grass! Besides heating the greenhouse, the stove will serve three other purposes: creating biochar (Terra Preta de Indio), creating steam and creating ash. The char will further (significantly) increase organic matter and soil fertility while sequestering large amounts of carbon, and, some will cover and absorb nutrients from my future humanure toilet. The steam will efficiently create electricity and perform some of the hard work I don't want to. The small amounts of ash will be used to make soap, and possibly, biodiesel. Although I've only just started looking into it, the char generation also puts off wood gas which can be used as a gasoline replacement. Grey water collection and distribution systems will provide shower water and a buffer for the plants against short dry periods.

All of these complex plans serve the purpose of moving to closed, interconnected and redundant systems. In areas where humans live like this, we will be stewards living in harmony with earth/gaia rather than voracious, greedy, wasteful, destructive consumers.

The only thing missing from my plans? Community. Frankly, I think it will come. Very few people are at a point where they will accept the challenges facing us. If I can provide a real, successful example, others will come, where they, too, will overcome inertia to steward their small part of gaia. We will create an oasis of smart, balanced, natural living as civilization winds down.

Will this create a trackback?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Made my first Rocket Stove!

Used 3" ducting for a 2' flue and a 30 qt aluminum outdoor turkey deep fat fryer with stand as the body. Used sand as the filler/insulator.

First impressions:
- Simple to make!
- Considerably less smoke than from a wood stove, but more than I expected/hoped
- Burns wood fast and needs constant attention
- Soot formed on the flue
- Hot sparks shoot out when adjusting the wood
- Sometimes adjusting the wood caused flame to shoot out at least 2 feet -- that's four feet of flame including the flue!
- No hot spots on the aluminum container
- Two hours after the fire went out, the sand and pot were nice and warm

- When the flame shot out, there was nearly no smoke
- Need to figure out a configuration that allows it to burn hot more consistently
- Could easily add an "oven"
- Wondering how I can modify it for storing more heat since most of the heat escapes out the flue
- Wondering how I can add a kiln chamber for making char (terra preta de indio).

Update on bike commute

I finally got the rear rack put on my bike with the help of the staff of Summit City Bikes. The connectors that came with the rack were too short to connect to the frame so they hooked me up with some that fit. The also did some quick adjustments and I was back on the road in a jiffy. Although my bike is charcoal gray, here's what a similar model looks like: Specialized Expedition Sport.

The route is getting a bit repetitious but not yet tiresome. Would like an alternate, but there are so many busy roads in the area that are not safe for cyclists.

I've not had any issues with wrist soreness like I do with normal ten speeds or mountain bikes so the commute's been easy on me (except my knees :-)

Update on potted stevia

The main stem had a weak area and it bent and grew over the side. The plant's fine, just a little odd looking.

What's most exciting, is that a shoot has come out at the base of the existing stem and is also growing vigorously!

Lastly, it seems that the older the leaves, the more bitter the aftertaste. The youngest leaves have almost no aftertaste. Mmmm!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Second day bike commute

Slow, sore, tired.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Potted Stevia rebaudiana

Started about a dozen from seed, two germinated, and one made it. Put it in a pot on my patio about a week ago and it's starting to really grow.

I pulled off one of the leaves to taste... has a sweet, delicate flavor that is much less bitter than the Stevia in packets. I think they will taste great steeped in tea!

First day bike commute

Ride was great, residential neighborhoods were quiet and slow. One road with trucks and everyone drove respectfully around me. Only took 10 minutes longer than commute by car (25% longer). After I get in better shape, should be able to ride about twice as fast in areas I don't need to stop. I'm betting I'll get it to the amount of time it takes to drive!

Forgot: bike lock, belt for pants and deodorant.

Lower back is a little tender, but I figure it'll also improve as I get in shape.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Commute by bike

Starting tomorrow - really looking forward to it too!

Sunday, April 6, 2008


Jefferson County, Alabama narrowly avoids bond default

The banks, short on money as pretend money disappears, and the civilian governments, short on money as tax money (jobs and property value) disappears, are coming to a "holy shit" kind of moment. Unbelievable amounts of money is at stake. It's all very smiles and handshakes at the moment but my question is, who has the bigger guns? Will the banks bring in hired thugs, or, do they own the federal political machine (and hence, US troops)? Will state and local governments raise militias to fight off the bank mafioso?

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

How our food is critically dependent on fossil fuel

The article Why Our Food is So Dependent on Oil, written in 2005, is a very thorough summary of my own ideas about how the American food supply is critically dependent on the cheap, uninterrupted flow of fossil fuels into this country.

Cut fossil fuel supplies and watch spot food shortages occur. Keep supplies up while prices go up and watch food prices increase beyond the reach of the poor. Do both? The system will seize and lots of people will starve.

I believe that renewable fuel sources like ethanol and biodiesel are important alternatives that can potentially provide additional resilience for our food supply. Unfortunately, significant acreage of arable land is being diverted to produce these biofuels. Since these biofuels, and especially ethanol from corn, provide only small energy gains while eliminating land used for food, our food supply is now even more vulnerable to disruption.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Thoughts regarding Effortlessly and Unintentionally Causing Pain to Others

Dave Pollard's Effortlessly and Unintentionally Causing Pain to Others really hits home on some of my own life lessons.

To begin with,I am not responsible for how others feel. This principle is about setting good ego boundaries -- it is not about being callous towards how they feel. It stems from the principle that "others are not responsible for how I feel" being carried to it's logical conclusion. Not having others responsible for how I feel is surprisingly very empowering. It gives me the freedom to stop and recognize my feelings, to choose how I want to feel and to react appropriately for the situation. This then leads to better recognition when others are attempting to manipulate my emotional state, and, when I'm unintentionally trying to manipulate their's. This principle means that I am no longer being swept along by external forces, but by my own guiding light. My responsibility is in being aware of, but not responsible for, how others feel.

Although this has been a long-guiding principle, it was particularly important when interacting with one person in my life. This person had such a distorted frame of reference that I could never foresee and avoid hurting them. Neither one of us was "wrong", but the hurt couldn't be avoided because the triggers didn't make sense from my frame of reference. This "not making sense" leads to the next principle.

Next, I should strive to deliberately not hurt someone. It might be a situation outside of my experiences. Being deliberate means that it is my responsibility to learn why and how it hurt the other person so that I can foresee and change my future behavior. Unfortunately, if the injured person doesn't communicate immediately (to correlate facial expressions and subtle verbal remarks) how the incident made them feel, then the learning process will never complete.

Finally, contributing factors also play a part in increasing the potential for and the severity of the pain others experience. These factors are indirectly caused by the structure and mobility of modern civilization. Namely, hierarchical structures and easily changed peer groups are systemically different from how humans evolved: respect-based meritocracy and small family groups.

Hierarchical power structures: boss-employee, teacher-student, parent-child, will often have "interaction decisions" (decisions that should be resolved by consensus) made unilaterally by the person higher in the hierarchy. The person lower in the hierarchy is walked all over, even if the resulting hurt was unintentional.

Mobile peer groups also add a subtle difficulty to human relationships: the loss of shared experiences. Situations that would normally be known to avoid, maybe talking about a loved one that has died - but not known, cannot be avoided without additional communication which most people are quite poor at engaging in, too.

In conclusion, I agree with Dave that our experiences with other people often have one or another person unintentionally getting hurt. I would add that by being aware of the systemic problems of hierarchy and mobility, and, living our lives with good ego boundaries and awareness of other's feelings, most potentially hurtful situations can be avoided and worked through.