Monthly Archives: June 2017

ET is an asshole

If intelligent extra terrestrial beings exist, and they have access to Earth, then they’re assholes. Hear me out…

If IETs (intelligent extra terrestrials) exist then they have the where-with-all to:
first) get here — across light years of space,
second) understand that we too are an intelligent race, and
third) intervene if they so choose, given their vast advances in technology.

  • Let’s assume they exist.
  • Let’s assume they know about us.
  • Let’s assume they have visited us (and are currently visiting us).
  • And let’s assume they’re not refugees, or small bands of wanderers, or scout/archeologists.

That is, they are a presence in the galaxy (or universe). They’re a real space faring race with the power and technology to affect their world — and ours. They’ve got it goin’ on.

If the IETs are aggressors, or bandits, or  conquers or bad dudes — then of course they’re assholes. So we can exclude those automatically.

But, if they’re not, if they’re peaceful, and inquisitive explorers (like I would expect Earthlings to be were we to someday explore the galaxy) then why the hell haven’t they come down and helped us? They must see us struggling down here; at each other’s throats; destroying our own world; over-populating it, polluting it, eating it up, killing off untold species. Yet they sit up there and WATCH?

“Oh, the Prime Directive says hands off.” What bullshit! What kind of race watches another race kill themselves when they could intervene and ameliorate the situation? Oh yeah — assholes.

Even if they don’t have the full capacity to help everyone, they must know that humanity is fraught with racial, gender and economic stresses that are tearing at the very fiber of our civilization; and that simply “knowing” they (IETs) exist would unite humanity under the umbrella of Homo Sapien Sapiens. Yet they do nothing? Why? Oh yeah – because they’re assholes.

And if they really don’t want to publicly denounce their Prime Directive, they could very easily “influence” a few engineers here and there to guide them on how to produce fusion, or anti-gravity, or some other advanced energy generation technology. Sneak down and whisper in their ears… Hell, whisper in Elon Musk’s ear. But have they? Will they? No they haven’t and won’t. Why? Because they’re assholes.

So, either intelligent extra terrestrial species don’t exist — or they’re all assholes.

 

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Media content tags

Rather than brand media (film, television, novels, art) with assumed age guestimations

G, PG, PG-13, PG-17, R, X, Adult, Young Adult, Middlegrade, Childrens, Mature Audience, General Audience, and so-on-and-so-forth, we should simply state what is contained within the media and then mark the following checkboxes (or initialisms) on the labels.

  • XSX: explicit sexual situations
  • ISX: implied sexual situations
  • XNU: explicit nudity
  • BNU: brief nudity
  • XDU: explicit drug and/or alcohol use
  • IDU: implied drug and/or alcohol use
  • XLA: profane language
  • SLA: strong language
  • XVI: explicit violence
  • SVI: strong violence
  • MVI: violence against minors
  • XMO: explicit mortality
  • IMO: implied mortality
  • XCB: explicit criminal behavior
  • ICB: implied criminal behavior

Using such a list would standardize all media regardless of form. Then, rather than have media judged by some arbitrary age restriction (what IS a young adult novel anyway?) the consumer could know the content parameters (or metadata) and choose for themselves (or their children).

Want to watch the movie Fury? Well, Fury would be: ISX, XLA, XVI, MVI, XMO
Harry Potter novels? IDU, SVI, IMO (some are XMO)
Bambi? IMO
Raiders of the Lost Ark? XDU, SLA, XVI, XMO

Are there a few other tags we should include? XAX – extreme anxiety inducing perhaps?
Want to tag a few more media items?
Your thoughts?

 


We’ve seen it all

Through narrative, lead us with nuance and innuendo for we can already see the land, the room, the crowds, the forest. We are programmed to visualize stories. We’ve all seen so many movies and shows that every possible setting you, as an author, could imagine has already been witnessed. So nudge us with your words — we’ll fill in the rest.

~~~

She’s tall. He’s not. She can fight. He can run. She’s stubborn, fierce, dark-skinned and gorgeous. He’s none of these. He possesses skills and patience. The child standing between them, peering down into the valley and its smoking fields and piles of debris, holds onto their hands. Their journey, directed by the child, has brought them to this edge, this next decision.

“Will we find it here?” the man asks, gesturing at the destruction below, his right hand wrapped in protective tape.

“No,” the girl replies. Her tire-tread sandals flap loudly when she walks, and the rags she wears smell of stale urine. She seeks and identifies the pool and its attached mound of rocks, both features large enough to be seen from their vantage point.

“Then why risk poking through the trash and the bodies of missock, and infected krek?” The woman’s irritability could be excused; last night’s disturbance allowed her little sleep.

“Tana, Vink, come.” The girl tugs their hands and walks down the broken roadway, her slapping steps muffled by the tangled jungle to either side. “We must help. I must help.”

~~~

Can you see it? Have you visualized the woman, the man, the child? The village below? the child’s garb, the man’s bandaged hand? The pool and destroyed whatever near it? The broken road and the jungle?

In less than 200 words we’ve been thrust into a story with hardly any description. Yet we can see it, feel it, smell it almost.

Perhaps prior to the last few generations, prior to 1960 let’s say, stories needed much more evocative description. We needed to be told what this scene looked like — in detail. Readers had never seen a tall Amazonian huntress, or a burning jungle village, or a child in sandals and rags, or even a man’s hand  wrapped in bandage (tape?). Of course some had. And no doubt many could have read the above and deduced much.

But today? Every reader will have visually experienced all of the above through movie and television. This is a given. So I say, let’s use this common awareness and prior visualization to our benefit. Let’s leverage, in our narrative, the fact that everyone who might read our stories has already seen a craggy mountain, a rushing muddy river, a barren desert, a darkened bat filled cave, a closet full of toys, a thundercloud, an exploding starship. Sure some of these things will have special attributes, and those should not be assumed to exist, must be told and described. But in general I think we can skip much of what used to be required to tell a story and jump straight into the conflict, the intrigue and mystery.

 

 

 


How smart are we?

 

Go lookup any standard distribution chart of IQ for the country (or the world in general). You’ll find the following obvious but alarming results. One half of the human population has an IQ of less than 100.

Just let that sink in.

Additionally, approximately 20% has an IQ of less than 90. In the U.S. (320M) that would mean 1/5 of people, ~64million people have an IQ less than 90. For the world? 1/5 of 7.4B = 1.48B.

WorldIQ

One and a half billion people have an IQ of 90 or less. These aren’t magic numbers or fake numbers. These are approximate facts.

I’m not trying to stigmatize anyone here. In fact, intelligence, in my book, doesn’t mean squat. I would posit that there are more happy people at the lower end of the IQ scale than at the upper; ignorance is bliss and with power (intelligence) comes responsibility (and the associated problems). And, to me, happiness is the real gauge of a successful life.

That said, how many people do you know with an IQ less than 90? Yet they exist and can vote and have opinions (although, with a stereotypical bias those opinions might be mal- or un-informed.)

I don’t point this out because I’m an intellectual snob (far from it if you knew my history), only that I would offer that one might use such open and obvious information as the basis for understanding the country’s and the world’s opinions and predispositions.

I know this feels a tad distasteful. As if by discussing this we’re betraying a huge portion of humanity. However I want to continue to stress that this is a reality. It’s not a politifact or fake-news.

The other side of this coin is that just because one possesses a supposedly high IQ does not make one automatically superior in thought or opinion. Bigotry, misogyny, racism live quite well in many of the world’s smart people. Sure a greater intelligence may predispose you to a more open mind — but it does not guarantee it.

When I read or watch the news and see statistics and counts of people doing this or that I’ve tended to think that most people are like me: average intelligence, average beliefs, average faults and ideals. What a chart like this shows, what the knowledge of this disparity of intelligence should tell me, tell us, is that this is not the case. That “average” may actually have little bearing on what truly exists in the world regarding intellectual capability.

What do you think of this distribution of IQ? Does it challenge your assumptions about people?

 

 

REF:
http://paulcooijmans.com/intelligence/iq_ranges.html
https://www.quora.com/Has-anyone-described-a-simple-IQ-capability-table

[Pretty much <90 we’re dealing with people who, in general would have a hard time graduating high school, writing an essay, read and follow instructions for building a model toy, memorize 10 phone numbers. (my interpretation)]


Passive state, active action

In a prior article we examined passive versus active writing with regards to things vs actions or events.

https://anonymole.wordpress.com/2017/05/28/on-passive-vs-active/

Now I’d like to consider another nuance with regards to passive vs active voice: That of the state of being.

Everything has state. And it is with the irregular verb “to be” that we most often establish state.

  • The sky is grey.
  • The monkey was screaming.
  • The girls were dancing.
  • The bridge was swaying.

To Be has a veritable plethora of variations of past, present, and future tense, and singular and plural and just a whole pile of combinations of those. But regardless of usage or variation, every instance of the verb To Be is used to establish state.

And that’s OK for things that have certain characteristics of being. Sometimes it’s acceptable to use “is” or “was” or “were” or the other variations of To Be when you have to get people, stuff or surroundings into a scene, into a scene and described.

  • “The cliffs were higher than any he’d scaled before.” Here we’re simply trying to establish the state of these geological features of the scene. The cliffs aren’t doing anything aside from just being.
  • “His hands and face were charcoal black from digging through the burned out husk of the cabin.” Again, his hands and face have state — the state of color — and we just want to get that known to the reader.
  • “The car was destroyed. No amount of repair could return it to working order.” The car has an operational state here and it’s not good. It’s bad, destroyed in fact. We just need to let the world know this.

Sure there might be ways to write these descriptive sentences in the active voice, but I’ll say that some usage of passive voice can be allowed when, again, we’re just trying to establish state.

So in addition to the rule previously mentioned: “when we think of people or things in a story don’t think only of their state — think of what they will do, how they will act.” We have another heuristic: “When describing state, it’s okay to use small doses of passive voice to set the stage, primarily with settings or things that normally do not act or have behavior.”

  • The cliffs were higher than any he’d scaled before. The climb to the top left him terrorized, his heart thumping in his chest, his wrists and knees trembling.
  • His hands and face were charcoal black from digging through the burned out husk of the cabin. He’d tried to save it. Pail after pail he swept from the creek and tossed into the blaze. But the rotten roof and worm drilled timbers fed the fire that consumed the cabin.
  • The car was destroyed. No amount of repair could return it to working order. She stared mesmerized as the great claw of the wrecking crane slammed down through the windows squeezing the top in its talon grasp. Up it lifted the car, the first car she’d ever owned. It swung the car over to the clapper where the crane released it in a spasm of mechanical glee. Down it slammed into the pit which then began to methodically crush her orange Ford Pinto into a yard square, iron trinket for the foundry.

Set the stage with state using “is”, “was” and “were”, and then follow it up with action.

 

 


Courtesy Space

I LOVE driving in traffic! No really, I do. And here’s why: I leave Courtesy Space in front of me when I’m driving in traffic. What is Courtesy Space? I’m sure you can guess, but formally what this EXTRA gap between my car and the car in front of me is is an area the assholes impatient of the world feel compelled to commandeer. This space is a gap where folks can merge into when we have to zipper (on-ramp merge). And this space is a cushion which I allow to be squeezed as those in front of me come to a halt while I gradually slow down, keeping those behind me moving, until — quite often — the car before me starts moving again and NEITHER I nor ANYONE BEHIND ME had to STOP!

I call this Courtesy Space. Now, don’t get me wrong; without traffic I’ll gladly drive speed limit + 5mph (on average and on the highways, speed limit or lower on side streets). But in traffic, this is how I drive.

If we all gave each other Courtesy Space THERE WOULD BE NO TRAFFIC PROBLEM. Really.

Here’s the evidence:

MileHourVehicles

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/12wHZCrd8AqG0Ob9mjbWenNGpfHUe4ruGYVeUcePHXP8/edit?usp=sharing

Now, this is going to hurt a little bit, but I promise, it’ll feel better when I’m done…

  • Let’s take a 1 mile stretch of highway.
  • On that single lane highway we’ll line cars up, end to end.
  • If we estimate a car is 20 feet long (on average: motorcycles, trucks, SUVs,  delivery, etc.) then we can fit 264 vehicles on that 1 mile stretch.
  • Now, let’s pretend this is a traffic situation and we will slowly roll these 264 cars along at 1 mile per hour (We’ve all been there right?)
  • Then, in 1 hour, we will have moved 264 cars 1 mile,
    or: 264 MHVs – Mile Hour Vehicles. (The left most green square above.)
  • This becomes our baseline for comparison.

With me so far? You’re going to feel a slight pinch in this next part.

  • At 1 mph, let’s say this travel mode is “safe” — having a Caution Factor of 1.
  • Caution Factor is simply a multiple of average car length, (in this case 20) minus one car length, that is:
    • CF-1=0 feet
    • CF-2=20 feet
    • CF-3=40 feet
    • CF-10=180 feet, or 9×20.
  • Caution factor can be thought of as Courtesy Space.
  • Now let’s take those same 264 vehicles on our 1 mile stretch and get them moving at 5 mph. Remember — this is traffic and we have drivers driving these cars.
  • At 5mph we *could* get 1320 MHVs, but we can’t possibly allow cars to travel bumper to bumper without problems so the Caution Factor of 1 is red — no good. And, I’m going to figure that even if we increase the factor to 2 (we’ll leave a whole car length in between each car) that is STILL not safe. So 2 Caution Factor is red also — no good.
  • But at a Caution Factor of 3, that is, 3 times the vehicle length (40 feet in front of each car (20 feet for the car remember)) well, THAT is safe. And that’s our second green field with 440 MHVs.
  • We got 440 vehicles to go 1 mile in 1 hour with this configuration (5 mph and 40 feet of Courtesy Space.)
  • That’s a lot more cars and no accidents or road rage.

But we can do better… Let’s skip to the far right.

  • Let’s boost the speed to 60 miles per hour!
  • BUT, let’s boost the Courtesy Space by a factor of 9 (a total Courtesy Space of 160 feet between each car.)
  • 160 feet — that’s TWO TENNIS courts end to end. That’s so much space you could put 8 other cars in there.
  • BUT DON’T! That’s our Courtesy Space — we NEED that space for our buffer zone. So, how many cars can we get to travel 1 mile in 1 hour with this configuration?
  • 1760! That’s more than SIX times as many cars as the 1 mile an hour crawl.
  • BUT, BUT look at all that empty space between cars. LEAVE IT!
  • This is the point. By increasing the space between cars * AT SPEED * we can increase the carrying capacity, the Mile-Hour-Vehicles that a road can carry.

(A minor point: Look at that number right next to that 1760: “29” cars per minute. Think about that: car #1 goes by, one-mississippi two-mississippi, car #2… That’s one car every two seconds. Hmm, could that be the two second driving space rule we heard about way back when we were being taught to drive?)

We don’t need more highways? We don’t need road-rage management. What we need is to realize that highways are not parking lots — we don’t add capacity for standing cars. We need to measure traffic by the metric Mile-Hour-Vehicles, that is, how many cars can we get moving as quickly and as safely as possible. Using this measurement we can see that the best way to cure our traffic ills is through Courtesy Space.

Thanks for your time. Here’s a band-aid and a lollipop.

 

 


Secure Society Tax

The wealthy are different

The rich don’t earn their income through work. They don’t get “paid”. Therefore they pay no payroll tax. And that’s what the Social Security tax is. Instead the wealthy earn their wealth through:

  • Dividend income
  • Bond income
  • Rental income
  • Venture debt income
  • Private equity income
  • Real estate income
  • P2P (peer to peer) income
  • CD interest income
  • Capital gains

All of which are taxed differently (or not taxed at all if you can finagle it.)

So, altering the Social Security taxation model is going to miss one HELLUVA LOT OF WEALTH. It would still work, to some degree. And the corporate inequality tax would contribute substantially. But probably not enough. How do we squeeze these filthy rich people of the funds that they’ve earned as capitalists climbing their wealth ladder made from the backs and bodies of us the worker?

Consumption tax? Not nearly enough. The rich don’t wear more sox, eat more food, drink more beer. And the expensive consuming they do do, maybe 2x to 10x of what the average cost to you and I would be, would contribute practically nothing in tax revenue for our SSI. Expensive cars, boats, homes, condos, planes? Eh, a drop in the bucket compared to what we need.

(We need to raise, oh let’s say $500billion per year to fund SSI. But that’s just a ass-pulled number. I’ll sit down here soon and determine just what we would need to fund this program.)

Still the problem exists — the rich don’t pay their share of their wealth — wealth built from the hard work of EVERY AMERICAN throughout the decades.

As funding sources for SSI here’s what we have:

  • Payroll taxes (SS and Medicare tax)
  • Corporate inequality tax
  • Paltry wealth-income taxes

What else could we tap?

  • Stock Market trading transaction tax?
  • Luxury consumption tax?
  • Luxury property tax?
  • Luxury travel tax?
  • ???

Our security has value

For the most part, in the United States, we live in security. We are secure from invasion. Secure from civil unrest. Secure from property seizure. We have systems in place to assist us in times of natural disaster and financial disaster. Fiduciary, physical and civil insurance infrastructures help protect our investments, our savings, our towns and cities. We have federal, state and local systems to protect us against fire and attack. We have transportation systems secured for safe travel and commerce.

Bottom line: we live in a pretty secure system, for which we all are grateful. If you own a car, rent a home, have a job and a kid or two — you should be thankful. And I bet you are.

But what if you own a building or ten of them? A couple of mansions, a yacht, a jet, a fleet of private vehicles. What if you have millions of dollars of investment in industry, technology, the trading markets? Are these not also protected by the country’s vast and comprehensive security system?

What if you are worth $500 million dollars. How much of that “worth” is actually tied up in the country’s protective infrastructure?

  • Need consistent and uninterrupted electricity?
  • Need pure water and a sewage system?
  • Need roads, bridges, traffic signals, emergency services?
  • Need airports, shipping ports?
  • Need a continuously operating communication system?
  • Need a fast and responsive medical system?
  • Need an education system for yourself, your kids and your employees?
  • Need a full featured legal system?

What if your entire wealth basis depended on every one of these (which it no doubt does)? How much would you have to pay to build all of this yourself in order to be worth that $500M?

As the country’s workers, we pay income tax. We pay sales and property tax. And we ARE the protection system. We ARE the cops, the firemen, the insurance adjusters, the nurses and doctors, the teachers, the soldiers. We ARE the country’s security network. And because we ARE this system — you, the wealthy of the nation, of the world, you need to pay up!

What we need is a Secure Society Tax. You like living in a secure society? Well, that security comes at a cost. The more you own, the more you have, the more you gather — ALL OF THAT NEEDS PROTECTION!

You can’t just live here and benefit from all of this amazing security systems that are the United States of America without coming to the realization that if it were NOT for US, the We the People, you would NOT be wealthy. So, pay up!

Secure Society Tax: 1% of net worth paid per year.

You don’t like paying for the great service and security you receive in the United States? Well then — move.