March 11th, 2004

Tom Baker

Another Random Assemblage...

Hey, remember that birthday thing? How's this for a cool toy. Magnetic silly putty. Hells yeah.

Johnny Depp is asked what he thought of the pr0n parody of him, Edward Penishands- his answer: Hilarious.

Speaking of "parody" and "hilarious", Steve Martin makes some reccomendations that could improve the The Passion. He's definitely onto something.

Okay, wait, we're on the religious topic, so let's take a moment to prepare for passover with Plushie versions of the 10 plagues that Moses called down on Egypt.

Wait... I know what I really want for my birthday! Kerry should ask John McCain to be his VP! Holee shit, it makes me cream my pants in a very political, non-sexual way when I think about it. Mind you, I'd rather see Kerry as McCain's VP, but you'll take what you can get. Maybe McCain could pull a Gore and not fuck up the election so badly.

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On Anarchy (no, not continuing my story)

There's a common idea that an anarchist "system" would end up being a world without currency. I'm not completely why this thought is so common, though I have some guesses.

Most of us who profess anarchy are unlikely to have a clear memory of a time when currency was still "backed"- on a standard. When currency had a value other than what someone tells us it has. And even those of us that might remember the gold-standard (I'm not one of them), are unlikely to have ever converted our currency to gold or silver. Though I do have a gold reserve note someplace. Moreover, not one of us has lived in a world where currency was not monopolized by a government.

In an anarchy, there would be no government minting currency, however, this does not prohibit people from minting their own currency. It does prohibit a floating currency though- because two things give currency value: material backing, or faith in its producer. Since "faith in the producer" is roughly equivalent to accepting IOUs, we can assume that faith-based currency will never take hold, unless there's a powerful institution to enforce it.

So we need to look at backed currencies. When backing a currency, there are a few things you need to consider. First, the backing item must be something for which there is high demand and low supply- it must have value. Secondly, it must be something that is useless. Gold used to be a great standard- until we discovered millions of industrial uses for it. At this point, I'm not sure that there's any rare item, in demand, that doesn't have an industrial purpose. Some search my be required to find one.

It must be purposeless. I at one point was espousing "wheat-bucks" and "flax-script", etc. but manycolored pointed something out- what if someone wants to affect the value of the currency? They just have to destroy the backing material. Imagine if someone wanted to increase the value of their wheat-bucks, and razed thousands of acres of farm to the ground. That's very undergood.

Currency is important, even in an anarchy, and even in a communo-anarchy. Face it, in a communo-anarchy, no one is going to be able to force you to share, except social pressure. But you can't count on that, so you need some method of ensuring that someone will be willing to surrender item a, in order to gain item b. Someone won't give up their wheat until they know that they can get that extra lot of field space to produce more. You can use barter, but that breaks down when the producer wants item b, but the consumer only has item c. Currency is an abstraction.

We agree, as a group, to take these slips of paper, and say that this slip represents x amount of some good. That good is something everyone wants, if only because it is able to purchase other goods. This ensures that the consumer always has something that the producer wants.

In toying around with currency ideas, I hit upon one that I think is interesting. Man-hours. It's a fairly elegant system- we determine a "base unit of work", something that takes an hour to do, but requires no real skill or training. Then, for people to accrue currency, they must invest their own man-hours into labor. For doctors, they must have a high degree of training, skill, committment, etc. so we could say that a doctor earns 4*BUW(base unit of work) man-hours per hour. A burger flipper probably is earning 1.3BUW/hour. And so on.

This is a currency unit that can work in an anarchy, and accurately represents the production of goods. This widget required ten-man-hours to get from the factory floor to the consumer.

Just some ramblings anyway...
Tom Baker

I wunt to coleege

So, Christopher emailed me, I'm locked in for the two four day classes.

Christopher also demonstrated his godlikeness. I requested $1800 for cobol and $1400 for Red Hat, trying to be really nice, cut them a deal, and increase my chances of landing the contract.

So I get an email back, and I skim through, and see that I'm locked in for $2400, so decent chunk less than I requested, but hey, it's money, right?

Then I reread it- I'm locked in for $2400 per class- not for both. $600 dollars a day. In four days, I'll be making more than I made in a month.

Holee shit! ::happyhappyjoydance::

It's official...

There are no TTS engines for Java that are:
a) Free
b) Lightweight to run as an applet
c) Cross-platfom
d) Don't suck.

Figures. I could make a nice solution that avoids that shit, and set up a server side XML-RPC server that returns a WAV file or something, but that's a pain in my ass, and not really that nice an idea anyway. _And_ the only reason I care is because there was a contract on Rentacoder for it- but it's a $25 gig. Totally not worth the trouble.

So, using Java, it is not practical to make a speaking web page. Just so's y'all know.
run the fuck away

Should kids vote?

In Cali, some people are proposing extending fractional votes to minors.

Amazingly, as a minor myself, I had a very similar idea. Mine had better symmetry, this one would be easier to implement.

This idea, is simple- 14 & 15 year olds get 1/4 of a vote, and 16 & 17 year olds get 1/2. This way, the kiddos get a chance to learn the ropes without fucking things up too badly, or skewing the vote.

My version of a similar idea was targetted for the federal level. You treat the total population of minors, divided by 3.5 in the US as a single state (voting minors mind you). Give them electoral votes, representatives, and two Senators.

I had a ten page plan written out on it, and being in fifth grade, I think that shows an interesting amount of consideration.
Tom Baker


Ten things my Ten Year Old Self Would Say to Me Now
- Ew, alcahol?
- Ew, cigarrettes?
- Programming? What happened to physics?
- Better than the PS/1? How _much_ better?
- You mean you don't use BASIC any more?
- Eagle scout, huh? When you were like... fourteen right? Oh, seventeen. But that's when _most_ people get it!
- How was college? You went to MIT, right? Oh... guess not.
- Internet? What's that? Kinda like Prodigy?
- Really, e-mails don't cost extra anymore?
- How many times have you been in space? When are you moving to Mars?