Posted by: Snake Oil Baron | August 16, 2016

Trump: The Plan B candidate.

Trump scenario 1: Opponents say you’re racist against Hispanics.

Plan A: Put a campaign ad on with a legally immigrated Hispanic woman saying that illegal immigration is a crime not a race–not her race.

Plan B: Have someone record you eating a taco salad on Cinco De Mayo. Also lie about where it came from just for chuckles.

Trump scenario 2: Opponents put up a Muslim Gold Star family to call you anti-Muslim.

Plan A: Respectively disagree then ignore the family while taking out an ad noting that opponents are staging this to distract from very serious scandals. Focus on those scandals.

Plan B: Spend time squabbling with the family and mocking the mother for not saying anything like a some typical Muslim woman. Also squabble with conservatives and centralists. Complain about the media

Trump scenario 3: You’re tanking in the polls but you can attract large crowds of committed supporters.

Plan A: Spend all your time campaigning in swing states with lots of electoral college votes.

Plan B: Have a fun rally in a state you can’t hope to win and which wouldn’t help if you did win it. Tell everyone that the polls don’t matter because they are rigged and prepare for losing by claiming the elections are rigged. Also blame your impending defeat on the stupid people who won’t vote for you.

Posted by: Snake Oil Baron | August 25, 2014

Opioids from Yeast. (Could Cocaine from a Vat be Possible Also?)

Could the Taliban and FARC end up having a major source of revenue cut off? Drug traffickers need to take some big risks getting heroin from the Taliban past law enforcement in nations like Iran. They also lose a good chunk of profit to these religious (or in the case of FARC and the cocaine market–Marxist) psychopaths. Even the down-stream drug dealer may resent losing so much of his revenue to the biker gangs and kiddie-porn-selling organized crime when the possibility exists to brew up the product close to the market. To be able to just make the product without losses to global prohibitionists at the borders and ports… it wouldn’t be easy to pioneer such operations but the incentive for success would be huge.

Bioengineers close to brewing opioid painkillers without using opium from poppies

The article describes research towards pharmaceuticals being made in industrial scale but the basics goal is to use engineered yeast to make opioid-based drugs. They aren’t at the point of cutting off the need for the opium plant yet but that is what would make for a significant change in the way illegal drugs are made and who profits from them.

If the price and availability of drugs, rather than people’s life choices and genetic susceptibility to addiction is the MAIN factor which governs the amount of harm drugs do to society then it’s bad news (eventually). If life choices and genes are a more important factor then keeping drug revenue in the community and spending less on global prohibition law enforcement efforts while putting more research into promising medical research into treatment for addiction would be a great benefit.

Either way, the market could be in for some drastic changes.


Edited to add: Even though I am pretty sure veterans can take care of themselves, we will still be locking the place down with security.  Our veterans have already given enough and we will not allow any harm to come to them or the hall. 

AVFM International Conference on Men’s Issues Changing Venue

The disingenuous and quite insane backlash against the International Conference on Men’s Issues has produced some interesting results. First, the onslaught of yellow journalism from places like Daily Kos and the Huffington Post has been unprecedented, even for those two myth-factories.

The other thing it has produced is a hell of a lot more interest in the conference, and more ticket sales. So much so, as a matter of fact, that we have opted to move to a venue that will seat more people and provide more security than…

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Posted by: Snake Oil Baron | January 16, 2013

Iraq’s New Parliament to Grace Lake of Fire.

Iraq’s New Parliament to Grace Lake of Fire.

How will it float on all the magma? The media are insistent that America bombed Saddam’s near paradise into a puddle of liquid rock where only militant war orphans eke out a bare existence around the edges while plotting revenge. I know Obama works miracles but the media would have told us if the situation in Iraq had improved so greatly under His Grace. So how will it float on the magma without burning?

Posted by: Snake Oil Baron | November 19, 2012

Who’re They Calling Us Getting More Stupider? Hun?

This is a slightly edited, slightly longer version of an unfortunately long comment I posted on an article from the Ace of Spades HQ website, regarding the recent “#humanity is getting stupider” meme. I thought I would give it it’s own post here just for kicks.

I have seen this reported on quite widely and like all conclusions drawn from evolutionary theory, I am very skeptical about this but I can see why it would appeal to many of a pessimistic nature. While I have as negative a perception of human beings as almost anyone, the argument that they are getting worse has not yet persuaded me.

Starting with the idea of humans having been such geniuses in the past because of the needs of hunter gatherer life: dogs, apes, monkeys and raccoons, even birds can demonstrate some pretty amazing problem solving skills. Anyone possessing survival skills will know that knowledge and mental skills are vital to survival but it doesn’t necessarily require Einsteinian level cognition or photographic memory, especially when you have the ability to learn from parents or others in the group. I think the proponent of the idea overestimates the chances of death in a hunter-gatherer life style from mistakes. Simply mixing caution with curiosity can protect from many instances of ignorance of potential risks.

I also think there is an underestimation of the evolutionary pressure left on humans who are stupid. The example of a Wall Street banker (for some reason) is used by those proposing that humans are getting stupider, to show that major mistakes can be made now without fatal consequences but all human culture can be said to do that to some degree, even that which less advanced human ancestors used. That didn’t stop further advancement. Other mistakes, like feuding with violent neighbours or failing to heed warning alarms are still likely to preferentially kill off people with poor social or cognitive skills and it doesn’t take a huge death rate to maintain or spread a trait in a population or to slowly eradicate it.

The strongest part of the stupid human proposal is that stupid people are more likely to become or stay poor (not saying poor people are more stupid individually). The poor have more offspring (at least in rural agricultural cultures) so poor people have a selective advantage and rich people have a disadvantage. This has not historically been the case if you look at all the successful rulers who have translated the power and wealth they accumulated into many wives and many children, some of which are married off to the elite in far off lands. But even if it were a universal principal, the slow breeding elite are not cut off from spreading their genes to the poor classes IYKWIMAITYD.

Poor people have more kids but they also have more selective pressures due to high death rates. Many of these deaths are more likely to strike people who have poor social and cognitive skills. Any social mobility will, over time periods too long to easily notice, allow movement of smarter people up the social hierarchy where death is less omnipresent and so survival of prodigies is more likely.

In fact, the interaction between birth and death rate on one hand and intelligence and wealth/status on the other seems to provide a distillation of higher intelligence within populations rather than a stagnation of it. We just miss the process because we see on the short term that people who are stupid sometimes are given more power than they should or smart people are killed. Longer term changes show that genes have been changing faster than they would be from simple drift during the course of the last 10,000 years. That would suggest selective pressures of civilization are working and it would be far more likely that they were favouring smart people than stupid people.

Even the most violent and slow-witted people can almost always be taught to read, write and perform other tasks which might seem ingenious to paleolithic people. They are only stupid in reference to the rest of us. Moreover, much of the difference between more and less intelligent people is a mixture of environment and epi-genetic factors (regulatory elements which can be passed on like genes but changed back and forth more rapidly than genetic changes can be–like having switches and breakers instead of rewriting your house every few years). Making judgements about a person’s or a population’s innate (genotypic) intelligence based on displayed (phenotypic) intelligence is risky. Claiming to know what direction innate intelligence is headed over thousands of years is even riskier.

To sum up, paleolithic people were clever but have no right to claim super genius status. Take that Captain Caveman. And selective pressures favouring smart and sociable people are not absent in modern society or in any time in history. If anything, people seem dumber these days because we are asking them to make more complex decisions & evaluations and function in more complex environments than ever before under far less than ideal conditions while forces far greater than themselves try to supply them with “fake but accurate” information and prefabricated opinions. Are you are your best and brightest on Friday afternoon while surrounded by needy whiners? Being intelligent sometimes makes it easier to see when people’s actions and words are not well thought out. It can be easy to get the impression that intelligence is decreasing in society when people vote for fools and crooks more than they used to but are they or are politicians better able to display their nature to intelligent people than those of the past were because there are more opportunities for them to do so. Are we so sure that today’s bad movies wouldn’t play just as well to our grandparents’ generation with equal marketing? Along with all those classic movies were lots of stinkers that probably at least broke even.

Anyway… We not stupid more gets!

Posted by: Snake Oil Baron | March 7, 2012

Hang the Chads

I’m going to throw out a few thoughts about the automated election call scandal here in Canada. To recap, the last Canadian elections saw the use of automated telephone systems which were used to phone up voters in certain areas, pretending to be Elections Canada so as to give them false information to try and prevent them from voting.

Let me start by mentioning a few things which I really don’t consider relevant to this issue. True, the fascist/socialist media would not be giving 10 seconds of broadcast time to this if the perps had been allied with one of the leftist parties in this country (for the purposes of this post I am pretending that the Conservatives are not a leftist party since that is the universally accepted delusion we have all agreed to work under). In fact, this sort of thing goes on to a much larger degree on the left domestically and globally; rooting it out and shining a bright light on it would be a far more valuable use of time and energy (and wouldn’t involve telespam). Remember when those Black Panther thugs were stalking a few American poling stations for Obama? How much would it have cost to have their pictures printed on a few tens of thousands of T-shirts and handed out for free? They wouldn’t have needed a caption, just let the picture start some conversations.

Many of the robocall complaints are fake and others are dubious. This would be very relevant if ALL complaints were fake. But if that’s not the case, it’s not relevant. The results of the malfeasance weren’t that effective or influential. Not only is that not relevant but it is insulting to even see that brought up. People don’t do things like this if they don’t think they will influence outcomes. We are supposed to give them points for being overly ready to stoop to this crap when it wasn’t really needed or for being inefficient at their attempts? How about we all stuff that excuse right back up whatever orifice it fell out of and pretend it never happened?

Now let’s turn to what is relevant. Election fraud is nothing new. I have a relative who remembers that in the region he grew up in, $2 bills were viewed with disrespect since that was widely known as the going price for a vote. That or a bottle of cheap hooch. He recalls someone trying to cheat the candidate and being refused his reward. This prompted the individual to have a look at the ceiling of the building where the voting was held. Predictably, little holes were to be seen above where the voting booths were. The cat and mouse game has likely gone on since the earliest attempts at anonymous ballot voting. What is new, or at least is trending upwards in recent decades is that the number of ways in which democracy can be subverted is growing and the methods are becoming more effective.

There’s the Vladimir Putin/Hugo Chavez/all Western leftist media methods of absolute media control. There’s the method of controlling candidate eligibility. There’s voting machine manipulation; bribing/intimidating illegal immigrants into voting for your party; having henchmen in front of the polling station to intimidate potential opposition votes; passing false information (say, by automatic telephone systems) to suppress voter participation in key areas. Don’t be mislead by my mention of Putin and Chavez; this is mature Western democracies where this trend is taking off. Places like Russia and Venezuela are just ahead of the curve.

There are two paths that can be taken:

Make any attempt at election fraud an act of high treason–whether it’s selling or buying a vote, voting twice, spreading false polling info or anything else that might get added to the list–punishable by nothing less than death. Reread that last sentence please. But wait, you may say. Countries like Canada have banned capital punishment. True, and whether that is a positive or negative development is outside the scope of this post. The fact remains that the Ban on capital punishment is an act of a democratic (relatively) society. Election fraud is not only a rejection of that society, it is an act which places the perpetrator outside of the protection of that society.

Or take the other path. Consider a little election tampering to be unpleasant but no great attack on democracy. Let everyone “level the playing field” as best they can and use their common sense and public sentiment to tell them when they’ve gone too far. For a while anyway. Once voter participation falls below a reasonable level we can then just admit that the system is no longer credible and begin using private militias to help determine which warlord rules (and really, all a head of state is–and all it ever was is–a warlord who exists in a system requiring very little of the traditional duties of a warlord).

Frankly, I’m good with either path. The first path ends up devolving into the second path anyway but lengthens the timeframe a bit. Any long-term solution involves defeating human nature (viciously and without pity or mercy) and removing it from sovereignty over intelligence but that’s for another post.

Cheers everyone.

Posted by: Snake Oil Baron | November 25, 2011

What Exactly ARE These People?

In the midst of the Climategate 2.0 discoveries which are still being made I am struck by something. You take the most prestigious minds in a field of inquiry (which you seem to be able to count on one hand) and you can find the following:

The big cheese of climatology is described by one of his allies in an e-mail to another star of the field as “vindictive”, “a bad enemy” and as having gone a little “crazy” at a paper which he perceived as an attack because it supported the existence of an historically proven period of time on earth, the medieval warm period.

One of these leading lights doesn’t know how to use the software that he does some of his data “analysis” on. That software is Excel.

The big cheese of the field told one of his main critics that “numerous (unnamed) persons” had proven his criticisms “simply wrong” (using unreferenced proofs) and asked the critic if he had the integrity to withdraw his criticism.

Big-Cheese and “science” bloggers defenders then demonstrate a shocking inability to understand the criticisms they claim to be debunking; equating the rejection of the claimed ability to measure global temperature (the planet is incredibly far from thermodynamic equilibrium) and the rejection of the concept of temperature itself–say, of a bucket of water.

I want to restate that last bit because I don’t read climate “science” advocacy very much anymore and so when I’m confronted by something like this it’s like jumping into cold water. No matter how much you expect it you are not ready for the shock. People who consider themselves men of science are unable to comprehend a simple and simply stated criticism. Yet they think it has been “proven” “simply wrong” by “numerous persons” and that this proclamation should be enough to invoke conversion of critics.

These are the people who ARE the field of climatology and the theory of a human driven climate crisis. These are the people whom we are called anti-science for not believing. This is a disgrace.

Here’s an idea. Fire all these loons and bring in people who know Excel, who understand statistics, who can follow a simple statement far enough to reply intelligently and who can understand that when a computer model diverges from observations of the system being modeled it is not reality that is malfunctioning. Let them publish works where the peer review process is open and transparent. If these new *qualified* (and identified) persons come to the same conclusions as the Hockey Team and are able to address criticisms, then I will give some consideration to their warnings. Otherwise, certain vindictive persons can be invited to place their hockey sticks in the appropriate places.

Posted by: Snake Oil Baron | November 25, 2011

Encampments of Marxists? In 2011?

I went back in time yesterday to the year 1996. I was trying to sell a short story in the science fiction genre by writing about 2011. I thought I would look like a genius by describing events that would later come true. Unfortunately, no one would publish it.

I was told that the idea of Marxist ideologues even trying to take over public and private spaces, let alone being allowed to, was ludicrous given the massive collapse of the Soviet system. The suggestion that America would be ruled by a class of people–journalists and politicians–who not only support these encampments but who think exponential increases in debt, spending and taxes is a good idea, was ridiculed. They told me that “There is no way that people would accept a political party which labeled all who disagree with them as racists and or violent. That’s just stupid.”

Oh, and what about the idea that many Americans and other Westerners would witness a massive terrorist attack on American soil, hear a well-funded group that had a history of such terrorism claim responsibility for it and yet be convinced that their own government was the actual perpetrator? The publishers of 1996 told me that coming up with such an idea demonstrated a profound inability to comprehend human nature.

When they read my assertion about scientific peer review becoming so corrupted that one psychologist could fake an entire career and other “experts” could be found to have monopolized and manipulated an entire field of study for the purpose of advancing a program of “wealth redistribution”, most of them read no further.

These publishers asked me why I thought that people in a mere decade and a half would suddenly be such complete morons at such a large scale. I couldn’t really answer that without saying that maybe people had always been that stupid and they would only become conspicuous about it in years to come. So they rejected my sci-fi story.

No royalties; no status of prophet/psychic for me. Stupid worthless time machine.

Posted by: Snake Oil Baron | November 2, 2011

Veterans’ Affairs

Now, I don’t want to paint everyone at Veterans’ Affairs Canada with the same brush. Like most government agencies, there are, no doubt, many long-suffering and hard working people working there. And given the nature of the service they are providing it likely attracts a lot of people who want to do their best for Canada’s former soldiers. That said, it is a government agency.

I was in the presence of a veteran today who had served in combat and taken fire for this country. He was studying for a new career and mentioned that he was unable to drive because of the condition of his leg. A specially outfitted car with hand controls is too expensive for him and while he has medical documents showing that the condition of his leg is a result of his service, VAC claims it isn’t so they won’t help him. So he is now in conflict with them. Or with us I should say, as it is our society which gives higher priority to trivial expenditures than to helping an extremely employable former serviceman achieve the mobility he needs. We would rather pay him welfare and unemployment for years while bureaucrats push him to take crappy but locally available jobs just to get him out of their jurisdiction for a few months.

Helping him get the car would be the moral thing to do (he is a veteran), the ethical thing to do (he has the medical documentation) and the financially reasonable thing to do, as it would save on other expenses that would not get racked up. Since it would be moral, ethical and reasonable/fiscally responsible, it’s not something government will do without a fight.

Even where you actually have good, intelligent and caring people in a branch of government it will never be able to act sensibly or compassionately. Like corporations, governments are simple collective organisms like slime molds or biofilms. Unlike corporations, government departments have nothing to measure success by and can only seek to expand not improve.

Posted by: Snake Oil Baron | October 27, 2011

Have You Got Robin Hood by the Bag?

The title refers to an old Canadian joke about Robin Hood brand flour. One calls–or tells of someone who calls–a store asking if they have Robin Hood by the bag. When they reply with a yes, the caller says “Well, you’d better let him go; I can hear him screaming.” It’s not gut-bustingly funny and everyone knows the punch line but it never gets old (well it gets old fast but it stays amusing in a sense) 
I think of this old joke because I noticed today that seemingly every utility pole in my neighborhood has a poster for “Occupy Fredericton” using an image of Robin Hood as the symbol of their… umm… ’cause’.  
It’s ironically appropriate (or appropriately ironic?) that they chose Robin Hood. During his time, productive peasants in farm areas were highly taxed and Mr. H. diverted that tax money, some to go back to the peasants and some to go to other poor people who lived in forested area; those who lived off crown-land game and stealing from travelers, producing little for society.  
But since the original taxing was done by a different agency (the Sheriff of Nottingham), poor people didn’t notice that Mr. Hood was buying political power from them with their own money. And since forest dwelling muggers were getting a large share of the wealth generated by productive peasants that would have been stolen by the Sheriff, the government kept jacking up taxes to cover the losses. 
Robin Hood was a thief. He was working hand in glove with his supposed enemies, whether either side knew it or not. He justified being a thief by ideology and brought higher poverty to his society, making both himself and the sheriff more powerful and rich (they were the primary controllers of wealth in an increasingly poor society). He paid the ‘Occupy Sherwood Forest’ people to be economically unproductive, squat on public land and be loyal to him while he pulled the wool over the eyes of productive peasants. Somebody should have gotten Robin Hood by the bag and he is the perfect idol for occupiers.

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