Thursday, November 1, 2012


I don't really get the idea that we should force everyone to vote.

There are a lot of possible objections to the idea - it should be your right not to vote as much as it is your right to spoil your ballot, you don't really want uninformed people voting anyway.

If you really want 100% voter turnout, you're probably going about it the wrong way.  I think what you really want is a statistically significant voter turnout.

That is, from the list of all eligible voters, choose 20,000 completely at random and require THEM to vote.  The result is probably going to be the same, and if it's too close to be sure, then expand the vote.

I wonder what it would do to political involvement though... I wonder what that would do the campaign expenditures, where there aren't obvious groups to target.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Peeve of the Day

People who lay on the horn because I'm respecting the right of way of pedestrians and oncoming traffic.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Who kill people
Over ideas
Make me want to kill them

But I don't
And would not condone that

There's a lesson here somewhere.

Brought to you by the killing of the US ambassador to Libya over a US film portraying the Prophet Muhammad.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Whine, Complain

Things the Federal Liberals did that I didn't like:
  • Canadian Firearms Registry - that's a billion dollars that could have been spent actually preventing crime
  • Sponsorship Scandal
  • Generally being a bunch of entitled, self-righteous twits
Things the Federal Conservatives are doing that I don't like
  • Renamed the government after their leader (srsly, WTF)
  • Gagged all government scientists
  • Gutted scientific research and environmental review
  • Gutted freedom of the press by not actually having genuine press conferences
  • Suspicious electoral activity
  • Generally being a bunch of entitled, self-righteous twits
Mostly there are a lot of really weird and disturbing things going on now.
  • As seen in the US, politics is becoming a weird, polarized mix of marketing and sport bordering on religion
  • That is, there is no substance or policy, just efforts to convince by confusion
  • We're asked to pick a team to cheer for, not ask if the players are any good, if we should form our own team, or if we should play a different game entirely
I think I'm a political atheist.

Edit Sept. 10, 2012 - severed diplomatic relations with Iran
Edit Sept. 12, 2012 - oh, and I forgot the whole F-35 thing

Sunday, August 26, 2012

A Tragedy

Once upon a time
On a network long ago
Academics and scholars,
Scientists and intellectuals
Discussed logic and theology
Pondered science and philosophy
With civility and decorum
And a semblance of respect for others.

Then the Great Unwashed Masses showed up and fucked everything up.

The End

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Personality Types

Consider a continuum of personality:

A.  People that will "be good" regardless of laws
B.  People that will "be good" because it's the law
C.  People that will "be good" in fear of the law
D.  People that will "be good" because cost-benefit suggests they should
E.  People that will "be bad" because cost-benefit suggests they should
F.  People that will "be bad" because they don't fear the law
G.  People that will "be bad" because they oppose the law
H.  People that will "be bad" because they don't consider the law

Problems with the world:
  • If Rule of Law is diminished, people from (C) and (D) will shift to (E) and (F)
  • If laws are oppressive, irrational or misguided, people will shift from (B) to (G)
  • If people are not taught from an early age to be (A) or (B), they will probably end up (H)
It's interesting to consider the causes that would put people in each category.  Yes, a lot of people end up in (H) because they Just Don't Think, but I'm sure there's a pretty wide distribution across all categories.

More importantly, laws are somewhat ineffective at changing behavior, and weak or selective enforcement makes it even worse.


Regulation only works when it's more profitable to follow the regulations than to break them.

Over-regulation simply encourages regulations to be broken.

Is there something similar to a Laffer curve for Amount of Regulation vs. Compliance?

Under-regulation can be equally devastating, but where is the point of peak compliance with regulation?

Alternatively, how else can we encourage powerful and influential people to just stop being dicks?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Financial Hockey

If hockey was like modern finance:

  • Teams would be able to borrow goals from future games
  • Teams would be able to borrow goals from other teams
  • Referees would have a stake in the outcome of the game
Just think, eventually you could end up with teams starting games with negative scores.  Teams would be borrowing against their expected future performance, when every member of the current team would be long retired.  There would be hordes of sports analysts trying to predict the future by trying to analyze statistics of a chaotic system (OK, that's a lot like now).

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Theory of Money

Money is just a method for redistributing labor and goods across space and time.

Borrowing is a method for moving labor and goods through time, but of course time travel costs money.

Since money is just a convenient fiction, we must realize something:  everything that has ever been created by people could have been created without money.  Money did not magically move actual labor from the future to the present or the past.  Everything that has ever been accomplished was done within the capabilities of the people alive at that very moment.  The only thing that ever mattered was the motivation/incentive.

That is interesting, because the banks and governments of the world have managed to generate obscene levels of debt, but debt is just a fiction too.  It may have been used as a good incentive to get things done at a particular time, but it didn't actually create labor, it only created incentive.

I wonder what we could accomplish if we were all sufficiently motivated without dragging a burden of debt along.