Thursday, February 16, 2017
The Trump immigration policy (which is either actively supported or simple ignored by almost every Republican in Congress), simply treats undocumented immigrants as a lesser kind of person. They happened to be born in another country and came to the US for a better life. However, they will soon be forced to live below the law. They will refuse to ever go to any law enforcement agency out of fear of deportation. If they are a victim of crime or a witness, they simply will not go. This will inevitable lead to people committing more crimes against undocumented people. They will no longer be protected by either the law or law enforcement.
I ask everyone out there to put yourself in their place. You are born into a poor area of Mexico, that is just where you happen to be born (you don't get to choose where you are born). You grow up seeing some terrible things around you, what do you do? Would you consider sneaking into the US to improve your opportunity? If you believe the US is the greatest country in the world, why not (do you believe that?). Now you are here and living a normal life, normal job (just imagine you have the same job, life, income, children that you actually have now). Now imagine that on your way home, you are attacked at raped (this applies whether you are male or female). You get a good look at your attacker and could identify him. What do you do? If you go to the police, they will deport you. You are in this country illegally, which means you have committed a crime, and therefore you are a criminal. Really think about it, what would you do? And if you do nothing, what message are your sending to the rapist (and other potential rapist, or muggers, or whatever). What is the scenario was a little different, but if an undocumented person witnessed you being raped? Would you expect them to come forward and help you (at the risk of them being deported and their family ripped apart)? This is not some thought experiment, it has been happening for decades in the shadows of society. Now it will be public policy. The entire concept of a "Sanctuary City" is to avoid these tragedies. How can anybody be against this? How selfish do you have to be or create a system that puts people is such danger just because you think they are taking your job? Of course unemployment is lower now that at almost anytime in the past 40 years. So that line of thinking is not just immoral, but based on inaccurate assumptions.
I am not religious, but I am utterly confounded that it is the same people who claim to be guided by Christianity that support selfish, cruel, immoral, policies like this. What would Jesus do? Do they talk about this at Church? How is it justified? There is the law of the land, and the law of god, which do they follow and why?
Tuesday, February 14, 2017
"“Conservatives do and should view [Trump] as their current best chance to get conservative policy enacted into law because that was the grand bargain made,” said Rory Cooper, a Republican strategist who opposed Trump’s candidacy for president. “The idea was they would overlook certain behaviors and distractions from President Trump in anticipation of being able to have a willing signature on the other end of conservative legislation.”
Republicans will support/ignore whatever Trump does as long as he supports all their legislation. It is a very simple concept. Trump policies on immigration, trade, education, elections, etc., are not a concern for Republicans, so they won't object. In return, Trump will (supposedly) support a conservative agenda to lower taxes, reduce public assistance, be pro-life, and reduce regulations of almost any kind. It empowers both Trump and Republicans in Congress to be as aggressive as possible. However, how will they react when one of the policies is extremely unpopular. Will they stand together? Will they care?
On a related note, Democrats are still not holding Republicans for this deal? If Trump is a disaster, Republicans won't be implicated as much as they should be. They should be getting Republicans on the record supporting Trump's policies, ability to govern, decision making, ethnics, cabinet members, etc. For example, they should have people on record if "They supported Michael Flynn", "If they trust Trump's judgement when appointing somebody like Michael Flynn", "Would you have appointed Michael T. Flynn"? They should be doing this for everybody and everything.
It is worth noting that the Democrats had control of both houses in Congress for two years during Obama's first term. They used this to implement the affordable care act, which will be repealed in due time.
Friday, February 10, 2017
When I studied political science, they explained that most people were moderate and fewer people had more extreme ideologies (top chart). If this is the case, the way to win an election was to be as close to other candidate as possible, but very slightly to your ideology. This meant that candidates were actually very similar and whoever was more mainstream won. However, this might not apply anymore. Perhaps there aren't very many moderates and people feel much stronger about their positions (second chart). The implications are numerous. In order to win your party's nomination, the candidate has to be more extreme. Jeb Bush would have probably done great 20 years ago (attracting moderate Republicans and Democrats, but now neither of those exist is large numbers). So you end up with two candidates that are further and further from each other, with moderates disliking both of them. So if the button chart reflects the population, how can a candidate win the nomination and not be seen as a radical by the rest of the party.
I know this isn't anything new, but I always wanted to visual it.
Note: If Hillary Clinton had promised not to introduce any legislation or regulations reducing gun rights, she might have won and gun sales would go down. For all of Obama's plans to have gun laws, he didn't do anything meaningful and every time he tried, gun sales went through the roof. If it isn't an issue you can win, why lose votes over it? It's called a compromise.
Wednesday, February 08, 2017
Wednesday, February 01, 2017
Friday, January 27, 2017
However, there is one technology that would reserve this. With all the technological advances in the world, countries seem to fall flat trying to create this one thing, but eventually it will happen. That technology is an extremely effective missile defense system. It doesn't seem that difficult to create a technology that can identify an incoming missile (or bombs) and blast it out of the air (using a high powered laser would make sense). Hypothetically, if China and Russia invested $100billion a year into this technology, for however long it takes, until they developed an effective laser grid, what would be the result.
Note: The United States, Russia, China, India, Israel, and France are all investing in this technology, including $10billion the US spends on it every year. However, none of them are even close to 100% effective, but there is no reason why this technology won't be perfected at some point in the future.
Every single empire in the history of the world has fallen. Almost every country has been invaded and occupied. Why do we have this believe in America that such a prospect is impossible (it has happened to everyone else, why are we so special). The nuclear deterrent is one very special reason why (plus our geography), but our nuclear weapons only work if they can each their target.
So let's say that China and Russia (who have virtually unlimited resources and dream of world domination) create this technology and actually invade. They nuke Washington, Hawaii and threaten to nuke a major US city every day until we surrender. We could fight back with traditional weapons, but just look at the size and capacities of those countries (without the ability to ability to launch missiles, our biggest advantage is lost). If we don't surrender, we fight. Both sides races to build more tanks and ships; are we really to win that contest (do we understand the manufacturing and population capacity of China)? They have more people, more resources, and nuclear weapons. Even if we get a few nukes past their defense system, would they really even care about the damage. Maybe, our best bet might to obliterate the entire world environment with the nukes we have, which would cause both sides to lose. Would the rest of the world rush to our aid? Maybe England would, but perhaps the rest of Europe would remember that the US didn't exactly rush to their aid during WW2. It certainly wouldn't help if we had a President that took us out of NATO, defunded the United Nations, and declared an America-first policy.
Eventually, the technology to defend against nuclear missiles we be developed and one country will be first to have it. If that country has a desire to take over the world, than we may be doomed. History has shown that there are a few blood-thirty megalomaniac, dictators at all times. If Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Tojo, Chiang Kai-shek, or any other dictator would have been able to mass produce nuclear weapons first, they (realistically) could have taken over the world. However, the US was the first and Truman decided that world domination wasn't our thing, which is lucky for everyone. However, the technology to stop nuclear weapons is just an important. Perhaps we should make sure that we win this technological race as well.
Side note: The UN tried to ban all countries from building such a missile defense system (which would maintain the status quo and avoid this issue indefinitely), but the US voted against it. We also had a treaty with the Soviet Union to minimize any missile defense systems that we have (again maintaining the status quo), but the US withdrew from that as well. Of course, in our defense, we might not believe that some other countries would comply with these agreements, putting us a significant risk.
This was my thought in the shower last night. Perhaps is it just my mind trying to think of something less depressing that the current news.
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
Appreciation of what you have is one of the most difficult things for anyone. It is why people always seem to want more and don't actually become happier (even as technology makes our lives much easier). I rarely appreciate the wonders of indoor plumbing, air-conditioning, cars, or computers; however, I regularly appreciate my vision. I earnestly think about it at least once a week and am grateful.
15 years later, my vision is just barely starting to get worse (which is pretty amazing considering that I stare at the computer screen most of the day). My left eye is 20/25 and my right eye is 20/40. There is no need for contacts and I can see everything that I need very well. Still, wouldn't it be nice if my vision was even sharper. And so, I went back to Dr. Dello Russo last week (this was my first visit to any eye doctor since my original eye surgery). They said that they can correct the vision in my right eye without an problem. The procedure now takes only as few seconds, which is ridiculous (it used to take a few minutes, which seemed just fine to me). However, this time I don't really "need" vision correction, it would it like upgraded from a HDTV to 4K (more on 4K in a future post). Do I spend the extra cash to correct my right eye forever, or just deal with what I have? The longer I wait, the less value, so if I'm going to do this eventually, the sooner the better.
Friday, January 06, 2017
- Trump is justify many of his actions with a phrase similar to "I know things that you don't, which I can share because they are top secret, but Believe Me, there is a good reason for this." This is a great line that can justify just about anything and impossible to disprove. I think this will become a powerful theme for the next year.
- I don't know if it will be all out "trade war", but I firmly believe that he will be able to pass significant rules/legislation that reduces the incentives for companies to out-source to other countries. This is overwhelmingly popular among the masses, although it will be opposed to big corporations (who makes tons of money from outsourcing). This could split the Republican party, but I think it will still happen.
- The Wall. I see very little reason why Trump can't build a significant part of a border wall. The cost is actually quite low in the big scheme of things. New York just spend $6 Billion on the somewhat necessary 2nd Ave Subway line. $30 Billion for a wall won't a financial barrier.
The world is a complex place and sometimes the simple ideas just don't work. Threatening North Korea seems like a great idea, but they can slaughter 15 million people in an instant. Regulations are put there for a reason and removing them can have negative consequences. Lowering taxes sounds great, but if the economy doesn't show tremendous growth that is a problem for the budget (fyi, there is no historical evidence that lower taxes leads to overall growth for the economy, specifically for the middle or lower classes).
Friday, December 23, 2016
Tuesday, December 13, 2016
Monday, December 12, 2016
August 3rd, 2009
Wednesday, June 03, 2009
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
In other news, I'm sick. I'm pretty sure it's the flu, although not of the swine variety. My whole body aches and my head in congested, but no fever or coughing. Everyone seems to be sick.
Friday, May 22, 2009
Thursday, May 21, 2009
The other thing is the latest Credit Card legislation. This bill is designed to protect consumers from being abused by Credit Card companies. However, the Republicans included a law allowing concealed guns into national parks. What? How is this legal? Now, I don't have is the gun law is good or bad, but I know it has nothing to do with credit cards. If Obama had some marbles he would veto the bill and insist that Congress sends him two different bills, one for each subject.
Samaritrophia is the suppression of an overactive conscience by the rest of the mind. "You must all take instructions from me!" the conscience shrieks, in effect, to all the other mental processes. The other processes try it for a while, note that the conscience is unappeased, that it continues to shriek, and they note, too, that the outside world has not been even microscopically improved by the unselfish acts the conscience has demanded.
They rebel at last. They pitch the tyrannous conscience down an oubliette, weld shut the manhole cover of that dark dungeon. They can hear the conscience no more. In the sweet silence, the mental processes look about for a new leader, and the leader most prompt to appear whenever the conscience is stilled, Enlightened Self-interest, does appear. Enlightened Self-interest gives them a flag, which they adore on sight. It is essentially the black and white Jolly Roger, with these words written beneath the skull and crossbones, 'The hell with you, Jack, I've got mine!"
- Kurt Vonnegut, God bless you, Mr. Rosewater
Thursday, May 07, 2009
I am currently reading “Is God a Mathematician” by Mario Livio, a book that my brother sent me over the holidays. First, I need to say that 98% of the book has absolutely nothing to do with god or religion in any way. There is about 5% that has to do with philosophy, but it is basically a straight forward history of mathematics. I would bet that the name of the book and subsequent references to God where added after the book was already written. It was a marketing ploy through and through.
I just finished the section on non-Euclidian geometry and it was just silly. Let me explain, for thousands of years, geometry was the basis for much of math and logic. Euclidian geometry is the math we all learn in school. By stating several undeniable “truths” or axioms, people are able to extrapolate more complex concept and truths. These truths were used as the basis for all other mathematical adventures. They include things like: if you have a triangle the sum of all the angles inside the triangle is 180. You can make any triangle you want and it will always match that truth. Another one is: the shortest distance between two points in a straight line. Seems simple, right? Than along came some smart-ass mathematician who said, “well, what if reality only existed on the surface of sphere.” Under this premise, Euclidian geometry falls apart. Triangles will have more than 180 degrees and the quickest way between two points in a curve. People have dedicated their careers to what the math would look like on such a circular reality. In fact, people just kept creating new ways that reality could be shaped and researched the math in their new world. This includes realities shaped like saddles, cones, lines, ellipses, and countless other shapes or functions.
Now there is some utility in concepts like this. A plane travelling from New York to Paris cannot travel in a straight line because that would mean it would have to go through the crust of the earth. The plane has to calculate the best possible curve to reach its destination. However, the curve is still not the shortest way, it is just the shortest way that we can realistically travel. The true shortest path is through the earth’s crust. Non-Euclidian geometry may be useful, but how can anyone consider it a way of describing a reality beyond the arbitrary rules it creates for itself.
Non-Euclidian also allows Mathematicians to do things like calculate the rules of geometry with more than three dimensions. So a cube would have length, width, height, and something else. What would be the math if this meta-physical fourth physical dimension (not time) existed. So they create this alternate reality and an alternate math and claim that the truths that exist in that world are true mathematical truths (which conflict with Euclidian geometry).
(Side note: It is this ridiculous logic that allowed physicists to add extra dimensions into their calculations in order to have their theories fit their observations. This is at the core of M-theory, which I do not even consider a scientific theory since it is based on evidence that can never be proven or disproven.)
Anyway, I am thinking about creating Lipka-Geometry. I will calculate a new math based on the concept of a reality that only exists on the surface of my face. What will a triangle look like? What is the shortest distance between my left ear and my right eyebrow? Uggg, poor Euclid.