Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Don't shoot! I'm Californian

Currently in the UK with my client.

Saw this on SF Chronicle's site.

For those of us who understand the political landscape of the US, this is no surprise. And I think the rest of the world gets that Texans are politically very different from Californians.

Still, it's hard to go abroad these days when one's government is so obviously fucking up the world. It's so true, it's not even funny over here, as I found when I made a passing joke about exactly that. Europe is a lot closer, geographically and in day to day contact terms, to the countries, people, and cultures we're pissing off. So they feel the repercussions of our actions much more acutely and promptly than we do. And it's not funny.

It makes me realize that, as much as I can wash my hands of our administration's insanity, being Californian and having voted against him at every opportunity, I can't. It's my government, they're supposed to, and, like it or not, do represent me. My silence, my failure to agitate, is assent. Yes, my congressional rep is doing my bidding. But it's incumbent upon me, I think, to convince others who vote in other parts of the nation to turn up the heat onteir ends of the federal government. After all, the rest of the world isn't going to bother to check my zip code before condemning my country's behavior. I can't give myself a zip code exemption either.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

I just found out

A favorite video game of mine from the late 90's has been released as freeware. It's fromthe folks who eventually brought us all Halo. I've downloaded all I need to play it. I predict my productivity is about to crater.

Friday, October 12, 2007

We should do this in the US

I'd open up my broadband... Seems a good idea. Of course, in an apartment complex, one moves in, sees an abundance of free networks, opts not to pay for one's own. In the idea on the link above, you have to be a paying member to use the bandwith shared by other paying members.

In fact, I don't know why I don't leave my network open right now. It's not like I'm really afraid someone can do something malicious to me. My only concern would be having my bandwidth unavailable when I want it. I've also heard in this day and age of increasingly big brother (RIAA, FBI) internet crimes, that having an open broadband router creates a nice plausible deniability excuse. A file may have come from/ gone to my IP address, but it could have been my neighbors downloading the barnyard porn, not me.

Today I learned about

Non-Newtonian fluids. Pretty trippy stuff.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Ah, truth

Read this about an unapologetic gold-digger seeking a man with a massive income.

Both sides are honest, and both typify, in my view, much of the dynamic in the long term dating market. Females seek males who are good resource providers, as access to those resources improves the odds of survival and reproduction of their own offspring. Females swap their fertility for resources. Or, in less evolutionary biological terms "I'm hot, so I want to get a guy with money."

The opportunity costs to females for mating (in the wild) are high: If you get knocked up, you lose your chance to try again with better genes for a good 12 to 15 months. And you must invest all those biological resources in growing and feeding the brat. And having one brat already, your subsequent brats will get less than your full attention, diminishing their odds of survival and reproduction, making you a less desirable potential mate with every brat you spawn. So choose wisely.

It's this diminishing appeal with incremental offspring that makes females want to lock in males. The band will only sell you their first album if you agree to buy every album they ever make. Doesn't work for records, yet seems to work in mating, probably because mating search costs are so high. Easy to find another band. Finding another mate takes time and resources.

Men, on the other hand, do the opposite. They flaunt their potential provider status in order to get access to sex, but have little interest in any commitment that's not required to assure the survival of their offspring. The male goal is not to get locked in, just to give their genes a shot at moving on. Males experience very little biological opportunity cost in mating. Did you give a skeezy slut (with bad genes and bad mothering tendencies) a squirt in a moment of bad judgment? No worries! You'll have another batch of swimmers ready to go in about 10 minutes. Good luck to her.

And in the "I want a rich banker" case, we see what males with true market power are able to do: They can afford to "lease" females. There's so much demand for them as resource providers, they can get access to high demand (attractive) females. And as the anonymous banker points out, the resource on offer from the females has a shelf life. Top males do not lose market power when the exchange is resources for sex.

I know a few of K's friends who are trapped by this phenomenon. They're high income earners, and are trapped in the old paradigm of choosing a male based on his resource provider capacity, which must exceed their own, of course. Which means there's only a small pool of males from which they're willing to select. Except they're not the only women targeting this group. Many women want these ultra rich guys who live the exciting luxury high power lifestyle. So they'll be competing with hot 25 year olds. And they're pushing 40. And if we adopt the perspective of this highly pursued male fr a moment, who has, on one hand, a 25 year old hottie who will fool around with him and not push marriage for a while, and on the other, a 38 year old who, attractive as she may be, wants to lock him in to marriage (option on half his assets) and kids (resource drain, plus likely impact on her overall attractiveness), who's he going to choose?

The irony, of course, is that these women claim (with all sincerity) that they just want a relationship. They seek understanding and companionship. They're, afterall, progressive women (or so they think). Yet they'd never consider dating the starving artist bike messenger yoga instructor scrimping by living with roommates in the deep East Bay. Despite having the emotional resources, he lacks the material resources to get in the consideration set.

It used to be that women understood their strong yet fleeting market power, being the owner operators of vaginas, and insisted that the males buy before they got access to the resource. I fear the sexual revolution, though fun, has made it harder for females to get resources. I have no idea why any highly demanded male would choose to buy a female when he can just rent.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Irretrievably evil

When I read stories like this, it makes me think that our government is so evil and beyond controllability only a revolution will save us.

It seems to me to be a break down in checks and balances.

Executive: If you hear a case about how we did terrible things that are contrary to international standards of decency and perhaps our own laws, the world will find out all about how we do those terrible things, and we'll definitely have to stop doing them, at least the way we used to. How's about you just let it slide?

Judiciary: Okay.

Executive: Now bend over and be quiet.

Judiciary: Okay.

When the internal controls fail to work, and it seems the media circus/ corporate sponsorship/ political establishment machine continues to give us the candidate equivalent options of Coke and Pepsi, it seems there's no way to stop the machine but to destroy it. Revolt and revolution are natural parts of the macro political process, are they not? But what will it take for the masses to rise up? More than it takes to get them off their couches, and that's a tall order.

Monday, October 08, 2007

First race of the season

Was yesterday. It went ok. We took second (out of 6), which is what we were supposed to have done. Our key rival club, the rolodex crew of ex-elites took first. It was their Head of the Charles lineup. We had about 20 seconds of age handicap advantage over them, but they still beat us by almost a minute (35 seconds after the handicap) over the 3 mile course, which is a sizable margin. My coach pointed out to me in an aside that my boat wasn't an "A" crew, which I understood, but my standards are high.

They haven't posted all the times yet, but from what I hear we beat a younger crew from another club on raw time alone, which is nice, and part of our plan. Some of our usual local competition didn't show up, though.

We did manage to hold the stroke rate I wanted (30), and the first half of the race was good. But as fatigue set in, folks got a bit shorter, and the rhythm was less fierce. I worked with the cox to take a ratio shift and then a power 10 at a few points, which worked, in the short term to re-set the rhythm and to drop our splits back to our pace from earlier in the race. But the fatigue settled in again and again and we'd lose speed.

Our sprint was good. I think I'll take us up from even further out in the next race. Our splits dropped appreciably for the duration of the sprint. It hurt, but we went faster, so I'll try it again.

Sunday, October 07, 2007


Last Thursday K took a spill walking out her door on her way to swim practice and severely broke the bone at the base of her pinky on her right hand. I found out when I returned form practice, and spent most of my day with her. After the ER sent her to the plastic surgeon (they do hands) who tried to set it (ow) and failed to get it aligned (says the post-set x-ray), she'll have a pin put in on Monday (fun!).

I've been barely keeping up with the demands of work, and losing a working day set me back, so now I'm behind. I've been steadily digging my apartment out of post burning man chaos, and it's almost back to "merely messy". I have so many social obligations and communications I've not made. I feel bad. I've been going done the all work and no play path for too long. I need a break, but don't anticipate one soon.

My stress is largely form my inability to keep up with others' expectations of me. Or at least, what I perceive to be their expectations of me.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The Iranians are right

This guy makes a very important (though I thought obvious?) point: The US can't get involved in anything militarily anywhere in the world for a long while.

Maybe I'm enough of a dork to have played enough sim civilization games for this to be obvious, but one's economy can only produce military potential at a given rate. And one can make short term moves to translate economic power into military power, but, over the long run, that'll only destroy an economy.

And staying out of wars, but stockpiling war-making potential makes one a big threat. No one wants to be the first one you target. But once you get involved with one fight, once the stockpile of war making potential (public will, material, human resources, morale) has been drained, one is no longer formidable.

Would Russia be poking NATO defenses with its bombers if the US weren't totally mired in Iraq and Afghanistan? I doubt it. I have three little brothers. I can tell you the time to raid the cookie jar is when mom's changing a little one's diaper. Distract, divide attention. Some of us may get caught, but not all of us, if we all act up at once.

The US gets to be world cop not by fighting wars, but by being capable of fighting wars, but not actually fighting any. It's that last bit, the not actually fighting any, which is key. You're scary with millions of bullets to fire. Fire them all, and no longer so scary.

If anything, I'd rather see us intervene in Burma. I'd love to let our Marines really fight for democracy, like I think they really want to. Help some folks who need help. But when we're stuck in Iraq, we lose our military capacity to do genuine good.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The best 90 minutes I've spent in a while

Watching this lecture.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Works for Bush, why not Hillary?

The evidence supporting the piece is scant, but it seems plausible and has been spread around a bit. Seems Hillary is using the "don't disagree with me, or we won't talk to you any more" tactic that the Bush administration has supposedly used at the height of its power.

I remain afraid of her access to political power from being part of the establishment. I fear her camp is making the Democratic machine line up behind her now, while her stock is high. "Be with me know while it looks like I'll win, and you'll have a place in the administration. Bet against me now and you'll not be forgiven, should I win."

I don't agree with some of Obama's policies, but I do feel he's an outsider, and I think he'll make America act like a decent nation for once. I'm hoping all the grassroots money he's bringing in can mount a real challenge to the Clinton machine.