Friday, December 28, 2007

My new heroes

You know all that ranting I do here on my blog? I do my best, but The Buffalo Beast shows how its done, in its '50 Most Loathsome People':

Check out these choice quotes-
On #1 'Most Loathsome', George Bush:
Only supporters left are the ones who would worship a fucking turnip if it promised to kill foreigners.
On #9 'Most Loathsome', You:
You believe in freedom of speech, until someone says something that offends you. You suddenly give a damn about border integrity, because the automated voice system at your pharmacy asked you to press 9 for Spanish. You cling to every scrap of bullshit you can find to support your ludicrous belief system, and reject all empirical evidence to the contrary. You know the difference between patriotism and nationalism -- it's nationalism when foreigners do it. You hate anyone who seems smarter than you. You care more about zygotes than actual people. You love to blame people for their misfortunes, even if it means screwing yourself over. You still think Republicans favor limited government. Your knowledge of politics and government are dwarfed by your concern for Britney Spears' children. You think buying Chinese goods stimulates our economy. You think you're going to get universal health care. You tolerate the phrase "enhanced interrogation techniques." You think the government is actually trying to improve education. You think watching CNN makes you smarter. You think two parties is enough. You can't spell. You think $9 trillion in debt is manageable. You believe in an afterlife for the sole reason that you don't want to die. You think lowering taxes raises revenue. You think the economy's doing well. You're an idiot.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Reasons why both the music and film industry can kiss my butt

1) The movie industry decided it would be a good idea to force everyone to watch a "don't pirate this movie" advertisement every time they watch a legitimately owned DVD. I find this so incredibly insulting and annoying that I will pirate movies just for spite. And shame on the DVD player manufacturers (Sony, Panasonic, all your major brands) for kowtowing to the movie industry - they are the ones who disable your FastForward button while the ad is showing.

2) The music industry, as it exists today, is finished. Walking dead. They know it. Their business model is irretrievably broken, but until it finally collapses, the bigwigs are going to milk every last cent they can get. First of all, it no longer takes a million dollar investment to make a good recording. Artists don't need lopsided record contracts where their chances of making any money are about the same as winning the lottery. Second of all, internet piracy will exist as long as the people are being ripped off in the stores. The RIAA can sue everybody on the planet and it won't matter. How many decades have we been buying $18 cd's without being allowed to listen to it first, and it turns out there's one good song on it and the rest is crap?

Think about this question: If you accidentally scratch a CD so that it no longer plays, what does the music industry say? They say "too bad, buy another one". Let's say that instead we go to the internet and download the same songs for free. The music industry will still sue us claiming that we didn't pay for it, even though we did. They talk out both sides of their mouth. They act as if they sell physical disks half the time, and licenses to listen to music the other half, depending on which one requires us to give them money at that moment in time.

It's a big fat scam.

How about you music industry types give me access to ALL the songs you've ever recorded. Give me a music player program for my computer and an iPod that keeps track of what songs I actually play. Once a month it transmits this information to you and I'm charged accordingly, let's say a few cents per-listen. That way, my favorite artist whose song I play over and over gets paid what he deserves. Sure, this system is hackable, but why would any significant number of people bother to hack it? They're not getting ripped off, they're getting exactly what they want for a fair price. The reason such a system doesn't exist is that it would eat into your enormous (and unearned) profits.

Choose Two

There's a saying in Software Engineering circles (and probably other fields):

Fast, Cheap, Good: Choose Two.

It's all about tradeoffs. If you want something fast and cheap, it's not going to be very good. If you want something cheap and good, it'll probably take a long time. And if you want something fast and good, it'll probably be expensive.

I find that a similar principle applies to an atheist's view of the afterlife. In my choose-two scenario, it works the opposite way. All the choices are negative, but in this case, the "choose two" limitation is a good thing. You're guaranteed that at all times, at least one of the three negative things can't apply to you.

Dead, Mortal, Unhappy: Choose Two.

You see, if you are mortal (and by mortal I mean when you die you completely cease to exist), then you cannot be both dead and unhappy. Because if you are dead, you no longer exist, and there's no "you" to experience unhappiness. Whether you're alive or dead, there's always some good news. If you're dead and unhappy, at least you've survived death and have a chance for future happiness. If you're mortal and unhappy, at least you're not dead.

Friday, December 07, 2007

America gets even dumber

Who Qualifies for Bush's Mortgage Bailout Plan?

It better be "no one"!

As it turns out the answer is "practically no one". In my opinion, this may be the very first thing Bush has done that hasn't been a complete disaster. Score one for Bush under "fiscal responsibility". That makes a total of... one.

I'm sorry folks, I really am. I am sorry that people are suffering from their own stupidity. I am sorry that they borrowed far more than they were ever capable of paying back. I am sorry they went all googly-eyed when someone dangled a shiny house in front of them.

All that sorrow, however, need not result in my writing a check to Uncle Sam for these people to deposit in their bank accounts to cover their massive stupidity. It just encourages further stupidity, and I think Americans are quite stupid enough already, thank you.

When I bought a house, I spent hours calculating various scenarios to see whether the amount I was borrowing was something I could handle. What if interest rates rise dramatically? What if I'm temporarily unemployed? You know why I put thought into it? Because I wasn't borrowing 200 bucks, I was borrowing almost 200 THOUSAND bucks. That's a big deal. Is that not obvious to everyone?

I don't give a shit if some people did not realize that they couldn't make the payments. I don't give a shit if the contract was on rainbow colored paper and the bank paid out in casino chips! Caveat emptor. These people are adults, and they should have acted like one. I am very sorry that they are dumb, but a government bailout is not going to make them any smarter. It'll just give them some money. And we all know (from experience this time),

'a fool and his money are soon parted'.

What the hell do you think Social Security is? It's the government's very noble attempt to hold idiots' money for them so that they can't be as easily bilked. And then what does "Grandmother Nettie McGee" (from the article) do the minute she finally gets control of the money? Goes out and signs it all over on a subprime, adjustable rate mortgage. And when the rate inevitably goes up, says "I don't have it. I'm on a fixed income, Social Security."

/end rant.