Archive for October 11, 2010

Pushy Parents and Zero Sum Cultures: 1

October 11, 2010 6 comments

Many asian and old-world cultures are characterized by pushy parents. Before I try to explain why that is zero sum based behavior, let me clarify “pushiness”.

Most parents want the best for their kids, and that by itself is not pushiness. I prefer a far more specific definition of pushiness-

Trying to coax, cajol, threaten, shame and blackmail kids into patterns of behaviors and career choices (life goals) that have more to do with keeping up than any real gain, innovation or happiness.

By that definition white parents who want their kids to be athletes, cheerleaders or entertainers are as bad as asian/indian parents who want their kids to be doctors, lawyers, accountants or managers.

So what does this have to do with zero-sum behavior? Simple- any competition in which “winners” and “losers” are either very similar in competence or arbitrary are zero sum competitions.

But why are zero sum competitions so bad for progress, peace, innovation or prosperity?

The answer is- because they encourage people to screw their acquaintances to win. Now if you did not have to interact with the person again- screwing over said person would carry little lasting consequences. But in real life, the “losers” are often around after the “victory”, and can/will screw you over whenever they get the chance. There is a reason that previous eras had so much intrigue, murder, conspiracies, rebellions, treason and other cooperation destroying behavior.

The ability and complexity of a society is inversely proportional to the extent of cooperation in that society.

A culture where “winning” or “losing” comes down to rote learning, exams with little correlation to real life, luck, intrigue, back-stabbing, scamming or lying will either die out, be conquered or stagnate for thousands of years (in a very dysfunctional form).

There are some ways to address this problem-

1] Remove artificial scarcity of “winner” positions and routes to reach such positions.

2] Proportional remuneration, as opposed to binary.

3] Remove socio-legal protection for sociopaths.

4] Explain to people- unless the “other” kid has a decent life/income, “your” kid might have fewer or no customers for his vocation.

All these problems can be addressed through discussing underlying issues, rather than pretending that they do not exist. However the beliefs of many older asian/indian morons- that their way is the best have to be broken by any and all means.

It is really about choice-

What kind of society do you want to live in? A dying, dysfunctional society or one that works well and improves over time.


Banksy Simpsons Intro: Oct 11, 2010

October 11, 2010 2 comments

What do you think? Pretty nasty commentary on many things, huh?


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What Could Go Wrong: Oct 11, 2010

October 11, 2010 Leave a comment

Read ‘Em All: Pentagon’s 193 Mind-Numbing Cybersecurity Regs

Click on picture for a full resolution PDF version of the chart.

Some people may find it strange that the Defense Department, which helped create the Internet, is having so much trouble securing its networks. Those people have not seen this mind-numbing, two foot-long chart, outlining the 193 documents that govern the activities of the Pentagon’s geek squads.

Developed by the DASD CIIA (that’s the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Cyber, Identity & Information Assurance), the goal of the chart is to “capture the tremendous breadth of applicable policies, some of which many IA practitioners may not even be aware, in a helpful organizational scheme.” And what a breadth it is: dozens and dozens of directives, strategies, policies, memos, regulations, strategies, white papers, and instructions, from “CNSSD-901: National Security Telecommunications and Information Security Systems Issuance System to “CNSSP-10: National Policy Governing Use of Approved Security Containers in Information System Security Applications to SP 800-37 R1: Guide for Applying the Risk Management Framework to Federal Information Systems.

Obviously, operating networks for the millions of people who make up the world’s largest military is no simple task: the financial, legal, organizational, and technical issues are nothing short of staggering. On the other hand, the hackers trying to break into those networks don’t have to check 193 different policy documents before they launch their malware. It’s hard not to think that gives the attackers an edge.


Christine O’Donnell and Rich Iott are Symptoms, Not the Cause

October 11, 2010 1 comment

You may have noticed that people with “peculiar” world-views like Christine O’Donnell and Rich Iott are now serious contenders for elected office in the USA. Some see this as a cause of the ongoing american decline. I disagree- people like Christine O’Donnell and Rich Iott are the symptoms of something far worser.

People with such “peculiar” world-views become serious contenders for election only when the current establishment (including its “elites”, “leaders”, “pundits” and “priests”) repeatedly, and visibly, fail.

Whether that failure is manifested as the inability to keep even a few promises, get anything done, stupefying bureaucracy, “elites” flagrantly violating basic laws, a legal system that demonizes the decent but rewards the rich sociopath OR simply a system that most people believe cannot survive. The end result is always the same- “establishment” candidates becomes the target AND anyone who promises change becomes palatable and ‘right’.

These candidates are the symptoms of a rotten and putrid socio-economic system. When your ‘traditional leaders’ cannot find a way out the stinking mess, anyone who promises away out becomes a messiah- however dubious or stupid their ideas may be.

If you don’t believe me- read more about how and why Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, Pol Pot and Mao got powerful. People like them do not become popular and powerful because they are competent, effective or visionary. They become so because the system and “elites” that preceded them had repeatedly failed .


Irony: Oct 11, 2010

October 11, 2010 Leave a comment

Ok.. first have a look at this famous apple ad..

Good.. now read my updated transcript of what “big brother” says in the ad.

[In walk the (drones)] drones = apple fanbios

“Today we celebrate the (first) second glorious anniversary of the (Information Purification Directives) iOS.

[(Apple’s hammer-thrower) Android enters, pursued by storm troopers.]

We have created for the first time in all history a garden of pure ideology, where each (worker) iOS device may bloom, secure from the pests of any contradictory true thoughts aka monoculture and security though obfuscation.

Our (Unification of Thoughts is ) iOS based devices are more powerful a weapon than any fleet or army on earth.

We are one people, with one will, one resolve, one cause- iOS uber alles.

Our enemies shall talk themselves to death and we will bury them with their own confusion.

[Hammer is thrown at the screen]

We shall prevail!



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