Archive for November 17, 2010

Inherent Contradictions: Nov 17, 2010

November 17, 2010 1 comment

Many people do not notice contradictions because they have not seen or thought about other possibilities.

Here is one example-

Women say that they eventually want to settle down. They then try to portray this ‘choice’ as a sacrifice, and claim that it benefits men more than women.

However any questioning about the true motivations behind their ‘sacrifice’ makes them go into full-scale shaming language mode. The range of insults range from old age, sexual inability to lack of company.

But how can someone who is willing to ‘sacrifice’ for someone harbor so much deep-seated resentment towards them? It is either a sacrifice or it is not. So what is it – stupid or lying?


Spoof by NMA News on TSA Screenings

November 17, 2010 Leave a comment

The most concise and accurate news report on the ongoing TSA kabuki.


Ever Wondered: Nov 17, 2010

November 17, 2010 10 comments

The entirety of human knowledge is available on the internet, and it is possible to educate oneself in hitherto “hard and difficult” fields. There are even multiple presentations of the same material at varying levels of complexity and viewpoints.

So what is the use of schools and universities, beyond basic literacy and use of laboratory type facilities?

I am not the first to ask this question, but the answer is especially relevant in light of the education bubble. What is the use of increasingly ineffective teaching protocols and more teachers, when the option is better and much cheaper.


The Tipping Point for Change: Nov 17, 2010

November 17, 2010 4 comments

Ever wonder why dysfunctional societies, poorly run countries, exploitative empires and totalitarian regimes keep on working long after they should collapse only to then abruptly implode when nobody expects them to?

There are a few reasons for this peculiar phenomena-

1] Implosion is usually a second or third order effect of the original dysfunctions. It usually requires the passage of time for people to wise up and act in bad faith. Typically a generation or so after the dysfunction started. The old-timers who were adults when the dysfunction started are often tolerant of the failings and less affected than those who come after them.

The ex-soviet union is a good example for this route. Though the dysfunction and disenchantment had begun in the 1960s, it took about a generation for things to start collapsing- but once the avalanche started, it was fast.

2] An extraneous precipitating factor usually initiates the implosion. Think of the role of Matthew C. Perry and the Black Ships in ending Japanese isolationism. Another example is the forced economic liberalization in India after the economic crisis of 1991. In both cases, all other options were inferior to the course of action taken.

In both of the above examples, it ruined a carefully setup mechanism to keep people poor. In both cases there was initial resistance, till it reached a point of no return. Whether the cumulation of economic reformation in India will require bloodshed (like japan before the restoration) is still unclear, though the general direction and approximate endpoint are no longer doubtful.

3] All options except massive reforms are almost universally seen as bad. While there were many liquidationists and goldbugs in early 1930 USA, by 1933 it was clear to even many rich people that nothing short of massive reform would keep the country functioning. They had seen the option in 1917, and losing most of their money was a better option than losing their heads.

Most CONseravtives do not realize that without FDR and the “new deal” there would be no USA, as we know it today. It was that bad.

4] The general attitude amongst the subjects and “citizens” changes from pride in self, respect of authority figures, fear of state to one of disregard and ambivalence. Few listen to authority, believe it or act accordingly.

In a way, this step precedes every other in the process of implosion. Wildfires require a readily available and primed environment to start and spread.