The Price of World Peace

January 8th, 2018

FDR understood in a way Wilson never did that we lack the power to make the world conform to our abstract principals and rational schemes. Since American taxpayers will only spend so much money and American parents will only sacrifice so many daughters and sons, we have to prioritize, making the world a bit less ugly where we can and accommodating it where we must. Often we will have to enlist the help of nasty characters – like Stalin in the fight against Hitler or Iran in the struggle against al-Qaeda and the Taliban – to confront the gravest threats. Trying to remain morally pure will only permit greater evil.

But that need not mean that we stop talking in moral terms. FDR spoke eloquently of the world he hoped to see, even as he ruthlessly adapted himself to the one in which he actually lived. Perhaps that came naturally to a man who insisted – against all evidence – that he would one day walk again. We live in the world as it is and dream of the world that might one day be and consider ourselves fortunate to have reduced, even modestly, the distance between the two.

***

Regardless of how strong our military is, we cannot literally take on the entire world. Geopolitics sometimes requires us to look the other way to focus on more pressing priorities. Do we really like Turkey? Probably not. Erdogan keeps getting more and more dictatorial. But they also control a choke point for Russia’s only warm water port to reach the open seas so we need to be nice to them. Do we like Qatar? Not necessarily. They have slave labor. But we need to put military bases there, and the anti-ballistic missile radars we need to shoot down Iranian missiles aimed the Straight of Hormuz and the Saudi Arabian oil fields have to be located in Qatar due to geography. So we’re nice to them. Do we like Saudi Arabia? Nope. Many terrorists are funded by them. But they have oil, which we need (alongside the petrodollar), and they’re a counterweight to Iranian/Russian influence over the region. So we look the other way when they commit war crimes against the Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Optimistic Nihilism

July 26th, 2017

This goes in line with my earlier blog post:

You can do it.

May 1st, 2017

20 Cognitive Biases That Screw Up Your Decisions

April 30th, 2017

4H0ELM3

  1. People hear one person mention a stock – they have no idea who the person is, their qualifications, their knowledge of the stock, and they’ve never heard of the stock until just now. They proceed to buy it, buy into every dip, and months later post “so…any news on ___”
  2. Well, for the 1 month I’ve been following this random stock, it twice dipped and recovered so I’ll buy into this 10% “dip” based on terrible company news
  3. r/wallstreetbets
  4. Applies to everyone but me
  5. “I’m thinking about maybe going long XXX, any thoughts” Person who is short XXX for no reason other than they think a 100 year old company will go bankrupt tomorrow because they had one customer service complaint “LOL YOU STUPID IDIOT, WHO WOULD GO LONG XXX?!?!!?”
  6. TA used by people that learned about it via one 3-minute Youtube video
  7. Not my fault you’re all wrong
  8. The outcome of every meme stock. “I’m down 10%, holding” “I’m down 30%, holding” “I’m down 90%, holding”
  9. 1,000 posts a day here with a variety of information and demonstrated successful strategies and you just continue to buy 3x ETFs
  10. Getting so upset with the performance of your 3x ETFs that you stop clicking other posts at all
  11. This is the most serious one that costs people here the most money. Just because you took a bet on something and it worked out doesn’t mean the reason you did it was anything more than a pure gamble and does not make a repeatable strategy
  12. Connected to #11 – thinking you’re the greatest trader in history when 7 out of 10 gambles go your way then plowing your whole life saving into the same “strategies”
  13. If I just buy everytime the stock drops 0.5% my basis will eventually be zero and I’ll have free money
  14. 3x ETFs
  15. Well, this is a semiconductor company that’s been around for decades and there’s zero reason to assume that it will suddenly break out beyond the market as a whole but they do have a new product that’s a direct competitor for existing product so its probably my moonshot
  16. XXX makes an amazing product that’s the cool new thing. I won’t focus on the fact they have $10 billion in debt and if they don’t sell more of that product than the world could ever possibly consume they’re going bankrupt by year end
  17. The market must always go up.
  18. Assuming that no one here could possibly be a stock pumper. People worry about r/hailcorporate and big uses selling their accounts to companies but surely if u/completerandothatsnewhere mentions a stock that trades two shares a day he has my best interest in mind
  19. Not realizing that people that posted here a lot and disappear are fairly likely to have lost all their money and be in some desperate situation somewhere which could easily happy to any of us
  20. The market must always go up.

The mother of all conspiracies.

April 15th, 2017

One of the most frightening theories is one of the simplest. There is no conspiracy, there is no illuminati or small group of hidden, super rich, mega powerful leaders. Everybody is just looking out for their own, and following their own beliefs.

All the travesties and pain in the world are because of that. (Source)

I think this is why so many people believe in conspiracy theories. They’re comforted by the idea that someone is in control and steering the ship, so to speak. Even if they have bad or evil intentions, at least someone is in charge.

The reality is that the world is rudderless. Even the “powerful” people can do relatively little. There’s nobody really in charge.

I’m not saying that powerful people don’t exert an enormous amount of influence or that certain groups don’t conspire in some ways to achieve ends that are less than good for mankind. All I’m saying is that, at the end of the day, they’re just people and they do the same stupid things we all do, and are subject to all our same flaws. They’re not superhuman.

My Thoughts on the 2016 Presidential Election

November 10th, 2016

The DNC rigged the primaries and gave us Hillary as the Democratic front-runner.  Many Bernie Sanders voters did not appreciate this.  Suffice to say, four million less people (democrats) came in to vote for Hillary than they did in 2008 for Obama: 69.5 million people voted for Obama in 2008. Despite the increase in population and the resulting increase in the number of voters over 8 years, Hillary still only got 66 million this year.

The Republican vote did not increase significantly from 2008 to 2012 to 2016.  While 63 million people voted for Trump this year,  McCain got 59,948,323 in 2008 and Romney got 60,933,504 in 2012.  So that’s just HOW horrible Hillary Clinton was.

Gigapixels of Andromeda

November 4th, 2016

Enjoy yourself while you can.

October 15th, 2016

The Roman Empire existed for nearly two thousand years with varying ideologies.

Think about that.

Two thousand years. Each person born thinking he’s gonna be somebody. So many politicians scheming and backstabbing. So many wars.

All forgotten.

We will be forgotten too.  Water existed on Mars for billions of years. It is entirely possible there was an entire generation of civilizations that died and lived there, all ultimately forgotten and reduced to nothing but orange dirt.

Nothing matters. The Universe is indifferent. Enjoy yourself while you can.

The Parable of the Onion

June 21st, 2016

As found here:

I like to tell people about “The Parable of the Onion” in Dostoyevsky’s, “The Brothers Karamazov.” Though my recounting of the parable is somewhat embellished, its heart remains the same: We can only help ourselves by helping each other. The story goes like this:

Once upon a time there was an old woman who had died and found herself in hell. She complained to Satan that her assignment to the netherworld was a mistake.

Satan told her, “You’ve been a greedy, selfish woman all your life. Surely, this is where you belong.”

The woman thought a long time, trying to recollect some shred of altruism in her life. After several minutes she exclaimed, “Aha! I did a good deed once! I gave an onion to a beggar.”

Satan replied, “Oh, yes. That is right. You pulled an onion out of the ground in your yard and handed it (bulb, stalk, and all) to a beggar at the fence.”

At that very moment, God’s hand descended into hell, holding the onion out for the woman to grasp. Holding onto the onion with both hands, the woman found herself miraculously being pulled up and out of hell.

As she rose, to the woman’s horror, dozens of people began to grasp at her legs and ankles, and as they were pulled up along with her, yet more people grasped onto the lower-most people’s own legs and ankles, until it seemed that the bowels of hell clung like an endless chain from a single woman’s body and the onion to which she clung.

Though there was great weight tethered to the onion, the connection remained secure and God’s hand continued to lift eveyone up out of hell. Remarkably, the onion held; it did not fray.

More and more people who had previously been doomed for eternity found themselves slowly, miraculously, being raised from hell by way of the woman’s firm grasp on the onion. There were soon thousands, and after several minutes millions of people hanging from the onion.

Yet the onion held fast.

Halfway to heaven, which is a long distance up from hell, the woman looked down at the vast human chain following her.

She was angry and resentful that these people — who may have done even less good in their lives than herself — should be so easily redeemed by virtue of simply clinging to her spindly old legs. She was also afraid, and so excaimed in a great shout, “If all of you grab on to me like this, the onion will surely break and I will not get to heaven!”

So, resolving not to allow anyone to harm her chances for redemption, the woman began to kick and smash the people hanging from her legs and ankles and toes. One by one as she struck them they fell, with each loss of a handhold causing tens of thousands of people to plunge back into hell.

But with each kick — though the physical load grew lighter — the onion began to fray. And as the onion frayed, the woman, in her anger and haste, began to kick more ferociously still, thinking that it was the weight of hell’s denizens — and not her anger and selfishness — that tore at the onion.

She kicked until but one person remained clinging to her left big toe, with yet another endless chain of people dangling from him. Millions of people hung from that precious, single toe. Still, the onion held though it was severely frayed. But the woman couldn’t bear the risk of losing her only chance to join God in heaven, so she kicked at the last remaining person; and as the person lost his grip, the onion snapped, and the selfish old woman — from a great height, having made it almost all the way to heaven — fell back into hell.

Perspective

December 9th, 2015

There is a special beauty to life being a means for the universe to discover itself.  But life is more than that.  It is a manifestation of consciousness.  It is a unique opportunity for the universe to perceive itself in the third dimension.

Life, then, is a form of perspective from which the universe is observable.

Within that perspective is a multiplicity of sub-perspectives.  I think of these as the differences in life experiences that every one of the seven billion of us has had.  A child in Asia, for instance, has a completely different sub-perspective than an elderly person in South America.  Our collective sub-perspectives amount to the myriad of experiences that together create the human condition.

It follows logically that the human condition is an inevitable byproduct of life as a universal perspective.

There is no more selfish a thought than to consider human life as the only universal perspective in existence.  Even in the unlikely scenario that our pale blue dot may contain the entire gamut of life as we know it in the observable universe, that is by no means an indication that we are collectively the universe’s only percipient witnesses.

Therefore, life is one of many possible universal perspectives, of which the human condition—an amalgamation of earthly sub-perspectives—is an inevitable byproduct.

Life as we know it may not be rare in the grand scheme of the universe, but it is rare enough to be scarcely scattered amidst the grand vastness of space-time.  The human condition, being a derivative of that life, is even rarer given that life as a concept is not limited to human life alone.  Thus, our sub-perspectives, being constituent parts of the human condition, are very rare in and of themselves.

Your life is rare.  Treasure every moment of it.