they should build this at Anthrocon.

America needs More Schools.

Charter Schools are a distraction. The only real approach to improving education is to build more schools. MORE SCHOOLS. nothing else is legitimate. All other education debates are distractions to waste TV time and appeal to voter blocks who are more or less clueless.

We need more schools. Children need more schools. That is the only way to reduce classroom size, and reducing classroom size is required to improve the quality of education. We need more schools.

We need more schools. In the last 30-40 years the population of the united states has risen a massive 50%. From ~200 million to ~300 million, but we’ve built only 7,000 new elementary schools, and 2,000 new secondary schools. The mathematics make it clear that we don’t care about educating children. We need more schools. Many many many more schools.

More schools is the #1 issue that we face today as a nation, because our people are retarded by our poor education system. Charter schools are not a solution, charter schools are a distraction. The only solution is more schools. We need 10s of thousands of new schools. And we need teachers to teach at them. We should take the money from the military budget because educating the new generations of human beings is more important than murdering them.

Hey don’t take my word for it, but we need more schools. I’ll be over here watching the human race disintegrate because nobody ever listens to me.

References:
http://www.multpl.com/united-states-population/table
https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=84

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Domain parking is ruining the internet.

Domain Parking, which is the practice of buying domain names that sound like they might be valuable, and then sitting on them for years hoping some sucker will pay you thousands of dollars for them, has ruined the internet namespace. Millions of excellent domain names that should have been sold to the first person with a real use for them, are instead blacked out completely because nobody is ever going to pay $10,000 or more for them.

Why is this practice allowed? That’s a good fucking question. ICANN, “The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers” is a regulatory body which is supposed to solve problems like this. ICANN was founded in September of 1998, it is now August of 2015, and Domain Parking has not been addressed at all.

I decided to write a letter to ICANN, using their feedback address. Here is that letter:

My Letter to ICANN Re: Domain Parking

Why do you allow people to sit on useful domain names when they have no intention of using the name for anything except to sell it at a later date?

This is a crooked business practice and it should have been killed years ago. Have there been any studies to see what percentage of useful domain names are completely wasted because of domain squatting? I bet it is more than 50%. I bet it’s close to 80% or 90%, because the practice has been allowed to go on for years.

If an advanced race were to look at what we’ve done with the internet, we’d look like a bunch of retards. You’re supposed to regulate this, so why aren’t you regulating it? Nobody is ever going to buy a domain name for tens of thousands of dollars. Squatting has destroyed the addressing namespace of the internet, and I blame ICANN for taking no action to fix this. Shame on you.

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GNU Guru

My satisfaction with the software I use in my daily life is at an all-time high

I realized today that the software I use for most of my daily activities is some of the best free software ever made, and many of the programs are not well-known. So I thought I’d do my part to help remedy that.

All of the software listed here is free

News & Social Apps:

Tiny Tiny RSS: this is a fantastic RSS reader. It’s free, it’s skinnable, and it’s light-weight. You can operate it on your own VPS, to have complete control.
TweetDeck: I got tired of the limitations in the default twitter client. TweetDeck is far superior.

E-Mail:

Roundcube: The most popular webmail client today.

Multi-Media

Winamp: The best free media player available since the 1990s, Winamp.
VLC player: A free video player which can play all formats without requiring you to install special codecs.

Productivity

LibreOffice: A full-featured office suite. I dont use office apps often but when I need to craft fancy documents or spreadsheets, this is the tool I use.

Operating Systems

Debian: I use Debian in all linux installations because of it’s free software philosophy, which I subscribe to completely.

Password Security

KeePass: The #1 best password tool by far, and it’s completely free! Versions exist for every popular mobile platform, and all operating systems.

Cloud Storage

ownCloud: Cloud storage is great, but who wants to entrust their sensitive data to strangers? ownCloud lets you operate your own cloud storage service on your own servers. It includes encryption capabilities.

Server Hosting:

A number of the apps I’ve listed are server-side. These days, affordable hosting is everywhere. I get my servers from a buddy of mine, they’ve got prices as low as $7/mo. Check them out here: All Day Monitoring.

Free Software Directory

If you’d like to find more free apps, check out this website: Free Software Directory.

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Presidential Competency Litmus Test

These are three leadership philosophies that are obvious and should be easy to agree with. Anyone who does not believe in these 3 simple ideas is not suitable to lead a modern enlightened civilization. Anyone who does not agree with these 3 things will prove themselves to be too self-interested or incompetent to lead a nation.

1. The 2nd Amendment protects an individuals right to protect himself with modern arms against threats domestic and foreign, from street muggers to tyranically governments

2. The ratio of dollars spent on National Defense compared with Education is roughly 6:1. That should be changed to 2:5. We are creating a nation of stupid people who are only good at killing other human beings. That might have worked in the Dark Ages but we are in the Information Age. We need a nation of smart people. The money should be spent on building many new public schools, especially in high density areas such as cities, to reduce all class room sizes to below 20. Hiring new teachers, and funding teaching careers with an increase in college grants and scholarships.

3. Corruption in Government should be persued and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. The rule of law itself is meaningless if our leaders cannot be jailed for their crimes. The abuse of presidential pardons to allow terrible people to escape justice must be stopped, and should be a crime.

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Simba, laying in the grass at night

Requirements for a Successful Space Empire

1. Faster-Than-Light Travel & Communication

Objects in space are very far apart, so this is an obvious requirement. Without faster than light travel, it would take too long to go from point A to point B, people would die in the interim and the goal of the effort would be forgotten.

2. Self-Sustaining Environments (Biodomes)

Not all environments will be friendly to the species attempting to colonize them. Terraforming is an option, but if functional biodomes can be constructed, terraforming is not necessary.

3. Industrialized Agriculture

Large scale production of food would be required to feed the enormous population required for a proper space empire.

4. Genetic Engineering

Genetic manipulation to create superior traits amongst all people, and mass-production style breeding would benefit a species looking to populate many worlds.

5. Standardized Education

To create the best possible race of people, everyone should be educated on a standard curriculum which maximizes intellectual development. “Classism” should be discouraged.

6. Repression of Religion & Other Intellectual Poisons

Religion is fairy tales, and has a detrimental effect on the minds of intelligent people. It uses the potential of an intelligent mind against the host. All kinds of intellectual poisons should be eliminated at the outset.

Regarding Military:

I am intentionally leaving militarization out. While it’s true that military power might be required in a populated universe, at present we have no evidence proving the existence of other life in the universe, which makes military power a waste of resources. The only thing a military is good for when you are the only intelligent race is to kill your own people, which is not a healthy behavior for a species looking to dominate multiple worlds.

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Atari Controller

Why are Video Game Companies hostile to gamers?

Inspiration of Gamers

captain power toysWhen I was a child, they had these toys which were combined with interactive VHS tapes. You would hold this space ship like a gun, and you’d watch a VHS tape of enemy space ships, and you’d shoot at the screen. The controller would record hits and misses. It was a pretty novel idea, and for many people this was the first real “video game”. My imagination was sparked.

Birth of the industry

People like me grew up and in the 1980s, began experimenting with writing video games on the IBM PC platform. Video games back then were very rough, very simple, very linear. There were lots of really terrible games, but every now and then something remarkable and fun would emerge. Most of these games were created entirely by a single individual.

Goldrush of venture capitalists

Sierra Online logoVideo Games started making money, and businessmen showed up like sharks smelling blood. They would find these especially talented programmers and hire them to make games exclusively for their labels. This was the begining of the modern video game industry. Sure there were console video games and Japan was doing it’s thing, but the real explosion happened when PC games appeared on the scene with ground-breaking titles such as DOOM.

Billion Dollar Industry

Today, Video Games are a multi-billion dollar industry. They make more money than Hollywood. That is a huge leap to have occured in only 20 years. It is partly due to the incredible talent of game creators, but it is mostly due to the giant hole in interactive entertainment which video games have filled. Businessmen are not necessarily gamers, in fact many of them don’t play any games at all. And many who claim otherwise would be found to only dabble in click-games on their cellphones, which is not really the same thing as being a “Gamer”.

Transformation – Ripping off the customers

Blizzard entertainment logoThe widespread availability of High Speed Internet has had a huge impact on the video game industry, both positive and negative. I am going to focus on the negative for the purpose of this rant. We now have Massive Multiplayer Online Games, which are by themselves a great concept, but are being completely abused to rip all of us off. We also have downloadable content, again a great concept, but again it is being abused to rip people off instead of to improve the gaming experience.

In MMOs there are two business models, I will discuss both:

Subscription Models

First is the subscription model, which is the original MMO model. The idea is that operating a persistent world requires a lot of infrastructure and manpower, and when sales slow down the money to support that has to come from somewhere. Why not ask the customers to pay for it? This seems reasonable at first, but why does every single MMO publisher charge the same $15 per month fee? If you know about server and datacenter costs, you know that that is way more money than they need to maintain their infrastructure, especially for a game like WoW that has many millions of subscribers. They are following the rule of supply and demand, setting their price to the highest possible amount that the largest number of their customers are willing to pay. This has created a hostile environment for competition, which means fewer successful MMOs, which is bad for gamers!

Microtransactions

The other model is microtransactions. At first this might seem like a great idea, spending a few dollars here and there rather than $15 per month, but when you look at the sort of things you’re expected to pay for, most of it is stuff that you used to get with the game when you buy it. Nowadays it seems you are buying a preview or a trailer, with a neat packaging, and access to purchase the actual game brick by brick. And if you do the math on all the microtransactions required to purchase the whole game, it is usually several hundred dollars.

Downloadable Content

The other big way we are being ripped off is downloadable content. Video game publishers have their $10 and $20 DLCs planned out well before release. They are charging you top dollar for the game, at this time that is $60, with the intention of squeezing you for another $20-$40 in DLCs bringing the actual game’s price to $100 or more. But the amount of total content hasn’t changed! To use a grocery store analogy, they have reduced the number of chips in the bag, and are offering to sell you the chips which used to be in the bag, at 200% or more mark-up.

Why do we tolerate this?

Why do we tolerate being ripped off by the industry which we created, which we supplied with funds, and which would die if it were not for our loyal support? I suggest there is no reason to tolerate it. Stop paying companies for games which are ripping us off. If the game has Day-1 DLC which is not free, do not buy the game. If the game has overpriced subscription models, do not buy the game. Is a few hours of “fun” really worth the price of your dignity? Are we all really suckers?

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What Bad Customer Support Looks Like, Courtesy of SquareCash

“Square Cash supports standard, U.S.-issued Visa, MasterCard, or Discover debit cards.” That’s quoted directly from Supported Debit Cards with Square Cash. And yet my debit card which fits the description does not work.

On top of that, every time I log in their website demands a “sign-in code” which must be sent to my e-mail, and sometimes the emails never show up.

I contacted their support department. I expected a response like “That’s terrible! We will get right on it to make these things function properly!” But instead this is the response I received:

Hi,

Thanks again for the phone call. My name is James and I’m writing you from the Cash team at Square.

It appears the debit card that you tried to link is not supported with Square Cash. To send and request money with Square Cash, please link a different Visa or MasterCard debit card.

If your card becomes supported at a later date, I’ll reach out to let you know. In the meantime, you’re welcome to link a different card for sending and receiving Cash.

I apologize for the inconvenience. Please let me know if I can help you with anything else. I’m happy to help.

James
Square Support – Cash​
squareup.com/help

This answer is of course, unsatisfactory. Why would I have half a dozen bank cards laying around? I have one bank card, and it is supposed to be supported. I responded to ‘James’, telling him that his answer was no good. And then I responded again 2 days later, and again 2 days later. I responded 5 times over the course of 10 days, and James ignored all of my e-mails. Is James real? Is James a script? Is James an asshole?

If you do a google search for SquareCash, there’s a lot of praise, but I think that’s not an accurate picture. It seems clear to me that SquareCash is aimed at taking on PayPal directly, and it also seems clear they aren’t ready. Business customers big and small need stable card processors, and SquareCash has shown their software and their support team to be Pre-Release.

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artist rendition of a neural network

What is Consciousness?

Watching some interviews about “What is consciousness” with neuroscientists, this guy David Eagleman who seems really sharp explains why we chase materialism theories, that is that the squishy brainstuff is where consciousness hides, even tho it doesn’t make much sense, but we chase it because we have all this evidence of damage to this area causes these changes in people.

I think the brain functions like RAM. It only works because it’s active 24/7, every day of your life for years. I think strokes support this. If you have a stroke, every minute of a stroke causes huuuuge changes in a person’s personality. I think this is because the brain is “off”. So all of those carefully memories you’ve been carefully storing for decades are rapidly fading away, and when the brain is reactivated anything that faded away is gone. Now people can heal from strokes, somewhat, but that can be explained in the differences between organic matter and silicon. Perhaps a memory didn’t entirely fade, and can be rebuilt.

There’s a software tool used in usenet piracy that can rebuild a large multi-volume archive from a tiny portion of it’s data as long as you have enough “parity” files which are big chunks of generic data based on the entire archive. Brains might work similarly.

I’ve been interested in Cyberspace and The Matrix concepts since I first heard of them, but I think they are impossible currently.. while we might be able to pinpoint very rudimentary connections between brain activity and basic shapes or colors. The brain activity that is responsible for complex memories such as tastes, or classical music, is going to be unique in every brain. it will be a completely unique network of activity, as a result of that individual’s unique learning experiences thru life.

One of the reasons I find language so fascinating is because it allows us to share, in a very rough way, those ideas and memories even tho the way they are stored in our individual brains is completely different from one another.

I could be wrong, I’m not a neuroscientist, but I think I am right.

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Simba, laying in the grass at night

Love.

Pumbaa: “Simba, what do you think?”

Simba: “Love.. I dunno.. love.. love.
Love. Somebody once told me.”

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My Birthday Gift Wishlist

19 is going alright so far. I don’t expect anything from anyone, but if you want to get me a gift here are things I like, in no particular order:

High Priority:

  • To wake up as me, instead of hu.
  • My friends to stick around for 2 more years.
  • A Honda Accord in decent condition, with security features to prevent theft, or modern hybrid.

Firearms:

mp5sd
MP5SD
  • An AR-15 Rifle with olive drab furniture and some kind of CQB optics.
  • PSA Lower Pictogram – 1560 AR-15 Lower. Since my first AR-15 lower is built, a more affordable alternative to this would be upper receiver parts, as I have not built any of the upper yet. High end bcg and barrel are requirements.
  • A pair of new ornate 1911 pistols, preferably not only scralling leafy flowers, with a variety of available holsters (location?/style?). Should include a fancy case. These would become an heirloom to be passed on across generations. Could be the same color, as long as some other detail is visibly different while holding them.
  • an FN P90 or MP5SD.
  • A pair of functional but decorative classical dueling pistols. Should include a fancy velvet-lined case.
  • High qualityleather shoulder holster for my Full-Size Beretta PX4 Storm. got.

Music:

Computer:

  • A new dedicated gaming PC (parts list here).
  • A 25th anniversary “retro” Thinkpad.

Guitar Pedal:

  • Looper
  • Delay
  • Filter
  • Reverb
  • Wah
  • Distortion Got

Miscellaneous:

P.S. To any government creeps who may be reading this, I wish to continue enjoying all of the amendments to the United States Constitution, especially the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 11th, 13th, and 14th. Happy birthday to me!

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