Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Who is John Galt?

It's become a far more common expression in the past several years, thanks to the tea party movement, a revival of libertarianism, and perhaps the making of Atlas Shrugged: Part I, the movie. On politically-oriented messageboards, one sees the names of Ayn Rand and John Galt quite frequently these days (excluding Democratic Underground, of course).

Is it a utopian and far-fetched vision behind these references, more often than not? Perhaps. But then, calling on Adam Smith, Locke, Marx, Proudhon, and others is really no different, in my opinion. Ideologically-induced delusion is the way of things.

On the flip side, ideology can be a successful means of marketing. Look at all of those Che Guevara hats and shirts. 'Course, there are limits. Who is gonna drive a car built by Marxist Motors? Or expect much from the John Locke Memorial Foodbank?

Still, there's plenty of room for good ideas. So, how can we capitalize on John Galt? What do his fans have in common? They value their freedom. And their property, especially their land and the products of their own industry. Technology is just a tool, not something to be worshiped. And friendship is real, is personal, is shared. Urban living is fine, but the rural world is where a man (or woman) really makes his (or her) mark.

John Galt corn? Boring. But...

Wait, who produces a personalized product in the countryside, on their land, enjoys it with their friends, and doesn't allow technology to get in the way of a hands on approach? Right! Crystal meth makers!

But who else?

Winemakers.

So, what better way to celebrate John Galt than with a wine named after Ayn Rand's heroic champion of individual liberty?

Bounty Hunter Wines thinks so, too. They've crafted a proprietary red that carries his name.

I've just ordered half a case. I'll let you know how it tastes in the near future.


Demographics, Statistics, and Misplaced Outrage

Technorati--a top-notch resource, btw--currently features an article bemoaning the US ranking in infant mortality. The writer takes it as a given that these rankings are compiled fairly and in the same manner, and that those responsible for doing the compiling have equal data and access in all places.

Total nonsense.

That's not to say there's no value in these rankings, that they're not reflective of reality. They are. But they're not absolute truths, either. And they don't take into account demographics, at all.

Apparently, the US currently ranks around no. 40, out of the 193 nations in the WHO. Not great. Not awful, either. But what's the likelihood of a mother going to term with a pregnancy in all of these nations? What's the average age of a mother? The range of ages of all mothers in each nation? What about immigration rates? How many nations have an influx of immigrants--legal or otherwise--from nations with poor health conditions?

And to what extent are medical services provided to see that a woman can go to term, to try to deliver a baby alive and to keep it alive? I could go on and on. It happens with other things, too. For instance, one might find a ranking of nations with regard to the most reported rapes. Can we assume that the nation at the top of the list has the most rapes? No, of course not. It might have the least, but has done the best job of educating its citizens on what constitutes rape and how to report it.

All of these things are ignored, in favor of a simple list, ranking countries from "best" to "worst." And now, questioning these things is deemed to be outrageous and disingenuous, as a matter of course.

Cheers, all.

My pee doesn't glow!

Are you taking daily vitamins? Ever notice your urine, shortly after taking vitamins? 'Course you have. It's bright yellow (vitamin B2), so bright it seems to glow. Not to sound like Billy Mays Hays, but it's because you're not getting the full benefit of the vitamins you're taking. Much of them are passing right through you. But if you take powdered vitamins, you won't experience this phenomenon. Why? Because the vitamins--and other nutrients--are actually absorbed by your body. What a strange concept.

I started taking a powdered vitamin formula some months ago (I mix it in with a morning protein drink) and it's really made a difference I can feel. More energy, better sleep, better digestion, and so on.

This is my choice, Nature's Fuel. Good stuff. And no glowing pee!

Cheers, all

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Technorati Claim Code

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Millionaires, Billionaires, and Corporate Jet Owners

Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, kind-hearted soul that she is, tears up during a rant about the evil House Republicans, complaining that they want to ax care for seniors in order to pay for tax cuts for...yes, you guessed it, "millionaires, billionaires, and corporate jet owners." If we're still dwelling on those top-tier tax rates, I guess that means that anyone making $250K a year is--by default--a millionaire, billionaire, or a corporate jet owner. I'm not the first two, so where the heck is MY corporate jet!?!?!

And I'm not sure, but wouldn't a corporate jet owner be--as a matter of definition--a corporation? What's the deal with the jet-hatred, really? This meme is simply stupid.

Beyond that, Wasserman-Schultz hits a total fail when she says that Republicans are asking the groups that can least afford it to shoulder the tax burden: "the middle class, working class families and small business owners." Newsflash, Ms. Wasserman-Schultz: many small business owners report incomes of over $250K a year.

Cheers, all.

Stock Options

The market has been volatile, to say the least. And I know people are always look for good stock tips--or other investment options--to improve their return. Or to make a small fortune. I'm not going to give stock "tips," however. But I'd like to talk about a stock that I've owned for quite a while, now. The company is called 3DIcon and their stock symbol is TDCP. It's a penny stock, to be sure. Currently, it's trading at around two cents a share.

This company is developing three dimensional imaging technology, the kind of stuff we see in sci-fi movies where opaque three-d images are projected into a defined space. The applications for such technology run the gamut, from medical fields, to military uses, to aeronautics, to entertainment. If the company is successful, they will make a fortune, to say the least. But don't take my word for it. Do your own due diligence.

Cheers, all.

Blogging, 2.0

I've been away for a while. From blogging, anyway. The little one--born on August, 2007--was a game changer. She's now in her second year of preschool, and I think I can try this game again. I really, really need to. My writing was better--and more frequent--when I was blogging, I think.

So, I'm gonna completely retool the blog. I've deleted my old one--Standing Rule--but will use this one in much the same way: all subjects are possible, but politics and economics will probably reign supreme. Exciting, I know...

Cheers, all.

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