Wednesday, December 22, 2010

What the heck is Net Neutrality?!

John and I were talking over dinner last night and realized, we both have very vague ideas about what the heck net neutrality is and does, and why we need it in the first place... we both hit all the main points and understood what the bill is meant to do, but had different feelings about the whole thing. We both felt fairly "neutral" about the whole thing, it seems to be a fairly harmless bill to prevent a non-existent problem, so whats the big fuss?!

Here is the basic arguments for net neutrality (from the ACLU), It's the "We must prevent future problems that may or may not happen, because so far the internet is awesome and we do not want that to change!!" argument. I totally agree. The internet is awesome and we would like to keep it that way, so lets keep things going with the free market solutions that have kept it that way so far, and worry about correcting market failures if there ever is actually evidence that the market has failed us and our freedoms.

It's not like people's lives are at stake if some bastard company slows a customer's connection speed or blocks a website, but rather an area that has been successfully been kept in check by the free market of the internet up to this point. If the things that the net neutrality proponents actually do start to happen, then we can talk, but for now I think we are alright with our regulation-free wild, wild west environment of the internet and it seems to suit us just fine. One thing that both sides of the 'net neutrality' argument seem to agree on is... the internet is freaking awesome and we would like to keep it that way!

I just don't understand how allowing the government to enter into regulation of the internet helps to keep it the same as it always has been, rather it seems to open the door for some huge changes. I would like to keep the political pressures of lobbyists and special interests away from my internet, thank you very much!!!

As far as I can tell, this is a regulatory measure that seems relatively harmless and does pretty much nothing. It is just the government kicking the door open to further regulation and claiming its territory over the internet. It's kind of like an animal marking it's territory... it is relatively harmless other than the fact that it tells you that the animal is planning on coming back again.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Five great things about the green movement... from a skeptic.

So, I don't think it's any secret that I am not a huge supporter of the green-movement inspired legislation of carbon trading, cap and trade.. I don't believe in the catastrophic predictions of human-caused global warming. I am not even all that sold on recycling, even though I do recycle metal cans, plastic and glass. (There are high enough efficiencies in recycling these materials, especially the cans, that warrant my efforts. It really bugs me to picture people working in mines to obtain metal for the cans that I would just throw away. I don't know how they do it!) That said, I think there are some great things that have come from the green movement that has resulted from the alarmist warnings of global calamity...

First, Reusable bags. You don't have to think that humans are destroying the world to appreciate garbage minimization. I LOVE my Envirosax!! They go everywhere with me. Now I can shop at Aldi/Save-a-lot without worrying about the bags (They are super cheap grocery stores that do not have bags unless you purchase them. Also, you have to insert a quarter to unlock a cart, so they do not have to hire people to gather carts form the parking lot at night. The parking lot stays clean with everyone returning their carts to save their quarters!) I save so much money shopping there because my Envirosax make it so convenient! Last week I spent $67 on groceries for a family of five!

Second, alternative energy sources in the home. Because of the green movement there are many homes that now have energy when the power goes out due to installations of wind turbines and solar panels. I love being self-reliant... I am not yet, but some people are, and that is awesome! (My wood stove is sitting in the garage, not hooked up in the least, but it is on my 'to do' list on my chalk board in the kitchen.)

Solar shingles

Third, greater energy efficiency. Due to the whole global warming thing, people have become self-motivated to insulate their houses, get better windows, etc. Even though I am not worried about carbon emissions in the least, I am a cheapskate who likes to keep warm, and people will stay warmer for less effort and money with better insulated houses.

Fourth, I think the bike thing is kinda cool, as long as it is not enforced legislatively. I love riding bikes, I like the new bike paths and do not mind community tax dollars (as long as they are coming from that specific community) to pay for these paths. It is just fun! Even though you are still zipping past everything at a good pace, it makes life seem so much more real than when I stare at it out of a car window. I still have not ridden to Kroger with the kids. It is right down the street, but bikes have very little space for groceries. I need an SUV bicycle.

Fifthly, if that's even a word...Gardening is cool again!!! There are many people that now know how to garden that did not know how in recent years. This is awesome! I love gardens and gardening. I think it is good for the soul. I don't know why. Also, if the world does go to crap and things get too expensive for any reason, maybe the green movement will have helped us to be more self-reliant and not totally lost, starving and dying of hunger if things get a little rocky.

With our bikes, wood stoves, gardens, envirosax and solar-shingles, we should be good to go!!! Even though I freakin' hate the legislation and alarmism that has come from global warming theorists, I do like the self-reliant spirit that it has inspired in many. It has helped wake up the survivalist in all of us and instill a sense of responsibility to keep our environment clean, which I think we all agree on.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Too much stuff!!! ...and yet I still want more.

"Frugality is good, if liberality be joined with it. The first is leaving off superfluous expenses; the last bestowing them to the benefit of others that need. The first without the last begets covetousness; the last without the first begets prodigality. Both together make an excellent temper. Happy the place where that is found."
-William Penn

"We make ourselves rich by making our wants few."
-Henry David Thoreau

"In a consumer society, there are inevitably two kinds of slaves: the prisoners of addiction and the prisoners of envy."
-Ivan Illich

"Be not made a beggar by banqueting upon borrowing."
-Ecclesiaticus 18:33 (Apocrypha)

"Our houses are such unwieldy property that we are often imprisoned rather than housed by them."
-Henry David Thoreau

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wanna ride?

Found this gem at a local park. Oh man, that's creepy!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Economics: Not just money

John had a professor at CMU back in the day, who was the best Economics professor ever, from the sounds of it. He pointed out that economics is not just about money. Wealth is not the only motivator that enters into people's decision-making processes!

His list of motivators were Truth, Wealth and Honor.
I have to get in touch with this guy at some point and have him lay it out for me. This is a much more complete list than the usual monetary view of economics.

Economics is the mechanics of the world. It is the science behind why we do the things we do, and the fools try to pretend that they can create
some math equation to explain it. It encompasses psychology, finance, land usage, etc.. The reality is, people are way more complicated than a math equation. Economic planning is futile! You would think after the equations fail for so long and the prediction so far off each month, that they would ditch the equations after a time, but they just keep juggling, modifying and recycling their equations and hoping it will work the next time around! Isn't this the definition of insanity?

The best planning a planning commission can do stops after they release the chains. The rest will be taken care of with laws of morality, and are not to be lifted even for the most elite of citizens. That is our greatest problem, the laws do not apply equally to all. Then when one of the 'exempt' gets caught, the rest of us get slapped with more laws that the 'exempt' will navigate around anyways.

Oh man, I totally took this one on a ranting tangent... I am very susceptible to tangents!
As F.A.Hayek has said, "The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design."


Economics Is Not Just About Money - Economics Is About Resources Of All Types

There is a common public misconception that Economics is about money and finance. This is absolutely not true. While there are certainly monetary elements present amid Economic Study, the discipline of Economics is about the best possible uses of resources of all types, whether they be land, labor, capital, time, technology, equipment, natural resources, or anything else. The terms supply and demand are familiar to us all.

**(While this is true, this article does not hit upon the totality of economics. It still is limited to efficiency as the major motivator of decision-making. Often times the dynamics of human relationships, religion and morality overrule a person's motivation to be efficient or financially better off, and play a much larger role in their decision-making process.)