Apple goodness: One of the few times I absolutely agree with Steve Jobs (almost)

Dear readers,

Sometimes I agree with people on the other side of the fence. In this case I agree with most of the reasons why flash sucks. However I disagree with the idea that the manufacturers and producers should make the final decision. I think the decisions should always be up to the users. This is because I believe in freedom over tyranny. I don’t believe in benevolent dictators.

But in any case here’s the link:

http://www.apple.com/hotnews/thoughts-on-flash/

Judge for yourselves,
Best regards,
Uncle Bijan

Fact vs Fiction

Dear readers,

Here’s a trinity of quotes for those of you who are looking for a way out of the maze:

1.
Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.
Arthur Conan Doyle
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/a/arthurcona134512.html#oxUCHrDvJ1TCt11h.99

2.
Clarke’s Three Laws are three “laws” of prediction formulated by the British writer Arthur C. Clarke. They are:

a) When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
b) The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
c) Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clarke%27s_three_laws

3. Isaac Asimov’s three laws of robotics:

a) A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
b) A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
c) A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Laws_of_Robotics

And some non-quotes:
Shawshank Redemption (film)

Count of Monte Cristo (book mentioned in above film)

Foundation series of books (by Asimov)

Love,
Bijan

Catholicism vs Protestantism in the Gospels

Dear Readers,

You may know that I am pretty strong in my views that are similar to born again Christian views. However I do think there is a lot of value in Catholic values. My only criticism is that we should pursue them more actively, instead of just talking about them:

Matthew 5

31 It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a
writing of divorcement:
32 But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the
cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry
her that is divorced committeth adultery.

and

Matthew 19

1 And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these sayings, he
departed from Galilee, and came into the coasts of Judaea beyond Jordan;
2 And great multitudes followed him; and he healed them there.
3 The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it
lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?
4 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made
them at the beginning made them male and female,
5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall
cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?
6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath
joined together, let not man put asunder.
7 They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of
divorcement, and to put her away?
8 He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered
you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.
9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for
fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth
her which is put away doth commit adultery.
10 His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it
is not good to marry.
11 But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to
whom it is given.
12 For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb:
and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be
eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake.
He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.
13 Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his
hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them.
14 But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto
me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.
15 And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence.
16 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing
shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but
one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
18 He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt
not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,
19 Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as
thyself.
20 The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth
up: what lack I yet?
21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast,
and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and
follow me.
22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he
had great possessions.
23 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man
shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.
24 And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye
of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
25 When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who
then can be saved?
26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible;
but with God all things are possible.
27 Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and
followed thee; what shall we have therefore?
28 And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have
followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of
his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of
Israel.
29 And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or
father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall
receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.
30 But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.

God bless tiny Tim.

Bijan

Why Nativism is Wrong: The Christian Perspective

Dear Reader,

Nativism is described by Wikipedia as:

1. “The political position of demanding a favored status for certain established inhabitants of a nation as compared to claims of newcomers or immigrants”.

Alternatively it is also explained that:

2. “Nativism typically means opposition to immigration and support of efforts to lower the political or legal status of specific ethnic or cultural groups because the groups are considered hostile or alien to the natural culture, and assumptions that they cannot be assimilated.”

I believe these two closely related notions are incompatible with the following parable from the Gospel of Matthew

Matthew 20:
20:1 For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an
householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers
into his vineyard.

20:2 And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he
sent them into his vineyard.

20:3 And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing
idle in the marketplace, 20:4 And said unto them; Go ye also into the
vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their
way.

20:5 Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did
likewise.

20:6 And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others
standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day
idle? 20:7 They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith
unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that
shall ye receive.

20:8 So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his
steward, Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from
the last unto the first.

20:9 And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they
received every man a penny.

20:10 But when the first came, they supposed that they should have
received more; and they likewise received every man a penny.

20:11 And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman
of the house, 20:12 Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and
thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and
heat of the day.

20:13 But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no
wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny? 20:14 Take that
thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto
thee.

20:15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is
thine eye evil, because I am good? 20:16 So the last shall be first,
and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.

And so those who arrive first should not receive any more than those who arrive last, because they knew what they were getting and made their decision to move based on that, or were simply born there and made no choice at all, and therefore can have no merit, unless we accept the inheritance of merit, which is another discussion.

Here it is important to note that there is a distinction between inheritance of merit and heredity of merit. There is a certain advantage that comes from birth, but that advantage is not legal, nor political, but natural. Natural advantage cannot be overcome by laws of man. But again that is another can of worms.

But neither should they receive less, all else being equal.

The current set of rules for entry (if any) should be set by the Country based on current conditions, needs and merits, and not on historical privilege or lack thereof.

Fair rules, free of prejudice, lead to fair outcomes, for all.

Unfair rules, even if it be positive prejudice, lead to unfair outcomes, and sadly this is usually for the vast majority of the population…

Of course all this aside, it is hard to see how 1 and 2 can be upheld at the same time (since after 2 or 3 generations, all different categories are equally native, and the problems of prejudice no longer hinge on nativism proper, but on culture), and it is hard to see how one can uphold one principle and then reject the other. The only logical combination to me seems to be to reject both 1 and 2.

Bijan

The Current Issues of the Day

Dear Readers,

Here are some blog postings by the online blogger Suyts, in which I heavily contributed to the discussion.

Enjoy!

Education:
http://suyts.wordpress.com/2012/10/02/obama-is-pro-education/

Health Care:
http://suyts.wordpress.com/2012/09/28/germany-france-push-for-massively-stupid-tax/

Military:
http://suyts.wordpress.com/2012/09/30/one-of-the-only-times-i-agree-with-huffpo/

http://suyts.wordpress.com/2012/10/02/the-u-s-mission-in-libya-made-repeated-requests-for-increased-security-in-benghazi/

Campaign Finance:
https://suyts.wordpress.com/2012/10/08/is-the-obama-campaign-trying-to-literally-steal-the-election/

The first US presidential debate:
http://suyts.wordpress.com/2012/10/03/the-debate-tonight/

Bijan

Re: Rebuilding Western Democracy

Dear readers,

This was what I posted in response to some Marxists criticizing the new Democratic movements, such as the women’s movement, the environmental movement and the anti-war movement. My point is that unions (the wet dream of the old Left) alone can’t fix the problem.

The original text can be found here:

http://archives.econ.utah.edu/archives/marxism/2003w43/msg00027.html

Here is my side of that conversation:
The problem in this case is that many unions simply aren’t big enough
to deal with the “objective contradictions within capitalism”, to use
your own words, and simply deal with “its surface phenomena”.

So we want world peace and an end to capitalist wars! What about the
jobs that will be lost if we cut subsidies to the defense industry.

So we want livable cities where car ownership is not a pre-requisite
to citenzenship! What about all the workers in the auto industry who
will take pay cuts.

And on and on.

Yes these are all side effects of capitalism, but no, trade unions
can’t deal with them. They can’t deal with the problems inherent in
the means of production.

These new groups might be able to deal with them, at least to the
extent that these Environmentalist/Feminist/Pacifist groups do see the
primary role of private power (corporate capital) in all of these
phenomena.

We have reached a point where the surface phenomena can’t be brushed
aside, they determine the extent to which resistance to the status quo
is possible.

Suburbanism and sprawl are technical means to strengthen private
power. In the city I often see workers on strike. They are clearly
visible and make a strong impact on passers by, who are able to
interact with them. The same thing is almost unthinkable in the
desolate car-dominated environment of suburbia.

A similar argument could be made for the mental environment, in which
we are constantly bombarded with propaganda, in the form of
advertising and entertainment.

In fact similar arguments could be made for all these surface
phenomena. These problems don’t just make life less enjoyable for
middle class intellectuals. They determine what people can think, what
they can do, how they can live…

Bijan