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Archive for the 'Things Only Tim Cares About' Category

KEZI9 Covers ASUO Phishing Scam

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

So, we’ve all heard about the ASUO phishing scam, but just in case you were too lazy, busy or hungover to read anything about this fucked up shit, here is the story via this KEZI9 Youtube video to save you some time.

Former ASUO President and current UO Law Student Sam Dotters-Katz in the video: “I think that we’ve gone beyond student government at this point, when you have federal crimes being implicated against members of the student government.”

Word up, Sam! Indeed, this kind of shit simply doesn’t fly. This is what is wrong with America. My only further comments are, “YES THIS GOES BEYOND STUDENT GOVERNMENT,” as well as “HOW SELF-RIGHTEOUS DO YOU HAVE TO BE IN ORDER TO ATTEMPT TO RIG A COLLEGE ELECTION???”

Furthermore, “FUCK YOU, YOU HYPOCRITICAL PIECE OF SHIT, SUPPOSEDLY FIGHTING FOR JUSTICE AND EQUALITY. THE RULES APPLY TO YOU AS MUCH AS ANYONE ELSE, NO MATTER HOW ENTITLED YOU THINK YOU ARE!”

Face-palm. Goddamn.

My Drunkest Diamond

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

Courtesy of Thoreau at Unqualified Offerings comes this warm and uplifting story about the power of Tequila:

A team of Mexican scientists found that the heated vapor from 80-proof (40% alcohol) tequila blanco, when deposited on a silicon or stainless steel substrate, can form diamond films.

That’s right, bitches, you can make diamonds from Tequila. The good stuff anyway. Sounds like CJ needs to get busy writing an over realized request for some Patron and sheet metal. I smell alternate income stream.

Brains 2: Taxation Bugaloo

Thursday, June 28th, 2007

Having read the full paper that I mentioned here, I think some of my initial reservations, which were based on a synopsis, were a little misplaced. Which, frankly, should come as a shock to no one. Maybe the reviewers at Science know more about good science than I do, whoda thunk it? In any case, Harbaugh and his co-authors were looking for the hedonic rewards granted by both voluntary giving and mandatory transfer. They were doing this in an isolated, controlled environment Essentially, by examining the activity in the parts of the brain known to be associated with feelings of satisfaction, they worked to understand the different neural effects of giving to a charity and being made to give to a charity.

By doing this, Harbaugh et al*. were able to look at whether a motive of pure altruism existed, or if the data were consistent with the “warm glow” theory of giving (a good feeling from the sense of agency associated with voluntary giving). Purely altruistic giving may be reduced by government spending, where warm glow giving wouldn’t be. Why people give to charity, therefore, is an important question when it comes to the provision of public goods. If we provide them through taxation, and people are purely altruistic, then you’d expect them to quit donating to private charities as a result. On the other hand, if they are motivated solely by the good feeling they get from the choice of giving, you wouldn’t expect charitable giving to be reduced by taxation.

(more…)

Interesting Research: Brains May Like Taxes

Monday, June 25th, 2007

Late to the party as always, I’d like to point out that University Economics Professor Bill Harbaugh has a new paper on paying taxes in Science a couple of weeks ago. First of all, congratulations to Professor Harbaugh on getting this interesting piece of research into a leading journal. Go Science! Secondly, I’d like to move on to my amateurish and maybe misplaced critique.

Unlike a lot of right-leaning folks, and especially unlike many libertarians, I’m open to the possibility that paying taxes does make people feel good in some way, some of the time. If you think of a nation-state as a really large tribe, and think a little about how important intra-tribal generosity can be in an evolutionary setting…well, maybe even compelled generosity can make people feel good. But, even if the conclusion is right, I don’t think it really has much implication for the proper relationship between man and the state: the proper role and function of government is unaffected by what makes people feel good. In fact, I would argue, that due to the extremely difficult problems we face when we try to aggregate preferences, and the strange behavior of voters, that we will never be able to achieve a satisfactory outcome for all or even most citizens in a given nation-state. Therefore, the philosophical position that a minimal state achieves the most freedom and allows individuals to pursue their own ends with minimal interference which allows the best outcomes given the constraints of the real-world, is still fairly compelling, I think. Furthermore, if voluntary giving and compelled giving stimulate the same area of the brain it seems that allowing people to keep their money and donate to charity as they see fit would achieve similar ends to forced giving through a state system. Additionally, perhaps paying taxes doesn’t offer the same kind of hedonistic reward as relevant alternatives, which would mean it isn’t the best choice in many instances. Science’s summary seems to say that much is true:

The sense of well-being in the voluntary giving condition surpassed that seen when subjects were taxed.

In any case, I have a few questions about the study in general:

1) As the ODE story points out, only 19 people were sampled for this study. That’s a pretty small sample to draw conclusions from, and it could be biased, so I wonder if this paper should really serve as a jumping-off point for larger sample studies in the future.

2) Is compelled donation to a local food bank really a good proxy for taxation? A local food bank is an easily identifiable good, and one that has fairly measurable effects that participants in the study can see or at least read about in the local paper. Taxation, on the other hand, helps and hinders a variety of activities by a variety of people at a fairly large remove from the taxpayer which could, I suppose, reduce the effect if people feel more tribe-like affinity for their city than they do for the country as a whole. So I’m not sure that a local food bank is exactly the right proxy for taxation as it is actually practiced. I wonder if a better proxy would be something like a rich compact of Hawaiians in Maui.

Maybe those two issues are addressed in the full paper, but I’m not made of money so I don’t have a subscription to Science and I can’t seem to find a working-paper version anyplace on Professor Harbaugh’s website. Anyway, it is a pretty interesting bit of research and I’d be interested to hear answers to the above.

UPDATE: A friend of mine has graciously provided me with a .pdf of the entire paper, which I will read tonight after work and may post about after I’ve had a chance to {attempt} to digest the whole thing.

Up Yours, HotBot

Wednesday, June 6th, 2007

Well, I was looking at our website stats and we’re still doing pretty well, roughly 10,000 unique visitors per month, and reasonable numbers of hits. The not so good news is that about 25% of the total bandwidth was being eaten by Yahoo’s search robot. I’ve added a robots.txt file to the public_html directory and disallowed that robot indexing any file that might be kind of large (.pdfs and common web graphics files). Let me know if this does anything wonky.

Also, we continue to get searches for fake cocks and Rebecca Newell vagina. We know less about the latter than we might like, to be honest.

Tinkering

Thursday, April 5th, 2007

I have installed a new plugin to help with the comments around here. It will automatically close comments on posts after 14 days, so anything older than two weeks can’t be commented on any longer. This should help cut down on the comment spam. It should also cut down on the folks googling up year old stuff from the archive and leaving fresh, new comments.

That is all.

Random Thought

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2007

Every now and again on the UO campus there’s an “against patriarchy” conference. I’m sure you can guess how deliciously stupid it is. I was thinking this morning about the pending trade war with China, and that it might be neat for somebody (decidedly not me) to organize an Against Autarky conference. Firstly, nobody will get it so there might be relatively few protesters. Secondly, maybe it would get some accidental donations from the anti-autism folks.

Discuss.

Worst Propaganda Ever

Saturday, January 13th, 2007

For some reason, this piece of crap popped up on Facebook. I live in San Antonio, I’m used to stupid creationist bull, but this is the most comical variety. Look, speculations about the genesis of the Universe are a dime a dozen and there are plenty of physicists working on those questions, so this ridiculous clap-trap is pure comedy gold. Observe and be amazed:

So here’s the question: if originally–bazillions of years ago–there was Absolutely Nothing, wouldn’t there be Absolutely Nothing now?

Yes. For something–no matter how small–cannot come from Absolutely Nothing. We would still have Absolutely Nothing.

What does that tell us? That Absolutely Nothing never existed. Why? Because, if Absolutely Nothing ever existed, there would still be Absolutely Nothing!

If Absolutely Nothing ever existed, there would not be anything outside it to cause the existence of anything.

Again, if Absolutely Nothing ever existed, there would still be Absolutely Nothing.

However, something exists. Actually, many things exist. You, for example, are something that exists, a very important something. Therefore, you are proof that Absolutely Nothing never existed.

Genius.

Monetarism Is Dead.

Thursday, November 16th, 2006

Well, it’s inventor and biggest supporter is, in any case.

Milton Friedman did more for popularizing economic thinking and the understanding of government’s role in causing economic difficulty than any other Economist of the 20th century. He helped foster the Rational Expectations revolution, and, I think most importantly, argued strongly against the Phillips Curve and established grounding for the NAIRU. I think the last paragraph of the FT obit sums it up nicely:

Friedman himself attributed the spread of both free markets and monetarist ideas to belated recognition of the consequences of soaring government spending and high inflation in the 1970s. But so far as the reaction was coherent and rational, much of the credit must go to him. The very success of free market policies has, of course, led to fresh problems; and what would one not give for a reborn 30-year-old Milton Friedman to comment upon and analyse these new challenges?

Goodbye, Milton. And thank you.

Did You Stop Beating Your Wife To Come Down Here?

Monday, September 18th, 2006

YouTube brings us some seriously creepy comedy gold.

I Had No Idea These Guys Were Still Around

Thursday, July 20th, 2006

In the 7/20 ODE, there’s this little gem from the Students for a Democratic Society. It’s formatted as an open letter to Das Frohn, and urges him to refuse DoD funding for University research. Right. Well, at least they managed to slip “eschew” in there, I have to give them props for that.

For those of you who don’t know, SDS was one of many anti-war groups in the 1960s. Now, there’s nothing wrong with being anti-war, but as an outgrowth of the early 20th century radical socialist movement, SDS picked a bit of an ironic name for itself. David Horowitz, former revolutionary and current right-wing ideologue, has quite a bit to say about his radical days, none of it good.

SDS were the sort of people who were actively rooting for the Viet Cong, and their ideological successors at International ANSWER and the Worker’s World Party have defended the actions of everyone from Stalin to Kim Jong Il. Not to mention Pol Pot, fans of Pol Pot they are. By their own admission, SDS were rooting for the totalitarian forces of South East Asia in the 1960s, and it’s somewhat hilarious that their revival movement is reduced to quibbling about grant money in 2006. Or maybe it means that I was right about the Red Menace all along.

Purely Informational

Monday, July 17th, 2006

Current members of The Commentariat, old friends, former staffers still suffering in Eugene, and other denizens of my former stomping grounds: I shall be in town this weekend. I’m occupied Saturday and Sunday morning, but I should be free Sunday evening. I was thinking Northbank at 8pm 9pm, but this may be subject to change. Email if you desire ye olde phone number for planning purposes. Barring that, I should see y’all then.

Y’all Are Number One!

Tuesday, May 30th, 2006

And this time, it’s actually something good. Via Marginal Revolution, comes this paper showing that Oregon is the least corrupt state. The Corruption Capital? Alaska.

Happy Birthday Johnny Boy.

Wednesday, May 17th, 2006

I’ll spare y’all any more at-length Mill quoting, but the good folks at Catallarchy are marking the 200th anniversary of his birth.

[Via Hit & Run]

Two Items

Friday, March 3rd, 2006

First of all, happy birthday to me.

 Secondly: Reason magazine and Reason Online are looking for internship applicants.  Come on, OCers, show them your chops.  Application deadline is March 26.