what we have here is...failure to reraise...|
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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in
Will Chamberlain's LiveJournal:
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|Saturday, October 3rd, 2009|
|albums of the decade
So Pitchfork has a nifty feature listing their top 200 albums of the decade. I actually think it's really strong, and for the first time, they really gave The National's Alligator its due.
But enough of that. I'm inspired, here are the ten albums from this decade that I consider indispensable.
Interpol - Turn On The Bright Lights
Obstacle 1 has to be one of the best pure rock songs of the decade, and The New has one of the most gorgeous mid-song transitions I've ever heard.
Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago
Flawless. If anyone can name two songs more beautiful than Lump Sum and Re: Stacks, I'd love to hear them. I'd almost want to include the Blood Bank EP, along with Brackett, WI, from the Dark as the Night compilation, as their own albums.
Jay-Z - The Blueprint
The ultimate rap album. Takeover is the perfect pump-up song - that one song I'd want to listen to before I did anything competitive. And there are classic tracks up and down the album.
Broken Social Scene - You Forgot It In People
Is there a missed step anywhere on this album? Ever? From the ridiculously cool bass lines on Stars and Sons and Shampoo Suicide to the peaceful harmony on Looks Just Like the Sun, this is an album you can listen to on repeat over and over again.
TV On The Radio - Dear Science
There are two songs that elevate the album to greatness - Stork & Owl, and DLZ. I can't do without those two songs, so I can't do without this album. (The rest of it is pretty awesome too.)
The National - Alligator
The National - Boxer
So two albums from the same band. Shocker that it's my favorite right? I've listened to these albums on repeat more times than I can count. Secret Meeting, the opener of Alligator, is such a perfect introduction to the band - interesting, clever lyrics, combined with some gorgeous guitar and drum work. And you can just go down these albums and find stellar tracks - City Middle, The Geese of Beverly Road, All The Wine, Green Gloves, Fake Empire, Ada, Mistaken For Strangers, Start A War, Daughters of the Soho Riots...nearly everything is a classic.
The xx - xx
The newest addition to my list, and it's quickly become indispensable. These guys are a lot like Interpol, in that there is a minimalist, precise feel to the instrumentation. 4-5 absolutely fantastic songs (Crystalised, Islands, Heart Skipped a Beat, Basic Space) and consistency throughout.
M83 - Saturdays = Youth
Another hauntingly beautiful album. No album goes from high, to low, so quickly as does this one when it transitions from the euphoria of We Own The Sky to the tragedy of Too Late.
Bloc Party - Silent Alarm
I feel like I have to take one really good rock album that's just endlessly listenable. This one is it. Banquet, Pioneers, This Modern Love...so great. Can go back to it time and again.
LCD Soundsystem - Sound of Silver
Someone Great might be the song of the decade. But whenever I listen to this album, I skip to that song, and take it out before it's finished. So it'll have to stay on the sidelines.
Radiohead - In Rainbows/Kid A
Both of these albums are great. Fantastic. Wonderful. But I can't say I've kept them on repeat for as long as people like. Dare I say that I think Radiohead are overrated?
Burial - Untrue
Still the ultimate night-driving album. But outside of that scenario it doesn't get too many listens. In Mcdonalds is pretty close to perfect.
Hercules and Love Affair - Hercules and Love Affair
I used to love this album more, now I'm less addicted. Iris is still an absolutely awesome song, as is Athene.
The Roots - Game Theory
I happen to think this is a fantastic album, and I don't see it get that much press. Not quite on the level of the above 10, though. Long Time is probably the highlight, along with Don't Feel Right.
Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest
This is a really, really good album. I think others like it more than me, and I like it a lot. While You Wait For The Others is awesome.
Iron & Wine - Woman King
Only six songs - but they are just nailed so well. My Lady's House is gorgeous.
St. Vincent - Marry Me
Now, Now is one of the best pop songs of the decade. Loses steam in the latter half though.
Sufjan Stevens - Michigan/Illinois
Both of these albums are stellar. If I had to pick one I'd probably go with Michigan. But in the end, I think Bon Iver takes care of my soft music shtick, so these just barely miss.
|Monday, September 14th, 2009|
|Policies as Tokens
Protectionism is back! On Friday evening, the Obama administration put in place a 33% tariff on Chinese tires. Here at ATN, we're well versed in the problem of democratic failure - how special interests co-opt reform, and how being right simply isn't enough to get proper policies passed. But this policy is such a gaping vacuum of stupid that it requires more thorough analysis.
At first glance, this would seem like your classic special-interest driven policy. The logic of collective action demonstrates that small groups have a far easier time organizing and acting in their collective interests than do large groups. Clearly, domestic tire producers are a small group, that would stand to gain significantly by the passage of this policy, while taxpayers are a large, dispersed group, who will bear a large, but dispersed cost.
But the interesting thing about this policy is - the tire producers didn't even want it. Really! They didn't put any pressure on the Obama administration to put this tariff in place. The tariff was requested by the United Steelworkers, a group that really doesn't have a financial interest at stake in the matter at all. And yet, because the USW was behind the policy, the Obama administration fell in line.
Obama giving the USW this tariff is the equivalent of a husband giving to flowers to his wife - it's just a token, a symbol of the power that USW still has to influence policy, and the "love" that the Obama administration has for unions. And it just goes to show how little political pain there is in imposing a small cost on a very large group of people - that the Obama administration could afford to do it just to take a symbolic stand with a union.
(HT: Shadow Government)
|Saturday, August 29th, 2009|
Interactions, deliberately controlled, must strain the mind.
Every movement mechanical, each word rehearsed.
Is this a conversation or a prose interpretation?
Saccharine sweet, I can't believe it's not butter, or rather
that your face could be contorted so - not without practice.
It's always been like this, hasn't it - emotion filtered, calculated,
manufactured. Oh! That one time, that one moment
of utter disgust, too powerful to feign. That was real.
The apology afterwards, probably not. Your instincts
got the better of you, did they? Do keep them in check.
|Tuesday, August 25th, 2009|
|i can't stop eating sugar!
McArdle is skeptical that the AHA telling people to cut their sugar intake will lead to people actually cutting their sugar intake:
I'm not sure what to make of this. Pretty clearly, almost no one is going to cut their sugar intake that far, except people who already have cut their sugar intake. I suspect that the American Heart Association is hoping for some sort of anchoring effect: people hearing they should cut their sugar intake to 9 teaspo0ns will maybe bring it down to 18 or 27.
But I think that anchoring only works when people actually have to participate. When people have the option of ignoring you, making your goal too extreme may actually decrease its effectiveness.
She might be right that a lot of people will ignore this, but still, this is a very positive event from the AHA, given the fact that sugar is looking more and more like the primary cause of the diseases of civilization. It would be better if it were combined with a mea culpa over their consistent recommendation of refined carbs, but we'll take what we can get.
FWIW, I think it's much easier to give up sugar than it is to give up fat. Sugar is just empty calories - it doesn't really have an effect on your relative satiation. Fat, on the other hand, is what makes you full, so giving it up means you end up eating a lot more stuff.
|Wednesday, August 12th, 2009|
|PSA - google reader shared items feed.
As some of you are aware, I read a ton of blogs. At last count I have 122 subscriptions, and I manage to get through my feed every day.
Thanks to a new feature on Google Reader, you can follow my shared items feed with ease. Just search for my name, and you'll get the hook up for the very best material that I read - just as an example, in the last 30 days, 8,000 items have hit my feed, and only 167 of them have been shared.
Also, if you are a sharer, then let me know. I'd be happy to read what you read.
|Tuesday, August 11th, 2009|
|facebook memes are fun - leatherbound books.
Rules: Don't take too long to think about it. List 15 books you've read that will always stick with you. They should be the first 15 you can recall in no more than 15 minutes. Tag 15 friends, including me, because I'm interested in seeing what books my friends choose. (To do this, go to your Notes tab on your Profile page, paste rules in a new Note, cast your 15 picks, and tag people in the Note, upper right hand side.)
In no particular order and just off the top of my head:
Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes
Economics in One Lesson by Harry Hazlitt
The Spy Who Came In From The Cold by John LeCarre
The Moral Animal by Robert Wright
The Blank Slate by Steven Pinker
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson
Ace on the River by Barry Greenstein
The Machinery of Freedom by David Friedman
The Theory of Poker by David Sklansky
The Way of the Superior Man by David Deida
The Rise and Decline of Nations by Mancur Olson
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig
The Quiet American by Graham Greene
Something Like An Autobiography by Akira Kurosawa
|Monday, August 10th, 2009|
|required reading on nutrition
I just finished Gary Taubes' Good Calories, Bad Calories, and I consider it to be the single most important book I've read in the past five years. It's a book that is not only a guide to the true causes of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and the other diseases of civilization, but also a story about how the entire nutritional establishment managed to get it so very wrong, for so long, and why they continue to get it wrong.
For those of you interested in the conclusions, here they are in list form:
1. Dietary fat, whether saturated or not, is not a cause of obesity, heart disease, or any other chronic disease of civilization.
2. The problem is the carbohydrates in the diet, their effect on insulin secretion, and thus the hormonal regulation of homeostasis - the entire harmonic ensemble of the human body. The more easily digestible and refined the carbohydrates, the greater the effect on our health, weight, and well-being.
3. Sugars - sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup specifically - are particularly harmful, probably because the combination of fructose and glucose simultaneously elevates insulin levels while overloading the liver with carbohydrates.
4. Through their direct effect on insulin and blood sugar, refined carbohydrates, starches, and sugars are the dietary cause of coronary heart disease and diabetes. They are the most likely causes of cancer, Alzheimer's disease, and the other chronic diseases of civilization.
5. Obesity is a disorder of excess fat accumulation, not overeating, and not sedentary behavior.
6. Consuming excess calories does not cause us to grow fatter, any more than it causes a child to grow taller. Expending more energy than we consume does not lead to long-term weight loss - it leads to hunger.
7. Fattening and obesity are caused by an imbalance - a disequilibrium - in the hormonal regulation of adipose tissue and fat metabolism. Fat synthesis and storage exceed the mobilization of fat from the adipose tissue and its subsequent oxidation. We become leaner when the hormonal regulation of the fat tissue reverses this balance.
8. Insulin is the primary regulator of fat storage. When insulin levels are elevated - either chronically or after a meal - we accumulate fat in our fat tissue. When insulin levels fall, we release fat from our fat tissue and use it for fuel.
9. By stimulating insulin secretion, carbohydrates make us fat and ultimately cause obesity. The fewer carbohydrates we consume, the leaner we will be.
10. By driving fat accumulation, carbohydrates also increase hunger and decrease the amount of energy we expend in metabolism and physical activity.
But don't take my word for it - buy the book and read it ASAP. I doubt you'll regret it.
|Monday, July 20th, 2009|
|on reading people who disagree with you
"I live for wisdom and beauty, which make me happy. In my own experience, wisdom comes from finding truth and understanding it." - Marilyn Von Savant
I don't know if I've ever agreed with a statement more than this one. It's hard to explain the life choices I've made - reading more than is healthy, arguing with people constantly, engaging in any number of competitive games, without this maxim. Understanding the world is fun - it makes life better, makes you a more complete person.
But Savant is hitting on something deeper here. Finding "truth" isn't easy. There's a lot of things claiming to be the 'truth' out there, and most of us think we have grasp of a large portion of the 'truth,' especially with regard to our political beliefs. The reason we think this is that we can point to people we disagree with, look at their statements, and refute them, and thus see that again, we are on the side of righteousness.
However, when we do this in politics, often we find ourselves choosing easy foils. For example, it's very easy for a libertarian to refute a person like Naomi Klein.. Similarly, it's easy for a progressive to refute a person like Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity, because they are idiots who spew nothing but garbage.
When we refute these people, and consequently strengthen our bias that we have grasped hold of the truth, we are selling ourselves short. These people are not the top intellectuals in their movements, and their arguments are easy to deal with for a reason.
You should be seeking out smart people who disagree with you. And then reading them. And then trying to figure out why they are wrong.
|Wednesday, July 15th, 2009|
|i have the right to the head of alfredo garcia
With the return of the health-care reform debate, rights discourse is back in style. As a recovering deontologist I've been prone to this sort of rights discourse as well. Libertarians are fond of discussing why private property rights can be derived as part of objective morality, and thus must be treated as absolutely sacred.
Enough already. If you are tempted to use rights discourse, just remind yourself of this.
1) Your have no proof of the existence of the right of X. Your attempts to logically derive said right are bogus because you are inserting your head into Hume's guillotine by deriving value-statements from fact statements. Your intuition that people should have a right to X is nothing more than that - an intuition. If other people don't share it, it's not because your argument wasn't persuasive enough, it's that people's moral sense is not objective, but subjectively derived.
2) There is no ability to compare rights. For example - libertarians argue that people should have a right to their property, deriving it from the self-ownership axiom. Liberals argue that people have a right to health care. Guess what - there is no way to resolve this debate. To argue that people have a right to health care is to argue that people have a right to the labor of doctors, which violates the idea that doctors have ownership in themselves, AND vice versa. There's no way to calculate which rights violation is worse without going into a utilitarianism. So all rights discourse does is get everyone pissed off at everyone else.
3) If you designate something as a right, it's probably not going to be provided as well as if it were simply a consumer good. Why? Because the moment you argue that all people have a right to any good or service, you justify the government providing that good or service, and that is a recipe for disaster, because it means that the natural tendency of market interactions to bring down the price of that good or service, and thus increase access to it, will go away.
4) Designating something as a right justifies violence in order to secure that right, and violence is bad. History is replete with examples of well-intentioned crusades to protect rights leading to piles of bodies littering the streets.
Rights discourse is unverifiable, incommensurable, unnecessary, and dangerous. So check yourself.
|Tuesday, July 14th, 2009|
|will work for commute costs
Welcome to the new economy; where the government pays you unemployment while you take an unpaid internship
Something's wrong here. It's not with the employees - they are just taking the best option available to them. If they can't find a job that pays better than unemployment (which isn't that easy - unemployment is $400 a week, well more than the $320 a week a minimum wage job would pay,) then the combination of unpaid internship+unemployment is probably the best for their careers.
It's not with the employers - when people are coming to you saying that they will work for free...you'd be silly to turn them down.
No, as always, the problem is institutions that create perverse incentives. Loads of government regulations make hiring an employee a significant pain in the ass, costing the organization far more than the minimum wage. Unemployment is high enough that it is a more attractive option than paid employment for a lot of people.
The real tragedy here is that this set-up disconnects your productivity from your wage. People like the 26-year-old Ms. Biever, who have been laid off from two jobs in four years, are clearly in the wrong profession - not once, but twice, Ms. Biever's productivity has been judged surplus to requirements. But who cares - she can continue working as an unpaid intern, collect unemployment, while not producing enough value to justify a minimum wage job. Ms. Biever loses, taxpayers lose, society loses.
Also note the inherent hypocrisy here - certainly, rich white people are capable of deciding whether or not to take a job that pays less than minimum wage, but poorer immigrants, not so much.
|Thursday, July 9th, 2009|
|i guess i'm not a rothbardian
Lew Rockwell, in response to Tyler Cowen's craptastic taxonomy
of libertarians, offers a simpler, binary option
"There are only two kinds of libertarian, much as some would like to obscure it: Rothbardian and non-Rothbardian. But even that can be a distraction in our everyday work. As Murray noted — minarchist or anarchist, constitutionalist or monarchist — there is really only one consideration: Do you hate the state?"
What does hating the state get you, other than alienating you from 99% of society? Hating the state is like hating gravity - insofar as the state organically evolves as bandits become stationary
, it is part and parcel of human society. He who has the gun, makes the rules, and so on and so forth. And as Mencius Moldbug argues
, once the army installs cryptographic locks on its weapons, there really is no threat to sovereignty, period, end stop. We can speculate all we want about overlapping jurisdictions and polycentric law, but without an actual process by which such a system could arise (without everyone dying in a nuclear holocaust in the short term) this seems futile.
In fewer words: Hating the state is the ideology of revolution, and revolution is bad
Rather than hating the state, hate the lack of innovation in governance. Hate the high barrier to entry for creating a new government, and the significant lock-in that customers face.
In short, become a structural libertarian
|Tuesday, July 7th, 2009|
|wsop day 2 report - roBUSTO
I'm very tired and I don't feel like going into huge detail. The cards just flat out weren't there today. Combine that with some at-times sloppy play and my chips dwindled pretty quickly.
Overall I'm pretty happy with my play - I was aggressive, tricky, while at the same time making it hard for people to take big pots off of me.
In any event, I've still got 4 more days in Vegas ahead of me - FreedomFest starts on Thursday.
|Sunday, July 5th, 2009|
|Saturday, July 4th, 2009|
|wsop end of day 1: 53,450 in chips
good day overall. i'll try and make a full post later, when i have some free time, but i know that there are some people following on lj so this is for them.
for reference: everyone started with 30k in chips.
|Wednesday, July 1st, 2009|
|distributive coalitions get paid, poor people not so much
Felix Salmon posts a very nice graph
of who is getting money from the California and who is getting IOU's.
If there was ever an indicator of who actually has power in a modern democracy, this is it. If you're on board with redistribution, just remember - you'll get a lot more redistrbution from the non-connected to the connected than you will from the skilled to the truly needy.
Why? The Logic Of Collective Action
. Organizing is hard - that's why people get paid to do it. It's a lot easier to organize if there are less of you, if your members already have funds and resources, and if you are a largely homogenous group. And once you're organized, you're invulnerable.
|the truth will not set you free, but it will help you get laid
Stefan Molyneux has an interesting video
with some interesting arguments about the human condition - that instead of being free individuals, we are livestock, and our countries are farms. The problem comes at the end - when he says that the solution to our predicament is philosophy - that we free our minds, and take the red pill.
Mencius Moldbug, an eccentric, awesome meta-blogger, takes a similar line
with his arguments about how to transition away from a progressive society. The truth, he says, is the one asset of the reactionary - and the unyielding pursuit of truth will be enough to shake the foundations of progressivism to the point that the system will simply crumble apart. Or something.
Both of these bloggers are indulging in something of a common meme in libertarian circles - the meme of folk activism
. If we are good enough, right enough, and persuade enough people of our rightness, then doggone it, people will like us and implement our policies or change over to our system of governance.
Yup, that'll work.
Both Molyneux and Moldbug are avoiding the first mistake of libertarianism - advocating for policy changes by the USFG. If insanity is trying the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result each time, then Cato
might well be the most insane institution on the planet.
The problem is that they are making the second mistake of libertarianism - advocating for a systemic change in the governments that we have. With no plausible mechanism to actually facilitate a restoration of the Stuarts/anarcho-capitalist paradise, they are left appealing to "the truth" as mechanism for change.
The truth will not set us free. Floating platforms in the middle of the ocean
, on the other hand...
|Monday, June 29th, 2009|
Here's a simple question: How many of the people who are commenting on the bill have read the whole thing? It can't be more than ten - the bill is 1200 pages long, with over 300 pages added the night it was passed.
When there is a whole 300 pages of legislation that has gone basically unread by every legislator and pundit, NO ONE can say whether the bill is, on net, good or bad.
I seem to recall progressives complaining that the Patriot Act was passed, unread...
|Friday, June 26th, 2009|
|buy a piece of me in the wsop?
So I'm playing the $10,000 wsop main event next week, which means I get to offer the most super-fun thing ever - rooting shares.
For the uneducated, a rooting share is a very small slice of my action in the tournament - in this case, .25%, .5%, and 1%. It's a fairly inexpensive sort of lottery ticket, except with positive expectation because the field at the WSOP is notoriously soft. And buying one means that following the WSOP is all the more exciting, because if I win, you win!
Because this is the first time I'm playing the main event (and because you all are my friends) I'll be selling these shares at par (though I think they are probably worth 2-3x this in EV.)
$25 = .25% of my action
$50 = .5% of my action
$100 = 1% of my action
Be forewarned - the most likely scenario is for me to bust out before I make the money. This is one of those high-risk, high reward plays. First place is something like 9 million, .25% of that isn't too shabby.
If you'd like to purchase a share, you have a few options:
1) Send me the appropriate amount of money on paypal (account is: firstname.lastname@example.org)
2) Send me a message via facebook/email and mail me a check postmarked no later than July 2nd.
For those of you who want to send me pokerstars money or something of that kind, wait a couple days and I'll be able to get that worked out.
I'm going to sell a maximum of 20% of myself in rooting shares ($2000 worth) largely because I want to keep the rest for myself.
I'll also be updating facebook semi-regularly with my status during the tournament, so even if you don't want to buy a share, you can follow along and root me on.
Any questions, let me know.
|Tuesday, June 16th, 2009|
|prositution is bad, mmk
A good friend of mine, and competitor on the debate circuit, AJ Jenkins, posted an entry
on prostitution in Thailand on a blog he contributes to, Feminists for Choice.
I post a full line-by-line refutation below the cut. Warning, it's quite long.( more...Collapse )
|Thursday, July 17th, 2008|
[14:15] druj19: that knowledge you dropped on me about overpopulation at in and out has really depressed me
[14:15] WillMagic101: lol
[14:15] druj19: now im a total dick all the time
[14:15] WillMagic101: hahahahahahaa
[14:15] druj19: people are like man theres so many traffic accidents its terrible
[14:15] WillMagic101: language shapes reality i guess
[14:15] druj19: im all like its fucking excellent the more dead the merrier
[14:15] druj19: fuckers are taking up my oxygen
[14:16] WillMagic101: also more fatal traffic accidents = less traffic
[14:16] WillMagic101: the problem is its own solution Current Mood: evil