Sunday, January 31, 2010

If you're not a Manc...

So it would appear that Wayne Rooney has single-footedly made me a Manchester United fan.  I feel a bit dirty about that.

Speaking of dirty, Alicia Keys was good on Colbert's show and funny with Andy on SNL.  I fear however that the mere act of listening to her voice might expose one to enough sexy that it could constitute adultery.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Next Next Generation

Dude from 2010: Hey, you know those hand-held computers that they use in TNG?
1980's TNG Fan: Yeah, what about them?
DF2: In 2010, you'll be able to buy one for a week's wages.
TNGF: Really?  Fuckin' sweet!
DF2: Not really.  Everyone will bitch because they don't multi-task.
TNGF: Wait, what?
Dude from 2040: You think that's bad, wait until you hear the bitching about the new flying car models.  The fusion reactors need to be replaced every 20 years, and you can't even do it yourself!  You have to have to tell it fly itself over to the shop!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

What we have here, is a failure to governate.

So, Haiti's in crisis, which means that a bunch of folks are paying attention to the important question of the hour: "Why is Haiti so poor?"

A re-phrasing, I think, is in order.  Poor is the default.  It's what happens when nothing else happens.  Infants aren't born able to feed themselves, and nations aren't born with plumbing, roads, and a functional stock exchange.  The question that matters is: "Why isn't Haiti rich?"

There are a few primary things that a country needs to be wealthy:  Rule of law, property rights, and education.  Democracy isn't strictly necessary, but it can help by removing the tendency of government to infringe upon rule of law and property rights.

Haiti has had a series of kleptocratic, terrorising, corrupt, semi-US-backed regimes.  So there goes your rule of law and your property rights.  Elites speak French following the colonial tradition, but the masses (most of them descendants from slavery) speak creole.  Illiteracy is by far the norm.  There goes you education.

Those factors alone are enough to keep a country from being rich.  Deforestation?  Definitely a problem.  Setting a minimum wage in a country with rampant unemployment?  Lunacy.  Resource curse?  Check.  Overpopulation?  Not helping.  Indeed, but these are all secondary concerns.

If the masses can be secure in the faith that the physical capital they produce will be theirs, and if they can be enabled in any efforts to increase their human capital, the rest will work itself out.  If not, then... not.

Can this be brought to pass without foreign intervention to an extent that might only be described as neo-colonialism?  That's difficult to say.  Surely Obama and his paternalistic constituency will have their theory...  What's yours?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Gather the Council

It came to pass that the Christians believed a whole bunch of relatively contradictory things, so they held the Council of Nicaea, after which they still believed relatively contradictory things, but it the list of those things was smaller, and in writing.

I propose that we gather the fathers of the house of hax0r, for the discussion of these matters.

As a first topic, I propose: "filename: one word or two?"

And we shall call our gathering: c3.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Are you employed, sir?

Unintended consequences, nanny-statism, colliding regulations, signaling, sex,  this story has it all

You don't go out looking for a job dressed like that? On a weekday?