Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The Banana Republic where the United States Used to Be

OK, maybe not quite that bad but still pretty bad. Corruption is to the Federal bureaucracy as air is to decent people but this is really an extreme example.

There is no way of getting around this: According to Director James Comey ... Hillary Clinton checked every box required for a felony violation of Section 793(f) of the federal penal code (Title 18): With lawful access to highly classified information she acted with gross negligence in removing and causing it to be removed it from its proper place of custody, and she transmitted it and caused it to be transmitted to others not authorized to have it, in patent violation of her trust. Director Comey even conceded that former Secretary Clinton was “extremely careless” and strongly suggested that her recklessness very likely led to communications (her own and those she corresponded with) being intercepted by foreign intelligence services.

Yet, Director Comey recommended against prosecution of the law violations he clearly found on the ground that there was no intent to harm the United States.

Nothing in the legal definition of gross negligence requires that the individual act with intent to harm. It requires there be a conscious, voluntary disregard of the need to use reasonable care. That is why is called "negligence" instead of something else. Hillary's actions clearly departed from the conduct expected of a reasonably prudent person acting under similar circumstances.

Read more at: FBI Rewrites Federal Law to Let Hillary Off the Hook

A final thought:

There are lots of people who think they're above the law. And then; there are those who can prove it, like the Clintons.

-- Martin McPhillips (via Billy Beck)

Saturday, July 2, 2016

That's SEMI-autonomous!

Here is another wrinkle in the fatal Tesla crash I mentioned earlier. The driver might have been watching a movie on a portable DVD player. Emphasis on "might". A DVD player was found in the car but eyewitness account differ as to whether it was playing or not. It is still not determined if the it was operating and, if so, whether the driver was watching it.

The Tesla "Autopilot" mode is semi-autonomous. It is not designed to replace the driver but rather to assist him. Apparently, Some Tesla drivers just do not get this!

This may be just be a case of advanced technology meeting an irresponsible person.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Cultural Uplift and Evolution

This is a pretty good post by Ex-Army. I am sometimes critical of him but I think his heart is in a good place.

Though he hints at it I think he misses how important is the interaction between culture and evolution. There is a feedback loop between the two. (I am tempted to type "synergy" but that word is misused too often). For example, a factor in Western Civilization was the practice of primogeniture in the early and high middle ages. By forcing younger sons to find their own way, it allowed the genes from the upper classes to propagate into the lower classes. That probably helped raised average intelligence of the population and eventually gave rise to the middle class.

Martin Luther King was on a Watchlist

Many image memes are just plain silly but this one has considerable truth in it. It is true that Martin Luther King owned guns and, at times, was protected by armed volunteers. It is a matter of record that he applied for a concealed carry permit in Alabama. Unfortunately for King, Alabama was a de facto shall-issue state at the time and the local police decided he was not a suitable person.

It is also a matter of record that then Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy approved the FBI’s wiretap and clandestine microphone campaign against King. This surveillance lasted until his assassination in April 1968.

Gays and Guns

An acquaintance once told me that gays are self-loathing and secretly want to be punished and die. I don't buy into collectivist nonsense but the fact the gay community -- via its putative leaders -- continue to advocate disarming in the face of a clear-and-present danger does make me wonder.

Fortunately, not all gays fall in line with the disarmament agenda. Erin Palette is one; Palmer is another. I am sure there are more and I hope they will speak up.

Gay Activist: 'We're Sitting Ducks' in Gun-Free Zones

Also see: Operaton Blazing Sword .

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Oops!

While tragic, accidents are to be expected as the software and hardware for autonomous vehicles is developed. Even at this stage they seem safer than those guided by a human. Personally, I look forward to a time when I can plug in a destination and let the car take care of getting me there.

Consider how far aircraft have come.

Man Killed In First-Recorded Fatal Tesla Autopilot Crash

Good Guy with a Gun

Stops a bad guy with a gun.

Despite the oft-repeated claims by the controllists, good people can and do stop crimes in progress. The reason we rarely hear of them is the death toll is usually too small to titillate the media. They want gallons of blood to dance in.

This Concealed Carrier Just Stopped A Mass Shooting At A Night Club, And The Media Remained Silent

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The "Cecil Effect" at work

Hwange National Park to Slaughter African Lions Due to Lack of Hunters

The fees paid by well-to-do hunters to kill game in Africa is a major source of funding for conservation efforts there. Now, because of the "Cecil Effect", the conservancy managers will have to pay someone to come in and kill up to 200 lions to bring the population back into balance.

A permit to kill a male lion, typically, costs about $20,000 USD. A lioness runs about $8,000. That is over-and-above the cost of lodging, a guide and transportation. Those two hundred lions represents over $2 million USD. That is just the loss from the lions. The fees for other dangerous game are similar. Now, $2 million may not be much to a self-righteous liberal asshole but in a dirt-poor, third word country like Zimbabwe is is a fortune. Losing that income means not just imperiling the preserve but also means fewer schools, clinics and, in some districts, no more meat to donate for the local human population.

Actions have consequences. Stupid actions usually lead to bad consequences.

Donald Trump as a Product of System 1 thinking.

I rarely delve into electoral politics but a recent essay I read on Facebook (of all places) started me thinking about the current election cycle.

In his book entitled Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman describes two modes of thinking in the human mind. He gives these modes the the innocuous names of "System 1" and System 2". System 1 is the fast, intuitive, and emotional side whereas System 2 is more deliberative, logical and slower.

The two systems as Kahneman describe them, make perfect sense in an evolutionary context. I recall reading that a human neuron has a clock speed of about 15 Hz to 20 Hz. That means human reaction times are, at best, measured in tenths of a second. In a world where threats and opportunities happen unexpectedly, a system for selecting quickly from the available alternatives was necessary for survival. The System 1 we inherited from our ancestors was refined by millennia of a brutally efficient system of natural selection and it works very well for what it evolved for. By contrast, the more deliberative System 2 was patched on top of the older intuitive System 1 and is heavily influenced by it.

So, what does this a have do with Trump? Well, first politics is the real mind-killer. It may be an important aspect of life and we should certainly apply our individual rationality to it. However, it is an awful place to learn to be rational. To have a rational political discussion, all sides must first be rational. Trump, I think, represents the triumph of our atavistic evolutionary nature over the much more recent and less well proven rationality. He is in effect a super politician when seen through the filter of intuition and emotion. Whether that is a good thing or a bad thing only time can tell

Which brings me to the essay. Like Mr. Yudkowsky I do not agree with everything Mr. Monroe wrote but the following does have a good exposition as to how a man like Trump can rise toward political power in a manner that appears nearly inevitable. The fault is not in our stars but in our genes.

Read it here. This is a Facebook post so it may not be visible to everyone.

Never go full Retard

Apparently that warning does not apply in California.

The California Legislature continues its headlong race to full retard with its latest gun control bills. I wonder how they will try to top this. Perhaps a permanent vegetative state would be the appropriate endgame.

ALERT: Assembly Public Safety Committee Passes 2 Anti-Gun Bills, Makes One Far Worse Than Before