Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Cool Stellar Geometry

Look in the southwest skies in the coming days to see a spectacular conjunction of Venus, Jupiter and the Moon, which will form the vertices an isosceles triangle.

The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration reports that while not very rare, the phenomenon is breathtaking. The last time it was seen worldwide was last February, and the next time will be on May 11, 2011.

Venus and Jupiter are the two brightest planets visible from Earth. The best time to see them converging is right after sunset; they will appear equidistant from the new moon between November 30 and December 1. Until then, they will gradually move into alignment - and if the sky isn't clouded, the moon will suddenly appear on the horizon and rise at the perfect angle between them to create the triangle.

NASA official Dr. Tony Philips predicts the two planets will appear to be so close, you could hide them behind your thumb if you outstretched your arm. On December 1, you may also be able to see a phenomenon of "Earthshine," in which a ghostly image of the full moon appears inside the bright horns of the crescent. It is also known as "the da Vinci glow" because Leonardo da Vinci was the first person to explain it: Sunlight reflected by the Earth then reflects off the moon, Phillips said, casting a sheen of light across the dark lunar terrain.

I will be watching for this. And, if I can get my camera fixed, taking photographs.

Source: The Jerusalem Post

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Preconditions for Communism

The stupider, lazier, more apathetic, less creative, less responsible people are, the more desirable is Communism. If you put no work into improving, and you are left free and self-sufficient, you'll be bad at doing everything. Communism rewards this by calling you needy and giving you things. If you don't want to work to earn what you have, left free and self-sufficient you will have nothing. Again, you will be 'needy' and have things given to you. If you feel that the responsibility of protecting you ought not to fall to yourself but to another, left free and self-sufficient you will find yourself unprotected.

Communism is a system with a Gospel that must be put into place through violent revolution. Capitalism is a system that must evolve. Communism presumes an absolute truth in its creator's writings. Capitalism implicitly understands the value of improving piecemeal. Communism is a system of dictated sacrifice according to prescribed rules, whether imposed on one by an actual dictator or oneself. Capitalism is a system of constant criticism; of conjecture and refutation.

Inherent in the workings of Capitalism is the best epistemology known to man. Inherent in the workings of Communism is all the hallmarks of the organised religions it sought to repudiate and eradicate, and succeeded only in replacing: ritual, sacrifice, following of charismatic leaders, and adherence to gospel.

Fear Not The Scaremongering Media

There is no problem with the economy. There is no credit crisis, nothing is out of control.

A novel, if somewhat unorthodox, method of combating inflation has recently been implemented with initially spectacular results by the United States government. Through legislative manipulation of market forces, primarily in the mortgage and housing market, they have succeeded in creating a massive recession, with results as far afield as the UK. 'The Bank of England has said inflation could fall below its target of 2% next year - and might drop as low as 1%.' (BBC News)

We may now expect to see the base rate of interest to be lowered, thus increasing inflation again (so, presumably this will happen after the rate of inflation becomes negative), and lowering unemployment, avoiding a full-blown depression as a result of this daring policy.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Mindless Repetition

Every so often, one may see some quote that inspires one and draw considerable motivation from it. Examples might be,
"Make gradual progress and never stop"
"Don't let your emotions control you; they're not the boss of you".
One remembers them, and repeats them—and they quickly lose their meaning. One slips back into the irrationality that the quote initially solved.

Irrationalities are hard to eradicate. They're not much easier to alleviate. Be careful when you think you have solved an irrationality; you almost certainly haven't.

Quotes from

Saturday, November 22, 2008

France Fails It

Where 'it' is Capitalism.

'Speaking before the deal was reached, French Agriculture Minister Michel Barnier said he would "not allow the milk quotas to be scrapped without accompanying measures, precautions being taken".

"Some would like to lift all restrictions on milk production. We know perfectly well that if we produce a lot more, the prices drop, and everyone loses."'

What? Everyone loses? What about me, the consumer, the person who creates the demand for the milk in the first place, now paying less for my milk? Hell, I might even buy more. Milk is quite an elastic product.

It's an alarming sign of how the big economies on the continent are being run: an awful kind of Atlas Shrugged economics.

Source: BBC News