#787

11:57 pm, Thursday, April 26th, 2007

Holy cow, I almost forgot to blog today! If I lose, that’s how it’ll happen. That, or I’ll lose internet access at 11:30 PM one night. Or I’ll go out to get a burger at like 10:00 and get hung up with something and not make it back in time. I think that’ll be the case for most of the other final-fivers in the IMBC. (Which makes Finley‘s odds of winning (again) pretty darn good. He always seems to blog early in the day.)

Did you see that the sequel to 28 Days Later is coming out in like two weeks? I didn’t even know they were doing one. Different director, unfortunately. I’ll still see it though.

I set up Google Analytics yesterday. (Heard about it from Ung, who seemed to be enjoying it.) It’s really keen. I love the geo-tracker thing… I never would’ve imagined someone from Khopoli, India would visit my site. I can’t wait till I have a solid month or two of statistics to look at with this.

Google Analytics Geo Map

I caught some of the democratic candidates’ debate on MSNBC this afternoon. I expected a lot of phony, liberal rhetoric and wasn’t disappointed. But I was really impressed with Mike Gravel — I love his demeanor. He is not shy about speaking his mind. The Reagan quote he delivered towards the end — “I won’t hold my fellow candidates’ lack of experience against them,” or something like that — was great. Obama’s probably the wittiest, but no one was as laugh-out-loud funny as Gravel. Old man rants are the best. And he supports the FairTax plan, which is really awesome. He’s the first mainstream politician I’ve seen talk about it on television. I like a lot of his other issue positions too. Too bad he doesn’t have a chance of winning the nomination.

TotD:

Do you think we are alone in the universe?

I think it’s very likely that there are other forms of life out there, even if it’s just microbial. But do I think there’s sentient life beyond Earth? I sort of doubt it. 75:1, if I was pressed for odds. Of course, this guess is based on little more than my own rudimentary grasp of astronomy and a lot of science fiction.

K, gotta post this and go make some pigs-in-blankets.

12 Responses to “#787”

  1. Beefy:

    Just so you know, I totally had my finger resting on the screen shot button while licking my lips. You cut it close sir.

  2. hjo3:

    Oh, I don’t doubt it.

    People watching me intently, hoping to capture my exact moment of failure forever in high-resolution… this isn’t exactly a new feeling. Thus, I remain unfazed and destined for IMBC victory. :P

  3. Mom:

    Well now, couldn’t we just blog first thing in the morning and then its out of the way? I’m sure you have some witty observations early in the day.

  4. Hecatomb:

    I’d like to go ahead and warn you, 28 Weeks Later does not cast Americans in a pleasant light. Also, I’m certain that with planets likely orbiting many of the billions of stars in each of the thousands of observable galaxies, the odds are high that sentient life exists elsewhere in the universe. However without faster-than-light space travel, teleportation, or some other means of crossing billions of light-years instantly we’ll never encounter them in the lifetime of our species.

  5. JediBear:

    I actually like the theory that we’re it — the first sapient life to emerge anywhere in the Galaxy.

    Of course, there’s no way to go either way. Too many unknowns in the Drake Equation. It could predict NO technological civs (different from sapience, I realise) or a Galaxy teeming with them. We just don’t know. And the funny thing is we won’t know — until we’ve had the chance to take a statistically significant sample of the rise and fall of technological civilizations. In other words, it’s insolulable.

  6. JediBear:

    I don’t know about FairTax. I’ve run into the idea once or twice, and it /does/ sound generally better than an income tax. It does have two very serious drawbacks, though — it’s functionally regressive (low-income earners will pay a higer percentage of their income and the poor will pay a greater percentage of their assets.) and penzlyzes sepnding. Theoretically, it could make the rich richer, the poor poorer, and make the economy come grinding to a halt. In the short term, at the very least, it could be devastating.

    Personally, I’ve always been more of a fan of taxing savings. Keep the money moving through the simple hands of putting it in the economy’s biggest spender.

  7. JediBear:

    man, I butchered that last comment. Should be “keep the money moving through the simple expedient of putting it in the hands of the economy’s biggest spender.” I need to sleep more.

  8. hjo3:

    Re: FairTax/low-income: The system accounts for this. There is a “prebate” that individuals or families receive each month that provides compensation up to the poverty line. As for penalizing consumption, that’s way more helpful to the poor than the current system (which primarily penalizes production). The FairTax plan incentivizes earning, saving, and conservation — the key steps to becoming financially secure (or escaping debt/poverty).

    Why would you want to tax savings? That would encourage people to live with as little savings as possible, making them more likely to become insolvent when they encounter a major unplanned expense.

  9. hjo3:

    Also, re: alien sentience: Isn’t it weird how closely the issue parallels the atheism debate? I find it really strange how you often see people who declare their “certainty” in the existence of E.T. intelligence and also identify as atheists. Isn’t there a logical conflict there? In both situations, no one has enough information to be sure.

  10. Peter:

    “I set up Google Analytics yesterday. (Heard about it from Ung, who seemed to be enjoying it.)”

    Hahahaha.

    I just love the top keywords section, especially when I get really strange hits like the ones I’ve posted.

  11. Hecatomb:

    At the risk of offending tons of people (like that ever stops me!), there is far more evidence of alien life than evidence of the existence of God.

  12. JediBear:

    The “prebate” is all well and good, but it doesn’t make the concept progressive. It just shifts the point at which it becomes regressive upward somewhat. I’m all for a massive entitlement program subsidizing every family in America more-or-less equally (the “prebate” is eerily similar to the Basic Living Stipend you’ll see in more socialist countries,) but it doesn’t really solve the FairTax’s problems.

    On a microeconomic level, saving is good, for all the reasons you could probably mention (it also has potential drawbacks, but we won’t dwell on that here.) On a macroeconomic level, saving is potentially bad. Saving (including stock “investments” and the like) tends to stagnate the economy.

    Investment (that is, spending) is what drives the economy. It is the /only/ driver. Things don’t get produced if noone can afford to buy them, because eventually noone will be able to afford to produce them. Simultaneously, if things aren’t getting produced, people aren’t getting employed. This is how you get things like the Great Depression.

    The FairTax is a double-whammy for encouraging saving over investment. Firstly, it /penalyses/ investment. Second, its regressive nature puts a greater percentage of the economy in the hands of the people with the greatest existing tendency to save it.

    I’m not saying it won’t work, and as I said, I actually like sales taxes and massive entitlement programs. I just worry about the likely economic effects (upheaval and stagnation)