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Scott, Crazy, Bike

A bike trip is in my future. A long bike trip. A very long bike trip.

I learned this today, when Scott called me. After the usualy formalities (or, more appropriately, in our case, informalities), he proposed the idea. At the same time, a little cellphone blip caused the word “bike” to be muffled, and all I heard was “_____ trip from Maine to Florida.” Since we have previously been on a road trip, I assumed that the blank word was “road,” so I immediately proposed that we start from here, drive to Maine, and then down to Florida. Then he repeated himself, and this time, I cauhgt the word “Bike.”

Oooooooooooh. I readily agreed. East coast? Be prepared – we’re coming, summer of 2005.

Comments

It seems strange to me that people who read my Blog will talk to me in person, or on AIM, and comment on something that I wrote in my Blog. You see, there is a mechanism built into WordPress (the Blogging software I use) to add comments. Using this mechanism, your comment becomes part of the fabric of the website, and ultimately, makes the site better, in my opinion; this I like. Occasionally, I have added somebody’s online comment to the Blog myself. Commenting lets others see different points of view, additional thoughts, and so on. All of this is good.

So why don’t more people leave comments? Spending just a short time thinking about it, I came up with two ideas:

  1. WordPress offers no mechanism for editing comments. If you mess up, you think you’re stuck with what you accidentally said. Or you could submit another comment, correcting the previous one, but then you just feel kinda dumb and you never comment again. Well, have no fear – Ryan is here. If you mess up on your comment, you can contact me, or submit another comment. I will usually fix up the comment for you, and delete the extraneous one. WordPress keeps no history, so no one will ever know you messed up, and I will quickly forget too.
  2. Writing comments can be a scary experience. Once its in writing in the public view, it becomes much more real than a simple AIM message to me, or an in-person comment in passing. Unfortunately, this is a false sense of security. I use Trillian, and I have it set up to log all of my IM conversations. Nothing you say to me goes unlogged. Sure, its not neccesarily online, but there’s only previous bad experiences stopping me from changing that. Also, I remember everything anyone says to me, so telling me in person isn’t neccesarily safe either ;-)

If that wasn’t enough to scare you off, its time to post a comment. It is your destiny.

The CIA

If you are in the mood for a thought-provoking read, check out this article from the American Spectator (text copied in “more” text below, in case of link rot).

My take on it is that the CIA is just like every other government bureaucracy. By this I mean that its underlying motivation is not to do its job – ie, gather intelligence – rather, its primary motivation – as a whole – is to keep itself alive. The most effective way to do this, for any bureaucracy, is to grow itself so large and integrate itself into the system so well that removing it would be unthinkable.

The CIA, just like countless other government bureaucracies, is well suited to this task, and as a byproduct is not very well suited to any other task. In fact, the CIA carries out “intelligence” only so far as is necessary to accomplish its real goal. And the sad fact is, the worse the CIA does its job, the better their real agenda is served. After all, intelligence failures lead to commissions that suggest even more government and even more bureaucracy. As I said before, the CIA is not alone in this regard. The worse social programs do at actually alleviating social problems, the more money will be put into those social programs. The worse public schools do, the more money will be put into public schools. These and other institutions become excellent at doing just well enough to appear to be useful, while ensuring that they do poorly enough to require more money to expand their bureaucracy, further entrenching their ultimate goal.

This “ultimate goal” I am speaking of is rarely, if ever, the goal of any person in the organization. But it becomes the focus of the group’s efforts, because it is the only goal that serves everyone’s purposes in the organization – namely, job security, social advancement, political influence, or other wealth, power, or personal goals. Everyone’s agenda in the bureaucracy is promoted by the expansion of the bureaucracy, so the bureaucracy, if it is successful, ends up expanding. It is economics at is best and worst.

These programs – created usually by high-minded ideals that put the group above the individual – end up having the most perverse effect of all – namely, the exact opposite of the intended effect. That is, the group is hurt more than before, and the individual is demeaned instead of uplifted, as the idealists imagined would happen. Such is the way of all socialist programs, and that is what all of these programs are. They are an insidious cancer that eats away at society until it crumbles, just as every civilization before has, and just as every civilization to follow likely will.

In short, when freedom is hedged in favor or equality, social justice, or some ethereal greater good:

  1. The good rarely is seen, or if seen it is fleeting.
  2. The freedom is forever lost
  3. A new bureaucracy is born or an existing bureaucracy is expanded

I believe that people have proven time and again that they will come together to serve the greater good, when it is necessary to do so. No coercion is needed for this to happen. And if a people is unwilling to come together for the greater good, then it is time for that people to waste away. I believe that government expansion only dulls this sense of duty to fellow mankind – after all, its not my war to fight. Its the government’s. What attitude could be worse?

Read the rest of this entry »

Be(e)n Running

I just returned from a short run with my brother. It was a good experience. Neither of us are in excellent shape, but we handled the experience alright. We also had some old-school fun playing with wet concrete and trafic cones.

Today was also my first day of school, again. I’m taking Linear Algebra from a none-too-exciting teacher, whose saving grace is a fairly high number of mistakes that the students can keep correcting. I’m not sure if thats a good thing or a bad thing yet.

Finally, I got ahold of 3ds max version 6 today; I’m going to begin dabbling.

Robothon

Over the last two days, I have spent 14 hours at the Seattle Robotics Society‘s Robothon. The primary activity was letting people know about the Titan Robotics Club and FIRST, but we also competed in the Mini Sumo competition. Things went quite well in that arena, and we captured second place in the beginner’s division. Quite a feat for our first time robot builder, Justin.

This evening, I created a fun video from the competition footage. Windows Movie Maker is becoming pretty durn good, although its still not up to iMovie’s mark. Linkin Park, of course, found its was into this video as well. If you want different music, you join the TRC’s video team and do it yourself! (This offer is for real, by the way).

User Private Groups

I have never been particularly happy with the way users and groups are normally used in Linux. They work well enough for people who know what they are doing, but the fact of the matter is, most people don’t know what they are doing. So, the default should be for the “right” thing to happen by default – that is, the thing the user most likely wants to happen, or to say it differently, the thing that will produce the result the user most likely wants, regardless of how exactly it does that. If that makes sense.

Anyway, a while ago, I came across this suggestion of an alternate standard to set up the security system in Linux. Its called “User Private Groups,” and it struck a chord with me. So yesterday, I changed the directories in which users put their files (/home and /sf2 in my case) over the the UPG system. We’ll see how it goes.

BYU vs. BSU

Just finished watching the BYU vs. BSU game. It was a bit disappointing watching BYU come so close, just to loose on a missed Matt Payne field goal – which is a pretty rare event from a solid player. Life goes on, though.