John Frum

South Pole, Antarctica

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John Frum
Posted 5 months ago
Rodrigo Canales: The deadly genius of drug cartels
Thank you for the clarification! I have never used narcotics myself. If my friends or family showed indications that they'd run their lives with it, I'd help them quit, or even not start at all. I welcome charity-run drug rehab centers. However, when a government gets into making and enforcing any policy, they have, at their disposal, a lot more fire-power than they can afford (because they can print all the money they want). And this is why I advocate against a government having the ability to criminalize victim-less activities. Thomas Paine said it long before I could. "Society in every state is a blessing, but government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one. The trade of governing has always been monopolized by the most ignorant and the most rascally individuals of mankind."
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John Frum
Posted 5 months ago
Rodrigo Canales: The deadly genius of drug cartels
> Do you deny that much of the demand for drugs in Western countries is satisfied by the Mexican cartels? and therefore the cause of the death of thousands there? No, I don't deny it. And yes, the cartels kill people. These are facts. And I'd say the same thing for alcohol prohibition too. What I'm saying, in addition to that, is that these cartels are born only because of an arms race between businessmen and governments. "Canales' (third) point is that we are encouraging the violence whether we are consumers of drugs, supporters of illegal drugs in any other way, or fence-sitters who allow these things to go on whether consciously or unconsciously." I agree that this was Canales' point. However, I disagree with the point. My point with my three questions was to show that the drug business, in itself, is not a threat to anyone except, in some cases, the consumers. The guns are necessary now to ensure ongoing business. If drugs were legalized, there would be no violence to maintain the core business: production, distribution and consumption. Any money spent on an arms race would be a waste of resource. Look at the alcohol cartel again. Neither was the demand eliminated, nor was the customer-supplier relationship changed. The only things that changed were the government-customer and government-supplier relationship.
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John Frum
Posted 5 months ago
Rodrigo Canales: The deadly genius of drug cartels
Canales condemns "our actual behavior of tolerance or even encouragement of consumption". Sorry, but that's quite a misguided thing to believe. Does making drugs hurt other people? Does selling drugs hurt other people? Does consuming drugs in one's own home hurt other people? Drug cartels are not really a unique or new phenomenon. We had the same thing in the US with alcohol prohibition. The Mafia became what it was only because the government decided to ban something that many people wanted to consume. Making it illegal reduced its supply. The demand rose, and along with that, the price that people were willing to pay for it. Alcohol became a lucrative market for those with the fire-power to oppose government oppression. A part of the profits earned went into investing into making an even bigger fire-power. It's cliché, but those who ignore history are condemned to repeat it.
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John Frum
Posted 10 months ago
Didier Sornette: How we can predict the next financial crisis
With all due respect to the professor for making useful techniques for predicting failure in rockets, or predicting child-birth, other biological processes, and even entertainment media, I am still convinced that using his approach to micromanage the economy (à la "Gouverner, c'est prévoir.") will be completely futile. I see that Sornette's methods have proven to be surprisingly precise at predicting the dates of crashes, however, it is completely wrong to say that the major recessions of 2007-2008, the IT crash, etc. were unforeseen. Austrian economists and investors who understood the Business Cycle Theory have always been predicting these crashes. Not with the precise timing of Sornette, but they were quite explicit about the exact reasons the crashes will happen. I wonder why Sornette doesn't work more closely with Austrian economists and Austrian Economic Theory. I expect that to be beneficial to both systems of thought, and to be beneficial to the rest of us too.
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John Frum
Posted about 1 year ago
If this were the last day of your life, how would you spend it?
Yes, in some fields, products are forgotten faster than in others. But does that mean that short-lived things have no place in our lives? Maybe I used one of your products, who knows! And I built something that was useful to someone for some period of time. I got paid for it, and so did you. In any case, practically all products have their own lifetimes. I bet, even the Eiffel Tower would, one day, have outlived its usefulness, and it will come down. Even a cook can look at each burger he made, and say, "with this, I fill one person's stomach". So, why can't you? If no one found the work you do useful, you wouldn't have been paid for it.
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John Frum
Posted about 1 year ago
What is the definition of having a "Right to drive" or other "Rights" as to opposed to having a "Privilege to drive" or other "Privileges"
Legal rights are one aspect of rights, but not the only one. Legal rights depend on which country one is a citizen of. Legality is based on morality... in every country. What are moral rights based on? That's very debatable. I have my own ideas on what's moral, but I do not assume that everyone would share my views on that. If I were in Malaysia, Indonesia or some Arab country, I'd have no "right" to insult Allah or Mohammed. Left libertarians do not subscribe to the concept of property rights. Some countries, and the UN seem to believe in the "right" to water: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right_to_water The statement "this isn't an opinion, it's a legal fact" is empty without the context of time and place. For most of their history, blacks and women in the US did not have a "right" to vote. For quite a while, only landowners had that right. Legal rights are fickle. Moral rights are subjective.
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John Frum
Posted over 1 year ago
If this were the last day of your life, how would you spend it?
Depends on why it was going to be my last day of life. If I'm not dying of some debilitating disease, I would do drugs, sex, rinse, repeat. It would be a completely hedonistic day. Anything even remotely philosophical or "spiritual" would be shunned. As for anything non-hedonistic, I suppose that's what I've been doing all my life anyway.
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John Frum
Posted over 1 year ago
A Tribute to Aaron Swartz - Post all academic articles for open public review, and end the traditional peer-review process
I'm not pessimistic about open publishing at all. That's one thing I'm very optimistic about. This is an Idea Whose Time Has Come®. These big publishers (Elsevier, Nature, Science, IEEE, Springer, Wiley) became big because publishing used to cost a lot of money, quite apart from the actual paper and print costs, there was the cost of actually running the business. With the internet, collaboration becomes a lot easier, and some academics realize that they, with a few volunteers, can actually run a journal in their spare time. If you start googling on this, there won't be an end to it. Interestingly, my own field, which shall go unnamed, has taken a completely open approach to the whole thing. Anyone can download ALL the papers published in the last 30 years or so. Not only that, when researchers write software, it is typically with an open-source license.
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John Frum
Posted over 1 year ago
A Tribute to Aaron Swartz - Post all academic articles for open public review, and end the traditional peer-review process
Articles such as http://bostonherald.com/news_opinion/local_coverage/2013/01/ortiz_says_suicide_will_not_change_handling_cases reaffirm my cynicism. begin quote >> Ortiz’s spokeswoman, Christina DiIorio-Sterling, said last night the Swartz case won’t affect the office’s handling of other cases. “Absolutely not,” she said. “We thought the case was reasonably handled and we would not have done things differently. “We’re going to continue doing the work of the office and of following our mission.”