The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle just disappeared from the blog. Sorry!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Climate Change

Before your eyes glaze over ande you move on to another, more entertaining, blog... let me elaborate.

I am not concerned about man-made climate change and I would like to explain why.

For all the noise about CO2 emissions and how they may affect climate, we forget about the impact of great amounts of ash (from volcanos) and methane. Just one supervolcano eruption could essentially wipe out every human being on the planet. I won't even mention the possible impact of a giant asteroid or comet. A major undersea earthquake could release a huge pocket of methane which would alter the global climate immeasurably. And the changes would occur so rapidly that we would not have time to adapt.

Climate change that happens over time (say, a hundred years or more) is something we could adapt to. If the planet warms, we can move inland (to adapt to rising sea levels), we can explore new methods to find (or make) fresh, potable, water. But change that happens relatively quickly will impact us rapidly and not give us time to adapt.

The problem is that rapid changes caused by natural phenomena cannot be addressed by government, cannot be even prepared for. Government will be helpless, as will we. We might as well sacrifice virgins to the Gods for all the good it would do us.

Government is, to me, an entity that seeks to increase its power and scope. In that aim, it seeks to increase its wealth (which comes from its people). It does this through various revenue enhancements (tax and fee increases) and through expanding its control over people. To justify these, it must have (or create) a reason. These are exploitations of our fears. One of the obvious fears is war, which is why we depend upon government to protect us from belligerent nations and terrorists. But we now have another one: climate change.

I think government is exploiting our fears, mostly based on their own pronouncements of its long term impacts, about this.

Call me a "denier" if you wish but I happen to believe that humans are the most adaptable creatures on the planet and strongly believe we could, and would, adapt to any changes in climate... so long as they did not happen rapidly.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Ever Hear Of "Young Earth?"

I was reading my daily comic strips when I came across this:

Which prompted me to find out who Ken Ham is. Turns out that he is a staunch fundamentalist and the CEO of the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky. An interesting belief he has is that if you don't believe Genesis then you shouldn't believe in the New Testament. He once put it this way:

[My father] was always very adamant about one thing - if you can't trust the Book of Genesis as literal history, then you can't trust the rest of the Bible. After all, every single doctrine of biblical theology is founded in the history of Genesis 1-11. My father had not developed his thinking in this area as much as we have today at Answers in Genesis, but he clearly understood that if Adam wasn't created from dust, and that if he didn't fall into sin as Genesis states, then the gospel message of the New Testament can't be true either.

I find these people interesting. My brother-in-law is one of them. he doesn't believe the Earth is much more than 6,000 years old. Doesn't believe carbon dating is valid. I once had a conversation about this with him. I find you have to tread lightly when discussing something as important as a person's religious beliefs. Let's just say it didn't go well but it was amiable. We basically agreed to disagree.

Of course he, as my late father-in-law did, thinks I am pretty much a heretic and beyond redemption.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Net Neutrality And You

Let me try to explain what I think net neutrality means:

It is, to me, fair access to the Internet at a reasonable cost. By "fair access", I mean I get the speed I pay for. By "reasonable cost", I mean not excessive.

Recently, the FCC ruled on something they call "Open Internet" and this is, apparently, what they mean by "net neutrality." They put it this way, "It means innovators can develop products and services without asking for permission."

I was not aware anyone had to ask permission. Were you? It further says, "The FCC's Open Internet rules protect and maintain open, uninhibited access to legal online content without broadband Internet access providers being allowed to block, impair, or establish fast/slow lanes to lawful content." By the way, what is "legal (or "lawful") content? 

The "fast/slow lanes" are important. Presumably, some ISP's were restricting speeds at various times, or were perceived to be. I suspect they weren't. I see no percentage in doing that. If you are on cable, you might experience slowness at times; slow in terms of what you expect to get. I noticed, for instance, that early evenings (say, around 6 PM) that I would see longer ping times and slower test speeds. But still within what I pay for. I pay for 12Megabits per second and that's what I get during these "slow" periods. I get over 18 Mbps and 6.1 Mbps most of the time. I am amazed, in a way, at those speeds. I started on the Internet using a modem connection at 14400 bps with a much slower upload speed of 2400 bps. Not what anyone would call fast.

It's what my old BBS got and neither DSL nor cable was available where I lived.

But I wonder if anyone feels as I do about the FCC deciding they could regulate the internet. I am not a fan of government regulation. I think it is bad. Perhaps because I used to work for AT&T, what was called a "regulated monopoly." I was working for them when we went through what was called "Divestiture" and the result of that. It was supposed to reduce costs of phone service. It did, for long distance calling, but not for local service; that went up rapidly.

I do not think government regulation will improve service, internet speed, or provide "fair and equal access." I think it will make things worse, not better. I could be wrong. Let me know what you think.

Friday, April 17, 2015


As you might recall, Faye drives a Lincoln (my having a Mercedes Benz sounds like we are wealthy... let me assure you this is sadly not so). Repairs of such would likely be expensive. There is little reason to worry just yet, however, as the car came with a 4 year-60,000 mile warranty. On the other hand, we are far more likely to run out the time of that warranty then we are to run out the mileage.

Currently, she has something short of 2500 miles on the car. And it is only above, say, 1200 because we took a trip to Biloxi back in February. The odds of her putting more than 5,000 miles per year are miniscual. The other day we received an offer for an extended warranty from Lincoln and Faye asked me to inquire about it. Rather than just laugh and say "It's your car", I did as ordered.

In the end, we turned down the offer. It just isn't worth it. We can set aside money on a monthly basis to pay for any repairs after the warranty runs out and, basically, just self-insure. Logically, of course, we do not even need two cars. Yet we have them. Faye rarely goes further than the nearest supermarket (about 5 miles) and I rarely drive more than 10 miles. The problem is that we tend to need a car at the same time. We could work around that easily enough, I think, but neither of us is willing to give up the convenience yet.

The other choice we made had to do with the Sirius radio service. The Lincoln's complimentary subscription has run out and Sirius is starting to make offers. Now, some of the Lincoln's features rely an active subscription so they will no longer work. But we have learned that music can be loaded on a flash drive and listened to over the entertainment system (my Benz also has this feature). This gives us plenty of music to listen to and it is our preferred music, rather than what some service thinks would be desired. So we turned down (just ignored, really) the Sirius offer. If we spent a lot of time in the car, we might have been more amenable to it.

I do not understand paying for subscription music. From the first car I owned to the Benz, I have always thought of music as "free" (paid for, initially, by dealing with ads on the radio), choosing to load CD's, tapes, etc with music of my own choosing. Obviously, however, I am in the minority or companies like Sirius wouldn't exist.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Free-Range Parenting and Us

Go to Google News, enter "free-range" in the search box and hit Enter; when I did that this morning at 8 AM, it said "about 2,540,000 results (0.31 seconds)." Interestingly, there were no references to anything about this situation on the main Google news page.

In the unlikely case that you know nothing about this, let me summarise it for you:

A group of parents follow a "free-range" parenting philosophy (basically how I grew up).

When I was 5 years old, I would go out to play and not come home for many hours. Not all the time but often. Granted, I lived in a small town. The town might have boasted some 4000-5000 people at the time I lived there (I tried to get population figures for the early 1950's but was unsuccessful). I would play in the woods near my home (about a block away) or wander into town, or play down by the railroad tracks. I was never required to get permission to go anywhere nor was I required to have an older sister or adult accompany me. Strangely, I survived that childhood and so did the kids I knew at the time. At least I never heard of any of them dying or being abducted but I suppose it is possible.

After my family moved to south Florida (to a small city of ~15000), I roamed quite widely still. Mostly to the park nearby (Greynolds Park) or around town at first. But, by the time I turned 14, I was hitchhiking all over the area; from the beaches to Miami to the south and as far as Ft. lauderdale to the north. After I began driving, there were virtually no limits where I could, or would, go.

Granted, these were earlier, and presumably safer, times... mostly deemed safer because we did not have 24 hour news channels eager to report news of even the most obscure events from all over the country.

We rode bicycles without helmets (our biggest problem was getting our right pantleg caught in the chain), climbed just about every tree that had reasonably low branches (fell out of a few, too), got into rock fights and BB gun fights, swam in ponds and "rockpits" (post quarry lakes), and just generally were unsupervised and took risks accordingly.

So now we have parents being vilified (and even suspected of child neglect and endangerment) because they allow their children to do what was once the norm.