Day by Day Daily Cartoon by Chris Muir

The Mad Scientist... Mwahahahahahahahaha

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Bailout

Okay, so a little primer on how stuff works (in this case, money), which no doubt everybody already knows, but anyways, let's examine how bad the credit crunch situation really is.

The first thing people need to realise is that 'the economy' is not a monolithic thing. The very word itself can be quite misleading - most people associate 'economy' with low-prices, or money-saving. And some people have a vague notion of a cloud-like thing called 'national economy'.

If you were truly self-sufficient; you grew, raised and hunted your own food, you made your own buildings, you designed and manufactured your own furniture, cutlery, utensils, what you wore , etc etc etc, you had your own oil well, doctored your own cuts... well, if you could really live like that, then you won't need to be part of any exchange or trade transaction. But because this is not the case for the vast majority of people, we tend to stick to doing what we're best at doing, and trading with someone else (exchanging of goods or services) for what we need. These transactions, taken as a whole across a particular area, is what constitutes that area's economy.

Let's look at the process of exchange. The fundamental exchange is one of barter; I have chickens which you want, you have goats which I want. We negotiate and haggle for a bit, but eventually we agree that I will give you 10 chickens in exchange for 2 goats. Putting aside such complications as perhaps I would have been willing to trade 12 chickens for 2 goats or that if I threw in another chicken you would have given me 3 goats (price elasticity of demand/supply), this is an economic transaction, and again, the economy is made of all of these transactions taking place over a given location.

Believe it or not, our current economy can still be simplified into barter exchanges. The only difference is, we have all more or less agreed that by and large, ONE side of these exchanges will involve a common commodity - money. When a person is exchanging money for something else, we call him the buyer. The one receiving the money, we call him the seller. Only, this hides the reality that we are both buying and selling - I am selling my money for a product, and the other dude is buying my money with his product.

The thing that happens with a money economy is this - because money is now the fundamental and common form of value exchange, the size and health of the economy can be tracked through the amount and velocity of money. We'll get back to that.

Banks are strange companies. They buy and sell money, much like moneychangers, but instead of giving you a service in return, they buy and sell money with... more money, or the promise thereof. You see, when you deposit money into a savings account, or a fixed/term deposit, you're actually selling your money to the bank for 8% (or whatever rate your bank offers) more of your money back in a year's time. They go out and sell that money for even more money, which is what we call loans. But where does that money eventually end up? Right, either in that very same bank, or a different one. It is exceedingly strange, isn't it? Wealth and money appear from nowhere, seemingly. You can even calculate the theoretical amount of 'come from nowhere' money generated in this way - it's called the money multiplier.

Or rather, it appears from the future. And the perception of the future. And regardless of whatever had happened to cause people's perception of the future to change (i.e. there isn't enough money in the future), the credit crisis means this;

1. The amount of money decreases as people withdraw their funds from the banks; once because actual currency is being withdrawn from circulation, and a fair bit more due to the loss of the multiplier effect. This shrinks the economy.

2. The velocity of money reduces, as people start hoarding their money; this reduces the number of transactions out in the marketplace, and shrinks the economy.

Is the bailout needed? My gut feeling says yes, but it is more the idea of the bailout that is needed. If you can restore confidence in the future, the problem that is to come won't be so bad. Again, we have made money the common form of value exchange. We need it to continue circulating, and in similar quantities as before.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

FLAMING SKULL UPDATE - A Moronblogger Expose

No, not gonna steal it. However...

Barack Hussein Obama (hereafter referred to as Mr BHOmbastic) is A. BIG. FAT. FUCKING. LIAR. And so is his campaign team.

You can follow the chain of proof from these following locations;

MyPetJawa (primary link and from which all others derive)
Ace of Spades HQ (and followup)
Patterico's Pontifications (and followup)
Michelle Malkin
Little Green Footballs

Waiting for...
Hot Air
Pajamas Media (oh well, Insty's part of PJM, isn't he?)
Rush Limbaugh

The essence of it all? I, being in Malaysia and in little trouble of getting into any libel / defamation / slander trouble, will spell out what seems to be the main thrust: David Axelrod, Mr BHOmbastic's chief media strategist, quite possibly under direct orders, has hired a notorious PR firm to conduct an absolutely despicable astroturfing campaign against the current Governor of Alaska, and Republican Vice Presidential candidate, Sarah Palin. Not only against her, but against her whole family. Worse, they not only did this campaign, but they tried to cover up their tracks after this story, this expose broke on the right-wing blogosphere.

Expect every single moronblogger on the Moronosphere to be carrying news, and the larger ones to be constantly updating, about this one. Me, I'm just gonna sit back and let the big guns handle the show.

The absolutely craziest thing? They fucked up the campaign in such elementary ways - like using their own names and initials.

Karl Rove, You Magnificent Bastard. You've managed to do it again. :)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Life Update

Well, so I got paid last week and did the usual round of stuff that I do after getting paid.

1. Transfer funds from payday account to working accounts.
This is a boring, but utterly necessary thing. I have an account with an international bank, because this is where my employer maintains its business accounts. But foreign banks in Malaysia don't connect to the MEPS (interbank ATM network), so withdrawing money from a local ATM costs RM10 each transaction. Enough to buy a Big Mac meal and then some. So, have to shift money into a local bank account, where there are far more branches and ATMs all over the place, and if it I use another local bank ATM, it's only RM1.50 per transaction. And into my Visa debit card, of course. I love those things.

2. Pay off bills.
Now, usually, this is done by my parents but this week, they're off on 'vacation', so I gotta do the dirty job.

3. Buy computer stuff.

Yeah, this is what I really wanna talk about. I got myself a new router (a DLink DIR-300), as well as a UPS (some cheapo local brand), and the Microsoft Wireless Desktop 3000. And suffice to say, I'm enjoying the latter purchase immensely.

The keyboard is a ridiculously light affair, and means that I can practically type lying down. Which I am, sort of, on my bean bag, at least.
The media/web function keys are a cool addition which I never had on any of my keyboards before, so I'm having fun playing with them. About the only thing is that it's really too light - I'm a heavy typist, so I'm having to relearn my skills.

The mouse is a different afffair. It's solid and heavy enough to have a bit of heft, and the middle click key is, well, you know it's been clicked. However, I could do with a more tactile scroll wheel - most mice I've had gove you that 'click' sensation when you've moved the wheel a notch, which I find tends to improve my accuracy when scrolling.

How about the router? Well, I got it expressly for the ability to do heavy bit-torrenting. I spent the better half of today trying to get my ADSL modem back to bridge mode, however, only to find that it's hellishly difficult. So I have up on that. But so far, the router itself seems to be standing up to some punishment - it's my modem that's playing up. I'll have to see what I can do about that.

My next paycheck is gonna go into upgrading my graphics card. And then, some RAM to push my system to 3GB. After which, it will be time to upgrade my processor. At this point, hopefully I will have sufficient funds to buy another system, which I will turn into a server/router on its own.

Yup, I really don't have much of a life beyond this. I certainly hope I can find a girl whose interests sort of fit my own.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Linking policy

It's a really simple one.

1. Whenever I'm not too lazy. Search engines are your friend. Don't believe some of the stuff I wrote? Check me on it! Then come back and tell me what I messed up.

2. Not and never to Excitable Andi, RAWMUSCLESGLUTES himself. This is a Moronosphere-wide ruling, promulgated by the Moron-in-Chief himself. There are no exceptions. Same thing with all lefty sites and blogs, unless they're rational. I'm sure there are rational lefties out there who can discuss stuff in civil discourse.

3. Not to Wikipedia unless absolutely necessary (there are NO suitable links found elsewhere to illustrate my point). Wikipedia is filled with lefties that don't believe in ANY of the constitutional amendments.

4. There is no 4. Really. If there are any other sites that are crappy and I shouldn't link to, I'd appreciate knowing.

Bonus! Plagiarism policy

1. This is the Internet. Your copyright I will observe insofar as attribution goes. Otherwise, I'm gonna dump in as much of your post as I deem necessary to work with it.

2. Iowahawk is the sole exception, due to a clearly stated request of his NOT to publish whole posts. This is the Burge For President Clause, and supercedes all other clauses. A similar exception exists for Bill Whittle - have you ever seen how much verbiage each of his posts is? Good verbiage, but still!

3. This policy is only when I intend to dissect, rip, or otherwise tear to shreds or parody and make fun of a particular blog post. Otherwise, I'll just write up a link and tell everyone to RTWT. I'm fundamentally a lazy guy; cut and paste is too much hard work unless I really got worked up about it.

4. I'm in Malaysia, even if Blogger is not. There ain't no such thing as copyright as it applies to the individual. I can own and use pirated stuff, as a person. But I will observe the niceties; a link, as per policy, definitely attribution no matter what.

5. What are you so worked up about, anyway? It's not as if I have a million readers or something.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Game theory - a moronblogger introspective

Okay, so this is inspired by Ace going just a little off the reservation (go ahead and read it, he's in my blogroll on the sidebar, and I'll try to link to it when I'm not as lazy or off work) and wtfhesaskingabouthowmanyabortionstheobamashad!!!!

Right. Except, this is not normal nor usual behaviour. Not even for Ace. So, what's led to this?

That's where game theory comes in.

Basically, game theory tries to predict how rational 'players' will act in given scenarios. The most appropriate one referred to here is the Prisoners' Dilemma. But I'm not here to explain how it works (you can read up on it). In this instance, we're dealing with a multi-iterative version that maintains state (we remember what actions were taken in the previous iteration). And the 'best' strategy is called 'tough-but-fair'. We didn't start the fire, but we will surely end it only when the other guy does.

Remind you of anything?

Right, MAD. Mutual Assured Destruction. Where both parties have so much to lose in starting something, this practically assures (a scary, tense, and none too stable, as each party strives to gain the advantage) peace. But what happens when one side pulls the trigger? Not if, but when. Once that decision has been made, and the ICBMs are flying, and your SDI systems have been activated, what do you do? You pull the trigger yourself. You take out your nuclear card, read the appropriate code groups off, and authorise the launches. And God have mercy on us all.

This is what Ace proposed.

Thing is, though, rational beings usually shy away from this kind of tactic. At the real MAD level, the risks were simply too high to contemplate 'cheating', the payoffs too low. The Soviets knew this - their game was survival as well, and while the USA kept upping the odds, it never got to the point when the Russians went "Ah, bugger it, let's end the world".

Problem: What if the 'opponent' knew you would not use the 'tough-but-fair' approach, and you would continue to (in the classic Prisoner's Dilemma language) keep silent?

Problem: What if the 'opponent', regardless of what he knew, did not act rationally? IOW, did not follow the expectations of game theory?

Well then, you're in for a world of hurt. Because in the first instance, you are not willing to 'punish' the other 'player' for escalating, and the risk/payoff matrix suddenly becomes far more favourable for him. And in the second instance, the risks no longer guide his decisions while they still guide yours. In any case, you are suddenly on the defensive. And a defensive game is not often a winning game, especially if the other player had seized the upper hand.

Now, I grant you that this is game theory - it's very nice on paper, but acting it out always entails more complexity. Nevertheless, the basics, the fundamentals of game theory, do seem to underpin a large number of decisions we make. Which makes the dichotomy really, really strange.

The right-wingers, by and large, grasp the second problem quite well - especially when it comes to Islamic terrorism. They do not act rationally or according to the Western playbook. Accordingly, we have to play by their understanding - overwhelming power, shock and awe, not only showing them the iron fist but using it, and demonstrating an instant willingness to use it, and succeeding time and time again, before displaying the velvet glove.

The left-wingers instinctively use the first problem against us too - whatever else they may say, they know deep down somewhere we would rarely stoop to their level of mudslinging and rumour-mongering, and generally acting like primordial slime - so they feel safe in deploying all of these against us, confident that we would not react by pulling the same tricks they did.

Well, I for one don't like being fucked in the ass, even if it was figurative and by proxy. I have absolutely no problem acting like an ass (or a Democrat, same thing really), and while my dick is not so big, it's still gonna hurt when I ram it up your shithole. I know this is an un-Christian attitude. I will have to account for it someday. That didn't stop me from sitting on a particularly obnoxious girl who was bugging me all through recess. And even as a kid, I was fairly hefty.

And it's not going to stop me from pulling out all the stops. Ace has inhibitions - blunted and blurred by Val-U-Rite as it often may be; I don't. Or rather, my inhibitions are intellectual. I won't say I was a sociopath, no - but it comes close. But I will say this much:

I've seen pictures of Obama's kids. I won't have asked the question posed in the first link, nor what it implied - because in my opinion, the only possible answer is not only a 'No', but a 'Hell, NO!' Take that any way you want.

And then, you have Ace in his truly fine moments. We don't actually have to descend to the level of the Libtards, because we can surmount them. Bear in mind that this is Ace on maybe 75% max of his theoretical output of awesomeness (he's sick, as in using Nyquil and some concoction of monkey-brain and amniotic fluid, but mostly Nyquil).