Archive for the 'Cool Links' Category

John Stossel’s Illegal Everything

Monday, July 1st, 2013

I came across this John Stossel’s Illegal Everything and thoroughly enjoyed it. It is well worth the time it takes to watch it.

Primary YouTube Link | Alternate YouTube Link

Alternatives to Mt. Gox

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

As I type this, Mt. Gox is offline.  Again.  This has happened more times than I could ever count.  It’s giving Bitcoin a bad name, because people tend to associate Bitcoin with the exchanges.

To be clear, I am not recommending any of these companies. I am merely offering a list of alternatives to Mt. Gox, in order of popularity.  Caveat emptor.

So, here it goes:

There are a few others, but their volume is so small that they would be difficult to use on a reasonable scale.

So, check them out and decide for yourself who you want to do business with.

If anyone has comments about any of the above exchanges, I am all ears.  Please leave a comment.

War Made Easy

Monday, November 7th, 2011

This is a must watch.

YouTube link | Hulu link | Amazon link

War Made Easy reaches into the Orwellian memory hole to expose 50 years of government spin and media collusion that has dragged our country into one war after another from Vietnam to Iraq. With remarkable archival footage of official distortion and exaggeration from LBJ to George W. Bush, the documentary exposes how presidential administrations of both parties have relied on a combination of deception and media complicity to sell one war after another to the American people.

Giving special attention to parallels between Vietnam and Iraq, War Made Easy sets government spin and media collusion from the present alongside virtually identical patterns from the past, guided by Solomon’s meticulous research and tough-minded analysis. Rare footage of political leaders and journalists from the past includes Presidents Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon, Defense Secretary Robert McNamara and news correspondents Walter Cronkite and Morley Safer.

The Case Against Adolescence

Friday, June 17th, 2011

It’s a shame that I never blog anymore, now that I have things to say. I feel like I’ve grown more in the last three years than any other period in my life.

My cousin Aaron and I have recently started exchanging some unfettered thoughts, which I’ve very much enjoyed. I’m thrilled that I lucked out with regard to the family I have, both immediate and extended. Without them, I would have had no chance… no values, no foundation, nobody to look up to, etc… My parents and grandparents set one hell of an example, and I pity most of my generation for not having been so lucky.

Anyway, something Aaron said in his last message prompted me to do a little searching, and I rediscovered two great links on Mises’s website. One of the two links is Doug French’s review of the book, The Case Against Adolescence, which I’ve blatantly lifted below:

In his book, Democracy: The God that Failed, Hans Hoppe argues that democracy and government have made people less farsighted and not as concerned with providing for ever-more-distant goals. Thus, society is tending toward decivilization. As Hoppe describes, adults are being turned into children. Children have very high time preferences, living “day to day and from one immediate gratification to the next,” Hoppe explains. American society has essentially lengthened childhood by creating adolescence.

In a very provocative new book, The Case Against Adolescence: Rediscovering the Adult in Every Teen, psychologist Robert Epstein contends that when mammals reach puberty, they function as adults — except in America that is. Starting a hundred years ago, Americans gradually increased the age of adulthood to what many Americans now believe to be 26. You’ve heard, “30 is the new 20,” and “50 is the new 30.” Soon we will all be kids again.

Epstein argues effectively that American culture collaborates in artificially extending childhood through public schooling and labor laws. In most of human history, young people worked side by side with adults from their early teens with young women becoming wives and mothers. Early on, he fingers the labor unions as the culprits behind child labor laws. In 1881, the forerunner to the AFL-CIO made child labor a high priority: “We are in favor of the passage of laws in the several states forbidding the employment of children under fourteen in any capacity, under penalty of fine and imprisonment.”

Of course, unions didn’t want the competition from young workers who are likely smarter and more productive than older workers. Work by David Wechsler and J.C. Raven indicates that our highest mental age is in our midteens. According to Raven, “Apparently by the age of fourteen, a child’s trainability has reached its maximum, while after the age of thirty, a person’s ability to understand a new method of thinking, adopt new methods of working, and even to adapt a new environment, steadily decreases.”

Of course today’s teens don’t act like they have the most brainpower in society. How could they? They are isolated in government schools away from adults and given no responsibilities — they are infantilized. Infantilized by the many laws restricting young people: curfew laws, tougher driving laws, teen-wage laws, laws curtailing sexual activities, free-speech restrictions at school, censorship of educational activities, dress codes, smoking and drinking laws, ad infinitum.

But government and unions are not the only teen enemies. The author makes the case (sometimes effectively, sometimes not) that everyone works against teens being adults. The media portray teens as self-absorbed; business makes big bucks promoting teen culture; and even parents underestimate their teens’ abilities.

Epstein’s book is chock-full of examples of young people in history who have made tremendous contributions. Louis Braille, if he were a blind kid today, would be cooped up in special-needs classes. Fortunately, he lived in the early 1800s and had perfected the Braille system by the time he was 15 years old. Samuel Colt invented the multiround, revolving-head pistol when he was 16. Edgar Allen Poe had his first book published at 18, including poems he had written at age 12 and 13.

The fact is, creativity is at its peak in early childhood and the teen years. But as we enter adulthood, we learn to conform, which takes a toll on creativity. Public schooling was created to mold young people into compliant citizens, sapping their creativity. Teen ingenuity remains high, but given the need to rebel, lack of adult companionship, and laws prohibiting the signing of contracts, their creativity is rarely channeled into positive pursuits.

In a test for “adultness” cocreated by the author, the difference between how adults and how teens scored was statistically insignificant: “Age is simply not a reliable measure of adultness,” Epstein writes, “at least not once people are past puberty.”

So what should we do about all of this? Obviously abolishing the myriad of laws restricting teens would be a good first start. But, unfortunately, Epstein believes young (and old) people should be given rights only if they can pass competency tests. And one gets the feeling that government would be doing the administering of these tests — as if government bureaucrats should be trusted with the job.

As well done and interesting as Epstein’s book is, he doesn’t go far enough. As Murray Rothbard wrote in The Ethics of Liberty, a child has rights “when he leaves or ‘runs away’ from home.” Forget the tests; just set kids free.

See also: Education: Free and Compulsory, by Murray Rothbard

Livestation: For people who want real news

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

First of all, I’d like to note that all news sources, including these, are biased to some degree.

With that said, it’s often nice to get views of what’s going on in the world that aren’t directly influenced by the US government.

For that, there is Livestation.

It free, and it’s cross-platform. So, it works just fine on Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Livestation carries the following channels (among others), each which offer a new take on world events:

  • Al Jazeera English
  • RT
  • Press TV
  • BBC World Service
  • France 24
  • CNN International

It’s worth checking out. You should go download it.

Gmail Compose Bookmarklet

Saturday, September 11th, 2010

If you use Gmail for everything, as I do, you probably wish you had a way to create a “Compose” button that saves you from having to go to Gmail in a new browser tab, and let it load, before you compose a new message.

There is an easy way to do this.

Simply drag this link into your bookmark toolbar:
Gmail Compose

Credit goes to hackaddict.net.

Schedule Email to be Sent Later with Gmail

Friday, September 10th, 2010

Ever wanted to schedule an email to be sent at a later time or date?

Gmail doesn’t support this natively, but a Firefox addon called Boomerang adds the functionality.

UPDATE: I’m not sure how long this will last, but here’s a direct download link so that you don’t have to wait for an invite code. Click here for Firefox and here for Chrome.

SMEstorage

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

Sadly, I don’t have much time to write about this in detail right now, but it’s worth noting that if you use *any* cloud storage services, SMEstorage is worth checking out.

It does a lot of different things, but a big part of what makes it useful for me is that it allows you to mount any of your cloud storage services as a local part of your OS — even if you’re using Linux or OS X. That’s really, really useful.

In addition, there are mobile clients for Android, iPhone, and Blackberry.

You really need to see this.

Long live TinyXP!

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

If you *must* run Windows, instead of Linux or OS X, this is the version you should be running.

TinyXP is XP with all of the wasteful crap stripped out.

For details, see this blog post.

To download, go here or here, depending on what you want.

Tips for New Ubuntu Installs

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

To move the window controls (Minimize, Maximize, Close) to the right side of a window, instead of the left, install this theme:
http://ubuntu-art.org/content/show.php/Ambiance_R+%28Ambiance+Right+Side%29?content=123927

To make new Firefox tabs open on the right, instead of the left, follow these instructions:
http://lifehacker.com/5456366/make-new-tabs-open-at-far-right-in-firefox-36

I forget how I installed, Flash, but you’ll probably want to do that, too. Feel free to leave a comment.