Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Economist: Carbon Tax vs. Carbon Cap.

This article gives a summary of the problem facing those who want to cut back on green house gases. A carbon tax is the only economically sound option, but it suffers from the obvious: Most consumers are willing to stop fossil carbon emisions in theory, are happy to allocate abstract money to the cause taken from abstract entities, but don't touch their wallet directly! Europe already taken the alternative approach of capping emisions. This has failed, however, because big companies can always find a willing politician. There is good reason to believe that caps simply aren't enforceable.

The other elephant in the room is China. They will be quite happy to agree to either a Carbon Cap or a Carbon Tax, provided that everyone except them must pay it. Time to brush up on the Mandarin.
More on the market competition for resources between video gamers and enviromentalists.
Dating of ancient ruins in Mexico done using the BC calendar.

Apparently BC dating is still in use in the Americas, but BCE is preferred for the Middle East. (BCE is more scientific.)

Monday, January 29, 2007

State of the Union: Health Care

President Bush's proposal is essentially on methods of taxation relating to health benefits. For employers, this is currently a mess as the number of rules, options, ... is mind boggling. Then there are many who are over-insured: One spouse is a teacher and the other works for IBM. No shortage of health benefits there. A consultant who did odd jobs at both IBM and the local school board, however, must pay his own medical benefits with no deductions. The Silicon Valley worker who changes jobs every six months has another problem: How do you handle a different insurance program twice a year? Needless to say, this is begging for reform.

The bigger problem is the growing shortage of doctors and nurses. This is partially due to artificial caps as institutions don't expand. Another is the litigation crisis: Thinking of the car industry, what if, via litigation, all cars other than a new BMW or Lexus were ruled "unsafe"? Used cars are all unsafe. Yes, we would all get to drive the best of the best, but the down side is a shortage and no one could get a car for less than $35,000. Similarly, rationing is the current issue in health care. President Bush didn't address this at all.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Duke Lacrosse vs. the Valerie Plame affair.

These two things share a lot in common. How do you prove that a stripper was raped in the absence of collaborating eye withness, video tape and DNA - especially when the woman involved is already involved in a questionable line of employment? Similarly, to prove that Iraq didn't try to buy uranium from Niger is essentially impossible. With the CIA not being allowed to confirm or deny that Valerie Plame was a covert agent, things get even more precarious.

In both cases, the prosecution is off into the bizarre and everyone should be offended. Unlike the young college students, however, we presume a politician to be guilty, so it is OK to prosecute on the basis of wild accusations by left wing operatives.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Environmentalists to Poor Mexicans: "Let them eat cake". Um, rather than corn tortillas, because the corn is needed for Ethanol.
I was just about to register for the Miwok 100, but the registration is full and the waiting list is full too. This is a 100 kilometer trail run (63 miles) in the Marin county area which means lots of hills. The event is in May, but there are too many runners anxious to do 2.4 marathons with 10,000 feet of elevation gain. Sniff.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Looks like someone else in California just had a close encounter with a mountain lion.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Purpose Driven Mania Continued ...

Our church is getting ready for the purpose driven campaign, and the result is a lot of conflict. After picking up Rick Warren's book, The Purpose Driven Life, I calmed down a lot and decided that it would be most beneficial to the church to put my purpose driven support behind the pastoral staff who believe that this is quite crucial.

Why the change? First, I suggested that their "40 days of purpose" campaign be relabeled as "40 days of God's purpose". My initial impression was that this campaign was to be "40 days of Rick Warren's purpose" which certainly is offensive. After reading a bit, it seemed that Rick Warren really was pointing to God and not himself.

Another reason for the change is that God's purpose is the vital focus of the church - not man's purpose. In fact, to have a healthy church you must members who are focussed on the church first and basketball second. A campaign where the entire church is directed towards putting God first should be valuable.

Finally, God gave us the pastoral staff to lead. Apprehensive or not, we need to give them support when the direction is reasonably Biblical and we don't have clear reasons to the contrary.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

State of the Union: Energy

President Bush provides us a proposal straight from the Kim Jong Il school of economics. The solution to our energy problems is a combination of regulatory terrorism and subsidies of various industries via central planning. The far-left won't like this proposal because it will undoubtedly send taxpayer money to energy companies that could be more efficiently squandered by the government directly. The accusation that it takes 1.5 gallons of foreign oil to produce 1 gallon of taxpayer subsidized, domestic ethanol will remain with us.

As always, a simple carbon tax would be the easiest. It would create a level playing field among entrepreneurs of all varieties to find solutions that are sustainable, while allowing success to be rewarded. This would also eliminate the need for a large bureaucracy of highly paid civil servants to monitor, regulate, litigate and otherwise add to the global hot air.
Trail Runner vs. Camel

The scholarly claim that camel's weren't domesticated at the time the Bible assigns to Abraham had me pondering this. As a dilettante trail runner, I have been able to cover 40 miles of inhospitable terrain in a day complete with a 5 kg Camelbak (weight fluctuates due to the amount of water I am carrying) and my ASICS trail running shoes. The altitude and weather can change considerably, so additional clothing is frequently necessary. It is usually a few days before the feat can be repeated. If I gave up my engineering career and pursued this full time, I probably could do 40 miles regularly with a 10 kg load, but there is little of economic interest in this pursuit.

A camel, on the other hand, can cover about 80 miles a day with 200 kilograms of load over terrain that is even nastier than what I normally train on. I need wells every 6 to 10 miles to refill, but the camel doesn't. I need running shoes made by slave labor in China, but the camel doesn't. I need fancy cuisine at the end of the run and use various energy gel packs during the run to keep me going, but the camel just eats grass. When the camel is ready to be retired, there is more than 1,000 pounds of meat to be barbecued. Compare that to the amount of meat on the average trail runner ...

Needless to say, the first bedouin to put a rope around the neck of a baby camel would be in possession of an extraordinarily valuable asset.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Jim West has a review of a DVD series on archaeology and the Bible.

Since I am archaeologically incompetent, there is little that I can do to comment on this at the low level. What I do know is the following:

The idea that a new religion was contrived in Israel around the 7th century BC is probably a century old and has nothing to do with archaeology. It is in my old book collection.

The idea that the Jewish scriptures were contrived for political purposes suffers badly on the point that the Jewish scriptures are extremely hostile to Jews. This is a "stiff-necked" and "adulterous" people. If you take away the concept of the Jews as God's chosen people, then these are a people most to be despised. Hardly material from a contrived myth to unite a nation.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Yesterday, I saw mountain lion tracks the size of my hand on the Ohlone Wilderness trail near my home. I hope I don't get any closer. There was also a large wild pig eyeing me from a hundred yards. Too bad I didn't bring my camera. Next time ...

Friday, January 19, 2007

A Ph.D. claims that Christian Fundamentalists are the greatest evil in the universe ...

The basic thesis is that America is the greatest evil in the world; Fundamentalist Christians are loyal to America; and voila - Christian Fundamentalists are the greatest evil!

Much of it is the usual. Putting down a psychopath dictator invariably results in the dictator being sanctified by intellectuals and the madness being projected onto whoever tried to bring some sanity to the situation. If another psychopath situation develops in spite of the effort, then the follow on psychopath's behavior can be completely attributed to the efforts to put down the former psychopath.

(There is the minor detail that the vast majority of killing in the world since 1945 has been of the pre-born, but Prof. Soderstrom has limited space to write.)

Another crime is the refusal of Fundamentalists to support the social gospel. Of course, the social gospel means that all charity must be directed through the government and given in the name of a secular deity, but this detail is left out. The follow on to the social gospel - paying the idle to remain idle - is also missing.

Then there is the usual crime of the Scopes Trial and the refusal of Fundamentalists to accept "Higher Criticism". The fact that the Scopes Trial occured before the -ology part of biology existed is also lost on this professor of psychology. Also the majority of the "Higher Criticism" has been shown to be blatantly fraudulent, but there is no room for this.

The list of crimes continues.

Racial segregation is blamed on fundamentalists. (Don't let prof. Soderstrom know about eugenics and evolution!)

Then there is the McCarthy canard. Fundamentalists are terrible because they don't think that everyone should have a right to classified know-how related to nuclear bombs. Where are the anti-nukes when you need them?

Fundamentalists also frequently support capital punishment and think homosexuality is a sin. Voila, a crime! (Guess he never heard of Islam, or Catholicism, or ...)

We refuse to support enviromentalism! (Guess he never heard of communism.)

Fundamentalists support Israel. (Didn't leftists support Stalin and Mao? Sheesh.)

Worst of all, 68% of fundamentalists voted for Bush-Cheney. (That 32% were able to free themselves from the fanatical mind-control machine of the Vast Fundamentalist Conspiracy is also lost on the professor.)

Fundamentalism's real crime is nothing that he has enumerated. It is merely that we view a large chunk of the intellectual community as being chronically afflicted with a need to engage in intellectual malpractice and are desperate to have someone listen to them. Fundamentalists disagee. Horrors.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

A border patrol agent goes to jail for shooting a drug runner...

Showing again why the drug war was lost before it started: The love of lawlessness by America's intellectuals.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

A Creationist proves the Theory of Evolution Change.

It may come as a surprise that I believe that the Theory of Evolution Change is a proven fact. As I am typing this entry in to my blog, each key stroke results in an image that is evolved changed relative to the previous. Evolution Change is undeniable. It is here and it is impossible to argue with. Therefore, we have our first concept in the Theory of Evolution Change:

EVOLUTION CHANGE IS A FACT.

Now it is true that there are a number of non-scientists who don't understand the Theory of Evolution Change and are offended by it. Regardless, we must also accept that the Theory of Evolution Change is vital to our understanding of the universe. The reason is fairly elementary: The Theory of Evolution Change encompasses any situation where we have two distinct sets, A and B. If two distinct sets exist, then a relationship(s) must exist between them. Science may still be trying to identify the relationship, but we cannot deny the existence of the relationship that is EXPLAINED by evolution change theory. Thus, we have the next important concept:

THE THEORY OF EVOLUTION CHANGE HAS VITAL EXPLANATORY PROPERTIES.

We can go further and consider the possibility that the Theory of Evolution Change is false. If the Theory of Evolution Change is false, this would imply that it is impossible to identify two distinct sets, A and B which are contained in the universe. Because one possible set in the universe is the empty set, this would require that the universe consist only of the empty set. Thus, we can go further conclude:

THE THEORY OF EVOLUTION CHANGE IS FOUNDATIONAL TO THE EXISTENCE OF THE UNIVERSE.

The importance of this theory is undeniable and the efforts of Creationists to contradict it are an affront to science.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Global Freezing Hits California's Farm Economy Hard.
Regarding Symmetry:

Dobzhansky: "Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution."

Generalized Dobzhanskyism: "Nothing in the world makes sense except in the light of evolution."

Jesus: "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."

Monday, January 15, 2007

Why Evolution is a religion.

Many intelligent people have no problem with the idea that evolution is a joke, but a religion?

One of the things Christianity did was to separate the spiritual world from the creation which was fundamental to the founding of modern science. Creationists do the same: The Intelligent Design of life is decoupled from the mundane properties of genetics which permits a scientific understanding of what genetics can and can't do.

Evolution, howeve, specifically denies God's ability to create, and thus transfers all of the supernatural creative powers of God onto genetics. Suddently, genetics is transformed and their is nothing evolution can't do. Hollywood has certainly picked up on this attitude. Like the primitive pre-Christian societies who considered the sun and moon to be life giving deities who needed to be worshiped, today's primitive scientists treat evolution as a life giving deity. There is a Zen-like aura in the presentation and handling of the word evolution. There is the constant requirement of others to have a belief in evolution and the insistence on teaching evolutionary doctrines that go wildly outside of the realm of biology. There is an immediate contemptuous denouncing of anything that challenges their god, such as ID and Creationists. The other thing that is easily observed is that a major chunk of the support for evolution is from theologians, as well as its founder being a theologian. Whereas even Galileo was permitted to mention (with restrictions) the idea of the planets going around the sun, today's evolutionists cannot even tolerate the mention of ID.

My more practical observation from engineering is that countless young engineers are gladly dumping classical optimization theory for genetic algorithms. They have little to show for it, but countless hours are spent tweaking genetic algorithms and coaxing them to provide unnatural, ID solutions. This gives them faith that they will be able to do something fantastic - eventually. They are blinded by the priests of the faith who live in their Ivory Towers.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

The picture is from my October trail run on Mount Whitney.

Yesterday, I finally got to do a long run on Mission Peak after a long break. I was hoping for some mud, but the temperatures have dropped considerably in the SF Bay Area and things were frozen up top. Even the cow piles were hard. Sigh.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

The Economist writes about the rapid spread of Syphilis in China ...

... and guess what I learned: 1) The drop in Syphilis in China when the communists took over was due to the communists writing off peasant debt! 2) The current spread of Syphilis is due to a half century of banning brothels, which led to a drop in resistance to STDs! 3) An additional major factor in the spread of Syphilis is the lack of medical spending!

Some people may think that I am an extremist nutcase. I can never compete with the intellectuals and their passion for Fundamentalist Depravity.
Arnold's Universal Health Care?

As always, the debate completely misses the mark: How many idle doctors are out there who could be enticed into treating the newly insured? The number of doctors is capped, so this is truly a zero sum game on the supply side unlike most other debates. Treating a young illegal immigrant means not treating a retiree. The retiree will respond by demanding more money to entice the doctor back to himself. Spiraling spending is the only conceivable outcome.

We need to expand the number of doctors, but this doesn't seem to be on the agenda.

Friday, January 12, 2007

More on Embryonic Stem Cell Research: Science fraud without limits.

Note again that stem cell research is being pursued in many directions with success, just not those that require the destruction of fetuses (i.e. the embryonic sort). Also note that there are no laws prohibiting anyone from conducting experiments on dead fetuses. The simple question is this: Given a thousand avenues to invest private and public health dollars, why MUST we overfund via the government one particular area that is offensive to a large chunk of the population and has negligible promise? Answer: The left loves abortion because they know it is offensive and they want to be completely in your face about it. As with Darwinism, science is merely religion by other means.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

James Kopp, abortionist killer, the elusive Christian Fundamentalist terrorist?

The usual Fundamentalist view is that an abortionist is a serial killer, but we as Christians still don't have a right to take another life. For the left, abortion is a sacred religious duty, so the Fundamentalist position is damned anyway and various candidates are proposed to show that Fundamentalists are terrorists that are at least as dangerous as Islamic terrorists. In going through the various candidates proposed, however, none seem to quite fit the fundamentalist mold.

This article by a abortion-luv group says that James Kopp was a devout Catholic. Hardly a Fundamentalist. It does say that he spent time in L'Abri, Switzerland with a group by "Fundamentalist Francis Schaefer". Of course, he also graduated from UC Santa Cruz, which is the most nutso-leftwing of the University of California system. He seems to have had many affiliations, but Catholicism is the primary affiliation.

Maybe someday the elusive Christian Fundamentalist terrorist will be found. We will keep a sharp lookout.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Finally upgraded to the new blogger ...

Friday, January 05, 2007

Intelligent Design, Genetic Algorithms, and the Traveling Salesman Problem.

The Traveling Salesman Problem is famous in computer science studies due to the difficulty in solving the problem in a reasonable cost. To put it simply, the problem involves visiting all of the cities in an area exactly once and trying to find the minimum path that will go through all of the cities. Thus, it minimizes the distance that the traveling salesman needs to walk. If there are n cities to visit, then the number of possible paths is (n-1)!, which limits the ability to solve to about 60 by brute force. Genetic Algorithms are one possible way to solve this for larger numbers of n, although n still seems to be limited to perhaps thousands. This is cited periodically as a strength of the Genetic Algorithm and proof that evolution can do amazing things. I have heard this claim many times and my engineering hype meter always maxes out when I see this stuff, but only today bothered to look at the methods.

Here is the flaw: The GA implementation of the traveling salesman problem requires a genome where each city can only be visited once. That is, two copies of the same gene (city) can never occur twice. This subtle requirement has an incredible number of implications. The natural genetic coding allows for anything to be in each gene location. This means that there would be n to the nth power possible combinations, but the problem statement restricts this. In fact, the number of possibilities is reduced by an astronomical number: nn /(n!). Thus, the number of combinations was reduced by changing from the natural configuration to the engineering version of the GA by a subtle wording of the problem. Implementing this isn't quite straightforward either. The GA is not modifying the genes, but only modifying the order of the genes with the requirement that no gene can occur more than once. Result: The solution is entirely dependent on intelligent design with a GA-like method thrown in at the very end. As always, studying Darwinists is one of the best ways to see that Intelligent Design is mandatory for anything meaningful to be accomplished.

UPDATE: For 100 cities, the GA solution for this problem sorts through a design space of 9.33x10157 configurations to find the shortest path. Impressive! Except that this is the ID constrained design space and thus has only one objective to optimize: path length. The actual (natural) design space for 100 cities in which a city can be visited more than once (accidentally) is 10200 and would need a compound objective: path length + city visits. This is astronomically harder to solve with GA. Then there is the question of why did we chose 100, instead of 99 or 101. Again, ID is involved to make the problem tractable. A more natural situation would be finding the minimum path through 100 cities in which each city is visited exactly once, but we allow the genome to vary in length from 50 to 200 cities. To get an answer to this problem with GA, ID is everywhere.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Bored with blogging, time for a break ...

I should summarize something regarding the fundamentalist world view. One of my favorite verses is "There is nothing new under the sun". The nothing new here is that there is always an established, intellectual elite which is hostile to Truth. Moses encountered this in Egypt as did Daniel in Babylon. Elijah faced the established prophets of Baal. Jesus encountered the Pharisees (traditionalists), Saducees (modernist) and Herodians (politicians). Galileo had to deal with the disciples of Aristotle. The Enlightenment celebrates the re-establishment of the priests of falsehood and culminated in the deification of Darwin. Today, the wars continue as they always have. Falsehood's desire to establish itself is insatiable.

Yes, there is a bit of howling that Fundamentalism is established in America. This is also part of the same pattern: The views of Fundamentalists haven't been stamped out. Per the world view of intellectuals, this can only mean that intellectuals aren't able to get their message through and therefore, they are being "suppressed". More garbage.

Now I won't claim that I am the owner of truth, except that I know Jesus Christ, who is Truth. His Truth will continue, as it always has, in spite of all of the efforts of the intellectual establishment.