Monday, August 06, 2018

What If?

[I wrote this November, 2017 and did not publish it - I'm guessing because it contains way too much personal financial info. Oh well. Please treat the personal financial info solely as a data point. Some good ideas in this I think.]

Keynes famously speculated that someday, capitalism would have done its job and generated all the capital the world would ever need and could then be retired. I have not read Marx, but he also foretold the end of capitalism.

But let's just focus on Keynes. I retired 5 years ago and have lived off the 6% ROI that my most excellent Merrill Lynch financial advisers have generated via interest on bonds but mostly via dividends and capital gains off of stocks. With CDs returning maybe 1%; savings accounts < 1%; bonds maybe 4-5% (although I see I just had a corporate bond mature that paid 5.6%), increasingly the stock market is the only place to put funds for a reasonable ROI.

Why is the ROI on all other investments so low? What if it is because we have reached Keynes' predicted point where the world has all the capital it needs? Do the low low interest rates on raw capital show that there is more capital than there is need for?

I will theorize: if indeed we have reached the point of capital sufficiency predicted by Keynes, then the stock market will not crash in the foreseeable future, because there is pretty much no where else where you can invest your money and get any ROI. The Fed has no reason to raise interest rates. The economy is not overheated. Unemployment is low - underemployment, who knows? Deflation is much more of a concern than inflation, although you can never convince conservatives of that.

The most recent stock crash in 2008 was caused by financial markets being flooded by fraudulent instruments. I don't think that will happen again real soon - although it would better if a lot of the fraudsters on Wall Street did some jail time.

I think I may have mentioned before that 1 side effect of having a world awash in capital is that it might mean that the Fed could fire up the printing presses and fund an aggressive Universal Basic Income program without having to worry about inflation (see below).

Even if they added $5T to the money supply it would represent only 2% of the $250T wealth of the world. (Note, that wealth figure is probably understated by a factor of 2 to 4. Also note, a better calculation might be $3.6T ($12,000 x 300,000,000 US citizens) / $92T wealth of North America = 3.9%) Add that to some Eisenhower era income tax rates (90%) on top earners, and we could maybe make a dent in inequality.

The only downside I see is that increasingly the climate crisis will continue to destroy more and more capital every year. This is yet another reason to address the climate crisis with urgency, and right now.

Inflation: I think inflation is driven only by supply-side shortages, which we haven't seen in quite a while. We moved to capitalism 2.0 in the 1950s, from scarcity to abundance. The only instance of real inflation in my lifetime was after the 1974 OPEC tripling of oil prices. It took more than 10 years for that to ripple through the entire economy. The OPEC monopoly artificially generated a supply-side shortage.

Monday, July 23, 2018

3 More

The hits just keep on coming.

"Suicide Club" is the 1st novel of Rachel Heng, 2018, 352 pages. Set in a near future where the fitness nazis and fitbits have seized power, you can live for 200 years if you toe the line and eat nothing but nutritionally correct smoothies and shakes. No music, it gets the juices stirring too much. And immortality is on the horizon, for those who can afford it. This story revolves around 2 women with complicated relationships with a parent, who become involved with the revolution, aka Suicide Club. Well written, a good read.

Next up, "The Freeze-Frame Revolution", a novella by Peter Watts, 2018, 192 pages. An interesting idea, with a asteroid spaceship circling the galaxy seeding it with warp gates. The humans on board cryo-sleep most of the time, and the supposedly not-too-smart AI named Chimp does most of the heavy lifting. Not as good as some of Watts longer stuff, but this is a guy who gets the concepts of what AI would look like. I was impressed that the book had cover blurbs by, among others, Cory Doctorow, Richard Morgan, Vernor Vinge, Hannu Rajaniemi, and Greg Bear - definitely some of my favorites.

Finally, the 1st book of an Arabian Nights type collection of stories, "The Orphan's Tales: In The Night Garden", by Catheryanne Valente, 2006, 496 pages. 2 main stories are told, but there are tales within tales nested I think 4 deep. There is also some dovetailing between the plots and characters of the 2 stories. Confusing at times, but it still gets you turning the pages.

Writing the post prior to this, looking up the blog posts for Hannu's earlier novels, I was reminded of the 2nd book of The Quantum Thief trilogy, "The Fractal Prince". That also had an Arabian Nights format, but approached much more creatively, as blogged here.

At one point a story that includes one of its figures retelling the same story causes a person infected by the story to go into an infinite recursive loop, presenting to the outside world as catatonic.
Hmmm, I thought this was new but I probably got it as a $1.99 or some such special. The 2nd volume "The Orphan's Tales: In the Cities of Coin and Spice", it looks like came out in 2007. I have just purchased that, I guess is it for this series.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Approaching Escape Velocity?

Well, as Putin's bitch, The Evil Orange One, continues to tweet the destruction of the US-dominated world order established after WWII, I continue to tear through nothing but escapist literature. Escape velocity?

I missed this one last post because I read it in Kindle format, as it was not available from Kobo. "Valence", by Jennifer Koehler Wells, 2017, 456 pages, is the 4th book in her Fluency series, most recently blogged here. Humans make contact with the Galactic Federation. Plenty of plot to deal with. I like that Ms. Wells includes some sex/genetics stuff, with humans being 1 of several species engineered by a progenitor species with different levels of oxytocin vs cortisol and adrenaline - humans being on the aggressive asshole end of the spectrum. Ms. Wells writing continues to improve. And who could not like a series in which some of the protagonists are cephalapods? This is an enjoyable series, she is doing at least as good as James S.A. Corey is with The Expanse.

Back in the Kobo world, I read "Quillifer", by Walter Jon Williams, 2018, 544 pages. I think I have read most of his stuff, he is a very dependable writer. This I have classified as Fantasy, but it is really more Historical Fiction - set on an alternative earth (different continents) with 1 character who is a supernatural being, with 17th-18th century technology. A very enjoyable read, as our protagonist, the title character, winds up being a hero in several circumstances, mostly due to thinking through options and coming up with some creative solutions. We have sea battles, land battles, court intrigue, etc, etc. A real page turner, I look forward to the next.

I also liked that the main character and others made up words, and all the archaic usages, particularly. Who knew that a Mercer is someone who sells fine fabrics like silks?

Next, "Provenance", by Ann Leckie, 2018, 480 pages. This is set in the "Ancillary" universe of her award-winning trilogy, blogged here and here. We are out of the immediate Radch empire although there is a Radch ambassador character. A "coming of age" story of a politician's daughter Forrest Gump'ing her way through several significant events. Indeterminate gender, and most of the main characters wind up hooking up female-female and male-male, as is becoming de riguer for lots of current sci-fi. An easy and enjoyable read.

Then another "Let's Rewrite Greek Mythology" effort from Zachary Mason, "Metamorphica", 2018, 304 pages. Similar to "The Lost Books of the Odessey", blogged here, Mason retells many, many Greek myths. As this is the 2nd time through this approach, I realized that maybe the main thing he is doing is taking myths we have all known for years and retelling them in the 1st person. But he also changes the myth when he thinks it makes a better or more rational story. I liked particularly his retelling of Midas as the person who invented money. I grew up on Greek & Norse mythology, I really enjoy when they are revisited and riffed upon.

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Still in Denial

It is hard for me to make myself study Economy of Plenty / Post-Scarcity Utopia with the world descending into fascism. The climate crisis is responsible for a lot of it in Europe, with unlivable temperatures and crop failures driving millions of climate refugees out of the Middle East.

Meanwhile, the Evil Orange One continues to search for yet another manufactured crisis to drive the ratings of "President of the US Apprentice". Ah well, I'm sure the other shoe will fall soon enough, and we will #lockhimup.

But, please, sooner rather than later. So many people are saying the damage is irreparable - here's an example. Well, let's acknowledge that Putin is a genius who was able, via electing and then blackmailing a childish idiot with an incredibly overrated opinion of himself, to destroy the US hegemony which was created after WW II. Dictators of the world unite, you have nothing to lose but your loser populace!

I mentioned I had bought the latest novel of E.J. Swift: "Paris Adrift", 2018, 320 pages. This woman writes really well. I highlighted a dozen or so passages I thought were really evocative, enough that I will leave discovering them as an exercise for the reader. A very enjoyable read, plus it is set in 1 of my fav cities, Paris! I will say though, that the plotting was not the best. Stuff that should have been explained never was, and stuff that seemed to be forbidden later on was A-OK??? There was a small subplot at the end that smelt like something an editor suggested.

Despite my philosophical aversion to dystopias, I did in impulse buy on "The End of the World", subtitled "Stories of the Apocalypse", edited by Martin H. Greenberg, 2010, 328 pages. This short story collection was recommended for me by BookBub. BookBub sends me an email/day with 5 recommended cheap eBooks. I buy maybe 1/month tops, but that is enough that I think the 10 seconds/day to read the email is a worthwhile investment of my time.

This collection had stories dating back to 1950. The last story was the longest, from 1950 by Poul Anderson (a fav author of mine for decades). Haha, a principle of writing sci-fi - never mention real technology by name - seriously, vacuum tubes??? And of course a lot of the societal attitudes are embarrassingly dated.

This collection was definitely slow getting started, but did wind up with some good stories. A few of the older ones had the groaner punchline or deus ex machina ending that in my youth I would have thought was really cool, but now just seems very dated. I did like the subdivisions of the book:

  • Bang or Whimper
  • The Last Man
  • Life After the End
  • Dark, Distant Futures
  • Witnesses to the End of the World
Next up, a just released fantasy by Hannu Rajaniemi, "Summerland", 2018, 304 pages. This seems to be Hannu's 1st novel after the most excellent "Quantum Thief" trilogy, blogged here, here, and here. I was somewhat surprised he tried a fantasy. Set in 1938 and mostly in England, it is a spy story in a world where the dead and living can communicate, and Queen Victoria still rules the British Empire from the spirit world. There is a lot of action and a somewhat convoluted but satisfactory ending, but, throughout the whole book I kept thinking "Hannu has written a Tim Powers novel". Just before reading this book, I had been thinking about how I greatly preferred Tim Powers to Neil Gaiman for magic realism, so having the new Hannu read pretty much like something Powers would write really threw me off. No kudos to Powers in the book either. Oh well, still an enjoyable read.

Back to science fiction: I read "Dark Lightning", by John Varley, 2014, 352 pages. This is the 4th book of the Thunder and Lightning series, which started in 2003 - it says here I read the 1st 1 "Red Thunder" in 2004. No sign I read the other 2: "Red Lightning" and "Rolling Thunder". Varley was one of my favorite authors in the early 80s.

I guess this is a YA book - the narrators are 18 YO twin sisters. They are on an asteroid ship heading for the New Sun currently traveling at 0.77c when ... plot happens. Nothing particularly inspiring, libertarian overtones, but a page turner. Varley seems to be getting old, he's 70 now. Apparently this whole series is a tribute to Heinlein, oops.

I wonder how I missed the middle 2? Oh well, I don't think it's worth revisiting. Funny, old singer/songwriters seem to keep on keepin' on, old SF authors - Heinlein, Herbert, now Varley, seem to fall prey to DOM (Dirty Old Man) syndrome. It's disappointing, and a cautionary tale for my increasingly aged self.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Science as Art

For my birthday, my oldest daughter gave me the book "Waves Passing In The Night", by Lawrence Weschler, 2017, 176 pages, subtitled "Walter Murch in the Land of the Astrophysicists". She got me both the hardcover and the Kindle versions of the book. I scanned through the hardcover and looked at the pictures and then read the Kindle version so I could annotate passages. The book is a quick and interesting read.

Per Wikipedia, Walter Murch "is an American film editor and sound designer. With a career stretching back to 1969, including work on Apocalypse Now, The Godfather I, II, and III, American Graffiti, The Conversation, and The English Patient, with three Academy Award wins (from nine nominations: six for picture editing and three for sound mixing), he has been referred to as "the most respected film editor and sound designer in the modern cinema."" He is also an amateur astrophysicist, and this book is the story of him trying to get professional astrophysicists interested in revisiting the mostly discredited 18th century Titius-Bode's Law, which predicts the positions of planets' orbits in the solar system. Bode's Law largely was assigned to the dustbin of history when Neptune was discovered in an orbit completely at odds with the law.

Murch seems like a very bright and creative guy. He helped develop the now ubiquitous Dolby 5.1 sound system with George Lucas. He carries a knapsack filled with "fortune cookie fortunes". 9 are given, this was my favorite:

Music is the pleasure the human soul experiences from counting without being aware that it is counting. — GOTTFRIED LEIBNIZ
There is a a lot of interesting material on ancient ideas including the Music of the Spheres. I had never heard of the quadrivium.
From Pythagorean antiquity through the Middle Ages and well into the Renaissance, all learned gentlemen (and they were all mainly gentlemen) were steeped in the fourfold classical curriculum known as the quadrivium, which is to say, arithmetic (pure number), geometry (number in space), music (number in time), and astronomy (number in space and time).
I liked this new word: apophenia - "“The widespread tendency of human beings to see patterns where there are no patterns.”" Ah, Wikipedia says our old friend Confirmation Bias "is a variation of apophenia", and lists another old friend, pareidolia, as its 1st example of apophenia.

There has always been opposition to the acceptance of Bode's Law. Carl Friederich Gauss, the 18th century "Mozart of Mathematics", raised 3 objections, the last 2 being

Gauss observed that, furthermore, Titius and Bode were dealing with just too few “planets” (eight) from which to derive a reliable law— any chance arrangement of a small number of objects (coins tossed on a table, birds singing on a tree branch), he argued, could be accounted for if you allowed yourself, as Bode and Titius had, a sufficient number of arbitrary constants.

Finally, there didn’t appear to be any physical explanation for why this clunky formula might be playing out in the actual physical world.

But Murch still forges ahead. He feels like his expertise with sound gave him insight into something that maybe was a resonance-based phenomenon, like musical harmony is. He applies Bode's law to Jupiter and Saturn's moons, and to some of the data on the new non-solar planetary systems being discovered by observatories like the Kepler satellite.

But, there are so many exceptions that the acrobatics required to try to make things work reminded me of the epicycles of earth-centric theories of the solar system. Munch theorizes the existence of some form of standing wave around gravitational bodies. This is evocative, but as 1 of the astrophysicists who reluctantly engages with Munch points out, if there were such standing waves in the metric, they would have to throw off all satellite communications, both nearby such as GPS, and far away, such as our spacecraft exploring the outer solar system. But then Munch finds an article saying that there are some discrepancies in GPS signals, so off we go again.

Several of the astrophysicists with whom Munch does succeed in engaging seem sympathetic, but, in the end, rightfully dismissive. Here is the conclusion of Lee Smolin of the Perimeter Institute of Toronto, who seemed to be very sympathetic to Munch and his efforts.

My sense is that Walter has done just about as well as any lay person could do, without the tools and discipline instilled by succeeding in a Ph.D program. The main thing a professional life in science teaches is that almost every idea is wrong. [my bold] All of us who work in science have seen most or all of our cherished, beautiful ideas fail. This is the tragic element of a life in science. Few are immune. What a life in science teaches one is that science is really, really, really hard to do right.

The main mistake Walter is making is to stay in love with his first idea. Only when you have seen your first 20 or 50 ideas die do you begin to appreciate what it means to have a good scientific idea. This is why laypeople like Walter never succeed in contributing to science— they cannot give up their first ideas.

The second mistake Walter is making is to underestimate the likelihood that a flexible theory can be invented and adjusted to fit random data, even when it is based on wrong ideas. This, unfortunately, happens all the time in medical science. If one has 100 factors to try to correlate with a disease, and one requires 95% probability for a match to be taken as a result, then at least five of them will appear to fit, just by chance. The literature of science and medicine is full of ideas that had some success at a 95% or even 99% level, but on further examination were found to be wrong.

Every year we see “discoveries” of new particles in experiments at the 95% or 99% level, which is to say better than Bode’s law does, which go away when larger data sets are taken. This is why the standard for discovery in particle physics is five sigma (one chance in 3 million of arising by chance). Even so, last year there was a five sigma “discovery” in cosmology that got lots of attention before it was shown that the effect could be explained by reflection off of dust in our own galaxy.

Bode’s law has if I understand right three free parameters. There were initially six known planets. The right question to ask is how likely is it someone could have invented a rule with three free parameters that fit six numbers. The answer is that given that there are a vast number of simple patterns with three parameters, the probability that something like Bode’s law could have been found to match random planetary orbits is close to one. And given Neptune, and the 50% success rate with some systems and the 5% success rate with other systems, the law has done about as poorly as could be expected were it an accidental fit, fine tuned to a small data set.

When a hypothesis works in half the new cases, or when it has a five percent success rate against a new data set, the right conclusion to draw is that the hypothesis is wrong. We must throw such ideas away if science is to be a source of reliable knowledge, and progress.

Note that Smolin has been critical of science becoming too inbred. In 2006 he published a book titled "The Trouble With Physics", which was critical of string theory. Weschler references these objections, and recalls how at the start of the Enlightenment, a lot of scientists were amateurs.

But, that was 250 years ago, we have moved beyond that now. Towards the end of the book, I found myself getting a little annoyed with the degree to which Weschler seems to have drunk Munch's kool-aid.

This brings me to the title of this post. Maybe we need something new to call what Munch is doing. It's not science - he simply doesn't have the training or math. But it is interesting and pretty. Who doesn't love a good pattern, even if there is nothing particularly fundamental underlying it?

So, maybe "science-art"? Googling "science as art" brings up shows and competitions for the prettiest pictures generated by science via microscopes, etc. "Science-fiction" and "science-fantasy" are already spoken for. There must be a good word for this. Maybe Aimee Mann can inspire us ...

A quick and enjoyable read, with several FFTKAT. Thanks Erica!

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Music

With this post, I think I'm going to get mostly caught up on music in. _Unrated smart playlist in iTunes is only at 111 songs.

But 1st, a music out update. From June 1 to June 5 I played 3 paying gigs: with Steve & Chris at J. Render's Friday, filling in in the house band for Dane Sadler at the Squires Tavern Sunday jam, and in the house band at the Tuesday's Sherman House Blues Jam at Lynagh's. I have been 2nd guitarist of record st the Tuesday Jam for a few weeks now, with Brent Carter on the other guitar, Matt Noell (whose gig it is) on bass, and Roger Barber on drums.

So, we did Purple Rain last week and everybody seemed to like it. I figured we'd close out the night with it again. We get like 4 lines in & the bar owner, our patroness Amy, walks up to me and says "I love you guys to death, but no Purple Rain". So we stopped ?!?!? Really kind of freaked me out. A mental blow of some sort - plus I suspect that this songus interruptus is going to leave "Purple Rain" stuck in my head for days. And what about 1A?

I just had a birthday, I'm 67 now, at some point I'm assuming I will be too old to keep going out and playing blues and rock in bars - this made me think maybe it's time to quit - or maybe to quit playing at Lynagh's. I think it's at least 1 strike.

Music in, let's see what we got. I have determined that in general it takes a max of 4 listens to rate an album.

  • "Soul of a Woman", Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, 2017. Is the 1st posthumous album I've rated? Ms. Jones death was untimely. This album is as good as her others - open up a can of funk. 4 stars. Here's "Searching for a New Day".

  • "Diamonds", JOHNNYSWIM, 2014. Not sure where I found this. A male/female singing duo out of LA. Very listenable. I had this as 4 stars, but I couldn't find a track I liked enough to include here, so, 3 stars
  • "Utopia", Björk, 2017. The world's greatest living composer. She has recently done themes for albums: all brass, all voices. This one has lots of woodwinds, but also songs without them. Like this one, "Arisen My Senses". What a weird-ass video. Wow, this woman is such a genius. 4 stars.

  • "The Greatest Gift", Sufjan Stevens, 2017. This album has both remixes and new material. Several of the remixes are some of my fav of his songs, so 4 stars, because I really enjoy his music. He was raised in some sort of christian cult, sometimes he seems to be carrying some of it with him. Several of his songs reference "the cross". Here's the short title tune.

  • "Tribute To 2", Jim James, 2017. Mr. James is the leader of the most successful band in KY history, My Morning Jacket, out of Louisville. I was confused. I thought this was a "tribute to" 2 artists. But, no, he earlier released "Tribute To", a general "old standards" type album, this was the 2nd edition of that concept. None of the songs really work much for me. 3 stars.
  • "How To Solve Our Human Problems (Part 1)", Belle & Sebastian, 2017. Only 5 tracks. 4 stars. Since they upped their energy level a little while back, I have liked their stuff a lot more. Here's "We Were Beautifil".

  • "I can feel you creep into my private life", Tune-Yards, 2018. 4 stars. Still not as good as her 1st album but better than the last. Here's the 1st track, "Heart Attack".

  • "My Life in the Bush of Ghosts", Brian Eno/David Byrne, 2006. Byrne describes this album almost as a sound-effect-making effort in his book "How Music Works", reviewed/summarized here. It is odd to listen too, but its 17 tracks will be something different when they come up individually on shuffle play. 3 stars.
  • "Always Ascending", Franz Ferdinand, 2018. A good album, but they are a bit brash for me at this state. 3 stars. However I did like the song "Huck and Jim": "We're coming to america, we're going to tell them about the NHS."
  • "Everything Was Beautiful, and Nothing Hurt", Moby, 2018. Moby writes such beautiful stuff. 4 stars. Here's "Like a Motherless Child".

  • "Nudes", Lucius & guests, 2018. 4 stars. I still like their songs best when the guys get to sing too. They do a cover of "Right Down The Line". Here's "Tempest".

  • "Yellow House", Grizzly Bear, 2006. 4 stars. I mentioned to my drummer nephew Max how Grizzly Bear was probably my favorite "new" band. He questioned the "new" - well, new to me anyway. He referenced this early Grizzly Bear album as one he listened to a lot Back In The Day - thanks Max. A lot of this sounds more like Department of Eagles than Grizzly Bear - that offshoot continues to be a source of confusion to me. Here's "Lullabye".

  • "Valleys of Neptune", Jimi Hendrix, 2010. 4 stars. In March "Both Sides of the Sky", a posthumous album of unreleased recordings came out to generally good reviews. I learned that this was the 3rd album like this that had been produced. So I decided to go back to the 1st 1, "Valleys of Neptune" and work up to the latest. I liked a version of "Sunshine of Your Love". Here's the title track.

  • "American Utopia", David Byrne, 2018. 4 stars. Byrne continues to produce great albums. Here's "Every Day Is A Miracle".

  • "The First Sip", Whilk & Misky, 2014. 4 stars. 4 tracks. The Goddess of YouTube decided I should see the 1st track of this album after something else I had requested. What a great tune! Plus I love the mouth trumpet. Steve & Chris has added this song to our book. The band is a duo of white guys out of London. Here's that 1st track, "Clap Your Hands". This is a great video too.

  • "My Round", Whilk & Misky, 2017, 4 stars. Those 4 tracks weren't enough, this album has 6 more. Here's "Oh Brother (featuring Nia Wyn)".

  • "Clean", Soccer Mommy, 2018. 4 stars. I bought this album by mistake. Soccer Mommy was playing at The Burl and I really enjoyed the 1st act, Madeline Kenney (see below). So I went to the table and brought a CD - for the headliner. Regardless, I have enjoyed it. Very laid back indy rock type stuff. Here's "Last Girl".

  • "Sex & Food", Unknown Mortal Orchestra, 2018. I think I got referred to this album because I liked Tame Impala - basically a 1-man Austraiian band - and UMO is a 1 man New Zealand band. 4 stars. Very creative, particularly on the orchestration. Here's "Hunnybee", with a tasty opening guitar lick followed by a disco beat.

  • "The Cloud And The Clearing", My Brother's Keeper, 2017. I saw these guys at the Twisted Cork open mic and at Willie's Locally Known. Very tight and clean 3-piece bluegrass. Got the album and, listening, found every song to be pushing serious theist propaganda. Ugh. 2 stars.
  • "Let's Make Love", Brazilian Girls, 2018. 4 stars. 13 tracks. Better than their last couple of efforts. Wow, it's been 10 years since their last album. Great dance music. Here's the 1st track, "Pirates".

  • "Treasures from the Temple", Thievery Corporation, 2018. 4 stars. 12 tracks. What a great mix of influences these guys put together, particularly the reggae. Here's "Water Under The Bridge (featuring Natalia Clavier)".

  • "Night Night At The First Landing", Madeline Kenney, 2017. 4 stars except for 1 track I didn't like. This the woman who opened for Soccer Mommy (see above). After I figured out I hadn't bought her album, I found it online and downloaded it. She was playing a Strat largely on the low strings, with a female drummer and a male bass player. Some really unique sounds, in a fairly laid back indy rock framework. Here's "Rita".

  • "Dirty Computer", Janelle Monáe. 2018. 4 stars. 14 tracks. She has such great concepts, but I don't think the tunes on this album are as catchy as some of her prior work. Here's a nice dance number, "Make Me Feel".

  • "Last Man Standing", Willie Nelson, 2018. 4 stars. This got good reviews, and us old guys got to stick together. Damn, Willie is 85. I will buy all his albums from here on out. I like the lyrics to the title track: "I don't want to be the last man standing. But, wait a minute, maybe I do."

  • "7", Beach House, 2018. 3 stars. A review of this said "Finally an album you can listen to with other people rather than just by yourself". Still seemed a little too laid back for me.
  • Eponymous, Rage Against The Machine, 1992. 4 stars. My FL friend Joe Fink (drummer) posted a cover of "Wake Up" by Brass Against The Machine. What a strong video. This is the music from the end of the 1st Matrix movie, when Neo flies off into the sunset. Strong female singer, good guitar player, drummer, horn section of sousaphone, bari sax, 2 trombones, 2 trumpets. I really seem to hear a bass guitar, but can't spot a bass player in the video. The Rage Against The Machine album is a lot brasher than I usually listen too, but it is great stuff.

    The message of this song is so topical now. But this song originally came 26 years ago. So the line at the end "How long? Not long!" has not played out. A little discouraging. But, still, we gots to keep on keepin' on, and fight the old lizards.

Wow, 26 albums, and we are current through the end of May! FTW!

Monday, June 11, 2018

This Time For Sure

Posted as a comment to this article:
Look. Capitalism has worked. The world is awash in capital. We used to have tons of nature & not much capital, now we have tons of capital but a rapidly diminishing amount of nature.

Since the 1950s we have been in a post scarcity economy - else the marketing industry would not be spending $$$B to convince people to buy things they don't need.

There's plenty to go around, for the whole world. We just need to thank capitalism for the great job it did accumulating capital and then adopt an accounting system that changes our score keeping algorithms to where everyone wins, not just the .01%.

The filthy rich will still be filthy rich. We may not even need to go to the punitive 95% tax levels of the 1950s - the greatest decade ever, right, old white people?

Money is software. We can literally say "OK, everyone is rich now!" and make it work. Everybody won't get a McMansion. but, we can have universal health care; universal education, academic or trades, to whatever level you are capable of; universal basic income; universal capital access; and NO HUNGRY CHILDREN WITH STUNTED BRAIN GROWTH.

I've said this so many times, I think I keep on doing it periodically because I hope that at some point I will state it perfectly and it will go viral and everyone will say "Yes! That's easy! Let's change our post-scarcity economy into a post-scarcity utopia!"

You know though, the biggest problem may be the need that some people seem to have, that there be people that they can look down on. Come on, folks, can't we get past that?!?!?