Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Atlas Shrugged II ( film ) --- review

Originally posted 7.18.13, updated,


From the book, "Why Things Are Falling Apart", a quote:

"...the unbridled pursuit of self-interest will magically lead to an optimum economy and society."

Or, "no man is an island".  That may sound socialistic, but socialism is also flawed for the same reason.  "Nobody does the right thing".

The original post follows:

Most likely you have heard of the saying "don't shoot the messenger" for bad news.  The story goes like this: the King didn't like the message, so he shoots the messenger.  Well, to sum it up shortly about this movie, don't shoot the message because of the messenger.  The message has a good point, however, it is the way it was delivered in the movie was not so good.

I wanted to like this movie, you see.  Our world is a lot like what this movie was supposed to be about.  Our world, meaning the US, is falling apart at the seams.  Shifting back to the movie, this aforementioned world was supposed to be falling apart because John Galt was "stopping the engine of the world" with a capitalistic strike.  Atlas was shrugging because of the unrealistic demands of a socialistic government was crushing him with burdens that were killing him.  Atlas was the force that made everything work, his absence meant the world must fall apart.  Atlas was saving himself and letting the world sink into ruin.  He relinquished any responsibility for its demise and put his own needs ahead of the others.  In other words, the world can go to hell.  The individual comes first.

I liked that concept when I first read the book.  I have come to a different opinion today.

Trouble is with this concept, I have come to believe that that's pretty much why we are in the mess we are in.  Here's why:  There has to be a sense of self not only in an individual, but in the group in which he belongs.  Man cannot just live for himself.  For if he does, his world will cease to exist.  What better way to describe what is happening to the West and the US these days.  It's every man for living for himself and himself alone.  This is true even when it may seem otherwise.  Even if it is vehemently denied by those who practice socialism.

Once again, that doesn't mean that the message is all bad.  For there is a philosophical underpinning to individualism, as depicted by Rand's philosophy, that will allow a society to exist as a society.  That society based upon the concept of free exchange.  It eschews compulsion of the collective in favor of a free exchange of values-for-values from individuals.  Such a society could exist as such, but does not exist today in the West or in the USA.  For the rather extreme individualism is what leads to such phenomena as same-sex marriage and abortion.  Society must procreate in order to survive the end of a generation.  In the kind of society that we have now, the individual will not want to do that for he must give up something of himself for that to occur.  Thus, the society dies out.

When John F. Kennedy said in his inaugural, "ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country", he was expressing the obligation of the individual to his community.  That sense of obligation is very tenuous in our culture now.  Perhaps a lot of it died in Vietnam.

Unfortunately, that part of the message, if it exists, gets lost in this flawed presentation.  It is assumed to occur by itself with Rand's philosophy, evidently.  This notion of what it takes to make a nation wasn't developed in the movie nearly enough, so you really don't know if there is an adequate explanation for how that can occur.

The movie also has other perhaps more obvious flaws.  I really didn't believe that actors nor the plot.  If the world is falling apart, then why do so many things seem to work so well?  Sure, there are things that fall apart, but you don't see this affecting overall conditions like you know they must in order to accept the premises.  Your suspension of belief just doesn't get suspended enough.  Not to mention that some of the actors just were not good enough.  For example, I didn't believe the performance of the guy that Jim Taggart ( Dagny's brother ) hires to take Dagny's place when she decides to go on leave.  He couldn't pull off the character.  Besides that, I really didn't like that lack of continuity from the first film.  Too many new actors and actresses.

There should have been a ton of artistic license in this movie in order to make it work.  Instead, it sticks too closely to the book while the book is way out of date.  For example, there aren't many passenger railroads today in the US.  There were when the book was released in the fifties.  That pretty much makes it implausible, and then you have another failure in your suspension of disbelief.  That problem could have been solved by just making the movie follow the book a lot more loosely and perhaps that would have allowed the message to survive.

But the message gets killed by a flawed movie and that's a shame.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Money madness drives the evil we see

Originally posted 7.2.16, updated,


Well, one thing has changed, and that is that ISIS is getting their butts kicked.  But they did take credit for Vegas.  So, maybe they aren't getting their butts kicked, after all.

the original post follows:

It has long been a source of perplexity to me as to why this blog doesn't get traction.  All too often, people will judge the value of things by the popularity of it.  Consequently, without the pageviews, people may conclude there is little of value here.

If you look around and notice a few things, some of these websites seem to jump through hoops in order to get pageviews.  But why do this?  Pageview counts are the new Nielsen ratings:  they will command higher premiums from advertisers.  Thus it is a mad pursuit of pageviews, upon which they get paid.

Instead of pageviews, how about truth?  If truth is unpleasant, well, that might hurt pageviews.  We can't have unpleasant truths bothering people so they won't return to your website.

People want to be entertained, too.  They will like a bruising fight between people, even though they will say that they don't like the political fights in Congress.  That's what the polls say.  Let's come together, the polls seem to say, but the eyeballs reward the fights.  It is the eyeballs on the screen that gets the money, and thus gets all the attention.  If anybody says, hey we can solve this problem, well that just doesn't get the attention.  It isn't entertaining enough.  Like the song says--- "crap is king".  Entertainment is big business, you know.  You get crap because that is what you pay attention to.  They are giving you what you want, whether you acknowledge that or not, it is the truth of the matter.

Ah, the truth!  If only that DID matter.  It doesn't seem to matter anymore.  More important to get those ratings because that's where the money is.

This blog is about truth, but it doesn't get ratings.  People prefer the crap after all.

So, you people wonder why our society is falling apart.  Those who say the country is in good shape will say the stock market is doing well.  But what about ISIS?  ISIS must be good for business, since they sure don't want to actually do anything about it.  If they did want to do something about ISIS, they would endeavor to find the truth, but the truth is bad for pageviews, and bad for business.  So the last thing they want to do is to find the truth behind ISIS.  The stock market is doing well, so let's not worry about ISIS.

It is no long a source of confusion to me why this blog doesn't do well.  Nobody wants the truth.   They reward the crap with pageviews.  You can complain all you want about crap, but if it is money that you worship, you will never get anything else but crap.  Solutions to problems require some understanding of truth, not the denial of it.  The denial of truth is what brings the crap.  If you don't want crap, stop rewarding it with your eyeballs.

This blog doesn't take money.  But it won't do any good unless people pay attention to it.  But there's nothing you can do while crap is still king.  The crap is brought to you by the friendly sponsors.  Have a good day.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Quick Review of Why Things Are Falling Apart

Originally posted 2.13.13, updated on,

A re-visit of this post, which is almost five years old.   It impresses me with how good a job I did with the review.  That is to say, after studying the book a bit more closely, I cannot say that my review changes much.

An addition that I want to make with respect to what to do about it:  a lot of this right v. left stuff is what is holding us back.  This is what the powers-that-be use to keep us in check.

The people need to wise up to the political class, and start demanding answers.  But isn't that what this original post said?  Isn't that what the book says ( if you read it)?

the original post follows

For one thing, it is a long title.  I've been referring to this a "the book" in a series of blog posts thus far on this topic.  Just suffice it to say that the book is mostly about why things are falling apart.  The "what to do about it" is but one section out of six.

Most of the book is a hard read for me because I tend to want to remain optimistic about things as they are.  The book's main message flies right into the face of that.  According to this book, things are not going to stay as they are for much longer.

I began with the notion that I agreed that things are falling apart.  The book confirms that and much more- which to my chagrin, is not necessarily what I really wanted to believe.  What I wanted to believe, and still do, despite this book, is that we can work out our problems.  The thing that is missing is the will to do so.

The book isn't really political, but there is some political stuff in it.  Does it tend towards the right or towards the left?  Actually, neither.  However, those on the left may think the book is aimed directly at them.  In a way, it is.  That's because the dominant paradigm today is big government liberalism initiated by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in his New Deal.  But it may be noted that a lot of so-called conservative Republicans tend to like their big government too, and are therefore wedded to this paradigm as well.  The book also goes after capitalism, but does not extol socialism nor communism.  To the contrary, it is critical of these systems as well.

 The book's solutions tend in the Club of Rome, Limits to Growth genre.  That won't work with the modern day real conservatives who believe in limited government and economic growth.  I count myself as one of these, but not whole-heartedly so.  I would tend to agree that growth for growth's sake isn't the way to go.  But to eschew all growth and accept sharp limits is not my cup of tea either.

Yet, some of his ideas are plain old common sense, which I've heard is not held in high esteem amongst some on the left or the elite in general.  I agree, they don't seem to have much common sense.  The difference is that they are actually proud of that, which shows all the more how cock-eyed they are.  This book hits them squarely in the groin, but it also hits everybody else squarely in the groin.

He gives short shrift to technological solutions.  He seems to deny that these will prove to be helpful in the long run.  I disagree.  I think there are technologies that could help but are being blocked by the same self-interested elite that he is so often critical of in this book.

On the whole, it is an excellent read.  It will challenge you to the maximum.  If you are one of those people who sneer at common sense or believe in your ideology like it is a religion or something, you will not like this book.  You may even hate it.  But that may be the crux of the problem.  People have to realize that there's a problem here, and denying it won't help us solve it.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Homemade and designed solar water distiller

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Another post in the water sub series in the main off the grid series of posts.

Originally posted 10.06.17, updated on,

I am considering adding some copper tubing as a condenser.  How much would be necessary, and how can I make this as simple as possible?

I hate complications.  Especially when I have to execute them.  Simplicity is tough enough.

It comes in coils, so if I leave it in a coil while gradually let it rise higher.  It would have to be supported somehow.  Also, any condensation must drain back where it is supposed to go, not back into the water that I want to clean up.

Can put a separator at the end, with gravity sending the condensate into a collection bottle.  It can be like a gutter that runs from the top part of the distiller, down to where I want to separate the dirty water from the area where the condensate drains into it.  About a foot long piece of metal bent in half will do the trick.


An idea sprang up in my mind.  Why use plywood?  I can use 2x4x8' studs.  Cut them down to the size needed, and enclose an area that will hold about nine gallons of water.

I think the idea could work, so now I can think of how to optimize it.  What I mean is to add a condensation chamber to it, like the linked youtube presentation below.

Would it be worth it to circulate cold water through a tube, and let the hot moist air condense around that tube, thus increasing the output?  No.  Actually, you don't need to circulate water at all.  Just the air.

You could have a Styrofoam cooler attached to the distiller.  Hot moist air will be conducted into the cooler, but enclosed, as the moist air would be inside a tube that connects the distiller and the cooler.  The tube would be submerged inside the cooler, and the air would be circulated through the tube and back into the distiller to be reheated by the sun.  As the hot moist air cools, it will condense inside the tube, and can be collected.

This setup would require but a small amount of electricity to run the fan that circulates the air.


11:30 am:

Here is a professional looking application of this idea.  This version is demonstrated in a four part series on youtube.   Frankly, I do not want the kinds of complications he has, but some of his ideas are worth a try on my own system.

For example, he has a condensation chamber.  It is made of metal and attaches to the back of the basin.  There is also a mirror that will concentrate solar energy into the water, thus heating it up.

9 am:

More thinking on this has produced an upgrade upon the design.  The amount of air inside of the distiller is too high, meaning the performance is likely to be disappointing.  Consequently the design now is for the triangle to be cut down to a few inches instead of a foot high.

If I keep this up, it might get built before Christmas.  Hmm.  That was joke, but Christmas is just a couple months away now.

the original post follows :

This idea has been floating around in my mind for a few weeks now.  Time maybe to give it a shot?  Here is a preliminary design.  It is simple, but hopefully not too simple that it overlooks some important points.

I want to use the sun's energy and the earth's gravity in order to purify water, so it can be used over and over again.  Pardon the crudity of the drawing.  Perhaps there is a prettier way of doing it, but I don't care about such details.

I should add that the smaller enclosure should be tilted so that the condensed water will drain towards a small hole at one end.

This will require another inch piece be cut lengthwise so that it will fit inside the enclosure.  This will provide the tilt necessary so that the distilled water can drain out.

The enclosed area should hold 7 square feet  times 7/8 inch, which is about a 1/2 cubic foot, which in turn is about 7 and a half gallons divided by two.  Since the materials can make two of these, it can process up to 7.5 gallons of water at a time.

Phil Collins: Don't care anymore

Running out of data again.  This is posted using free wifi. 

Heard this song on the radio yesterday.  What if everybody thought like this?  All the time, I mean.

Or maybe we are there already.  Listen how people talk.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Grandfather of Alt-Science

Free Republic


Interesting read.  What caught my attention about Vitamin C, was that this guy thinks it helps cancers to grow.  In other words, if he is right, then my taking Vitamin C is a bad idea.

Not so sure who is right.  But I know from my own experience that it does seem to help with hypertension.

By the way, my experience with taking large doses of Niacin is that it seems to help with cholesterol.  Maybe there is something to be said for vitamins.  However, maybe not.

Generally speaking with regards to this article, I think guys like this may be easy to marginalize.  The trouble with conservatism is that it is like that, it is too easy to marginalize.

Don Surber: Fake News on Obamacare

Don Surber: Fake News on Obamacare: Maybe we should call the Fake News that CBS, CNN, NBC, and other spread like wildfire what they really are. Bleating Democratic talking po...


Actually, the point was made that Congress has already repealed the law by not funding it---years ago.  The Court has affirmed that, so any payment of subsidies is actually illegal.  But Obama was doing that anyway.

Now I wonder if the can actually offer policies with a subsidy, if the subsidies are not paid.  Who pays them, then?  Or will the insurance companies drop out?  How can these be offered, if there's no subsidies?

No use going to court, as the court has already decided it.  No subsidies, unless Trump pays them, which he is now refusing.  All Trump is doing is following the law.

We shall see what we shall see.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

The media is not about the truth

Ann Coulter goes after the media again.  Not that I disagree, but why give them credit for any integrity?  Even a nitwit can have integrity.  You can be dumb and honest at the same time.  It's just that the media isn't honest.  I won't speculate about their intelligence.

The media doesn't tell us things in order to inform us, but the opposite.

It's not Trump, it's you guys

They're starting up that talk of the 25th amendment again, in order to remove Trump.

But everyone knows that is going nowhere.  If you cannot get impeachment, you cannot do this.  Impeachment does not require but one of the houses of Congress to have a 2/3rds vote.  For the 25th amendment route to work, both houses have to pass it by a 2/3 rds margin.

Not likely any time soon.

The real issue is what Trump ran against.  It's those guys.  Those guys would like to remove him, but they can't, because they don't have the political power.  Unless the body politic moves against Trump in a much bigger way, which means voters have to reject him in a big way, this is going nowhere.

Instead of removing him, they should work with him.  Actually, Trump has tried.   But these guys won't budge off their nuttiness.

If anything, Trump is winning this battle.  His enemies should make peace with him while they can.

Why the defeatism?

Originally posted 10.23.16, updated on,

People seem down-in-the-mouth, but consider this time last year.  Many polls were saying Hillary would win,  She didn't.

Earlier this year, there seemed to be a real threat that Trump would be run out of office.  It hasn't happened.  It seems less and less likely to happen.

The foot dragging of Congress recently seemed to reflect badly on Trump.  Yet, he is doing things that will be helpful to the country.  More than that, on most, if not all controversies, he seems to come out on top.

Let's not be so negative.   Things have a chance of improving, believe it or not.

the original post follows

It seems like so many are already conceding defeat, but is this really justified?  Why should anybody believe that Hillary is inevitable?  Some reasons not to be so negative:

  1. Polls are cited as very unfavorable to Trump.  But polls are based upon assumptions that may not be correct.  If there has been any shift in the voting patterns in the electorate, the polls are not designed to catch that.  For instance, the infamous red-blue pattern is assumed in many models used for polling.  Trump is not a dyed in the wool typical GOP type.  Some Democrat voters may cross over and vote for him.  The red blue pattern may not hold this time.
  2. People may not want disclose their true intentions.  The answers to the pollsters may not reflect the true sentiment of the voters.
  3. A large undecided segment.  This could bode ill for Hillary as Dick Morris points out. Undecideds tend to vote for the challenger.
  4. The true state of the race may be obscured by dishonest reporting.  If anyone believes the media is honest, there's this bridge in Brooklyn that you can buy real cheap.
  5. Reading between the lines indicates this race is a lot closer than is being reported.  Why should voting irregularities matter in a landslide?

Don't let the media decide you.  Get out there and vote.