Archive for August 2014

Conversation With A Libertarian

I was at a conference in Minneapolis recently. I talked to a lot of people. One guy said he was a libertarian. He seemed like a nice fellow. He may be a guy who can say he is a “true” libertarian.

A lot of times, people who call themselves “libertarian” are using that term to put lipstick on a pig. Frequently they are racist or homophobic, or really just don’t like paying other people a day’s wage for a day’s work. There was a good article on Pando pointing out that a lot of people think of themselves as “libertarian” without realizing that other people call themselves “libertarian” and have some pretty nasty ideas.

So this guy said he was into Bitcoin. I just kept nodding as he kept talking. But after a few minutes I thought this guy might be sincere about libertarianism and freedom.

He worked for another crypto currency and got paid in Bitcoin (using a three-day moving average). He was involved in a Meetup in the Bay Area about Bitcoin. Two of the other organizers were on the far left politically. He reported his Bitcoin income to the IRS.

He even said that Bitcoin may not replace fiat currency, but complement it. He also said that Bitcoin itself might be replaced by something else in the future. A lot of Bitcoiners (like a lot of gold nutjobs) think that all we have to do is go to Bitcoin and everything will be wonderful. Just press this magic red button one time, set the dial right there, and everything will be okay. The fact is if you change the rules, then people just find new ways to cheat. Plus they seem oblivious to the idea that changing society in their image might hurt other people, even if other people think society is just fine. A lot of Bitcoiners sound like the Underpants Gnomes from South Park: 1. Dislodge fiat currency. 2. ???? 3. Utopia. What is step 2? No idea. So for a supporter of Bitcoin to say that Bitcoin might not be the final answer is surprising.

He also talked about how Bitcoin can be used in Africa. Apparently cel phone minutes are used as a form of currency. He pointed out that the banking system in many African countries is not that great, and that Bitcoin can do some good there. (The conference was a few weeks ago, and I honestly have forgotten some of what he has said.)

A lot of glibertarians are pretty racist (see the Pando article I linked to above). So here was a guy who actually thought that he was doing something to help people in poor countries. He seemed pretty sincere about it.

I am still skeptical of libertarianism in general. But I will say this encounter opened my eyes a bit.

Image from Wikipedia, assumed allowed under Fair Use.

Voyager Is Offline

There are now only 13 episodes of Voyager available on the Star Trek site. I will wait a few months to see if they will bring the episodes back. I still have not seen a big chunk of Deep Space Nine either. CBS has taken episodes offline and brought them back before, so I will wait to see what happens.

If they do not come back, I may have to break down and spend money to watch what I have not seen. I might try Amazon Prime. Someone at work told me about this. It looks like you can get a LOT of stuff for $20/month.

I was hoping to get more Star Trek for free. It looks like Comcast will be buying Time Warner Cable. I am pretty certain my cable bill will go up. I know Netflix has had some conflicts with Verizon. I wonder if anyone is on Comcast’s hit list. It would be nice to be able to watch stuff without dealing with all the corporate shenanigans.

I mentioned before that I didn’t think they needed to bring on Seven of Nine to make Voyager fun to watch, and that the other women on the show were pretty damn hot. Well, I think Kes and Torres (forehead, temper and all) are hot. But still, Seven of Nine does have an amazing body. The chest is nice, but for me the waist and the figure are what capture my attention. And the legs. And the rear.

I did not watch Voyager when it was first running, since I did not have a TV. I knew a woman at the gym I went to who was upset that her husband became a huge Voyager fan when Seven of Nine came on. She was very attractive in her own right. I told her that I thought she was at least an 8. She didn’t get it at first.

Image from Memory Alpha, copyright owned by CBS, assumed allowed under Fair Use.

Random Rant

I am not too thrilled with my job these days.

I work at a large consulting firm that was spun off from one of the then-Big Six accounting firms.

I work with a “business rules engine“. Nobody seems to know what on earth this is. One time I told someone the systems I help create implement health care policies for states, and he thought that I made the policy. I told him the state governments create the policy. Another guy thought that I did something with firewall rules.

The Austin office mostly does government work. I can’t say why, but I would prefer to be in the private sector. Plus I don’t really like the technology that I am working with. If I tried to get another job, I think all the offers I would get would be for what I am doing now.

I am not too confident in my status at work right now. I was on one project for a year, and since January I have been on four different projects. Perhaps they are sending me a message. I have never really liked any job that I have had. The benefits are nice. They were nice at the large, multinational bank. But there I did not really like the technology I worked with either. I spend some of my own time learning a new (to me) programming language that I would like to get a job in. I know it is odd to some people that I spend all day at a desk in front of a computer, and then I go home to sit at another desk in front of a computer. But if I don’t learn on my own, then I will never get a job in it. A lot of people who do not work in technology either think that it’s all the same, or that you can just go out and get any old technology job any old time. It is not like that at all. At least it never has been for me.

Granted, I do not work as much as I should on my own. I will drive home on Friday, and think about all the things I plan to do, but spend most of the weekend pacing, looking at other sites, or just not doing much of anything. I don’t go out too much. That is partially by choice. I do not like spending money. But it not conducive to meeting the ladies. I don’t meditate as much as I would like or as much as I plan. I don’t work out as early as I would like. I would like to do it when I wake up, but, as stated, I just put it off. Some days I don’t do it at all.

WRT working out, maybe I am worried that the neighbors will complain about the noise, and I will have to cut it short. Or maybe I have this weird fear that I will weaken the structural integrity of my apartment. Granted, if that is the case, the people above the people next door are really hurting this building.

Speaking of the ladies: I go to meetups, some tech related, some not, but they are still mostly guys. Even the non-tech ones. The non-tech ones are usually related to atheism, skepticism, or geek culture. I seem to go for activities that elicit little to no interest from women: atheism, martial arts, science fiction. Maybe there are plenty of women in those fields, but I have just spent my life in cities where women only care about going to church, getting drunk, or going shopping. (I don’t know about other countries, but if you do not have a religion or drink booze, the USA is a large empty space.) I know that some people get married and have children, but somehow I think that does not explain the imbalance.

When I was in Chicago I did ask a woman in the Chicago Skeptics what the heck women do with their time. She said that a lot of women feel socially isolated because their husbands/boyfriends go out and leave the ladies at home. So much for pairing off and having lots of hot sex. I guess I am even more disconnected from humanity than I thought.

It has also occurred to me that maybe I am not as smart as I thought I was, or as smart as people have been telling me. I don’t seem to get the hang of things at work as quickly as others. I have been going to a few meetups centered around board games. Usually I come in last. A few times I won at Thunderstone, and I won twice in a row in Ticket To Ride. (I have retired with my record intact.) But at just about all the others I do terribly.

Anyway, I hope I don’t get caught in The Chasm Of Death: Let go from my job before I have enough skills in the technology that I like to get a job in it.

Image from Wikipedia, assumed allowed under Fair Use.

2014-07 Dividend Income Report

Here is the dividend income report for July, 2014.

The monthly dividend income came out to $198.43. The yearly income total for 2014 through the end of the month was $2132.33.

The income for July, 2013 was $180.57, and the yearly income total up through that month was $1673.29.

I do not own too many stocks that pay dividends in January/April/July/October. I own about half that pay out in those months as I do that pay out in March/June/September/December. I have a buy order on Chubb that closed about 20 cents above my price, and according to Yahoo got within about 12 cents of it. Loading up on stocks that pay out in these months is a priority, but not as high as getting 100 shares of the stocks that I already own.

I might look at the list of dividend payers sent out by David Fish, and see if there are any stocks that pay in January/April/July/October that look compelling.

The S&P 500 actually went down a couple of days this week. I think the correction that everyone has been talking about might be starting.

Here are the stocks and the income amounts for July, 2014:

  • Automatic Data Processing: $27.53
  • Coca-Cola Co: $32.99
  • MDU Resources Group Inc.: $9.82
  • Kimberly-Clark: $46.44
  • Illinois Tool Works: $22.41
  • Chubb Corp: $10.91
  • Piedmont Natural Gas Inc: $18.96
  • Sysco Corp: $16.06
  • RPM International Inc.: $13.31


Image from Wikimedia, assumed allowed under Fair Use.

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