Philosophy of Reality http://philosophyofreality.com Understanding Reality Using the Rules of Cause & Effect Mon, 08 Sep 2014 16:01:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Fixing Europe’s “Right To Be Forgotten” Disaster http://philosophyofreality.com/2014/07/05/fixing-europes-right-to-be-forgotten-disaster/ http://philosophyofreality.com/2014/07/05/fixing-europes-right-to-be-forgotten-disaster/#comments Sat, 05 Jul 2014 20:06:51 +0000 http://philosophyofreality.com/?p=595 Continue reading ]]> Bookmark/FavoritesEmailFacebookShare

Problem:

Folks requested the ability to be able to take down articles/news/etc. that are either old or contain incorrect information about themselves. However, sometimes, that bad information is a small part of a larger story or cannot be removed in the internet world for other reasons.

Bad Solution:

The European Court created a “Right to be Forgotten” law, forcing search engines (aimed specifically at Google) to have to remove links to articles when that specific person’s name is searched. However, there’s no real guidelines, so folks send in all sorts of demands to Google to remove links.

Stupid Result:

Somebody’s wants their personal comment in the comment section of a very relevant news article “forgotten”, so he sends his demand to Google, who has to now manually remove that page result from searches involving his name. This leads those involved wit that article to think that Google is removing all links and they get mad, worried, and ironically, posting more links to that page, thus focusing even more attention to it. And to get even worse, every demand sent to each search engine (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.) will be handled differently by each company, thus guaranteeing unhappy people and follow-up lawsuits/legal actions. Yuck.

My Better Idea:

Here’s my much better idea for how to fix this:

A simple meta tag agreed on by the internet community. Call the tag, “keyword-non”. Search engines don’t associate that page with the keyword listed in that tag.

Problem solved.

Oh, you want more details? OK.

<meta name=”keyword-non” content=”EU -> John Smithson, EU -> Johnathan Smithson, EU -> Jon Smithson, California -> John Smithson, US -> Johnathan Smithson, BR -> Jon Smithson” />

(Sample only. Geographic tags meant to show examples of geographic tag markup.)

Meta tag name: Keyword-non

Content layout: location -> keyword, location2 -> keyword2

Location tag: Perhaps use a foundation of ISO 3166-1 codes with some other codes mixed in to cover encompassing legal domains, (I.E. US states, or other country regions)

Keyword tag: The phrase that page should not be associated with for searches done inside that geographic location.

Each geo-tag/keyword connected with an associative array key->value arrow.

Each separate geo-tag/keyword combination is separated by a comma

How It Will Work:

If someone wants themselves “forgotten”, they send their request to the website. The website places the correct name(s) and geo-locations in the keyword-non tag for the offending article(s).

All search engines that re-crawl that page will automatically place the appropriate blocks in all their search engines.

Everyone’s happy.

Benefits: Now, folks who want pages withheld from search engines under specific keywords (such as their name) can do so, and even better, aim those restrictions to specific geographic locations. (Since EU laws can’t restrict search results in other countries)

These meta tags also are much easier to transport along with the article in cases where the article is moved, translated, etc to other URLs (which could very easily break the current “forget me” scenario).

Better yet, all search engines can much more easily follow the correct protocols with as little deviation as possible.

This also puts the requirements where they belong: On the sites that house those articles, news stories, etc. Not search engines that have zero control over what’s placed on those webpages. Also highly reducing legal follow-ups owing to lack of homogenous actions by multiple unrelated search engine companies.

Do you think the W3 should adopt this? Is there a  better way to do it? What do you think?

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Reality of $1/Hour http://philosophyofreality.com/2013/12/05/reality-of-1-dollar-hour/ http://philosophyofreality.com/2013/12/05/reality-of-1-dollar-hour/#comments Fri, 06 Dec 2013 06:11:14 +0000 http://philosophyofreality.com/?p=577 Continue reading ]]> Bookmark/FavoritesEmailFacebookShare

So today, unions sponsored another set of protests (and calling them strikes, as if those employees that were involved were already in a union) in an attempt to bully McDonald’s, Taco Bell and other fast food chains to increase their minimum wage from ~$7-8/hour to $15/hour. Almost double.

I’ll skip the issues of these unions just trying to increase their own membership and destroying entire industries to do it. I’ll discuss unions in another post.

Tonight, I just want to show some simple math.

First, some foundational facts. we’ll use McDonald’s as our test subject.

1.8 million employees. $5.4 Billion is net profit. Sounds like they could afford to increase those wages a bit, eh? Look again.

Let’s pretend we increase all 1.8 million employees a mere $1/hour
They’re mostly part-time so let’s say they average 30 hours/week.

1.8 million employees X 30 hours X 52 weeks/year = $2,808,000,000

Yep. $2.8 Billion dollars. Congratulations, you just wiped out almost half their entire corporate profits.

The result? The stock just lost 1/2 their worth. Stock holders, in a frenzy of selling, plummet the price down, wiping out billions of net worth for investors. Investors who would have eventually sold and invested their profits into something else, perhaps the business you work in. But now they can’t, because that money’s gone.

The New York Stock Exchange index drops like a rock, due to the ripple effect of large increases/drops on the indexes, further removing potential investment money for the things you care deeply about.

Oh, and that 401(k) or other investment plan you have? Wanna bet what this will do to it? I can almost guarantee the stock code MCD and/or NYSE index is floating in their inventory of diversified investments. So yeah, your net worth just dropped too.

@ $2/hour increase across the board, we come to $5.6 Billion, wiping out all profit.

That’s right. You just destroyed Mcdonald’s. We now have 1.8 million more employees looking for work. Plus those stock investors, including you? screwed.

But it’s even worse. remember this part?
Total operating costs and expenses: $18,962,000

That line means they spend almost $19 Billion dollars/year on construction, electricity, office supplies, wages, taxes, food, etc. etc. etc.

All those farms, companies, contractors, etc. that does business with them? Lower sales. Lower profits. Workers let go.

And it’s even worse than that, because these are corporate numbers, and of the 34,480 MCD locations, 27,882 are franchises. Gone.

Oh yeah, and they want to do this at Wendy’s, Taco Bell, Carl’s Junior, In-n-Out, Burger King…

Plus, don’t forget the other smaller restaurants. They work on even smaller profit margins.

So tell me again how doubling low-level job wages are a good thing?

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Reality of Government Surveillance http://philosophyofreality.com/2013/06/16/reality-of-government-surveillance/ http://philosophyofreality.com/2013/06/16/reality-of-government-surveillance/#comments Mon, 17 Jun 2013 05:19:29 +0000 http://philosophyofreality.com/?p=564 Continue reading ]]> Bookmark/FavoritesEmailFacebookShare

So this whole business of project Prism, and the other projects made for mass surveillance of all Americans electronic activity is rather interesting on a few levels that I don’t read anyone mentioning.

Level #1: I recall not that long ago (as recently as last month) real life stories, jokes, warnings and fiction based upon how wicked the Russian government was because of all their spying on their own people. I mean we literally waged wars over that country plus others because they had the gall to create police states and monitor everyone’s activities.

And remember what happened to anyone that said something those in the government disliked?

POOF! Gone.

Which leads me to:

Level #2: Some folks are wondering exactly what is the problem with the US government taking a World War II Soviet Russia-style approach to security? after all aren’t we in a war against terrorists that could attack us at any moment? If the government doesn’t take this approach we could have another 9/11 on our hands. So what’s the problem?

For that answer, I’d like to remind you about what was learned right before Prism became publicly known about the IRS intentionally monitoring and yes, harassing Conservative and religious groups and even individuals.

Whether you like the groups that the IRS has been attacking doesn’t matter. Whether you think those groups should be denied non-profit status isn’t the point.

The point, when you honestly and truly connect these two government stories together is simple:

We are talking about a government setup that not only can and does track everything you do, but depending on who may be in charge, could suddenly decide that some part of your life goes against “the best interests” (however they define that) and suddenly you and those you love are now the criminals. Then they can and will attack you on not just a criminal level, but taxes and all other levels the government has access to.

Remember that Twitter post you made a few months back about that oil leak? Suddenly there are official reasons why your car registration is being denied and you legally aren’t allowed to drive anymore.

It doesn’t matter what side of any fence you’re on, it will offend somebody in government. How comfortable are you that those government officials will never retaliate? Honestly how comfortable does this make you?

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No Reason to Lie http://philosophyofreality.com/2012/10/04/no-reason-to-lie/ http://philosophyofreality.com/2012/10/04/no-reason-to-lie/#comments Fri, 05 Oct 2012 05:19:23 +0000 http://philosophyofreality.com/?p=549 Continue reading ]]> Bookmark/FavoritesEmailFacebookShare

In politics, people lie in order to gain what they think is extra political power. They deceive those they claim to represent in order to appear to be “one of the boys”, however they think that is defined. I despise this. It doesn’t matter which political party you talk about, they all have people who do this. No group is exempt from having idiots in their midst.

One story is a perfect example that I’ve been neglecting to write about for far too long.

Allow me to introduce to you ex- Republican Senator Larry Craig. The “ex-” is on purpose because he is no longer a Senator. The reason why is the story I shall tell.

He served many, many years (Almost 30) in Congress in one form or another. However, his actions don’t matter much, because it’s what occurred outside of Washington that this story focuses on.

June 11, 2007 he was arrested for “lewd conduct”. Specifically for soliciting sexual activity from another male while in the bathroom of an airport.
He mailed in a plea to the court dated August 1.
On August 28, he held a press conference admitting to the arrest, but saying he regretted pleading guilty, thinking he should have fought it.
On September 1 he announced his resignation. Much evidence showed that his resignation was due to being pushed out by fellow Republicans trying to get rid of this scandal.

“So what’s the big problem?” You may say. Which I seriously hope you are NOT thinking that. The problems here are numerous and on many levels.

First off, let’s admit something: Larry Craig was not arrested for committing any real crime. He was arrested for trying to pick up a date.

Skipping that it was in a bathroom, Let’s look at it seriously: Had Larry Craig tried to pick up a woman, even an under-cover cop, the absolute worst that would have happened was them saying he cheated on his wife. He would never have been arrested and most likely would have simply got laid, with no one else caring.

But since he tried picking up another guy, he was subjected to criminal proceedings. And because of the due diligence of the law enforcement involved, I’m sure the world is much safer now from theft, assault and murder.

So the law system is at fault. Now let’s discuss his Republican companions.

Is companions the right word? In this case, I’d say “fair-weather friends” is a better description. Remember I mentioned how long Larry was in politics. One thing I am comfortable with in politics is this: They all spend lots of money researching each others weaknesses. This is done to help defeat them during campaigns, but also to help give leverage during law-making negotiations. In other words, to blackmail each other.

If Larry is truly gay and truly tried picking up occasional strangers and isn’t a victim to a serious case of railroading, then there is no way Larry spent that many years in politics without any of his fellow Republicans learning about it.

But that is one thing I recall the most when this came public, was how “shocked” his fellow congressmen were at learning about this. Supposedly, he hid it from everyone until his Aug. 28 press conference.

Bullshit! When a member of Congress gets arrested for a gay activity (again, something you should not be arrested for to begin with) word gets around. Those mates of his knew. They didn’t just find out 79 days after the arrest. I’m willing to bet lots of money a few of them knew about his activities long before the arrest. But since it was private they looked the other way. Which, by the way was the right thing to do. His sex life, public or private, was none of their business.

But when it became public, they pulled him aside and told him that this scandal would hurt the Republican party and for the good of the party he should leave. So a few days later he caved in and agreed to leave.

Here’s the truth: That they pushed him out because of this scandal was what hurt the Republican party.

They pushed him out because they feared angering the more idiotic constituents that have problems with homosexuality.

Had they simply been honest. Had they publicly said “His sexual activities may require some serious discussions between him, his wife and family, but it does not change his activities, nor our opinion of him as a congressman. We stand by our fellow Republican.” It would have been a huge, and I mean H-U-G-E push toward destroying the myth that all Republicans are bigots. (Not all of them are. Just some. And same With Dems. They have plenty of bigots there too.)

Had they simply admitted publicly what they admit to privately, (“Hey it’s his business”) they may have lost the support of a few stupid homophobes, but they would have gained the support of so many other groups. It would have been a huge gain for the Republican party and could very well have been the catalyst that destroys the Democrats, who claim to try to bring folks together while actually pushing everyone into more and more separated groups.

But no. The republicans involved in this lied. They lied about not knowing about Larry’s activities. And when it became public, they lied about their feeling about it. Instead of standing up for Truth, they lied and tossed out one of their own in an effort to keep political power they don’t truly posses.

You who were involved in this. You are not political leaders. You are puppets for those who have bad, evil ideas. You pander and follow when you should be strong and honest.

And instead of getting laid, Larry got screwed.

And don’t think I’m any fan of the Democrats either. I have plenty of stories about their actions that have pissed me off too. But those are for other posts.

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Most Inspirational American http://philosophyofreality.com/2012/10/04/most-inspirational-american/ http://philosophyofreality.com/2012/10/04/most-inspirational-american/#comments Fri, 05 Oct 2012 02:46:45 +0000 http://philosophyofreality.com/?p=543 Continue reading ]]> Bookmark/FavoritesEmailFacebookShare

There are times in your life when you absolutely need to gain inspiration from the achievements of others. Those stories of folks who overcame obstacles and achieved great things in spite of them. There are many people who have inspired me personally for many reasons. I completely adore “rags to riches” stories, or any personal story which shows a person working their ass off and getting rewarded for it.

  • Bill Gates
  • Eminem
  • J.K. Rowling
  • Lee Iacocca
  • Michael Jordan
  • Sam Walton
  • Steve Jobs
  • Sylvester Stallone
  • And so many more

Have all inspired me. They all overcame obstacles and found success in their field of choice.

However, when it comes to the “American Dream”. I mean the “You can do anything you set your mind too.” dream, there is one person that exemplifies that for me.

In my opinion, the most inspirational American is so completely overlooked it borders on criminal. The person I’m talking about is…

Sammy Davis Jr.

This man, endured and overcame so many obstacles, it’s just amazing.

  • Being black, (as if he had a choice) during a time when racial prejudice was strong.
  • Marrying (and publicly dating) white women again during a time when this was practically considered a criminal act.
  • Being a black Jew thus reducing support from the more Christian and Muslim blacks.
  • A car accident makes him handicapped having only one eye.
  • His best friends and strongest entertainment partners were admitted womanizing alcoholics with plenty of problems of their own.
  • Snubbed by President Kennedy.
  • Attacked by people over his public support of President Nixon.
  • He endured multiple divorces.
  • He fought alcoholism and gambling problems.

Despite all that and more, he made millions dancing, joking and singing happy songs.

Each and every single ones of these things I’ve listed could have been the point where Sammy said “I give up. I just can’t win.” But no. He kept singing. He kept dancing. He kept telling jokes. He kept doing things the way he wanted despite the problems. OK, admittedly a little strong arming from the mob seems to have shortened one of his inter-racial marriages. But well past that, he kept fighting.

This is the very definition of inspiring: At any time you find reasons why you can’t achieve something and should give up, you consider what Sammy Davis Jr. overcame to achieve his success, then you realize that anything you complain about, anything, can’t compare.

If you know of a more inspirational example of the American Dream, I’d love to read about it.

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Reality of Economy http://philosophyofreality.com/2012/09/15/reality-of-economy/ http://philosophyofreality.com/2012/09/15/reality-of-economy/#comments Sat, 15 Sep 2012 19:02:41 +0000 http://philosophyofreality.com/?p=524 Continue reading ]]> Bookmark/FavoritesEmailFacebookShare

Lets look at the basics of a monetary economy. Consider this article as “Economy 101″.

First, what’s money? Money is simply a medium for simpler exchange of goods and services.

Example without money:
Person #1: “Hi, I’d like to take that bed you made. I’ll offer you these fifty pizzas I made today.”
Person #2: “I don’t need fifty pizzas. But if you have 80 pounds of pepperoni. I could trade that for something else I need.”
Person #1: “OK, Deal. (Now what am I going to do with all these pizzas?)”

Example with money:
Person #1: “Hi, I’d like to take that bed you made. I’ll offer you $500.”
Person #2: “Sorry I need $600 to sell it.”
Person #1: “OK, Deal.”

Money really is that simple. However, the facts of using it are what gets a lot of people confused. Let’s talk about the issue of profit and loss.

Pretend you are a manufacturer of glass drinking cups. After factoring in all labor, equipment, electricity, etc., It costs you $2.00 to produce each cup. You currently have $1 million dollars in the bank. If you sell each cup for $1.50 each, you lose 50 cents for each cup you make.

That means you can only make 2 million cups before you have lost all the money in the bank. You have no more money to pay employees, the electricity bill, etc. You are broke. Your company has to shut down. No more glass drinking cups. But hey, 2 million customers have great cups.

You could try to sell the cups for exactly what your costs are, $2.00 each. That way, everything stays steady, and you can continue to make a new cup for each one that’s sold.

Eventually the cost of the silica sand you buy goes up. That’s ok, because you can simply recalculate your new production costs and raise the price to cover it. Same with raising labor costs (as in giving the employees raises, requiring the cost per product to increase.)

However one day, a transport belt in the plant breaks down, costing $8,000 to repair. That’s ok, you still have money in the bank. But little by little, more equipment needs to be replaced, using up the reserves in the bank. Remember, you are selling at the exact cost to produce, so there’s no way to replenish lost reserves.

Then one day all the money in the bank is gone, and an important piece of equipment breaks down. Maybe you can get a loan to buy the new item you need, but you have to raise prices again to cover the loan.

All this keeps going and then one day, since you only sold at cost, you’ve run out of money and are out of options. The company must be closed again.

OK, this time you decide to sell at a huge profit. But you find that customers don’t want to pay $500 per drinking glass, even though yours are the best in the world. It’s simply too expensive and they don’t sell. So in order to sell, you have to drop your price. But you learned your lesson about making sure you keep reserve cash in stock, so your new price is somewhere between $2.01 and $500.00 per glass. Clearly a wide margin, but you get the idea.

Well $2.01 is technically a profit, but making only $1 extra for every 100 glasses sold simply isn’t enough to cover those problems we mentioned above.

Eventually you find a happy price structure that allows you to make sure you have enough money to cover unexpected expenses, expected equipment upgrades, etc. Congratulations. Your customers are happy. Your employees keep their jobs, you make good money, and most problems can be covered. In short, you’re making a profit.

That is, until someone comes along that can make cups just as good, but for only $0.75 each and sells them for only $1.99 each. Now you’re screwed and need to either readjust or close your shop and find some new line of work for yourself. Well, maybe not. Fact is, no industry lives on just one company alone. There’s plenty of customers to cover both you and your new competition. However, you are now forced to adjust your retail price, spend more on marketing (now that you aren’t the only choice in town, you must spend more to get folks to choose you.) and change other things. But your competition makes change too, and now you are battling for customers in order to stay in business. Welcome to the business world.

Distribution

We’ve talked about the cost of making and selling an item. A simple process. However the truth is, things often get much more complicated.

Now pretend you are running a chocolate bar making company. You are located in Cloverport, Kentucky. Your bars cost $0.05 to make and sell directly for $0.75.

Question: How do you sell to customers in Japan? You can’t expect customers to fly a plane over and drive to your manufacturing plant just for a few candy bars.

So you find a retail company in Japan that’s willing to put the bars on their shelves and sell to their customers. However, for this service, you can’t expect them to do this for free. They need to make profit too. So you negotiate a lower price of $0.50 for them. They sell at $0.99 and keep the difference ($0.49 per bar sold) to cover their own costs.

But you still have the same problem. You need a way to transport your bars over to Japan to begin with. So you find a transportation company willing and able to move your products to Japan. Of course they require payment for their services too (boats/trucks/employees to pay for, etc.) The cost of shipment works out to an extra $0.07 per bar. So for this distribution channel, you are now paying $0.12 per bar to make and ship, and selling them for $0.49 to the retail store. It’s less then the direct-to-consumer profit you had before, but you can reach much more potential customers. In the end you can now make and sell more than ever.

And that’s the basics of distribution: The more hands involved in a distribution channel, the higher the cost in the end.

Here’s a basic manufacturer-to-consumer distribution model:

Manufacturer
make 1,000,000 items
Sells 250,000 items @ $0.20 each to 4 different

|
V

Wholesalers
who sells in batches of 10,000 (upping the price to $0.30 each) to different

|
V

Jobbers
who sell 1,000 each (at $0.50 each) to multiple

|
V

Retail stores
who place them on their shelves to sell them for $1.00 to

|
V

Consumer
who uses the item they bought

Each person in a distribution chain must get paid for their services. They can’t simply do their work every day for free.

But now a retail store contacts one of the wholesalers, and negotiates a deal that skips the jobber, in exchange for buying a much bigger quantity. The retailer gets the item for cheaper and can sell for less than their competing retail store.

A smaller distribution channel usually means lower final cost to the consumer.

Now that was a fairly simple distribution channel. Of course, things can get complicated, but generally, the same rules apply: More hands = higher cost.

Imagine you are selling something, but find that all your customers want to split the purchase among 10 different people, each paying 10% of the bill.

Now instead of a straight forward transaction, you must factor in the added costs of multiple payments: Extra time the salesmen, secretaries, accountants, etc. have to spend on tracking and handling 10X the transactions for moving one product. And time is money: An accountant that can handle 200 transactions/day adds $X/item to the cost, (his daily pay divided by 200) but now he can only handle 20 per day. Thus the cost is up, profit is down. If profit is too low, prices must rise. All because of this blasted multiple payment system.

Now let’s use this knowledge to better understand a controversial service system currently used in the USA (and other places): The service of healthcare, meaning a doctor and patient.

At it’s simplest form, it is a very basic transaction.
Patient pays doctor directly
The doctor offers their services and you pay them. Simple.

However, now let’s add the concept of insurance companies.
Health insurance confuses people but it’s fairly simple: Getting money from 100 people to pay for the health care of one person, thus making it 100 times cheaper. Well, except for some important details:

  • Those other 99 people expect to get something for their payment too
  • The insurance company needs to profit as well

So the insurance company has to offer a benefit to those others, and what they are selling is lower health care costs. But the insurance company needs to get paid for their work, as does the doctor. So to hide the health care costs, it must be distributed among even more people.

Well, there isn’t an infinite number of insurance customers to spread the costs among (and even if there were, it still wouldn’t make things cheaper overall). So the formula they use to figure cost of goods/services goes like this:

(Expected total insurance cost of health care among (customer group) over the next 10 years + desired profit)/120 months = price/month

In other words, the insurance company tries to anticipate their costs for your health care over the next few years, (based on certain lifestyle information they have, which helps them place you into a “category”, ranging from low to high risk) and charge you that amount plus extra.

So it looks sort of like this:
Paying Insurance and doctor
No matter how you look at it, the fact is: Insurance companies become an added part of the health care distribution channel. and what happens when the distribution channel gets bigger?

Right. Prices go up. The prices get spread out over a period of time, but in the end, you pay more than if you had to pay in one lump sum.

Don’t believe me? Go to the doctor and tell them you have no health insurance. Guess what? They will likely offer you a “non-insurance discount”. Meaning since they won’t get a payment from the insurance company they need all the money from you. And one less distribution hassle means they can lower the overall price.

With the addition of health insurance, there are other factors (I.E. changes in customer behavior, partially because they are mistaken about “free” health care) that keep overall health cost rising much faster than they normally should. After all, spreading the costs among multiple people only works if those others don’t also find a way to get their money’s worth. But since they are paying for it, they use it. And the more they pay for it, the more likely they are to use it. A cycle of usage vs spreading the costs occurs. Prices go up. So folks raise a big stink, and now the government gets involved.

But since government officials misunderstand the true reasons for rising costs (or worse, fully understand but have ulterior motives then simply making the general public happy) they try to do the same thing the insurance companies do: Spread the cost over more people. Now we have something that looks like this.
Paying insurance, government AND doctor
Notice a few things in each of these pics:

  • The lines of monetary distribution get more complicated
  • The overall cost to the consumer gets bigger, just spread over more payment channels

So the answer to rising health care costs in a monetary economy is simple: Simplify the cost distribution. Remove government and health insurance as much as possible, instead of trying to integrate them more.

This is a basic view of basic economy. If you ever have questions about a companies motives, or why they can’t do action X for “the good of the people” go back to these basics truths. Perhaps you can come up with a way to improve something in a way that can last (meaning, not go broke) and improve everyone’s life.

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Reality of Historical Records http://philosophyofreality.com/2012/04/29/reality-of-historical-records/ http://philosophyofreality.com/2012/04/29/reality-of-historical-records/#comments Mon, 30 Apr 2012 03:47:49 +0000 http://philosophyofreality.com/?p=515 Continue reading ]]> Bookmark/FavoritesEmailFacebookShare

Something to consider:

  • A person gets injured and goes to the hospital. Because they are embarrassed about what really caused the injury, they report the cause as something else.
  • A crime occurs, but for various reasons, the victim doesn’t report it.
  • Someone doesn’t like a co-worker, and falsifies reports, making them seem guilty of something.
  • During war, records are altered in order to remove evidence of wrong-doing in order to escape the wrath of a superior officer.
  • A business manager fudges the sales figures.
  • A witness to a crime exaggerates how many people were involved.
  • A politician alters the records to obscure who they received money from and how much.
  • A person lies on their tax records in order to gain tax benefits.
  • A scientist who lives off funding and grants exaggerates the impact of (or completely lies about) the subject of their research in order to seem more important.
  • People running an organization cover up details of a problem in order to prevent a scandal.
  • etc.
  • etc.
  • etc.


We lie. We exaggerate. We conceal. It’s human nature, especially under personally stressful cases, such as sales, war, crime, etc. And the fact that we fill out “official documents” doesn’t change that fact. We simply place these lies on paper.

And yet, we rely on official documents to give us historical data.

When we use these documents to asses historical trends, activities, etc. the rarest action we take is asking “what if these are not correct?”

When the more likely fact is that a huge amount of the records we keep are not accurate (to various degrees) we should be very careful about the decisions we make by using them.

Here’s a perfect example: The US IRS tax codes practically encourages people to fudge numbers in order to gain bigger tax returns. (I recall that in their documentation, this is almost expressly said so, but I can’t relocate this information, so I may be wrong on that.)

Now, those official tax return documents are used to “paint” a picture of economic activity, and those pictures are used to make decisions and actions on a Federal level, affecting the entire United States of America.

Do they ever ask themselves where the data they’re looking at may be flawed? Do you? Maybe you should.

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Reality of Self Defense Laws http://philosophyofreality.com/2012/04/29/reality-of-self-defense-laws/ http://philosophyofreality.com/2012/04/29/reality-of-self-defense-laws/#comments Sun, 29 Apr 2012 20:44:06 +0000 http://philosophyofreality.com/?p=505 Continue reading ]]> Bookmark/FavoritesEmailFacebookShare

I have resisted commenting on the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman shooting case on purpose. There was too little public information and too many issues that folks try to combine together. However, I wish to focus now on one of those subjects. The issue of “stand your ground” and other self defense laws.

I will not discuss details of the above mentioned case. As the Philosophy of Reality recommends, it’s not wise to try to state opinions as facts when I simply don’t have enough inside information to feel that I know the Truth of what happened. Better to wait and learn more. However, that case has brought a lot of discussion about the Stand your ground law that was cited as reason for not initially charging Mr. Zimmerman with anything. It is this and similar laws I wish to discuss here.

Or more accurately, the stupidity of making such laws.

That there are actually laws written about the issue of defending yourself from attack amazes me on a certain level. I can understand the desire of those in the governmental persuasion to try to draft laws concerning physical attack. It’s well within their assumed “role of authority”. However, the problem is that laws are almost always written in such narrow, self defining scopes, that they simply can’t cover what they’re intended to cover. (I discuss more about this in my article Too Many Laws.) And no more so is this fact presented than in self defense laws.

Also the most annoying factor of self defense laws to me is this: These laws, if you read them, are often written as if the governing body (Federal government, Parliament, etc.) is granting their people these right. The truth is the exact opposite:

Defending yourself and those people/places/things you care about is among the most basic animal right to try to stay alive possible. It ranks right up there with eating, etc. If you (or those you care for) are in danger, you have the right to remove that threat (or escape harm’s reach) however you feel is best. If you feel running away is your best option, then do so. If you think you must “return fire”, do so. Generally, humans have a good ability to gauge appropriate levels of defensive retaliation. Most of the time, someone will not try to break the offenders neck just because they were called “an idiot”.

Yes exceptions occur, and some folks do overreact to a specific situation. However, if morals, rules and laws are properly made, then exceptions are already accounted for. In this case, if a possible overreaction occurs, (The above mentioned shooting for example) then the situation should be investigated, preferably in the manner I mention in my post about justice systems. (I.E. trying to determine the truth, not assign guilt.)

Another problem I have in the realm of laws/rules trying to cover self defense involves how businesses handle training their employees. I’ll pick on 7-11 as they are among the oldest and most well known convenience stores. But the truth is, basically every retail company follows this practice. The company policy is if an armed robber holds up the store, the employees are instructed to offer no resistance, and let the robber take what they want. The theory being that they report the robbery with as much detail as possible and let the police handle it.

Well this policy has been in place for many decades now. Let’s examine the results. Have convenience store robberies decreased or increased? Are the robbers acting more violent or less? Are the stores losing less money or more? Are the criminals being caught more often? The truth is that passive acceptance of theft is tantamount to encouraging it. In trying to keep their employees safe (and avoid risk of lawsuits from angry relatives) retail companies actually encourage the problem, not DIScourage it.

Imagine instead if employees were taught apprehension and restraint techniques. Imagine that each time someone wanted to rob a store, they knew the employees would actively try to stop them.

As a thought experiment, imagine someone waved a gun and forced entry into the White House. What if the staff and security guards all followed the same “let them take it. It’s not worth your life” philosophy that pervades the retail world? Would this work? Unlikely. Fact is, anyone dumb enough to try this would be forcefully restrained, and maybe even killed. And since this fact is well known, how often is this attempted?

I’m not saying that convenience stores should train to that level, or employ Secret Service staff. What I’m saying is that offering no resistance at all does not reduce crime. What’s needed in the realm of self defense is not more laws and rules, but more personal training. However coming from a martial arts background, I’m obviously biased about that opinion.

The case of Trayvon Martin & George Zimmerman is a sad one. Someone died and family/loved ones on both sides are forever affected by this. Hopefully folks will learn more about this so we can form more educated opinions. But as I said before, do not let exceptional situations tempt you into trying to deny or regulate basic rights from everyone else.

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Interesting Scientific Discovery: Sex and Smell http://philosophyofreality.com/2012/02/26/interesting-scientific-discovery-sex-and-smell/ http://philosophyofreality.com/2012/02/26/interesting-scientific-discovery-sex-and-smell/#comments Mon, 27 Feb 2012 05:52:49 +0000 http://philosophyofreality.com/?p=499 Continue reading ]]> NOTE: This is a repost of an article I had up on a now dead forum I made. I first posted this June 28 2005:

There’s been lots of scientific study involving sex lately. (The creation of Viagra and so many other similar drugs is of course a huge hint of this fact) However, these studies are often showing us things that many just wouldn’t have suspected.

I heard about this little discovery on the Dr. Dean Edell radio program. I don’t remember the specifics, so I’ll sketch out what I do remember.

In studying the changes in the hypothalamus (the part of the brain involved during sexual attraction) a study involving testosterone, estrogen and smell in an attempt to understand the whole “aphrodisiac” thing, found this out.

Something involving smell and testosterone lit up particular parts of the brain in women but not men. As would be expected, the opposite was true when estrogen was used. I.E. the men were stimulated, but not the women.

EDIT: I found the references to the tests. They can be found here and here.

So what happens when a homosexual male was exposed to these scents?

His sexual reaction was similar to the women, NOT the straight men. Meaning the smell of testosterone arouse both women and gay men.

The reverse was also true. The smell of estrogen aroused both straight men and gay women.

I’ve always said people can’t decide who they’re going to fall in love with. Turns out I’ve been right all along.

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Brainstorms #2 http://philosophyofreality.com/2012/02/26/brainstorms-2/ http://philosophyofreality.com/2012/02/26/brainstorms-2/#comments Mon, 27 Feb 2012 05:35:55 +0000 http://philosophyofreality.com/?p=496 Continue reading ]]> NOTE: This is a repost of an article I had up on a now dead forum I made. I first posted this June 27 2005:

One time, I was talking to a guy while he was waiting for his wife to finish shoe shopping. We came across a great idea for a business. I ran this idea across other people and have received almost unanimous agreement on this idea. So I’m placing it out for others to consider and see what you think. Here’s the idea:

A fully stocked clothing store, connected to a sports bar.

The idea is simple: The men have place to relax while the women go shopping. If they need the man for some opinion, last minute waist measuring, etc. he’s right there. The clothing store is connected directly to the bar so you can walk from one to the other, allowing the lady to ask “what do you think” right in the bar, where he can say with pride that it’ll look great on her.

I’ve already considered the pros and cons for this business and like it, but I’m interested in hearing what you guys think.

I’ve also been told by a few people that this idea is already in business. However I have my doubts because none of them were ever able to tell me the name of the business, where it is, or anything. They just say “Oh someone’s already doing that” or Yea, there’s already a business like that.” but when I asked for specifics, they can never give a straight answer. The point is that I don’t think this business has been created yet. However, if you want to create or open a business like this, please make sure this is NOT where you got the idea, otherwise I will ask (politely, of course) for my fair share of the proceeds.

After all if you open a business based on an idea I (or anyone else) offer here, I don’t think a “finders fee” is such a bad request to fulfill.

Setting that aside, what do you think? Do you think a business like this could work? Think it would make a decent profit?

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