[x]Blackmoor Vituperative

Tuesday, 2015-01-27

Raise the minimum wage to $15/hr

Filed under: Philosophy,Society — bblackmoor @ 09:20

I think people who persist in clinging to theories that have been soundly refuted by facts should not be called “economists”: they should be called “philosophers”. The consensus among economists is that raising the minimum wage has little or no effect upon employment — because the evidence demonstrates that it does not. The reasons why that is the case are varied, but a major one is that at that end of the employment spectrum, the demand for employment is inelastic. If it takes three people to perform a task, paying them $10/hr won’t make the task require fewer people.

Employment vs increased minimum wage

The chart above shows the results of more than 1,400 different studies. The x-axis shows the size of the employment effect, and the y-axis shows that statistical power of the analysis.

The results have clustered around the finding that a moderate wage increase — in line with the administration’s proposal to increase the minimum rate in 95-cent increments — has zero effect on total employment. And the higher a study’s statistical power, the more likely it is to fall on the line showing zero effect.

“I really think that’s a very compelling takeaway,” said Hall, who has testified before multiple state legislatures on the issue. “It puts the lie to the notion that it’s going to be a tremendous job killer.”

(From 1,400 Real World Minimum Wage Increases Show No Impact on Employment, Fiscal Times

Personally, I would go with $15/hr. There is no reason in the world that taxpayers should be footing the bill to make up for the below-subsistence wages paid by employers like Wal-Mart (Report: Walmart Workers Cost Taxpayers $6.2 Billion In Public Assistance). Increase the minimum wage to a responsible level and put the cost of doing business on the business, where it belongs.

Systematically oppressing the bulk of a population is not only morally indefensible, but terribly short-sighted. There are not enough firearms in this country to protect the rich (or just the reasonably comfortable) from the poor, if the poor decide they’ve had enough. Personally, I’d favor raising the minimum wage to $15/hr, eliminating loopholes that allow employers to pay even less than the minimum wage, and then pegging it to the Consumer Price Index (although someone should take a close look at how CPI is calculated to make sure that’s not being manipulated).

Sunday, 2015-01-25

You are what you do

Filed under: Philosophy,Politics — bblackmoor @ 00:41

It has come to my attention that there are people who think what someone says actually matters. Allow me to educate you: what someone says does not matter. What they do matters. What someone says is only important if it has been shown to accurately reflect what they do. For example, PETA says they are advocates for animals’ rights, but what they do is kill every animal they can. For another example, the Republican party says it stands for smaller government, but what it does is expand the power and cost of government at every turn.

You are what you do, not what what you say. Aristotle knew this 2400 years ago: so what’s your problem?

Friday, 2015-01-23

Do not stretch 4:3 images to fit 16:9 screens

Filed under: Technology,Television — bblackmoor @ 09:15

I was at a restaurant once, and the widescreen TVs were set to non-widescreen stations, with the image squashed vertically (or stretched horizontally, potayto potahto) to fit. That was bad enough. But then the show itself had a person standing in front of a TV (it was some kind of “news” show or something), and THAT TV was a widescreen TV showing a squashed 4:3 image.

How can anyone not notice how wrong this is?

WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS? STOP DOING IT!

Do not stretch 4:3 images to fit 16:9 screens

Monday, 2015-01-19

A handful of figures

Filed under: Art,Gaming — bblackmoor @ 18:29

I do not paint miniatures anymore. It takes me a very long time, and I simply have too many projects as it is.

Still, by the time I stopped, I think I had gotten pretty good at it. Below are the painted figures I have held on to, from oldest to newest. The oldest was painted in the early 1990s. The most recent was painted in 2009 or so.

2015-01-17_14-11-24 2015-01-17_14-12-12 2015-01-17_14-13-06 2015-01-17_14-13-50 2015-01-17_14-15-42 2015-01-17_14-16-06 2015-01-17_14-16-16

Wednesday, 2014-12-17

Dr. Phibes’ Abominable Christmas Special

Filed under: Movies,Music,Television — bblackmoor @ 16:46

How many of you remember with fondness the 1973 “Dr. Phibes’ Abominable Christmas Special”?

Dr Phibes Abominable Christmas Special (1973)

“Twelve signs of the zodiac. Twelve apostles. Twelve times, twelve! The human body has twelve cranial nerves, Doctor. … I will now play the Twelve Days Of Christmas. Ho. Ho. Ho.”
(from “Dr. Phibes’ Abominable Christmas Special”, 1973)

Dr. Phibes’ Abominable Christmas Special was a Christmas-themed television special starring Vincent Price broadcast December 23, 1973 on ABC. It featured guest star Joseph Cotten in a reprisal of his role as Dr. Vesalius from The Abominable Dr. Phibes. Also guest starring were Virginia North as Vulnavia, Billie Hayes as Witchiepoo from “H.R. Pufnstuf”, Tim Conway, Roz Kelly, Florence Henderson, rock band Pink Floyd, Billy Barty, Betty White and, in an unbilled surprise appearance, Sonny and Cher (whose own Christmas episode of the hit show “The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour” had been broadcast on CBS four days earlier, on December 19, 1973).

Friday, 2014-12-12

The three kinds of “Christmas”

Filed under: Family,Fine Living,Friends,Society — bblackmoor @ 08:58

There are really three different holidays, all known as “Christmas”. One is a religious celebration. I don’t belong to that religion, so I have nothing to say about that. The second is a business event marked by pleas for conspicuous consumption and frivolous spending. I have little interest in that event, although I sympathize with small business owners whose livelihood is dependent on a good “Christmas season”.

The third “Christmas” is the one I celebrate: a joyous occasion when people of all creeds set aside their petty disagreements and share a sense of good will. It is a time when strangers are treated as friends, friends are treated like family, and family is given the appreciation we really should be giving them every day of the year. It is a time of generosity, kindness, and gratitude. It’s a holiday that belongs to everyone — to anyone who wishes to celebrate the best of what it means to be a part of the human race. By whatever name you wish to call it, that’s the Christmas I celebrate.

Welcome, Christmas, bring your cheer.
Cheer to all Whos far and near.
Christmas Day is in our grasp
So long as we have hands to clasp.
Christmas Day will always be
Just as long as we have we.
Welcome, Christmas, while we stand
Heart to heart, and hand in hand.

Wednesday, 2014-12-03

GamerGate meme

Filed under: Gaming,Society — bblackmoor @ 18:29

I was feeling wacky, so I made this.

GamerGate meme

Saturday, 2014-11-29

Ten Secular Commandments

Filed under: Philosophy — bblackmoor @ 09:48
ReThink Prize

The ReThink Prize is offering $1,000 each for the ten best secular commandments, as determined by a panel of judges. The prize is promoting a new book, Atheist Mind Humanist Heart, which promotes a vision of atheism as positive and ethical rather than negative and reactive. Here are ten “commandments” I thought of, although I did not bother submitting them for the contest. It’s just a thought experiment.

  1. Be kind to everyone, even when your kindness is not reciprocated.
  2. Seek the company of people who appreciate and inspire you.
  3. Avoid confrontation, and those who seek it, when possible.
  4. Defend yourself and others with violence, when necessary, but take no joy in it.
  5. Be generous, even when there is no possibility of your generosity being reciprocated.
  6. Do not take what is not freely offered.
  7. Be useful, to the best of your ability.
  8. Create something beautiful, to the best of your ability.
  9. Be worthy of the trust of others.
  10. Be true to yourself.

I think that’s a pretty good list, but I don’t think it’s terribly innovative. Desiderata is better.

If I could have gone to eleven, I would have added something about being a good steward for nature, but I ran out of commandments.

Friday, 2014-10-10

Lifeforce (1985)

Filed under: Movies — bblackmoor @ 20:58
Lifeforce (1985)

Tonight’s film fun was Lifeforce, starring Steve Railsback, Mathilda May, Peter Firth, and a host of others. This is one of my all-time favourite movies, and unlike some movies from the 1980s, this is every bit as great now as it was the first time I saw it. Maybe even more so, since this is the Shout! Factory director’s cut on Blu-ray.

I just can’t express how awesome I think this movie is. Everyone is so perfectly cast. Steve Railback as the shell-shocked astronaut fighting his involuntary obsession with the Space Girl is *perfect*. Mathilda May as the Space Girl communicates through body language and expressions a range I am not sure any living actor could match. Peter Firth as the SAS colonel is as cool as James Bond and just a little bit pervy. Frank Finlay as the death-obsessed biologist is amusingly quirky and detached as only an English actor can be.

How could this movie have failed at the box office? Dan O’Bannon and Don Jakob on the script, John Dykstra on special effects, Henry Mancini on the soundtrack, Tobe Hooper at the helm… this is undoubtedly one of the best science fiction movies of the 1980s, and absolutely the best movie Golan-Globus ever produced. I have not yet watched the extensive special features, but I am looking forward to it.

THANK YOU, Shout Factory, for bringing this long-awaited director’s cut to Blu-ray!

What is “gamergate”?

Filed under: Gaming,Journalism,Society,The Internet — bblackmoor @ 16:36

Generally speaking, I avoid posting anything controversial here on my blog; despite the title, I prefer to focus on the positive. However, I have decided to make an exception, regarding the hate campaign terrorist group known as “gamergate”. Have you seen the term “gamergate” (or “‪#‎gamergate‬”), and wondered what it is? Here it is, in a nutshell:

A handful of unrepentant assholes who get a kick out of stirring up controversy (they may not even believe what they say — that’s not important to them, they just like “stirring the pot”) organized a harassment campaign against a number of women journalists. A larger number of socially maladjusted idiots have joined the campaign, because they are miserable, gullible creatures. The name of this harassment campaign is “gamergate”. “Gamergate” comes from the same cretins who brought you “bikini bridge“, “ebola-chan“, and any number of other manufactured controversies that I hope you have been too smart to pay attention to.

Pretty much every argument you hear in favor of “gamergate” is either a red herring or a bald-faced lie. It’s not a real controversy: it’s simply a hate campaign a terrorist group created by malicious idiots, and anyone who sincerely thinks “gamergate” has any value is a pathetic loser who deserves to be pitied and then ignored.

If you make death or rape threats against someone for expressing an opinion that’s different from yours, or if you concoct ludicrous conspiracy theories about in an attempt to discredit them (instead of saying, you know, “I don’t agree with you. Here’s why…”, or — and here’s a novel idea — simply ignoring them), there is something seriously wrong with you. Seek help.

2014-10-19:: Personally, I think it’s gotten to the point where we need to start treating “gamergate” like any other terrorist group: don’t engage them (it only encourages them), deny them a soapbox for their toxic views, and report their crimes to the police.

2014-10-21: Chris Kluwe doesn’t mince words.

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