Thursday, September 13, 2018

Talents

Just a reminder
24 But he that had received the one talent, came and said: Lord, I know that thou art a hard man; thou reapest where thou hast not sown, and gatherest where thou hast not strewed. 25 And being afraid I went and hid thy talent in the earth: behold here thou hast that which is thine. 26 And his lord answering, said to him: Wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sow not, and gather where I have not strewed: 27 Thou oughtest therefore to have committed my money to the bankers, and at my coming I should have received my own with usury. 28 Take ye away therefore the talent from him, and give it to him that hath ten talents.
and
44 Then they also shall answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister to thee? 45 Then he shall answer them, saying: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it not to one of these least, neither did you do it to me.
Most terrifying part of religion in a nutshell. You have to do your best and treat everyone like God. Not so easy for a bunch of lazy tribal apes.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2018

One weird cake trick

Here’s reality: the Church exists to evangelize. Why do I note that? Because the whole controversy about things like gay wedding cakes seems to me to be stone blind to that fact. The response of conservative Christians has not, it seems to me, focused on evangelization in the slightest. It has focused on defending Fortress Katolicus from the attacking orcs that Christians perceive the larger culture to be. The whole world is Us vs. Them in that telling and They must be stopped. We’ll be damned before we let them make us do or say anything. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender! And so we come to the struggle over wedding cakes and the larger struggle about the relationship of a Tradition that does not and cannot call a gay union a marriage with a culture that now says, “What’s the problem? Let people have their happy day.”
CAEI with some words of advice on remembering that we're here to live the Gospel, not burn this mofo down.

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New York State and car rental madness

Trouble for the independents started in 1989, when the state passed a law limiting what rental companies could charge for vehicle damage to a mere $100. Customers could total a rental car and pay less than the cost of a steak dinner for two in Midtown Manhattan. Compounding the risk, Albany set the minimum age to rent at just 18 and prohibited companies from requiring that customers hold a personal car insurance policy or even a credit card. According to Faulkner, some 200 operators in the state went out of business shortly after the law went into effect.

Under its so-called "vicarious liability law," New York also exposed rental car companies to the risk of having to insure for unlimited damages when their customers were found negligent. In 1997, Faulkner was running an independent outfit in upstate New York when she got sued because an unauthorized driver—the 15-year-old son of the woman who had actually rented the vehicle—hit a pedestrian.(Faulkner's insurance company settled for an undisclosed sum.) The largest award came in 2003, when Budget was ordered to pay nearly $20 million to an accident victim.
Presumably someone thought it was a good idea to allow widespread chaos in the car rental business . . . but I'm not sure who, other than the big rental companies. And even they got tagged. No one should stand for this nonsense.

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Monday, July 16, 2018

Do I hate workers?

No
When I grew up, public policy discussion meant projecting the benefits of a policy and balancing them against the costs and unintended consequences. In this context, I am merely attempting to air some of the costs of these regulations for unskilled workers that are not often discussed. Nowadays, however, public policy is judged solely on its intentions. If a law is intended to help workers, then it is good (whether or not it will every reasonably achieve its objectives), and anyone who opposed this law has bad intentions.

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Wednesday, July 04, 2018

ZZT, a love story

For all the worlds of ZZT I would ultimately explore, it took me a long time to work up the nerve to press the W key, the one labeled "World: TOWN" on the ZZT start-up screen. What could a button labeled "World" possibly do? I was scared, I think, that something fundamental about the world of ZZT would change, some physical constant of the universe rewritten, and the familiar Town of ZZT would be swept away forever. It was the same category of fear as my resistance to running past the end-of-level pipe in stage 1-2 of Super Mario Bros. to get to the secret Warp Zone. I was terrified Mario would be lost forever.
ZZT was a magical program back in the day. The author has written a book on the subject here.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Trains in Europe vs US

Long story short, the European network is optimized for passengers, the US network is optimized for freight, and ours probably works better for us.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

QOTD

Government is just a word for the things we do together, like cracking down on free popcorn at hardware stores - Overlawyered

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Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Loving your enemies, more important than ever

Particularly enlightening:
Part of this stems from our tendency to think of certain foundational elements of our own belief systems as “common knowledge.” I recall, for example, a conversation in which I referred to Immanuel Kant as one of the philosophers that “everybody knows.” Someone quickly pointed out to me that this is absurd: large swathes of the human race could not tell you that Kant is a philosopher, much less identify any of his beliefs. But because I first read Kant in high-school, I naturally think of him as someone that any reasonably educated person knows.
I would say I have committed this particular sin many a time.

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