Emperor Cartagia from Redit

Saving this here for posterity:

Emperor_Cartagia’s Comments on Justice Ginsburg’s Ominous Warning About Creeping Corporate Power

There is a (wink wink nudge nudge) long term conspiracy between the upper echelons of the Political Right and a cadre of rich billionaires (and very possibly a few of the richer multimillionaires) to gradually make the US Government so dysfunctional, to degrade or discontinue so many Government services, that the citizenry will be intensely skeptical of any solution requiring Government, and openly hostile to the idea of being involved with the Government for any purpose.

This of course, is the means. I’ll give an example. During the Bush Jr. years (2006, specifically), Congress pushed through a bill requiring the Post Office to fully pre-fund their Retiree Health Benefits out to a ridiculous date, some 75 years. Not incrementally from that point on as employees joined, or any other reasonable way of doing it, but, 100 Billion dollar payments a year kind of unreasonable.

The major proponents of that bill were Republican Politicians whose major funding sources came from billionaires with major interests in FedEx, UPS, & DHL.

The purpose being, obviously, to degrade the quality of USPS services, force them to raise prices.. And thus make it more likely that the public will more often choose a private company over a public utility. They’re pushing on all fronts for private for-profit companies to usurp the role of Government, even to the point of sabotaging Government to make it possible.

They do this for three reasons:

  1. It’s enormously profitable. Government currently holds monopolies on certain products and services, and basically charges almost nothing for them. Seriously, if you look at everything the government actually accomplishes vs how much it takes in in tax revenues and compare it to how much it would cost us to pay private companies for the same level of services, Government comes out ridiculously cheap. The benefits of economies of scale and not having to profit stockholders. Even the Governments debt leads to the creation of private wealth elsewhere. The people colluding to stop this are looking forward to stepping in and taking the governments place. We’ve already seen it happen in many states with prisons. They’ll come in, say they’ll run the prison the exact same way but for less money, then they run the prisons profoundly worse by cutting every corner they can and they’ll pocket the extra. They’re going to run the same racket with any other Government function you can think of.
  2. They have a profound philosophical opposition to the very nature of government. Everybody pooling resources to accomplish tasks that benefit everyone is antithetical to their nature, they feel that everyone should be left to fend for themselves and if they can’t manage, that they should just do without. From water to healthcare to retirement or food safety, they do not feel it is ever justified that they should be asked to kick in their earnings to help anyone else, regardless of the wider consequences to society or whether through a domino effect it actually hurts them in the wider perspective. They’re not thinking of the wider perspective, all they see is someone else profiting from their labor (which is intensely ironic considering they also virtually rely on wage slavery, that is, profiting off of underpaying others for their labor).
  3. The Power. Once they’ve shrunk Government to the point they can “drown it in a bathtub”. They’ll have the power. So much of daily life today already rests in the hands of a handful of global conglomerates.. Imagine one day waking up in a world where every product and service you use comes from companies controlled by a group of like minded men.. And they’ve drowned the only method of recourse if they wrong you. You have no way of voting with your wallet because everything you buy benefits one or more of them. You cannot sue because they’ve engineered trade deals and laws leaving you no legal recourse, only “arbitration”, only, they get to choose the date, place, time, and arbiter, meaning they could force you to fly cross country, on your own dime, at the drop off a hat, with no time to arrange a leave or a sitter or anything, to be met with an arbiter who happens to be on their payroll. They will have eliminated any rights you have simply by making it contractually unfeasible to insist upon them. They will have effectively brought round the Aristocratic System in all but name, with themselves as the nobility, immune to any criticisms or recourse of the serfs but violence, but having preserved only a militarized police force trained and psychologically manipulated to think of any civilian as a criminal by default, simply lacking evidence as of yet, even *violent revolution will be an extremely unlikely event. Peasants with rifles and Molotov cocktails have not, historically, stood up well to APCs and fully automatic .50 machine guns.

For more information on the beginnings of this conspiracy, look up the history of the Business Plot (and/or the Wall Street Putsch) from the 1930’s, not Wikipedia, that article is very bare bones because Wikipedia generally needs sources and most of the records of the investigations and hearings on the Business Plot were intentionally destroyedafterwards so as to not undermine the public trust of prominent businessmen and politicians. Here’s a bit about it from NPR.

* People tend to misinterpret this part.

I know full well that an open civil war or revolution won’t happen, in such a case the military would divide and the tyrannical government thrown down. But there won’t be a civil war or revolution.

What’ll happen is that anytime things in one place get too bad, anytime one part of the population flares up and tries to force the private enterprises that will have taken over the roles of government to capitulate, they’ll be stomped on by a highly militarized police force.

Injustice by private enterprise will simply be the way things work. You can’t revolt against a private business, you can only vote with your wallet, but in the case I’ve outlined, that won’t matter, because the “competitor” you flock to will be owned by the same people, they won’t care and won’t change how they do business.

If you sue, they’ll cite the contract or waiver you signed when you came to them.

If you do a sit-in, you’re trespassing.

If you march, you’re disturbing the peace.

If you get a permit to march, they’ll put you in a Free Speech Zone where nobody will see your protest.

If you get violent, they call the one service of government they’ve preserved and supported, the police, who will promptly arrest you for it. A police force which already had a confrontational relationship with the public, who are already conditioned by every safety briefing to believe that every civilian is a threat.

Then, if it was big enough to make the news, everyone will be told a bunch of lawless looters and rioters, made up of lazy unemployed takers got their just desserts from the police.

The suppression of rebellion won’t happen on a large scale because any spark of revolution will be snuffed out before anyone else can hear about, agree with it, and join in. Revolutions don’t spring up spontaneously nationwide, they are ignited, an incident happens which the population gets so enraged at that they rise up.

In the corporate plutocratic aristocracy, the spark will be snuffed, and you’ll only ever hear what they want you to hear.

Soft Drinks

Summary

I occasionally suffer from advice on the consumption of diet cola drinks, warning me of negative health effects. This is intended to provide me with a summary of information to point others to when I get in these arguments. Most of this is quickly cribbed statements from reliable sources. I didn’t include source citations, but if you want to copy and paste a sentence into google, you’ll find a source.

<tldr>Almost everything bad you’ve heard about diet soda is from attention-seeking journalists. When they have scientific evidence, it is generally based on epidemiological studies which cannot measure other factors (i.e. fat people gain weight, fat people drink diet soda…doesn’t mean diet soda causes weight gain). The rest of the time, it’s mostly hand-waving about toxicity. Yes things are toxic. But remember, 3,000 mg/kg of table salt will kill 50% of the people you feed it to.</tldr>

Diet Coke

Carbonated Water

Carbonated water erodes tooth enamel, though the effect is negligible. Intake of carbonated beverages has not been associated with increased bone fracture risk in observational studies. A 2004 article in the Journal of Nutrition found that fizzy waters with higher sodium levels reduced cholesterol levels and the risk of cardiovascular problems in postmenopausal women.

Caramel Color

Barring food alergy, no negative effects noted.

Aspartame

FDA has set its acceptable daily intake for aspartame at 50 mg/kg. For a 75 kg (165 lb) adult, it takes approximately 21 cans of diet soda daily to consume the 3,750 milligrams (0.132 oz) of aspartame that would surpass the FDA’s 50 milligrams per kilogram of body weight ADI of aspartame from diet soda alone. Even with ingestion of very high doses of aspartame (over 200 mg/kg), no aspartame is found in the blood due to the rapid breakdown. Clinical studies have shown no signs of neurotoxic effects, and studies of metabolism suggest it is not possible to ingest enough aspartic acid and glutamate through food and drink to levels that would be expected to be toxic. Reviews have found no association between aspartame and cancer. Review of the biochemistry of aspartame has found no evidence that the doses consumed would plausibly lead to neurotoxic effects. Claims that aspartame contributes to weight gain and obesity are not supported by the medical literature. Although there have also been claims that aspartame contributes to hunger or increased appetite, there have been few studies directly addressing the effect of aspartame on appetite. The data show no increased appetite with aspartame use, and this is an area of possible future research. Studies looking at caloric intake found that aspartame consumers consumed as many calories as or fewer calories than non-aspartame consumers, but not more. (See also: http://healthpsych.psy.vanderbilt.edu/2009/AspartameAppetite.htm, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8451310/, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19056571/, http://examine.com/faq/does-aspartame-increase-appetite.html). A double blind study subjected 55 overweight youth to 13 weeks of a 1,000 Kcal diet accompanied by daily capsules of aspartame or lactose placebo. Both groups lost weight, and the difference was not significant. Of the 4 studies from the meta-analysis that used beverages alone, the compensation was just 15% for the subsequent 24 hours; that is, the data suggest there is less compensation in beverages than foods, resulting in a more effective net reduction in calories when replacing sweetened beverages with Nonnutritive Sweeteners beverages.

Phosphoric Acid

The authors of this study conclude that the skeletal effects of carbonated beverage consumption are likely due primarily to milk displacement (another possible confounding factor may be an association between high soft drink consumption and sedentary lifestyle)

Potasium Benzoate

Potassium benzoate was recently described by the Food Commission, who campaign for ‘safer, healthier food in the UK’, as “mildly irritant to the skin, eyes and mucous membranes”.

Natural Flavors

Unknown, but likely a synthetic vanilla oil.

Citric Acid

Generally classified as healthful.

Caffeine

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caffeine for well known positive and negative effects.

Diet Rite

Carbonated Water

See above.

Caramel Color

See above.

Phosphoric Acid

See above.

Sucralose

Results from over 100 animal and clinical studies in the FDA approval process unanimously indicated a lack of risk associated with sucralose intake.  In a small scale study of 17 obese test subjects, sucralose was found to affect glycemic and insulin responses to an oral glucose load in obese people who do not normally consume NNS.

Citric Acid

See above.

Potasium Benzoate

See above.

Acesulfame Potasium

At 10x ADI, injected Acesulfame K may produce insulin secretion analogous to a similar amount of injected glucose.

Natural Flavors

See above.

Acacia Gum

Used to change the surface tension of the water used in the soda. Makes it more fizzy. Mostly organically inert.

Potasium Citrate

Buffering agent. Reduces ph impact of other acids in the drink. Used in some health treatments. No studied negative side effects.

Copy your house key with a photo

Copy your house key with a photo

A while ago, my brother was locking something up and wanted to make sure that he didn’t lose the key. I had the bright idea of taking a photo of the key, since in the very worse case you could get a key blank and a hand file and carve out a copy of that key…and my photo archive is much better organized and backed up than my garage will ever be.

Now there’s a service online that will make you a copy of a key from a photo of it. No fuss. No muss. $5.

Electronics Project Fun

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I am always interested in the actual building of cool technology. There are so many cool applications of electronics that just aren’t mass-produced. We should be able to make them ourselves.

It’s amazing how much the internet has made this possible.

Groups of people band together to share a 155 inch panel of printed circuit board, each using several square inches for their own panel, and each only paying a fraction of the cost of getting a custom piece made for them. ($2.50/square inch!!) So, how can you get your board designed?

Well, you could use a pre-designed, open source circuit design. Or you can use free software like CadSoft Eagle. If you do use the free software, you’ll need some instructions on how to convert Eagle files to the Gerber format used by the manufacturing folks.

Now you’ve got a circuit board, but how do you attach components to it? Well, you can solder, but that takes, like, FOR-EV-ER. I just discovered you can use something called a Hot Air Rework Station.

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This is a hair-dryer-like device which uses a blast of hot air to liquefy the solder paste you’ve put on the pads of your circuit board, fixing the components to it. This makes it possible to solder on surface-mount components without too much pain. Beautiful! Maybe slower than wave-soldering, but definitely a great hobbyist option.

The amazing thing is that you don’t need expensive tools to do your manufacturing. With a little effort you can use a $30 hot plate as a soldering station.

The internet is a great place to learn more about making electronics!

Resources:

  • Hack a Day – daily project ideas and news.
  • Gold Phoenix – get a 155 inch panel made for $100.
  • SparkFun – project ideas and tutorials, as well as parts.