For any piano players out there

31 08 2010

Piano players unlike other musicians are largely ignorant of how their instrument works, how to tune their instrument and how to diagnose faults. 

This excellent five lecture series provides quite an in depth discussion on how a piano works:

In particular, there is some interesting scientific information on how the distinctive sound of a piano comes to life.


Atlas Shrugs. Three small business examples

26 08 2010

Just discovered this blog.  Mish’s Global Economic Trend Analysis thanks to a link from the Oactivists mailing list. 

The author, Mish, has published three emails he received from small business owners forced to “shrug” by the government. 

Interesting reading:  Another atlas shrugs – Small business owners chime in

The “extreme capitalism” straw man

20 08 2010

Unfortunately there are people in our community who still believe we live in a capitalist world.  Former Australian PM Krudd got away with publically asserting that our woes were due to our “extreme” capitalism!?!  

Ayn Rand noted that we live in a “mixed economy”.  The Ayn Rand lexicon has some interesting excerpts on this topic. 

I’m think it’s also worth mentioning this insightful Ayn Rand quote:

“One of the methods used by statists to destroy capitalism consists in establishing controls that tie a given industry hand and foot, making it unable to solve its problems, then declaring that freedom has failed and stronger controls are necessary.”

And Don Watkins and Yaron Brook have recently published this article at 
The U.S. Anti-Business Epidemic” 
They explain the reality of the mixed economy very well:

“One of the myths that arose following the financial crisis was that America pre-Obama was something close to a free market. According to this narrative, anyone who supports the status quo circa 2007 is a champion of capitalism.

But by 2007 the number of federal agencies and commissions riding roughshod over a businessman’s rights had already mushroomed to more than 100, including the IRS, SEC, EPA, FTC, FDA, FCC, USDA, FDIC, OHSA. These agencies were enforcing an unprecedented 73,000 pages of regulations, and their budgets had swelled to record levels. This included 2002’s draconian Sarbanes-Oxley, passed by the Senate 99-0 and signed into law by the supposedly pro-capitalist President Bush.

This vast government control of production and trade is the opposite of capitalism. Yet how many of these anti-business laws and regulations have Obama’s critics vowed to repeal? None of any consequence.”

South Africa’s fall continues

19 08 2010

The president of South Africa Zuma is a classic, “do I laugh or cry” situation.  The fact that an idiot of this calibre is running a country is just unbelievable.   

I have previously lamented the decline of South Africa

Well today, I discover the escalating freedom of speech abuses from the Zuma government thanks to this Wall St. Journal article. 

The Dark Ages Return to South Africa

(H/T Catallaxy blog for this one)

The true nature of the anti-human “green” movement

19 08 2010

This article, “Felled by an invidious green plot“, exposes the true nature and philosophy of your typical greenie.  A belief that humans are dirty sinning polluters and a belief in the higher power of Gaia (or the inanimate planet Earth) make for a dangerous, anti-human worldview. 

The injustice inflicted on John Gay is appalling in the so-called “free” country of Australia.  Greenies continue to get away with initiating force against the truly virtuous and productive people of this world. 

This is the chilling story of how green activists targeted and finally brought down John Gay, the visionary former chairman of the Tasmanian timber company Gunns, damaged the company and helped wreck the state economy.

In Gay’s downfall is everything you need to know about the conscience-less dishonesty of the green movement, and how its war on progress is camouflaged as concern for nature.

In John Gay’s words:

“I had to leave Gunns because the institutional investors were targeted by the greens and kept pressuring me to resign, and I just wasn’t prepared to put my wife and two kids through any more [of the] thuggery in the green movement. They’ve damaged Tasmania and did their best to damage my credibility.”

The article continues:

Then there was the personal vilification. Gay describes it as ”torture” for his wife, Erica, and adult son and daughter, with his home under assault two or three nights a week for years – from smoke bombs under the house, stink bombs at the front door, dead possums in the yard, people rattling the gates late at night and screaming abuse from the street.

His wife was spat at in the supermarket and the Tasmanian media sat on the fence as a good man’s reputation was destroyed.

”My wife and kids were tormented . . . I had to put in a security system so my wife could feel safe,” he says.

 And incidentally, if you want evidence that pragmatist epistemology dominates in our society, read the comments to this article.  The argument repeated ad nauseam is that the author’s opinion isn’t “balanced”, or is “one-sided”.  Forget objective reality.  These commentors are so intellectually stunted they seem to believe that if an opinion is principled and doesn’t find the popular middle ground it’s therefore wrong! 

Yesterday a greeny acquaintance of mine rejected my views on open immigration because I had a “radical extreme capitalist” position.  This was literally his only comeback!  And he presumably believed this “argument” was actually worth wasting my time with!  This poor soul simply cannot think in principle.  And his pragmatism ensures he cannot argue intelligently.  It’s really quite sad to witness.

“From Composer to Interpreter to Listener”

16 08 2010

I’ve just finished reading “What to Listen for in Music” by Aaron Copland, one of the USA’s most famous composers.

It’s not a bad book and would be great for a non-musical person.  I found it a little basic but still quite valuable and it’s interesting to note how Copland decides to order and organise the essential most basic information on various musical forms when writing for the layperson.   

Towards the end of the book there is a chapter called “From Composer to Interpreter to Listener” and I particularly liked this phrase:

“What after all, do we listen for when we listen to a composer? ……………
“He gives us himself.  Every artist’s work is, of course an expression of himself, but none so direct as that of the creative musician.  He gives us, without relation to exterior “events,” the quintessential part of himself-that part which embodies the fullest and deepest expression of himself as a man and of his experience as a fellow being.”

Now it’s on to “Music, the Brain and Ecstasy“.  I’m only a couple of chapters in, but so far it’s been quite a good read.

World’s biggest message says “Read Ayn Rand”

16 08 2010

Man scrawls world’s biggest message with a GPS “pen”

What a great start to my Monday morning!