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A few thoughts from this morning - Thoughts of a meat popsicle
22nd March 2014
09:27 am


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A few thoughts from this morning
A few things I thought of this morning, in the order they occurred to me.

On music:

First, I bought every Insomnium album that was on Amazon. They're a Finnish melodic death metal band. The past few weeks at work I've been listening to various melodic death metal playlists, starting with the band names I could remember like In Flames and Amon Amarth. Insomnium hooked me like none other, mostly due to the start of the album "Since the Day It All Came Down". Have a listen to the first 2:15 or so if you like. The first two minutes are piano and some strings. I have a soft spot for a mix of metal with orchestra, like Evanescence and the Metallica S&M album. Anyways, after that first two minutes it turns into this really hard guitar, but it completely keeps the theme going. It's just amazing.

On capitalism:

On my bike ride this morning I was thinking about Capitalism, and specifically how Larry Page said he'd rather give his money to Elon Musk than to charity. Capitalism is neither good nor bad; it's a reasonable economic organization. To make some analogy between large corporations and a small village: no one minds a cobbler turning his/her time and skill into goods for sale (shoes) and selling them for enough money to cover expenses plus living, plus maybe a little for the future. That's the good side; people trade their time and skill using an abstract exchange for others time and skill.

What people object to is if the cobbler charges a lot more than is necessary to cover his/her time, skill, material expenses, and costs of living and doing business. And then when a new cobbler sets up in town charging less, the first one kills the new guy. Or gets the mayor or village council to pass a law saying that only cobblers with grey hair can practice. Or whatever other protectionist law you could think of. Or if the original cobbler starts a smear campaign saying the new guy is using leather made by satanists, or from baby seal skin, or whatever other lie would get people's emotions up and not spending money. That's what we all get angry about, I think: when companies are no longer competing on the basis of the quality and price of the goods and services they make, but instead lying or buying laws to protect their current way of working.

I think it's important to remember that lots of medium and large companies are making reasonable profit based on the investment of their time and knowledge. For instance, Elon Musk and Tesla: while it's possible there was something shady involving patents or existing inventions, mostly they seem to be making money by doing something innovative. They've created some new technology, some infrastructure to support it, and are turning their time into a product that consumers will pay money for. That's basically how capitalism should work. And if their work happens to significantly reduce greenhouse gases, and limit global warming, well, that's a net positive too. It's quite possibly the motivation for doing all that work in the first place.

The point is that capitalism and environmental stewardship can go hand in hand; lets not toss out a mostly functioning economic system because some actors want to cheat (e.g. by polluting and paying minimal fines). If there's externalities that aren't reflected in real cash money, let's fix that.

On milk and a low-carb diet:

Being on a low-carb diet means that everything tastes sweeter. I never thought milk tasted sweet before, but it has a decent amount of carbs, and lactose is a sugar. Whole milk tastes like dessert now. It's sweet, it's creamy, and I can drink it for breakfast. Even if you're not on a low-carb diet, whole milk can be a better choice than reduced fat. First, it tastes better, and life is too short to not enjoy the little things. Second, there's decent evidence that people who drink whole milk lose more weight than those who drink skim. Whether it's because the fat helps keep one satiated or other reasons is still unknown.

On the home remodel:

Earlier this week the shower in the master bath was finished. It's 4.5 feet by 5.5 feet, which didn't seem huge until the glass enclosure went up on Tuesday. There are two shower heads; one of those rain-style heads in the ceiling, and one that's on a bar so it can be adjusted vertically. Anyways, I took a shower this morning with two of the kids, and there was room to spare. It was very luxurious. The three-year-old has often insisted on taking a shower with me, and there's finally room for him without getting in the way. I had a two-person shower in Seattle, but it was about 3x6 and there definitely wasn't room for three without someone being on top of someone else.

And that's what my brain was doing the first two hours I was awake today.

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