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Sunday Morning Reading Material First Sunday in May 2012- Avenge of the Nerds Edition

It’s Sunday morning, and I don’t have much for you fine folks. Links! Assemble!

I remember linking to an article about how the US got information from captured Nazis– our brave men sat down, had coffee with them, and… played chess. I know that playing boardgames doesn’t give one the same feeling of manliness as drowning someone. But it does seem to be more effective. Let’s call foregoing sadistic pleasure in favor of being effective “putting on our big boy pants”.

Speaking of putting on our big boy pants: If the new Joint Strike Fighter really is the hideous mess that Foreign Policy is describing, we need to cut the program. It seems we’re asking for a Swiss Army/Navy/Air Force/Marine jet- that can laser guide Santa’s toys from orbit- and not getting what we want. Instead, let’s cancel the program and design 2-3 different aircraft. That might be both cheaper and more effective.

Employers have the power to keep people hustling at work, constantly moving to prevent what managers call “time theft”. Employees have little to no power to prevent wage theft. Until 2010, in New York City, if your boss got caught stealing your money, they only had to pay you a quarter for every dollar they took. The extra 75 pennies? Pure profit. Most places still have penalties that weak.

One of the reasons I’m reading Rise and Fall of the Third Reich is to figure out why the Wiemar Republic fell. The answer is frustratingly vague: everyone seemed to want it to fall. When Reagan said “Government is not the solution to our problem government IS the problem”, he set the American political thought down a path that must eventually lead to a dictatorship and tyrannic. As government gets smaller and less capable, we begin to yearn for a strong man (or woman!) to fix the real problems left behind. It happened in Rome. It happened in Japan. It happened in France. Let’s alter course before it’s too late.

One of the problems facing America is that it’s not getting better for most people. This was the exact issue that most dictators used to rise to power.

The Supreme Court A district court, in Eastern Virginia ruled recently that publicly declaring that you “like” a candidate or cause is not protected speech. Frighteningly, I’m not convinced that the court actually realized they did that.

Alright, some good news: we may soon be just 4 hours from anywhere on Earth. Another upshot is that space travel becomes a lot easier.

I hate that the American Government has given up on space. And I’m sort of worried about the implications of space being conquered by private individuals. Yet I cannot help but be gleeful that someone, somewhere is still doing this. Humanity will leave the womb.

Guys! Guys! Exciting and huge news: DRM on books might be fading away!

If you click just one link:

Earlier, I cited playing chess as an important tool against totalitarian aggression. There is a very good, very human reason for that.