The Dose Makes the Poison – Orvan Ox

The Dose Makes the Poison – Orvan Ox

Cyanide is a poison. On that there is no real argument. A biochemist could explain how it messes up a deep level of a key system and is thus a very nasty poison. And yet there are foods, intentionally eaten even by the non-suicidal, that contain cyanide. But people aren’t dropping dead due to eating spinach or even lima beans [Are you sure about lima beans? – Ed]. What gives? What gives is that while spinach and lima beans and other foods do indeed contain cyanide, they contain only very very tiny amounts. Amounts that are physiologically insignificant. The dose is so low there is no poisoning and life goes on.

A more applicable thing to this post is vitamin D. Vitamin D is a thing necessary for people and a deficiency results in bad things happening. But too much for too long and other bad things happen. There is a range for which vitamin D is beneficial. If you have a deficiency, a change of diet and/or supplementation is a good idea. Downing several “100%” supplements every day, day in and day out, is not a good idea. You can get away with it for a little while, but over the long run you are apt to run into trouble.[1]

Government is, in a way, like vitamin D. We need some. We do not need too much. Unlike the vitamin, the deficiency can result in an overdose. Consider the special case of pure anarchy: Zero government. It is not a stable condition, as  some form of governance will arise. It is, unfortunately, most likely to be of the dictatorial sort as power will be exerted by strength alone and the strongest, most brutal, wins the day. The overdose condition is also unstable, but it takes longer to fall apart. It could take a lifetime or several. When everything is government controlled, why bother doing anything more than the utterly necessary, if one will not truly benefit from the effort? Thus arises the Soviet-era joke, “They pretend to pay us; we pretend to work.”

The current Big Argument has been cast a few ways, as Left vs. Right, as Urban vs. Rural, as International vs. National, and on and on. The casting that seems the most likely to me was as drloss put it, Statist vs. Individualist. Those calling themselves liberal or progressives, as well as those calling themselves conservatives, and libertarian all claim to be Individualist rather than Statist. Yet examples can be found for each group that actual behavior is Statist – provided they are the ones running the state, of course. The Statist view is that government and its regulations are a tool to force people (those other people, of course) to behave in a set, presumed ideal, way: Government’s job is to stuff mere man into an angel mold and apply pressure until conformity occurs.

The Individualist is not trying to destroy all government. That’s the mark of the insane. What’s desired is lowering the dosage of government back down into the therapeutic range. Starting with at least President Wilson and certainly with FDR the idea regarding government and regulation in the U.S.A. was “more is better.” For a Statist, more is indeed better: more regulation is more control is more power. Some regulation is desirable. We like our food to be pure, our drugs to be safe and effective, our purchases to live up to their claims, our water to be clean. But an excess of regulations means that everyone is guilty of something and the rules can be enforced to ‘deal with’ the supposed Undesirable of the Month. The boot on the face is that of the Statist. The Statist can be of any claimed party alignment, the bootprint is just the same.

“All regulation is about public safety” has been claimed[2], and that might have even been the original intent. A call for cleaner water when a river catches fire certainly seems sensible. What isn’t often said is that when the big story hit it was a case of one bad incident getting attention after many worse incidents and that that very waterway was actually already getting cleaner. But one spill got national news coverage and mindshare. The EPA that came into being to fix things might have been needed, it might not have been. Now consider how the EPA, the very thing meant to clean up and keep clean waterways, amongst other things, has managed to severely pollute multiple waterways in recent months. One might well ask, “Is this Agency really necessary?”

A regulation that once made sense, might no longer be needed. In the days of vacuum tube (or thermionic valve) radios, some designs were more expensive as they used more tubes and each one meant more supporting components as well. This lead to advertising the number of tubes as an indication of quality, to convince buyers the higher price was worthwhile for better sensitivity, selectivity, or sound quality. When the transistor came along, at first things were much the same, but the expense fell rapidly and the advertising became a gimmick. Eventually it was ruled that advertising the number of transistors[3] in a radio was not an honest indication of quality. In 1968, this made sense. In 1978 it still made sense. By 1988 integrated circuitry meant the transistor count wasn’t very meaningful. I’ve had no luck finding the article, but I do recall sometime in the last several years there was something about dropping the rule against advertising the number of transistors. Not from an outbreak of marketing department honesty, but as nowadays so much is integrated circuitry with a huge number of transistors that advertising the count would be pointless.

Absolute deregulation, like absolute anarchy, would be insanity. That way lies rickets or the equivalent. But scrapping excess regulations should be a net benefit. Maybe two can’t be scrapped for every new one within a particular subject or agency, but it would be worthwhile to try. And in other places perhaps three or four could retire to the ash-heap of history. For the Statist this downright scary: It’s a loss of control. For the Individualist this is hope, the hope of the yearning to breathe free becoming a satisfying reality instead of mere yearning.

An Individualist is not someone utterly independent of others, nor even necessarily trying to be. The Individualist rather wishes his associations and any dependencies to be things chosen freely, with a wide selection of choices. He is not his own doctor, his own electrician, his own plumber, his own auto manufacturer, and his own farmer all rolled into one. He is someone desiring to be able to choose his physician from amongst many, to choose an electrician from amongst many, to choose a plumber from many, to choose his make and model of automobile from a wide variety, and to buy such  food as he pleases. Not for him is the life of government prescription, “Thou shalt have the physician thy bureaucrats so decree. And only the decreed treatments, and only to the decreed degree.” He is the Statist’s nightmare, for he is variable. And he brazenly recognizes the angel mold for being the Perillos device it really is. Quite naturally, the last thing he desires is more government and more regulation.

You might find a higher percentage of the rural population acting Individualist and speaking out in favor it than in more urban areas. There are urban Individualists as well, though they might be quieter or more swamped by Statists. This gives the impression of a Rural-Urban divide. Similarly the claims of individualism are more apt to be spoken of those on the political Right and benefits of state power and uniformity by the political Left. Words are cheap (I’m giving these words away right now!) but actions speak truth. People desire Individualism – at least for themselves. “There ought to be a law” is in general the Statist approach: Conform to MY ideals! The Individualist is not against all laws, but the needlessly interfering ones. Theft, the uncompensated taking from one not freely giving, is and ought be illegal. Demanding that lighting be only by some limited means, for example, is not rightly any of the law’s business. How one has light is one’s own lookout, whether one chooses LED, fluorescent lamp, incandescent lamp, or oil lamp. Demanding it be one or not be others is an overdose of regulation and is toxic to liberty. To end or nearly end one method the way to do it is not to make it illegal, but to offer better as seen by the customer.

What regulations exist forbidding the manufacture and sale of phonograph cylinders? As far as I know: none. Yet they are historical artifacts, not things sold in great quantity today. They were not banned. They were superseded. Disc records took up less space, were easier to mass produce, and provided longer play time. Eventually compact discs and digital distribution came along, pushing cylinders further into history. An entire industry transformed, a few times, largely without government intervention. We didn’t need a new drug, nor more of an old one.

And yet some insist that things are different today and we need more regulations, big brother’s universal helper. But we know that if we take on even more of those, we’ll get an overdose.

[1] Vitamin A is similar, but I went with D as it seems to take a lot more for a lot longer for things to get truly bad. As shown by the last several decades, an excess of government is generally more a chronic than acute affliction.

[2] Saw that one spreading on Twitter a while back.

[3] Alright, the number of transistors could be advertised, but they had to be used as transistors and contribute to the radio’s performance as a radio. Counting transistors used as diodes, or one just stuck onto a circuit board wouldn’t cut it. The result was that by and large rather than giving an honest count, no count was given. It was easiest to say nothing.

352 thoughts on “The Dose Makes the Poison – Orvan Ox

  1. I have willingly eaten lima beans. They need seasoning. They also often seem to be in things where they seem out of place and thus earn a dislike as they appear to be a contaminant.

    And, yes, folks, I know NOW that I need to edit things differently for the appearance. The HTML is an oops. Ox slow.

      1. Not a problem. Sorry I didn’t notice earlier. In my defense I had two guys discussing what we were going to have for dinner about ten steps from me.

          1. Just cook them with bacon….. I was never a brussel sprouts fan until my wife made the with bacon – they were great!

    1. I seem to recall eating roasted salted lima beans as a snack. Can’t remember where or what the recipe was for it, but I think whoever made them used an olive oil spray and one of the Montreal seasonings on them. They were weird, but an interesting change from peanuts.

      1. But you ate it because “you always eat what mother serves”? 😉

        IE you ate it but wished mother didn’t serve it. 😀

          1. Of course, the trick with tennis balls is removing them from the tennis without it noticing and eviscerating you.

  2. Lima beans are OK if combined with corn (maize) and some seasoning (butter helps). They’re downright tasty (or at least unobjectionable) as part of a spicy vegetable medley I encountered at a buffet. By themselves, unseasoned – bleh.

    1. You can substitute lima beans for garbanzos when making hummus.

      A friend uses about 75% garlic when making hummus. He could probably substitute anything that wasn’t actually moving under its own power and you wouldn’t notice the difference…

        1. I’m pretty sure that at least on one occasion he didn’t bother with the vegetables.

      1. Um, no. You might be making a hummus-like bean dip, but it ain’t hummus with or without garlic.

        Kind of like those bars that serve ‘Whiskey Martinis’. No, what you have there is a Manhattan. Martini is *not* a generic term for ‘cocktail’.

        1. I wan’t to like mushrooms, I really do,, but they aren’t at all cooperative about it.

              1. I don’t know – I find that if you take the regular mushroom from the food store, slice it somewhat thin and fry it with butter and onion – that you can have some nice tasty and crunchy mushrooms. On the other hand anything that starts dried and that you have to add water too – that just comes out like rubber (I am looking at YOU shitaki) (aptly named, IMHO).


  3. A quote for the day:

    Blockquote>THAT all men are born equally free and independent, and have certain inherent natural rights, of which they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; among which are, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.

    George Mason, from his May 27, 1776 draft of the Virginia Declaration of Rights

    1. This, it may have been noticed, informed something with which most here are familiar:

      We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

      Thomas Jefferson, The Declaration of Independence, passed by The Second Continental Congress, July 4, 1776

        1. I’ve seen “consent of the governed” (ie, the fact that the usual suspects keep getting elected) as an argument that modern interpretations of the Constitution, as being implemented in law, are valid.

          1. It’s the ‘well you haven’t rose up and stopped us yet’ mindset. One day it won’t work. And that scares me.

            1. Which is why Jefferson proposed exactly that every 20 years or so. Unless people have fresh reminders they tend to believe it isn’t possible.

              “For it is the Doom of Men that they forget.” — Merlin in the movie Excalibur.

        2. Oh, they’ve been settling for the consent of 50%+1 of those who bother to vote all along.

        3. What is being ignored is the principle that the rights are inherent to the individual, and do not come from the government. Nor, should the majority of people be able take them away or relinquish them for you just because they so little value their rights themselves as to be willing to give them up.

          This is why the founders deliberately formed a Democratic Republic — and not a Democracy.

          1. And why the first step in returning this country to Constitutional principles is going to involve revoking the franchise from the unproductive.

            1. I don’t think that you’ll get that. limiting the franchise is the most unpopular action short of anarchy.

              1. Oh, I agree, dear. Which is why I expect the crash to be spectacular, as it guarantees “voting themselves ever larger benefits from the public treasury” until the productive give up.

        4. As we have earned in recent years, “consent of the governed” can be tedious, expensive and time-consuming to gain, therefore in the interests of efficiency, the consent can be deemed absent armed rebellion … in which event the rebels are treasonous and may be shot.

          1. “We keep *telling* the proles what they should want, and they just don’t *listen*…”

                1. The highest aspiration a member of the bovine family can achieve is to become a delicious juicy steak on my plate.



                  1. People have tried that with Orvan and few have lived to tell anybody about their attempt. 👿

                    1. Which is why anybody who treats him like one is in very big trouble. 😈

                    2. Orvan isn’t a bovine.

                      I’m not? Oh, not 100%, certainly. There is a distinct resemblance, however. There are also some serious differences between myself and the usual bos taurus.

                  1. Perhaps he should take up lens or mirror making for telescopes, then he could fashion objectives as he darn well pleases. Assuming, of course, he has not done so already.

                    1. Ah HA! That’s not a bullhead. The focusing mask just makes us think he is.

                    2. Wow, I have been out of the loop for a while. I knew of apodizing masks, but the Hartmann and Bahtinov are new to me, even if the Hartmann has been around for some time.

              1. If you told a leftist, especially a university educated leftist, that they were voting in their own self-interest, wouldn’t they be insulted?

                “Do you vote in your own self-interest, or for the common good? You vote for the common good? Then when don’t you think I should do the same?”

                1. They are good at Convo Cing themselves that voting self money for college loans or insurance subsidies is for common good. I’d rather keep my money. They would rather use it for themselves.

                  1. Sure, but since they believe that subsidies to college attendance are for the common good and not grants of privilege in their own interest, they believe that their decision to support such things is not driven by self-interest. That makes it paradoxical that they also believe that various other groups ought to be voting self-interestedly, and ask indignantly why they aren’t doing so. Surely if it’s more morally admirable for them to set aside their own self-interest when they vote, it’s also more morally admirable if working class people or Christians or rural people do likewise?

                    1. Because they know that common good is just the veneer they use for feeling of supremacy.

                  2. They believe that they are entitled to everybody else’s money as well as their own. Being highly “educated” they “know” what’s best for everybody.

                    1. I remember Billy Jeff, after the Gingrich Uprising, telling a crowd of college students that “Sure, we could give tax cuts, but people might not spend them wisely.”

                      The most appalling aspect was that the crowd cheered such a sentiment rather than hanging him from the nearest light post. Of course, it’s highly likely none of them paid taxes.

                      No sane person can look at government spending and call them prudent conservators of the fisc.

  4. Whether lima beans taste good or bad to you is genetic.different genes and you get different taste receptors. Same situation with Brussels sprouts and whether you can curl your tongue. These are used as examples and poked in genetics classes. It’s fun when everyone starts to stick out their tongue in class, and it’s educational. I am one of those blessed to find Brussels spouts and lima beans sweet and buttery. I could trade eating others veggies in school cafeteria for other food or favors. We were not allowed out to the recess yard until everything on our tray was eaten.

      1. I never roasted Brussel Sprouts until I read about it here. (One of the very many things I have learned following this blog.) Sigh, its been a while. Maybe I’ll do slow roasted Brussel Sprouts with Garlic for dinner today.

        1. I think it was my sister who introduced my family to roasted Brussel Sprouts wrapped in/with bacon. If you are particularly decadent, you can serve those with a touch of maple syrup. 😉

        2. I’ve had grilled squash. I’m not a squash fan at all, and the grilled kind are not only still squash, but look slimy to boot. But they taste *really good* right off the grill…

          1. They are good enough. Still, I served them with poppy seed noodles and mock sausage (I cannot properly digest meat, fish or fowl).

            1. You mock sausage?

              Well, it is international women’s day, I s’pose.

              Sausage humour seems very apropos.

    1. I prefer the little ‘baby’ Fordhook Limas for ‘fresh’ uses, and I find the bigger ones are fine in things like 16-bean soup.

      Momma made her succotash with the little Fordhooks. She seasoned it generously with fresh ground black pepper and butter. I would actually look forward to it. I was surprised at first to find out that there are people who use other beans in succotash.

    2. Hmm… I can say definitively that preparation makes a huge difference in this, so it’s hard to say how much of a genetic component there is to it.

      In other words, I hated Brussels Sprouts until I saw Alton Brown roast them with bacon and a lemon-oil dressing. Now I really like them.

      1. D**n straight – proper preparation makes a difference. When the only Brussel Sprouts you have previously met are ping-pong ball or larger in size and boiled until gray tinged why would you ever want to eat one?

        1. It’s sort of like rice. Standard American preparation for rice seems to be to boil it until it turns to paste. Just-past-crunchy is exponentially better.

          1. I’m not a fan of broccoli but have eaten it at some restaurants where it was cooked in such a way to make it enjoyable to eat.

          2. I was lucky. My mom knew how to cook rice and taught me. Boil water, add rice, back to boil, turn stove down to low wait x number of minutes. Where x is how ever long it takes the stove to get the rice to cooked enough to be separate grains and soft and chewy. I get better results than most steamers.

          3. Rice cookers are wonderful devices. As is the proper rice for the use you’re making. We like basmati for table rice, but you wouldn’t use it for sushi rice.

            1. Yeah, most consumer grade rice cookers are set for long grain rice. The ones you get in the Asian stores are programmable, and should have a setting for short grain rice.

        2. My introduction to okra, Army basic training in Missouri, turned me off okra for *decades*.

            1. I cannot abide okra. Have tried fried, boiled, and roasted; roasted came closest to palatability, but I just can’t do it. Which actually upsets me, because it’s an incredibly tough and productive plant in my climate, and I hate not taking advantage of it. But “blech!” tops productivity.

            2. Try it at an Indian restaurant. It is sold as Bhindi, such as Bhindi Masala or Bhindi Tamatar Ki Sabzi.

              Not recommended for those poor, sad, miserable, unhappy people who dislike Indian cuisine.

            3. My preferred avenues for eating okra involve it being used as an ingredient in a larger dish, such as vegetable soup and gumbo, but properly breaded and fried, with a decent dipping sauce, such as a horseradish-mayonnaise or even a remoulade sauce is good as a side dish.

    3. I find boiled Brussels sprouts bitter and nasty. There’s some microwavable ones that are a bit bitter, but I can tolerate in moderation. Roast them with oil and salt and then they’re quite pleasant.

      I don’t find lima beans flavorful, thus the need for seasoning. I used to dislike them as they were ‘that weird thing’ in other stuff.

      1. Very possibly, your bitter Brussels sprouts were not allowed to stand in the ground until after a couple of hard frosts. They are much sweeter if they’ve been frosted (and I’m reasonably sure that commercially-grown sprouts are picked on a schedule that doesn’t take frosts into account).

        1. Most likely. Evidently so few know (or knew) how to treat them that they have a reputation filed under AVOID. I recall neighbors with gardens and they grew about everything I’d heard of that could grow in the climate – except Brussels sprouts.

      2. “I find boiled Brussels sprouts bitter and nasty.”

        It’s because the EUrocracy operates out of of Brussels, containing even the nearby sprouts with their nasty, bitter taste.

          1. The yuck has breached containment. It’s the nasty I object too. $HOUSEMATE claims many of the things I drink by choice are bitter.

            Example, the “Eeyore’s Requiem” described as ‘the antidote to Valentine’s Day’:

            1 1/2 ounces Campari
            1/2 ounce Tanqueray gin
            1/4 ounce Cynar
            1/4 ounce Fernet Branca
            1 ounce Dolin Blanc Vermouth
            15 drops orange bitters (Fee’s, Regan’s, or a mix)
            Orange peel

            I tried it that way and the Compari seemed to swamp things, so I decided to modify it by backing the Campai down to only 1 ounce, and moving the Cynar and Fernet Branca up to 0.5 ounces each. I found it bracing. $HOUSEMATE found it… something else.

            Resulting conversation:

            HM: “Why?!?”
            OT: “It’s unapologetic, isn’t it?”
            HM: “It’s beyond unapologetic!”
            OT: “It’s f— you and the horse you rode in on?”
            HM: “Yes!”

      3. The trick to getting rid of the bitterness is to trim the stalk very close to the sprout. Perhaps even to the point of losing a couple of leaves.

    4. Brussel Sprouts and lima beans are nasty no matter how they are doctored and prepared. :p

    5. Lima beans, cooked with a bit of bacon seasoning and until they make a thick broth but not until the beans disintegrate, are delicious. Brussels sprouts vary. I like them but have come across some so bitter and tough they weren’t fit to eat. Brussels sprouts boiled and served topped with butter, yum.

      1. Ah ha! I see. The best way to cook lima beans or cole-vegetables, is with a pound of bacon, throw away the beans or veggies, and serve.

    6. Partially, yes. There is a chemical in some vegetables, and if you have the genes that let you taste that chemical, it’s nasty. However, just because you can’t taste the chemical doesn’t mean that you’re going to like the underlying veggie. There are plenty of people who simply think that lima beans are a particularly horrible form of chalk, regardless of their genes.

        1. Here in the South, the official way to cook any form of plant matter is to boil it into mush or to drip it in cornmeal and boil it in grease.

          I won’t even describe what they do to pasta…

    7. Depends on the age of the lima bean, too. Teeny tiny young lima beans the size of your fingernail are sweet and smooth-textured; you’d never know it was the same species.

  5. > advertising the number of transistors[3] in a
    > radio was not an honest indication of quality.

    That’s because in their early days, transistors were Wonder Technology, like “internet-enabled” was a few years ago. And more transistors were better.

    What started happening was, companies would buy reject transistors and attach them to circuit boards, not otherwise connected, to up their count of (expensive) transistors by including cheap or free duds.

    Nowadays, when millions of transistors are on a chip in a child’s toy, this seems ridiculous, but back then transistors were expensive.

    A particularly laughable (nowadays) case was in auto racing, where vendors of magnetos started screwing a big metal -cased transistor to the side of the magneto, visible for all to see. The transistor didn’t *do* anything, but “transistorized” was the buzzword of the day, and it sold more magnetos…

    1. But doesn’t it -kill- you that the frigging regulation is still being enforced? What kind of Special Idiot would it take to enforce something like that in these days when the technology has moved on? The kind that work for governments, of course.

      1. in the greater scheme of things… I have more pressing examples of government stupidity to worry about.

    2. I recall Pa had a pocket radio (largely gutted to be a small audio amp) that bragged how many transistors it had. Then Pa got to seriously looking at it.. yup, a few with clipped leads, used as diodes and maybe there were some just stuck on.

    3. Explains the gut shot of a late 60’s transistorized guitar amp that was plum packed full of circuit boards. By way of contrast, the awesome Acoustic 361 bass amp is fairly simple- the massive head box is mostly empty space- and one can stick the whole preamp circuit inside a large stomp box.
      Which I intend to do this summer. Fun part is sourcing the 1.5h inductor.

      1. The Acoustic 360 was the head the cab was the 361.
        Great amp, every bit the match of the Ampeg SVT, just a different flavor.
        I caused a great deal of low register mayhem with them back in the day. There is no experience to compare with those big cabs pushing all that air against your back and the seismic vibration of the stage rising up through your feet!

        1. I once built a 3/4 scale 361 folded horn cabinet around an old Peavey Basic 1×12 combo. Upped the loudness quite a bit- so much that I was banned from using it at Church. Switched over to either a rebuilt Rickenbacker TR-35b, or that same Peavey moved into a 2 x 10 combo.
          And yes, I have lots of fun making my own musical gear.

  6. Quoth the Ox: “Absolute deregulation, like absolute anarchy, would be insanity.”

    YES! Finally! Unfortunately this is RAAAAACISM! my dear Ox. The Lefties (and more than too many Righties) cling to each and every jot and title with a religious fervor. To tamper even slightly with sacred Regulation is to bring wrack and ruin upon us all.

    Less government. The very proposal marks one out as a Nazi. (Confusing I know, but that’s how they’ve decided to play it.)

    1. And the funny thing is that now-a-days regulation is more like PL/1, Ada or C++ than it is like Common Lisp, or Forth, or Smalltalk. The former are bloated, complex languages that users brag about giving you much power, but because of the complexity, you’re lucky you can do much of anything with them, and you have to go to great lengths to change them (make a proposal to a committee; wait 18 months to 5 years for a decision to be made; wait another 5 years before the change trickles down to the language)…

      Meanwhile, Common Lisp, Forth and Smalltalk are comparatively simple languages…so simple, in fact, that you can do amazing things with them…amazing, complicated things…which gives them a reputation of being complicated and difficult to learn.

      The funny thing is, it takes years to learn something like C++, and it’s quite possible that no one really knows all the things that C++ do — both good and bad — because there’s so much language there. Similarly, rather than have a simple code of law that anyone can read, we have a complex set of regulations that not even the regulators or the lawyers or the judges can know in its entirety…yet, like C++, we are expected to obey it exactly, without ever getting bit by that weird language rule that causes the compiler to do something completely what you didn’t expect. (In the case of C++, you get a crash, and maybe lose data; in the case of regulations, though, you get fines and prison time…)

      1. “…yet, like C++, we are expected to obey it exactly…”

        A lot of that is so they can find something to bust you for even when you’re innocent. Government regulation enforcement attracts bullies.

      2. It was amusing, in a way, to read an introductory text to C that bragged about how it was so not-limiting like all those other languages… when I’d been doing Forth for a few years and knew it could things C wouldn’t allow.

      3. I find it completely unsurprising that one of the regular commenters on ESR’s blog is a hard leftist – who holds up Ada as the be-all and end-all of programming languages. It fits his worldview: programmers must be prevented from doing stupid things for their own good.

        1. Sounds like management. Must stay within established procedure even if procedure is nonsensical.

        2. I like Pascal… but maintaining legacy business software written in BASIC has been a welcome income stream for some years now.

          Sometimes I even use a GOTO, just because I can…

  7. “If one drinks much from a bottle marked ‘Poison,’ it is certain to disagree with one, sooner or later.” — Alice

  8. How one has light is one’s own lookout, whether one chooses LED, fluorescent lamp, incandescent lamp, or oil lamp.

    That’s absurd! If everybody used oil lamps we would risk burning up a the oxygen. Can’t you see: the government has to regulate lighting else we all die!

  9. OT, but the Google Doodle tells me that today is International Women’s Day.

    So, Happy that to one and all.

    1. I’d ask if the women here were going to go on strike today, but I fear that would bring about a strike I would not like*.

      * There, Dr. Seuss. I can do silly rhymes, too.

      1. A) I’m finishing a book. B) Leftist women strike leaves me cold. Well, I lie. It leaves me hot with rage. they and their objectives would both put us in a place where all we can choose is the color of our burka. And that’s for the fortunate ones. They have the right to protest and speak. And I have the right to visualize them being slowly boiled in oil.

          1. It is the final sanding to achieve a perfectly smooth finish that requires such care and attention. 😉

        1. In the back of my mind I hear: ‘You can have any color you want, so long as you choose black.’

      2. Women working hard to get ahead.
        Women not working at all at anything.

        Who deserves the fruits of their labor, much less the fruits of anyone else’s labor?

      3. I’m wearing a shirt with Captain America in front of a flag, labeled “PURE AMERICAN.”

        How’s that for an answer? 😀

        1. Nice!

          That’s the kind of graphic tee I might actually be willing to wear…

      4. I did stuff for that.

        I went to work.

        I went shopping.

        I took care to dress in black and white rather than their red.

      5. I bought snacks for my office!

        No, srs, a Facebook group called Women’s Liberty suggested it as counter-protest, and I liked the idea enough to buy donuts+coffee. The office was very appreciative. 🙂

          1. I realize you would prefer they be yeoman farmers, but there are advantages to being burghers.

    2. Sarah, being an international woman, is duly authorized to celebrate the day, as are all other women of international background.

      Women of international intent should await their own day (May 1, IIRC) in peace and not try to butt into others’ celebrations.

      1. Speaking of May 1, when I was in Panama my Polish girlfriend was aghast that I would be toiling that day. “How can you work on International Day of Labor Solidarity?”

        “Well, Honey, airplanes fly, Bob works. Maybe you and (roommate) can raise a glass in solidarity with me.”

        They actually did fix me a nice home-cooked meal that evening.

    3. AND the fact they need to PARTICULARLY celebrate women tells you what they think of us. Such good little children. We should be celebrated for existing.
      I’m celebrating by hoisting BOTH middle fingers aloft and telling them to stop looking between people’s legs. It’s rude and that’s not where the brain is.

          1. there

            (I dislike not being able to edit comments nearly as much as I dislike mashing the post comment button before I finished proof reading.)

      1. Comment left elsewhere:

        Let me see, the Leftist “Ladies,” they aren’t going to work. All they are going to do today is SHOP. At the businesses owned by women. Who will be those business owners that most likely voted for TRUMP (their fellow Leftist “Lady” businesses will be shut down – remember, THEY aren’t going to work either).

        If I didn’t happen to know many, many women with a brain – I’d believe the old stereotypes. The character played by Gracie Fields (actually a very smart woman) had more going on upstairs than this!

        1. Bunny trail alert!

          May I suggest The Gracie Allen Murder Case (1938)? It is the eleventh S. S. Van Dine Philo Vance mystery, and rather fun.

      2. I saw this yesterday. I nearly barfed. So many things wrong with it. And so many things wrong with the thinking of the two who put the book together because they never had strong women role models to read about. I keep thinking of the books of the 30s, 40s and 50s aimed at kids. Nancy Drew, Dana Girls, Bobbsey Twins, Nurse Bartlett, even one based on a female UN guide and her female friends. But this experiment insisted no males at all in the books which is ridiculous, no boyfriends, brothers or “princes” to rescue them.

        1. strong women role models to read about… Nurse Bartlett

          An interesting point about nursing is made in this article from the Washington Examiner today …

          Union makes nurse’s dream job a nightmare
          Sarah wanted to become a doctor when a family matter changed her perspective. When her cousin was in the hospital, nurses made the family comfortable enough to go home and rest. “The nurses were the ones that made a day-to-day difference for my family,” said Sarah.

          The rest of the article is about the pressure and threats from the pro-union factions, but I found this point particularly interesting. Doctors get the glory but when you are in hospital and need attention it is the nurses who create the atmosphere and make the greatest difference.

          It’s a shame that the penile-envious advocates of female empowerment want to make women into faux-men (and men into faux-women) rather than recognize the unique benefits of all roles without regard to gender (e.g., I suspect a male studying to be a nurse has a rougher path than a female trying to be a physician.)

          1. Much as I toss shade at RNs, a good RN is worth a ton more than a doc. They tend to be the ones that do hands on pieces here and there, plus they tend to have lower caseload than the MD so spend more time. I can’t speak to gen practice but any emergency medicine I much prefer the doc that either started in the booboo bus or worked as ER nurse or at least knew one well.

            1. A male RN saved me while I was in the hospital, with atypical pneumonia 21 years ago, by insisting on doing “Breathing treatments” These might or might not have helped, but by coming in every two hours, he found I’d just stopped breathing and was turning blue. So the extra duty he’d given himself saved me.

          2. I had an interesting airport layover drinking with an RN. 6′ 6″ tall, played defensive tackle in college, was a corpsman in Afghanistan. He still gets sh*t for having woman’s job.

        2. Yes. Because it is so reasonable and realistic. Any book that has only one sex outside of very very few cases is missing a ton of plot and context since completely unnatural.

        3. Remember, “children’s books” have *always* been “what adults want children to read.”

          Some of us managed to skip the child “children’s” part entirely and go straight to the hard stuff, but others are not so fortunate.

        4. They were annoying me, but then they started taking all the books with princesses off the shelf because ‘they are just waiting for a prince’. Stupid sexist assumption. Yeah, sure all princesses are just waiting for a prince. The Princess and Curdy? Elizabeth I of England?


          1. Or the Princess and the Goblin?

            I didn’t know Chesterton liked it– but I know that I enjoyed it when I read it as a kid; it felt more like a fleshed out fairy-tale than the “deconstructed fairy tale” that tends to get pushed. (I enjoy Shrek, and I adored Dealing with Dragons, but they get a little tiring after a while; at least the Enchanted Forest stories can stand on their own…Shrek is more like an extended pun.)

    4. In salute of the day …

      I ain’t gonna act politically correct
      I only want to have a good time

  10. Excessive government is definitely a disease… but it’s more a symptom of the government class that of itself.

    Every now and then I wonder if the Demarchy in Joan D. Vinge’s “Outcasts of the Heaven Belt” might actually be workable… she wrote it in 1978, but the Demarchy operated with something like the internet, where all citizens could vote on anything, all the time.

    Of course, the downside was that things changed all the time, according to popular whim, which made the media and opinion-makers disproportionately powerful. Maybe the Demarchy would need something like the Bureau of Sabotage as a counterbalance…

  11. As a so-called “anarcho-capitalist” I have an immediate impulse to respond “but we don’t need government at all!” but I would be wrong, which is why I hate the word “anarcho” to formulate this idea of governance.

    Basically, so-called “anarcho-capitalists” believe that the law should be a matter between you, your antagonist, your lawyers, and the arbiters you agree to. And if you disagree with the arbiters you choose, you can appeal to other arbiters, making the original ones your new “antagonists”.

    Oddly enough, the two or three places where so-called “anarcho-capitalism” rose up, it seems that the people who practiced it seemed to be very law-abiding: the Icelandic people, the Saxons, and possibly Ancient Israel. This is counter-intuitive, but actually makes a lot of sense when you think about it: people need to have a deep respect for order if they are going to order themselves. For that matter, there are a lot of places, like Egypt and India, that anti-anarchists like to point out as examples of what we get with anarchy, but are really examples of lawless cultures — they have plenty of laws, but no one follows them.

    In any case, I’m completely for getting rid of as much government as we can, but only gradually, and in pieces. Violent revolution too often results in tyranny.

    And I’ve also come to realize that, locally, at least, we have great power to influence government. All you have to do is show up to your weekly City Council meetings, and after three or four visits, a City Councilman will come up to you and ask “Who are you, and why are you here?” If you’re a leader of some group, you explain who you are, and the Council now is on notice that they are being watched. If the Council does something you don’t like, it’s still up to you to protest it, and you still might not win, but this is nonetheless a subtle and important power that isn’t used nearly often enough!

    (I’ve seen neighborhood groups be disappointed that the person they liked didn’t get elected as representative; I have since wondered why the disappointed neighbors didn’t just rally behind the other candidate, and use this process to have the other candidate represent *them*. I think part of the issue is that we tend to get stuck on the false belief that representation needs to be tied to a geographical area…)

    1. Iceland, at least, was not truly anarchist. There was not a monopoly of enforcement—anyone could enforce their own rights, or put together a band of friends or neighbors, or sell their lawsuit to a wealthy man who would enforce the claim. There was not a monopoly of arbitration—anyone could offer to mediate a dispute, or one party could even grant the other “self-judgment” if he had a reputation for fairness. But there WAS a monopoly on compulsory process: You could notify the person you had a grievance against that they were summoned to the Thing, and if they didn’t show up, they were outlawed, and the Thing jealously guarded that function, which was not allowed to any other group or organization. That’s monopoly, and in fact compulsory monopoly, if in a narrow range of activity.

      I’m not sure of such details for Israel, but such records as we have seem to say that premonarchic Israel had only one Judge at a time, which may point at a similar legal setup.

      1. Another aspect of ancient Israel was that it wasn’t “united”.

        IE There were several tribes but nobody “spoke” for all of the tribes.

        There were also “wars” between the various tribes and internal “wars” within a tribe.

        IE it wasn’t a good model for a society.

        1. I would argue that their history under kings wasn’t that united, nor all that great a model for society either. I think the pattern generally goes along the lines of “How well did they keep to the principles originally established by the Law of Moses?”, though.

          One thing I find fascinating, however, is that even after the children of Israel annointed a king, they generally expected the king to obey the law. Where King Ahab moped because he couldn’t get a plot of land owned by an Israelite, his wife Jezebelle made it clear that kings weren’t supposed to be bound by the law, and then abused the law to get the land for King Ahab….and this was a major reason why King Ahab and Jezebelle had particularly nasty endings…

          1. I seem to remember that His attitude to the desire for a king was something along the lines of “well, fine– you want this? Then CHOKE on it!”

            1. That passage can be seen as “kings aren’t something you should want”.

              I wonder how many Christian Monarchs viewed that passage? 😉

                1. “But all the other nations have nationalized health care kings — we want that too!”

                  1. It’s worth noting that the demand for a king came after the debacle with Phinehas and Hophni. How they thought a king wouldn’t stray like two priests . . . shrug.

            2. That was how I learned it in Yeshiva. Two of the tribes lived in the Trans Jordan with very slow and cumbersome communication.

        2. I know that the kings spoke for everybody. So did the judges.Also the High Priest in Jerusalem. Despite the bad press the Pharisees got in the NT they weren’t bad guys.

          1. The bad press was populists against bureaucrats. Kind of like “cuck” which btw — my just having gone into the comments to rescue an RES comment I accidentally spammed (Who the heck sets those smart keys? I haven’t) –= will get your comment spammed or not approved here. Not you, Emily, obviously, but there are a few trapped in spam because I banned the word. Mostly because it’s lazy and imprecise.

            1. Ah – that explains the clearing of the site’s drain trap. I reckoned something of the sort must have happened for so many comments to arrive via email from old posts, all bearing the (nearly) same time stamp.

              I dislike spam although I greatly enjoy country ham, especially the Smithfield cure which seems to be ham-flavored salt.

              1. Smithfield hams are wonderful. One of the nice benefits of living where I do is Smithfield (the town, plant, and some of the animal raising facilities) is about half an hour away.

                Our Hostess’s banning off that word makes this place even more wonderful.

                Turning my cloak of lurking back on, now.

            2. The Pharisees were the ancestors of the rabbis who formed rabbinic Judaism. People see the Rabbis of the Talmudic era through a Christian filter which bothers me. Would you ban the Constitution because of today’s CFR? They were erecting a framework which has helped Judaism survive. Through Christian filters the Pharisees were awful. Which I guess they might have been. but it depends on the circumstances and context.

              I have nothing against Christians. I married one for goodness sake! But they see the world in a particular way. 99% of the time our views mesh so well that people talk about a Judeo-Christian foundation to modern society. Just sometimes…

              1. This gets into a contentious issue, of which there would be no resolution and I’ve tried to carefully keep from going there. But know that the idea of the Pharisees as the “bad guys” isn’t in the NT. Jesus nailed the scribes, the Pharisees, and the Sadducees, because of substituting going through the motions and doing that for ulterior motives. Think on what it says in scripture (and I’m drawing a blank on the specific reference), where G_d demands a circumcised heart. Or think of Samuel telling Saul that G_d regards rebellion the same as witchcraft.

                Going through the motions and having ulterior motives isn’t isolated to Judaism, and you can find it in Christian sects as well. Indeed, every religious group.

                1. *nod* There are bad guys who are Pharisees, but there’s a bad guy who is a Disciple, for heaven’s sake!

                  I’m guessing a lot of the issue is the compressing effect from that one really nasty high priest– the one that was Saul’s boss, can’t remember his name.

                  Sort of like “Samaritan” gets used to allude to “The Good Samaritan,” and folks extrapolate an example given exactly because it was so out of the norm to the entire group.

          2. Not wanting to get into a religious “debate” but I’ve also heard that many of the things Christ called some of the Pharisees on were also condemned by Jewish writers of the time and later on. 😀

            Of course, IIRC the Pharisees were also the fore-runners of the Rabbinical groups that allowed Judaism to survive the destruction of the Temple. 😀

            1. I think the one thing every arguing type Jew here has agreed on is that Jews tend to disagree…and say so.

              So I’d only be shocked if someone HADN’T said the Pharisees were doing it All Wrong.

          3. I had the impression that the Pharisees were like our SJWs in their holier than thou attitudes.

          4. Who are you going to have more theological arguments between, a Catholic and a Protestant or a Catholic and a Buddhist?

            The Pharisees shared a lot of the same world view– or there wouldn’t have been so many that followed Christ. (Like, say, the guy whose tomb He used for a bit. 😀 )

            1. Roughly, the Pharisees were fundamentalists who were so intent on following the Law that they put up extra barriers to prevent breaking it. The Sadducees were the theological liberals (not to be confused with political liberals). Don’t know how to categorize the Essenes.

                  1. Weren’t there a ton of different groups?

                    Vaguely remember that… wasn’t it the woman at the well whose culture was basically half-Jewish, and that’s WHY they didn’t get along with the observant Jews?

                    1. The Samaritans. The Northern Kingdom fell to the Assyrians and many taken into captivity, and the region settled by peoples in the Assyrian Empire. The Assyrian view as one common in that place and time, that gods were regional. So when the colonists fell on misfortune, they returned some priests to teach them how to serve G_d.

                      Except for one thing: There was already a religious break between the Northern and Southern Kingdoms, that centered over where to worship G_d. King Jeroboam figured if his subjects kept going to Jerusalem to worship, they might want to reunite the two kingdoms and knock him off. So he made a couple of calves for worship, set them up in two different places, called it their god, and set them up in two places in his kingdom.

                      There were still prophets to G_d through the time of the two kingdoms, so that was still going on, but there was bad blood between the two for a long time. Not that the Southern Kingdom would do much better before the Babylonian Captivity.

                      Anywho, you could say they were mixed, but that was going on in Judea by the time of Nehemiah, and the Law made provisions for proselytites. While there was likely a racial component, there was also the issue of not quite Judaism. The woman at the well tried to change the subject when Jesus began hitting close to home, bringing up the question of where to worship, a sore point between Judea and the Samaritans. The Samaritan Torah calls for Mount Gerizim as the place of worship, not the temple in Jerusalem, and this likely is what the woman was referring to in trying to change the subject.

      2. While it may be true that Iceland wasn’t 100% anarchist, they are a lot more anarchist than we are.

        In any case, while I may in theory be in favor of getting rid of *all* government, I’m convinced that if one gets rid of all government all at once, that’s a very bad thing. There’s no reason why we can’t shrink government a little bit at a time, until government goes away completely (or not, as the case may be…)

        And we have a LOT of de-crufting before Conservatives, Libertarians and so-called Anarcho-Capitalists can start to squabble over how small government really ought to be…

          1. Yes, I couldn’t argue with that. As someone once said, “Constitutional government may have its flaws, but it’s a heck of a lot better than what we have right now.”

              1. Anarchism is crazy. I prefer the American Gov’t of the early to mid 20th century. The important thing is that Everyone is Equal before the law. The Constitution is the founding and foundational document of America. (I’m a USAian–just slightly heterodox. I’m really an American) The Constitution is the bedrock of our country. That’s why a “Living Constitution” is anathema to me. If your bedrock is always shifting, the ground under your feet is unsteady.

                1. I was an anarchist for decades. Then I bought Bloodtaking and Peacemaking, a study of how things actually worked in early Iceland, and saw that it wasn’t quite anarchist, and started thinking about that, and changed my mind. On the other hand, I think the Constitution had some significant imperfections even before the legal realists got it drunk and took advantage of it. On the third hand, as Heinlein dramatized in Methuselah’s Children, even the best constitution cannot permanently save a people determined to do wrong.

                  1. “Avarice, ambition, revenge and licentiousness would break the strongest cords of our Constitution, as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

                    John Adams.

    2. An anarchist government requires that the parties must have some level of trust. At the very least the arbiters must be trusted by both sides. Otherwise it is the same as govt. Govt isn’t trusted, it forces its way into contract and muscles around. Today I think trust is hit or miss and that is the most dangerous thing.

    3. My impression is that “anarcho-capitalists” (as opposed to actual anarchists) tend to want less government than we presently are subjected to, but not _no_ government. Instead, we just prefer also add as much possible market competition between government providers rather than relying on a single monopoly provider.

      There’s a little bit more competition inherent in the original Constitution than most countries have (separation of powers both horizontally w/3 branches and vertically with Fed/State/City), but the bottom line is that a lot of us should line up on the “Let’s all (Conservative/Libertarian/libertarian/Ancap/etc…) reduce monopoly government control and when we start finally getting to the point where reducing it further starts having an overall negative impact, at that time we can have a nice debate (and maybe some empirical tests) on where to go from there. We’re still a LONG way away from that point.

      So while I may have a different view on the stopping point to reducing monopoly government power, I’m happy to work with any allies who agree with me on the direction, as I’m not even sure we’ll get all that far in my lifetime.

  12. A little deregulation might help. A lot of deregulation to the point of eliminating regulations and relaying on the principles of law could have far greater effect
    Suppose patients could buy any treatment someone is willing to sell them instead of being forced to purchase treatment that is approved by the regulatory/industrial complex to the benefit of the regulators and providers. The FDA, DEA, ICC, FCC, IRS general alphabet soup of regulation and licensing plus arcane manipulation of patent law and the medical unions have driven the cost of health care (that is only occasionally needed) into the realm of major constant cost of living.
    Restraints on who can provide care via licensing law limit supply of care. The mess that is law and regulation surrounding pharmaceuticals both drives the cost up and tends to favor large well politically connected firms and stifles innovation. The net result is a political catfight over who pays what with ruin for the losers while the conditions of inflated drug costs, scarce doctors and nurses, censorship of health information and the war on some drugs drives the price of healthcare ever higher. Cui bono?

    1. The patent law fustercluck is one major cause of the RX cost. The 7 year formula tweak should go away. In addition, the percentage payment system screws every one over. Big numbers for the sticker cost that people can wave about calling it evil and gouging but then they get cut in half or more for insurance and govt. I don’t know how we could set up pricing such that govt to self pay is within 20% say and still cover costs.

      1. “Retail price” and “insurance reimbursement price” can be dramatically different.

        For that matter, for a lot of common drugs the cost of the drugs is less than the co-pay.

        Everybody wins, except for the suckers at the bottom of the pile.

      2. It isn’t just patent law. The FDA has every incentive to push up costs by requiring “just one more” trial, before allowing a company to start marketing a drug, and no incentive to ignore how delays in getting that drug may very well be costing people their lives. Indeed, sometimes you can’t understand the full risks of a drug until it’s put in the marketplace, although HIPPA makes it very difficult to detect such problems quickly.

        Of course, this doesn’t even scratch the surface on the myriads of ways that the modern Regulatory State pushes up costs for doctors and patients alike…

        1. Yep. Iirc the Type B costs of a regulatory state are never thought about. Plus the crat is pilloried if anything goes wrong but has no incentive to give go-ahead.

  13. Sadly, I haven’t read that (Uncle Hugo’s, here I come), but the problem with the ‘vote on anything’ bit is that there are some, heck, a *lot*, of things that are not rightly subject to anyone else’s approval. As long as such votes were subject to the double middle finger veto, though, I suppose it could work.

    1. The same applies to Congress, which has no business meddling in a great many of my affairs.

      The point of the Demarchy wasn’t that they had *good* government, but that the governmental class had been replaced by direct representation. If it all turned to crap, it was their own fault.

      1. Most people want representatives because they don’t the time aside from living their lives to spend the time also running the country.

        1. Of course, in most things the country would get along fine without anyone ‘running’ it.

          1. When I was working at a post office this was very evident. Regular manager was very much a micromanager that had to be ‘involved’ in every little thing. That mucked things up more than it helped. The fellow who took his place on Sundays, holidays, and his vacation was very hands-off and let things pretty much run themselves. Things went much smoother that way.

  14. On the subject of “valves” and radios, I have noticed a trend the last few years toward the use of tubes in sound equipment. Of interest is the use of one particular tube, the 6C33C-B. That one comes from the main radio of a Mig 25 Foxbat.

    Apparently it gives a remarkably robust and clean power output in an audio amplifier. And it looks freakin’ cool.

    1. I recall, back in the 70s being told of a stereo component proudly proclaiming “MK/D technology!” as a feature.

      MK/D being More Knobs per Dollar.

      1. I’m reminded of the part in “The Mixerman Diaries” where Mixerman gets one of his producers out of his hair by giving the producer an old, unattached piece of equipment, putting fake labels on the knobs, and letting the producer turn the knobs to his heart’s content in order to “improve” the output.

        1. The Beach Boys father considered himself a record producer. He was such a pain during recording sessions that the sound engineer let him use one of the control panels. Nobody told Dad it wasn’t connected to anything.

    2. There’s actually a group of hobbyists who make their own vacuum tubes. Best as I can tell it started in France and spread rapidly from there.

      There’s some crossover between the tubeheads and the laser guys – the ones who make their own gas lasers. You’re talking about some fairly serious hobby equipment in either case, from glassblowing to vacuum pumps.

      1. I actually have a vacuum pump. ~:) I scored it out of the surplus aisle at Princess Auto one day on a whim. Turns out to be the cat’s whiskers for laminating things.

        If you want an unbreakable wooden anything, you take a bunch of thin plies of wood and layer them together with glue, then put them in the vacuum bag and pump all the air out. Cheapest and easiest way to veneer curves.

        I have made some walking sticks. >:)

        1. I have one too, but for most purposes pulling one of the CarFleet nearby and running a hose does better. 18″ of vacuum works great for squeezing excess resin out of composites!

  15. If we want to remove regulations, it’s wise to remember Chesterton’s fence.

    “In the matter of reforming things, as distinct from deforming them, there is one plain and simple principle; a principle which will probably be called a paradox. There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, “I don’t see the use of this; let us clear it away.” To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: “If you don’t see the use of it, I certainly won’t let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it.”

    1. Given the current crazilly bloated state of regulation, NO, we don’t need to remember Chesterton’s Fence. We need to remember the constitution and take after these infringements of our liberty. With a machete, by choice.

  16. I think the idea that rural people are individualist and urban people are collectivist is maybe oversimplified. There’s a long, long historical tradition of people who find country life stifling, whether because of the uniformity of custom, the unspoken surveillance by neighbors who know every face in the village, or the lack of specialized markets and social groups that appeal to unusual tastes, going off to the city to find freedom and opportunity. The middle ages said “City air makes free,” but black people in the early twentieth century took the railroad north to cities like Detroit for the same reason, and so did young gay men trying to find other gay men—or just a milieu where they could be anonymous.

    1. Cases for the reverse case can certainly be made. I went with, oddly enough, my experience where country life meant distance and generally what one did wasn’t anybody’s d— business, and it was mutual. One of the few times we talked with a not-too-close neighbor was about some deer shiner pranking that would require our traversing his field. As the local deer were his “pets” he was agreeable to the setup – so long as we removed the… effects.. later on. Why, yes, there is a story here.

    2. Blacks headed for the cities for the same reason as poor whites: When you had no land, you worked as a tenant farmer or sharecropper. It was danged hard to make financial headway with limited economic options. This was illustrated most sharply immediately after the Civil War, when blacks with skills such as smithing were at a much better position to improve their economic standing than those who’s experience was agriculture, but lacked land, animals, and equipment to put that to use strictly for themselves. In the cities you didn’t have to own land to improve your financial standing and there were more jobs available. That’s economics, not individualism.

      1. The choice to migrate to a remote city in search of a higher paying job, rather than staying in the local community where you were raised and all your kin live, seems to me to be profoundly individualist. It’s akin to the decision of some Europeans to cross the Atlantic when others were staying in their homelands. And the choice to seek a legal and political regime where you’re the target of fewer abusive laws is not merely individualist but antistatist. That there wasn’t a conscious ideological rationale doesn’t mean that there wasn’t a difference in character and worldview.

        1. I like big cities. I have Libertarian friends in big cities. I have yet to have anyone explain to me except with “just so” stories why I’m supposed to be a serf because I like cities.
          Has any of you considered that cities are big liberal bastions because voter fraud is easier?

          1. Doesn’t explain Canada where vote fraud is extremely difficult. Most big cities though tend to have colleges and universities that indoctrinate students and most of them stay in the cities and spread their poison. Other factors as well from what I have seen.

            1. Well, I know in the US at least, going all the way back to Heinlein, the party machines were BIG in fraud in the cities, and the Dem machine was stronger.
              I don’t know enough about Canada to pronounce. … I can make some jokes about Tim Horton, if it would make everyone feel better? No? Maple syrup?

              1. Go ahead, we can take it. As to “machines” we used to have similar stuff up here (Stephen Leacock joked about it in one of his sketches about “Mariposa” [which is based pretty closely on an actual city]). Things changed with our election laws don’t know exactly when and machine politics just got upgraded and harder to fake votes. Might take some research.
                *adds to list of things to learn*

                1. Is it possible that once fraud gives a city a reputation for being lefty it attracts more lefties? I love Denver DESPITE the lefty reputation, but I know it’s not universal.

          2. One of my great-grandfathers lived in a city as a time and ran a street car. My grandmother loved her time there. I always got the impression she wished they had stayed in a city. She was pretty independent, too. That said, I don’t think a desire for city life makes you a serf, but that the effect of laws that come out of high concentrations of people and organized services to do what rural people have to do themselves changes perspective.
            A lot of what we’ve seen moving out of cities have a distinctly different take on things. Not everyone, of course, but many do.

            I do know there’s a casual correlation between liberals I’ve met and how far they are to the left and how urban an environment they came from. It’s not a scientific study, but enough to make you go “Hmm . . .”

            Whether voter fraud is easier in cities is an open question. Know of two documented instances with rural counties, as well as rumors courtesy of a politician uncle. That said, I will concede that voter fraud in cities would have a greater pay-off due to higher numbers.

        2. All individual decisions are, by nature, individualist, so that’s a wash. While some sought what they thought was a more welcoming environment, it was like one version of Dick Whittington where he found the streets of London weren’t paved with gold after all. But what they and poor whites did find was an ability to make a descent or better living without owning farm land. That made a considerable difference. Yes, initially that meant unskilled work, but they had more options than sharecropping, and if you had no land, mule, equipment, or capital, and farming was what you knew, sharecropping was pretty much it.

    3. The question wasn’t “individualist vs. collectivist” but “individualist vs. statist,” and I think with that formula, rural people are more likely to be anti-statist. You could be right that the reason most rural people are anti-statist is because they have their own ways of enforcing conformity. However, I think there’s also a rural tradition of the old eccentric who lives alone at the edge of town, makes a living doing odd jobs, and is left to his own devices because, “He don’t bother anyone; don’t go bothering him.”

    4. I’ve been sitting here contemplating the urban/rural divide (something that has often come to mind over my almost-sixty-years of life). I have lived most of my life rural to VERY rural, and find it hard to comprehend why anyone in their right mind would want to live all crammed in cheek-by-jowel with their neighbors. But leaving that aside, when you have a huge population cohabiting in a small area of land, it seems like more regulation is going to be needed, for two reasons. One is the principle of ‘your right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins.’ When lots of people occupy a small space, your neighbors’ nose is going to be closer to your fist than out in the country, so you can’t swing as far. You have to pull your punches. And since not everyone will do that without being told to, more regulation becomes necessary.

      The other reason is that there is more anonymity in a large group, and where there is more anonymity, it’s easier for someone so minded to get away with criminal behavior. It’s harder in a low population area because everyone knows you, or at least drives by your place, and sees your face at the post office once in a while.

      Things would probably work a little better if the heavily-populated urban areas couldn’t vote regulations onto the more lightly-populated rural areas.

      1. In urban environments there is a greater need for third party intervention. In rural communities, if you have a problem with a neighbor it is relatively easy to avoid each other. (Similarly, their lack of keeping up their property to your standards has much less effect on your property; neighbor cannot so readily cost you money through dropped property values.)

        In urban environment you likely might find yourself riding the elevator every day with difficult neighbor. If that neighbor likes their (bad) music loud or cooks with sufficient garlic (or boils the heck out of their cabbage) it is not just their place that carries the stench. Yet confronting the person directly opens doors to problems that might ultimately be decided at dawn. So it is conducive to public peace to have a third party (e.g., the police or the landlord’s agent) to intervene and keep such disputes from becoming overly personal.

        Crowded environments demand accommodations that are not needed in uncrowded circumstances. This is why city dwellers are less prone to casual eye contact, and more prone to such social lies as not hearing the neighbors screaming arguments.

      2. It depends on your priorities.

        The area where I spent my childhood was at the time suburban-shading-to-rural: Across the street from my school bus stop was an egg production business that had a couple of large buildings full of hens; on the hills in easy view were a couple of dairy farms, and there were more farms down the road. I was pretty much totally socially isolated, knowing almost no one who shared any of my interests. My cultural access came from the city library a few miles away and from one bookstore that sold paperbacks—but that was access to a small city; it wasn’t part of the rural setting. I was mostly left alone, at least when not in school, but I lacked much opportunity to do anything that interested me. Living in an urban setting gives me more—and yet I’m still mostly left alone. So for me personally, city life seems freer.

    5. Rural people already have non-government authorities.

      Cities, those aren’t in place, so people sort of shove gov’t into it.

  17. The amount of regulations at any given government agency is inversely proportional to the actual work performed by the agency. The last thing an agency swamped with work wants is more work. It’s the agencies with little to do that invent regulations to make up for the decline in work.

  18. Example 3492389 of government over reach, corruption and stupidity.
    Drugs that have been used for decades and predate the FDA were initially grandfathered in and were not subject to FDT testing. But now the FDA has decided all drugs need to be tested. For example Colchincine, a gout medicine used for over 2000 years. A drug company URL Phara did the test for Colchicine and as a result they obtained a monopoly and increased the price of the drug by over 2000%. Over 3000 old or generic drugs have been tested or retested this way and people wonder why the price of drugs have gone up.

    Nitrogglycerin, colchine, neostigmine, vasopression, epinephrine

    It’s for safety, It for the children. It for greed and malice.

    1. Pushing my favorite solution again:
      FDA certification, not approval.

      Yes, people will die.

      People die right now because the FDA hasn’t approved a drug or treatment, too.

      1. A family friend who is an oncologist and researcher is particularly annoyed at FDA over the approval process of chemo drugs. If I understand the explanation, there are extremely effective treatments that aren’t available because each drug must be proven effective separately, and some are effective only in combination with others.

        1. That’s how they took down adult stem cell therapy– although a guy found a work-around.

          They classified the ones you take out and culture as a drug becaus the culturing could change it… well, he figured out how to get stem cells out of fat, in large enough numbers to then apply to the brains of Alzimer’s patients. 😀

      2. I’m severely anti-patent, but I’m willing to concede that patents are almost necessary in medicine.

        But ONLY because of the FDA, and their power to ban any substance they deem “insufficiently tested” or “tested and found wanting”, pushes the cost of R&D far above what it ought to be. (I recall a drug they refused to approve, because it caused heart problems and death after about ten years of use. Never mind that (1) this was the most promising treatment of a rare disorder, and (2) without this drug, children die at the age of 10, rather than at the age of 20 when the drug finally kills them. The FDA is so insistent that no one ever die by drugs that they will insist on “just one more test”, ignoring the people who die waiting for drugs, and willing to take the risk…)

        Without the FDA’s meddling in all this, patents would be far less necessary.

    2. Yep, the price I pay for colchincine (or colcrys as it’s called now) tripled.

      1. Oh and I have noticed that the “new” formula is clearly not as effective as the old one. My doc said that is a common complaint.

        1. If I understand what went on (specifically in respect to colchicine), there was no clear-cut dosing standard prior to it going through the testing, and you were probably taking a significantly higher dose before, rather than a different formulation. As I understand it, some people were more sensitive, and couldn’t take the higher doses safely.

    3. And some were deemed insufficiently profitable to be worth blowing a couple million on the required testing, and have therefore vanished from the market. This happened to a lot of common veterinary drugs, most notably Combiotic. Never mind that it had a 75 year history and literally billions of doses to go by; it still had to be tested or off the market it went.

  19. “‘All regulation is about public safety’ has been claimed”

    Those making these claims need to be asked precisely how the public would be made unsafe by allowing, say, unlicensed hair braiders to run wild. Or, given that we’re talking about things that can be poisonous in certain doses, what precisely they were smoking before making that claim.

  20. In regards to laws, I have thought that it would be a good thing to go over state and federal codes with an eye to repealing or removing “obsolete” laws. For “obsolete”, the obvious candidates would be those “silly laws” that you often see in collections (such as “you can’t take a bath on Sunday” or “you must provide [thing no longer used] once a month”), but I would also submit any laws that are not enforced, are incapable of being equally enforced, or are in regards to standards that are no longer meaningful. If a law hasn’t been implemented in the last twenty years, barring compelling reasons to keep it*, it should be submitted for repeal.

    The grunt work for this could be a law class. Assign sections to various law schools and have the students comb the lists for laws that fit the criteria, and if they find one, use the proper legalese to explain the reasons for submission. Send it up to Congressional interns to screen, and bundle a big bill together every few months.

    *Treason is one law that is almost never enforced, but which has compelling reason to remain on the books. There aren’t a lot of those.

  21. Tubes have always been around in audio, as some “golden ears” object to the sound of transistor circuits. The distortion products of transistor circuits differ from those of tube designs. While from an engineering standpoint distortion can be made extremely low in a well designed transistor circuit tubes still enjoy a certain amount of popularity among those who can afford the type of “audiophile” equipment that uses them. Musicians seem to favor them as well.

    1. We musicians say we like tubes, but often times we’re getting our grit from the transistors in the distortion pedal at the beginning of the signal chain.

      1. True. But I find that the sonic quality of power tube distortion is impossible to achieve any other way.

    2. I remember the TIM (transient intermodulation distortion) bruhaha in the ’70s. Quickly, transistor amps could be run open loop(ish) with one whacking great feedback loop to finish it off. Tube designs tend to have loops around each section. The theory (haven’t followed anything for a long time) was that the delay time to get the single loop to finish off could cause tiny bits of distortion. Dunno if it’s real; my ears can’t tell the difference any more…

      1. Meant to mention: part of the TIM theory (hypothesis?) was that the tube designs could be more-or less replicated with FETs, since they had similar gain characteristics.

        Haven’t pursued this, especially after several rounds of ear surgery. Protip: if you have a skin allergy to stainless steel, a stainless implant might be a really bad idea. I can hear, sort of, but MP3s sound as good as CDs, so I’m not delving into the tubes/transistor battle…

  22. Government is, in a way, like vitamin D. We need some. We do not need too much.

    “To secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

    The way I described it was that having a right to keep and bear arms so that you could get up on your roof and defend your home and neighborhood against barbarians (in whatever form they take) is a “pro liberty” stance. Having to be up there because the barbarians are so ubiquitous that you can’t do anything else lest they overrun you is not. Thus, having some organization to keep the barbarians pruned back and “in check” increases the individuals overall liberty even if that organization puts some modest constraints on the individual in order to achieve its proper functions.

    The trick is to keep the organization (which we call “government”) from itself becoming the barbarians.

    1. Or in collusion with them, a trend that is becoming more and more in evidence of late.

  23. Technique quibble: I would’ve gone with iron, D is too hard to OD on, can be countered by getting sunlight, and I think the only way to get it in diet is from fortified stuff….

    But then, if someone knows enough to know that, they also know enough to get your point just fine.
    Thus, technique. *big grin*

    1. Whereas I would have gone the other way, and pointed out that some things that are normally considered poisons CAN, in certain circumstances, have therapeutic uses. Such as Botulinum toxin (both for wrinkle relaxing, aka Botox, AND for certain types of headaches), or Methamphetamine (though I forget what younger son told me it is used for, which he came across in his many forays down the trails of neuro-active medical lore).

      1. I know someone who is getting botox treatments on her throat, which constricts and makes it extra hard for her to breathe. (She’s already functioning on the equivalent of half a lung after serious asthma issues in childhood that almost killed her.)

      1. *spreads hands* Heck if I know. Maybe it’s “old fashioned”?
        Apparently they use to give housewives that weren’t young anymore shots to help with energy and all, which apparently didn’t work GREAT but it’s better than nothing.

        It sure doesn’t play well with the “you can get everything you need from diet” or the “we’re all identical” theores, that’s for sure, and nobody’s going to get rich off of B complex, it costs less than my iron pills.

        1. B-complex costs about $4/pound at wholesale (that’s several thousand doses worth), and it’s one of the more expensive. A, D, and E are about a buck a pound.

          Most of the cost of generic vitamins is pilling and packaging… and the cheap “synthetics” (they’re all made by bacteria and yeast regardless) are generally more available to your system than the expensive brands that are basically the same stuff plus a huge markup and a variety of chelates and binders that render them LESS absorbable.

            1. I thought I was diabetic from some of the symptoms I had…

              Dare I ask? And I quite understand if you’d rather not reply or not reply here.

              1. Nothing exciting, the biggest thing was pherial neuropathy; hands and feet falling asleep a lot, at times it didn’t make sense, like when I was asleep. Some other incidental things that aren’t scary on their own, but all together…. Plus a lazy doctor who looked at my BMI and decided I was morbidly obese and thus of COURSE diabetic, scaring me to death until the lab reports came back basically “uh, no. Opposite, almost.”

                The B complex helped with that, and treating my anemia worked for the rest.

                1. Ah, yeah. I had a strange experience a year or two ago. Biometric screening at work, after a weekend of indulgence. Pulse: 48 bpm (I was relaxed, oh yeah), low-end blood pressure. Triglycerides, cholesterols low (one too low for the little gadget they had to get a reading), blood sugar on the low end of normal. Screener finally looked at me (after re-taking pulse & blood pressure) and asked, “Are you alive?!” Eventually I was told: ‘All your numbers are amazing, except your bodyfat and weight.’

                  1. Planning to try for a full panel of all the levels of stuff just to see if I’m lacking any other vitamins beside the Bs, but in that case it was likely because of:
                    1) three c-section pregnancies in five years
                    2) extreme dieting
                    3) not eating a lot of dishes of tomatoes cooked in cast iron, because my husband hates stewed tomato texture.

                    This was about the same time I broke my foot, too; cheese has too many calories, and it’s my main source of calcium…

                    1. Pregnancies and c-sections can mess with your thyroid, too. In my case we think mine has been worsening from “sub clinical, but you really should try to jump start it” to “Severely hypothyroid to the point of dementia” slowly, since pneumonia when younger son was 1.
                      But in my case, who the heck knows? Autoimmune makes everything weirder.

                2. Huh. I’ve had problems with my hands and feet falling asleep a lot too. I’ve often wondered if I have low blood pressure…

                  1. If you also have a tendency towards being very thirsty and having to frequently empty your bladder those are indicators of encroaching Type II Diabetes. Mention any such symptoms at your next check-up and they can readily check your blood glucose levels.

                    Another sign is heightened irritability although in some people (who, me?) that can be difficult to determine.

    2. Selenium is my preferred example: not enough in the diet will kill you, but too much will also kill you…

      1. I thought it was cyanide in stone fruits (including almonds), and arsenic in apple seeds?

          1. It’s cyanide. The dose of apple seeds that you’d need to eat in order to get a toxic dose is, IIRC, a semi trailer full. You’d die of an exploded stomach long before you had any danger of being poisoned.

            “Bitter almonds,” though, are sometimes marketed as an anti-cancer food. They have about 50 times the cyanide dose of sweet almonds (the kind you know), and bingeing on them *could* prevent cancer—by killing you before cancer is ever an issue. (They’re not sold in the U.S. but you’ll see people touting them online from time to time.)

      1. That’s a bit extreme. According to the things I read when looking up the subject, it takes about one bitter almond per 6 kilos of body weight (lethal dose was stated at 1mg/kg, and bitter almonds had an average of 6.2mg each).

  24. Beans are generally poisonous if not properly prepared and cooked.

    See also DOI: 10.1002/1521-3803(20010401)45:23.0.CO;2-E

    Lindybeige points out that ALL plants are poisonous; the difference is the degree to which your species tolerates a given plant’s toxins. We eat a lot of things that are harmful or fatal to dogs and cats; goats eat a lot of things that would quickly kill a human.

    Incidentally a freshly peeled and pulped apple seed makes an effective poultice for canker sores inside your mouth. (Works about 90% of the time, usually inside of 20 minutes. I assume it’s toxic to the culprit virus.)

    1. Decades ago, I read a paper in Science by a guy named, I think, Bruce Ames. He presented evidence that a substantial share of human plant foods were toxic in some measure, and that humans dealt with this by a combination of detoxification methods (aka “cooking”) and learning to like small doses of poison (a lot of spices). I think the subtext was an argument against “natural” and “raw” diets, on the ground that natural plants disliked being eaten and took preventive measures.

      There was an SF novel, maybe by Bruce Sterling, that had “health food” enthusiasts who wouldn’t touch any natural plant matter; they wanted their food digested by bacteria and yeasts to make it safe.

  25. Right after reading all the comments, I went to one of my daily link sites, and found This at Gaypatriot. 20,000 free lecture videos no longer available to the general public because they weren’t closed captioned, thus the ADA was violated. Too much government is often the problem.

  26. If I somehow became a legislator, I would devote my energies to repealing as much law as possible. I would start (and probably continue for years) by advertising for suggestions about laws that are out of date, meaningless, contradictory, or pointless.

    Then I would submit repealers for those laws that nearly everyone agrees should go. I’d bet that if anyone made a systematic search, they could find thousands of pages of Federal statutes that nobody cares about.

    1. I can’t remember if I came up with this idea on my own or if Glenn Reynolds introduced the idea for me, but I’m entirely for creating a third House — a House of Repeals — whose sole purpose is to find laws and repeal them; their repeals would have to be overturned by 2/3 vote of the other two houses.

      I *definitely* remember Glenn saying that lawmakers have a lot of incentive to create law, but almost no incentive to remove it.

      1. Or you may have seen it in Diane Duane’s “Spock’s World”, where Vulcan actually had one. Of course, it was still subject to manipulation by the unscrupulous.

        Spock: “Vulcan is not quite Heaven, I’m afraid.”
        McCoy: “News to ME.”

      1. In all seriousness, I can take it down if you don’t want it reblogged (or trim what it shared before the link). The button on the page took a rather longer excerpt than I expected it to. Love your breakdown of the situation, though.

        1. No, no need to remove or such. I’m always pleasantly surprised when anything I’ve committed is deemed worthy of posting and/or reposting. That was a “thank you” moo.

          1. No problem. ☺ Was good, and I like sending what few people I can where they can get a good dose of horse sense.
            …Wait, does that count as encouragement?

              1. As opposed to nay-ing. From the profile image the appearance is human rather than equine, so I presume centaur. But I’ve been wrong before.

            1. Probably, but not of problematic sort. I’m not entirely sure what Sarah is concerned about. Unless perhaps that it might lead posting a link to a song done by Jerry Colona (Capitol 420).

  27. Biochemical analysis of one of your metaphors.

    Vitamin D is stored in your body. So you can take a daily dose, a 7 x’s weekly dose, or a 30 x’s monthly dose. Whatever you don’t use right away gets stored. You can overdo it and make yourself sick, and it may take a while to get better as all the excess stored is slowly used up.

    Pyridoxine is a B vitamin. Any excess you take gets pissed out right away. HOWEVER, if you take too much every day it will destroy nerves. Deficiency of pyridoxine causes the same nerves to dissolve. The balance/difference between too little and too much is small.

    I liken government to Pyridoxine rather than Vitamin D.

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