(I posted this to the DnD subreddit also: link.)

The Open Gaming License fiasco with Dungeons & Dragons producer Wizards of the Coast is a symptom of a larger problem: our insane Intellectual Property system that currently protects material for the life of the author plus 70 years. As a comparison, patents generally only protect inventions for 20 years.

The purpose of intellectual property laws is to balance public and private interests. IP law is an agreement between society and creators: the creator is guaranteed an exclusive right to their creation for a period of time, and in exchange the public gets rights to the creation afterwards. It's intended to be a balance of interests, but the balance has gotten completely out of whack thanks to (obviously) lobbying throughout the 20th century by major copyright holders like Disney.

In my opinion, the current copyright term, life of the author plus 70 years, is grossly unfair to the public. I believe that the internet era has demonstrated that creators would be incentivized to create even without such a long period of exclusivity. Think about it: would you create less stuff if your great-grandkids didn't get exclusive rights? I doubt it.

Listen: creators should be able to make money from their work. I don't think copyright should go to zero, but why not bring it in line with patent protection with a 20-year term?

Disney, DnD, and many other creations are part of our generation's cultural legacy, part of a 10,000+ year inheritance that has been handed down through time to our grandparents, our parents, and now us. It's morally wrong for our ancestors and corporations to lock our inheritance away from us.

Copyright protections must be re-balanced to protect both creators and the public. This problem with WotC shouldn't be just about a license, it should be about the IP laws that grant them exclusive rights to creations that are over 50 years old. Our generation should re-open these negotiations and come up with a fair copyright term.


Many people say that the Republican infighting over Kevin McCarthy's election as Speaker of the House is embarrassing and demonstrates a lack of governing ability. I say: more squabbling please!

The House should be raucous. Why should everything be politely settled behind closed doors? No! We need more public fighting among our elected officials, not less. Americans have major disagreements with each other, and the best way to sort them out is through politics. Let's have them yell and scream and argue with each other in public until someone wins.


Alice Evans writes that working-age men in America aren't working.

7 million men aged 25-54 in the USA are not working

What are they doing?

Volunteering? Worship? Care-work?

"Playing Call of Duty stoned"

They report 2000 hours a year of screen time (w/ pain meds)

This phenomenon is far less severe in Western Europe

She has many charts and graphs that dig into the details.

where are all the workers.jpg

My opinion is that we're beginning to see human workers displaced by automation in a way that doesn't create new jobs for the displaced humans. Men are more affected than women because women dominate "caring professions" that are harder to automate.


I don't have a lot to say about the recent midterm election results.

  • I was surprised by how poorly the Republicans did
  • The American right needs to think long and hard about its political positions -- what they are, and how to communicate them to Americans in a persuasive way
  • Candidate quality matters, and Trump has terrible judgement on this
  • It's embarrassing that the results of the election aren't fully known almost a week later.

It seems like elections should be a lot easier. We've made them harder than they need to be.

  • In-person voting on a single day, except for deployed military or invalids.
  • Paper ballots, counted at the precinct. Properly maintain chain-of-custody records for ballots.
  • Show identification to vote.
  • Dip your thumb in purple ink after you've voted.

This isn't rocket science. All the fancy machines and alternate voting methods have made elections too complicated to administer in a transparent and credible manner.

This seems insane. Why create a more transmissable and lethal version of COVID?

DailyMail.com revealed the team had made a hybrid virus -- combining Omicron and the original Wuhan strain -- that killed 80 per cent of mice in a study.

The revelation exposes how dangerous virus manipulation research continues to go on even in the US, despite fears similar practices may have started the pandemic.

Professor Shmuel Shapira, a leading scientist in the Israeli Government, said: 'This should be totally forbidden, it's playing with fire.'

Gain of function research - when viruses are purposefully manipulated to be more infectious or deadly - is thought to be at the center of Covid's origin.

We may never know the origin of COVID-19 with certainty, but gain-of-function research needs to stop.


Italy's new prime minister Giorgia Meloni explains why so many people are afraid of her victory. American newspapers categorize her as "far-right", but Italian newspapers call her "center-right". Let's see what she does.


This is quality.

kyle_beckly_abc7_oil_and_gas_workers_09-07-2022.jpg

As John Hinderaker helpfully explains, The "Green Revolution" Is Impossible due to constraints on input materials (among other reasons). Courtesy of Professor Simon Michaux:

The quantity of metal required to make just one generation of renewable tech units to replace fossil fuels, is much larger than first thought. Current mining production of these metals is not even close to meeting demand. Current reported mineral reserves are also not enough in size. Most concerning is copper as one of the flagged shortfalls.

green energy material requirements.jpg

All this posturing is about control, not the environment or the earth. The long-term future of energy is space-based solar and nuclear.

(HT: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)


Louise Perry writes that she was betrayed by the lies of the sexual revolution. As a father of daughters this is heartbreaking to read.

It's precisely because I'm a feminist that I've changed my mind on sexual liberalism. It's an ideology premised on the false belief that the physical and psychological differences between men and women are trivial, and that any restrictions placed on sexual behavior must therefore have been motivated by malice, stupidity or ignorance.

The problem is the differences aren't trivial. Sexual asymmetry is profoundly important: One half of the population is smaller and weaker than the other half, making it much more vulnerable to violence. This half of the population also carries all of the risks associated with pregnancy. It is also much less interested in enjoying all of the delights now on offer in the post-sexual revolution era. ...

The new sexual culture isn't so much about the liberation of women, as so many feminists would have us believe, but the adaptation of women to the expectations of a familiar character: Don Juan, Casanova, or, more recently, Hugh Hefner.

It's almost as if our ancestors were wiser than we realized.


Self-identified liberals outnumber conservatives among Harvard faculty by 82-1.

More than 80 percent of Harvard faculty respondents characterized their political leanings as "liberal" or "very liberal," according to The Crimson's annual survey of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences in April.

A little over 37 percent of faculty respondents identified as "very liberal"-- a nearly 8 percent jump from last year. Only 1 percent of respondents stated they are "conservative," and no respondents identified as "very conservative."

Academics usually explain this uniformity by asserting that liberals are smarter than conservatives and thus better suited for faculty positions in higher education -- particularly in self-identified elite universities. This explanation is relatively simple to assess by considering whether or not these same academics would entertain a similar explanation for a lack of sex or racial diversity in other institutions, such as corporate leadership or government. If one were to claim that "there are more male CEOs because men are smarter than women" that claim would be rightly dismissed.

(HT: Campus Reform and Instapundit.)

Ross Douthat says that this fact is the heart of the abortion issue, and I agree. Our tolerance, acceptance, and promotion of at-will abortion is a shame and humiliation for our generation and civilization. Our descendants will look back on this era with horror and disgust, much like we view slavery and the Holocaust. They will ask, how could any people kill a million of their own children every year? How did they talk themselves into accepting the slaughter of the weakest and most vulnerable among them? How did they dehumanize the unborn, to be exterminated like insect infestations?

As is often the case, the solution to abortion -- and the general mistreatment of children and other vulnerable people -- won't be found in laws or courts. The solution is for each of us to honor the divine spark in each other. To recognize that we are each made in God's image, and each uniquely valuable because of that likeness.

Deuteronomy 27:19 -- 'Cursed be anyone who perverts the justice due to the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow.' And all the people shall say, 'Amen.'

Exodus 22:22 -- You shall not mistreat any widow or fatherless child. If you do mistreat them, and they cry out to me, I will surely hear their cry.

Psalm 68:5 -- Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation.

Many people I talk to are eager for "prices to get back to normal", but that's not how inflation works. Medora Lee does a good job reminding us of that.

When talking about inflation, it's important to remember that inflation is a rate that measures how fast prices are rising. If the consumer inflation rate drops from its 40-year high of 8.6% in May, prices are still rising - just not as fast.

Consumers won't feel immediate relief even as the inflation rate slows because many of those elevated prices are likely here to stay, said Michael Ashton, managing principal at Enduring Investments in Morristown, NJ.

"The price level has permanently changed," said Ashton. "Until your wages catch up (to inflation), it will continue to hurt."

Even when inflation returns to target 2% levels, prices won't return to "normal" 2019 levels. Prices will continue to grow, but at a slower and more predictable rate.

"Once core prices go up, generally they don't come down," Roussanov said. "In the last 40 to 50 years, we've never seen deflation in core goods. Most durable goods and services don't really come down in price."

And deflation is more dangerous than inflation because it can lead to a total economic collapse. When people believe that their money will buy more in a year than it will now, they stop consuming and just wait.

Additionally, modest, predictable inflation is seen as a sign of a growing economy. It incentivizes people to spend money now rather than waiting, allows wages to increase either in line or above inflation to boost the standard of living and makes it easier for businesses to plan, according to the Federal Reserve and IMF.


Bank runs are bad. They're bad enough to bring down governments. There's been a slow-motion bank run in rural China for several months, and people are starting to get concerned that the "contagion" could spread.

In the anatomy of an economic crisis, a bank run is the point of no return.

Bank runs occur when people scramble to withdraw cash from banks in fear of collapse. In the worst cases, banks' liquid cash reserves are exhausted, not everyone gets their money and the bank defaults. ...

In recent years it has become clear the Chinese people are losing faith in their financial institutions. There's been anger over harsh COVID lockdowns in Shanghai recently, while the collapse of China Evergrande saw rare public demonstrations as residents faced the prospect of losing their life savings used as deposits for housing. ...

Multiple sources contacted by Asia Markets, have confirmed deposits at the following six banks have been frozen since mid-April.

  • Yuzhou Xinminsheng Village Bank (located in Xuchang City, Henan Province)
  • Zhecheng Huanghuai Bank (City of Shangqui, Henan Province)
  • Shangcai Huimin Rural Bank (Zhumadian City, Henan Province)
  • New Oriental Village Bank (City of Kaifeng, Henan Province)
  • Huaihe River Village Bank (Bengbu City, Anhui Province)
  • Yixian County Village Bank (Huangshan City, Anhui Province)

It's understood the banks with branches across the Henan and Anhui Provinces successively issued announcements in April, stating they would suspend online banking and mobile banking services due to a system upgrade.

At the same time, clients reported their electronic deposits in online accounts, mobile apps and third-party platforms could not be withdrawn.

This led to depositors rushing to local bank branches, only to be told they were unable to withdraw funds.

It looks like the bank failures are due to fraud and corruption -- bank managers simply stole the money. Hopefully this corruption isn't widespread and the problem can be contained.


In this new era of stagflation it's important to remember that inflation is caused by expectations as much as by reality. If people and companies expect prices to go up, they'll start charging more for their products and services -- which is inflation. Inflation will only abate when expectations change.

So when we see a chart like this one it's not only that President Biden's policies created inflationary conditions, his policies also created the self-fulfilling expectation of inflation.

biden inflation.jpg

Presidents Obama and Trump spent boatloads of borrowed money and ran up the deficit, but something about President Biden (and, of course, the global environment) really spooked people.


It's a complete mystery why anyone would bribe Hunter Biden. Maybe it's because of his artistic talent.

But how about the question of how this investigation, and Hunter's underlying conduct, relate to President Biden himself? To read the Times and the WaPo, you would think that that whole question is somehow out of line. The Times's piece doesn't even discuss Joe's role or involvement, although it does include this bizarre line:
It is not clear whether the criminal probe is focused solely on Hunter Biden, or if he is among a group of individuals and companies being scrutinized.

As if anyone, let alone China or Burisma, would pay Hunter Biden millions of dollars without an expectation that it would influence his father. Over in the WaPo, in the context of paragraphs relating to Hunter's dealings with Chinese government-controlled energy company CEFC, we have this:

The Post did not find evidence that Joe Biden personally benefited from or knew details about the transactions with CEFC. . . .

The funny thing is that outside the sole exception of the Biden family, large payments to the children of powerful government officials by those with interests potentially affected by those officials' actions are universally understood to be corrupt efforts to influence the officials. In cases involving people other than the Bidens, whether the official/parent "personally benefited" from the payments or "knew details" of the transactions are considered completely irrelevant.

I guess we'll never know.


What else needs to be said? Russia's U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia gets straight to the point. When there is no fear of God, everything is permitted.

President Eisenhower famously warned America about the risk of the military-industrial complex, but he also foresaw the risk that public policy would be captured by a scientific-technological elite.

Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been over shadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.

The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded.

Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.

(HT: American Experiment and Victory Girls.)


I'm a big supporter of public education -- I went to public school and university for my entire education. Despite my libertarian leanings, I think taxpayer-funded, locally-directed public education can be a very valuable governmental function. However, I'm not a fan of the grift and graft that engulfs public education, for example the money laundering between teachers' unions and the Democrat party. I'm also not fond of the ideological indoctrination that many of the grifters seek to impose on American children, without the consent of the parents.

So I think it's great that the "get woke, go broke" trend is finally hitting the public education grift infrastructure.

Seventeen NSBA affiliates have cut ties with the NSBA over their coordination with the White House and Department of Justice in casting parental complaints over curricula "domestic terrorism." And as Axios reports, they're taking their checkbooks with them -- accounting for a 40% loss in revenue at the NSBA:
The National School Boards Association has since apologized, but the fallout could be seven figures in annual funding. At least 17 state affiliates have severed ties with the group -- and some are even considering establishing a competitor.

The 17 state affiliates accounted for more than 40% of annual dues paid to NSBA by its state association members in 2019, according to Axios' analysis of documents detailing those contributions.

Officials fear upheaval at the organization -- the nation's leading trade group representing U.S. public schools -- will handicap it just as national debates over school curricula and COVID-19 mitigation measures dominate the political conversation.

Good.

This is fantastic news that will hopefully turn into a treatment for people with spinal cord injuries and other nerve injuries.

A self-assembling gel injected at the site of spinal cord injuries in paralysed mice has enabled them to walk again after four weeks.

The gel mimics the matrix that is normally found around cells, providing a scaffold that helps cells to grow. It also provides signals that stimulate nerve regeneration.

Samuel Stupp at Northwestern University in Chicago and his colleagues created a material made of protein units, called monomers, that self-assemble into long chains, called supramolecular fibrils, in water.

When they were injected into the spinal cords of mice that were paralysed in the hind legs, these fibrils formed a gel at the injury site.

The researchers injected 76 paralysed mice with either the fibrils or a sham treatment made of salt solution, a day after the initial injury. They found that the gel enabled paralysed mice to walk by four weeks after the injection, whereas mice given the placebo didn't regain the ability to walk.

The team found that the gel helped regenerate the severed ends of neurons and reduced the amount of scar tissue at the injury site, which usually forms a barrier to regeneration. The gel also enhanced blood vessel growth, which provided more nutrients to the spinal cord cells.


Why did Willie Sutton rob banks? "Because that's where the money is."

Why does the government want to tax your IRA and ROTH retirement savings? Because that's where the money is.

When the income tax first went into effect in 1915, the top rate was a mere 7% and fell only on those making $500,000 a year or more -- that's $13.5 million in today's dollars. The vast majority of Americans paid the lowest 1% rate.

Today, the federal income tax ranges from 10%-37% and that's on top of all the FICA withholding. Today's top rate -- more than five times higher than it was in 1915 -- falls on those making about $500,000.

Which means top rate-payers are paying 5.5 more income tax on about one-thirtieth of the income.

The lowest rate-payers are paying 10 times more on about the same fraction -- and that still doesn't count FICA deductions, which hit the poorest the hardest.

The income tax was sold by early 20th Century progressives as a way to sock it to the rich, but progressives made sure it become a way to sock it to everybody.

You can bet your bottom dollar -- if Congress doesn't confiscate that, too -- that today's "Billionaire Income Tax" is tomorrow's "Tax Your Middle Class Retirement Accounts Before You Even Retire."

Our government is too big, too unaccountable, too incompetent, and entirely dedicated to growing its own power. Anything that can't go on forever, won't.


I recently wrote that Facebook should be regulated like a utility, but maybe social media is more like an addictive, harmful drug than a utility. The companies that push social media on us are like drug dealers. Given my libertarian sympathies, adults should generally be free to use the drugs they want, but society should regulate promotion and distribution of the substance and protect children from being preyed upon by the dealers.

The real problem with Facebook's behavior is the revelation of its rampant institutional lying. In the XCheck story, we learned that after Facebook spent more than $130 million to create an Independent Oversight Board to oversee its content-moderation decisions, Facebook executives routinely lied to that board. Facebook told the Oversight Board that XCheck was only used in "a small number of decisions," even though the program had grown to include 5.8 million users in 2020.

"We're not actually doing what we say we do publicly," and the company's actions constitute a "breach of trust," reads a confidential internal review done by Facebook.
We also learned -- shockingly -- that the CEO and COO of the trillion-dollar behemoth are regularly involved in decisions of what posts to remove when such posts are made by certain people who are exempted from Facebook's community guidelines and content-moderation procedures. This is all while Facebook asserted that it applied the same standards to everyone.

Apparently, XCheck was created to mitigate "p.r. fires" or negative media attentions when Facebook takes the wrong action against a high-profile VIP. Even worse than the existence of the XCheck program was Facebook's dishonesty about it, reflecting the state of mind of a company that knew it was doing something wrong -- and still did it anyway.

These revelations strengthen the case that Facebook likely serves increasingly as the censorship arm of the US government, just as it does for other governments around the world.

That last sentence gets to the heart of the matter, and explains why collective action against social media dealers has been so slow: the elite class wants to control our speech, and is happy to use social media dealers to do it.

Facebook is soma.

What is soma in Brave New World by Aldous Huxley? In the context of the novel, soma is a recreational drug that several of the main characters take throughout the story. The government in Brave New World strongly encourages individuals to take soma as a way to increase the happiness and complacency of the population. Soma can be taken as a pill or as a powder and can also be released as an aerosol. It is freely available to everyone in the novel. Its inclusion in the text is central to the novel's themes of complacency and resistance in society as well as the theme of escapism.

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