Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Disqus censored me :-(

I love Disqus, but I left a comment on their post about 973 Disqus commenters and they removed it.  Thankfully, it's still in my profile, so I figured I'd post it here because I like the idea so much:

AI has gotten very good at finding "similar input" and I would like to see Disqus provide commenters with a way to "Fit your comment into 25 words or less for our AI matcher to see if we can 'automagically' strengthen your input with that of others, and lead you all to others who have similar input." It would be helpful all around to see automation recognize and point out to a publisher (and their audience) when they do something especially good or bad.

For example, for this comment, I'd write "Use comment similarity to highlight shared sentiment and connect those who share it."

I believe that some sites do not show comments by default, but require the user to click to view them. I think this is a dirty trick used by publishers who realize that comments destroy the power of their propaganda. It would be nice to see some research into whether there is any correlation between showing comments by default and reader satisfaction with various aspects of what a publisher does.

For this second part of my comment, my 25-words-or-less version is: "Research correlation between reader satisfaction and requiring a click to see comments."

Since they removed it from the article, I copied it and sent it to Automattic, the makers of wordpress plugins IntenseDebate and Akismet among others.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

EFF's out-of-date Secure Messaging Scorecard

This is an open letter to the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Dear EFF,

At https://www.eff.org/node/82654 you wrote "you should not use this scorecard to evaluate the security of any of the listed tools, as many of them have been changed since the scorecard was last updated" but you also wrote "Updates will be made if the listees or others inform us of changes or inaccuracies."

I suppose this has been happening ("the listees or others inform us of changes or inaccuracies") and you have not stood by your promise to make updates accordingly.  This seems to me to be one example of "security vulnerabilities ONLY in EFF software or systems," and so I am reporting it here.  There are people relying on the information at https://www.eff.org/node/82654 to maintain their messaging apps in a secure fashion, and EFF has apparently dropped the ball.

Is this because we didn't donate enough?  Can you send me a list of the "changes or inaccuracies" that have been reported by listees or others and give me a chance to raise the money it would take to incorporate those changes and inaccuracies into the page there?

Thank you for your work.  I am committed to helping excellent organizations such as yours follow through on their promises.

Friday, May 19, 2017

My Ten-Day Water Fast

Yes, I fasted for 10 days.  "What will-power!" someone said.  Thanks!  There is a thing called "orthorexia" about which Timberline Knolls says:

An orthorexic may avoid numerous foods, including those made with:
  • Artificial colors, flavors or preservatives
  • Pesticides or genetic modification
  • Fat, sugar or salt
  • Animal or dairy products
  • Other ingredients considered to be unhealthy
Well, yeah, what intelligent person wouldn't?  I suppose the modern way is to pathologize everything that is different.  Despite this silly main "symptom" of orthorexia, the fact is that it is hard to eat healthy, and my ken was to eat a lot less, so I welcomed my friend's suggestion to follow his fruitarian diet.  And now that I read a little more about orthorexia, I'm not worried about it.
About three weeks into eating only fruit (and a little bit of veggies, but not much), I had a blood test because I have essential thrombocythemia, a disease in which the megakaryoctyes that make platelets make too many of them.  Do I have a normal number of over-productive cells or too many normal cells?  I think the latter, because my oncologist (yes, ET is a mild form of cancer) confirmed his suspected diagnosis with a blood smear from the marrow in my hip.  In the smear, I think he told me, he found more megakaryocytes than there should be.
After he punched a hole in the back of my pelvis, I drove home with a bandaid on my butt.  On the way I got a ticket for not stopping fully at a red light when I was turning right.  At the court appearance, they asked me to sign something and I stupidly agreed.  Don't cooperate with people who demand that you sign things.  Scream instead that you're being coerced.  Sorry for the diversion.  I think it's here for a reason, but I can't find it yet.  Maybe someday.
I actually have been getting a blood test about once a month for almost two years to make sure my platelet count doesn't go too high.  Dr. Yeh gave me a prescription for hydroxyurea, also known as "Hu". Hu is the same molecule as urea - yes the stuff in our pee - except that Hu has an OH- ion where urea has a H+ ion.  It's a carbon bond.  They can pull that kind of crap, the little buggers.
The first test before I started eating only fruit showed my platelet count at 553. It was about a week later that I stopped eating animal products and most veggies - so fruit only. About two weeks later I had another test and the number was 503.  I concluded that meat contributes to me having too many platelets. Two weeks after that, I had another test and the number was 419!  On that same day, I scrambled myself four eggs and some cheese in an omelet to celebrate. I ate half of it for breakfast.  Then I went to see Dr. Yeh because I was considering doing a water-only fast.
My fruitarian friend gave me a book called Fasting and Eating for Health by Dr. Joel Fuhrman.  Clearly, it inspired me.  Dr. Fuhrman wrote in that book about what the body does when it doesn't have to spend any energy on digestion.  One of those things is to metabolize extra cells that are not needed.  I thought maybe whatever biological calculation had evolved might recognize my extra megakaryocytes as such edible extras.
I told Dr. Yeh about the book and that it recommended a 14-day fast under the supervision of a doctor - for people with chronic medical problems like diabetes, arthritis, obesity, high blood pressure, etc.Dr. Yeh said 14 days was too long and even ten was too long.  I pointed out that Dr. Fuhrman suggested that fasting patients taper off all their medications, but Dr. Yeh told me to keep taking hydroxyurea. We agreed that I'd stay on the Hu and fast for five days and then get another blood test to see how I'm doing.  He'd then have the chance to call me and convince me to break my fast.
When I got home, I ate the last half of my omelet and finished my raw milk, and stopped eating.
Five days later, I got another blood test and found that five days of consuming nothing but water reversed the trend in my platelet count.  It was back up to 476. My best guess is that since the body begins getting rid of toxins (like Hu) when you stop giving it food to digest, the Hu was having less and less effect on my bone marrow.  I have not yet discussed this with Dr. Yeh, and I think my next test is in a week or two.
My blood tests measure lots of things, and since I started taking Hu, many of them have been a little lower than normal (White blood cell count, red blood cell count, hemoglobin, etc.).  All those levels improved after five days of consuming only water. I patiently waited for a call from Dr. Yeh to see if I should break my fast.  The nurse called instead and said my platelet count looked fine.  I asked her if she knew I was fasting and she didn't.  We discussed the book and she thanked me for the information.  I asked her to let Dr. Yeh know that I'd be consuming only water for another five days.
I broke my fast with a bit of watermelon about 8 hours early.  I also had a little blueberry cream custard at a voluntaryist meetup, and mostly fruit after that.
I had a plan to eat meat and everything else I want only on Tuesdays because that is the day of my weekly dinner with some friends.  The rest of the time, my plan was to eat just fruit.  Then I had a dream.  I went to bed late, so in the morning I was sleeping in, and that usually gives me some dreams.
I met someone for a business deal outside my house.  That was peculiar because I usually meet people for business in more public places.  He came in a truck and had his son with him.  He suggested that we go to the bank because he needed to get some cash there, so I walked to the passenger side and got in.  He set the vehicle moving, but was no longer in it.  I was kind of alarmed and curious, so I looked over at the driver's seat to confirm that it was empty and there was his son, driving.
The son drove us straight where the road turned left, right up onto someone's porch and nearly hit their front door before finally turning.  I woke up from the adrenaline rush. I was prepared for another dream-crash and tried to go back to sleep so I could dream lucidly.  It worked!
My dream picked up where it had left off, and we were now driving up the hill that came after that left turn.  It leads to a T intersection.  I braced myself for more bad driving and looked forward to the exciting crash in my dream.  He was headed for a shrubbery across the street, and once again, wasn't going to turn in time.  Though I was prepared, the adrenaline rush woke me up.  Perhaps it was also an epiphany of sorts that helped awaken me.  Someone, I deduced, had taken me too far, and my brain said that twice.  In a row.
During the previous few days, I had spoken with two friends who were both fruitarians, though perhaps not very strictly.  Fuhrman's book pointed out that the human body is capable of making everything it needs without eating anything but fruit.  He still recommended grains and legumes and one other thing I can't remember.  A third friend pointed out that while the body can make all that other stuff, it doesn't have to; we can just eat animal products that already contain it.
A fourth friend related to me that one of her friends had done a long-term fast and it aged him in a way from which he never fully recovered.  I very strongly believe that the dream was my body telling me to eat more than just fruit, and I've listened.  I've been meditating for ten minutes a day for a few months, and my body and I have had some interesting discussions about trusting each other.
I stopped eating bread a few months before I started this whole fruitarian thing, and that made me lose about ten pounds. Before my fast, I lost another five while eating only fruit, and then ten more during the fast.  I'm gaining it back slowly, on purpose.  I am a bit too thin now, but, thanks to mild orthorexia, I will expand myself in healthy ways.

There are two main theories that I'm testing regarding essential thrombocythemia.  One is that it is precipitated by gluten.  The other is that it is precipitated by something commonly found in meat.  I lean toward the second, and perhaps, after my next blood test, I'll start eating bread again.  I do kind of miss it, but that want gets weaker all the time.

It was my friend Mike who inspired me to read the book, and also to create this post.  Thanks Mike!  You may have helped me cure my disease.

Update! 

I finally had a blood test today (5/31/17) - my first after the fast.  My platelet count was 476 on May 2nd. My 10-day fast ended on 5/7. My prescription is for 5.5 grams of Hu each week, but for at least the last two weeks, I've been taking only 4.5. My platelet count is 387 today.  Can words convey my joy?

If and when I have established a new dosage and stable platelet count, I might to another 10 day fast to see if the effect of that is more generally a permanent reduction in platelet production (I'd assume through metabolization of the extra megakaryocytes).  I am excited.  I'm tired too, as I expected to be, because Hu suppresses the normal functioning of bone marrow activity ("myelosuppressant" is what that's called) and (apparently) I've been taking more than I need to.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

A Story I want to Write.

In 2162, humans have evolved a little bit and become capable of very powerful self-defense.  The capability can also be used offensively, but that is extremely dangerous because the tech that enables it contains traces of the identity of the person who used it.

The capability is to drain someone of the motivation to live by looking at them and concentrating and ultimately being able to stop their heart without them caring.  The tech that enables this is everywhere (cellular technology, perhaps by 2162, cellular will leverage brainwaves), so the person who wishes to drain another of the motivation to live doesn't even need a cell phone as long as someone in the vicinity has one.

In the spirit of Edward Bellamy's "Looking Backward" and Beth Cody's repeat of the idea, my story would contain a person from our time who for whatever reason (cryogenics?) is around in 2162.  He has questions and finds answers, and those answers are from me, for my audience, as a possible future I see.

Some issues addressed in my story will be:
  1. Why isn't everyone dead, since it so easy to kill someone?
  2. Wouldn't psychopaths have a field day and ruin everything?

This fiction writing exercise will be part of a long term effort on my part to supplement Beth's book with an alternative view that concentrates more on telling a story rather than explaining things, as hers does.  I wanted to write it down so I don't forget to do it.  Your encouragement and ideas are welcome!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Most of the Words

... we hear and read until we're about 20 - 25 years old are manipulative.  The system through which we get the most words was designed between 1800 and 1910 by the leaders of the country of Prussia, most of which turned into Germany in 1947 (yes, after WWII!!).  The idea was to get children to believe that teachers know stuff and if the children simply believe it, then they will be successful.  I think you're reading or listening to this because you also recognize that blind faith is dangerous.  So thanks!

Is it any wonder that so many people nowadays don't bother listening to or reading stuff to learn things?  It is a sad state of affairs that this strategy of the Prussian ruling class developed over 200 years ago is now hampering us so viciously.  I think that with your help and the cooperation of others, there are a lot of things we can improve together.

I think many people consider things not to be too horrible. I hope you join me in seeing the vast potential of humanity which I think they might be ignoring. I noticed it near the turn of the century when I recognized the potential of the connectedness that the Internet offers us.  That realization inspired me to create litmocracy.com.  It continues inspiring me, and inspired me to share an idea I created a few months ago on Kickstarter. Seven people gave me $500 to implement that idea.

This blog post was inspired by my brother, Lee, who read enough of the voluntaryist website and my description of efforts on my idea to get where I'm coming from. He suggested that my goals may be furthered by writing editorials.  We discussed this and he proposed that I write comments on facebook and other social media.  I explained that I do that all the time already, but his point is useful and, as you're reading or hearing right now, inspiring.

Thanks, Bro!
The idea I created a few months ago is a documentary that explains that the United States tax law, as it is written, is being violated on a regular basis by the government agency responsible for implementing it, the IRS.  It will ultimately be a documentary about me and others like me who learned about the law, interpreted it for ourselves, and in many cases requested guidance about it from the IRS.  We only got misdirection and deceit, and concluded that our understanding that we didn't actually owe the tax was correct.  Many of us have been financially harmed by the viciousness with which the agency defends what appears to be fraud.  But there is hope.  That is why the documentary is being made.

It's something I invented as part of a program that teaches leadership through experiential learning, mostly about relating to other human beings.  Through the Kickstarter project, those seven people inspired me to create a movement I call Cooperative Humanity's Ongoing Social Efforts. At that link, you'll find the bigger thing that is really what my life is all about: replacing the strategy of fear and punishment with one based on respect and cooperation.

I invite you to help me get us out of the messes in which we find ourselves today.  Thanks to everyone who will help each other and everyone else regain our appreciation for the words of others, whether spoken or written.  If you accept my invitation and want me to know, feel free to leave a comment, and thanks again!

Monday, May 1, 2017

A letter to whoever processes a U.S. tax return

Hi!

Our Constitution was written to prevent our government from growing too big by limiting the ways in which it can collect revenue.  There are basically only two ways that only a government can do because if anyone else does it, it amounts to extortion.  The two ways are "direct" and "indirect."

Indirect TaxesIf it's possible for a citizen to avoid a tax by avoiding the kind of thing that incurs liability, then it is an indirect tax.

Direct Taxes
If citizens can only avoid a tax by not earning any money, or it's altogether impossible to avoid it, then the tax is called a "direct tax."

In 1916, the Supreme Court (Chief Justice White, in fact) wrote in the Brushaber vs Union Pacific Railroad, about an "erroneous assumption."  The assumption was that the 16th amendment authorized a tax which, though direct, was not apportioned.  He went on to point out that if that assumption were true, the 16th amendment and some other parts of the Constitution would be in conflict.  "Apportioned" means that the amount collected from each state of the union is proportional to its population.  Obviously, the income tax is not apportioned, so Chief Justice White's Supreme Court decision means that it isn't direct either.

In 1989, Larry Becraft was fined $2500 for pointing out, just as Chief Justice White had back in 1916, that the income tax has to be indirect.  He was arguing a case in the Ninth Circuit Appellate Court.  The appellate court called his argument frivolous.

Now, the decision is yours, and you can pick either side as correct - the 9th circuit, or the Supreme Court.  If you go with the 9th circuit, you're removing the safeguard written into the Constitution that prevents the government from getting to big.  As an IRS employee, you might like that idea, but as a human being, I think you're better than that.

If you decide to stick with the framers, Chief Justice White, and the Supreme Court that ruled on the 16th Amendment back in 1916, then you'll accept my sworn testimony here on this piece of paper (note the jurat at the bottom, which, if this is printed out, should have my signature under it) that I did, in fact, earn some money while avoiding the kind of thing that incurs liability.

You may have information from the people who paid me that suggests that I did incur liability, but that is because they don't understand these things that I'm writing to you.  I've tried to explain, but they ignore my arguments because they don't have time to do legal research, and they are not well-educated enough to know about "the two great classes of taxation" described in the Constitution.

An Error, or Some Mischeif
I am not including the normal form 4852 which has been used by many others to show IRS employees such as yourself that what they earned was not taxable.  The reason I'm not using it is that your work has been set up with a systemic error.  The error comes about because on your irs website (at https://www.irs.gov/irm/part25/irm_25-025-010r-cont01.html) there is a list of positions described as "frivolous" which is not accurate.  The accurate list is also on your website (at https://www.irs.gov/irb/2010-17_IRB/ar13.html) but I believe your search will turn up the inaccurate list first.

On the inaccurate list is "argument 44," which is a description of how a form 4852 will look for a person such as myself who has not engaged in activities that incur tax liability.  It's not really a position or an argument at all.  For those who do actually engage in taxable activities and submit a form like that without any explanation, they are committing perjury, not simply forwarding a frivolous argument.  Those who do not engage in taxable activity can be harmed by you simply doing your job without being aware of this internal error.

 The form 4852, for someone in my position, would indicate that I have zero gross income because the term "income" refers to proceeds from activities that incur tax liability, and I haven't done any of those activities.  It is not clear whether the error is intentional or a mistake. The dire financial shape of our federal government almost (but not quite, in my opinion) justifies it if it's intentional.  However, the financial problems of our federal government are neither your concern nor mine.  We should be honest with each other.  Can you do that for me?

If you need a form 4852 to override the information returns from the payers who claimed that I incurred tax liability, please let me know by replying to this letter or contacting me by telephone.

Thank you for your service!

Friday, April 7, 2017

Awesome People Interview Me

I recently discovered that I underestimate the value of my voice.  The discovery came from two sources, Landmark Worldwide, which used to be Erhard Seminars Training, and Future Money Trends which interviewed me a few times and inspired others to interview me.  I would like to maintain a list of these interviews, so I'm making this post.  Please enjoy!

Wealth Research Group 3/29/17
Crush The Street (with Tone Vays and Trace Mayer) 4/19/17
Declare Your Independence 4/29/17 (scroll to Hour 3)

I have also been enticed into writing in response to questions by my friend Ernest Dempsey.  Here is a collection of such written correspondence (it will grow over time):
Rage Against Monument Destruction

As you may have noticed, I like having my brain picked, especially in public, so if you have questions, feel free to reply here.  If you ask a question in the comments on Youtube, I might not get around to answering you because the volume of comments on YT often makes finding the questions difficult.