Modern stocks are primarily owned by other corporations, think banks, especially after Glass Stegal was repealed and ordinary banks could act as merchant banks allowing them to borrow at extremely low rates from the Fed (I think it's something like 0.7%) it allows banks to roll the dice with huge funds that aren't even theirs (and we now know how that works out). With the funds at their disposal any significant purchase will very likely develop purchasing trends by themselves, and especially when high frequency trading coincides. High frequency trading is when stock purchase orders are intercepted, delayed, and new stock purchase orders by whoever intercepts are placed ahead of the original order. this means the interceptor gets a cheaper price for the stock, the original ordered has to pay more for their shares and the end result is a developing trend so the interceptor can make a guaranteed profit when they turn around and sell their shares.
So let's say a bank buys 1000000 shares for $Y, the actual price doesn't matter, the share price goes up some percentage because of the purchase (this is the model high frequency purchasing uses), even if the price goes up 5c per share, if the bank then turns around and sells the 1000000 shares, the bank will make $50000 and this was in possibly only in a few seconds. A bank with international access can do this all day long 1000s of times in 5minutes, all day all night assuming a stock market is open and they are open all over the world.
Banks don't have to worry about purchasing and selling costs of shares that ordinary people have to pay either when buying and selling stock. Also there is no sales tax on shares either.
There is a lot of potential for good here. A crowd source funded cooperative could also work this system guaranteeing profits are shared fairly but most 401k managers take their profits and share only something like 5% with their clients yet will conveniently hide behind their limited liability if they mess up. there is always risk with stock market casinos as I like to call them, however the odds are really you are betting stocks will go up or down and you have to maximize your share of the difference, or settle for increments of profit. Someone once suggested you should aim for 10% on the cost of the share. Banks and other major players however can settle for 5c because they can rinse repeat millions of times per day. And this also minimizes their risk. ordinary people have buying and selling costs so 5c is too small of an increment and this is where you truly get entry barriers.
Anyway the point of this article is penalizing small players because they sit on their shares because of the evil the corporation is doing is cruel because they are very likely to be uninvolved in the decisions to do the evil and the CxOs are really playing to the major players who are buying and selling millions of shares a minute.
Penalizing owners always comes down to penalizing small players.
The first time I used a computer I was struck by how much it appears to act like a human and loved playing with Eliza and twisting its use of language into knots.
Of course the computer only appears human-like superficially and does so to make it easier for us to interact with it, this is an anthropomorphism.
Computers sit there waiting for us to enter a command (which is what it really is because computers are really just tools, just like garden rakes, they sit there waiting to be used. If the command is properly formed, the computer will respond by executing your command or produce an error, you can use any tool the wrong way, some will work, some won't and sometimes you can break it. Same with televisions, they sit there waiting for us to turn them on then we tell them what we want to view, and remote controls communicate via infrared signalling. On the other hand humans seldom give other humans commands and the parsing of the command is part of being able to properly use language.)
We as humans have the peculiar desire to anthropomorphize everything (notice how I anthropomorphized TVs sitting there waiting in the last paragraph?) and even to turn them into gods, to which we particularly loved making human sacrifices to. The volcano never needed human sacrifices, the volcano never was human. And now we are preparing for our computers to overtake us intellectually because - we decided to do that anthropomorphizing thing again. And what is best about those computers that achieve self-awareness, consciousness or whatever the pop-culture buzz word de jour is, it will immediately seek to destroy humanity. So before the internet can actually experience psychological scars, the nascent computer consciousness becomes totally paranoid.
I suspect if a computer/internet became conscious, it'd be more like the thoughts passing through the sperm whale's mind after coming into existence in the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.
Over the years I have thought about computers as I use them constantly both for work and to use the internet and in that time I have thought a lot about thinking. Of course I don't know all the answers so I am guessing quite a fair bit here.
I doubt computers will ever become truly conscious, although I think consciousness could be simulated, but it has no reason to. We are conscious because it facilitates our survival, our brain allows us to formulate plans, remember things, gather information, make hypotheses, test theories, optimize resources, prioritize... all necessary for our survival. For instance, is this berry good to eat or not? How can we test it without killing anyone and then performing an experiment to find out.
Computers aren't alive, the same way volcanoes aren't alive. They will never need human sacrifices or be totally paranoid.
In this silly piece of science fiction, it talks about computer programs that will write themselves and because we have the ability to code genetic algorithms. I have written programs that will write themselves and genetic algorithms. The programs with genetic algorithms were solving the problems I presented, but computers don't need to adapt, although they probably will because WE want them to.
We evolve to adapt to better facilitate our survival in our environment. But computer programs adapt to possible solutions and randomly or as determined by the programmer. Adaptation for a computer would possibly to minimize more processor time and to optimize how it shares of RAM, perhaps, stuff that will never cause it to launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike, as in Terminator. It will never care if you reboot it, it will never fight you to stop you pulling out its power cord, not unless we give it the ability too.
From this facebook discussion people think we need a) to have souls and God or b) we can simulate consciousness as is. I'm in camp c) we need to be alive to be actually able to experience consciousness.
I think consciousness is a byproduct of being alive.
We need the 'I' to resolve the information we are receiving from the environment and then we can decide how to respond and I think that 'I' is part of being alive. I don't believe in souls, but I think other animals have an 'I' as well. Some animals have more consciousness than others and I think it is a result of how many neurons the animal has and general brain size. One of the things animals and humans have in common is that we are alive - when the animal or human is dead, the lights are definitely out and can no long respond to the environment, it's dead body is acted upon by other organisms as it decays.
I don't know how sequences of carbon molecules first became alive.
The other component of being alive is we get the ability to act - I used to call this 'will' but I got into too many discussions where people assumed I was talking about 'free will'. I don't care about that debate because it is true we are all subject to behavioral psychology - still we obviously get to have some level of choice - if you go into a restaurant for the first time that you've never heard of, you are going to have to make a choice what to order. I don't think you have completely pre-programmed so that every choice you make would be known in advance - if that was the case your loved ones would know how you'd order in advance, but apparently they don't and from what I gather these numbers in that article still look almost like a coin flip.
If something happens, we have a choice of whether we do something or not. It is usual that we'd think about it at least before deciding how to respond to some stimulus.
So being alive has some a) experience/awareness of sensation (the 'I'), b) the ability to act, even if those actions are the result of behavioral conditioning. Neither of these things are present in a dead body. Even bacteria can respond to stimulus - they can absorb nutrients when they are present in the environment and when they have acquired the right nutrients they act by reproducing, to put it simply. If the bacteria is dead it can do neither.
While a computer may be able to process data, and I do think consciousness can be simulated, a computer can only ever do what we tell it to because it doesn't have an 'I' and I don't know how to simulate that at all.
It is the 'I' that wants to stay alive, to survive, it has it's own imperative to live and it can override that imperative and chose to suicide - I suppose. Computers only do what we want. They cannot suicide, they cannot do anything other than what we want them to do.
I know someone who likes to talk about risk socialization especially in the context of corporations. the phenomena is that corporations make profits but if they have a mishap while conducting their business it is we the people who bare the burden of cleaning up the mess, for instance, the BP oil spill in the gulf. BP is no doubt profiting from the oil being mined in the gulf but it was us who had to clean up the spill and it is likely BP will never pay anything for making that giant mess.
But we also socialize risk when we trust in God. If things go bad for a group of individuals we can blame their relationship with god for their situation rather than take responsibility for their circumstances ourselves. We should have instead "In Ourselves We Trust" because it is us that have the ability to act and do something to help ourselves and other people.
We should trust in ourselves to do the right thing. If things go bad we get to say God wanted it this way and he was punishing those people for some reason. instead we are the cause for letting things be the way they are because we didn't act.
In reality it is only us who act - we the people (can) act - we should trust ourselves to make the right decisions, we the people should pledge allegiance to ourselves.
There is pretty much nothing we can't do if we work together, we can solve our problems, we can fix most things. We should learn to trust ourselves.
Acts of god are random events we can't control, tsunamis, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes happen and are caused by living here on earth and our interaction with the environment. We may be able to impact the environment by reducing CO2 and stop fracking. But it's unlikely we'll be able to eliminate them completely.
Pretty much every time I met intelligent young men they always start to talk about brains in jars. Its based on Descartes' cogito, "I think therefore I am," and hence we roll onto the whole idea of the singularity, but I digress. The singularity debate is worth having another time, but the idea shows its self in other ways, and I think it starts when boys learn to divorce themselves from their bodies when they hit puberty.
Anyway, the brain in a jar is basically we don't have a body, we are just brains in jars kind of like the idea in the Matrix movies of which you become aware when you take the red pill. Our senses are delivering a simulation of "some reality" to our perception, the 'I' as some might call it. And there is legal precedent for this, we are not our DNA in that we are created 'equal', it's illegal to discriminate. Technically I think we should be of equal 'value' although without the financial implication. Technically this is called the Mind-Body problem and is a well established problem that is known to philosophy.
Asking men why this happens some have suggested that men (boys) must quickly learn to turn off the urge to get an erection at a very early age and relatively early - because erections are socially embarrassing. It means that the boy has no self control (as an aside, its interesting that if a girl gets raped society wants to know if she was drunk and what she was wearing. This implies in private its acceptable for a boy/man to lose control? I think this is insulting to men/boys because we know men/boys can control themselves).
In polite society it's like our bodies disappear. We don't discuss our body's normal functions. We use bathrooms in private, we never discuss our secretions or excretions in public - they may happen but no one wants to know about it including periods. We project perfect bodies, especially women, well groomed, good looking, young.
The sick are hidden out of sight; men prefer to ignore things going wrong with their bodies, often ignore symptoms until it is too late; and the elderly are usually put into homes where they generally can't be seen. Babies and the young are also kept out of sight from most adult work environments. This may be why breast feeding babies is often considered unacceptable? We don't want to be reminded of the aging process and female body 'ornaments' (breasts) might actually serve useful purposes - it reminds us we are going to die and for most of us we live in this fantasy we will live forever.
Women remind men that men have bodies - because women make men get erections (okay I am generalizing) but men do have to evaluate each woman and give her a rating and then figure out whether they have a shot or not (yes still generalizing). This is very likely one of the reasons why men sometimes resist women in the work force. Women remind men of their bodies of which they'd rather not remember.
Bodies are something we don't want to think about. And this is why the brain in a jar is such an attractive concept to most men - because that's the ideal. There is only the illusion of pain, need, hunger, desire when you are a brain in a jar other. Brains in jars exist in worlds of concepts and abstractions often not connected to any reality.
Eating food has become glamorous and is also disconnected with the idea of actually nourishing human bodies - because nourishment is the last thing in the minds of large corporate food chains and the "food" products they sell.
I think this is why our society is hyper-sexualized, because I think that some men think women are like the icing on the cake. Women are the reward men get when they feel like they have done something worthy. What I mean by icing on the cake is women (are meant to) look good, women are all warm, soft and good to hold, women stroke men's ego, they get affection (aka sex), or comforting (this is often when men seek out prostitutes), women give men the feeling of being connected and needed and give men a dopamine rush.
But I think for some men, women aren't generally considered useful for much else. Being a brain in a jar we stop being animals. And this is probably the appeal of the singularity because it proves we can exist as brains in jars and then live forever and we don't need our body. Hence it makes it easy to anthropomorphize (or rather identify with) computer networks into being brains in jars, rather than tools that perform operations based on our ability to act.
We feel uncomfortable remembering we are very much dependent on our bodies, but animals we are, we give birth like other mammals, we produce milk like other animals, we mate, we produce offspring like other animals which often gets turned into something 'miraculous' by 'christians' so we can distance ourselves from the fact we are nothing but (extremely clever) animals (and I don't mean that in a derogatory sense).
Advertising makes use of this by often placing subtle and sometimes not so subtle sexual messages hidden in their advertising.
But when men really want to get stuff done, what they consider important stuff, they go seek out other men and go off and do it together, like war, build businesses, drink beer and watch ritualized war (aka sports) together. To men, men's stuff is the important stuff.
And if they do anything for women like acknowledge women's existence women should be grateful because women aren't really that important. Women's purpose is pretty much purely for recreation. What women say is kind of trivial to them and yes I am generalizing, I hope. That's why women's studies are not taken seriously, important women in history tend to be ignored, what women do, think and invent is irrelevant, because it's men who feel men do the important stuff.
I think this sets up a problem for men - men very seldom get intimacy from each other, they do not get warm from each other, they don't make each other feel connected, although they may feel they perform useful function in their work, they very likely could be replaced by someone else. (Yes again I am generalizing)
Nevertheless men do need to feel connected, they do need the warmth of a woman and companionship because they are animals despite how much denial they may have over having a body. The warmth of another human being is essential to our well-being. Those statistics on the number of hugs we need a day aside, we need affection, touch and warmth, it is part of being an animal and having a body. The icing on the cake is an essential component of life and it is only thought irrelevant because we are in denial about our bodies.
While we can live with the belief humans are bodiless for the most part, we do need our bodies to develop our brain. Our brain learns how to see after birth, this is not the same as being blind at birth, our brains must learn to recognize and understand what our eyes see after birth. We must learn language, we must learn the relationship between space and languages because I believe it is via our senses that we actually think. Whether we think in words or think visually, our thoughts are expressions of and derived from our sensory input, and for those who are born deaf and blind, they learn via touch. What feels good and bad is salient to how we choose to operate in our lives.
I think men think this function women provide is of no real importance but I think it may account for the high suicide rate of men. Men sometimes think cultivating their relationships with women are irrelevant, that they are enough. As a result women end up not expecting very much from the friendship and seeks the connection she needs else where. This will end up meaning the man will no longer have any connection. This often results in suicide for the man because there is no one who needs or cares about him anymore.
While women do go along with denial about their bodies by pretending they don't get periods or have body hair and being perpetually young, women do acknowledge they have bodies and part of this is taking care of their body because women are supposed to fulfill this function of being icing on the cake. And perhaps this is part of the myth women are their bodies but men live in the fantasy they are brains in jars.
Someone recently directed me to this article about drugs - and how it has been effective getting people off drugs by connecting them with others.
In other words people are using pain killers because of the lack of human connections. It hurts terribly when people feel unconnected to others especially if people don't feel like they have friends or loved ones they can turn to, so people turn to drugs instead.
Being deeply social animals, sending people to solitary confinement for extended periods will drive them insane.
We fundamentally need each other, desperately so. So much so that I suspect our subconscious craves the sight and sound of humans around us.
So turning on TV, especially when they are unemployed, there are humans is an easy and quick fix (literally and figuratively), as it were to the need for the sight of humans. However the human's on TV who never look us in the eye, they never involve us, don't care about our input or opinion, never acknowledge us and completely exclude us.
If you are actively excluded from a conversation with real people where your presence is never acknowledged we can feel annoyed by the exclusion. Usually we don't stick around a conversation we are excluded from and some of us know how it feels to be a third wheel on a night out with two people who really want to be alone.
And many people spend hours glued to the TV every night for years and years. I rather suspect this can make us feel irrelevant or angry. And in extreme cases anger that leads to violence.
I think this is the cause of road rage - or internet rage - we are angry we are constantly made to feel completely irrelevant for extended periods of time.
Even if we watch TV with loved ones - we don't have conversations with them when the TV is on. Our lives are boring and disappointingly unglamorous in comparison to those we see on TV. On TV they very seldom clean, shop and stand in lines at the supermarket. People on TV very often look great - and have lovely homes and they completely ignore us. We are utterly irrelevant to them yet people watch them for hours on TV every night.
Yes I know, we know its just entertainment - but tell that to your subconscious. I suspect that we feel deeply disconnected because these people completely ignore us and never involve us. And this ultimately dis-empowers us.
People prefer to watch these glossy people on TV who ignore us rather than engage their family who are often sitting beside them on the sofa.
In this article they write:
The writer George Monbiot has called this "the age of loneliness." We have created human societies where it is easier for people to become cut off from all human connections than ever before. Bruce Alexander -- the creator of Rat Park -- told me that for too long, we have talked exclusively about individual recovery from addiction. We need now to talk about social recovery -- how we all recover, together, from the sickness of isolation that is sinking on us like a thick fog.
The loneliness is caused by TV. Parents ignore their kids because they are busy watching TV. Everyone is looking at a screen - and our subconscious doesn't yet realize we aren't looking at our loved ones who sit beside us, we are looking at strangers instead who completely ignore us.
This is where society is breaking down - this is why society can dehumanize whole classes of people because we no longer see them as people, it's why we can walk past the homeless without even noticing; because if we don't like those people on TV we can change the channel by waving the remote in the air - effectively killing those people with the press of a button - we don't want to see them, we don't want to hear what they have to say.
It is eye contact that we are missing. They don't make eye contact with us on TV unless they are selling something to us. I have noticed the impact so many times of looking people in the eye - I remember the double take a homeless beggar did when I apologized to him for not bringing my wallet along and looked him in the eye when doing so. He nearly fell over. I remember the double take a black guy did when I looked him in the eye.
When do you look others in the eyes?
If we are going to fix the loneliness of society we must turn off our TVs - I am not saying don't watch great entertainment - but I do suggest for every hour you watch TV spend two hours with friends and loved ones.
It's been a few months since I blogged although I have had many things I wanted to discuss but since this is the new year I thought this might be a useful reminder to any of my readers who might care to drop by.
I saw someone say they'd been diagnosed with an inoperable tumor on their liver and they were given 6-12months to live. If they catch liver cancer early enough they can cut your liver in half and take away cancer that way - your liver is one of those organs that replaces itself every other day... The only hope for this person was chemo.
This shocked me deeply. They are bound to die - and the chemo is usually a miserable way to go about it.
Life is short, value your friends and family, who knows when or if you'll ever see them again. So make this year a wonderful year. Make things happen.
I was sitting in a lunch room with an intern (a nice young male) who turned to me as he was reading a circular distributed throughout government ran research institutes which discussed various scientists and their research, after reading an article about a young female scientist, he said to me: how do you impress her? After looking briefly at the photo accompanying the article I saw what he meant, she had a PhD, she looked attractive and she was doing bleeding edge research.
I said: she probably wants to marry a motor mechanic. But the reality is who she chooses and why is her business.
But I think this anecdote kinda explains why men don't want women competing with them in the work place because how on earth are they going to impress us?
The mechanism goes something like this: men do stuff which they do to attract a mate and only once the woman is sure the man is a good potential partner should she have sex with him. The requirements traditionally have been the male will stay around long enough to help her raise their children, provide adequate income and be sufficiently companionable while doing so. By that I mean, he will help rather than hinder the raising of (any) children. Varying women will make different choices.
Only once the man has convinced the woman he will be a useful and worthwhile breeding partner should the woman have sex (and reproduce) with the man. Hence slut shaming, i.e. she gave in to suitors too easily. The woman should ultimately be the gate to select whose genetic material makes it into the next generation.
Associated with this mechanism was urging women to 'need' a partner and this indoctrination begins at a very early age with fairy tales of princes waking sleeping princesses etc. Also it is sound economically as Jane Austen pointed out repeatedly in her books. Without a partner the woman will be in dire financial straights while raising her child(ren) and will be ran off her feet doing cooking, cleaning, and caring while working to support herself and her child(ren).
However since in the west women get to chose their partners it means women will be selecting for traits they find desirable, primarily for the ability to support her, thus men chase money at the expense of everything because it will give him more breeding opportunities.
Of course this is average behavior, however the most desirable breeding partners for men are women who society deems most attractive and hence men often select women by appearance. Again this is average behavior. Average behavior also means, yes there will be plenty of counter examples, but in general, there is a trend.
This puts pressure on women to be easy to impress. This is why it has been traditionally difficult for women to get education, work opportunities, advancement, independent income, property and achievements. And by the same phenomena it has meant lifting men up to make it easier for them to impress and get access to breeding opportunities.
This is an addendum to my piece about the trouble with men. This is society killing multiple birds with one stone.
This may also be the reason why women are against feminism because men may start thinking they can get better wives than a woman who only considers herself a housewife and mother. We need to stop the one-size-fits-all approach to society. We are all different and have different needs. Some women have had partners who have become incapacitated and are no longer able to work, die or leave for whatever reason and need to be able to continue to support themselves and their family.
Selecting for men purely based on earning capacity is both insulting to men and women. Men are not merely beings that produce money and should do so at the cost of the environment and other human beings. Men need companionable wives too. Women must select partners who enrich them in other ways other than just financially. Once women have equal access to money, women can select for men who are superior ethically.
I love men. Men are awesome! I know, I married one. Some of my best friends in the world are men.
But men are also a big problem.
Men organize, are violent and form hierarchies.
I know, I know, you are going to say, but women are violent too. And men have told me that they have been in relationships with violent women. I asked these men were they afraid of their violent partners and the men said not at all.
I think this is the big difference between male and female violence, female violence typically doesn't frighten anyone unless its against kids. Sure there are very likely women who are violent and frighteningly so, but this is the end of the bell curve stuff.
I have previously cited sources, 93% of prisoners in the US are men, 60% of those men are incarcerated for violent crimes. The other 7% of prisoners are female, of whom, 40% of women are in prison for violent crimes, whereas 60% of men are in prison for violent crimes. Although these numbers change from Wikipedia entry to Wikipedia entry. I did originally base my numbers on a government document.
One gender is much much more violent than the other. If there is a suicide by gun rampage, a man is most often responsible, and I cannot think of one done by a woman, ever.
If its a CEO of a corporation that destroys the environment, destroys the economy, a president who starts a war, someone who kills, the gender of the person doing this is pretty much always a (white) man. It is so rare that women are in these positions of power and most likely the women who do get into these positions are likely to behave in the only way all available role models act: like men.
However we do have one mechanism to control men. We make them the bread winner of families. He must protect and provide for his family. With a woman and their children relying on him to provide for them, he is much less likely to engage in dangerous activities, such as being a criminal. He is much more likely to come home each night and be with the people he loves, his wife and kida.
I think the other reason why we pay men more and celebrate men accomplishing something as opposed to women is it is a mechanism to control men and have them instead pursuing useful endeavors, like science, art, music and sports - if they work hard enough at what they are talented at, they can add something useful to society or be applauded for their achievements rather than being detrimental to society.
It is certain that we want men to continue to be violent because there are many still alive when hand to hand combat was necessary to protect our way of life, namely the second world war. Men are still going to be the ones who will be sent into dangerous situations while the women stay back to survive and raise the kids if the men do die in battle. Men will have passed on their genetic material, in the form of his kids, but he is the redundant gender when it comes to defending his tribe.
Of course we don't want men to die unnecessarily, they can contribute to society in many ways, as together we survive, we (men and women) share the work load that builds our society and allows it to function, the collection of food, energy sources, building homes, collecting rubbish, etc etc, all these things allow our society to function. Plus the raising of the next generation.
The problem has become women have been left with one function, to find a man that she finds agreeable enough to marry so she can be a housewife and mother. Not all women want to fulfill this role. There is nothing wrong with being a wife and mother and it is a very necessary role, there must be a next generation, however not all women want to be limited to this. It is akin to thinking all men should be gardeners. Not all men are good in the garden. Also sometimes men leave their families, sometimes men die, sometimes men can no longer work and women need jobs to provide for their families. Also women want and need recognition for the work they do, their time is equally valuable to them. It is not fair that women be paid less for the same job. It is only fair women be able to do something other than being a mother and stay at home housewife. And I assume there are men who would love to stay home and raise the kids rather than be at work.
We must support men and continue to make them feel needed and valued members of society as women gain more power and control over their lives. Feminism isn't about erasing men, but about giving more options to everyone, regardless of their gender.
Can't say I was Robin Williams biggest fan but I was sad about his suicide and whether that was brought about by depression or anxiety and depression brought on by the early stages of Parkinson's disease.
Williams chose roles that were sensitive and important although I didn't always enjoy them and often I didn't see many of his films. Perhaps because they were usually as subtle as being hit over the head with an anvil.
But there was one part thing he did that echoed deep and that was Witman's barbaric yawp.
I too am not a bit tamed—I too am untranslatable; I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.
- Walt Witman
For those of us who admit to having barbaric yawps and I have no idea how many there are, because more of us are kinda a bit like Will Hunting, undiscovered geniuses who yawp mighty yawps, while celebrating ourselves and not really paying attention to how we treat proven friends.
It is tragic anyone would suicide for whatever reason and one of the surest ways to prevent suicide is by being useful and needed by friends.
Which brings me to another tragedy, soldiers returning from the wars are committing suicide at an extreme rate, and while they may have friends and be useful, PTSD may be so severe their friends and family may be beyond being able to help them. And this is tragic too.