Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Frightening Importance of Centralized Trading


Without artificial trade barriers (tariffs, taxes, trade embargoes) economic centers naturally shift to geographic centers with respect to population density.


Older, more localized centers that existed prior to the trade barriers being lifted end up crashing through the floor and de-industrializing. 


Since the Achilles heel of capitalism and fiat currency is negative-growth, industrial re-centralization would naturally lead to economic destabilization on the periphery of the region.

Ok, so it sounds like an overly-simplified way of looking at vastly complex macro-economic systems.

I agree. But it actually works. Here's three recent examples of how increased unification and globalization has led to this shift and its theorized implications.


The centerpoint of global population is around India and China. In The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives, Zbigniew Brzezinski aggressively argued for geostratigizing central Asia. This map below explains why:
Inline image 3
The basic idea is that as globalization rises (and it will), previously unimportant countries, like say, Afghanistan, become critical players in global trade and furthermore, are set to be potential industrial super points. He goes so bold as to implying that whoever controls the trade of that region, controls the politics of the planet.

The European Union


After the fall of the Soviet Union there was a power vacuum in the eastern bloc. The economy of Europe continued to be nation-state centerpoints with Moscow being one of the most dominant player, having the strongest ties to the former Warsaw states.

Prior to the centralization of the currency, each country had its own economic centerpoint based on population density.

For instance, in Italy, the centerpoint was the center of the central Lazio region, also known as Rome.

Greece's center-point was approximately around Athens. This historically makes sense in a way if you go by the idea that 
  1. nation-state borders arise from a sense of cultural identity.
  2. cultural identities are fostered in population centers
  3. population centers are also economic centers
This leads to the conclusion that nation-state borders are directly albeit loosely based on ease of access to notable economic centers.

(This of course isn't always true; for instance in early 19th century United States, states were often carved out and brought in in pairs to keep the parity of slave versus free states even. This led to the introduction of nation-states for purely temporary political reasons)


The economic centerpoint is shifting and in Europe, the periphery states are now in crisis. From that link, you can see the following in the 2005-2011 GDP numbers:

Portugal: +1.4
Italy: +0.0
Greece: -3.4

While the central countries benefit from the lifting of tariffs

Poland: +36
Czech Republic: +24
Austria: +13.2
Slovakia: +38.3
Slovenia: +13.5

Because of the fluidity of nation-to-nation trade, the old localized economic centers are giving way to a shifting regional center. This is a natural economic result of globalization.

Specifically, the point started moving from the largest previous center of Moscow to the new regional center around Bavaria.

Here's the Population Density:
Inline image 2
Bavaria is the purple region.

To put it another way, let's say that you have this map of major freight lines:

Your task is to point to where on the map the shortest distance to all points could be. I know, it's a hard thing to do but it's not in France, that's far away from the East. It's not in Poland, not in northern Germany but we are getting closer.

Ah, there it is, in Bavaria. What a coincidence.

North American Free Trade Agreement

Prior to NAFTA, and the rise of Central and South America the most important states for trade were roughly equal to the mean center of the US Population.

However, in the past 30 years, and especially in the past 20, it's the mean center of the NAFTA and increasingly CAFTA-DR+NAFTA region. Here's a population density:
Inline image 4

The shift to Texas

This has caused a shift in the economic center of the US to specifically Eastern Texas. In fact, there is something that is now termed the "NAFTA Bottleneck":

This map of the United States shows the heavy volume of freight shipped through Texas, a major trade gateway from Mexico and South America, as red lines branching out from the heart of the Lone Star State. (

Further evidence can be supported by the NASCO project, which is proposing a corridor to alleviate the bottleneck. It has pejoratively been christened the "NAFTA Superhighway".  It's had many iterations, here is a good representation:
Inline image 5

Notable Economic Growth

A USA Today article talks about just how substantial this has been (but has really incorrect analysis; it's USA Today after all):
Texas became the USA's second-largest economy during the past decade — displacing New York and perhaps heading one day toward challenging California — in one of the biggest economic shifts in the past half-century. 
The dramatic realignment of the nation's economy was illustrated by North Carolina, Virginia and Georgia all overtaking one-time industrial powerhouse Michigan in economic size from 2000 to 2010.

They are dummies and ignore the fact that it's because after NAFTA, the trade centerpoint geographically moved downward with respect to population density until it reached the new center. 

It's a pretty big oversight, especially since they provide a little map supporting the hypothesis:
Inline image 6
How kind of them.

Here is a chart to show this more accurately. You can see how the old centerpoint of Ohio has stayed flat while the new one of Texas is booming
Inline image 7

The Future

In 2022:
  • Globally: Zomia will massively shrink as Central Asia continues to have an increasing role in global trade. Burma and Bangladesh will become increasingly important focal points.
  • Europe: The European Union may survive but not in its current form. Either the periphery will be cut or there will be policies to erect artificial barriers to decentralize the European Single Market or a new legislative oversight body will form that can usurp the sovereignty of a member state. The trading center-point may be affected by the continued rise of Africa.
  • North America: The trading center-point will continue to move southward, perhaps landing on El Paso in the US and falling towards Mexico City as the Central American population boon continues.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Security Questions are Fucking Retarded.

Problem 1: The answers aren't secrets
Stop asking stuff that the internet knows better than I do. The birthplace of my father and my mother's maiden name aren't closely guarded state secrets. In fact, I'd google it myself.

Problem 2: The questions are stupid
People hardly remember things that change. My favorite movie when I signed up for your site won't be the same as it is now. Luckily I can go online and see what I was raving about back then, just like everyone else.

Problem 3: The answers require memorization
Questions that someone might know but google doesn't like "Where was your first kiss?" mostly have answers that will be a sentence like, "Under the bleachers at the homecoming game".

Would answering it later with a comma and a word change like "Under the bleachers, at my homecoming game" work? No? Thought not. (More Below)*

The shit's retarded and since what you're doing probably isn't important enough for me to care, here's my answers: "a", "b" annnnd "c".  Just go set those as default values now. Thanks.

*I'm fucked with the "easy" ones too. e.g., [Mission, The Mission, (blank)] + [SF, SanFran, San Francisco, Bay Area, The Bay, The Bay Area, NorCal, (blank)] + (optional comma) + [CA, California, (blank)] ~= 144 ways to say "The Mission".
How did I phrase it? I get 3 tries, oh goodie. Hopefully I didn't type it as "The Missin".

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

How well-intended, smart, focused, hard-working people royally fuck up and spin their wheels

There's a line of roles:

Researcher ---- Scientist ---- Engineer ---- Business Person ---- Sales Person

With two relationships
  •  Ability to take something and make someone use it in their life
  •  Ability to create something genuinely new

The Intersection known as Innovation

Either you, or the entity that you are working with has to be in a narrow perimeter in this world or else you are just either making something that nobody will use, or making something that isn't progressive

Being a successful entrepreneur, venturist, futurist, etc ... depends on knowing how these roles interact and influence one another in the minds and actions of the creators, consumers, and middlemen between the two.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Free Societies Need Bad Security.

Effective security would have made Wikileaks, the Pentagon Papers, exposing Watergate, Iran-Contra, Abu-Gharib, and Teapot Dome impossible.

Imagine: A library replaced by a device which bricks if someone stops paying the monthly extortion fee. Owning of content is replaced with access to specific content on specific devices by specific people within a specific time. Archeological digs are futile. Correspondences of important people, those that are critical to the understanding of great thinkers, are totally opaque or destroyed forever.

General purpose computing no longer happens since all devices are locked down and not reprogrammable. Hobbyist computing and electronics is a historical footnote, only available on exorbitantly expensive authorized programmer machines where continual royalties are paid for nearly every action, automatically.

Your internet access device is something provably incapable of any kind of cryptography that will elude authorities with private keys burned in by the manufacturer gifting copies to those of power.

Machinery will oversee strict adherence to any power that wants to dictate how you live your life. Forget about things like drug experimentation, political dissent, unauthorized research or even speeding on the interstate at 3AM. Pop art like dj-remixing or what Andy Warhol did are either prohibitively expensive or legally (and therefore physically) impossible.

Commercial enterprises, as effective as predictable and irrelevant as integral, install proverbial blinders so consumers stare at the carrot on a string in front of them the entire day. They live in a powerless and ineffective fantasy world that convinces them of the opposite; creating the same art and have same ideas as every generation before without any access to those ideas.

After all, Martin Luther King's "I have a dream speech" or the works of Camus, Orwell, and Huxley, are private property with perpetually extending sunsets of protection. In an effective security system, these pieces of private property can be removed and regulated to exist only under certain terms. It will be wonderful.

A world of effective security will only solidify and perpetuate the currently malleable power structures of society just like the development of giant weapons of the 20th century have brought on new eras of statehood longevity and oppression, irrelevance and absolutism, indifference and imminent destruction.

Ineffective security, which we currently have; permits the annals of power to be porous and vulnerable; where the light-footed innovator can expose corruption or redefine the world in new disruptive ways. It permits the curious to gain easy access to private property (such as a copy of Catch-22) regardless of the intentions of the property holder.  It permits for the free exchange of information because the gatekeepers locks currently do not work.

Being able to have introspective analysis into the machines of implementations permit new ideas to blossom, progressing society regardless of the confines of the socioeconomic order. Effective security will shackle this process by those confines, not liberate one from it.

That's the problem. It is important for things to be broken. It is absolutely critical to the organic nature of the process of innovation.

comment on reddit or HN.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Transcendance of Empathy

Does this offend you?
Awesome. Just don't shoot the messenger. Here's what that message is:
  1. Tacit dissapproval of Apple's advertising. Apple has co-opted the greatest thinkers of the 20th century, in public domain images, to peddle electronics. To illustrate the true horror of the campaign, Mother Teresa is directly, as opposed to Apple's preferred implicitly, saying "I approve of my image being used to sell plastic stuff from China."
  2. When you mouth the words, "I Approve", and look at the image, you are reminded of The Culture of Consumption, especially of excess, which is Apple's modus operandi. It means that ones excess income, which is, after all, excess by definition, goes to luxury items with full knowledge of global starvation. In so doing, you are an indirect deciding factor in people going to sleep hungry and Part of the Problem.
  3. The iPad being coveted by Mother Teresa is supposed to show the line between humans and the possessions we have and how we decide to take on the responsibilities and time commitment of things and not people.
  4. The real child in her arms being the background to the iPad emits a feeling that this could easily be your child, but isn't and how the notion of those that one cares for is a fleeting subjective game, crass, and indifferent.
This is the transcendence of empathy.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

80s mtv

my new project, 80s mtv

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Don't Pay For Content

They Don't Deserve Your Money
Content providers do not trust you. They bully you into complying with a narrow view of acceptable use, shackling you to the glacial pace of policy-making.

They do not offer any of the confidence, security, or assurance that you have come to expect in return for your money.

Their are $60 devices that store 6,000 songs. At $1 per song, this $60 device can store $6,000 of content. It is easily stolen or lost and the songs can be deactivated at any time, for any reason.

This is like paying $6,000 for a highly-delicate, non-refundable, non-replaceable $6,000 "money card" that you are supposed to carry around everywhere and hope you don't drop it, damage it, or forget it. And oh yeah, the balance can be decreased arbitrarily without notice.

Sounds stupid, right?

It is, and that's the best deal they offer. You'll probably pony up for the same thing multiple times. Sounds like a sweetheart deal for them, doesn't it? That's right, say it with me:

They Are Scamming You

They want you to pay for a restricted license to play a downloaded file that can be remotely deleted at any time. Then, if you lose it and want another copy, they will act like they have no record that you already paid them for it; as if an accounting system is some technically insurmountable pipe dream. That's stupid, they already have every purchase on file and have probably already sold your data ten times over.

Really, they are lying to you and are just looking for an excuse to charge you money.

You should not be doing business with someone like that, who fundamentally mistrusts you and is not willing to give you control of what you pay for. So because the content provider no longer trusts you, you must no longer trust them.

The Old Way
This wasn't always this case. 15 years ago, if you purchased an audio CD, you were permitted the following:
  1. The right to duplicate and convert.
    You could copy the CD onto a cassette or CD-R for personal use and archiving.

  2. The right to device agnosticism.
    That CD would work in your car, handheld player, boombox, and home stereo system. They were not keyed to a class of system and were fundamentally generic.

  3. The ad-free right.
    As a quid-pro-quo for your money, you could enjoy the CD without arbitrary advertisements.

  4. The right of merchantability.
    If you mailed in a damaged CD in case, many record labels would send you a new copy for a nominal fee, ensuring you that you wouldn't have to double-pay to re-access what you already purchased.

  5. The right of satisfaction.
    Many music stores permitted you to listen to the entire CD in the store prior to purchase or even return it if you simply didn't enjoy it.
You Get Nothing For Your Money
In the digital age, all of these rights will ideally (in the eyes of the provider), be removed; because there is a fundamental culture of distrust.

Fortunately, there is still one mechanism that guarantees you such rights.

Piracy Is The Answer
Piracy gives you the consumer confidence you have become accustomed to in the 90s that the content provider refuses to offer in the internet age:
  1. You can backup the content freely in the way of your choosing.
  2. You can enjoy the content on future technology or any existing one.
  3. The content is pure and functional. It comes without restrictions or advertising.
  4. The content is readily replaceable.
  5. If you are not satisfied, you can revoke ownership of it without any fear of an unrecoverable monetary loss.
Until the content providers give you the same guarantees in the digital age that they gave in the physical one, they will not be offering a product worthy of your time or money so there is no reason to give them any of it.

So, for a product you can trust in, become a Pirate today.