Rewarding Behavior

I think it’s a general rule that over time people tend to do what they are rewarded to do, often despite finding the behavior initially repulsive. Rewards will find their own justification. So what is being rewarded today? Here’s one answer, from a Zero Hedge post to which I’ve added some snazzy interpretive graphics:Looting

What does this say for the future of society?

Best Amazon Quote Ever

“That’s because Amazon, as best I can tell, is a charitable organization being run by elements of the investment community for the benefit of consumers.” From Slate: Amazon Profits Fall 45 Percent, Still the Most Amazing Company in the World

Maybe they should start a bank too.

Happy Non-Denominational Holidays!

Best wishes to everyone as you reflect on the presence or absence of whatever deity or deities you deem necessary, in whatever way you see fit, however, barring all acts that are harmful to others, whether they are, including but not limited to, godless heathens, infidels, blasphemers, the unclean, abortion doctors, believers in one of those other obviously ridiculous religions, someone who has sex in ways you find disgusting, a speaker of some other language, a foreigner, or even female.


Holiday Rerun – The Assault on Human Variability

This was originally posted in March, barely one month after I started this blog, so hardly anyone saw it. A rebuttal to the redefinition of normal in mental health.

The Assault on Human Variability

Feel free to print it out and flog a school administrator as necessary.

An Ode to Personal Responsibility

Attitudes are a major determinant in achieving success or failure in any endeavor, and attitudes about responsibility for what happens to you are among the most important. Take this short quiz to assess yours.

Whose fault is it if:

  1. Your commingling broker loses your money?
  2. Your spouse takes all of your money and runs?
  3. You do a good job but get fired anyway?
  4. Your family irritates the hell out of you?
  5. You are hiking in the wilds of Alaska and a refrigerator falls from the sky and hits you?

I have no idea what the epistemological answer is to those questions, but the best answer is that it’s in some way your fault in every case. Not because it’s 100% true, or 100% your fault, or even something over which you could ever hope to have control; but because acting as though it could have been your fault will more often lead to success than assuming it couldn’t have been.

If you assume nothing is your fault, you forego any chance of improvement. Things you can control will be overlooked and your life will be a rudderless ship. On the other hand, if you assume you are responsible for everything that happens to you, no opportunities to improve your lot in life will be missed. It doesn’t mean you’ll be able to take advantage of them all, but you’ll always have the chance to try.

All discovery is made by trying to answer something that can’t currently be answered, so in analyzing what is in reality uncontrollable, there is always the possibility of discovering something new. Something which could have been controlled, or that may apply in another situation. Acting as though you have control will also make you feel better, since even the illusion of control has been shown to lower stress levels. [1]

It’s all about considering the possibilities. Is having a heart attack your fault? It might be entirely in your genes, but it’s a question worth considering as you polish off that double bacon cheeseburger before having sex with your mistress. [2]


[1] Control Your Life, Help Your Heart

Rats Develop ‘Illusion Of Control': Experience Sculpts Brain Circuitry To Build Resiliency To Stress

[2]  Men who cheat on their wives more likely to die of a heart attack

Who’s Da Man? A Summary of Executive Orders

After reading this piece on Zerohedge about the Obama administration drafting a new Executive Order covering “internet security,” I became curious who was the most prolific in handing down these unilateral edicts. Here are the results (data courtesy of the Federal Register):

President Years Start End Total Per Year
Barack Obama (2009-Present) 4 13489 13623 134 33.5
George W. Bush (2001-2009) 8 13198 13488 290 36.3
William J. Clinton (1993-2001) 8 12834 13197 363 45.4
George Bush (1989-1993) 4 12668 12833 165 41.3
Ronald Reagan (1981-1989) 8 12287 12667 380 47.5
Jimmy Carter (1977-1981) 4 11967 12286 319 79.8
Gerald R. Ford (1974-1977) 3 11798 11966 168 56
Richard Nixon (1969-1974) 5 11452 11797 345 69
Lyndon B. Johnson (1963-1969) 6 11128 11451 323 53.8
John F. Kennedy (1961-1963) 2 10914 11127 213 106.5
Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953-1961) 8 10432 10913 481 60.1
Harry S. Truman (1945-1953) 8 9538 10431 893 111.6
Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933-1945) 12 6071 9537 3466 288.8
Herbert Hoover (1929-1933) 4 5075 6070 995 248.8
Average from 1862 to 1928 67 0 5074 5074 75.7

With Congress granting increasingly unlimited power to the administrative branch there’s clearly a diminished need for executive orders in recent administrations. However, it’s still an administratively inconvenient, and needlessly expensive, process. So, to save the time and money of issuing future orders, I suggest the following for number 13624: “The Office of the President can do, or order to be done, whatever it wants, whenever it wants, wherever it wants, to whomever it wants, and any individuals involved in these acts, whether directly or indirectly, shall not be subject to criminal or civil penalties in any jurisdiction, whether in office or after leaving office.”

Our leaders know what’s best for us, and are doing all they can to achieve that goal, so there’s no point in making them jump through pointless hoops to get it done.