Friday Four

Friday, February 24, 2012

1. A blogger at Whitetail Software notes that "My Daughter Taught Me to Fail More":

... I was watching her run around the park a few days ago and I was struck by the way she moved around. Every rock, bump, and obstacle was a challenge waiting to be attacked in a haphazard order. If she fell down, she got up and tried again. In the face of persistent and certain failure she asks for help, but she will give just about anything a go before asking.
I have noticed the same thing about my eight-month-old daughter learning to crawl. (One has just about got to witness a baby learning to crawl to fully appreciate the complexity of this task.) I have found this inspirational in the same way.

2. Ubuntu seems to have arrived first at a convergence of desktop computing and hand-held devices that I believe Eric Raymond predicted some time ago.
[F]orget the office PC. Just dock your corporate phone and enjoy Ubuntu. Anywhere. One address book. One set of bookmarks. One place for your text messages and email. No more typing on a tiny screen when all you want is a keyboard and a mouse. Seamless integration of your desktop and mobile worlds. Brilliant.
This full-fledged version of Linux would operate alongside the phone's Android OS. Rather than replacing Android, it would kick in only when the user wanted full desktop functionality. Apple and Microsoft are also attacking this problem from their own angles.

3. At long last, I have begun reading my copy of Brian Phillips's Individual Rights and Government Wrongs. Even as an advocate of laissez-faire capitalism for over twenty years, I find that I learn something new every time I pick it up. For example:
[I]n Texas a licensing law was passed that requires computer-repair technicians to obtain a criminal justice degree or serve a three-year apprenticeship under a licensed private investigator...

Consider what this might mean in your life if you live in Texas. Suppose that your teenage neighbor offers to repair your computer. You know he is competent because he has built several computers for himself. You agree to hire him on terms that are mutually acceptable. The state of Texas however, would consider your neighbor a criminal because he has not obtained the required criminal justice degree. Who would be harmed by such a transaction? Not you. Not your neighbor. Not most of the other twenty-five million people who live in Texas and know nothing of your transaction. The only people "harmed" would be those computer technicians who do not want to compete in a free market. Restricting entry into a profession, and the higher incomes that result for those who are licensed, is the real motivation behind occupational licensing.
Examples of ludicrous regulations show up in the news media all the time, but the refreshing thing about this book is that it presents such information as part of a positive argument for capitalism that upholds that political system as both moral and practical.

Other endorsements and purchase information are available here.

4. He seems to be struggling to free himself of the common, mistaken notion that we are constrained by a "choice" between being self-sacrificial altruists and what Ayn Rand once called "lone wolves" that sacrifice others to self, but David Hornik is onto something when he says that, "Nice Guys Finish First. Eventually".

-- CAV Updates

: Added hypertext anchors.

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