Marshall Sutherland
Any etiquette mavens around here? A card is going around for a co-worker to celebrate a legal name change from David to Amy. And, yes, there are lots of other changes involved as well. "Congratulations" used to be a faux pas to say to a bride. Apparently, "Best Wishes" is preferred over "Good Luck" in a wedding situation. Are there similar conventions with regard to gender change? After working together for 12 years, I don't think she will be offended by anything I'd say, but I'm trying to put forth some effort to do it right.
Alexandre Hannud Abdo
Perhaps the one thing she's really looking forward to read in these cards is "Dear Amy,".
Marshall Sutherland
It could be worse. We could be Japan. Of course, 10 years from now, we might be.

Sovereign ManSovereign Man wrote the following post Tue, 20 Mar 2018 13:25:18 -0400
Japan is so broke that its prisons are full of 80+ year old ‘felons’
‘Mrs. F.’ was 84 years old the first time she ever went to prison. Her crime? Petty shoplifting. She stole rice, strawberries, and cold medicine. She served her time. Got released. Then shoplifted again so that she’d go back to prison. She’s now 89 years old serving out another 2 ½ year sentence, not too far away from where I am right now, at a women’s prison about 60 miles outside of Tokyo. She’s not the only one. One in five female prisoners in Japan is senior, almost all of whom have been convicted of petty crimes like shoplifting. This is no accident. Elderly women in Japan are economically vulnerable. […]
View article
Marshall Sutherland
Does anyone else get emails like this:
Hi! I saw an article on your site about XYZ. I wrote an article about XYZ on my site, too. Come read it and tell me what you think

When I ignore them, I get 2-3 iterations of "Did you see this email I sent you recently?"
James Lamentus
the bots are smart today :-)
Marshall Sutherland
I wonder what would happen if I send different sorts of replies.
"Tha's for sharing. That was an awesome article!"
"Your article sucked!"
a random block of text, like some spam contains to mess with spam filters
James Lamentus
try  to answer in Russian (using a translator) :-D
Marshall Sutherland
Sovereign ManSovereign Man wrote the following post Mon, 19 Mar 2018 11:40:44 -0400
At $21 TRILLION, the national debt is growing 36% faster than the US economy
Well, it happened again. On Friday afternoon, the national debt of the United States hit another major milestone, soaring past $21 trillion for the first time ever. Clearly that is an enormous number… it’s actually larger than the size of the entire US economy, which is pretty incredible. But what’s always been the more important story about America’s pile of debt is how rapidly it’s growing. For example, in the span of a SINGLE DAY, from Thursday to Friday, the national debt grew by $73 BILLION. In a day. To put that number in context, $73 billion is larger than the size of most major companies like General Motors, Ford, […]
View article
Haakon Meland Eriksen (Parlementum)
Here you go - The Real Owner of the U.S. Debt Will Surprise You


The U.S. national debt is owned by Social Security, the Fed, and foreign investors. Here are all the major owners.
Alexandre Hannud Abdo
Interest on the debt could become the single largest item in the budget.

Welcome to the third world. It was about time the American elites found a way around having to tolerate America the country, given what they've been doing with America the continent.

(Which "America" in "American elites" is left ambiguous on purpose. They don't really have any affiliation.)
Marshall Sutherland
Social Security was already a Ponzi scheme. When you add into the mix that it has to invest any surplus in an organization which would be considered bankrupt if it had to play by normal business rules, I don't know what to call it.
Marshall Sutherland
The Urban Monk Podcast : Where's My Driverless Car? with Guest Eric Noble
Autonomous cars hold a lot of promise. Imagine if we could reduce or even fully eliminate automobile accidents due to road rage, drunk driving, or distracted drivers. Imagine if rush hour traffic was no more! Imagine the time you could get back to nap, read, or talk more intently with someone on the phone if you didn't have to drive! These are some of the various promises made by the concept of a self-driving car, but how realistic are these promises? On this episode Pedram Shojai welcomes Eric Noble from The Car Lab to discuss the advancements auto-makers have been able to make and how much further we still have to go before we get a fully autonomous car that allows us to take a heavy duty nap on the road. What are the technological limitations? Are we sure we'll be able to overcome these barriers? What sort of time frame can we expect before everyone is able to afford a self-driving car? Are there legal barriers to self-driving cars? How long before we can expect everyone to have a driverless car?
Marshall Sutherland

5 Reasons Not to Feed the Russian Troll Hysteria
by ReasonTV on YouTube

The conventional story is that Russian trolls infiltrated the 2016 election with fake social media ads. But according to details from a February 2018 indictment of those trolls, it's unclear how much of an effect they actually had.
Marshall Sutherland

Gary Taubes on How Big Government Made Us Fat
by ReasonTV on YouTube

The attack on fatty foods, in favor of carbohydrates, contributed to rising rates of obesity and diabetes.
Marshall Sutherland
Peak ProsperityPeak Prosperity wrote the following post Fri, 16 Mar 2018 19:03:59 -0400
Russia Did It!
Russia Did It!


Our lives are now fraught with easily-disproved fantasies, frauds and fictions being pushed to us through the media by institutions with deliberate agendas trying to engineer specific outcomes.

Those of us with a pragmatic mindset and an ability to recall (even quite recent) history, often find ourselves with mouths literally agape at the obvious deceptions being foisted upon what appears to be a terminally-gullible public.

Why do so many continue to blindly trust the same government agencies that have brazenly and repeatedly lied to them over the past recent years?

Join the conversation »

Image/photo Image/photo Image/photo Image/photo
Marshall Sutherland
It is the 65th anniversary of Douglas Adams' birth

Douglas Adams - Wikipedia


Douglas Noel Adams (11 March 1952 – 11 May 2001) was an English author, scriptwriter, essayist, humorist, satirist and dramatist. Adams is best known as the author of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, which originated in 1978 as a BBC radio comedy before developing into a "trilogy" of five books that sold more than 15 million copies in his l...
Marshall Sutherland
I should have done the math myself rather than believe Neil Gaiman.
Mike Macgirvin
Adams and Belson had one daughter together, Polly Jane Rocket Adams, born on 22 June 1994, shortly after Adams turned 42.

What an interesting number.
Marshall Sutherland
Helen Pluckrose and James Lindsay on the Enemies of Modernity | EconTalk | Library of Economics and Liberty

Helen Pluckrose and James Lindsay talk with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about their essay on the enemies of modernity. Pluckrose and Lindsay argue that modernity--by which they mean democracy, reason, and individual liberty--is under attack from pre-modern and post-modern ideological enemies. They discuss why modernity is under attack and encourage people on the political left and right to support modernity.

I particularly like the discussion later in the show about the state of political discourse. The guests' essay, which is the focus of the conversation, contains the following graphic, which I also like:

Marshall Sutherland
This is the essay discussed, which I am in the midst of reading right now.

A Manifesto Against the Enemies of Modernity - Areo

This document is very long and detailed so a brief bulleted summary is provided below for those who don’t have the hour it takes for a careful read.

  • Modernity, in terms of the views and values that have brought us out of the feudalism of the Medieval period and led us to the relative richness and comfort we enjoy today (and which are rapidly spreading around the world), is under threat from the extremes at both ends of the political spectrum.
  • Modernity is worth fighting for if you enjoy and wish others to enjoy the benefits of a first-world existence in relative safety and with high degrees of individual liberty that can express itself in functional societies.
  • Most people support Modernity and wish its anti-modern enemies would shut up.
  • The enemies of Modernity now form two disagreeing factions — the postmoderns on the left and the premoderns on the right — and largely represent two ideological visions for rejecting Modernity and the good fruits of the Enlightenment, such as science, reason, republican democracy, rule of law, and the nearest thing we can claim to objective moral progress.
  • Left-right partisanship is the tool by which they condemn Modernity and continually radicalize sympathizers to choose between the two warring factions of anti-modernism: postmodernism and premodernism.
  • A “New Center” centrist position is well-intended, represents most people’s politics, and cannot hold. It is naturally unstable and reinforces the very thinking that perpetuates our current state of what we term existential polarization.
  • Those who support Modernity should do so unabashedly and without reference to relatively minor partisan differences across the “liberal/conservative” split. The fight before us now is bigger than that, and the extremes at both ends are dominating the usual political spectrum to everybody’s loss.
  • Modernity can be fought for, and it’s probably what you already want unless you’re on the lunatic fringe of the left or right.
  • Alexandre Hannud Abdo
    However, at least from the outlines, these articles seem to ignore that it is not only, or really, a lunatic fringe that is attacking modernity. The powerful are probably the ones most responsible for this attack, for rationality oriented towards freedom would not allow them to concentrate as much power as they have. It is in the elites' interest to undermine modernity. And they usually do this by employing rationality as a smokescreen, diverting it's purpose from individual freedom to their own interests, and by fostering the lunatic fringes to scare everybody else into buying into their rationality even if it is not directed towards freedom at all.
    Marshall Sutherland
    I don't recall if they came right out and said so, but I suspect they would consider many of those in power to exist on the fringe. They certainly talk about those on one side pointing to the fringe on the other side and trying to say that was representative of the entire other side. So, even if those in power aren't actually on the fringe, they are willing to play that game to help keep themselves in power, which would squarely put them in the anti-modernity camp.
    Marshall Sutherland

    Poker Champion Annie Duke on Making Smart Bets in Life, Politics, and Football
    by ReasonTV on YouTube

    "Life is poker, not chess," says Annie Duke, a former professional poker player and the author of a new book, "Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don't Have All the Facts." Chess is a game of skill with "very little luck involved," while in poker good decisions and good outcomes often don't go together.

    Duke cites Seattle Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll's decision in the 2015 Super Bowl to call for a pass play that was intercepted. Since the interception rate in situation like this is about one or two percent, it was a good decision that didn't work out. In football, like life, humans are prone to draw the wrong conclusions from situations involving bad luck.

    "We go around and we change our decision making because we've evaluated the quality of a decision based on one outcome," says Duke. "Try and cordon yourself off from the outcome [and] recognize the uncertainty of the future."

    Reason's Nick Gillespie sat down with Duke to discuss life, chess, poker, football, and why we can all benefit from exposure to dissenting opinions.
    Marshall Sutherland

    Rhode Island Wants to Tax Pornography | Sovereign Man

    The government hasn’t yet figured out how to tax having sex. But Rhode Island at least wants to tax pornography.

    Yes I’m serious.

    It starts with censorship: two Rhode Island state senators just introduced legislation that would require Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to block all “sexual content and patently offensive material.”

    We have no idea, of course, what is considered “offensive”. But in an age of cry-bullies where even the word “man” offends delicate university students, we can only imagine this covers a lot of ground.

    Rhode Islanders could then unblock this ‘offensive’ content with a written request, presentation of government-issued ID which proves they’re over the age of 18, and then making a one-time payment of $20.

    Internet Service Providers must collect the money and send it to the Rhode Island Treasury every quarter.

    Enforcing this law rests solely on the shoulders of the ISPs. If they fail to respond to reports of unblocked pornography or sexual content, they will be fined $500 for each instance.

    We can only begin to image what other genius ideas these politicians will come up with next.
    Marshall Sutherland
    Diet DoctorDiet Doctor wrote the following post Thu, 08 Mar 2018 07:40:37 -0500
    Massively important: A unique opportunity to change the US Dietary Guidelines
    Massively important: A unique opportunity to change the US Dietary Guidelines

    For about 40 years, the US government has advocated a high-carb diet (to needlessly lower intake of natural saturated fats).

    During the exact same time period, we’ve suffered an unprecedented epidemic of obesity, type 2 diabetes and related diseases. In a few decades, the prevalence of obesity has tripled in most countries, and the rise in type 2 diabetes is even more extreme. This epidemic started in the US, but has spread around the world, as most nations has followed the US with the same high-carb diet advice.


    Moderne science shows that high-carb diets can be negative for people’s weight and blood glucose levels, especially when containing sugar and refined carbs like our modern Western diet. Low-carb diets regularly show better results for weight loss (demonstrated in at least 31 RCT studies). Modern science also disproves the failed ideas behind the war on natural fats.

    Now, we have a unique opportunity to right this wrong, to stop the epidemics of obesity and disease, to make the world a healthier place.

    There’s now an opportunity to reform these obsolete and failed US dietary guidelines. This could mark a critical point to change the future of the entire world, as other nations tend to follow the lead of the US.

    You could make an important difference.

    Last week the US government announced that for the next version of those guidelines, in 2020, it will focus on selective topics that need to be reviewed in light of updated science. This list of topics – amazingly – includes both the low-carbohydrate diet and saturated fats, The USDA has asked for public comments on these topics. Please submit yours!

    The deadline is just a few weeks away – March 30th. Many people supporting these obsolete fat-phobic and carb-heavy guidelines will likely comment, so more updated views need to be represented as well. Please participate and help change this. It can make a huge difference for us all.

    Here’s how to quickly add a comment, or encourage others to do it via your Facebook or Twitter account:

    Nutrition Coalition: How to submit a public comment on the Dietary Guidelines

    Thank you!

    The post Massively important: A unique opportunity to change the US Dietary Guidelines appeared first on Diet Doctor.
    Marshall Sutherland
    Rising interest rates will be devastating to the US economy for one big reason

    The single most dramatic effect of today's rising rates is the interest we will pay on our national debt.

    Let's engage in some grammar school math. Take the CBO estimate of debt held by the public of $16.5 trillion in 2020. A 5 percent average interest rate on that amount comes to annual debt service of $825 billion, an unfathomable amount. (In 2017, interest on the debt held by the public was $458.5 billion, itself a scary number.)

    Here's the danger:

    According to the CBO, individual income taxes produced $1.6 trillion in revenue in fiscal 2017.

        Under this 2020 scenario, one-half of all personal income taxes will go to servicing the national debt.
        Annual debt service in 2020 will exceed our newly increased defense budget of $700 billion in FY 2018.
        Annual debt service would equal our Social Security obligations.
    Marshall Sutherland
    Five Steps to Crystal Clear Thinking – Hacker Noon

    I recently asked my friends and fans what they wanted me to write about.

    One question came up a bunch of times:

    How do you think better?

    At first that surprised me. Isn’t it obvious how to think? Then I realized no, it’s not.

    We’re not taught how to think anymore, only what to think.

    Big difference.
    Haakon Meland Eriksen (Parlementum)
    Too bad he did not take his own advice.
    Alexandre Hannud Abdo
    Marshall Sutherland
    No, There Will Not Be Any Civil War In America – Caitlin Johnstone – Medium

    No, an American civil war will not be permitted to happen. But those who rule over you benefit from your believing that it might.
    Alexandre Hannud Abdo
    Marshall Sutherland
    Since I have reposted articles referencing "tulip mania"...

    Tulip mania: the classic story of a Dutch financial bubble is mostly wrong


    Bitcoin is being compared to tulips, but I researched tulip mania for years and found no evidence of mass bankruptcies or economic meltdown.
    Marshall Sutherland
    Harvesting the Sun for Power and Produce – Agrophotovoltaics Increases the Land Use Efficiency by over 60 Percent -  Fraunhofer ISE


    Dual use of land is resource efficient, reduces competition for land and additionally opens up a new source of income for farmers. For one year, the largest APV system in Germany is being tested on the Demeter farm cooperative Heggelbach.
    Paco Menzar Bien
    Ummmmmm, % of plot cover by PV?.I think it's a start but it can be improved, go ahead. In fact, here it is usual to use shading blankets "mallas de sombreo" to avoid excess irradiation in some crops
    Marshall Sutherland
    Sovereign ManSovereign Man wrote the following post Mon, 05 Mar 2018 11:03:01 -0500
    This may be the dumbest thing that any politician could ever do…
    This may be the dumbest thing that any politician could ever do…

    Week before last, I told you about how the brand-new President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, made an impassioned speech calling for the confiscation of real estate from white land owners.

    It was a pretty remarkable thing to say during what was literally his first week in office.

    You’d think the new president would take the opportunity to address more immediate, more critical issues– for example, the fact that Cape Town is about to run out of water.

    I’m serious.

    Cape Town, the second largest city in South Africa (and the most well-developed on the African continent) is about to become the world’s first major city to run out of water.

    The city is experiencing its worst drought in a century, one that has dragged on for more than three years. And its various dams and reservoirs are at historically low levels.

    Local residents are already being rationed, including having their showers limited to two minutes.

    But even with the rationing, Cape Town is still just weeks away from running out of water.

    You’d think that would be at the top of the government’s list, given that their own idiotic policies caused this problem to begin with.

    But no.

    Social Justice has once again won the day over common sense. So they’re prioritizing the confiscation of white-owned land over critical water supply needs.

    A few days ago, they took this a step further and actually passed a law authorizing the expropriation of land without compensation.

    Their next move is to form an official committee to manage the process.

    Now, South Africa obviously has a painful history regarding race.

    And this issue of land ownership goes all the way back to the earliest European settlers who took land from the natives– something that President Ramaphosa called “original sin.”

    The government’s objective is to correct this centuries-old injustice by taking land away from white owners and giving it back to its ‘original’ owners… ostensibly the descendants of native tribes.

    But here’s where things become completely ridiculous. Let me give you a hypothetical example…

    Let’s say a white landowner has a large property in eastern South Africa.

    Even if he’s only owned the land for six months, he’s still going to be blamed for four centuries of imperialism… so his land will be confiscated by the government.

    That sounds like a nice dose of justice!

    But who will become the new owner?

    One of the dominant tribes in eastern South Africa is the Zulu people. So perhaps the South African government will carve up the land and give tiny parcels to members of the Zulu tribe.

    But then again… the Zulu tribe conquered that region centuries ago after a bloody war with the Ndwande tribe.

    So perhaps the government should give the land to the descendants of the Ndwande instead.

    Except that the Ndwande had conquered the area from the Mthethwa Empire, who in turn had conquered it from the Pedi tribe (of which Julius Malema, another of South Africa’s political hot-heads, is a member).

    Even the most die-hard Social Justice Warrior whose heart soars at the prospect of confiscating land from white people has to acknowledge the absurdity of stealing property from the descendants of one conqueror and giving it to the descendants of another conqueror.

    And, even if it were possible to accurately determine the ‘rightful’ owners of the land, and even if the prospect of forced redistribution were a good idea, can we really trust one of the most corrupt governments in the world to fairly and transparently execute the program?

    Or is there just a teeny, tiny possibility that maybe, just maybe, all this confiscated land will end up being owned by government cronies?

    Another important point is that a lot of this land that the government wants to confiscate probably has quite a bit of bank debt.

    Imagine– you just bought a farm for, say, 50 million rand (that’s about USD $3 million). And in order to do so, you took out a hefty loan from a South African bank.

    Now the government comes along and steals your property.

    Are you seriously going to keep paying the loan?

    Of course not.

    This means that the banks are going to be stuck with massive defaults and bad debts, leading to a wave of bank failures.

    So in their crusade to bring Social Justice to South Africa, the government is effectively engineering a banking crisis in their country.

    This is criminally stupid behavior that puts South Africa on the same path that Zimbabwe followed in the late 1990s.

    And as I told you a few weeks ago, when I first reported about this land confiscation in South Africa, anyone who is dumb enough to follow Zimbabwe’s economic model absolutely deserves what they’re going to get.

    Marshall Sutherland
    Peak ProsperityPeak Prosperity wrote the following post Fri, 16 Feb 2018 19:58:13 -0500
    The Worst Threat We Face Is Right Here At Home
    The Worst Threat We Face Is Right Here At Home


    The Federal Reserve has done far more self-inflicted harm to long-term US interests than anything that Russia has been accused of, let alone been proven to have done. At this point, there’s no contest between the two.

    The worst threats we face are right here at home.