Ronald Brak

Because not everyone can be normal.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I Don't Understand

I saw the latest Harry Potter movie. What I don't understand is why the paseltongue language of snakes has phenomes that require lips to pronouce.

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I don't know

RONALD: How can we tell if a computer is conscious?

BRAK: I don't know.

RONALD: How can we tell that humans are conscious and not biological automatons?

BRAK: I don't know.

RONALD: How can we tell if a computer is sentient?

BRAK: I don't know.

RONALD: How can we tell if humans are sentient?

BRAK: I don't know.

RONALD: How can we tell if a computer has a soul?

BRAK: I don't know.

RONALD: How can we tell if humans have souls?

BRAK: I don't know.

RONALD: Well then, don't you think that asking if a computer can be conscious or sentient makes as much sense as asking if a computer can have a soul?

BRAK: I don't know.

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Sunday, December 12, 2010

There's gold in that there moon!

NASA, in its infinite wisdom, recently smacked a big chunk of rocket into the moon and examined what got blowed up. It was called the LCROSS mission. It appears that besides water there is gold on the moon. As a result, what with todays high gold prices, some people have suggested that it should be mined. Unfortunately even at today's prices it's still not worthwhile to mine the gold and send it back to earth. To get around this is has been suggested that the gold could be mined and then left on the moon and certificates of ownership could be sold instead. This would have the advantage of making the gold very resistant to theft. However, I don't think this plan will take off as a viable business model:

SALESPERSON: Care to buy a lunar gold certificate, sir?

CUSTOMER: What's the difference between this and a normal gold certificate?

SALESPERSON: It's just like a normal gold certificate, except that if you want the gold, you have to go to the moon to get it.

CUSTOMER: Err...I think I'll pass on that.

SALESPERSON: But it's just as good as a normal gold certificate!

CUSTOMER: Except for the whole moon thing.

SALESPERSON: But it doesn't matter! Hardly anyone ever hands in their certificate for real gold.

CUSTOMER: But the fact is I could if I wanted to, which is sort of the point. No one is going to buy lunar gold certificates when they can get a normal earth one for the same price.

SALESPERSON: How about I give you a discount?

CUSTOMER: By giving a discount you are making it obvious that it is not as good as a normal gold certificate. And how much of a discount do you think you would have to give for it to become worthwhile for people to buy them? Let me give you an earthly example. Would you want to buy a gold certificate that represents the gold in a billion litres of sea water? After all, the gold is definitely there, it's just really hard to get to, just like your moon gold. Currently, just like with sea water, the cost of collecting your gold is more than the gold is worth, this means your lunar gold is worth nothing.

SALESPERSON: Well then, can I interest you in some helium 3 futures, or perhaps some Czarist bonds, or possibly a time share on a nice bridge in Brooklyn?

CUSTOMER: No thanks.

SALESPERSON: If you cut me in, I could shift some of those sea water gold certificates for you...

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Friday, December 03, 2010

Economics without Illusions by Joseph Heath - A Canadian who loves light bulbs, but knows them not!

Joseph... can I call you Joseph? Of course I can. I mean, that's your name. It would be pretty silly if I called you Esmeralda. Anyway, Joseph, I have to tell you, you're a really wonderful guy and you've written a great book. I love you man... but not physically.

I just thought I should mention the not physically part because I know Canadians tend to be a very touchy feely people. When I was young I once sat next to a Canadian during dinner and she continuously bumped against me, poked my shoulder, grabbed my arm and so on. There was so much physical contact that by the time we finished dessert I decided that this must be what having sex is like. (Lots of nasal sounds with some cheesecake at the end.)

Anyway, I just want to say that you've written a great book, Joseph. But, and it pains me to have to say this... well, no, actually it doesn't pain me. Probably because I bear a marked resemblance unto a big prick who thrives on pedantry. But anyway, you say you are very fond of light bulbs, but while you may love light bulbs, do you truly know them? I think not, Joseph. I think not.

You say that in a cold clime such as Canada the inefficiency of incandescent light bulbs is of no import, as the waste heat merely goes towards heating the home during the 27 months of the year when it's fricking cold in Canada. But that's where you're wrong, my philosophical friend. You see, I did my research by asking a hallucination, and it said that many Canadian homes have some form of heat exchanger which performs a much more efficient job of warming Canadian domiciles than electrical resistance heating ever could! This means you are WRONG to say incandescent light bulbs don't waste energy! Or at least you are wrong provided my hallucination was telling the truth. And even if a Canadian home doesn't have a heat exchanger they often have fuel oil or natural gas central heating which is about three times more efficient at providing heat than an electric lightbulb powered by fossil fuel generated electricity!

But aside from that, great book. Very interesting. I liked it.

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