Free Riders (or How to Get Rid of the Deficit)

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Thursday, December 31, 2009 | Published in

I've had a lot of time lately to do some recreation reading so I've been trying to bone up on Game Theory. You know, "the study of the ways in which strategic interactions among rational players produce outcomes with respect to the preferences (or utilities) of those players, none of which might have been intended by any of them". Just some light reading to keep me busy, nothing big. Anyways, I came upon the interesting concept of the Free Rider Problem. As Chris Firth put it:
Ernst Fehr has studied more complex economic games – called Common Good Games – in which many people play together. If everyone cooperates by putting their own money into the system, then everyone gains. But there are always a few people who behave unfairly. These are the free riders, players who realize that they can benefit from the fair behavior of other people without needing to donate any of their own money. Once free riders appear in the group, people gradually stop cooperating. Even the most generous player doesn’t see why she should go on supporting someone who is putting nothing into the system. As a result the group finishes up with less money than they could have gained with full cooperation. (emphasis mine)

This all sounded very familiar to me. Then it hit me! The Teabaggers are the Free Riders in our society. They are people that want to reap the benefits of living in a collective society without having to put in their share of contributions. They want to evade paying taxes while enjoying public roads, parks, police, firefighters, clean water, etc. But wait! There is a solution to the Free Rider Problem.
This is where altruistic punishment comes in. Ernst Fehr and Simon Gächter allowed players to punish the free riders. This was altruistic punishment since it cost $1 to punish another player, but that other player lost $3. When this punishment of the free riders is possible, then cooperation in the group steadily increases and everyone gains.
So there you have it. All we have to do is convince the government to sell permits to legally bop Teabaggers over the head with foam weapons. People would line up around the block for an opportunity like that. And just think, if we sell enough of them we can finally get rid of that nasty multi-trillion dollar deficit hanging over our heads. It's just crazy enough to work!

Happy Holidays to You

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Thursday, December 24, 2009 | Published in

Hope you have an enjoyable Christmas with your family. Eat, drink and be merry. Love those around you. And all of that stuff.

Substance Dualism

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Wednesday, December 23, 2009 | Published in

There is an unwritten rule around here that I have to post every single video by QualiaSoup as it is released, so here is his new one about Substance Dualism. You know, the unevidenced belief that there is more to the universe than just the physical. Good stuff.

RAW on Discordianism

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Monday, December 21, 2009 | Published in

Here is another fantastic Youtube clip on Robert Anton Wilson. This time he explains Discordianism in 7 minutes. Hail Eris!

Corporate Demonology

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Saturday, December 19, 2009 | Published in

I can't be the only one who sees the Corporate Demons haunting my work. Every large work place has a couple of demons hidden in the shadows, ready to eat the souls of the less fortunate.

At my work place right now there is this vicious demon by the name of Attainment. No one really knows who this particular demon is or what it looks like. It is said to live in either the forests outside of Cincinnati or in the ancient city underneath present day Atlanta. This demon has a nasty habit of shackling people to their work benches for almost half the day. For some reason it passes over those who arrive early but attacks those that come in later. Some say that it is related to another evil gremlin Efficiency or the just vanquished demon named Yield. There's talk that this demon will try to ruin Christmas eve for many people if its hunger isn't satisfied. Pretty ironic for someone that shares a parentage with ol' Santa Claus himself. (I've even heard in hushed tones that there is an even worse demon named Engagement that is trying to Attainment's place as rightful ruler.)

But the thing I've learned about these corporate demons, is that there is really no way to permanently get rid of them. Once one is locked back into its box, another appears. If it wasn't Attainment it would be Volume or Sustainability or even one of those really weird ones that just goes by a random string of letters like SOP. If I didn't know better I would say that the executive branch were skilled conjurers. Those aren't really meeting to go over the newest business plan. They are busy poring over grimoires, trying to find just the right spell to cast.

No, no. That would just be too crazy to think. There's no way that demons really exist. But just the same, does anyone know any good banishing spells? I need one before Christmas.

A Quantum Koan

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Thursday, December 17, 2009 | Published in

John sat underneath a cherry blossom tree one day with his Zen Master listening to a cuckoo bird that was sitting on a branch.

The Zen Master looked up from his mediation and asked John, "What is the purpose of the cuckoo's existence?"
Not able to come up with a suitable answer, John replied, "I do not know."

The Zen Master picked up a nearby stone and asked, "What is the purpose of this pebble's existence?"
Still not able to answer, John replied, "I do not know."

Finally the Zen Master asked "What is the purpose of your existence?"
John thought that it was a trick question so he again replied, "I do not know."
John then watched as the Master threw the pebble at the cuckoo, who quickly flew away.

And thus John was enlightened.

Discordian Hymnal #020

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Tuesday, December 15, 2009 | Published in

Let us all rise and open our Discordian Hymnal to Page #020: "Television, the Drug of a Nation" by Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy.

Jack Chick and Me

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Monday, December 14, 2009 | Published in

PZ Myers did the world a favor a couple of days ago and brought it to everyone's attention that there was a great documentary recently put out about (in)famous Christian tract artist Jack Chick. Here's a quick trailer for it:

A documentary about the nuttiest form of Christianity that features "Dr. Dino" Kent Hovind AND Ivan Stang, founder of the Church of the Subgenius? Sign me the fuck up! Of course I had a moral imperative to hunt down a digital copy so I could watch it as soon as possible.

I watched it tonight and I must say that I enjoyed it. It's obviously not for everyone. If you've never read a Jack Chick in an utter state of horrormirth then you should probably skip it. For the most part it is interviews with people who happen to be ironic fans of his work and people who have worked around Chick Publications over the years. His cult followers and his "cult" followers, if you will. The stuff with Ivan Stang was obviously funny. There were also some fun animated sequences that helped bring some of his tracts to life. There was no interview with Jack himself since he is extremely reclusive. (They mentioned that no picture has been taken of him since the 1940s) Overall they did a good job piecing together as much information as they could out of the sparse details they could gather about Jack Chick's life and works. They mentioned his humble beginnings in the suburbs of LA. His brief time in the military and fighting at the Battle of Okinawa. How he built his "publishing empire" from the ground up. The part I found most interesting was the conspiracy theorists that influenced him heavily in the 70s and 80s: John Todd, Alberto Rivera, and Rebecca Brown.

I guess the main reason I have this morbid curiosity with Jack Chick is because I grew up around people who believed a lot of the stuff he was preaching. I was the member of a Methodist church as a teenager and I remember seeing Chick Tracts around all of the time. Hell, Rebecca Brown did most of her preaching less than 40 miles from where I am right now. I couldn't help but end up with Jack Chick Shrapnel in my brain.

Then again, it is hard not to see Chick Tracts everywhere. According to the film there have been three quarters of a billion tracts published in 100 languages over the last fifty years. He is easily the most published comic book author in the history of the world.

The scariest part of the movie for me was when Kent Hovind pointed out that Jack Chick has probably converted more people to Christianity than anyone in history. And I can't think of anyone that would come close to him. Maybe Billy Graham, maybe Emperor Constantine if you want to stretch it. That scares me because the Christianity that Jack Chick believes in is the most twisted version you could think of. Just as dogs start to look like their owners, gods look, think and act exactly like their owners. The god of Jack Chick is paranoid, vindictive, bigoted and seems to hate 90% of His creation. In Jack Chick's universe there are evil demons around every corner ready to posses unsuspecting teenagers. Witches covens meet on a regular basis to listen to rock n' roll music and sacrifice babies. Satan controls everything on this planet including the Catholic, Mormon and Jehovah's Witness churches. (Don't even get him started on the Muslims.) He's even attacking your children through Dungeons n' Dragons and corrupted science with evolution. To make matters worse, at The End God decides to throw everyone who doesn't say the Magic Words into a Lake of Fire for all of eternity. In essence, it is Christian through the prism of a paranoid schizophrenic.

Kinda makes you glad that Jack Chick's god doesn't exist. Haw haw haw.

Sky Cake

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Saturday, December 12, 2009 | Published in

Here's an amusing clip by Patton Oswalt on the origins of religion. In case you've never seen Patton Oswalt before, yes it is NSFW.

h/t to Unreasonable Faith

Musings of a Faceless Man

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Tuesday, December 8, 2009 | Published in

Looks like we've got yet another Discordian book to add to the collection. And this one may be the fairest prettiest one ever. Roaring Biscuit did an interesting mashup of selected works from the Black Iron Prison with some of his original stuff plus some amazing artwork. So, go over to Scribd. Read it. Stare at the pretty pictures. Download it. Find a color printer. Share it with your friends. Rinse. Lather. Repeat.

Musings of a Faceless Man

Zoom. Zoom. Zoom. Hopeful embedding it here won't mess up the site like last time...

I Am Not...

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Sunday, December 6, 2009 | Published in

The easiest way to sleep at night is to carry on believing that I don't exist - Thom Yorke

I want to let you in on a little secret... I don't really exist. I know, that makes me sound crazy. If I don't exist then who is sitting here typing these words? Someone who is not.

I don't exist because existence implies a finished work. Existence means "to be". But I am not. I am becoming. I am changed from one second to the next. The mind is not a static being. Every new input changes the circuitry. At every moment my body is dying and being reborn. Every morning someone new is in my mirror. I will never be completed until I take my last breath.

Sacred Chao Te Ching, Chapter 32
Chaos cannot be labeled,
Because it contains all labels.
Therefore, all definitions are incomplete.
It's Gödels, all the way down.
Order and Disorder unite,
And Illusion slips into Chaos.
When people learn language, labels begin.
With labels, one should know when to stop.
Knowing when to stop, the wise spags see the Illusion;
And are free to create as they see fit.

Likewise no human can be contained in mere words. I am not the sum total of all of the labels that are attached to me. There is no box that can contain me. There is no program to map a person. There is no conceivable way to finish the sentence "I am..." I am not and I never will be.

Meet the Fatheads

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Wednesday, December 2, 2009 | Published in

Ok, I'm still alive. Somewhat. Kinda. Sorta. Still busier than a one legged man in a ass kicking contest though. To tide you over here is one of my favorite clips from a NickToon ever. This is roughly half of an episode of Rocko's Modern Life where the writers decided to go the meta-surreal route and just openly mock themselves. Fun times! And still funnier than anything SpongeBob has ever done.