February 26, 2008

Ten Commandment Test

Here it is, the Ten Commandment Test. This is how I fair, not very well. Yet another reason to be an Atheist, all Christianity can offer me is hell and damnation. Let's hear it Johnny: "Neither is God in the least bound by any promise to hold them up one moment; the devil is waiting for them, hell is gaping for them, the flames gather and flash about them, and would fain lay hold on them, and swallow them up." Damn. Ha!
  • I am the Lord your God - An auspicious beginning. But at least it's ok, just read this. 0 points.
  • You shall have no other gods before me - Technically I follow this one, but only vacuously since I don't have any gods. While this may follow the letter of the commandment, it certainly doesn't follow its spirit. 1/2 point.
  • You shall not make for yourself an idol - No way, unless that coca cola bottle counts. I mean, I am a capitalist, right? 1/2 point.
  • You shall not make wrongful use of the name of your God - God damn, I'm horrible. 0 points.
  • Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy - I'm in grad school, I never know what day it is. But even if I did, I surely wouldn't keep the sabbath holy. I'm not even sure when the sabbath is. Oh that's why, it depends on who you are. Can my sabbath be never? Then I could keep it holy, but wait, in that case I wouldn't remember it. I lose either way. 0 points.
  • Honor your Father and Mother - I got this one down. 1 point.
  • You shall not murder - A winning streak. 1 point.
  • You shall not commit adultery - Once again, I follow the commandment but only vacuously. Should I be praised for never punching George Bush in the face? Well, I've never had an opportunity, although if I did...perhaps adultery is similar. 1/2 point.
  • You shall not steal - Like I said, I'm a capitalist, right? An illustrative excerpt from the Enron Tapes: "Stealing? Nah. It’s f***ing capitalism, man. First we manipulate the energy flow, they start rolling black outs, prices go up and then we capitalize on it. That’s why they call it capitalism. Stealing is when you get caught." 0 points.
  • You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor - I'm good at this, even though they are *GASP* inter-racial. Shhhhh. 1 point.
  • You shall not covet your neighbor's house - I live in Southern California, of course I covet my neighbor's house. At my current stipend, I would have to put my entire pay check in the bank for 48 years to make enough money. A recipe for covetation. O points.
  • You shall not covet your neighbor's wife - See above. Shhhhh. 1 point.
Final score: 5 1/2. What does this say about me? For those of you in advanced math, there are more than ten commandments here, what's the deal? I don't want to be accused of being a catholic bigot, so I included all of the commandments, regardless of denomination (Jewish, Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Reformed, etc.). They all have ten, but they each get to pick and choose the best ones. I would take numbers 2, 3, 6, 7, and 8, the ones I scored high in. That way I would be moral, and could go to heaven, and spend eternity with religious fundamentalist. That's my idea of utopia.

February 24, 2008

Two in a Week

Raining in Riverside, sunny in the desert. So depressing to wake up to the dreary weather, but those oldies (nudies?) in Palm Springs were hording all the sun. Yet another reason to leave Riverside, and lord knows there are many.

But the point, I sent another V11 today, the Lamprect Problem (SP?) over by Pigpen. This must be one of the first few ascents, I know this problem isn't repeated often. I think I was special made for this one though. It's always refreshing when those route skills of mine come into play - I got 6 kneebars on this little boulder problem.

Sorry there aren't any photos, this is a left over shot from last weekend in Bishop, courtesy of Johnny. Hey, like I said, this morning was depressing with the rain, and depression leads to forgetfulness, forgetfulness to lack of a camera. Or so I'm told.

[UPDATE] - I hear from a reliable source that this is likely the second ascent of the problem. Not bad, especially since the FA was over five years ago.

Business Ethics

While teaching business ethics these last few months I've had time to think about the idea that the moral obligation of a corporation is to make money for its stockholders. I'm pretty damn liberal, so obviously I disagree with this idea, but trying to formulate a strong argument is tough. Luckily, I don't think I have to.

What would you say about someone who acted entirely selfish, who was only looking out for his own self interest? This person might help another on a rare occasion, but only because it also benefited him in some derivative way. You would morally censure this person, call him bad, selfish in the derogatory sense of the word, not the type of guy you want to have around.

Now imagine a government that was only concerned with its own well-being and didn't care about the lives of its citizens above and beyond what was necessary to stay in power. I suppose such a government isn't too difficult to imagine, there are a number of ready examples such as North Korea, perhaps the old government of Afghanistan, dictatorships around the world. These are bad governments, they aren't fulfilling their moral duty to their citizens. This is not the type of country you would want to live in.

Thoughts such as these, and there are more, lead me to think that no moral entity should be solely concerned with its own self-interest. However, there is one entity, corporations, that many argue should act to achieve the single goal of profits. The common idea is that corporations are obligated to pursue returns for their stockholders, that this is there sole moral responsibility. Employees, suppliers, society as a whole - all are means to achieve this end.

I've read the arguments in favor of this conception of the moral duty of the corporation, and they are simply shit. This isn't to say there aren't good arguments out there, just that I haven't seen any in all of my readings. But the point is that we probably shouldn't expect such an argument. Why would corporations differ so fundamentally in their moral obligations from individuals, governments, or any other social organization. This would make the corporation entirely unique, the only moral entity with a single self-serving obligation - to make money.

When a theory has a consequence that appears counter to what would be expected from looking at similar cases, some explaining is certainly in order. A theory of gravity that has gravity as a force of attraction in every part of the universe except Pluto needs a story as to why Pluto should receive special treatment (because it is sad from being kicked out of the planet club). This shifts the burden of proof over to the proponent of corporate america's current view. It isn't that I need to come up with a knockdown argument against such a view, but rather it is up to the corporation to prove its point. The original position should be that corporations, like individuals and governments, are obligated to others, must look out for the well-being of others, and any deviation from this must be explained.

What are the thoughts? Anyone want to be an asshole like Milton Friedman?

February 23, 2008


I've been around, oh you know it's true, and Bishop is easily in my list of top five most magical places in the world. The high desert, the snow, the boulder for scaling, god damn, I love it. Guess where I spent last weekend? Seeing old friends, climbing old rocks. Who've we got, a list:
  • Justin, bear tracker, all around great guy, living at home.
  • Peter, tall, funny, gangly, and tall.
  • Shannon, finally putting that MS in Aeronautical Engineering from Stanford to good use, that is to say, no longer working in a climbing gym (but still living at home, ha).
  • John, our lovely photographer, a gentleman's gentleman, with the demeanor of an English valet.
But in terms of sendage, there was some love coming from the rocks. Peter got 2/3 of his projects (goes to show what can be accomplished when you don't set your sights too high? Breathed air, the trip was a success). Shannon had a five minute epic flash of the Arch Druid (V5), as seen in the photo below. Justin...I think he got Soul Slinger (V8/9), but I'm not too sure because I was too busy being into myself.

Why's that? Because I was the star of the trip of course, absconding with Already Forgotten, my second V11. It's a traverse in the Cave Boulder in the Buttermilks, long, kneebars, my style. I also did Devoted, a V9 slab, because that's just how I am. But the photo of the trip belongs to me. Climbing the Leary-Bard Arete (V5), looking grizzled, looking good. By the way, check out how hardcore I am these days. Wouldn't want to run into that in a dark ally, now would you?

Think I'm biased? take a look at other takes on the trip here and here, two shameless ripoffs of my blog template.

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February 22, 2008

Milgram Experiment

This is fascinating. All it takes to make the majority of people electrocute someone to death is to be told to do so by a man in a lab coat. This is a recreation of the classic Milgram Experiment, in which subjects are told to shock a person if they get the answer wrong, all in the name of science. There really aren't any shocks, but an actor is making it sound like he is getting electrocuted. Most people give enough electricity to cause death.

Watching these people struggle with whether or not to continue with the electric shocks is difficult, up there with those sex scenes in the movies you would watch with your parents growing up. You kind of look away, but you are totally into it. And I've got to say, why is the word for frying someone with electricity a combination of "electro" and "cute?" I feel like digi-pets (remember those!) are electro-cute, but murder is electro-asshole.

So the question: would you have gone all the way to 450 volts? I think I might have.

February 21, 2008

Feynman Bongos

I've been horribly neglectful of my blog here (does that make me a bad person?) To make amends, I give you Richard Feynman on the bongos, one of the greatest minds of the last 100 years, and all he wants is some orange juice.

February 05, 2008

Molesting Wax

I'd never really thought about it before, but wax museums let you molest anyone you want, dead or alive. My goal was to make out with Madam Curie, I always thought she would be all hot an skinny because of the radiation poisoning, but this place wasn't nearly that classy. I made due.

Madam Tussaud's Wax Museum in Las Vegas, the place where dreams come true that you never knew you had. Like snorting coke with James Brown, or giving Larry King a wet willy. Who knew a spitty finger in the ear could still keep one's interest, I thought they had gone the way of Zubaz, fun to reminisce about but good for little else.

I towered over Prince doing the opening scene from the official 1999 video, replacing purple with kick. And, as you have already seen, I twitched Benjie's little nips, that naughty diplomat/inventor/sex machine.

Who knew such wonders awaited at a wax museum? Did I desire such things before I entered, or did the place stir up secret passions that have always dwelt within? Perhaps we shall never know.

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