Monday, November 26, 2012

Inflation-adjusted revenues/outlays for federal government

See table 1.3.


Be pretty if you are,
Be witty if you can,
But be cheerful if it kills you.

If you're so evil, eat this kitten!

Friday, November 23, 2012

"I said, 'Ye are gods'"


This thought may be of interest to you.


---------- Forwarded message ----------

Hi J.,

Remember how you were reading your way through the Old Testament the other year? I know you like the whole context to things; do you mind if I share with you some of the most interesting parts of the scriptures, and some associated cultural/historical/scriptural context that goes with it? Form your own opinions of course, but I'll give you what information I can.

One scripture that almost nobody seems to know about or talk about is in Psalms 82. It's not really clear who wrote it or when--it claims to be written by Asaph, King David's court musician--but someone thought it was important enough to include in the Hebrew Bible, and it reveals an interesting attitude toward human beings: we are "gods" ("elohim" in Hebrew, literally "powers", from "el" = "force" and "im"=pluralizer).

Psalms 82:1-8 God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods. How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked? Selah. Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy. Deliver the poor and needy: rid them out of the hand of the wicked. They know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness: all the foundations of the earth are out of course. I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High. But ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes. Arise, O God, judge the earth: for thou shalt inherit all nations. [emphasis added] [BTW, I'm not sure what Selah means, but I think it's a musical term of some sort.]

What is especially interesting about this scripture is that Jesus used it to win an argument which almost got him killed. In John 10, Jesus is in the middle of teaching some fairly radical things, including claiming God for his father, when the Jews accuse him of blasphemy. They weren't stupid--they understood that claiming kinship is claiming similarity; the potential to grow up to be like one's parents. So to them claiming God as his father was basically claiming to be a God, which was blasphemy to them. Jesus basically responds, "Hey, in your own scriptures it calls all of you gods (without approving your conduct). How then can it be blasphemous for me to merely say I'm the son of God, which I actually am, when he sent me and commanded me to teach you in his behalf?" Since they couldn't win the argument, they just went back to trying to kill him. Funny, huh? :)

John 10:23-39 And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon's porch. Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me. But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and noman is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. 30 I and my Father are one. Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God? If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him. Therefore they sought again to take him: but he escaped out of their hand,

What this says to me is that the King James translation of Psalm 82 is correct. There are people who will tell you that Psalm 82 is talking about angels, or false pagan gods, but if these people were right, Jesus wouldn't have used the scripture to win his argument. No, what Psalm 82 says is that we, human beings, are the offspring of God and share his nature--there aren't separate things called "humans" and "angels" and "demons" and "gods". Rather, these are all the same fundamental kind of thing, and which one a given individual turns into in the long run depends upon the individual.

Maybe this is why we find stories about superhumans (Keanu Reeves in the Matrix, Castiel, Rand al Thor, etc.) so interesting: because we sense at some level that this is who we really are, if the scriptures are true--and they are. If you ask God, he will tell you so. He's your Father and you are his daughter, and he cares about you. It's true and I know it.

But my words don't mean anything. You have to ask for yourself, when you're ready. Good luck, be well, be happy!


Hahahahaaaa!!! That is ME laughing at YOU, cruel world.
    -Jordan Rixon

I could not love thee, dear, so much,
Loved I not Honour more.

Saturday, November 10, 2012



Two really cool factoids for you. (From


1.) The Gambler's Fallacy is something we can exploit as gamers. People assume that long streaks do not appear random, so when trying to "play randomly" they will actually change values more often than not. Against a non-championship opponent, you can win more than half the time at Rock-Paper-Scissors by knowing this. Insist on playing to best 3 of 5, or 4 of 7, or something. Since you know your opponent is unlikely to repeat their last throw, on subsequent rounds you should throw whatever would have lost to your opponent's last throw, because your opponent probably won't do the same thing twice, so you probably won't lose (the worst you can do is draw).

2.) There's a variant of the Gambler's Fallacy that mostly applies to sports and other action games. The Hot-Hand fallacy is so called because in the sport of Basketball fans started getting this idea that if a player made two or three baskets in a row, they were "running hot" and more likely to score additional baskets and not miss. (We even see this in sports games like NBA Jam, where becoming "on fire" is actually a mechanic that gives the player a speed and accuracy advantage… and some cool effects like making the basket explode in a nuclear fireball.)

When probability theorists looked at this, their first reaction was that each shot is an independent event, like rolling dice, so there's no reason why previous baskets should influence future ones at all. They expected that a player would be exactly as likely to make a basket,regardless of what happened in the players' previous attempts.

Not so fast, said Basketball fans. Who says they're completely independent events? Psychology plays a role in sports performance. Maybe the player has more confidence after making a few successful shots, and that causes them to play better. Maybe the fans cheering them on gives them a little extra mental energy. Maybe the previous baskets are a sign that the player is hyper-focused on the game and in a really solid flow state, making it more likely they'll continue to perform well. Who knows?

Fair enough, said the probability theorists, so they looked at actual statistics from a bunch of games to see if previous baskets carried any predictive value for future performance.

As it turned out, both the theorists and sports fans were wrong. If a player made several baskets in a row, it slightly increased their chance of missing next time – the longer the streak, the greater the chance of a miss (relative to what would be expected by random chance). Why? I don't think we know for sure, but presumably there is some kind of negative psychological effect. Maybe the player got tired. Maybe the other team felt that player was more of a threat, and played a more aggressive defense when that player had the ball. Maybe the crowd's cheering broke the player's flow state, or maybe the player gets overconfident and starts taking more unnecessary risks.

Hahahahaaaa!!! That is ME laughing at YOU, cruel world.
    -Jordan Rixon

I could not love thee, dear, so much,
Loved I not Honour more.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


"My experience is that the situation is never so bad, nor so good as first reports indicate." -Sir Douglas Haig (World War I British general)

Hahahahaaaa!!! That is ME laughing at YOU, cruel world.
    -Jordan Rixon

I could not love thee, dear, so much,
Loved I not Honour more.