Hi humans. Tip of the Day: If you are going to bother all your classmates and send out a mass email asking if someone can send you notes from lecture because you were absent, at least remember to include in the email for which class you need notes. Or else one of your classmates is going to take a screenshot of your email, post it on his blog, and call you a failure. The Daily Post at WordPress.com Topic #284: What is the best way to tax people? Countries around the world use different approaches. Which do you think is best? Or should their be no taxes at all? What does it mean for everyone to pay their fair share? I think the best way to tax people is to place taxes on goods that are strictly for luxury or pleasure, similar to how the United States government implemented heavy taxes on cigarettes. Although Iâm fine with various taxes like income tax and property tax, I donât think itâs a good idea to have a consistent tax for sales. Sales tax in my region ranges anywhere between 6% and 9%, and I believe it is mostly consistent regardless of what it is that you purchase. For example, someone purchasing necessary basic food like bread and rice to feed their family pays the same amount of tax that someone purchasing a gaming system does. I think it would be helpful to increase the taxes on entertainment and reduce the taxes on necessities. Something Iâve heard about in the past is to also have a variable tax on types of foods. Having a higher tax on unhealthy foods, such as foods with high sodium or unsaturated fat content, would encourage people to save money and purchase healthier foods, allowing the government to spend less money on paying for peopleâs hospital bills when they get heart attacks from eating too much sodium or fat. I think that everyone paying their fair share of taxes means that peopleâs contributions to the government are on a variable gradient scale that is adjusted based on how fortunate they are. If someone is so poor that they are unable to pay for their own familyâs survival, they should be taxed less as long as they are showing a directed and focused effort on making money. If someone is so rich that theyâre not sure what to do with their own money and instead go around wasting it, they should be taxed higher. On a slight variation, if someone is rich but they are using their money for a good purpose (such as donating it to organizations that fund advancement projects), they should be taxed less because they are already using their money for the greater good.
Hi humans. My brain feels like it is going to implode. I just spent a few hours today attempting to implement a Most Commented feature into the Badger Herald website (for my new readers who donât know already, I work there as the web director). And I failed. When the former web director designed the website, he made the CSS so complicated and so unnecessarily complex that plain code being inserted into the website becomes so extravagantly formatted that it would drive anyone crazy and stop all levels of productivity. If you are unable to see for yourself, the Badger Herald uses Disqus for commenting, and Disqus comes with widgets where I can stick in the provided code into our website and itâll automatically fetch all the most commented articles from our website and put them in a list. The list contains the headline of the article in medium-sized text, and contains meta data with the number of comments and the date of publication in small-sized text. When I put this on a random page on my website to test it out, it worked perfectly fine and the meta text was about 70% of the size of of the headline text. When I transferred the exact same code onto the Badger Heraldâs website, the size of the meta text became about 250% of the size of the headline text. I opened up our .css file so I could figure out what was causing this to happen, and realized that the .css file is 34 kilobytes. I copied and pasted the content into a word processor and it ended up being 14 pages. I gave up on it because I felt as if it would be a waste of my life reading through 14 pages of ridiculous code. So if you ever end up working for me and have to program something under my management, and your project involves either me helping you or me programming in collaboration with you, donât write stupid code like that.
Hi humans. If you read my blog post from yesterday, you know that my parents came to visit me for the first time since I left for university this academic year (which was a few months ago). In addition to bringing me food, they also brought me two pots for me to use with my range. I didn’t originally have one because I didn’t know I was going to have a range in my studio, as I didn’t have one last year. So I tried using the range for the first time today using one of the pots that my parents brought me, and noticed that my range is one of those spiral heating pads that glows red when it’s hot. In other news, I have to get a book called Elementary Forms of Religious Life by Emile Durkheim for my classical sociological theory course. I usually don’t like buying books because we usually end up not reading the whole thing, and instead read tiny excerpts from all over the book. For me, it’s especially a waste of money because I get free printing (or, if I print excessively, then it’s not free but still cheap) so I can get an electronic version and print it myself, and print only the pages that I need for the class. Unfortunately, for Elementary Forms of Religious Life, I haven’t been able to find a free version online. I’m not sure if it’s past its copyright period yet, and it’s possible that it might not be, which is why I’m not able to find it online, but if any of you are able to find it online and would like to email it to me (or send me a link to it), it would be greatly appreciated. If you do, I’ll give you a shout-out in a future blog post.
Hi humans. I took my quiz in sociological theory this morning, and my tough week is officially over. Unfortunately, that still doesnât mean Iâll be pumping out good content yet; my parents visited me for the first time today since I left for university this academic year, so Iâve been with them since my last class today. However, this does mean that I wonât go hungry anymore because my mom brought me tons of food. Then again, I didnât ever go hungry in the first place because thereâs a Jimmy Johnâs right across the street from my apartment, and whenever Iâm hungry, I can go there and get myself a sandwich. … Iâm not sure where Iâm trying to go with this. Iâm going to go to sleep now.
Hi humans. I just got back from taking my zoology exam, and I’m proud to say that I believe it was a great success. So far this week, I’ve finished writing a paper and taking two exams. Now all I have left to do is take a small five-question quiz tomorrow morning, and one of the most torturous weeks of the semester is over. I’m still a bit too tired to write a good blog post, and I’m a little bit dazed. So dazed that in the past hour, I’ve accidentally opened Microsoft Word 2010 eight times because I am unable to click properly. I can’t go to sleep yet because I still have to do some last-minute reading for tomorrow’s quiz, but after that, I’m going to take a long nap. … Actually, I’m going to take a long sleep.
Hi humans. Exam tomorrow. Need to study. Bye.
Hi humans. If you read my blog post from yesterday, you know that I’m busy and don’t have time to write long blog posts this week; for today’s blog post, you can read the paper I wrote that was due yesterday. My Homework for Your Reading Pleasure This is a paper I wrote for my classical sociological theory course about the contemporary relevance of one of Karl Marx’s theories. The topic I selected was world domination by robots; I titled it “Robot-pocalypse.”
Weâve all seen it in science-fiction movies, and we joke about it all the time â the day that robots take over the world. Are we advancing our technologies at such an accelerated rate that before we know it, we are going to create a race of robots smarter than us? According to research done by Patrick Cox, co-editor of Technology Profits Confidential, the amount of technological advancement we have had in the past 50 years is roughly equivalent to that of the previous 5,000 years (âThe Daily Reckoning: The Lightning-Fast Pace of Technological Advancement,â 2011). At this exponential speed, we will be creating new technologies within the next few years that we would have never even dreamed about a decade ago. But is this concept of an over-advancement of technology something that came about recently as a result of people noticing that we might be dooming ourselves, or were we destined to face something along these lines anyway because of the way our society was built? Using the theories of Karl Marx, one can argue that because of the way the United States is structured in such a capitalist manner, the concept of robots taking over the world is not outlandish fiction, but instead is something that is very possible. In addition, Marxâs theories regarding the relationship between a worker and a machine explain what would cause us to become susceptible to falling to a robot army in the first place, and his theories regarding the emergence of communism explain the tipping point that causes us to finally lose control of our own creation. I mentioned that we have lately been advancing technologies at rates never seen before. Why is this? According to the capitalist theory of Marx, a capitalist is called such because (s)he attempts to maximize his/her capital. An easy way of increasing capital is to find a deal when exchanging commodities with others such that the value of the commodity being given is produced with less labor-power than the value of the commodity being received. Now would be a good time to define labor-power. Labor-power is the amount of labor that was put into creating a single commodity for exchange. Because it is difficult to find a method of describing many items with one common definition, we look at the source of the items â how they were produced. Labor-power describes the amount of time an individual invested in creating a particular item, averaged with all other instances of the creation of the item by all other individuals. All items for exchange have some sort of time invested in the process of producing it, so labor-power becomes a good way to define items in a standardized manner. If a capitalist was trading with another capitalist, a fair trade would be defined as exchanging two items that have equal labor-power values. For example, if a capitalist offers an item containing one hour of labor-power, that capitalist should receive, in return, a different item that also contains one hour of labor-power. If the trade is uneven, it is in the best interest of the capitalist who is at a disadvantage in the trade to refuse it, as (s)he can produce the desired item his or herself, and have additional time left over to produce even more goods. But what if it was not apparent from the trade that one capitalist was benefiting from the exchange? If a capitalist offers an item containing one hour of labor-power, (s)he is unlikely to receive an item containing two hours of labor-power. But, as stated above, the value of each commodity is determined by the average amount of time it takes for an average individual to produce the item. If the capitalist is able to create an item that is known to contain two hours of labor-power in only one hour, (s)he would successfully be able to trade it and receive, in return, an item containing two hours of labor-power. Overall, the capitalist would have effectively gained one hour of labor-power simply because (s)he was able to save one hour of production while making his/her commodity; this gain is them materialized through the process of exchange. Thus, it is in all capitalistsâ interests to develop a means of production which allows the production of commodities within a shorter period of time. In the search of this new means of production, capitalists experiment with tools and machines. There are limitations that humans have, both physically and mentally. For example, a capitalist might not be physically agile of mentally knowledgeable enough to expedite the production of a particular item. However, because the desire to make more money still persists, means of improving production efficiency are created, and machinery is born. Now, with machinery, instead of spending tedious hours constructing an item, a capitalist can set a programmed machine to do the work for him/her in a fraction of the time it took before. This is how we got started advancing technologies and constructing machines, and this is the reason why we continue to do so today. Unfortunately, it is not only one capitalist who takes advantage of this method of efficiency, and before you know it, capitalists all over the nation are coming up with advanced technologies to shorten the time it takes to produce commodities. As mentioned before, the labor-power value of a commodity is based off of the average time it takes to produce the item; if many capitalists are saving significant amounts of time on producing goods, they, collectively, will bring down the average labor-power by an equally significant amount. Sooner or later, all the capitalists will neutralize the effects of their machinery because so many of them are using it. Afterwards, rather than a capitalist with machinery being at an advantage, it instead becomes a capitalist without machinery being at a disadvantage. Like before, the motivation to continue making more money still exists. Now that machinery becomes a necessity rather than a luxury, capitalists turn to another source of income â workers. According to Marxâs theory of surplus value, by taking advantage of workers, a capitalist can create an environment in which laborers are receiving wages totaling less than the value of the output they are producing while working. For example, a laborer might receive $60 for six hoursâ worth of work. However, from the capitalistâs perspective, the laborer is able to pay for his/her own work in only three hours. The laborerâs output in the remaining three hours goes straight to the capitalist as profit. Essentially, by employing a laborer, the capitalist makes $60 to pay the laborer and $60 to keep for his or herself. There is a side effect to this system of work. In order to optimize profits, capitalists employ large number of laborers and exploit them to maximize personal gain. This leads to the workers becoming estranged because they are under constant control by capitalists and because they cannot keep what they create (which creates a disconnection between the action and reaction). This puts them in a situation where they feel dehumanized and vulnerable. On top of that, because of the prevalence of machines, laborers are frequently instructed to operate machinery as their job. Because of the complexity of the machines, they are able to run on their own at their own pace, and rather than the laborer controlling the machine, the machine now controls the laborer. This is the first sign of people becoming submissive to machinery. Now we switch over to a more general view of the structure of society. According to Marx, a society will progress from one stage to the next through the advancement of the modes of production. As stated before, the advancement of modes of production is rapidly occurring as capitalists attempt to maximize their profits. Once the modes of production reach a particular breaking point, the society can progress to the next stage. This continues until the separation between the capitalists and laborers in capitalism becomes so great that communism emerges. In communism, the division of classes subsides and a single, large class forms. Marx states that a key component of this happening is the fact that the laborers must have a revolution after reaching a point where they have nothing to lose. Having nothing to lose implies that the laborers have already lost everything and have been stripped down to the extreme. Once communism takes over, the capitalists are brought down to the laborerâs level. However, all the machinery that was created by the capitalists still exist in their previous state. In a hypothetical situation, it is possible that, in the near future relative to the modern day, capitalists create extremely advanced machinery with artificial intelligence. Looking at the current status of capitalism today, capitalists still have enough time to advance technologies such that this hypothetical situation is possible. Although the chasm in the distribution of wealth between the wealthy and poor is widening, there are still many people who would not choose to revolt because they still have possessions they can lose. According to Marx, once this difference reaches a maximum (and, hypothetically, at that time, we would have extremely advanced machinery), the United States will revert to a social structure of communism. The capitalists will lose control of all their wealth and become a part of the new âregularâ class. But, the machines will not change. Because the capitalists have been brought down to the level of the estranged, susceptible, and vulnerable workers, who have already been controlled by the machines for years, there is nobody remaining who can maintain control of the machinery, and a take-over by machines becomes inevitable with time. In summary, the idea of machines and robots taking over the world is not an original idea from science fiction authors, but instead is implicitly outlined very clearly by the theories of Karl Marx. With the combination of the constant desire to advance technologies, the use and exploitation of workers, the submission of laborers to machines, the conflict among capitalists and laborers causing communism, and the continued retention of the level of technological advancement, a robot-pocalypse becomes a very real threat to our world.
Hi humans. I am about to face a very difficult week. I had a paper due today, I have an exam on Tuesday, an exam on Thursday, and a quiz on Friday. That means that most of this week will be spent studying and not writing long blog posts. To compensate for this lack of updates, I will instead give you a picture of soy sauce that crystallized because I accidentally left it out on the counter on a plate overnight. And this is a random sentence to end my blog post, because when I publish this, the excerpt on the home page will say “Read More” and if I don’t add something extra to the end of this blog post, there will be nothing more to read and people will get disappointed at me.
Hi humans. While I was chatting with a buddy today, I mentioned that I would be right back because I was going to cook a pizza. My buddy asked if I had an oven in my studio, and I replied that I didn’t, and that I had a mini-oven. She was curious to see exactly how I cook a 12-inch pizza in a mini-oven, so here’s what I do. First, I take out a pizza from my freezer and remove the packaging. Next, I rip the pizza into four pieces. I rip it instead of cutting it with a knife because if I use a knife, I would have to wash it, and I want to minimize dishwashing. After that, I take two of the chunks and place them on an oven plate such that the round portions are facing inward and the ripped corners are aligned with the edges of the oven plate. Then, I stick the two chunks of pizza in the mini-oven and cook it for 10 minutes at 450°F/230°C. Finally, after the first two chunks are done, I repeat the last two steps with the other remaining two chunks of pizza, this time cooking them for 9 minutes. My tendancy to come up with ideas on how to do everyday tasks with limited resources is how I’m able to live such a minimalist lifestyle.
Hi humans. I went to my workplace’s office today to meet with my deputy, and for dinner, we went to Taco Bell. I recalled seeing a Taco Bell advertisement on my website advertising the XXL Chalupa, so I decided to try it. I wasn’t able to click on the advertisement for more information because I’m not allowed to click on the advertisements on my own website, but I’ve had Chalupas before so I had a feeling that this was going to be good. Apparently, it comes in a box (and I’ve never seen anything from Taco Bell come in a box before.) Just by looking at the box, you might think that the Chalupa really is extra-extra-large. But when I opened the box, I was slightly disappointed. They could have made the box about half its current height and it still would have had plenty of space to fit the XXL Chalupa. So I concluded that the Chalupa isn’t XXL, but maybe just a regular L, or possibly XL at the most. And yes, I know that my mouse is low of battery. That’s because my deputy and associate always forget to put it in the charging port after they’re done using the office computer.