Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Mining the Solar System

There's been lots of talk here lately over off-world property rights (oh! the joy at writing such a thing. surely we live in the Future) since Planetary Resources' announcement that they will attempt to prospect and mine a near-Earth asteroid. Being the money-grubbing Objectivist who believes that God designed creation for His glory and the benefit of Man, I think that our terrestrial governments ought to defend the claims of private parties operating in space. Yet there are facets of international law, such as the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, which seem to deny private property claims under the idea that the cosmos are the "heritage of mankind".

So, what say you? Should we allow or encourage private claims in space? What kind of unintended consequences could flow from one action or another?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Political Bits: Federal Tax Schemes

The nature of our Federal government's tax collection scheme is the latest hot-button topic for Republican presidential hopefuls Hermain Cain, Rick Perry, and Ron Paul. All three espouse variants on the Fair Tax, a universal and simplified tax code wherein every citizen making or spending money is taxed equally. With all the jiggering with tax rates and whether or not to tax incomes directly or some items but not others and on an on I have to ask: Why should the Federal government tax citizens directly? If our Constitution mandates a Federal Republic composed of sovereign States then why can't the Federal apparatus get its funding by skimming off the top of State tax receipts and Federally-regulated commerce?

Such a revenue program could tax each State at a certain percentage of its income and thereby leave individuals to only deal with State and local taxes. This would transform the problem of certain groups paying very little in taxes into a State issue to be dealt with on a level the common man can have a hope of influencing. The inevitable drop in Federal revenue could be countered by having States deal with their own internal issues using internal resources; in essence this will force State governments to stop being inept and for the National government to become more federal in its dealings.

So am I on to something here or is the idea too far out of left field?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Tech Bits: 2009 VStar 250 Review

In my pursuit of motorcycling it's become obvious that I'm not typical of the folk who participate in this sport. The average American views a motorcycle as a luxury akin to personal watercraft; in my hands it is the cheapest way to get from point to point. As such I'm more concerned with economy and real-world utility rather than mountains of torque, dragging my knees, open exhausts, and handlebar tassels. With this in mind I now offer my first review of motorcycle gear, starting with my well-used 2009 Yamaha VStar 250.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Notable Bits: The Art of Manliness on Frugality

The Art of Manliness is a fantastic site full of advice, stories, and how-to's dealing with being a gentleman in this modern age. Here's a recent article listing tips on beating debt.

Win the War on Debt

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Motorcycling: How I got started

"You'll shoot your eye out, kid!"

We all remember this wonderful bit of encouragement from "A Christmas Story". Ralphie wants his Red Ryder BB gun and keeps running against a brick wall of perceived danger. It was a similar experience when, in October 2009, I declared that I wanted to learn to ride a motorcycle: "You'll crash! You'll be run over! It's a suicide machine! You'll be a road crayon!" went the loving words of family and friends. As luck would have it I even had a Ralphie moment where I low-sided my aunt's Honda Rebel in a turn at around 10MPH exactly a week before I was to take the MSF course (I have the best luck).