I Moved To A New Mastodon Server

I got a new account on another Mastodon server here.

I am now on Universeodon. Originally I was on Mashead.social. For some reason they went offline in early March. There are a few posts about it on the Mastodon subreddit. Supposedly it is still in progress, but I have decided to stop waiting.

I saved the email address of the admin of the new server if I ever need to email them. I might donate some money to them. I will add them to the list of organizations I could donate to.

I have decided to save for posterity a few of my thoughts here since they are now lost to the ether. I was able to track down a few actual URLs, some others are from memory.

Robert Reich had a mast [Note 1] about how Norfolk Southern had spent $4.7 billion in dividends and buybacks in 2022, reduced its workforce over 20 years by 33%, and then when there is a derailment they act like there was no way to prevent it. I posted: @rbreich On one hand I agree, but I hate it when people equate divs and buybacks as the same thing. A lot of us are counting on dividend growing stocks to fund our retirement. Buybacks are just corporations going into debt to play games with money (usually to fund options for execs). Let’s go back to making those illegal.

David Gerard masted a link to an article by fellow no-cointer Amy Castor titled “Ethereum moved to proof of stake. Why can’t Bitcoin?” Short answer: Because the bitcon developers and miners do not want to. I posted: @davidgerard One of the definitions of “fiat” is “an arbitrary decree or pronouncement”. There are so many things about BTC that are arbitrary: block size, new block every 10 minutes, 21 million BTC total. And it was all made up by someone whose identity has never been verified. And now POW will not change until the miners allow it to. BTC people think BTC is objective, like calculus, but it is more fiat (in general sense) than “fiat currency” is.

Corrupt-o-currency is fiat, but they talk about it like it is some eternal truth, like calculus.

Another post was a link to a Vanity Fair article titled Inside the Dissident Fringe, Where the New Right Meets the Far Left, and Everyone’s Bracing for Apocalypse. It was about people moving out to the western states (Wyoming, Montana) because they think society is corrupt and about to collapse. Most of them were conservatives, or people who voted GOP or Glibertarian, so there was a lot more “Far Right” than “Far Left”; I guess Vanity Fair has to get on the “both sides” bandwagon. Here is one quote from the article: She is a proud conservative who views the corporate elite as enemies of America, and believes that we’re on the cusp of a populist uprising against the brand of transnational capitalism championed by Republicans for most of the last half-century. Typical. This is how conservatives think: Plan A did not work, so let’s double down on Plan A. Conservatives got us to this point; it wasn’t the hippies that wanted to close the factories and send jobs overseas. Another quote from her: [Her grandfather] was a devout Christian and actually cared about this country and wanted to build this country up. No lady, your “devout Christian” grandfather did not want to build this country up. He just wanted to kick people around. That is what devout Christians do.

Another thing: A lot of the people in that article think the issue is “globalism”, yet they support people like Trump and Bannon. Trump loves Putin, and he’s buds with MBS, Bolsonaro, Orban, Duterte, Bannon name-drops Modi. Isn’t that a form of globalism? Globalism to improve trade and make us more connected: bad according to these people. Globalism to kick around people they do not like: good according to them. And how “America-First” was Trump really? Trump talked tough against China, yet China gave Ivanka trademarks, and then Dolt45 said he would lift sanctions on Chinese telecom firm ZTE for working with Iran and North Korea. The Biden Administration has been tightening export restrictions on semiconductor manfuacturing equipment to China (see articles here, here and here). Yet a lot of people think Trump was tough on China and that the Biden family is buds with the CCP. Globalism to line the pockets of the Trump family: good, according to these people. Globalism to work with allies to isolate Russia or China: bad according to them.

I had a couple of others. One was where I posted that the problem with our current economic environment is not just that everything has to keep growing, but the growth rate itself also has to grow. Second derivative capitalism will be the end of us all.

Another post was that I think a big cause of problems in our society is not just the people who vote GOP because they are nasty racist and/or religious wackjobs. One big problem is the people who vote GOP “for the tax cuts”. They never seem to get in their heads that tax cuts are a part of the package. The grifting, the performance art, the incompetence, the nepotism, the racism, the religious nuttery: it is comes with it as well. On top of that, tax cuts never have the promised results. At the federal level, spending never goes down (perhaps they should try actually cutting spending before cutting taxes), economic growth is the same, and taxes never get simpler. At the state level, all you get are bad roads and four day school weeks.

Just like the last time, and the time before that.

Note 1: Yes, I know they are called “toots”, but that just sounds stupid. So why should you mast? Because it’s a blast.

Image of the flight from Egypt by Giotto di Bondone; image from Wikimedia, assumed allowed under public domain.

Now On Mastodon

Like many people distrustful of Elon Musk, I have an account on a Mastodon server. You can find it at https://masthead.social/@EFreethought.

I know some Mastodon servers have “themes”, like tech, or a geographic location, some are geared towards journalists, etc. I just picked one that would let me make an account. I read somewhere that it might be a good idea to make accounts on multiple servers in case one goes down. I guess I was thinking about how Mastodon is like Twitter, and not considering how it is different.

So far I am following three accounts: journalist Molly White who writes a lot about corrupt-o-currency, her project web3 is going just great, and blogger David Gerard, who has been mentioned several times on this website.

I also found out today Amy Castor and David sometimes post and comment on the Buttcoin subreddit.

I was never very active on Twitter. I might not be too active on Mastodon.

Daily Kos had an article about possible Twitter replacements in case Mastodon does not work out.

One thing about Mastodon is that I can see the toots of people I follow, but I do not know how to hide their re-toots or forwards. Or whatever they are called.

Honestly, calling them “toots” just sounds stupid. I want to call them “tweets”, even though it is not Twitter. Granted, I thought the term “tankie” was stupid, but I have been seeing it more lately, especially as the Russian invasion of Ukraine keeps going. Per the Wikipedia article, the term “tankie” has been around since the 1950s; I thought it was new.

I may or may not post some thoughts on Elon Musk. I have an outline that I started a while back. I have always wondered how he is able to run three companies. Given how he handled things at Twitter: it looks like he doesn’t. When there is chaos and drama (living in the factory, making cars in tents), he is running things. When things are smooth, he is not involved. I have read a lot of articles stating that he is just a figurehead and there is a layer of management devoted to preventing him from breaking things.

Big Jim was surprised there are not more paintings of Hannibal crossing the Alps; you have to be pretty determined to go through high mountains with elephants.

Image “Hannibal the Conqueror, Viewing Italy for the First Time from the Alps” by Francisco de Goya y Lucientes, aka “Goya” (1746 – 1828); image from Wikimedia, assumed allowed under public domain.

I May Add More Short Posts

I may start adding more shorter posts soon.

I would like to write longer posts. It makes me look smart. But I do not have as much time to devote to this as I would like. Or watching television. Or lots of other things.

But the urge for self-expression remains. I have a lot of small comments in text files that have been piling up for years. I would like to clean up some part of my life. I do sometimes read articles online at work and jot down notes and thoughts; sometimes they are enough for an entire post. But I do have a backlog that I would like to clear up.

Also I could react to things more quickly. However, there still might be some posts about events from a few years ago.

Also it would be a chance to look at more artwork. I try to find a painting or illustration for each post (usually they have nothing to do with the content). I have been doing some research into art from centuries ago, and I would like to keep looking into it.

Plus, I can’t let Joshua Spodek use up all the good words.

Big Jim has a lot of stuff to talk about.

“Christ Carrying the Cross” by El Greco (1541 – 7 April 1614), at El Greco’s site, assumed allowed under public domain.

Notes About Myself to a Penpal

A few times I have found pen pals on Craigslist. The first time was when I was thinking about moving to Austin, and I emailed with a few people to see what Austin is like. A few times I have answered ads in the “Strictly Platonic” section.

Sometimes women want to see a picture, which is odd for “Strictly Platonic”. Usually when I do that, the correspondence stops. (And yes, I send a picture of my face, not Little Elvis (aka “the purple-headed warrior”, or “the love muscle”, or “the master of ceremonies”)).

Here is one that I sent recently. This person wanted me to make up stuff about myself, but frankly I thought that was too much effort. Plus she gave me two different email addresses in two successive messages, which I thought was odd.

I am a WM, 4X. I am from Chicago and I have been here almost 5 years. I live in north Austin. I came here for a job in Taylor which did not last long. I now work as a software developer in south Austin. I don’t know if I will stay in Austin for much longer. One thing I miss about Chicago is that I did not need a car there. Plus Texas is hot. I knew it was hot before I showed up here, but it is really really hot. I find it amusing when people complain about how cold it is when it is 40 degrees. If I ever complain about 40 being cold, I will pack up and move north even if I have no job lined up. Perhaps more Texans should try the Wim Hof method.

I have a sister in Florida and a brother in New York. My brother has two kids, ages 3 (boy) and 4 (girl). I have long hair because my brother is bald and my sister-in-law has no brothers, so the only guy who can show my nephew that hair is an option is me. Granted, the last time I went he really only paid attention when his sister thought it was fun to jump on me. Perhaps this is all in vain.

I used to have my hair short. I would ask for “the George Clooney look” because that prevented me from having to answer a lot of questions. (To date none of them have laughed at me or told me I was delusional.) It used to be a guy could just walk into a barbershop and ask for a haircut. Now they want a detailed description. Asking for “the George Clooney look” mostly worked, until one barber/stylist asked me if I wanted “older George Clooney or younger George Clooney?” I drew a blank for a moment since the whole point of “the GC look” was to avoid questions.

I am also growing a beard to look like Sean Connery. However, I have also gained weight, and I have heard through the grapevine that people think I am starting to look like Jack Black. This was not my intent. If visiting my niece and nephew result in nothing but them pulling my hair and scratching my face, I may revise things.

“Self Portrait as Hamlet” by Eugène Delacroix  (26 April 1798 – 13 August 1863), available at Wikiart, assumed allowed under Fair Use.

New Page: Things Trump Says He Knows

I have a new page on my site: “Things Trump Says He Knows” (see 2021-07-22_22.18.52 update below).

I think Trump knows about manipulating people, lying and being a jerk.

He claims to be an expert in more topics than I think any human could possibly be an expert in. So instead of documenting all his lies, I will start a list of things that Trump claims to know, especially things he claims to know “a lot” about.

He made this claim a few times during the campaign, and he made it in his first speech to the CIA.

I say right now: I reserve the right to stop updating this page. Because Trump thinks he knows a lot about a lot of subjects. He thinks he knows so much, I just might say, “Trump, please stop knowing so much, I can’t spend all my time updating that page.” I’m sure we will get tired of him knowing things.

Just like he said his campaign would get tired of winning. And the CIA would get tired of “so much backing”. But someone else can make a page listing all the things he says we will get tired of.

2021-07-22_22.18.52 update:

I made that page, but never did much with it. Trump, like most conservatives, likes to think he knows everything, but really knows nothing. And, like most conservatives, wants you to know that even though he was the guy in charge, the fact that everything blew up is not his fault.

2022-02-17: I got rid of the page. I pasted the text below.

Donald Trump has claimed to know a lot about many things.

Frankly, I think all he knows about are lying, grifting, being a jerk and manipulating people.

But he says he knows a lot about a lot of things.

He claims to be an expert in more things than I think one person can know.

So I thought I should start keeping a list.

I am sure as we go forward, there will be more things to add to the list. Because in his mind, there is no limit to the topics he is an expert in.

To start, I only have a few. I think sometimes he says he knows something, and sometimes he claims to know “a lot” about it. So I will also track that.

  • Climate Change – Article from 2016-11-23, quoting Trump from an interview on Fox News in January, 2016. Level: “A lot”. Trump claims he has received environmental awards.
  • Hacking – 2016-12-31. Level: “A lot”. Are you sure it’s the Russians? I don’t think it’s the Russians. It would look bad for me if you think it was the Russians.
  • Solar – Article from 2016-12-05, quoting Trump from previous summer. Level: “A lot”. He says he loves it, then proceeds to tell you why he’s against it.
  • Science – 2018-10-17. He says that he knows climate change is a hoax because he has “a natural instinct for science”.
  • West Point – 2017-01-21. Level: “A lot”. This was during his speech to the CIA, in which he spent a lot of time complaining about media coverage of the inauguration


Image  from Wikipedia, assumed allowed under Fair Use. Painting “Witches’ Sabbath” by Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes, or just Goya (1746-1828). Goya should have his own website. He’s really a wonderful artist, very artistic in his art. Nothing to do with Trump.

More Changes and Pages on the Site

I will be doing things a bit differently from now on. I will still post, but I will be putting more content on pages going forward.

I had started a category of posts about my “fitness journey”, but I decided to consolidate that into a page. (Someday I will finish it.) I also have a page for my “dividend journey” (why I decided to go with dividend investing) that started out as a post. I think some things are better on one page than split over multiple posts.

I will make something a page if I feel that posts should be consolidated, or the post is very long. If I make a change to the page, I will make a post stating that I made a change (and add an artistic image as well).

The monthly dividend reports will still be posts.

Image from Wikimedia, assumed allowed under Fair Use. Painting by Nicolas Poussin (1594-1665).

I May Put More Posts On Atheist Nexus

I have accounts on Atheist Nexus and Think Atheist. I have put a few posts on those sites, usually posts dealing with atheism, religion and/or science. I am toying with the idea of putting every post on those sites just to help them get some content. It’s not that I think I am a great writer or deep thinker, but I think that a social network would benefit from more content.

I am not really into Facebook at all. So if I can help any alternative to Facebook survive and thrive, then I am all for it. Although I do find the Ning platform a bit awkward at times.

I don’t know how people will like having posts about other topics on there. But it might help dispel the idea that atheists can only talk about one topic. On the other hand, it is okay for a site to be about one topic.

Image from Atheist Nexus, assumed allowed under Fair Use

Site Updates 2013-12-26

I made a few updates to the site over the past few weeks.

I redid the Atheism/Skepticism pages. I think before the main page was blank, and there was a page for “Groups” which only had groups in Illinois, and a page for “Other States”. Now the main page has links to state-wide groups in other states, and there is now a page for Illinois groups and Texas groups.

I also added a couple of pages to the Lists section. I added a list of atheist podcasts and a list of podcasts about science. I have not listened to all of these. It is nice to have a list to reference when I want to hear something new.

I also have a page with a list of dividend ETFs. I might write a post soon explaining why I am looking at dividend ETFs.

Image from Wikipedia, assumed allowed under Fair Use

Update 2013-11-18

I have not had an opportunity to post much lately, and I might not post too much for a while.

I recently got a full-time job. I have been a contractor for nine months, and I accepted a full-time position. I am now travelling out to Idaho every week until January. So between working and travelling I may not have much time.

I am also having some issues going full-time. I am getting emails that I need to do some training, and I need to sign up for benefits and get a corporate credit card. I was not able to get into any of the sites to do these things. I called support, and the guy told me that I will have a different ID as an employee than I had as a contractor. I have not gotten any indication what the new ID is, or how or when I will get access to it.

I still have my company laptop, but I lost the power cord. So I might not be able to log in to get updates. I think I left it in Austin, but I am not too sure.

And today I was booted off one of my flights. I was supposed to leave for Phoenix at 3:25, but instead I got put on a flight that left at 6:45. I barely made it to the connecting flight to Boise.

An interesting note: Gabrielle Giffords and Mark Kelly were on the flight to Phoenix.

Image from Wikipedia, assumed allowed under Fair Use

Cleaning House

The main purpose of this site is just to give me a place to express myself, even though there is rarely anybody reading.

I have a job, and I try to stay current in my field, so posting here is not always a priority. But sometimes this site can cause me a bit of stress. I start thinking of things to post, or I keep having a train of thought on a topic, and I tell myself for the 10,000th time I should write it down and get on with things.

I have a few text files on my laptop that I use to keep notes, ideas and links. And over time they build up and get a bit chaotic. I may just occasionally go through and post links and short thoughts on the topics when I feel that the files are getting too big. I doubt that I will do this on a regular schedule.

Image from Wikipedia, assumed allowed under Fair Use