Monthly Archives: May 2003


Thanks to styrovor for this warning: Do not put a quarter in the donation jar, or PayPal will steal it from you! Check this out, from an actual transaction earlier today:

Well then…

Turns out the reason the price is so good on that island might be that the ownership is up for dispute. The owner has paperwork showing that he purchased them uninhabitted from the descendents of the “theoretical owners” (ie. the natives who lived in the area, who never used or lived on the island, were gifted it by the government) with the approval of the government, but now international environmental and indiginous advocacy groups are claiming that the sale was not legal or valid.

Clearly if the ownership is dubious I'm going to keep my difference; but I wonder — what's better for the natives in the area: getting a hundred grand for the island and bringing high-tech industry into the zone in the form of someone who cares about both the environment and native rights, or having to pay back whatever they got for the island, and being left with an island that's of absolutely zero use to them, and eventually getting screwed over anyway?

I've got some research to do…

Other than that, I'm adding a couple requested IAM features now… More on that later.

BME Island

I got some more information back from the owner regarding the island property. The leasehold is in perpetuity and from the government, so that part should not be an issue. The one side of the island is surrounded by coral reef, and the beach is shallow for the first little while and then drops off to twenty or thirty feet, so mooring big boats is not a problem.

The water temperature hovers around seventy degrees all year round, and dolphins swim off the shore. Not only that, but under Nicarauguan law, we can change the name of the island legally, and with the island comes automatic residency. So now to find an investor to split it with me…. Anyone interested? You'd need to be able to invest in the range of $50,000.

Everyone wants to be an astronaut

I'm guessing many of you already know about this on account of it being on /., but Scaled Composites just did a successful test flight of the White Knight and SpaceShipOne (more, more). To simplify, it's a hybrid two-part plane that can fly 100 km up… into space that is!

I've always been a giant Burt Rutan fan and really believe that he'll be remembered in the same way as the Wright brothers both for his contributions to traditional aeronautics as well as to the space travel industry, which when it comes down to it is still very much in its infancy. Anyway, inspiring stuff that makes me very excited to see what the future will bring!

Self imposed blindness

So a little while back I asked the following question on BME, asking what level of suffering people are comfortable causing. A rather disturbing 24% said that they'd not think twice about causing suffering to anyone other than those they care about, but 72% said they'd not want to cause suffering in any form.

Do you care if your actions cause harm or suffering to come to others?
What do I care? I'm all that matters.:   3%
Only if I care about them.:   21%
Only if they're human.:   5%
I don't want to cause suffering in any form.:   72%
  1,737 votes in total; voting finished Apr 22, 2003.  

As a follow-up poll, I asked ideally what people would like to eat… Now, I'd have assumed that the answer would be 72% vegan, since if you're not wanting to cause suffering to others, that's really the only diet you can choose since eating animal-products clearly harms the animals involved, the planet, and ultimately humanity as a whole will be driven to extinction if it continues on this path.

Ideally (not actually) what would you like your diet to be?
Loads of meat:   28%
Omnivorous with a little meat:   34%
Vegetarian + Dairy/Eggs:   17%
Vegan:   20%
  5,333 votes in total; voting finished Apr 30, 2003.  

But no, only 20% would choose a vegan diet… I've mentioned here before in brief that the crisis of the 21st century won't be oil, but will instead be clean fresh water… So we will soon have to decide if we, as a race, would rather commit suicide, or if we'd rather keep eating a meat-heavy diet.

So would you rather be dead or vegan? And if you answer dead, remember that you're answering for everyone. So when you refuse to go vegan, you also condemn all of your family and loved ones to the same fate…

PS. I will stronly recommend two books: The Food Revolution and The New Ethics of Eating.

Brief followup comment added six hours later: I believe that the reason for the disparity between the two answer sets is as follows: When a question is posed in abstract terms, they will answer with the “good” answer, whereas when it's posed in direct/real-life terms, they will give the “true” answer.