Derby Does Dallas (or why to fight battles you can’t win)

I’m here in Dallas, for the Roller Derby World Cup, and what do I hear but that we made new news back in the other twin cities. One of my favorite things about watching this are the teams that have been together for a short time, with no hope of winning, but are nonetheless taking on teams with skaters that have been doing this for 10 years or more. The even matches are great, but the best thing, in my opinion, are the blowouts. Because when you come off the track, and down to the escalator, lost, beaten, humiliated, humbled, you learn way more about the game, and how to play it better next time.

So I’m picking a fight I have little hope of winning, at least for now, and here’s the battle cry

Sell the Derby world cup to the fans

But let’s not just stop at the organization that puts on the world cup and negotiates contracts with a venue. If there is anything in need of crowdfunding these days, it’s a venue owned and operated by people who love derby. Nothing pisses me off more than some rich asshole in New York asking for MY fair twin cities tax money to finance a stadium so he can buy another million dollar apartment.

So far I think Blood and Thunder has done a great job busting their ass to get this event to where it is today. But what’s going to happen in 5 or 10 years? It’s probably going to get bigger, more expensive, and more complicated. This is not something that one company, or one team, or the various derby governing bodies can handle themselves without some outside cash influx.

I think Derby is going to be big business at some point, and I’d much rather have the skaters and fans be the ones to make the investment and get a return on it, rather than a bunch of assholes who get paid twice as much because they are rich, white, and male. The sportsploitation business is going to figure out either that Derby is an opportunity for them, or a threat to their captured cash cow, and they are going try to buy their way into owning it.

Are we gonna sit by and let the dirty money jam up the great thing we’ve got here, or are we gonna block that shit with an impenetrable wall of shared ownership? Let’s leave this roller derby world cup with a plan and a vision to build a venue for the next one.

My vote is we start by municipalizing the Minnesota Vikings stadium. I’m sure you derby fans have some other good ideas. Let’s hear it.

Do I need to run for governor of Iowa now?

So apparently some Texas carpetbaggers want to build an oil pipeline and further frack North Dakota into oblivion and run the crap right through the middle of Iowa.

And I’m sorry ya’ll, but you can take your drawl and your political machinations back to the ranch in Texas and stew in the mess you made there. You just picked a fight with the wrong farmer. I make money growing fuel cheaper than you can dig it out of the ground, and if I have to run for Governor to get the message out that your crude-soaked bullshit is not welcome here, so be it.

Chipotle misses the mark

There’s a new Des Moines Register article about Chipotle’s new Farmed and Dangerous ‘original’ series, and, as a farmer, I’m offended. (No, actually, it’s hilarious. Go watch it)

It’s exploding hog barns, not exploding cows.

Don’t worry, Animoil-Bayer-Monsanto will soon prove it was those evil ethanol DDGs and not a sick and fundamentally broken food system, move along, nothing to see here, pay no attention to that oilman behind the curtain.

Credit cards: The theft that keeps on thieving

So apparently some enterprising crooks stole 70 million credit card numbers. That does not really surprise me. What surprises me is that Target appears, at least, to be forthcoming about it.

Upgrading to a ‘newer flashier securier‘ system is going to cost billions, and smart-card companies, visa, and mastercard are going to make out like bandits. And then the next wave of security breaches will show up because it’s still a system that depends that you trust what the payment processors say is secure, and all it takes is for those with ill-intentions is to pay off one insider employee.

What I like about real electronic-cash systems like Bitcoin, Litecoin, Dogecoin, and now Catcoin, is first, you can decide if you like cats or dogs more, not which CEO you want to make rich. But more seriously, to make a purchase with cryptographic currencies, you actually have to have something of value on your ‘payment device’, and you actually transfer ownership of that something of value (the cryptocoins) to the seller of the thing you just bought.

With credit cards, you are just transferring a “sure I promise I’ll pay that”, and as we all know, promises are easily broken, either by a crook who steals your s3kr1t number by which you promise, or by something as simple as a medical bankruptcy. Cryptocoins do two really important things:

  1. they transfer valuable tokens, with a market value
  2. they make it more economically attractive for people with hardware that can crack passwords to mine for cryptocoins

Give me a new securier smart-card, a GPU farm, and enough time, I can crack the secret keys on the smart card, or just pay off an insider for the keys, and I can promise that some random guy I’ve never seen will pay off this debt.

With CryptoCoins, I actually have to go find some guy and steal his cryptocoin wallet, or go after Target’s cryptocoin wallet. In the meantime, the banks will just reverse all the transactions some random guy notices, but the transactions you don’t notice will go through just fine and 6 months later the bank will tell you “sorry your check bounced, but it’s your fault some thief promised you to pay 6 months ago and you never saw it”

I’ll take my chances with cryptocoins, because they can only rob what I actually have, not my future earnings, and at least there’s a chance I can follow the money

Sprinklers oh-my!

I usually take a dim view of building code changes that don’t seem to have a good rational basis other than a particular trade making money, but in the case of sprinklers in 4500+ square foot houses, I kinda have to side with the banks who make the loans on these, and the sprinkler manufacturers.

If you are talking about 4500 square feet, you are in the luxury home category. Rich people deserve to know their belongings are safe from destruction by fire, so long as they actually *maintain the sprinklers*. Firefighters making less than $50,000 a year should not have to risk their lives searching a 10,000 square foot McMansion because some rich guy was too stoned on medical marijuana that he caught the couch on fire.

Sprinklers save firefighters lives at *very* minimal costs in large buildings. In smaller houses, linked smoke alarms do the same thing, and if large homes have sprinklers, the cost will come down for smaller homes as well.

The important critical part here be that if the state mandates sprinklers in large homes, they should use the license fees from the large homes to support FREE inspections, design assistance, and parts to small homeowners who want to install a system in their own home.

And finally, if you really don’t want sprinklers, get a tiny house, and vote with your mobility for open source building codes

Wealth: Give it away

So I’m reading about libertarians taking over San Fancisco, and a sound-bite from a longer article says: …most people think that it’s unfair that 5 percent of people have half the total worth, but “an experienced programmer would be more likely to think is that all?”…

I’m an experienced programmer and hardware designer. I create wealth, through code, through electronics, through wiring up solar panels, and I do all that because I like to make equipment that makes it easier for me to farm and grow food for lots of people. Some guy named Linus created more wealth than any single vulture-capital funded company that has ever existed, and then he GAVE IT AWAY. And I bet he has a significantly higher satisfaction with his life’s work than most poor stock-option cubicle slaves.

Money is worth more when it’s transparently and openly redistributed. Those of you that know your way around an editor and C++, let’s get coding http://minco.me