The Thought Refuse

A Virtual Repository for the Mind

The Obama Foreign Policy: Maintaining the Status Quo

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American foreign policy since World War I, and more so following the conclusion of World War II, has maintained one critical element above all else – to secure and preserve American power.  The definition of American power takes numerous forms.  A short list includes exploiting foreign resources for the benefit of American private industry, eliminating any perceived threats to American global supremacy, and usurping the popular will of foreign populations through puppet governments.  The history of American foreign policy is littered with examples, as to the propagation of US power, and doesn’t need to be elucidated here.

There is little indication that the new administration of Barack Obama will pursue a different course.  It was put succinctly by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a speech she gave on her first day in the State Department.

And we will make clear, as we go forward, that diplomacy and development are essential tools in achieving the long-term objectives of the United States.

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Written by huxbux

February 10, 2009 at 6:15 pm

The Rationalization Behind Cheating

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Chances are if your an adult, you’ve been in a relationship that ended because either yourself, or your significant other, cheated.  There is a distinct rationalizing process that occurs on the part of the cheater, both during the affair and when dealing with the aftermath.  This should be of interest to anyone who has cheated or been cheated on before.

Cheating is equally defined as forming a close, emotional attachment to another person that has to be actively suppressed(until it reaches a point of irresistibly), and engaging in sexual intercourse with anyone other then your significant other.  It can, and has been argued that the former is a far more egregious form of cheating.  Regardless, in both instances the fundamental rationalization on the part of the cheater surfaces.

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Written by huxbux

February 6, 2009 at 6:18 pm

Posted in Logic, Psychology

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The Problem of Correlation As Causation

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The confusion of supplanting correlation for causation is one of the most common logical fallacies we make.  This is the fallacy of correlation.  The basic premise is that you will attribute a connection between two experiences as the root cause of one experience being the cause of the other.

While it’s one of the easiest logical fallacies to spot, we continually fall for the trap of the fallacy of correlation.  It does require a minor exertion in mental analysis to catch ourselves spiraling down it’s pitfalls, but it’s shouldn’t be too much to ask a person to invest that energy into their own line of thinking.  None-the-less, it’s a logical fallacy which pervades everyday thinking, and, regretfully, even scientific research.

As a general schematic, think of the fallacy of correlation to be as follows:

  • Event A occurs synchronously or chronologically to Event B‘s occurrence, therefore
  • Event A is the cause of Event B.

The possibilities of the relationship between Event A and Event B are too numerous to conclude A caused B.  Some of these include:

  1. A is the cause of B;
  2. A is the cause of B, and B is the cause of A (or both events sharing a circular causation);
  3. an unknown Event C is cause for either A or B, or both;
  4. the incidence of A and B share no relationship other then temporal occurrence.

It is rare for Case 1 to be true, yet far too often we prefer it from the other possible Cases.  This is often the outcome when a layer of plausibility exists within our empirical history interconnects two events(Hume’s definition of causation).  Plainly stated, if I have been witness to two events occurring in the past, I am likely to make a connection between these two events when the happen again in the future.  They are believable.

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Written by huxbux

February 4, 2009 at 7:25 pm

Posted in Logic, Philosophy

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Living In A Non-Judgemental Universe

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Recently, I was engaged in a conversation with a 50 year old housewife when she uttered a phrase I have heard countless times before – “I try not to be judgemental.”  I have always had difficulty accepting this as remotely true for anyone, and it has struck me as a near impossible premise from the first time I heard it said.  For some reason, this time around, it came across as patently absurd.

Let us imagine the daily life of an individual who does not judge.  Lying in bed fast asleep, the alarm buzzes with it’s typically annoying piercing beeps.  Our subject turns over in bed with eyes groggily opening.  He looks at the time, 6:30 AM, and can’t decide if he should tumble out of his bed to get to work.  He’s not sure if earning that paycheck is really worth all the trouble.  Here, our non-judgemental hero would be stopped dead in his tracks.

We all, whether by sociatel pressure or not, make a value judgement as to the total benefit of employment against the effort required to earn a paycheck.  For most, we decide that having a roof over our head, driving a nice car, and being able to purchase those expensive French pasteries we so enjoy are worth the time and energy we put into our jobs.  We judge that money is well worth the time and energy required to earn it.

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Written by huxbux

January 18, 2009 at 6:22 pm

Posted in Logic, Philosophy

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Why Your Blog Hits Aren’t Really Yours

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With the explosion in the number of blogs littering the internet, every blogger takes extraneous efforts to increase their visitor count.  The all important hit count is the singular indicator whether your blog is popular or not.

There are blogs dedicated soley to advising bloggers on who to get their blogs noticed, and attract a larger share of readership.  Focusing on key words, interlinking blogrolls, content distribution, and comment links in other blogs are all part of the “how to get your blog hits” mantra.

You’ve followed all the steps to get you blog hits – selected a topic to focus on, included important key words in your tags and post titles, built a nice shared blogroll with other blogs, and politely commented on other blogs to get the word out about your blog.  After all these steps your blog is averaging a couple hundred hit per day.  All things considered, you’ve done fairly well for yourself.  But your blog is middle-brow.  One of among tens of thousands of other blogs that suffer from medicrioty in terms of hits.

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Written by huxbux

January 12, 2009 at 6:57 pm

Posted in Business, Logic, Philosophy

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Cantor Fitzgerald Moving HSX Into The Real World

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The trading firm Cantor Fitzgerald will be starting a real world version of the Hollywood Stock Exchange – an online virtual trading world where players buy and sell movie and celebrity stocks.  Cantor will now offer movie studios to purchase bonds relative to a movie’s financial performance.

Cantor is actively recruiting veteran HSX traders to participate in advertising and selling these bonds to movie studios.  Cantor Fitzgerald needs “experts” to sell their product.  While there are undoubtedly individuals who have fared appreciably more successful then other traders on HSX, I’m hard pressed to say there are any “experts” in the fantasy trading game.

Let us assume the Cantor incarnation will operate similar to HSX.  A movie stocks price is based on it’s expected total gross(for wide releases four weeks, twelve weeks for limited release).  On it’s opening weekend, a movie will adjust according to it’s weekend gross along with an internal multiplier(typically 2.8).

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Written by huxbux

January 7, 2009 at 7:08 pm

The Unpredictability of Sports

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As with all systems that aren’t manufactured, for instance casinos, sports is a highly unpredictable arena.  But littered with experts from former players to journalists eager to give you their arrogant self-predictions for future seasons.

Every season for every sport, these experts publish their predictions in newspapers, magazines, and television shows(the latter particularly prone to bombastic proclamations of arrogance).  The experts put on record every year(and every week) their elevated knowledge in the sports domain.  Take a quick look at just how much these so-called professionals really know, and you’ll find that sports is as unpredictable as most everything in life.  That guy on ESPN whose studied football for twenty years is probably no better at predicting the final NFL standings then you or me.

Take a look at ESPN’s preseason power ranking for the NFL.  The error rate is astounding.  Of the 16 bottom ranked teams, 5 of them made the playoffs this season.  Two of the supposed three worst teams ended up with records 11-5 records(Atlanta and Miami).  The Titans were ranked 16th and ended up with the best record in the league.  The Jaguars, Saints, and Seahawks were all ranked in the top ten, but not one ended with a winning record.

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Written by huxbux

January 5, 2009 at 7:05 pm

Posted in History, Philosophy, Sports

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