Sunday, 14 September 2014

Using E10 and Commodity ETFs to Destroy Animal Farming


I've always been a meat eater. Meat tastes good. I also love milk and cheese. But I've always been guilty of the industrial slaughter of animals that occurs in order to produce these goods. When I speak to people about this topic, there is a tendency to rationalise. For example, people say it is natural to kill animals. Even animals themselves kill each other. When I respond by saying that it is also natural for humans to kill humans (as humans have done often during human history) people criticize me for thinking too much about it. In other words, there is a tendency to just stick with the status quo, and if something just doesn't seem right, rationalise it away.

Animal cruelty takes place in an animal farm. If you care about animal welfare, you must study the business model of the animal farm and do everything in your power to disrupt it.

How do you disrupt a business? There are three ways: (1) increase costs, (2) reduce revenue, and (3) increase volatility of costs and revenue.

If costs rise and revenue reduces, the animal farm becomes unprofitable and will shut down. If the volatility of costs and revenue is high, e.g. if the price of feed fluctuates too much, then animal farms are less likely to start up due to unacceptable risk.

Many vegans already try to increase costs and reduce the revenue of animal farms by switching from meat to plant-based food. For example, if instead of eating beef you eat vegetables, the revenue of the animal farm decreases and furthermore because the land that is set aside to make vegetables to sell to the consumer is used for this purpose rather than being used to sell feed to animal farms, then the price of feed will go up.

That is simple enough, but there are two more ways I think we can disrupt the animal farm. One is to use ethanol blend petrol in our cars (E10 for most cars or E85 or E100 if the car is compatible). Proof that this works can be found in American renewable policy that forced petrol to be blended with ethanol. This causes the demand for ethanol to rise significantly, which in turn meant that corn being grown on farms was being sent to cars rather than to animal farms. Animal farmers then had to pay higher prices for feed. This resulted in much higher meat prices (see Ethanol Helps Boost Meat Prices - NPR).

With regards to increasing volatility in agricultural prices, this is where I recommend buying agriculture ETFs as part of your investment portfolio. Not only can it save animals' lives, agriculture investments can make you rich. For example, in Australia, you can buy the Betashares Agriculture ETF. These investments don't actually buy agricultural products like corn and soy and store them. That would be far too difficult. Rather, when you buy these investments, a team of financial experts buy and sell futures contracts for corn, soy, wheat, and rice. Buy doing so, your investment will approximate the prices of the underlying crops. When fund managers buy and sell agricultural derivatives on the market on your behalf, you are contributing to more speculation in these markets, which has the potential to increases prices and, more importantly, to increase price volatility, which makes the business of animal farms much riskier.

The bottom line is that we should be switching from meat products to plant products. This applies not just to what we put in our bodies, e.g. switching from cows milk to almond milk. This should apply to what we put in our cars and our investment funds.


Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Healthy Distractions

I finished work early today because there is not much work for me to do. I kept myself busy on the train by reading my phone, as everyone does. When I got home, I ate dinner and when I finished I had a shower. Normally, after a shower, I'd go to bed, but today I came home so early I had nothing to do for two hours.

Only a month or so ago my girlfriend and I broke up. It didn't affect me at first, but now I'm starting to feel bad, and there are times when, because I have no distractions, I start to think about things and all of a sudden I think about my girlfriend. There is other trauma in my mind. When your father betrays you, it's hard to forget, and the anger just stays in you.

I have a Quickflix subscription. I pay $10 a month and get to steam various shows and movies to my TV. I'm glad I paid for it because it's nice to distract yourself. I watched an episode of Boardwalk Empire. I love crime shows. I don't know why.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Monarchy is Dictatorship

I've just read Geeks for Monarchy about the rise of people who support monarchism and oppose democracy. I find this disgusting. How can anyone support this? Monarchism is effectively dictatorship. If you want monarchism, you risk becoming subservient to Hitler, Kim Jong Il, or Stalin. You could get a benevolent dictator or benevolent monarch or benevolent king, but who wants to roll the dice and risk being thrown in a concentration camp or gulag? I'd rather live in a democracy. Sure, democracies are not perfect. The views of the masses are, quite simple, stupid. People are on average, idiots, but most people want the same thing. They want freedom, they want happiness, they want peace, they want good health--and a democratic system allows them to force these desires on the elite rather than have the elite force their values on the people.

To all these monarchists, I say be careful what you wish for. Democracy is fragile. If our democracy collapses and the elites take over to establish an aristocracy, who is to say the policies of the aristocracy will benefit these hangers on? Perhaps they will be thrown into a concentration camp or thrown into a Colloseum-like stadium to be eaten by lions. Be careful what you wish for.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Quickflix vs Google Play Movies and TV

I am a Quickflix subscriber. I pay $10 a month and get access to a library of movies and TV shows. I install the Quickflix app on my Android phone and cast it to my television using the chrome cast, which you can purchase from Dick Smith or JB Hi Fi for $50.

I think Quickflix is great. I am watching the Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire. I am watching early episodes. That gets to the main problem with Quickflix. The library of movies and TV shows is not very comprehensive and you mainly have to watch old movies and TV shows if you don't want to pay extra. Most content cost extra money on top of your support subscription.

I also have Google Play Movies and TV on my phone and I can also cast to my TV via Chromecast with it. I have noticed that Google has many features that Quickflix does not, mainly the ability to remember at which point of a movie you were at, the ability to download video to your device so you can watch it offline, and the ability to purchase content in HD. Google Play is simply a more polished and better product. However, Google Play does not have a $10 per month subscription. It is all pay per view. There are many shows on Quickflix that are free with the subscription that cost about $40 per season on Google Play.

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.quickflix.lib

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Why Didn't Elliot Rodgers See a Prostitute?

As many know, Elliot Rodgers was a young male who went on a killing spree because he was not able to get a girlfriend. On the day of his killing spree, he released a 140-page manifesto titled My Twisted Life.

An interesting question has been submitted. If he wanted sex so much, why didn't Elliot Rodgers buy the services of a prostitute?

Here’s the thing. Rodger did have “sexual options.” Sex workers in San Diego, not far from where Rodger lived, participate in a market that generated some $97 million dollars in 2007 alone. Had he been willing to make a day trip to Nevada, only a five-to-six-hour drive from Santa Barbara, Rodger could have paid for sex quite legally. Bracketing the immensely complicated question of how sex work should be considered as a legal matter (for a compendium of excellent articles on sex workers and the sex trade, try this Slate Long Form Collection),  and stressing that I believe that sex workers, like all other workers and human beings, deserve respect and legal protection, the question arises: if Rodger, a self-professed virgin who had “never even kissed a girl,” was so incredibly driven by the need to have sex, and if our society, for better and for worse, makes it possible for men to purchase sexual encounters, then why didn’t he pay for it?
When I read My Twisted Life, I couldn't help but feel sorry for Elliot. I think the answer is that you go to a prostitute for sex, but prostitutes are not substitutes for girlfriends. You cannot hire a prostitute to watch a movie with you. There is also a social problem with hiring a prostitute. If you hire a prostitute, it is a secret transaction due to social stigma. It is something you do to satiate your sexual desires, but Rodgers talks often about his desire to have a hot blonde by his side to make his father proud or to show others that he was superior. Having a girlfriend then is a public statement of your worth, much like driving a nice car or wearing nice clothing is.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Ripped Off by PayPal Exchange Rate

I just purchased an eBook online from America. I needed to use American dollars and I had Australian dollars. I decided to use PayPal because I had just installed it on my phone and set up an account. I went through the motions, purchased the book, and then afterwards realized that PayPal charged an exchange rate of 0.90 when a simple Google search revealed the exchange rate to be 0.94. PayPal ripped me off! I will see if I can change PayPal setting so that it charges my credit card in US dollars and supposedly the rate charged by the card is not so bad, but if this turns out to be too hard then I will just uninstall PayPal and in rage will never use it again. Credit card is already quite safe anyway. PayPal charges absolutely outrageous fees. Not only are their foreign exchange rates a rip off but supposedly if you transfer money to a friend who also has PayPal, you must pay a 2.3% fee. What a rip off! Bank transfers are free. If you don't feel comfortable giving away your bank account number (research what happened to Jeremy Clarkson when he gave out his bank account number on TV) then bitcoin fees are less than 1%.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Problems with the Narrative Clip so Far

I have always wanted to get the Narrative Clip, which is a small 5MP camera that you clip on to your clothes. The clip takes a photo every 30 seconds. This allows you to live your life without worrying about taking photos. It is annoying going on a holiday and pointing and shooting using a DSLR or smartphone at the same time. It is better to simply enjoy your holiday.

However, so far, based on reviews I have been reading and videos I have been watching, I will be holding off on getting the Narrative Clip mainly because I do not like the idea of plugging it into your computer to upload photos. To make matters worse, you must have Windows installed on your computer to upload photos from the Narrative Clip. Given I use Ubuntu, it means I wouldn't be able to upload photos, which completely ruins the product. It would be better if the clip has in-built wifi that can automatically upload photos to Facebook, Google+, or some other service, which is currently what happens on a smartphone. Furthermore, although not essential, it would be nice if the clip had qi wireless charging so you can just place the phone on a charging mat overnight, although USB is not a problem.

I am also concerned with the Narrative website saying I need to pay money every month for a subcription to Narrative's apps. I was hoping that once I plug the Narrative to the computer I can just access the photos and upload them to whatever storage I want, e.g. a hard drive or cloud storage, but hopefully this Narrative app is not compulsory.

The Narrative Clip is really a simply device. It is effectively a camera. The ideal lifelogging device would be an Android clip that you can pair to a smartphone. Once you pair the clip to your Android smartphone, you can install apps onto the clip, e.g. an app that takes photos every 30 seconds and then automatically uploads to the internet whenever wifi is detected. Give this device is effectively an Android smartphone without a touchscreen or a high-end CPU, in theory this clip device should be cheap given the standard budget Android smartphone, the Moto G, costs about $250. The clip should be about $100 to $150 or even less.