Jan 312008

I’m not much for posting videos on my blogs (I visit blogs to read, not watch), but this one was just too catchy and too clever for me to let slide by without sharing.

The songwriter actually came up with the music and lyrics, then posted them to YouTube with a call for an animator. Obviously, he found one. Not only is the song catchy as hell, but I think the animation’s rather brilliant as well. I’d suggest watching it all the way through once just for the pure pleasure, then giving it another viewing or two to make sure you don’t miss any points.

Jan 312008

The Sedona Method seems to be everywhere I look these days. Marci Shimoff, founding member of The Transformational Leadership Council, has followed up her massive best seller The Secret with a new book called “Happy For No Reason”. Apparently Mariel Hemingway, granddaughter of Ernest Hemingway, followed these methods to overcome the depression that plagued her famous grandfather. As someone who’s lived with manic depression for more than 30 years now I’m left asking one question: should we be happy all the time?

I haven’t read either book, but I have read a few excerpts on the web, and I’ve ordered the free DVD and CD to learn a little bit more. For the most part the excerpts are full of inspirational tales of people letting go of their anger, depression and general sadness mixed with advice along the lines of “At your core you already have the happiness you are seeking and all you need to do is uncover this natural happiness by letting go of the unhappiness or limitation that appears to be covering or obstructing it.” Alas, no where was I able to find an answer to my question. After all, if we’re happy “for no reason”, then what will we be when there’s a reason to be happy? What will be our motivation to partake in uplifting activities? You simply can’t have flowers if you never have any rain.

Jan 302008
Part of the Applied Anarchy Series - Previous in series         Next in series

There’s a good portion of anarchists, agorists, libertarians, rebels, and general freedom lovers who believe that voting is not only pointless, but also immoral, unethical, or even anti-thetical to a belief in freedom. The argument generally goes something along the lines of voting “participating in” or “supporting” the corrupt government system. Well, I’ve been an anarchist for the majority of my life and I’ve voted in nearly every election for the last 20 years. in fact, through the wonders of absentee ballots and my position as a live-in caregiver I was able to proudly cast not one, but three votes for Ron Paul over the last week that won’t be actually counted until Super Tuesday on February 5th.

Why do I, someone absolutely opposed to government in any and all of its shapes or forms, vote at all? Self defense.

The government exists solely to decrease my freedom (through oppressive laws) and steal the fruits of my labor (through taxes). Voting twice a year doesn’t allow me to change government in any sort of meaningful way, but it does give me the opportunity to choose the slave master that I feel will be the least oppressive, reduce the level of theft by a tiny amount, and publicly express my desire for more freedom. One of the primary failings of a representative democracy is that the government officials frequently listen to the polling data rather than standing up for their genuine beliefs. Elections are the biggest polls of all. What’s more dangerous? An elected official who feels they have a mandate because they received 75%+ of the votes cast or one who received a slim victory, thus is unsure of his support? I say the latter.

When it comes to politicians I vote Libertarian when I can and against the frontrunner when I can’t. In this way I try to convince the eventual winner that there are many people under their rule who are not in favor it. But the real power comes through the ballot initiatives that populate every California ballot. These are almost always tax measures. And as we all know there’s no such thing as a tax measure that reduces the theft of our labor. Those that aren’t about raising taxes are about reducing liberty (think smoking bans, expansion of eminent domain laws, etc). If everyone who doesn’t vote because they don’t think their vote counts were to vote no against these measures (or have their lack of participation be considered a no vote) then few would ever pass. The result would be more freedom and fewer taxes.

Claim a higher morality all you want, but if you don’t vote to slow the oppression then you’re simply encouraging it to continue.

Part of the Applied Anarchy Series - Previous in series        Next in series
Jan 302008

I first heard about Net Audio Ads a few weeks back when they began seeking bloggers to advertise their Pay Per Play ads via the other PPP: PayPerPost. This created quite a bit of controversy due to the nature of the ads. Don’t get me wrong, the ads themselves aren’t objectionable in any way. In fact, they’re fairly innovative. Instead of displaying an advertising banner or a list of text links to be clicked upon by site visitors a short 5 second audio clip is played. This is where the controversy comes in…

Many, many web surfers get exceedingly irritated when a web page plays audio automatically. Add to that the fact that this audio is advertising and you can see where this is heading. Personally, I’m with the no audio crowd. If I want to hear your audio I’m perfectly capable of clicking on a start button. But making me find a stop button is presuming quite a bit on the webmaster’s part. For that very reason I will never use these ads here at Philaahzophy.

However, that doesn’t mean I won’t use them anywhere. I run more than a dozen different websites, all of which target different audiences and completely different purposes. I’m still a bit hesitant about these ads, but I’ve just signed up to try them on a couple of different sites. What changed my mind? Well, my mind isn’t actually changed, yet, but I’m always encouraging people to experiment with different things and it seems I should do this experiment before writing off the possible revenue.

Audio ads have one major advantage over other website monetization techniques – you are paid for 100% of your traffic. No interaction is required on the part of your web visitors whatsoever. Besides there’s always that chance that Net Audio Ads will turn into the next Adsense and their three tier affiliate program is only available to those webmasters who sign up before February 1st. So if I’m ever going to try it out, this is definitely the time.

Jan 302008

When Izea first rolled out their new IzeaRanks.com I set myself a goal of moving Philaahzophy into the position of top ranked political blog. While climbing through any ranking system is seldom easy, the fact that they’re regularly underreporting my stats by as much as 50%, and not reporting the stats of the other political blogs at all (despite all the hype about transparency in RealRank), made this all the more difficult. But, I still managed to do it, as the screenshot to the right shows. Unfortunately, that’s not a screenshot from today. Rather it was one taken while I was sick last week. Since then I’ve plummeted to the number 5 slot in the political category (despite having a higher RealRank than the blog in position 4). But that’s okay because now I know exactly what it takes to get to the top of that ladder. I’m also fairly confident I could get Philaahzophy into the Top 100 at IzeaRanks as well if I was willing to devote the time to driving traffic rather than researching and developing my blogs themselves.

Besides, reaching a RealRank of 239 didn’t increase either my traffic or my revenue, so climbing any higher than the top 10% of RealRanked blogs is pretty much a waste of my efforts. After all, I’ve been in the Top 10% of RR since the day it was rolled out and managed to stay in the top 5% even without being online (much less posting new content or promoting) for the 5 days I was sick.