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How Can Virtual Worlds Help to Improve the Physical World? – G. Stolyarov II Interviews Peter Rothman

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Categories: Education, Technology, Transhumanism, Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Mr. Stolyarov invites Peter Rothman to discuss the question, “How can virtual worlds help to improve the physical world?”

Peter Rothman, M.S. is Editor of H+ Magazine where he is looking for great articles about the future of technology, humanity, the mind, society, and human culture.

Peter is an engineering and management professional with deep experience in the design, development, and launch, of commercial software products, internet services, and other mission critical systems. He is currently doing research into analysis and visualization of text for a consumer facing application.

He was previously chief scientist of a biometrics-based fraud prevention company. He led the development of Live365.com, one of the largest providers of streaming audio on the Internet. He operated a product development and engineering team for the global multi-million dollar public software company MetaTools/MetaCreations. He founded and operated a startup software company, raised capital, and negotiated eventual sale of company. He has designed and implemented cutting-edge software, algorithms, and technologies.

Peter’s specialties include biometrics, mathematics, streaming media, virtual reality, simulation, text analysis, data visualization, and artificial intelligence.

Peter was an early developer of VR technologies, including developing applications of VR to financial visualization and a concept for unencumbered infantry training using VR for the US Army.

References
– “Welcome To Mixed Reality” – Article by Peter Rothman
– “Retro VR — a brief review of some 1990s HMDs” – Article by Peter Rothman
Microsoft HoloLens – Official Site
– “VRML” – Wikipedia
– “WebGL” – Wikipedia
SBIRSource – Avatar Partners
“Back in the Day” – Pictures of early VR and software products – Posted by Peter Rothman
H+ Magazine – Articles on Mixed Reality

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Shut Out: How Land-Use Regulations Hurt the Poor – Article by Sanford Ikeda

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Categories: Economics, Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

The New Renaissance Hat
Sanford Ikeda
February 28, 2015
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People sometimes support regulations, often with the best of intentions, but these wind up creating outcomes they don’t like. Land-use regulations are a prime example.

My colleague Emily Washington and I are reviewing the literature on how land-use regulations disproportionately raise the cost of real estate for the poor. I’d like to share a few of our findings with you.

Zoning

One kind of regulation that was actually intended to harm the poor, and especially poor minorities, was zoning. The ostensible reason for zoning was to address unhealthy conditions in cities by functionally separating land uses, which is called “exclusionary zoning.” But prior to passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, some municipalities had race-based exclusionary land-use regulations. Early in the 20th century, several California cities masked their racist intent by specifically excluding laundry businesses, predominantly Chinese owned, from certain areas of the cities.

Today, of course, explicitly race-based, exclusionary zoning policies are illegal. But some zoning regulations nevertheless price certain demographics out of particular neighborhoods by forbidding multifamily dwellings, which are more affordable to low- or middle-income individuals. When the government artificially separates land uses and forbids building certain kinds of residences in entire districts, it restricts the supply of housing and increases the cost of the land, and the price of housing reflects those restrictions.

Moreover, when cities implement zoning rules that make it difficult to secure permits to build new housing, land that is already developed becomes more valuable because you no longer need a permit. The demand for such developed land is therefore artificially higher, and that again raises its price.

Minimum lot sizes

Other things equal, the larger the lot, the more you’ll pay for it. Regulations that specify minimum lot sizes — that say you can’t build on land smaller than that minimum — increase prices. Regulations that forbid building more units on a given-size lot have the same effect: they restrict supply and make housing more expensive.

People who already live there may only want to preserve their lifestyle. But whether they intend to or not (and many certainly do so intend) the effect of these regulations is to exclude lower-income families. Where do they go? Where they aren’t excluded — usually poorer neighborhoods. But that increases the demand for housing in poorer neighborhoods, where prices will tend to be higher than they would have been.

And it’s not just middle-class families that do this. Very wealthy residents of exclusive neighborhoods and districts also have an incentive to support limits on construction in order to maintain their preferred lifestyle and to keep out the upper-middle-class hoi polloi. Again, the latter then go elsewhere, very often to lower-income neighborhoods — Williamsburg in Brooklyn is a recent example — where they buy more-affordable housing and drive up prices. Those who complain about well-off people moving into poor neighborhoods — a phenomenon known as “gentrification” — may very well have minimum-lot-size and maximum-density regulations to thank.

When government has the authority to restrict building and development, established residents of all income levels will use that power to protect their wealth.

Parking requirements

Another land-use regulation that makes space more expensive is municipal requirements that establish a minimum number of parking spaces per housing unit.

According Donald Shoup’s analysis, parking requirements add significantly to the cost of housing, particularly in areas with high land values. For example, in Los Angeles, parking requirements can add $104,000 to the cost of each apartment. Parking requirements limit consumers’ choices and increase the cost of housing even for those who prefer not to pay for parking.

Developers typically build only the minimum amount of parking required by law, which indicates that those requirements are binding. That is, in a less-regulated environment, developers would devote less land to parking and more land to living space. A greater supply of living space will, other things equal, lower the cost of housing.

Smart-growth regulations

In the 1970s, municipalities enacted new rules that were designed to protect farmland and to preserve green space surrounding rapidly growing cities by forbidding private development in those areas. By the late 1990s, this practice evolved into a land-use strategy called “smart growth.” (Here’s a video I did about smart growth.)  While some of these initiatives may have preserved green space that can be seen, what is harder to see is the resulting supply restriction and higher cost of housing.

Again, the lower the supply of housing, other things equal, the higher real-estate prices will be. Those who now can’t afford to buy will often rent smaller apartments in less-desirable areas, which typically have less influence on the political process. Locally elected officials tend to be more responsive to the interests of current residents who own property, vote, and pay taxes, and less responsive to renters, who are more likely to be transients and nonvoters. That, in turn, makes it easier to implement policies that use regulation to discriminate against people living on low incomes.

Conclusion

Zoning, minimum lot sizes, minimum parking requirements, and smart-growth regulations demonstrably and significantly increase the cost of housing for everyone by raising construction costs and restricting the supply of housing.

The average household in the United States today, rich or poor, spends about a third of its income on housing. But higher home prices hit lower-income households disproportionately hard because a dollar increase in housing expenditure represents a larger percentage of a poorer household’s budget. Indeed, the bottom 20 percent of households spends around 40 percent of income on housing.

In other words, these land-use regulations are unfairly regressive. Relaxing or even removing them would be a step toward achieving greater equity.

Sanford Ikeda is an associate professor of economics at Purchase College, SUNY, and the author of The Dynamics of the Mixed Economy: Toward a Theory of Interventionism.
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This article was originally published by The Foundation for Economic Education.

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Abstract Orderism Fractal 65 – Art by G. Stolyarov II

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Categories: Art, Mathematics, Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Abstract Orderism Fractal 65 - by G. Stolyarov II

Abstract Orderism Fractal 65 – by G. Stolyarov II

Note: Left-click on this image to get a full view of this digital work of fractal art.

This fractal consists of intersecting luminous strands.

This digital artwork was created by Mr. Stolyarov in Apophysis, a free program that facilitates deliberate manipulation of randomly generated fractals into intelligible shapes.

This fractal is an extension of Mr. Stolyarov’s artistic style of Abstract Orderism, whose goal is the creation of abstract objects that are appealing by virtue of their geometric intricacy — a demonstration of the order that man can both discover in the universe and bring into existence through his own actions and applications of the laws of nature.

Fractal art is based on the idea of the spontaneous order – which is pivotal in economics, culture, and human civilization itself. Now, using computer technology, spontaneous orders can be harnessed in individual art works as well.

See the index of Mr. Stolyarov’s art works.

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Abstract Orderism Fractal 64 – Art by G. Stolyarov II

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Categories: Art, Mathematics, Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Abstract Orderism Fractal 64 - by G. Stolyarov II

Abstract Orderism Fractal 64 – by G. Stolyarov II

Note: Left-click on this image to get a full view of this digital work of fractal art.

This ornate rotational fractal conveys intricacy and nobility.

This digital artwork was created by Mr. Stolyarov in Apophysis, a free program that facilitates deliberate manipulation of randomly generated fractals into intelligible shapes.

This fractal is an extension of Mr. Stolyarov’s artistic style of Abstract Orderism, whose goal is the creation of abstract objects that are appealing by virtue of their geometric intricacy — a demonstration of the order that man can both discover in the universe and bring into existence through his own actions and applications of the laws of nature.

Fractal art is based on the idea of the spontaneous order – which is pivotal in economics, culture, and human civilization itself. Now, using computer technology, spontaneous orders can be harnessed in individual art works as well.

See the index of Mr. Stolyarov’s art works.

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Abstract Orderism Fractal 63 – Art by G. Stolyarov II

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Categories: Art, Mathematics, Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Abstract Orderism Fractal 60 - by G. Stolyarov II

Abstract Orderism Fractal 63 – by G. Stolyarov II

Note: Left-click on this image to get a full view of this digital work of fractal art.

This fractal conveys an impression of sharp, determined, multi-layered rotation.

This digital artwork was created by Mr. Stolyarov in Apophysis, a free program that facilitates deliberate manipulation of randomly generated fractals into intelligible shapes.

This fractal is an extension of Mr. Stolyarov’s artistic style of Abstract Orderism, whose goal is the creation of abstract objects that are appealing by virtue of their geometric intricacy — a demonstration of the order that man can both discover in the universe and bring into existence through his own actions and applications of the laws of nature.

Fractal art is based on the idea of the spontaneous order – which is pivotal in economics, culture, and human civilization itself. Now, using computer technology, spontaneous orders can be harnessed in individual art works as well.

See the index of Mr. Stolyarov’s art works.

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Adam Alonzi Interviews G. Stolyarov II on Indefinite Life Extension and “Death is Wrong”

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Categories: Economics, Science, Transhumanism, Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The New Renaissance Hat
G. Stolyarov II and Adam Alonzi
February 22, 2015
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Today I had a pleasant and erudite discussion with Adam Alonzi regarding the feasibility and desirability of attaining indefinite longevity in our lifetimes, as well as Death is Wrong and its impact.

References

- Adam Alonzi’s YouTube Channel
Adam Alonzi Reads Death is Wrong

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“Blockchain Insurance Company” – Short Story by G. Stolyarov II in SOA 11th Speculative Fiction Contest

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Categories: Business, Fiction, Transhumanism, Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The New Renaissance Hat
G. Stolyarov II
February 20, 2015
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My new short story “Blockchain Insurance Company” is one of the entries in the Society of Actuaries’ 11th Speculative Fiction Contest.

You can read all 16 entries and vote for 3 of your favorites here.

“Blockchain Insurance Company” can be read here.

Bitcoin-coins

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“Death is Wrong” Rap and Book Giveaway #3 – Videos by Roen Horn

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Categories: Art, Music, Transhumanism, Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

This week I was delighted to find out that Death is Wrong is charting new territory once again.

This is the first rap inspired by a children’s book on indefinite life extension. Thank you to Roen Horn of the Eternal Life Fan Club!

LYRICS by Roen Horn:

I know a book that every kid should read.
Death is Wrong has the wisdom they need.

There is nothing worse than not being alive.
And if we find the cure aging then we CAN SURVIVE.

Death is wrong because life is right.
If we want to live forever , well, then we need to fight.

Death is our enemy and aging is our foe!
This book has truth that every child should know.

There is real hero named Aubrey de Grey.
If you wanna save lives, then he has the way.

Aging kills more people than any other cause,
but lucky for us we have our wizard of Oz.

Evolution doesn’t care if we live or die.
Once you get old, you’re just pushed aside.

Nothing’s gonna change unless we get mad.
If you wanna save yourself, your mom and your dad,

Here’s a little wisdom you won’t hear in church.
If you want eternal life, then we need aging research.

I think death is a FAILURE, and I don’t want to lose.
We should be able to live for as long as we choose!

The world should admit that aging really sucks.
Until we cure aging, we’re all like sitting ducks.

We have no time to waste, so let’s get busy like the bees.
We gotta make haste to avoid disease.

The cure is gonna come, but will it come in time for us?
Our eternal life is way too important to miss this bus.

Eternal life fans know that we have to persist.
Because our life is meaningless if we CEASE TO EXIST.

***

Roen has also done magnificent work giving away copies of Death is Wrong to children and filming the occasions.

Watch this skillfully produced video by Roen – the third in his series.

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Beautifying the Universe – Article by Kyrel Zantonavitch

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Categories: Philosophy, Self-Improvement, Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The New Renaissance Hat
Kyrel Zantonavitch
February 18, 2015
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Human beings naturally, healthily, nobly, and heroically seek to live and thrive, with the maximum possible quantity and quality of life.

Humans are god-like creatures, at least potentially, who concoct their own purpose, and find their own meaning. Family, friends, humankind, and the gods can’t supply these.

The Holy Individual naturally and nobly strives for greatness and happiness – and even for sublime transcendence. He attains all of this – if he can – via success and triumph in his battles, and accomplishment and achievement in his work.

The potentially magnificent human individual observes the universe, his fellow man, himself, and all of life. He uses his insight and wisdom to conquer knowledge and draw powerful conclusions. Upon these he develops his sacred hopes and dreams – and then tries to realize them. He works and fights and struggles to move them from the realm of fantasy to the realm of reality.

Human beings need to make the world a better place, both socially and materially, i.e. both improving society and the physical environment. After all, the individual intimately lives in both. They exist for him to use and manipulate – so he should exploit them to the max.

But as a kind of partner to society and the environment – who naturally seeks integration and harmony with them – a proper individual strives to enhance and uplift them as well. He needs to leave the world a better place than he found it.

The ultimate purpose of life seems to be to make the cosmos more beautiful. To render it more organized and harmonious. To leave it more ordered and useful.

It’s the sacred moral duty of every man to make his world less random and chaotic – less metaphysically empty and dead. To render it resonantly more alive, exciting, and intense – if he can. The naturally disintegrating universe needs to be made more well-groomed and exuberant.

The cosmos needs to become more aware of itself. To be ever more all-seeing, and yet successfully introspective too. Ever more cohesive, coherent, self-driven, and self-controlled. Ever more wonderful and lovely to behold.

Art is the most important part of life in many respects. Especially visual and audio art, such as paintings and music. Man is the artistic animal.

A vivacious, dynamic, heroic life is itself a kind of work of art. And it seems to potentially live on forever via memory and records – and eventually via time/space warps and time/space travel.

The universe may be fundamentally cold and indifferent – but it’s always watching. And if a given human being is sufficiently good and great – the cosmos will enjoy and remember him forever.

Kyrel Zantonavitch is the founder of The Liberal Institute  (http://www.liberalinstitute.com/) and author of Pure Liberal Fire: Brief Essays on the New, General, and Perfected Philosophy of Western Liberalism.

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How Many More Wars? – Article by Ron Paul

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Categories: Politics, Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The New Renaissance Hat
Ron Paul
February 17, 2015
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Last week President Obama sent Congress legislation to authorize him to use force against ISIS “and associated persons and forces” anywhere in the world for the next three years. This is a blank check for the president to start as many new wars as he wishes, and it appears Congress will go along with this dangerous and costly scheme.

Already the military budget for next year is equal to all but the very peak spending levels during the Vietnam war and the Reagan military build-up, according to the Project on Defense Alternatives. Does anyone want to guess how much will be added to military spending as a result of this new war authorization?

The US has already spent nearly two billion dollars fighting ISIS since this summer, and there hasn’t been much to show for it. A new worldwide war on ISIS will likely just serve as a recruiting tool for jihadists. We learned last week that our bombing has led to 20,000 new foreign fighters signing up to join ISIS. How many more will decide to join each time a new US bomb falls on a village or a wedding party?

The media makes a big deal about the so-called limitations on the president’s ability to use combat troops in this legislation, but in reality there is nothing that would add specific limits. The prohibition on troops for “enduring” or “offensive” ground combat operations is vague enough to be meaningless. Who gets to determine what “enduring” means? And how difficult is it to claim that any ground operation is “defensive” by saying it is meant to “defend” the US? Even the three year limit is just propaganda: who believes a renewal would not be all but automatic if the president comes back to Congress with the US embroiled in numerous new wars?

If this new request is not bad enough, the president has announced that he would be sending 600 troops into Ukraine next month, supposedly to help train that country’s military. Just as the Europeans seem to have been able to negotiate a ceasefire between the opposing sides in that civil war, President Obama plans to pour gasoline on the fire by sending in the US military. The ceasefire agreement signed last week includes a demand that all foreign military forces leave Ukraine. I think that is a good idea and will go a long way to reduce the tensions. But why does Obama think that restriction does not apply to us?

Last week also saw the Senate confirm Ashton Carter as the new Secretary of Defense by an overwhelming majority. Carter comes to the Pentagon straight from the military industrial complex, and he has already announced his support for sending lethal weapons to Ukraine. Sen. John McCain’s strong praise for Carter is not a good sign that the new secretary will advise caution before undertaking new US interventions.

As we continue to teeter on the verge of economic catastrophe, Washington’s interventionists in both parties show no signs of slowing. The additional tens of billions or more that these new wars will cost will not only further undermine our economy, but will actually make us less safe. Can anyone point to a single success that the interventionists have had over the last 25 years?

As I have said, this militarism will end one way or the other. Either enough Americans will wake up and demand an end to Washington’s foreign adventurism, or we will go broke and be unable to spend another fiat dollar on maintaining the global US empire.

Ron Paul, MD, is a former three-time Republican candidate for U. S. President and Congressman from Texas.

This article is reprinted with permission from the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.


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