An Engineer's Fable
A New Feature:
ESSENTIAL reading, viewing, listening. Bon Apetit!
Two Regular Features:
We are the beasts and these are truly God's children.
Artwork by Pina
Fine art gallery showing samples of the painter's work.
to break out of
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The Ten Commandments
The Bill of No Rights
The Word's Smallest Political Quiz
Forty Years of Voicing the
Philosophy of Freedom
Why do they hate us?
WABC 770AM NYC
Money is the Root of All Evil?
Not an ocean of tears nor all the guns in the world can transform those pieces of paper in your wallet into the bread you will need to survive tomorrow.
Why Socialism Failed
Price, Profit, Property
A Tale of Two Revolutions
The Great Revolution was the source of all the present communist, anarchist, and socialist conceptions.
The Meaning of
Communism to Americans
If we are to win a contest of ideas we must know their ideas as well as our own. Our knowledge must not be superficial.
Our Own Hundred Years’ War
WWII, the Cold War, and now the War on Terrorism can all be seen as part of a single, epochal struggle.
Give War a Chance?
The great ills of the last three centuries were largely ameliorated by war not mediation.
Socialism Kills (Alt1, Alt2)
The future of the world is either European secular socialism, Islamic totalitarianism or the unique American combination of Judeo-Christian religiosity and political and economic liberty.
Pax Americana (Alt)
An empire for liberty
Give Me Liberty
The principal function of anti-Americanism has always been, and still is, to discredit [classical] liberalism by discrediting its supreme incarnation.
Substitute for Responsibility
Anti-Americanism is a disease and not a position.
Why do they hate us?
Anglophobia writ large.
In Defense of the Stars and Stripes
In our time, anti-Americanism has become a crushing, Stalinist orthodoxy, an ossified system of bigoted dogmas that ruthlessly ostracizes all who would question it.
Do the Democrats Really Hate America? Part II, Part III
Today's so-called democrat party is really a distribution of two parts, the sophisticated and the naive. Or more aptly, the Elitists and the Disciples.
Hegemony of the Heart
America’s critics are right: The world has truly never seen anything like it.
Craven Western Intellectuals
Without a cheering chorus of twentieth-century Western intellectuals, infected by a fusion of alienation, socialist utopianism, and anti-Americanism, communism might never have attained its ideological-military dominance in the free world that it did, especially during the Stalin era.
Hollywood's Missing Movies
Why American films have ignored life under communism.
Fools for Communism
Still apologists after all these years.
The Economic Safety Net (a parable)
NEW WORLD ORDER
The U.N.'s Plan for World Government
The Charter for Global Democracy
Globalism and Sovereignty
Winning the Cultural War
Elitist Contempt for American Values
A Survival Message for Students
Why Schools Teach Socialism
Your Child's First Lesson in Socialism
U.N. Influence in U.S. Schools
Let's Talk About "Your" Jobs
How to Stop Exporting Jobs
Protectionism v. Outsourcing
How Union Bosses Shake Down Their Members and Corrupt American Politics
If God is dead, everything is permitted
"Religion in America takes no direct part in the government of society, but it must be regarded as the first of their political institutions; for if it does not impart a taste for freedom, it facilitates the use of it." - Alexis de Tocqueville
Lost Without Faith
[E]ven after Auschwitz, even after the gulag, after mass-murderers like Stalin and Mao and the Khmer Rouge, after Bosnia, Rwanda, the Sudan, after murderous autocrats like Kim Jong Il and Saddam Hussein, and despite the daily horrors of torture, rape, and murder filling their newspapers, the secular materialists still persist in their superstition that evil is just an outdated name for what is really the manifestation of material causes, a glitch in chemical, genetic, social, economic, or political structures that can be corrected if only the enlightened "technicians of the soul," as Stalin called them, are allowed to work their magic, and the quaint believers in various supernatural truths are gotten out of the way.
Who Is Racist? (Alt)
Martin Luther King says "judge us by the content of our character." His own wife says in 2001 "give us affirmative action," which is explicitly based not on character but on race.
Friedrich A. Hayek (1899-1992)
The Culture of Classical Liberalism
Hayek Was Right:
The Worst Do Get to the Top
And check out my Book Club.
An Engineer's Fable
A Cautionary Tale In Currents and Contracts
Once upon a time, a cobbler was forlorn because his customers kept returning his shoes. Each customer complained that the cobbler's shoes would slip off their feet too easily. He examined the width and the length but could not find any fault with their size. Still his shoe business was failing. In exasperation the cobbler sighed, “I would give $50,000 to anyone who could fix my shoes so that my customers would stop returning them.”
Upon hearing this, the cobbler's newest employee began working during the nights to solve the cobbler's problem. First, he observed that the shoes fit. However, each shoe had a gaping gash on the top where the foot could slip in but also out. He also observed that strings were laced through evenly spaced eyelets directly down one side of the gash and then directly up the other side of the gash.
So the employee started by experimenting with lacing the shoes in a different way. He alternated a string through eyelets on one side of the gash to eyelets on the other side. The shoe string crisscrossing up the gash pulled it together and held the foot from slipping out of the shoe.
His innovation in lacing shoes was an immediate success. One wealthy woman, with two ugly daughters and one beautiful stepdaughter, bought one pair of glass slippers with the new lacing technique for her stepdaughter. The success of these glass slippers at a royal ball made the cobbler very popular throughout the kingdom with stepmothers. These shoes fit and stayed fit.
But when the employee came to the cobbler for the $50,000 prize, the cobbler replied, “You don't understand our humor,” and never paid a cent. The real joke is the employee did not understand contracts and was conned out of his prize.
Now if you understood my humor, you know that this is not the true story. The true events took place in America in 1884. The cobbler was actually Thomas Edison, a proponent of direct current and the namesake of the future, and aptly named, Con Edison. And the employee was Nikola Tesla, the inventor of alternating current and a Serbian immigrant from Croatia.
The moral of the story is every engineer should understand currents and contracts. When con Edison offered $50,000 to anyone who could advance the state of science in his company, it was an open offer to form a unilateral contract--a contract where the offer can be accepted only by performance. Tesla's performance was acceptance of Edison's promise, which formed a contract under American common law. Had Tesla sued Edison, Tesla might have had the last laugh.
A couple of additional points can be made about this story. First is that bonuses are not generally contractual obligations. An employee cannot demand from an employer a bonus, even if promised to him, for work he was already obligated to do under the terms of his employment. If an employee wants to guarantee a bonus, it must be negotiated during the formation of the employment contract as part of the compensation. If not, the employee must perform some additional services in return for the bonus. What Edison offered was compensation for additional services; and so Tesla could expect the bonus once he performed those additional services.
Second is that when what sounds like a promise is made, the promisor cannot take advantage of the promisee by accepting the fruits of the labor while remaining silent about the incomplete promise. Such an unscrupulous promisor would be held accountable under American common law to a promisee who relied on the promise detrimentally. If Edison was merely joking, Tesla did not get it. But Edison did get Tesla's hard work, innovations and several valuable patents. While Edison knew Tesla had sprung into action for the $50,000, Edison could, and ought to, have let Tesla in on the joke. Instead, Edison took advantage of Tesla's reliance upon a reasonably perceived promise, and, therefore, Edison is estopped from denying a promise was made. This is the doctrine of promissory estoppel.
If there is a gap between the date of this issue and the current date, then clicking on this link to the current edition will fill in that gap with a list of all the editions to date for you to review below.
May 31, 2005:
The Manchurian Candidate
March 25, 2005:
Things the Left Wants Saved*
The Inhumane Society
July 22, 2004:
April 30, 2003:
Free Your Mind
January 21, 2003:
The Pale Fire of Hidden Stars
June 16, 2002:
Politically Correct Parents
September 11, 2001:
Lady Liberty Witnessed
August 11, 2001:
Magical Mystery Tour
December 5, 2000:
Artwork by Pina
November 12, 2000:
You've come a long way, Baby!
October 31, 2000:
Hillary 2004: Boo!
September 2, 2000:
August 8, 2000:
The 3 R's of Puppy Lemon Laws
July 4, 2000:
Animals Are Just Another Bag, Again
June 24, 2000: