Photo: Riverside Bank

Photo: Riverside Bank

Riverside Bank was a good bank. I liked their free coffee and cookies. TD Bank is good too, but doesn’t put out free coffee and cookies. Regions does, but their policies suck. $7 to cash a personal check for a non-account holder? Insane!

Canon Rebel XTi, EF 50mm 1:1.4, 1/1600, F4.5, 50mm, ISO100, 2008-09-25T10:12:37-04, 20080925-141237rxt

Location: 1060 W. International Speedway Blvd., Daytona Beach, FL  32114

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Please credit me as “Photo by Richard Thripp” or something similar.

Photo: Pictures of Pictures

Photo: Pictures of Pictures

“Pictures of Pictures” — 8×10 print copies of my photos in frames, from when I was trying to get into the Southeast Museum of Photography. September 28, 2008

Canon Rebel XTi, EF 50mm 1:1.4, 1/100, F3.5, 18mm, ISO100, 2008-09-28T16:22:29-04, 20080928-202229rxt

Location: Thripp Residence, Ormond Beach, FL  32174-7227

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Please credit me as “Photo by Richard Thripp” or something similar.

Photo: Needlework Tears

Photo: Needlework Tears

“Needlework Tears” — photo of a stitched portrait of a woman crying (or wearing makeup) that I saw on the right of way next to a house when going for a walk down my street. March 22, 2011

Canon Rebel XTi, EF 50mm 1:1.4, 1/640, F3.5, 50mm, ISO400, 2011-03-22T19:07:30-04, 20110322-230730rxt

Location: Valencia Ave., Ormond Beach, FL  32174

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Please credit me as “Photo by Richard Thripp” or something similar.

Avoiding CBC Decisions

The primary goal of all institutions is to avoid case-by-case (CBC) decisions by setting up a bureaucracy to handle every decision not based on possibility (pro-actionary), but based on precedent (reactionary) OR by delegating or removing those decisions to an independent, definitive, un-coerced third party, which is not necessarily or even desirably neutral and fair.

This is why in the United States of America we have a jury system of common people to judge all courtroom proceedings and unanimously determine guilt. If even one of the twelve jurors has doubts, he can deny the State the right to incarcerate, fine, or otherwise punish the defender, be him a victim or a criminal. The jury is not a star panel — any citizen can be drafted at any time for jury duty and jury selection should be of the person’s peers, coworkers, or neighbors rather than strangers, because if his friends rule him not guilty when they know him to be guilty, one to twelve of them will have to fear him on the streets or in public if he is truly a criminal.

Similarly, the system of federal courts and a Supreme Court to prosecute federal law and strike down states’ laws if they violate the spirit of the Constitution is set up hierarchically so that a case can be removed to an independent, definitive, un-coerced third party in a pattern of escalation or de-escalation, unless it reaches the Supreme Court, in which case a CBC or non-CBC decision is made which cannot be appealed, confined, over-turned, or escalated to an international or world court. Similarly, the case can be “thrown out of court” if there is no crime committed, or if the case is not worthy of the court’s time, because all time and resources are finite and never infinite.

While avoiding CBC decisions may be ideal for institutions, it is not ideal on an individual scale because every person has certain gut feelings he or she is unable to articulate. For this reason, personal discrimination is a sacred right which must always be upheld, and you should not hold yourself to machine-like standards because you are not a machine.

Introduction to Mathematics

If you have 3 apple pies and 19 people, how should you slice the pies so that each person gets an equal share? Each person should get 3/19 ≈ 0.1579 pies, but if you make each pie into 6 slices, that’s only 18 slices for 19 people. You have to slice each pie into 6 and 1/3 slices, with each slice being equal except the 1/3 being smaller, and then give the three 1/3 slices to the 19th person.

What if you have 1 pie and the Half-Blood Prince from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is the only person dining? Then you have 2 pies per person, assuming he’s half a person. In the expression 1/(1/2), move the denominator to the numerator and flip the ex-denominator, making the reciprocal and thereby converting division to multiplication. 1/(1/2) becomes 1*(2/1) which is just 2, because any number without a denominator has a denominator of 1.

Your neighbor lends you $8000 at 3.75% interest compounded annually, with no payments being required for 25 years and the full balance and interest being required to be repaid at that time. What is the payment? $8000*1.0375^25 ≈ $8000*2.5102 = $20,081.34.

What if you want to make a graph of the increasing amount owed on the Cartesian coordinate system where y is the number of years and x is the dollar amount in thousands? Use the equation y = 8*(1.0375^x).

PROBLEM: Your truck gets 15 miles per gallon in the city and 19 mpg on the highway. Your destination is 38 miles away as the crow flies, 42 miles away through the cities, and 49 miles away if you take Interstate-95. However, taking the interstate requires 5 miles of city driving. How many gallons of gas will be used on each route, which one uses the least gas, and how much does each trip cost if gas is $4.15 per gallon?

SOLUTION: First, note that there are only two routes: 42 miles through the cities and 5 miles through the cities PLUS 44 miles on I-95. Then, do this:
42/15 = 2.8 gallons –> 2.8*4.15 = $11.62 in gas
5/15 + 44/19 ≈ 2.65 gallons –> 2.65*4.15 = $10.99 in gas

NOTE that with the variables provided, the longer route is in fact the cheaper route. However, in reality there would be an inordinate number of variables, such as your engine’s efficiency, time of day, traffic patterns, traffic lights, and unforeseen events. For example, traveling an extra 7 miles may necessitate an earlier oil change or some other maintenance. If you get into an accident on the interstate at 80 miles per hour, you might be instantly killed rather than being only wounded if crashing at a much lower speed in a city. Highway driving vs. city driving requires different mental concentration and one may appeal over the other depending on your upbringing and psychological makeup. In the city, you are more likely to be pulled over by policemen and ticketed. The road surface may be smoother on the interstate, which will prevent your tires from wearing down as quickly. If you break down on the interstate, you may be stranded if you don’t have a cell phone. All math problems simplify.

PROBLEM: The 2012 Presidential election is coming up, and observing that Ron Paul (R) and Barack Obama (D) have won the primaries, General Electric is deciding how much to donate to each candidate’s campaign. GE’s budget is $4,000,000, and they estimate Paul has an 8% chance of winning and Obama has a 92% chance of winning. GE estimates donations to Paul have a political worth three times greater than donations to Obama to secure support from the Constitutionalist movement. How much will GE donate to each campaign?

SOLUTION:
3*0.08 = 0.24
1*0.92 = 0.92
0.24+0.92 = 1.16
4,000,000/1.16 = 3,448,275.862
3,448,275.862 * 0.24 = $827,586.21 to Ron Paul
3,448,275.862 * 0.92 = $3,172,413.79 to Barack Obama

PROBLEM: Steve Jobs is developing the iPad 3 for release November 28, 2012 and must choose between Foxconn’s 64GB isolinear-NAND flash chip and Foxtrot’s 59GB neo-EEPROM flash chip. Foxconn’s chip costs $28.78 and has a five-year failure rate of 2.8%. Foxtrot’s chip costs $26.55 and has a five-year failure rate of 2.1%. Both chips are functionally identical in form factor, read/write speed, power consumption, resiliency, and failure potential, both technologies are equally reliable, both companies use slave labor, and both companies are of equal capacity, reputability, and geographic location.

Apple estimates the market value of an extra 5GB (64GB vs. 59GB) of storage capacity to be $14.50 per unit, and estimates that each five-year failure will have an effective cost of $895.88 on Apple’s image, future sales, and support network. Which chip should Steve Jobs choose?

SOLUTION:
($28.78 – 14.50) = $14.28 effective cost per 64GB Foxconn chip
$26.55 = $26.55 relative cost 59GB per Foxtrot chip
$895.88 * 0.028 = $25.08 failure cost per 64GB Foxconn chip
$895.88 * 0.021 = $18.81 failure cost per 59GB Foxtrot chip
$14.28 + 25.08 = $39.36 total cost per 64GB Foxconn chip
$26.55 + 18.81 = $45.36 total cost per 59GB Foxconn chip

Jobs should choose the 64GB Foxconn chip, even though it is 0.7% more likely to fail in the first five years, because it’s easier to market a 64GB device than a 59GB device so the 64GB Foxconn chip has an effective cost of $6.00 less than the 59GB Foxtrot chip, given the variables.

PROBLEM: General Motors Company is developing a new type of engine that improves fuel economy by 100%, but has discovered that 0.000097% of the engines blow up when reaching a speed of 88 miles per hour, instantly killing everyone in the vehicle and seriously wounding everyone in a 100 foot radius. GMC is considering including this engine in its new SUV, the ThinkNeighbor Plus, which will get 42 highway miles per gallon instead of the standard 21 highway mpg, will be manufactured in a quantity of 5 million, and will sell for $38,000. GMC estimates only 0.5% of ThinkNeighbor Pluses will ever reach a speed of 88 miles per hour, and estimates the Public Relations costs of each explosion will be $8 million. The U.S. State Department has pledged to blame the explosions on domestic terrorist attacks, but only to a limit of three. Should GMC manufacture the ThinkNeighbor Plus?

SOLUTION:
NO. Since the question is “should GMC manufacture the ThinkNeighbor Plus?,” it isn’t even a math question because “should” is completely subjective.

More next time.

Photo: CFLs

Photo: CFLs

Two compact fluorescent lights of varied color temperature: one cool and one warm.

Canon Rebel XTi, Tamron AF 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3, 1/500, F5.6, 47mm, ISO100, 2011-03-12T15:29:39-04, 20110312-192939rxt

Location: 1985 S. Carpenter Ave., Orange City, FL  32763-7334

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Please credit me as “Photo by Richard Thripp” or something similar.

Photo: Leafy Droplets 8

Photo: Leafy Droplets 8

A green leaf partially eaten by bugs with water drops on it.

This is one of my first photos with my new Tamron 18-200mm lens from Amazon.com. I like the telescopic range, even though the optics and speed are below most Canon lenses.

For editing, I added a lot of contrast in Adobe Camera Raw 5.0 and Photoshop CS5, and cloned or spot healed many specks of dirt on the leaf.

Canon Rebel XTi, Tamron AF 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3, 1/200, F6.3, 200mm, ISO400, 2011-03-05T09:28:24-04, 20110305-132824rxt

Location: Thripp Residence, Ormond Beach, FL  32174-7227

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Please credit me as “Photo by Richard Thripp” or something similar.

More of the Leafy Droplets series.

Situational Ethics

Since the human mind has limits and time is the eternal constraint, the use of situational ethics can easily degenerate into a moral quagmire that binds you into modes of thought that subtly or severely limit your potential. Conversely, they can splinter your personality into fragments that destroy your cohesive identity.

One solution is to use the same ethics for all situations. This solution is ideal in theory, but leaves you vulnerable to people or situations that conflict with a belief in absolute ethics. For example, if you believe guns are bad, you make yourself vulnerable to criminals with guns who don’t care about your beliefs. If your family is starving to death and you can’t grow or buy food, then stealing from rich people who have too much food (à la Robin Hood) might be a better solution than just giving up and dying. Similarly, if you meet your soul-mate while in a bad marriage, the best choice for your happiness may be a divorce or an open marriage. Absolute ethics may work on paper, but not in real life, because people and situations change. If you live 80 years, that’s only 22,645 days as an adult, so it’s important to make every day count. However, it’s good to have firm guidelines that you only violate in extreme situations.

Another solution is to use ethics that maximize your personal happiness. Doing this in the short term could involve eating lots of chocolate and ice cream, but for true happiness, you should eat a balanced diet that’s good for your body, mind, and spirit. Doing this is not delaying happiness, but extending it over a long range of time and variety of mental states. If you maximize your personal happiness, you might take advantage of other people, but then when that stops working, you’ll be nice to them to get what you want. You may also choose to do unto others as you would have them do unto you. If you choose to believe in Jesus, Allah, Buddha, or all of them, you do that for yourself and your eternal soul rather than social, family, or peer pressure.

A third solution is to use ethics that maximize humanity’s happiness. While this can obviously be combined with the previous, they are generally at crossed purposes because what’s good for someone else is often not good for you. For example, it might make a stranger happy if I gave them my digital camera, but I would prefer to keep it because I bought it, I own it, and it’s my property.

A fourth solution is to use ethics that maximize your family’s happiness. I like this option best, because I honestly can’t care about all the people in the world or myself alone. Many people are mean and inconsiderate, so it’s important to pick your family closely, and it does not necessarily have to be your blood relatives, but you should not disown them.

Of course, you could also choose to cause as much chaos, death, destruction, and suffering in the world as possible, but this is degenerative and any benefits to this approach are side effects, so it is ultimately corrupt. Nazi Germany used this approach in the Holocaust, as did the United States by nuking Japan and defoliating Vietnam. This leads you down the path of fear, and makes you believe that no one is worthy of trust, which is a very lonely, dis-empowering, and depressing belief.

Traditionally, situational ethics are the domain of the right brain and concrete ethics are the domain of the left brain, but this is a stereotype and like all stereotypes, it is often wrong. You can define your own reality within the constraints life has given you, and you can change your reality to a fault, usually bounded by time and ingenuity.

In general, I would recommend not adopting the mental framework of situational ethics, because it leads to treating other people like objects rather than sovereign humans. It’s better to develop a good sense of intuition to implicitly judge people, while always giving the benefit of the doubt. Finally, it’s important to recognize that words are always less important than actions and that what you see in others is always reflected in yourself, so be careful.

Blueprint for a Social Network

These are some notes I wrote on a piece of paper today:

* Don’t bother integrating with social media — make a destination, not a portal.
* Make actual college-level classes on how to use the network, focused on fostering independent learning.
* Mainstream everything, including religion, holy wars, homosexuality, etc., excluding illegal or pseudocriminal activity.
* Branch out — scale out, not up. Use multiple TLDs like .com, .net, .org, .me, .us, .biz, and different brand names to avoid copyright claims ending the network, and make them all entry points.
* Make a non-profit, not a C-corp. or LLC.
* Ignore “practicality” — make concepts identities by making networks based on ideas, not institutions or locations.
* Don’t let anyone bad in — screen all users, like border patrol, make the network an “in” thing.
* Jealously guard your users — deal with federal agencies, not state agencies, put servers up on multiple continents in non-central areas to survive HAARP-quakes, Al-CIA-da, tsunamis, nuke “meltdowns,” etc.; require feds to use subpoenas, enforce the U.S. Constitution.
* Have one employee per 500 users. Keep real users only.
* Build hardware to match PHP/MySQL/Apache/CentOS, or other software/programming languages you like.
* Don’t be afraid to spend money.
* Get donations! Constantly have your hand out and use purpose-based reasons.
* Always be good and don’t be evil; use personal vision, not social, political, legal, traditional, or economic.
* Always personify and personalize everything, but don’t make a talking paperclip for a word processor.

2011 Photography Portfolio

This is a portfolio of twenty of my best photos. Since I feel my best work is from 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008, this portfolio contains photos from those years only.

*****

Ketchup

July 9, 2006: Ketchup

Assimilation

January 8, 2007: Assimilation

Sunrays

October 22, 2006: Sunrays

Rose of Orange

January 18, 2007: Rose of Orange

Yellow Grasshopper

July 7, 2006: Yellow Grasshopper

Yellow Sunshine

August 19, 2007: Yellow Sunshine

The Red-Brick House

February 26, 2008: The Red-Brick House

Leafy Sunset 6

August 31, 2007: Leafy Sunset 6

The Garden in Yellow

August 23, 2007: The Garden in Yellow

Implicity

October 10, 2007: Implicity

Leafy Droplets 4

March 9, 2011: Leafy Droplets 4

Leafy Droplets

June 28, 2006: Leafy Droplets

Sky's Camouflage

June 17, 2006: Sky’s Camouflage

Blue Marbles

February 22, 2006: Blue Marbles

Complicity

November 11, 2007: Complicity

Simplicity

April 15, 2007: Simplicity

Pink and Purple Sunset 3

June 11, 2006: Pink and Purple Sunset 3

Two of Us Against the World

January 5, 2008: Two of Us Against the World

Liquid Suspension

May 9, 2008: Liquid Suspension

Raindrops

June 13, 2006: Raindrops

*****

I’m going to start doing a series of “behind the photo” articles in summer 2011 detailing the methodology behind the composition, editing, and presentation of select photos. If you would like to vote for a particular photo for me to prioritize, say so in a comment on this blog post or the associated blog post for said photo. :)