Monday, November 7, 2016

Email, Duplication, and the Value of Stupidity

Email, Duplication, and Stupidity

We've all been holding trying to hold onto our sanity during this election with one non-substantive controversy after another. The latest, of course, is the cache of Hillary emails found on Anthony Wiener's laptop which were leftover when his estranged wife, a top Clinton aide, used the laptop to screen emails for the former Secretary of State. Today I saw this tweet:

Checking these emails went so fast because they were all duplicates.  Let me explain.

In perhaps the most ironic story on earth today, I stumbled upon the duplicate file finder on the CCleaner program.  I figured my laptop could use a little maintenance, so I clicked it just as a co-worker asked if I'd heard the latest about this FBI debacle.  By the time I turned around (between 10 - 20 sec later) the program was finished and had discovered between 180 - 200 duplicate files.  That's nearly 10 - 20 duplicates discovered per second.

Now, I don't have 650,000 different files on my laptop to compare, but the program did compare files in scattered locations all around the laptop.  (I have 231,624 files on my computer, for what it’s worth, and you can see how I learned that on the link below this article. Unfortunately, any further analysis gets into details, like how do program files compare against document files, etc. that I don’t know enough to discuss.  The important thing is that you don’t need to be a technological wizard to come up with a basic analysis of this issue.)

In contrast, the FBI could have easily set the two sets of emails into only 2 directories and let the program go to work.

In further contrast, I was using a 5 year old laptop.  The FBI has mainframe computers that are orders of magnitude faster than this old laptop.  The also have technological specialists that could set multiple of these uber-computers onto this stack of data from the beginning.  Before we get too far off track, though, let’s go back to the math posed above.

Even my old laptop, which is slowly failing as it limps toward its eventual oblivion, discovered about 10 duplicate files per second.

First, the main premise is that there is no way the FBI could detect an email per second.  So, to even things out, let’s deduct 650,000 seconds from those 8 days (691,200 seconds).

- 650,000

Now, divide that by 3,600 to convert those seconds to hours.

41,200 / 3,600 = 11.444 hours.  

I’m gonna ballpark that at about 11 ½ hours, which is nearly half a day.

So, even at discovering one duplicate per second, a run of the mill computer should have been able to do the job in only 7 ½ days at at that rate, leaving 11 ½ hours of extra time to write that very difficult paragraph to Congress that the emails were all duplicates.  However, even this simple math isn’t done yet, since my old laptop could find at least 10 duplicates per second.

If the FBI’s multiple mainframe computers could do 10 duplicates per second, we divide 650,000 by 10 that takes us down to 65,000 seconds to do the job.

650,000 / 10 = 65,000 seconds
65,000 seconds / 3,600 seconds/hr = 18.06 hours.  

Now, I’m tech savvy, but not a tech specialist.  Here’s what one well known tech specialist had to say about the time it would take:

So, it seems that my estimate is on the high side.

That is not even a day.  Let that sink in.  The FBI let this drag on for 8 days when even a slow machine should have been able to accomplish this task in less than a day.  But wait - there’s more!
Comey’s reason to even make the announcement was because he didn’t want to possibly make it too close to the election, and he wasn’t sure that this investigation would finish by then.  Wouldn’t doing a duplicate check first have been the smart thing to do, especially if it could be done in less than a day?   Is he telling the American people that the Director of the FBI doesn’t have a way to ask an IT specialist how long it would take to figure out if this new cache of emails was new or just copies of emails that had already been vetted by the FBI?

Weigh the prejudicial effect of his announcement versus the harm that would have been committed by waiting for less than a day to perform proper due diligence.   If you look at’s horse-race/Rorschach graph, Clinton has gone from 81% chance of winning to 65%. (see link below).  To paraphrase a recent piece by Nate Silver of, you can’t tease out all the variables that caused such a steep decline in these 8 days, but it is very similar to when Comey released the finding of the FBI probe back in July. (another link below.)  What I took from his article is that we may not know exactly which breed of duck we have, but this story definitely looks and walks like a duck.

So, why couldn’t Comey give proper due diligence to this issue?  Why did he have to put his thumb on the scale of the US Presidential election?  I’ve seen reports that there are some deep divisions within the FBI.  Well, if the divisions are so deep that it causes this level of improper action by the FBI director, then it’s time to clean house.  The credibility of American democracy depends on it.  Perhaps that cleaning should start with Comey.

But wait - there's even more! Republicans in general, but especially Congressional leaders should have shown a little decency. Comey's original statement was vague but it certainly did not convey that there was any reason to think that there was solid evidence of criminality in this new cache or emails. As vague as it was, it should have been left alone. Instead, Republican leaders went on and on, saying that the investigation was reopened (it wasn't), and that indictments were surely forthcoming (which, of course, didn't happen). Given the information that they had, there was no justification for these fabrications.

As a father, I believe in basic values of fairness, honesty, and common decency. Since I try to teach these values to my children, one could even say that they are family values. So, why on Earth did the leaders of the "party of family values" distort facts and contort the truth into unrecognizable falsity over this issue? You Republicans are losing this election because America has seen that you don't really believe in these things. You don't represent the family values that I hold dear, and you certainly don't deserve to represent the American people.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

The Ancient Guardian Monk – Luang Pu Thuat Pt. III

Luang Pu Thuat
The Ancient Guardian Monk

This is the third in a series of posts. In the first post, I retold some of the stories from the life of Luang Pu Thuat. In the second post, I told a story of how Luang Pu Thuat kept me safe in a dangerous situation. In this post, I tell another story of how the revered master kept me safe.

          A little over a year after the last time Luang Pu Thuat kept me safe, I needed to get a new visa. This was a couple months after I had mylittle encounter with an immigration officer concerning the Thai Licensing Facilitation Act of2015 (LFA). The LFA put an even stronger law on my side this time. To give me some added strength, I no longer cared what corrupt officers try to do. I cannot just ignore the corruption, and my heart will not invest any more energy into coping with this system's massive schemes.  I now have freedom.

          This visa run was noticeably different. There has been a little (very little) progress made towards rooting out corruption under the junta. The LFA has helped with that a little bit. On the other hand, there is still a problem with incompetence and officers just making up the rules that they want. There is also a push to get the “good guys in, bad guys out.”

          Getting stamped out made me a little nervous too. I thought I had another 30 day extension left on my visa1, but realized too late that I read the wrong law section. (That was totally my fault. I wasn’t paying attention to my visa as I had another writing project that I wanted to complete.) I had now overstayed my visa by a day. I’d have to pay a 500 baht fine, but there were no other penalties, as long as I didn’t make an officer angry . . .

          To assist in getting the “bad guys out,” there is a brand new building at the Sadao border for people to get stamped out of the country. The exit stamp line wound back and forth 4 times in the building. By the time I got halfway through, it wound out the door and along the entire outside of the building. Of course, only having 4 processing desks out of 16 didn’t help the line to move any faster2. I was lucky that the officer only demanded the legitimate overstay fine and only took 5 minutes. After nearly an hour, I had my exit stamp. So far, so good.

          The way back from Penang was good. Several other passengers were English speaking foreigners. We all shared stories from our travels. The topic of immigration at the border came up, and I told my stories about going through the border a year earlier and about using the LFAto deal with an “unhelpful” immigration office. Everyone was surprised that I had the guts to argue the law with Thai Immigration, and amazed that I dared them to arrest me if they doubted me on the law.

          When we got close to Sadao, people started getting their wallets out to find the 200 baht “tea money”. This was new: the driver didn’t even have to tell the other passengers about the bribe! (Apparently, the 200 baht extortion bribe has been in place for years and is common knowledge for many foreigners. I guess that I haven’t been around long enough.) It quickly became clear that I would, yet again, be the only one in the van who chose to not give into the border extortion racket. Everyone seemed to agree that I should be near the first in line. They didn’t want to have to wait too long if I got taken to the back office. Another passenger promised to bring my laptop to the office if I got taken in – I already had the relevant sections of Thai immigration law downloaded onto it.

          We got in line and waited. One of my fellow passengers was in front of me, with his extortion “tea money” tucked neatly into his passport. It still took the officer a couple minutes3 to go through his passport. They are serious about enforcing the overstay rules and are now looking for people who have too many short stay tourist visas back to back. Now, it was my turn.

          Before I could even step forward to give my passport to the immigration officer, he said –

          Luang Pu Thuat!”

          Yes, yes!” I replied. The officer and I had a similar conversation to the one I had after Luang Pu Thuat intervened to protect me the year before: “Yes, I know he is a great monk – I ordained shortly as a monk at a local monastery – I am married to a Thai lady, and we have two adorable baby girls whom I love very much,” etc. He looked through my passport and only told me that I was nearly out of pages. I told him “Yes, I will go to Bangkok for a new passport soon. Thank you.” He stamped me through and that was that.

          Once again, I was the only person in the van who did not give in to the extortion. Once again, something happened with Luang Pu Thuat to protect me from danger. I know several people who fly to different places, even though it is significantly more expensive, just so that they can avoid the Sadao border checkpoint. It seems that all we ever needed to protect us from the harassment and extortion was the grace of Thailand’s most revered monk.

1There is a lot of confusing information out there from Thailand, and very little information that comes officially from the government. I’ve read stories of many people getting similarly confused. I admit, however, that this was my mistake. I was just too hasty in the way I read the rules that time.
2What did I say about incompetence?

3When you’re waiting and not knowing if the officer will make a problem, then you notice every second.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The Ancient Guardian Monk – Luang Pu Thuat Pt. II

Luang Pu Thuat
 The Ancient Guardian Monk, Part II

          In a recent post, I wrote up some brief stories about Luang Pu Thuat, a highly revered monk from the south of Thailand.

          I have always been an idealist and going to Cooley Law School sharpened that idealism. I’ve been teaching English in Thailand for the last couple of years while my wife and I begin our family.  But this story and the next one are about how Luang Pu Thuat protected me while I was in Thailand. Both stories take place on the Thai-Malaysia border at the Sadao checkpoint, which can be a very dangerous place for the unwary foreigner. Many of us foreigners go to the Thai Consulate in Penang to get our visas processed. We pass through Thai Immigration in Sadao on the way home.

          I have made the trip about half a dozen times in the last few years. On my way home a year ago, something new happened. As we got out of the van to get our passports stamped at the Sadao checkpoint, the van driver told everyone in the van to make sure that we put 200 baht1in our passports to ensure that there were “no problems” going through the checkpoint. (Of course, this didn’t sit well with me.)

          Of the 10 people in the van, I was the only one who did not put the bribe into my passport. One young lady from our van was ahead of me, but in another line. I heard the immigration officer say something to her, but couldn’t make it out because she was a bit too far away. A few people in line in front of me were stamped through in the time that it took her to get through in her line. Her officer looked irritated, but I had no time to think about that since it was now my turn at the window.

          I handed my passport to the immigration officer. He looked at it for a couple of minutes, which was quite noticeably longer than any of the 3 people who were just in line before me. Then the questions began. He asked “how you get Non-B visa?2” (This is the visa for doing business or working without wanting to immigrate and become a Thai citizen. It is a very common visa.)

          “I went to the Thai Consulate in Penang,” I said.

          “How you get non-B? You must have work permit first,” he replied.

          “Really?” I asked. Now, where I went to law school, we would get grilled on the cases and law in every class. We all knew to never be unprepared for a legal situation, and I hadn’t slouched here. I had looked up and even downloaded the official English translations of Thai Immigration law and the accompanying regulatory rules. The officer thought that he would “help” me, though3, and clarify these new “changes” to the law.

          “No, no. Must have work permit first, then visa,” the officer replied.

          “Really?!?” I asked, with mock surprise.

          “Yes, really,” he replied.

          “Did they change the law?” I asked.

          “Yes, they changed the law,” he replied with an attitude of being serious and trying to be helpful at once.

          “When did they change the law?” I asked. “Because I read the Thai law, and it said we must have a contract to get a visa, and a visa to get a work permit.”

          “No, no,” he replied, “the law changed. Work permit, then visa, then contract.”

          “When was that?” I asked with feigned confusion. I held up 3 fingers and continued, “because I looked up the law 3 days ago, and it said contract, visa, and then work permit.”

          "Change law only short time ago," he replied.

          This went on for a few more rounds of back and forth. A few things were becoming obvious at this point. First, I knew the law and was not going to be pushed around by a petty, corrupt bureaucrat4. Second, the officer had his heart set on extorting that 200 baht bribe from me. Third, he was not going to openly tell me to give him the 200 baht in order to get through5. Lastly, he was getting irritated with my stubborn “ignorance.” His frustration was turning to anger, and beginning to show on his face. When you live in a culture where people are expected to show a smile at all times, you really notice when the happy expressions disappear. He was beginning to stare at me, and I had the feeling that the next step was to take me into the back office.

          If I were taken to the back office, there are a few possibilities of what could happen. First, they could just harass me until I grovelled like a dog, then they would let me go (after paying the bribe, of course.) Second, as part of the process, they could begin to lie even more about what Thai law actually says, and come up with other “problems” that would result in severe “fines.” Third, they could just trump up some charges, or even plant some evidence, and arrest me6. I was on a razor’s edge, and we both knew it. That’s when the lessons of my martial arts teachers began to repeat themselves in my mind: “conflict is about space.”

          I took 2 steps back from the immigration officer to create a little physical space. Then I looked quietly and pensively at him to make mental space. I scratched my head and let my other hand absentmindedly fall to the Luang Pu Thuat amulet that I wear all the time. I began to rub the little amulet between my thumb and first two fingers. Then everything changed again.

          “Luang Pu Thuat!?!” exclaimed the immigration officer.

          “Yes, yes, Luang Pu Thuat!” I replied7.

          The situation had just flipped 180 degrees. Between his broken English and my broken Thai, we had a little conversation. I said that I knew Luang Pu Thuat was a ‘very good’ monk in my limited Thai, and that I had been a monk at a local temple the year before. I then told him that I was married to a Thai woman and that we had a baby daughter. That was it. He said he would let me through “one time,” and stamped my passport.  How nice of him!

          Of course, this delayed me, and the rest of the van’s passengers were waiting for me. A few expressed shock that I was able to get through without paying the bribe. I then found out why the young lady that was ahead of me in the other line was delayed. She had forgotten8 to put the 200 baht in her passport. The officer gave her the passport back and told her “show me the money.” Literally. I asked her twice if she was serious that those were his exact words, and she confirmed. He actually said it twice. She thought she misheard him the first time, but he repeated: “show me the money.” She put the 200 baht in her passport, and he stamped her through with no further problem.

          It was nerve wracking to not know if you would be arrested for refusing to pay a bribe. I was glad that it was over, for another year at least.

          A quick note on some of the terms I usei. For these articles, I am only dealing with bribery and extortion in the context of a government official.

          Bribery is a payment given to ensure better than fair treatment. A person who pays and the officer that accepts are both guilty of bribery.

          Extortion is when a payment is made to because the payor9 is threatened with less than fair treatment. Normally, we consider the payor to be a victim who is only buying back a level of fairness that was wrongly denied to him.

          There is some confusion about this however. The money exchanged in extortion is still often called a bribe. (This makes sense because the extortioner is demanding the bribe, instead of merely accepting it.) Some nation’s laws do not make a distinction between the extortion victim who pays to get back to fairness and the briber that pays for more than fairness. The result is that victims can be charged with bribery when they are actually victims of extortion.

1The Thai unit of money. 200 baht was worth about $6.50 at the time. As a foreign English teacher I made about 1,500 baht per day. So, 200 baht isn’t much, but it’s also not trivial.
2No disrespect to the officer with the broken English. That’s how he spoke. I promise, though, that this is much clearer and easier to understand than the officer’s original words.
3“Help” me get rid of some baht.
4This was only obvious to me, apparently.
5The common procedure for getting a bribe is done in a few steps. First, the government official finds a problem. This can be a real problem in an application, such as not having the correct documents. It can also be a made up problem that they create by ignoring what the law actually says. Second, they hesitate and ‘calmly’ argue with the applicant until the applicant is confused and frustrated. This creates a situation where the applicant will ask something like “what can I do to make this right?” This leads to the third step, and that is telling the applicant how much they will have to pay.
6If this sounds outlandish, please check out this story:
7At this point in the conversation, I began to speak as much Thai as I could because the subject was changing to one where I knew some Thai to speak. It was still barely any Thai, but Thai people are usually happy if foreigners at least try to speak a little of the language.
8She honestly forgot. She was willing to pay the bribe in order to avoid problems.
9Payor: the person paying.

Monday, June 6, 2016

The Ancient Guardian Monk – Luang Pu Thuat

The Ancient Guardian Monk –
Luang Pu Thuat

Part I: The Life and Legends of Luang Pu Thuat        

          People all over Thailand know the stories of Luang Pu Thuat – Thailand’s most famous monk. Until recently, most stories of the highly revered monk were not written, but only passed down through oral tradition. I will relay a few stories of the legendary monk for those who aren’t familiar with him. I will tell my own story about how the monk protected me on two separate occasions in an upcoming post.

Early Life.

          The legend tells that, as an infant, baby Pu’s1 parents put him in a hammock while they worked a rice paddy. While they were gone, a large reticulated python coiled around him. When his parents returned, they pleaded with the snake to spare the child. They suspected that the snake was supernatural, so they decided to pray and make offerings to it. The snake was appeased and spit up a glowing crystal onto the baby’s chest while it slithered away. As long as his parents had the crystal, their fortune improved dramatically. When a local lord demanded the crystal from the parents, the lord’s fortune turned sour until he returned the crystal back to Pu’s parents.

          His parents took him to a local monastery when he was a boy so that he could be educated. The boy studied diligently. He later ordained as a novice monk and, through continued diligence, quickly received full ordination. He traveled to several monasteries in the south of Thailand, and eventually got permission from his abbot to travel to Ayuttaya, an ancient capital of Thailand. On the trip there, the ship he was on encountered rough seas. Some legends also say that he caused the storm to subside around the ship. The ship couldn’t get through the storm, but this kept the ship from being destroyed by it. The crew was stranded for 7 days when they began to run out of food and water. Luang Pu Thuat got into a row boat and then stepped his foot on to the ocean water. Legend says that the water all around the little boat began to sparkle. Some sailors tasted it, and discovered that the water had turned from salty sea water to fresh water, which saved the crew.

          Luang Pu Thuat got to Ayuttaya. However he looked too disheveled and most monasteries refused to accept him, save for an old and run down one. He continued his diligent study of Buddha’s teachings in the shadows of the great monasteries of the capital city. Eventually, one of his greatest challenges would come to him in this city.

The Great Puzzle.

          At the time, Thailand and Sri Lanka were political, cultural, and religious rivals. The King of Sri Lanka was considering invading Thailand, but then came up with an alternative. The King of Sri Lanka had gold coins melted down and shaped like leaves. Then he had the Abhidharma (the Buddhist bible) imprinted, one letter at a time, onto these leaves, of which there were 84,0002 in all. The leaves were divided into 7 great big baskets. The king had seven of his Brahmins take the baskets, along with 7 shiploads of fine silks and other valuables, to the Thai king. The Brahmins relayed this challenge from the Sri Lankan king: “My Brahmins have brought all the letters to write the Abhidharma in these baskets, and each basket spells a certain section of the Abhidharma. If your sages can put these 7 puzzles together in 7 days, then you keep these golden letters, the silks, and everything else on the ships. However, if they fail, then I replace you as king and Thailand becomes part of Sri Lanka!”

(A Cultural Note.)

          To give some background for westerners, there are a lot of cultural ideas at play in this particular story. The Buddha taught to avoid not just killing people, and not even to also avoid killing animals. He taught to avoid causing suffering to any living creature. Emperor Ashoka, from India, converted to Buddhism after winning a very nasty war. After converting, he never went to war again, declared that animals were no longer to be used as food in the royal kitchens, and undertook building schools and hospitals for his people. He was a role model that Buddhist king’s were taught to respect and try to live up to.

          There is also the concept of “losing face” – not causing another person unnecessary embarrassment3. That means not engaging in unnecessary conflict that could put a person in a situation where they might be embarrassed. In contrast to non-violence, the idea of losing face could be played with a little bit. Thailand and Sri Lanka had an unspoken contest between them as to which nation preserved the Dharma (Buddha’s teachings) better. Here, the Sri Lankan king strategically put the Thai king between a rock and a hard place. If he refused the challenge, then it would be seen as a loss by default. If he accepted and lost, then there would be even greater loss of face (and the kingdom!) The king would lose face either way. If he brushed it off as a ploy and challenged the Sri Lankan king to come battle for Ayutthaya, then the Thai king would still lose face for failing to live up to the Dharma and Ashoka’s example. The only way out was through. The only way to not lose face was to accept the challenge and win.

Confronting the Challenge.

Luang Pu Thuat and Elephant at Wat Huai Mongkhon

          So, the Thai king accepted the challenge and had his most erudite monks begin working on the puzzle. To their embarrassment, they were stuck and unable to solve a single puzzle in the first 4 days. That night, the Thai king dreamt of a white elephant coming from the west into the palace and trumpeting throughout the palace with his trunk. One of his advisors said that it meant help would come and bring victory for the Thai king. With only a couple days left, the king reasoned that the help he needed would come from a monk who was probably already in the capitol city, and sent senior monks to find this monk.

          Luang Pu Thuat was found late on the 6th day. A devout Buddhist homeowner told him about the challenge, what was at stake for Siam (as Thailand was called then), and how the senior monks had been thwarted by the puzzle. The homeowner who told Luang Pu Thuat about the challenge begged him to hurry to the king’s mansion immediately. However, the young master told the homeowner not to worry and that he would go to the king in the morning.

          On the final day of the challenge, Luang Pu Thuat arrived at the king’s mansion after his morning meditation and study. The king had already been alerted to the young monk’s arrival and had him brought in immediately. The young master began to work and had all 7 nearly complete by the end of the day. Each puzzle was missing one single piece to complete them. The young master recited a simple phrase. The phrase was a teaching acronym that helps young monks organize the Amithaba as they learn. The young master then turned to the Brahmins and asked them for the remaining pieces. Much chagrined, each Brahmin admitted that they had individually decided to retain one piece of their puzzle in order to ensure victory for their king. The young monk took each coin and arranged them to make the acronym that he just said. By this, he showed his deep understanding of the Dharma. Thus, the young Luang Pu Thuat preserved the sovereignty of the nation and the nobility of the Dharma teachings at once. The king was very grateful and offered the monk riches, land, and the right to be king for a week. Luang Pu Thuat stayed true to his monastic vows and declined them all.

 The biggest statue of Luang Pu Thuat (born 2125 BE (1582 CE), died 2225 BE (1682 CE))
Wat Huai Mongkhon, Hua Hin, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Thailand

Later Life.

          Years later, there was a horrible plague in Ayuttaya. The illness began to spread ever rapidly the city’s doctors were unable to find a cure. Finally, it was brought to Luang Pu Thuat’s attention. He meditated and then recited some prayers over a vat of holy water. He took the water all around the city, blessing the entire city. The plague stopped spreading immediately, and those who were ill began to recover.

          Shortly after that, the revered monk decided that he needed to return to his home province. His hometown monastery had become quite dilapidated, and the monk began to work to restore the temple. Word reached back to the Thai king who sent several ships full of building supplies and the king’s personal architects to restore the temple. Some time later, a provincial governor sought out the master monk to help build a new temple. The master monk obliged, and eventually settled down to become the abbot of that temple, named Wat Changhai.

          Luang Pu Thuat eventually passed away when he was 120 years old. His students began to see the monk in their dreams, helping them to learn the Dharma and grow spiritually. This phenomena grew over the years. Eventually, monks began to make amulets in the image of the revered master, and the amulets are reported to have great powers that protect the wearer from evil spirits, black magic, accidents, and even gunfire4!


1This was his original name, which means “Crab”. Sources show that he was given the name Pu in different contexts, even after being given a new religious name as a monk. This happened a few times during his life, and Pu seems to be he most recognized part of his name.
2The numbers 84 and 108 are special numbers in Buddhism, and they come up repeatedly.
3Losing face is more broadly cultural as opposed to being part of Buddhism in particular.
4 It is said that the holy monk cannot protect someone from their own bad karma, so don’t confuse an amulet with a kevlar vest!  



Friday, June 3, 2016

Free Market Fundamentalists Foregoing Fornication

Free Market Fundamentalists 
Foregoing Fornication

Favoring Self-Flagellation Instead

June 2, 2016
By: Jeramee Sikorski

          Doctors warn of a newly discovered mental malady that is gripping members of a distinct population as tightly as the afflicted grip themselves. This illness accompanies rigid, fundamentalist thinking and self-pleasuring. Doctors warn that the disease makes certain groups especially vulnerable.

          This new mental illness is not a brand new illness, but rather sub-type illness that results in two other commonly known illnesses, obsessive-compulsive disorder and Tourette’s syndrome, occurring together under certain conditions. Obsessive-compulsive disorder occurs when a person has uncontrollable, reoccurring thoughts (obsessions) and behaviors (compulsions) that he or she feels the urge to repeat over and overi. Tourette’s syndrome (TS) is a neurological disorder characterized by repetitive, stereotyped, involuntary movements and vocalizations called ticsii.    The two disorders are commonly found together, but, in these recent cases, they appear to be the consequence of coupling extremist thoughts and self-flagellation.   While many TS sufferers consider the vocalizations embarrassing, one new group seems to revel in them.

          It’s quite sad,” said Dr. Mollifidor, a doctor and emerging mental health trend specialist at Bellevue Hospital. “We see otherwise healthy, though often obnoxious, young men literally pulling themselves into a state of psychosis with these behaviors.” “They couple masturbation with extremist thoughts, like ‘selfishness is a virtue!’” the Dr. explained, “and it is literally making them psychotic.” “I even saw one of the patients a couple of months before his ultimate admission here,” he continued, “but this illness is so new that even I didn’t recognize it. I merely thought the patient was an obnoxious, overgrown child who kept ranting about how ‘my body is my property and I can dispose of it how I choose.’”
Analogy of the Disease’s Origin

          A team of doctors are now working to understand this new disorder. Dr. Burrhus, a member of this specialist team, then went on to explain, theoretically, how this new illness, dubbed Randian Psychosis, seems to occur.

Every time we use a certain set of neural pathways, we embed them deeper. It is similar to the trails that cows make in the pasture back home on the farm. Every nerve impulse that follows a certain neural pathway strengthens that pathway and deepens it. Just like a cow, or a person, can walk on the grass without damaging the lawn, but repeatedly walking the same path will wear the grass out. New grass cannot grow as the soil becomes hard-packed and ridgid.

“In the brain, this process makes that particular pathway the dominant pathway of similar types of thoughts, but overuse of only a few thought-pathways cause them to become incapable of branching out to other areas of the brain. Just like the grass is killed off, this prevents new nerve branches from growing and connecting with other areas of the brain. The result is not only a loss of creative thinking, but also of critical reasoning since every situation is shunted into one of only a few possible thought-outcome-patterns.

Let’s say a cow wants a drink of water, and they have two trails to the creek to choose from. The choice of trails could be random, but the reinforcement they get from the drink at the end of the trail makes them more likely to choose that path the next time. If they are extremely thirsty, then the reinforcement effect is amplified, and they are even more likely to choose that trail the next time.

“Certain circumstances can make experiences more strongly reinforced for humans as well. In these new cases of psychosis, it appears to be orgasm, but, as all the patients have experienced significant decline in social skills as the disease progresses, that orgasm is always self-induced.

Orgasm creates not just a strong emotional experience of pleasure, but also more powerfully embeds those thoughts we are having at the moment of orgasm. Climax occurring while repeating extremist ideology, such as ‘government is a Ponzi scheme’ or ‘I don’t consent to the government by my rights under the UCC,’ amplifies the effect of those phrases on the brain. As a result, these behaviors not only increase in frequency and intensity, but the patient also loses the ability to discern when those behaviors are appropriate.

It’s as though the patients are literally beating their brains until the brain gets sick.

So far, all the patients presenting with this new psychosis have been devotees of the fiction writer Ayn Rand. Thus, we have named this disorder Randian psychosis.”

A Peculiar Case Study

          Dr. Frederic, another of the specialists working on this new illness elaborated on its effects in one case.

Repeated trampling of several similar thought patterns can fundamentally impinge on a patient’s ability to have any logical thoughts or coherent conversation on an entire area of thought,” said Dr. Frederic. “The latest patient was brought in after being fired from his third job in 4 weeks.

Apparently, his work ethic was acceptable, but he has caused many complaints from co-workers due to his inability to control the compulsive uttering his obsessive thoughts,” said Dr. Frederic, “such as, ‘taxation is slavery!’ His supervisor reported that he kept repeating 'taxation is theft’ when he got his paycheck. The scene apparently escalated when the supervisor tried to redirect him. After a few minutes, the supervisor had to call the police who had EMS take him to the emergency room where he was sedated and transferred to us.”

Physical Manifestations

          Dr. Skinner, who is a neural-psychiatric specialist, then elaborated on the physical effects they have observed at Bellevue.

The effects on the brain, as shown by functional MRI (fMRI), which shows the brain’s activity in real time, are quite startling. These thought patterns correspond to specific neural pathways which we can see light up when patient’s utter, or even hear, phrases like ‘a patriot must always be ready to defend his freedom!’

Repeating phrases like ‘taxation is slavery!’ while climaxing shows these paths become physically larger in real time. Over time, these pathways become so heavily trafficked that other pathways are choked off. This means that the patient’s ability to even entertain non-extremist thoughts is impinged. The neural pathways become thick, and we have actually measured their thickness at 0.5 mm, which is several times the thickness of a human hair.”

One important thing to note is the order in which the maladies occur. It does happen, occasionally, that a person will suffer from two maladies together. For example, OCD and TS often occur together. Either disorder can then cause another disorder to appear. For example, either OCD or TS symptoms are stressful for sufferers and this can then, in turn, cause depressive illness. The depressive illness is diagnosed by certain types of behaviors that are either observed or reported by the patient.”

In Randian psychosis, it’s like the chicken and the egg have switched places. It is the behavior of masturbation, coupled with the fundamentalist statements, like ‘who’s you’re John Galt?’ that then cause the OCD and TS symptoms. While it’s terribly sad to observe the patients engage in literal self-harm, it is also a fascinating demonstration of neuroplasticity.”

Everyday Explanations

          One problem that is already coming up for the Dr.’s is how to describe this malady. Is it hare-brained or hair-brained? Dr. Anna Yoder, one of the team members, elaborated for us:

We initially coined it as being hair-brained based on our fMRI research and the measurements of neural pathway thicknesses. However, as a functional matter, ‘hare-brained’ – the tendency to jump to wild and unsupported conclusions, certainly fits as well. I imagine that both terms will come to be used interchangeably between the behavioral and psychiatric communities.

It’s sad to see now these patients’ self-flagellation is whipping them into a frenzy, and into the behavioral health [psychiatric] unit here at Bellevue.”

One Prescription – A Bitter Pill
          Dr. Malottian is taking a radical stance on the disorder. In his practice, he has seen patients that exhibit sexual frustration because “they see themselves as the pure John Galts1 who cannot get the prized Dagny Taggart in their beds.” “They spend hours claiming that ‘I own my time, and taxes take a portion of what I spent time earning, thus taxes are a death sentence,’ instead of actually improving their social skills and meeting people.”

They also ignore the fact that Dagny passed herself around like a dish of candy as she slept her way from one business tycoon to the next, but I digress,” retorted the doctor. “Honestly,” admitted the doctor, “it get’s old real quick.” “It’s not Dr. Lecter sweetbreads annoying, but it’s close,” he said under his breath.

For patients in the early onset phases, Dr. Malottian also advises hacking into their laptops and loading massive amounts of auto-play pornography in the hopes that they will be too busy to think fundamentalist thoughts. “It’s not an ideal outcome, but, if we can overload them with some of the sexual gratification they lack, then we might be able to avert the Randian thoughts, which lead to psychosis, long enough for them to get treatment.” He cautions, “If the psychosis isn’t interrupted early, then there is no known treatment short of going back to experiments with electro-shock (ECT) therapy, or maybe even a lobotomy,” adding, “It’s not a good outcome; it’s just much better than putting up with their psychotic babble all day long.” To prevent the full onset of Randian psychosis, the specialist team recommends immediate psychiatric treatment if more than a few of the typical Randian behaviors are observed.


          Some behavioral effects of Randian psychosis are the inability to speak in anything other than extremist tropes; the inability to see the world in shades of gray; willful blindness to the plight of others, including blacks, gays, transgenders, and immigrants; inordinate inconsideration of others (usually displayed as self-centered arrogance); blatant selfishness; overinflated sense of self accomplishment and importance; repeatedly uttering extremist ideological phrases, often in socially inappropriate settings; becoming extremely angry, possibly violent, at the slightest criticism; and inward withdrawal indicative of depression. If your loved one suffers from more than a few of these symptoms, it is possible that he is in the early stages of the disease. If he gets prompt treatment, then it is believed that the disease can be halted before he masturbates himself into the full blown Tourette’s-OCD disorders that become Randian psychosis.

          Dr. Joe Zanga, founder of the American College of Pediatricians, disagrees. “It’s only a different worldview based on the history and tradition of our fathers,” he said. “While I don’t condone masturbation in any context, we can cure these patients with simple the simple conversion therapy that our member doctors pioneered decades ago,” he claimed. “Our successful therapy has taught patients to ‘convert’ their unpleasant thoughts to healthy thoughts with biblical-based teachings and prayer.”

          So, it seems that this newly discovered illness has already begun creating controversy. The Diogenetic Light will keep you updated on any reports or advancements that are made in treating this unsettling new malady.  In the meantime, please warn others of this affliction by clicking "share," below!

1Galt is the hero business tycoon from Atlas Shrugged, who proves his business acumen by bedding the ‘heroine’ of the story, Dagny.