Friday, March 02, 2012

Taser Cams, Mind Reading and the World to Come

From the Transparency front: Taser Inc -- best known for its generally non-lethal but controversial “stun-gun” devices -- has released a mini-camera (about the size of a cigar stub) that clips on to a police officer's sunglasses or collar. The camera can record two hours of video during an officer's shift. "Testimony is interesting; Video is compelling," says the Taser site. The information is then transferred and eventually stored in a cloud-computing system that uses Taser’s online evidence management system.

The system will clearly be useful for effective law enforcement and clearing officers of false charges (nationwide police currently spend over $2 billion annually on accusations of brutality). But what about the other side? Holding police accountable.  Will this tend to reinforce our trend toward ever-rising levels of calm professionalism, knowing that eyes are watching all the time? "When people know they are on camera, they act like better citizens," says a Taser board member. Or will this add stress to an already stressful job? And will the devices conveniently “fail” when their testimony is needed most? Most important, who will have access to the information?

Now science brings us deep transparency!  All right.  This one has even me a bit daunted and stunned.  In Existence I portray this happening in the 2040s.  But it appears that researchers at UC Berkeley have figured out how to extract what you're picturing inside your head, and they can play it back on video.  A functional MRI (fMRI) machine watches the patterns that appear in people's brains as they watch a movie, and then correlates those patterns with the image on the screen. With these data, a complex computer model was created to predict the relationships between a given brain pattern and a given image, and a huge database was created that matched 18,000,000 seconds worth of random YouTube videos to possible brain patterns.  Is this for real?  Already? (Read closely. It's not a direct reading but a correlation. Note that the derived image of Peter Sellers - (I mean Steve Martin) - has SHORT sleeves because that's what was the closest-correlated image stored in their database.  Still...)

==Space and Beyond==

Virgin Galactic almost ready for passengers. Citizen space travel is due to start next year. You'll need $20,000 to hold your place; suborbital tickets will cost upward of $200,000. Next up (they say): SpacshipThree flights from London to Melbourne, via space in about two hours.  I’ll believe the second part when I see it. But it's cool and I describe much of this (and more) in Existence. One of the better sides of a new Gilded Age.

As Virgin Galactic gets closer to becoming the world's first commercial space line, Playboy is eagerly pondering the creation of the ultimate intergalactic entertainment destination. Zero gravity dance floor...and sights out of this world at the new Two Hundred Mile High Club.

Looking beyond: Hubble finds a exoplanet that appears to be a steamy waterworld. It turns out the planet  GJ 1214b - first discovered in 2009 -  is composed mostly of water, under a thick, steamy atmosphere. This represents a unique class of exoplanet where extreme atmospheric conditions make it totally alien to our everyday experience. It's a super-Earthabout 2.7 times Earth's diameter, weighing almost seven times as much. This world is also hot: it orbits a red-dwarf star every 38 hours at a distance of 2 million kilometers, giving it an estimated temperature of 230 degrees Celsius. Spectra of water vapor plus low planetary density suggest it's mostly water. The high temperatures and high pressures would form exotic materials like 'hot ice' or 'superfluid water', substances that are completely alien to our everyday experience, Just 40 Light years from us.

Mars scientists select landing sites for future rovers. My pal Oliver Morton offers a lyrically fascinating discussion of what the new Mars rover Curiority will see, when (we hope) in lands safely and begins its exploration of Gale Crater. But is “exploration” the right word anymore?  Read and then decide for yourself!

==Fiction's Predictive Success==

I was recently sent this compilation: The 15 Best Novels Forecasting Our Future.  An interesting list - with a quibble. While many titles that they chose are excellent literature and fine futuristic "gedankenexperiments"... almost none of them scored very well at "forecasting our future."  In many cases, their lavish exaggerations were never intended to foretell but rather to caution, warn or prevent. Predictive success is hardly their top selling point.

In contrast, predictive success is one of several categories in my own list of best science fiction novels, where I include many of the same books, but not in the accurate-forecasting category. In fact, the predictive track record of my own books is being tracked and held accountable.

Alas, the list is also a little heavy handed, politically.  Not that I disagree much! But (for example) while I share the academics' low opinion of Atlas Shrugged, their disdain is chiding and moralistic, while mine is based on factors that are much more... objective.

An interesting philosophical appraisal of the popular action adventure video game Mass Effect gives perhaps a bit too much credit. The author speaks of “uplift” and a galactic setting in which humans are weak, low-class late-comers, as if these and other concepts and notions did not come from someplace else. (One would think the designers might at least slip freebie copies of some games to the writers of the most-inspiring novels they’ve read!) Still an interesting missive on what io9 calls "the most important science fiction universe of our generation."

An evocative short, post-apocalyptic film: An attempt to cleanup Earth’s radiation-contaminated cities using organisms that are part fungi, part mollusk gets out of hand (what could possibly go wrong?)…Shot in the ruined landscapes of Ukraine and Kazakhstan.

Sometimes Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal just nails it: Are we living in a simulated reality?...And our march toward oblivion.

Speak Russian?  Interested in the future?  See this Russian translation of my article about Predictions!

Amazing! Marvelous crop circles in snow!

==And Finally, an Opportunity==

“The Heinlein Society is pleased to announce that for the 2012-2013 academic year we will be offering the first of many scholarships. There will be two $500 scholarships awarded to undergraduate students of accredited 4-year colleges and universities majoring in engineering, math, or physical sciences (e.g. physics, chemistry), or in Science Fiction as Literature. Applicants will need to submit a 500-1,000 word essay on one of several available topics.

108 comments:

ZarPaulus said...

I notice that in both Mass Effect and your Uplift series the "lowly humans" have influence far greater than their status in galactic society.

The Systems Alliance fleet comes to the Citadel's rescue (I distinctly recall the crew of the Asari's flagship exclaiming "It's the Alliance, thank the Goddess!") and a human manages to kill a reaper for the first known time in 36 million years. And the end of the first game gets us a seat on (if not domination of) the council when species like the Volus and Elcor have been part of Citadel space for thousands of years and don't have representation. Heck, the Volus all but established the interstellar economy and they're just a client of the Turians.

Earthclan sets off a galactic war by doing little more than existing (and finding a Progenitor fleet).

David Brin said...

Yep. One might imagine I'd at least get a yearly copy of the new game...

...sniff....

Ian said...

David,

It's 5 AM local tiem so I shall look for further details regarding the US tax system tomor... when the sun has come up.

But here's a start:

http://www.google.com.au/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=history%20of%20us%20tax%20code&source=web&cd=5&ved=0CFcQFjAE&url=http%3A%2F%2Felsa.berkeley.edu%2F~saez%2Fpiketty-saezJEP07taxprog.pdf&ei=NRVRT6m5PLDumAWJq8CxCg&usg=AFQjCNEXjTyvC5k0wBr_HUXjx0RTwTYLIw&cad=rja

Go to pages 12-13 and note that the effective tax rate for the top 0.11% of US taxpayers rose from 71% to 74%.

The rate paid by the 10% of taxpayers below them rose from 55 to 59%.

The paper doesn;t go into detaisl about changes during that period (that I can see so far_ and suggests that increased deductions played a major part in the fall in effective tax rates after 1970.

I'm now working entirely from memory but I THINK there was a cap on the US home mortgage interest tax deduction back then.

Rob said...

It's only $60, David, (it's one of the few games where it's arguably worth $60, most $60 are worth $20) but it doesn't run on a Mac.

Ian said...

If you do take a look at that paper take a look at the table on page 19.

90% of British tax payers pay a lower percentage of their total income in Federal/national taxes than do their US counterparts.

Not what I went looking for but still interesting.

Paul451 said...

Ian,
Re: Alcubierra Drive death ray.
This only occurs at near and faster than lightspeed. If you "come out of warp" just outside you destination solar system, dumping your accumulated charged particles, then continue in-system at lower speed, your destination should be safe.

---

A Russian Spring and the end of the 40 billion dollar man?

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-03-02/putin-against-a-rising-tide-of-people-power/3865956
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_heads_of_state_and_government_by_net_worth

Sousveillance, Mozilla style: "Collusion." Try the demo, no download required.

http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/collusion/

Heat sensor connected to a bunch of LEDs = poor man's thermal camera. I don't know why, I just find this unspeakably cool.

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21328546.200-thermal-flashlight-paints-cold-rooms-with-colour.html

---

Shouldn't the Heinlein scholarship be for students of Maths, Engineering, Physical Sciences and SF Literature? (As well as Military Strategy and a pilot's licence.)

Oliver Seiler said...

"But it appears that researchers at UC Berkeley have figured out how to extract what you're picturing inside your head, and they can play it back on video."

I think this is taking the results too far; it could be they are extracting images from the processing happening along the visual cortex, but it isn't clear that this is where things like dreams "take place" (they even say as much here).

Still, pretty cool, and the technique could probably be applied beyond the visual cortex (e.g., "listening" to the inner dialog people have by correlating how sound is processed to what "lights up" in the fMRI).

John's Secret Identity™ said...

Olliver, I believe I read of this a few months ago. IIRC the result images are just a visualization of the fmri readings' correlation with known images, generated by blending the best-matching images. If they took readings while the subject looked at a completely new image totally unlike any the system had been trained with it would still come up with a result image made of blended training images.

Re the Taser cam, try the Looxcie
In its second generation now.

Ian said...

Paul,

Wouldn't it be a bummer if you had a working FTL drive which you couldn't use within a light year of an inhabited system and the technology to get you out to the safe distance topped out at 5 or 10% of lightspeed?

natteogg.One of Granny Ogg's sons. The Oggs never were much for correct orthography.

matthew said...

Going back to the last thread and discussions of contraception - contraception is preventative care. Without single payer insurance, preventative care is one of the only methods of controlling our out of control medical costs. And contraception is unusally effective preventative care. The typical low risk pregnancy costs insurance about $6,000 – $8,000
americanpregnancy.org. Cost of contraception a month is about $30, less if you are an insurance company buying in bulk. That means that the cost of ONE pregnancy pays for 16.7 years of birth control pills, at a minimum.

So, why don't all insurance companies cover the cost of contraception? Hmmm, maybe something about expanding their market share, perhaps? New customers are MADE (with a little help from that Viagra coverage...), and parents with insurance will, of course, add the little ones to the plan.

Moral objections usually end up driving the bottom line. Ask yourself who benefits from more people. More Catholics, more red state babies, more customers for America's fastest growing industry.

matthew said...

Make that "bottom line driving moral objections." Darn logic.

Ian said...

http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=860&dat=19630225&id=BQBPAAAAIBAJ&sjid=NEsDAAAAIBAJ&pg=5112,2028177

Also not what I was looking for - although it does mention in passing the tightening up on deductions - article from 1963argues that the cuts in income tax will be more than offset by the simultaneous increase in social security contributions and other tax increases,

Ian said...

Kemmedy's message to Congress recommending his tax reofrms, note point 7.

"In addition, the present tax code contains special preferences and provisions, all of which narrow the tax base (thus requiring higher rates), artificially distort the use of resources, inhibit the mobility and formation of capital, add complexities and inequities which undermine the morale of the taxpayer, and make tax avoidance rather than market factors a prime consideration in too many economic decisions.
I am therefore proposing the following:
(1) Reduction in individual income tax rates from their present levels of 20 to 91 percent, to a range of 14 to 65 percent--the 14 percent rate to apply to the first $2,000 of taxable income for married taxpayers filing joint returns, and to the first $1,000 of the taxable income of single taxpayers;

(2) Reduction in the rate of the corporate income tax from 52 to 47 percent;

(3) Reversal of the corporate normal and surtax rates, so that the tax rate applicable to the first $25,000 of corporate income would drop from 30 to 22 percent, so as to give particular encouragement to small business;

(4) Acceleration of tax payments by corporations with anticipated annual liabilities of more than $ 100,000, to bring the corporate payment schedule to a current basis over a five-year transition period;

(5) Revision of the tax treatment of capital gains, designed to provide a freer and fuller flow of capital funds and to achieve a greater equity;

(6) Removal of certain inequities and hardships in our present tax structure; and

(7) Broadening of the base of the individual and corporate income taxes, to remove unwarranted special privileges, correct defects in the tax law, and provide more equal treatment of taxpayers--thereby permitting a larger reduction in tax rates than would otherwise be possible and making possible my proposals to alleviate hardships and inequities."

http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=9387#ixzz1o0sD7kVr

Ian said...

Still not finding the daat I was looking for and I am startign to think I was at least in part wrong abotu the nature of tax-base broadening under Kennedy.

It seems that limits on deductions was a more important dactro than expansion of the definition of taxable income.

Still, here are the net results:

http://visualizingeconomics.com/2007/11/03/nytimes-historical-tax-rates-by-income-group/

Totsl effective tax rates for the top income earners barely charged after the 1964 tax reform.

RandyB said...

David -- (carried over from previous post)

"Um.... duh? Here's the test Randy. YOU go take the things that Hannity and Beck and Limbaugh claim that "liberals believe" and you try asctually asking your moderate liberal neighbors (and do not actively LOOK for lefties) ... ASK them "do you believe..." and recite what those SOBs said."

It's an interesting test. I'll have to think who I'd dare to throw this at. I avoid politics at work and around my home. Most of my personal friends are either conservatives or non-ideological or they're not close friends, such that I avoid these landmines.

Your point reminds me of the "Republicans In Name Only" phenomenon, except in reverse.

Plus, I can't think of anything they say "liberals believe" that you wouldn't agree that liberals (in general) do believe: health care, Guantanamo, Iraq, regulation, contraceptive funding, etc. (Okay, that last one iffy but I couldn't resist.)


"Agh! Again... duh? It is called INCANTATION! Propaganda and big big relentless lies. Same with Beck. They don't dare and they don't want em."

That sounds more like Hollywood.


"The rare "liberal" guests that Hannity has are either set-ups, like Colmes, or people pre-vetted NOT to be his polemical match. They are set up as punching bags."

Hannity did get Moore on his show, although he had to publicly challenge him to appear. You may also remember a couple years ago that the Obama administration had a policy of avoiding Fox.

It's a self-selecting bias. It takes two to tango. Do you see a line of prominent liberals trying to get on the show? He takes whoever he can get that draws viewers.


"While I agree that there are lefty fools, especially in university soft studies depts and hollywood, their denial is nothing like yours. To actually compare the left insanity vs that on the right and call them comparable."

They may be fools but they do have a very strong influence.

But I don't think they're comparable in the same way. It's just that both sides have naive, but good-hearted people, outright fools, and extremists.

Your challenge is too much of a can-of-worms, and my time is limited right now.

And I thought the challenge was to compare the straight news on Fox to the straight news on the networks.

RandyB said...

Correction:

"Plus, I can't think of anything they say "liberals believe" that you wouldn't agree that liberals (in general) do believe: health care, Guantanamo, Iraq, regulation, contraceptive funding, etc. (Okay, that last one iffy but I couldn't resist.)"

Scratch Guantanamo from that list. Most liberals (wisely) support keeping it open.

Jonathan S. said...

In Mass Effect, the only reason the humans are able to kill Sovereign is because the other Reapers are still in darkspace, unable to use the Citadel to invade the galaxy the way they had every other cycle. And that's partly because the Protheans built that backdoor access, and partly because the Keepers had mutated across the long millennia to where they no longer heard the Reaper's instructions.

In short, the humans were able to take advantage of circumstances - which existed beyond their control. Full marks to Shepard for being on the ball and giving the correct command (spoiler - either one is the correct command, but it does affect your standing in the next game), but the very opportunity was granted by the actions of races long since subverted by the Old Machines.

In ME2, you can get the impression that humans are vastly important, mostly because the Illusive Man tells you so at every available opportunity. However, while Shepard does gather his team, he can't possibly succeed without everyone's work on his behalf.

Quespean geylor: Another ship purchased by the quarians, similar to the Qui Qui, with an unalterable registration.

Tony Fisk said...

Wouldn't it be a bummer if you had a working FTL drive which you couldn't use within a light year of an inhabited system and the technology to get you out to the safe distance topped out at 5 or 10% of lightspeed?


A situation not unlike that seen in international air travel.

ME3...must...resist! (to the tune of 'Don't Fear the Reaper')

Those mind photos are interesting. Even scarier is the notion that images can be imprinted. It is already possible to disrupt the brain with magnetic fields so that people can't form the words, let alone speak them. However (cue predictive hit drumroll...) they can still *sing* them!!)

David Brin said...

The hyperdrive only useful far from planets has two variants.

1) you only CAN use them far from suns, as in MOTE IN GOD'S EYE.

2) You only MAY use them far away because they are dangerous

Either would make an interesting story and either would add some 'splaining to the Fermi Paradox.

David Brin said...

Sigh... Randy followed me here with political stuff guys. It's not my fault!


RandyB: "Plus, I can't think of anything they say "liberals believe" that you wouldn't agree that liberals (in general) do believe: health care, Guantanamo, Iraq, regulation, contraceptive funding, etc. (Okay, that last one iffy but I couldn't resist.)"

Oh great caesar's ghost. (1) liberals are far more skeptical toward two of those things than conservatives ever were. Anyway (2) That's not the bullshit that Hannity and Beck and Limbaugh preach "all liberals believe."

How about "cradle to grave nannystate"? How about "equalizing all outcomes." or "government should nationalize businesses." Or "they are out to take away your guns." Or "Democrats are easy pushovers for illegal immigration." Or "they don't like competition." Or "they would vote for endless spending and debt." (Clinton was the budget balance.)

These are all diametrically opposite to truth outright despicably lying-liar lies. Goebbels-level lies. Spouted by truth-hating genuine bastards. Go ahead and tell your neighbors that's what they believe. Use Beck's words. Hannity's words. Limbaugh's words. Take along a first aid kit.

Am I surprised that you claim not to know any moderate liberals? Boy does it show!

Hannity having on Moore was great theater but it fit into his pattern. Only invite folks who he can easily defeat - in the eyes of his viewers. He never has on calm, adult-level liberals who are his polemical match. Stewart has more opposing guests on the Daily Show in a year than the entire Fox network.

duncan cairncross said...

Hi Guys

There is a "meme" - I remember it from some of Robert Heinlein's work

All democracies fail when the voting public realize that they can continue to vote benefits to themselves

It sounds reasonable - BUT - I can't think of a single time in history (nevermind -all-) when this has actually happened

Can any of you guys think of an example?

PS - I hate the new anti-robot thingy

Ian said...

Duncan,

The example that is usually cited is the Roman Reublic.

The conversion of the daily bread ration into crrency is portrayed as the turning point.

But that actually didn't happen until well after the fall of the Republic.

In post-Periclean Athens, there was a fund known as the Theorika which was supposed to fund the tickets for admission to major religious festivals and theatric performances.

Some scholars have claimed this amounted to a dole but this is contentious and there's insufficient data to reach a firm conclusion.

guthrie said...

Rather, the failure of democracies nowadays seems to be due to the system being captured by elites who will offer some small bribes to the populace in order to keep them quiet, and then loot the system for their friends.

Heck, look at the condem coalition here in the UK: privatisations galore at the taxpayers expense, all profits going to private companies connected to the ruling coalition. Meanwhile, propaganda keeps people confused whilst they cut pay and conditions of workers. Although I do actually believe that most of them are doing it for ideological reasons, they genuinely think that it is the better way, despite the total lack of evidence for it being so. The fact that they and their friends benefit is merely a side effect.

Paul451 said...

Ian,
Re: Alcubierre Drive death ray.
"Wouldn't it be a bummer if you had a working FTL drive which you couldn't use within a light year of an inhabited system and the technology to get you out to the safe distance topped out at 5 or 10% of lightspeed?"

True. But better than not having an FTL drive (or a 0.1c sub-light drive). However, this theoretical flaw in the Alcubierre drive isn't radiation from the drive itself. As the ship "surfs" through interstellar space at FTL, it scoops up the very light ahead of it. Then when it drops out of FTL (*), the collected photons are dumped as high-energy gamma radiation. That suggests that it's time/velocity sensitive, that gives you your solution. You just do a series of FTL radiation "dumps" as you approach the destination. (I'm sure I've read that in any number of SF books.) Each leg gets shorter and slower as you approach the destination. Even better, if the radiation dump is directional, you also spiral in so each radiation burst is tangential.

(*which no one knows how to do yet, even theoretically. Alcubierre may be irreversible.)

RandyB,
"It's just that both sides have naive, but good-hearted people, outright fools, and extremists."

This is what I mean by false equivalence. "Both sides have X" is not the same as saying "Both sides have X in the same quantity", but that's what is implied. Whenever someone says "both sides have" it's used as a dismissal of criticism of their own side. But one side really can be worse than the other, there's nothing that requires them to be balanced in their corruption.

For example, I think Fox News is vastly better at what it wants to do than any other news channel or news division of any mainstream channel. And the rest of the media is vastly less biased than Fox News. Not equivalent.

Alan said...

Anyone notice in the brain imaging video that the black boy at one point looks like a bearded white man, and then briefly looks like a white woman? I wonder how that happens. I suspect that the brain may work in mysterious ways - perhaps on some level the observer was seeing, in their mind's eye, a white man (or woman) with other features layered on to that template.

As for the question of voters voting themselves funds from the treasury - the idea goes back much further than Heinlein. I seem to recall De Tocqueville commenting that that would be the end of the Republic, or somesuch.

Alcubierre drive and going into warp far from planets: The Mote universe was a poor example - because in some instances (notably the Moties' home world) the only point in the system which connected to other solar systems was actually inside the star. More commonly, the claim is made that warp drives only work well at a sufficient distance from the star's gravity well.

Jumper said...

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-eavesdropping-law-ruling-0303-20120303,0,3808980.story

Recording police okayed; to go to Illinois (and further?) Supreme Court?

Frank W. Summers III said...

If I were the kind of person who started fan clubs I might very well start one in honor of Burt Rutan. I did in fact include both he and Sir Richard Branson in my list of the One Hundred Most Watchable People in the Second Post 9/11 decade. I think that Virgin Galactic is a great thing. I think the addition of the Paul Allen project with Rutan is great news and even very encouraging.

However, I see the basic context of all of this as being the absolute horror of where we are as a species, country and civilization in terms of the progress of "Space" as a human concern since the first Moon landing. It cannot fit in this comment well and it is apparent hyperbole but to me anyone not seeing absolute horror in this state of affairs is either ill informed, self-deceived or very much at odds with my views of human progress.

The modern ethic is to place heroic value on avoiding responsibility well if one can do it in a big way. Nobody wants to admit that doing good and cool things slowly, badly and wastefully with fits and starts not only yields less than ideal results but creates numerous problems of resistance, resentment and mistrust which can determine the shape of a future bad result.

David Brin said...

Duncan you are referring to the "largesse" canard and it is a damned lie.

In the 1990s polls showed the Middle Class did not want tax cuts, they wanted the debt paid off. It was the oligarchs who demanded the black ink go to their pockets leaving us in red.

David Brin said...

Duncan you are referring to the "largesse" canard and it is a damned lie.

In the 1990s polls showed the Middle Class did not want tax cuts, they wanted the debt paid off. It was the oligarchs who demanded the black ink go to their pockets leaving us in red.

RandyB said...

David,

I just recognized I've committed a faux pas in crossing over into this post. I'll quickly close it up.

If by "liberals are far more skeptical toward two of those things" you mean Guantanamo and Iraq, I'd better clear up that I meant they talked about those issues. I didn't mean that they supported the policy under Bush. And, as I said in my correction, liberal concern about Guantanamo faded after Bush left office. A slight majority of liberals now support keeping it open.

As for the other items you've listed, I don't know that conservatives ever said liberals were unified about those things. To say that all conservative talk show hosts say all liberals believe X is a bit like saying that all liberals believe X.

It's not that I don't know any liberals at all. I just don't talk politics with them -- out of fear. It's like the joke: "How many feminists does it take to screw in a light bulb? That's *not* funny!"

Maybe you should join the talk show guest lists. Or, at least ask other liberals to do so.

RandyB said...

Correction again:

When I said "they talked about those issues," I meant that they came to oppose them vehemently.

I had first phrased it more sharply, and then substituted "talked about" without thinking that it changes the meaning.

It's been a long week for me.

BCRion said...

Randy B.,

"And, as I said in my correction, liberal concern about Guantanamo faded after Bush left office. A slight majority of liberals now support keeping it open."

You would have a point here, except for the fact that Bush leaving office happened to roughly coincide with the largest economic downturn since the Great Depression. This understandably shifted the priorities of a large portion of the electorate from social issues (closing Guantanamo is really the equivalent of one for liberals) to economic ones. This happened a little over ten years back under Bush where suddenly concerns for social issues like stem cells (a major issue in early 2001) took a back seat to national security issues following the terrorist attacks that September.

Correlation is not causation.

"To say that all conservative talk show hosts say all liberals believe X is a bit like saying that all liberals believe X."

I don't think David Brin ever said *all* conservative talk show hosts (please correct me if I'm wrong), but listed the major ones: Limbaugh, Hannity, and Beck. I'm fairly certain you can find conservative talk hosts that are very reasonable, just as you can find liberal ones that are unreasonable; the question is not about percentages of hosts, but percentage of market share, and those three have a relatively large following.

Why this matters is it creates largely erroneous views of the other side. Look, I even see this at work. There's a group of people who both listen to conservative talk radio and honestly believe that democrats are "pinko commies" (and I quote here!). While this anecdote does not prove the general point, it is a supporting data point nonetheless.

Jumper said...

I find this concept intriguing; leading me to all sorts of flights of fancy. Some smart fiction writer might want to grab it.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ring_species

Jumper said...

I appreciated your takedown of the moonbat left, David. It needed to be said.

Also, this older essay I found worth re-reading this morning.
http://www.sciencemag.org/content/162/3859/1243.full
The Tragedy of the Commons - Garrett Hardin

RandyB said...

BCRion,

The poll didn't ask whether liberals stopped thinking Guantanamo is an important issue in light of other events. They asked this set of respondants asked whether Guantanamo should be kept open; and not whether or not they ever felt differently.

To be fair, I'm not sure whether or not a greater number of liberals ever opposed Guantanamo. It could just have been a bone for Democrat politicians to throw to the far left, knowing that opinions of the far left won't matter.

I don't remember (and I don't want to search) that David said "all conservative talk show hosts." Even if he had, I would assume he meant the three, and those who think like they do. I don't think it matters here, as my answer would be the same. We're speaking generally.

Anonymous said...

Brin here, checking in as anonymous (at last an "intelligent" anonymous! ;-) from am airport.

RandyB it is not disallowed to pursue an old topic in a new discussion. I just winced because some members are tired of 2012 politics and it's only March! I try to give em a break.

Randy just because you hated an idiot's stupid decisions (e.g. Bush re Iraq and Guantanamo) doesn't mean you have to instantly reverse them to be consistent. You deal with the facts you inherit. And the gophers made it impossible bring the Gitmoprisoners here to be tried, by screaming "it will endanger us!" Bullshitbut it worked.

"To say that all conservative talk show hosts say all liberals believe X is a bit like saying that all liberals believe X."

No it is not. Liberals are chaotic and diverse. Republicans are utterly disciplined and monochromatic. Come on, where have you been? The GOP inCongress is the most tightly disciplined party machine in US history. And whatever Roger Ailes declares to be the day's main talking points, that is what ALL GOP legislators and politicos and Fox heads are saying within hours.

The one exception is Limbaugh, who is, I openly admit, his own man. crazy disgusting man, but his own.

duncan cairncross said...

Hi David,

I agree the "largesse canard" is a lie
But it is a very prevalent lie - Robert Heinlein was a smart man and a lot of people (me included) place a substantial amount of weight on his views

When trying to dispel this canard (lovely word) I think we need as much information as possible, the "All" is an obvious fiction.
I was looking for "any" to find out why

The Roman Republic was killed by infighting among the elite - bread and circuses came much later

As far as I can see historical Republics have died from infighting among the elite or from conquest by foreign armies

Is there even one that has died from Robert Heinlein's "largesse"

RandyB said...

David,

I didn't reverse anything. You misunderstand. I'm sorry if I wasn't clear. I wasn't a Bush critic. I support keeping Guantanamo open.

Maybe you got confused by the new poll results.

When I first mentioned it in the list of things liberals care about, I meant that they oppose Guantanamo, but that they do care about the issue -- until I corrected myself to say that they now support Guantanamo.

As I said, a bare majority of liberals do support it:

"53 percent of self-identified liberal Democrats — and 67 percent of moderate or conservative Democrats — support keeping Guantanamo Bay open"
http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/poll-finds-broad-support-for-obamas-counterterrorism-policies/2012/02/07/gIQAFrSEyQ_story.html

Oddly enough, even though I support Guantanamo, President Obama's promise to "close" it didn't bother me that much. Although he wanted to bring detainees to a prison in the U.S., he *never* said he would give them all trials. It would be like Guantanamo except that it's colder, and the guards would be wearing different uniforms. (I must admit, I'd prefer they stay in Guantanamo, but I liked the colder part.)

I'll agree that Republicans were fairly disciplined regarding ObamaCare. But mostly they're not.

I hope you had a nice flight.

Paul451 said...

RandyB,
I was wondering why is the gitmo closure thing significant to you? You keep bringing it up, I'm not sure what you are saying you think it means.

"It's not that I don't know any liberals at all. I just don't talk politics with them -- out of fear. [...] It's been a long week for me."

Are you enjoying this site? Sometimes it's hard to tell whether someone is enjoying an argument, or whether they feel like they are drowning, trying to defend themselves.

Jumper,
Re: Ring species.
Reminds me of a couple of stories using the colonisation of the galaxy, around an uninhabitable centre, to create something like that. Harry Harrison's Final Encounter and FL Wallace's Big Ancestors. (I had to look them up, so now I have to go read the rest of the stories in the Galactic Empires anthology, damn you.)

Jumper said...

I will take such damnation with a laugh. You sound like my brother. Nice research.

Jumper said...

I am a bit put off by the expression "closing Guantanamo"(- Wikipedians will know the expression for what it is -) as it elides the issues under consideration: loss of habeas corpus. It is repugnant.

A suggestion: "We choose to do these things not because they are easy but because they are hard."

Restore habeas corpus.

RandyB said...

Paul,

The subject of Guantanamo is interesting but I only brought it up as one of a number of issues that concern liberals. I brought it up a second time only to say it's no longer part of that mix. Everything else I said about it is in response.

I usually enjoy the argument, but less so when I'm misunderstood, which is partly my own fault this time.

I will concede that I did enjoy saying that most liberals support Guantanamo. Please forgive me for that one.


Jumper,

They've had habeas corpus since 2008. They don't get trials because they are war detainees, and not necessarily criminals. That's the way the laws of war work. This wasn't invented by the Bush administration. The Army's manual for the general handling of detainees was last updated in 1992.

LarryHart said...

RandyB:

Plus, I can't think of anything they say "liberals believe" that you wouldn't agree that liberals (in general) do believe: health care, Guantanamo, Iraq, regulation, contraceptive funding, etc. (Okay, that last one iffy but I couldn't resist.)


They say liberals believe in big, intrusive, socialist government, when what they're referring to is government protecting the rights of individuals and communities from the powerful. Business should indeed be allowed to do its thing, but within a framework of rules of conduct determined by We The People via government.

Think of business as the sports teams and government as the referees/umpires. The right wing's accusations against liberals is that we want referees and umpires to play the game, whereas their free-market ideology is akin to "The game would be better if players were free to do what they wish without interference by referees and umpires."


Hannity did get Moore on his show, although he had to publicly challenge him to appear. You may also remember a couple years ago that the Obama administration had a policy of avoiding Fox.

It's a self-selecting bias. It takes two to tango. Do you see a line of prominent liberals trying to get on the show? He takes whoever he can get that draws viewers.


Liberal radio talk host Thom Hartmann regularly debates conservative guests. A representative of the Ayn Rand Institute is a regular recurring guest, as are represenatives of the Heritage Foundation and CATO. Hartmann is usually very fair and professional with these people. Occasionally, there is a blow-up, but he tries very hard to let them present their position, always lets them have the last work and hawk their own websites.

Furthermore, callers to the show who disagree with him get bumped to the START of the line. His point is that we need to be open to debate and try to find common ground.

I know of no comparable righty talker who takes a similar attitude toward the opposition.

LarryHart said...

duncan cairncross:

There is a "meme" - I remember it from some of Robert Heinlein's work

All democracies fail when the voting public realize that they can continue to vote benefits to themselves

It sounds reasonable - BUT - I can't think of a single time in history (nevermind -all-) when this has actually happened

Can any of you guys think of an example?


I think the actual wording involves citizens of a democracy realizing they can vote themselves benefits from the public treasury.

A good rebuttal I heard to that one is that what is going on now is the RICH voting themselves the public treasury. So if the meme is to believed, that tells you who the ACTUAL voters are in this so-called democracy.

LarryHart said...

Jumper:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-eavesdropping-law-ruling-0303-20120303,0,3808980.story

Recording police okayed; to go to Illinois (and further?) Supreme Court?


Thanks for posting. I did see that in yesterday's paper, but couldn't find an on-line version.

It seemed to be a low-key story in the Saturday newspaper (which typically slips past most public awareness), but it could be very important if a court rules that the public HAS a right to tape interactions with police.

RandyB said...

Larry,

"Think of business as the sports teams and government as the referees/umpires. The right wing's accusations against liberals is that we want referees and umpires to play the game, whereas their free-market ideology is akin to "The game would be better if players were free to do what they wish without interference by referees and umpires.""

Here in one paragraph, you complain that conservatives misrepresent the views of the opposition (which could sometimes be a fair point), but then you do the same thing by saying conservatives want no interference by referees and umpires. I don't think any conservative wants no regulation at all.


"Liberal radio talk host Thom Hartmann regularly debates conservative guests. A representative of the Ayn Rand Institute is a regular recurring guest, as are represenatives of the Heritage Foundation and CATO. Hartmann is usually very fair and professional with these people."

Or maybe that's really a case of conservatives and libertarians being more willing to appear on programs whose hosts have an opposing point of view.

Some liberal guests on FoxNews say they get flak from other liberals because they've appeared there. Juan Williams famously lost his NPR contract because of it. FoxNewsBoycott.com even says, "You can contact democrats and progressives to stay off Fox News." (I believe David likes that site.)

Isn't a bit funny to want liberals to not appear on Fox, and then blame Fox because there aren't enough liberals appearing on it? It's not just a bit funny, it's very funny.

It's almost as funny as calling Thom Hartmann a liberal. Is he a liberal or an outright leftist? David makes the point that leftists are a different group.

It's hard to believe that an ordinary liberal would have a show on the Russia TV propaganda channel. They're not nearly as bad as Iran's Press TV (which also caters to the far left), but they're still a state-funded propaganda channel for a nation on the same side as Syria.

According to the above link, Hartmann "serves on the advisory board of Progressive Democrats of America" alongside a whole bunch of far-left figures. Next you're going to tell me that people who support Russia TV are also opposed to torture.

BTW: Limbaugh also says he puts liberals in the front of the line.

Jumper said...

But will he pay scale? ;>]

LarryHart said...

By the way, is it just me, or is the death of conservative icon Andrew Breitbart getting very little press. I read about it earlier in the week, and expected to see a deluge of news and blog items about it, but have actually seen very little.

Besides the emotional disdain I have for the man which I can't find it in my heart to put aside just because he's dead (I'm tempted to add Dr Brin's epithet applied to the name Nathan Holn in "The Postman"), I also have to wonder what sort of "natural causes" a 43 year old man dies of.

Tony Fisk said...

Breitbart's death was noted by Xeni Jardin (BoingBoing) who knew him personally.

The fellow seems to have explicitly revelled in righteous indignation, from a brief look at his site.

As to 'natural causes' for a 43 yo. Yes, there are a number of conditions that might cause that, without reflecting on the man's morals (Tacitus would have a wider knowledge)

- said...

Latest News Updates Bollywood, Hollywood, Dating & Fashion
Online Bollywood News and Reviews
http://www.onlinebollywood.net/

David Brin said...

Brin... again from the road. (Silicon Valley)

Duncan… Periclean Athens, without Pericles, did do down some pretty dismal roads that helped Plato and others thereafter to demean democracy for 2000 years Still, it's a canard.

RandyB you misunderstood my use of "you" in my previous anonymous post. Insert a generic "you" standing for democrats. Your confusion is that you view them as beings like republicans, more worried about doctrinal consistency than pragmatic success. Stop judging others by your own side's faults. When forced by circumstance to adapt… they do.

Republicans are UTTERLY disciplined. They are terrorized by Grover Norquist who will send a tea party mob to toss them in the next GOP primary, in red-gerrymandered districts where the 20% pure breed readers call all the shots.

In California, gerry maundering is going away. Blue citizens rebelled and tossed it out! Result? It looks as if the deems will GAIN seats… but lose utterly safe seats. Hence the professional politicians will have to work harder… and none of them will be able to afford to ignore their local moderates anymore. The radicals… left and right will lose sway. If readers did this in their states, we'd be heading back from civil war.

But they won't. Because… they… do… what… they… are … told…

Jumper… RandyB has turned out to be a gent. Misguided (a lot ;-) but smart and welcome here. We can always use a nice, polite ostrich here to stir things up! As for ing species, I have oft spoken of the day, 10 M yr from now, when our descendants meet on the other side of the galaxy… un recognizable.

David Brin said...

ooops. meant to say..

If REDDERS did this in their states, we'd be heading back from the brink of civil war.

But they won't. Because… they… do… what… they… are … told…

===
PS... guys: Have you been following the shareholder fight over CATO? Here's a bit from the inside:

http://ordinary-gentlemen.com/blog/2012/03/04/koch-v-cato-some-further-thoughts/

Looks like there's going to be a mass walkout of CATO people if the Kochs take over.

Thanks Carl. I'll blogaboutit later. Meanwhile, opinions welcome.

Tacitus2 said...

LarryHart

Breitbart had a smaller but still significant heart attack a month prior. When 43 year olds develop cornary artery disese it is usually a sudden occlusion of the left anterior descending corornary artery. Presenting symptom is sudden death not the gradual exertional angina more typical of later onset disease.

I have no knowlege beyond that. Genetics plays a large role. He was certainly overweight and worked too hard. If you must think ill I suppose you could theorize that he was a cocaine or meth user, that will sure lower the age at which heart attacks appear. But realistically he died of the number one cause of death in America, and not much more needs to be said about it.

Father of four, staunch advocate for equal treatment of gays. And fearless in his beliefs.

There are probably others more worthy of your disdain, but that is a currency you can spend in any fashion you choose.

Tacitus

Rob said...

I'm sorry Mr. Breitbart is gone.

I'm not sorry he won't be manufacturing more calumny, no matter how much or little of it he got right. But there will always be someone willing to do that.

Logo Design said...

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LarryHart said...

Tony Fisk:

As to 'natural causes' for a 43 yo. Yes, there are a number of conditions that might cause that, without reflecting on the man's morals (Tacitus would have a wider knowledge)


I wasn't so much reflecting on the man's morals as suspecting foul play. As with Ken (Ernron) Lay on the right or Congressman Paul Wellstone on the left, I'm often suspicious of "convenient" deaths.

LarryHart said...

Tacitus2:

[on Breitbart] Father of four, staunch advocate for equal treatment of gays. And fearless in his beliefs.

There are probably others more worthy of your disdain, but that is a currency you can spend in any fashion you choose.


The times I outwardly display impolite disdain for individuals, epecially dead ones, is not a side of me that I'm proud of or that I encourage in myself.

Certain prominent, vocal individuals who (I feel) have contributed mightily to incivility in this country bring it out in me anyway.

As I already posted to someone else, my questioning of "natural causes" is not a swipe at his personal behaviors, but (IMHO) healty suspicion of the official story.

LarryHart said...

And on a non-political topic...

While Tacitus is getting buried in snow up in Wisconsin, we Chicagoans have been just on the southern edge of three snowstorms in the past week. There was talk of more accumulations both Friday and yesterday, but all we got on Friday was enough coating to make it Christmaslike, and all we got last night was enough to sparkle in the early dawn light this morning.

And since I'm in the middle (literally, the halfway point) of "Glory Season" right now, I coudln't help thinking that the morning appeared to have a sprinkling of glory frost.

Which, if I may be so indiscreet, might go some way toward explaing last night. :)

Tony Fisk said...

...does that explain the outbreak of tweets involving butter cream frosting among certain (non-host) sf authors?

torstalE torienti: A cantina on Babylon 5, whose mexican food is considered the worst in the quadrant. Popular with the Pak'mara.

rewinn said...

@RandyB - I followed your link about Hartmann and the Russian propaganda network and guess what? the article is highly misleading.

The core of the story is that the Russians are rebroadcasting an American program and therefore people on that program are somehow pro-Russian. By that logic, if the Russians show "Gone With The Wind" that would mean that Scarlett O'Hara is a commie.

Hartmann says he is a Democratic Socialist. Whether that's a liberal or a leftist or something else altogether depends on your definition, but what he believes is no secret.

I've actually had a personal friend interviewed on Fox. It was an extremely abusive experience, and when the interview was broadcast, they cut up his answers to make him look like a nutcase. This is not the case with Hartmann; to the contrary, he has a strict policy of not allowing callers to abuse guests. Even Rick Santorum thinks Rush went too far with Sandra Fluke.

sociotard said...

interesting article about the problem with amateur volunteers

http://usnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/03/05/10585734-disaster-volunteers-please-curb-your-enthusiasm

rewinn said...

Looking over the OP ...
"...But is “exploration” the right word anymore?..."
If Mars is, indeed, mapped by satellite down to the meter-or-so range, and if mapping technology gets only an order of magnitude better, is there any point to putting humans on the surface?
Most of what humans would do ...other than enjoy the view and play gold ... could be planned out in the comforts of Earth and sent as orders to future probes. We can send a huge number of robots to Mars for the price of 1 human ... and we don't have to waste any payload trying to get them back.

(*** unless, of course, they're very very intelligent robots ... in which case we'll want to program them to prefer Mars to Earth...)



"...Are we living in a simulated reality?..."
If we're a well-designed program, shouldn't there be a debugging facility? How do we access it?

"...The 15 Best Novels Forecasting Our Future...."
These might be the "best novels" but it's hard to think of them as good at forecasting. "Stand On Zanzibar" beats the pants of any of them except, possibly, Neuromancer.

"...An attempt to cleanup Earth’s radiation-contaminated cities using organisms that are part fungi, part mollusk..."

For an actual experiment cleaning stuff with fungi, go look at what the kids at Neah Bay are doing ... and then got VOTE for their science project to get funding. Neah Bay is impoverished but plucky, a really good place to grow entrepreneurial scientists!

Hank Roberts said...

You'll like this:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/adamcurtis/2011/09/the_curse_of_tina.html
"... And the question is whether most Think Tanks may actually be preventing people thinking of new visions of how society could be organised - and made fairer and freer. That in reality they have become the armoured shell that surrounds all politics, constantly setting the agenda through their PR operations which they then feed to the press, and that prevents genuinely new ideas breaking through.

Meanwhile the managed free-market system that Antony Fisher, Major Oliver Smedley, and Professor Hayek dreamed of has triumphed. And just as Smedley wanted, back in 1966, the elite doesn't change and isn't threatened by the real pirates and privateers. The system has maintained the protected position of the ruling elite in this country...."
-----
via:
http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2012/03/march_2012_open_thread.php#comment-6236167

RandyB said...

Rewinn,

You may have a point there, but not completely.

One lesser problem is that the video from Russia Today is the one that Hartmann posted on his website. (But maybe that's the only one he had, and he didn't think any of his fans would mind that he's on a propaganda network.) The biggie is that it was almost certainly Hartmann's decision to rebroadcast it on Russia Today.

What if Hannity gave permission for his show to be rebroadcast on some right-wing extremist site? It's still his choice, and we can fault him for it.

Overall, I think you're right that the article goes too far. But my main point was that Hartmann is more of a leftist than a liberal, and that's still operative.

This is still about whether or not Hartmann can be identified as "liberal" or "leftist." If Hartmann admits he's a Democratic Socialist then I'd put him on the far left. Then add the fact that he's on the advisory board of Progressive Democrats of America with Medea Benjamin and Tom Hayden, and you might as well wrap him in red celophane. He's a leftist.

This isn't to say that leftists are evil. They've just made too many of the wrong associations.

David's right that we need to separate liberals from leftists when we criticize them, but it gets tougher when liberals don't seem to think there is a difference. As I said before, both sides have some fringe bleed through, but it's much worse on the left.

BTW: I may take back part of what I said about the contraception making insurance cheaper:
(link)

David Brin said...

Yipes! What's going on here! I found RandyB's latest to be measured, reasonable, and relatively persuasive.... agh!

Rob said...

If the rest of us can hold back the bellicosity until, say, mid-September when the conventions are all done and the campaigns getting into hyper-nasty, I bet we'd find lots of good reasonable conservatives willing to play in this sandbox.

David Brin said...

Rob, that's silly. RandyB and I and everybody else worked it out and the heat offended none of us. You're the only one miffed here.

Tacitus2 said...

"..and the heat offended none of us. You're the only one miffed here."

Nope. I concur with Rob. The EM spectrum of political discourse here of late has shifted and is generating less light and more heat. Your clubhouse of course.

Tacitus

LarryHart said...

RandyB:

This is still about whether or not Hartmann can be identified as "liberal" or "leftist." If Hartmann admits he's a Democratic Socialist then I'd put him on the far left.


Seriously? To me "far left" would be calling for tumbrils and guillotines about now.

Hartmann's break with the free-market right is that he believes certain elements of societal infrastructure belong in "the commons", which is rightly owned and administered through government by We The People. Any goods and services outside of the commons are (in his view) rightly produced and distributed by private industry.

Do you consider anyone who believes there is such thing as "the commons" to be far left? Really? Because to me, "far left" would be those who think EVERYTHING is part of the commons.

Tacitus2:

Nope. I concur with Rob. The EM spectrum of political discourse here of late has shifted and is generating less light and more heat.


I trust you've been complaining about similar poisoning of the public discourse to the conservative sites you participate in.

LarryHart said...

I said:

Because to me, "far left" would be those who think EVERYTHING is part of the commons.


And to follow up, the "far right" believes that NOTHING is.

RandyB said...

David,

"Yipes! What's going on here! I found RandyB's latest to be measured, reasonable, and relatively persuasive.... agh!"

Thanks! Everything I say is reasonable. Measured and persuasive are always the hard part.





Larry,

Everybody believes in the commons. Those on the left only want more of life placed there.

Here we have a problem with definitions. The term "far right" is traditionally used to refer to Nazis and Fascists. They believed in the commons every bit as much, and every bit as broad, as most of today's far left.

Leaving aside the major racist component (Nazis were/are racists and anti-Semites but other fascist regimes were often no more racist than the far left), the other primary difference between the far left and far right was nationalism. That's why they called it National Socialism.

The definitions for ordinary right and left has broken down since then (as has the meaning of "liberal"), but it's still considered to be the same for the far right and far left. Thom Hartmann probably agrees with the 1930s far right on the size of the commons.

It is the libertarians who most believe that the size of the commons should be small. I don't think you want to say that they're on the far right.

There's more to Thom Hartmann's ideology than economics. I just mentioned his association with Medea Benjamin and Tom Hayden. They're radicals. Medea Benjamin claims to be "anti-war," and probably pretends to oppose torture, but she makes a friendly visit to Iran, and supports Hugo Chavez. There's no doubt where they stand on the issues.

Tacitus2 said...

Well Larry, there are ways to influence people other than castigation...

One site I sometimes visit is run by a guy I consider a good person albeit to the right of me politically on some issues. He had seemed a bit crabby of late so I sent him something that I thought might alter his perspective a bit.

He both linked to it and spoke a few kind words about it. Baby steps, baby steps.

http://detritusofempire.blogspot.com/2012/03/amputee-baseball-after-world-war-two.html

Tacitus

LarryHart said...

Tacitus2:

Well Larry, there are ways to influence people other than castigation...


I must admit to sharing our hosts perpelexed-ness (if that's a word) over what specifically you're reacting to when you claim your side is unfairly maligned in this blog's comments. Your "thick skin" has always been a self-described point of pride. Are you surprised that some here take you at your word on that?

On the issues themselves, I think you see "piling on the conservatives" where I see liberals "fighting for dear life". I know you are capeable of understanging that because you've made similar arguments about Congressional Republicans needing to take "every constitutional action possible" to prevent the majority party from doing irreperable harm. I see the GOP as the ones DOING irreperable harm before my eyes, and it seems to me--it FEELS to me anyway--that the mere articulation of this observation and the evidence supporting it is somehow being painted as impolite beyond the pale.

When I questioned the story of Breitbart's death at 43, you misinterpreted what I was getting at, hearing "He must be on crystal meth", when I really meant "I suspect foul play." Is it possible that similar misunderstandings are making our respective sides see "attack" when what is meant is "misgiving"? The metaphorical difference between "Wanted for murder" and "Wanted as a material witness to a murder."?

LarryHart said...

RandyB:

Everybody believes in the commons.

Not "everybody" believes in the commons. Ayn Randists certainly don't. They consider everything not owned by an individual as being up for grabs to be CLAIMED by an individual.


Those on the left only want more of life placed there.


I'd put it as "...think too much has been removed FROM the commons."
We may be essentially in agreement here, although the connotations are clearly different.


Here we have a problem with definitions. The term "far right" is traditionally used to refer to Nazis and Fascists. They believed in the commons every bit as much, and every bit as broad, as most of today's far left.


Well, those waters are being muddied now when Glenn Beck et al can equate President Obama with Hitler AND consider him a radical leftist at the same time.

Up until recently, yes I'd have said 1930s fascists were the epitome of "far right", but not all 1930s fascists are equal. Nazis...maybe you can claim they were nationalists more than corporatists (though with a very narrow vision of who WITHIN the nation counted as heirs to the commons), but Mussolini's Italy was more corporatist in the sense of "government of the people, by the corporations, for the corporations." The Mussolini version is more what I think of as "right wing", with the corporations playing the role of the 1780s French Aristocracy: "All of it--including the other people--belongs to us."


The definitions for ordinary right and left has broken down since then (as has the meaning of "liberal"), but it's still considered to be the same for the far right and far left.


Again, when a president can be simultaneously cast as Hitler AND radical Islamicist socialist, then no, the words have lost all meaning.


Thom Hartmann probably agrees with the 1930s far right on the size of the commons.


I'm not sure I know where you're coming from here, but I'll say that Thom Hartmann is not so much concerned with the SIZE of the commons as to which things belong there. He'd include health care and environmental protection along with police, fire protection, and roads. He would do so because it seems like part of the social substructure shared by all, not because he's looking for ways to increase the size of government.

It is the libertarians who most believe that the size of the commons should be small. I don't think you want to say that they're on the far right.


THEY categorize themselves as right-wing. At least the ones in the public eye do.

In the 1960s, I'd agree that libertarians were more on the left than the right. That was when the right was about "law and order!" and the left more "Do your own thing (,man)." These days, the left is perceived as authoritarian, the right for freedom FROM government, and the libertarians are about non-interference between the powerful and their victims.


Medea Benjamin claims to be "anti-war," and probably pretends to oppose torture, but she makes a friendly visit to Iran, and supports Hugo Chavez.


You keep bringing up torture as if the left revels in it. Where were you the last several election cycles. Republicans are the ones trying to outdo each other in their support of torture.

Paul451 said...

"That's why they called it National Socialism."

My understanding was that the left was popular amongst the workers, the right popular with the wealthy. The Nazi leadership pretended to be mostly left-wing to gain working-class foot-soldiers, but was run by the right. And once they had enough power, the right (the SS) killed the leadership that grew out of the left side of the party (the SA).

In the same way (Godwin be praised) that the Republican leadership uses social conservatism to push its radical economic agenda.

Paul451 said...

RandyB,
"Everybody believes in the commons."

Heh, you obviously weren't here for the Libertarian wars. Anyone who believes in the commons believes in slavery... somehow.

Tacitus2 said...

Regards Breitbart I was simply being clinical. Foul play in the sense of ricin tipped umbrellas is pretty damn rare. I did not detect your drift in that direction because it is just so implausible.

Smoking, medication non compliance, various drug use all sadly very common. They are human failings and are not specific to a political ideology. You may have read that toxicology is pending in the case. That is a routine.

I will talk issues all day.

What I object to is the characterization of the GOP/Neocon/Conservative side as being either A: Treasonous or B: Unwitting dupes of traitors.

Monsters also bothers me.

I take treason seriously as I suspect patriots of all shades should. Traitors should be investigated, arrested, tried and if convicted, executed. It is an extremely serious word and one not to be bandied about. Feel free to label the Conservative side as greedy shortsighted bastards. Fair enough, I may or may not agree. But to suggest that I support traitors is beyond the pale.

I consider on an ongoing basis whether I am being duped. I do not believe this to be the case. This is why the issue of media bias is central to modern conservative concerns.

Brin earns a living with his ideas, but he uses words to express himself much in the fashion of a carpenter using tools. If he wonders why conservatives do not find this a congenial spot he might consider whether the same message could be delivered with better chosen, and I'll just say it, less repetitive wording.

Of course it is a free country and nobody operates under any restrictions other than those self imposed in these matters. You may for instance search the entire 6 years of my posting here and I doubt you will find a single ad hominum attack. Nor do I recall decrying the Dem/Prog/Liberal side of things for anything worse than corruption and collusion.

Tacitus

LarryHart said...

Tacitus2:

I will talk issues all day.

Good, because I'd like to think I will too, and you do it well (no sarcasm meant there).


What I object to is the characterization of the GOP/Neocon/Conservative side as being either A: Treasonous or B: Unwitting dupes of traitors.

Monsters also bothers me.


Try being a liberal some time.

Do you realize how routinely we've been called all those things in public discourse in the past 10 years or so? And it's not even considered out of bounds or impolite when right-wingers use such epithets to describe liberals.

I'm not saying you personally are the one calling me those names, but I am asking you to walk in my shoes for a moment and see why it's so bitterly funny to hear conservatives claim the mantle of victimhood in the realm of over-the-top name-calling. It really does sound a lot like white Christian males complaining that they are a persecuted minority, or Wall Street billionaires claiming we don't know the troubles they've seen.

I know it sounds as if I'm saying I don't care what offends you because I'm MORE offended. But no, that's not what I'm saying. I'll even assert that I'll try to be more observant of how these arguments look from your side of the aisle. Just asking for the same consideration in return.

Paul451 said...

Everything in this image is made of spiders...

http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/shortsharpscience/2012/03/floods-provoke-a-wagga-wagga-w.html

...because we care.

sociotard said...

Interesting article about the Koch brothers trying to take over the Cato Institute.

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2012/03/the_kochs_brothers_are_trying_to_seize_control_of_the_libertarian_think_tank_cato_.single.html

sociotard said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ian said...

Anyone discussing the old "Nazis: left or right" conundrum needs to read The German Dictatorship by Karl Dietrich Bracher, in particular his chapter on the precusrsors of National Socialism.

The term "national-social" was used commonly from the 1870's onward amongst the Christian Democrats and other right wing groups in Germany and Austria. The "national-social" position was based on Catholic social justice teachings and and ethnic and specifically anti-semitic definition of "nation".

"Nation-social" ideology envisaged an ethnically purified German state where the classes wouls all get along once the Jews, Slavs and other ethnic minorities were ejected or subordinated? It was speicifcally opposed to communism and socialism.

Sound familiar?

The Deutsche ArbeitsPartei (German Worker's Party)was an Austrian political party of the 1890's and early 20th century.

It was the GERMAN Worker's Party because it was diametrically opposed to the idea of a unified socialist party of all workers regardless of ethnicaity.

The DAP was foremd by ethnic Germans from the working class to campaign for the expulsion of Czechs and other non-German ethnic citizens from Vienna and other major cities in Austria and the Sudetenland.

The DAP elected members both to city councils and Austrian parliament where they sat with the right wing deputies and supported right wing governments.

The National Socialist German worker's Party was, as its name suggests, formed out of the merger of various National-Social groups and former members of the DAP (which lost its reason d'etre with the dissolution of the Austro-hungarian Empire after World WAr I).

Neither of the precursor grousp was in any way "socialist" or "Marxist".

TwinBeam said...

Creating a small amount of friction in financial transactions via a small tax is controversial. But perhaps it would be possible to test it on food commodity markets, now that there's evidence that speculators are creating volatility that creates unrest in poor nations:

The Food Crises: Predictive validation of a quantitative model of food prics including speculators and ethanol conversion

Food producers and processors who use commodity markets as insurance might be happy to go along, in order to get the gamblers out.

Tony Fisk said...

T2 it's why I try to distinguish between conservative and self-servative.

Treason, as you say, is not an accusation to be taken lightly. Yet the baser motives for the Iraq war (putting personal profit ahead of the best interests of the country) could be said to have been just that.

References to (self-servative) monsters may worry you, but reports like this worry me. (In fairness, banking executives aren't necessarily political representatives.)

Brin's axes show how poorly left/right thinking defines nazism and communism.

If left/right = we/I own then Communism is left while nazism is fairly moderate (ironic that Overton window cleaners would consider Hitler a bleedin' heart liberal by this measure!).

up/down = we/I control, then Adolph and Josef were firmly in the upper section

in/out = nature/nurture shows the real divide in this example: Adolph's in and Jo's out.

There's probably room for another 'axis' (big/small = visionary/reactionary? Adolph big: you can't deny he had vision, even if it wasn't a very *nice* vision! I'd say Jo was small: he was busy maintaining the new world order and pogroms as usual)

Not being particularly conversant with the current pre-selection bruhaha, I leave it to those in the US to see where they can pin the various players.

Those (mostly harmless) spiders from Wagga demonstrate how resilient a properly functioning infrastructure can be. (they could also be auditioning for the Mirkwood scenes in 'The Hobbit')

Thander Peatence: purported author of 'Piers the Plowman'

rewinn said...

@RandyB wrote:


"...Overall, I think you're right that the article goes too far. But my main point was that Hartmann is more of a leftist than a liberal..."

(* rolls eyes * )

Please. The meaningless distinctions between "left" and "liberal" and "progressive" and so on and so forth are just excuses for calling names instead of discussing issues.
Why don't you pick an *issue* with which you agree or disagree with Hartmann, and discuss *that*?

"If Hartmann admits he's a Democratic Socialist..."

Hartmann *admits* nothing. He proudly states he is a Democratic Socialist, in the line of most of the progress that has ever taken place in America.
Democratic socialism is the dominant mode of operation in prosperous democracies other than our United States, and is nothing to be ashamed of.
One may disagree with it .. .why not? but to imply that it is somehow something one must "admit" is just silly.


"... then I'd put him on the far left."

And you'd be wrong. Most of Hartmann's specific prescriptions are supported by a plurality if not a majority of Americans. But may be America is a far left nation, by your definition.


Then add the fact that he's on the advisory board of Progressive Democrats of America with Medea Benjamin and Tom Hayden, and you might as well wrap him in red celophane. He's a leftist.

Oh Lord! PDA is squarely aligned with the political faction that swept most American elections in 2006 and 2008. If you consider that far-left, perhaps you should check your calibration.

"They've just made too many of the wrong associations."

Such as?

Martin Luther King Jr.?
JFK?
Harry Truman?
Heck, even Nixon and Eisenhower would be considered "leftist" today.

LarryHart said...

rewinn:

Martin Luther King Jr.?
JFK?
Harry Truman?
Heck, even Nixon and Eisenhower would be considered "leftist" today.


I'd go so far as to say that even Ronald Reagan would be "primaried" by Grover Norquist and the Tea Party.

rewinn said...

Meanwhile, in Openness Space - when state legislators were caught on video voting for absent members, the solution was obvious: (A) ban cameras from the galleries, and (B) paper over the windows so they can't be video'd from the hall!

Is this The Onion ... or reality? Read Assembly Representative Caught Double Voting, Solution: Cover the Windows

TheMadLibrarian said...

One of the other sci-fi writer blogs I follow (John Scalzi) is just now starting to twig to the "Nehemiah Scudder"ness of certain candidates *cough*Santorum*cough*. I wonder how many other writers will have the light go on shortly? And are the sci-fi writers and readers the only ones who see this?

TheMadLibrarian

vireara therra: a new strain of e.coli that mainly affects termites

infanttyrone said...

RandyB,

What if Hannity gave permission for his show to be rebroadcast on some right-wing extremist site? It's still his choice, and we can fault him for it.

I suspect Hannity's contract with Fox does not allow him the option of permitting his show to be rebroadcast.

Limbaugh may own his show (worth less today and in the future than it was just a week ago), but for either of these two, allowing themselves to be easily tied to serious extremists cuts into their marketability as entertainers.

They are not in the business of agitating for some Red-state Putsch or for a Libertarian Revolution. They are in the business of entertaining mostly older white males for the purpose of facilitating the sale of whatever is being flogged by their network or affiliates.

I'm a pro-2nd-Amendment Libertarian (who got here from the Left) in favor of business operating as freely as possible within a robustly-sized Commons with stiff penalties for breaches of contract enforced by a government that I am happy to have shrink in direct proportion to the speed at which social media expands. If you think Facebook and Twitter can't be used to impair the market viability of purveyors of bullshit and other harmful or defective products, just ask the fat man with the seegar.

Rob said...

David,

I'm not miffed; I don't really know what you're talking about. But as a long-time participant here (six to eight years? Wow...) it's gotten more strident. And I'm not even a conservative; you know that!

On the other hand, I had a *grand* time laying bets with people over issues orthogonal to the ones here. Your idea, of course, and highly effective... if what you seek is your own entertainment. No one took the bets and my wife chided me for appearing to gamble. (And when Romney tried it people just picked on him for having money.)

I probably won't repeat it, except maybe with family. ;-)

In any case, my comment was actually designed to give us all a pass to pull out any and all October Surprises once the campaigns really heat up, nothing more!

RandyB said...

Larry,

Okay, the Ayn Randists don't believe in the commons. I'm not sure that includes defense, but they'd be the one exception.

Libertarians and conservatives do believe in the commons.

"but Mussolini's Italy was more corporatist in the sense of "government of the people, by the corporations, for the corporations.""

Be careful how you phrase that. Italy's Fascism was organized as "corporations," but that part had nothing to do with business corporations as we know them today. There were a number of "corporations" representing different sectors of the economy. They included business owners, workers, and professionals, ostensibly working together. They weren't corporations like GM and Wal-Mart.

Nazi Germany didn't do this. They promised to shut down the business corporations but didn't. I think William Shirer said they eventually closed down the small corporations, and put party members on the boards of the large ones. In any case, Hitler's government just took more control over the economy as the years went by.

But even that's beside the point. Left wingers like to imagine that big business supports pro-business policies but, in reality, big business isn't usually among the lovers of the free market. They usually go for tricks like getting politicians to mandate that insurance policies cover their products, even if some people don't want to buy such coverage -- not to mention the many Solyndras in the economy.



"I'm not sure I know where you're coming from here, but I'll say that Thom Hartmann is not so much concerned with the SIZE of the commons as to which things belong there. He'd include health care and environmental protection along with police, fire protection, and roads. He would do so because it seems like part of the social substructure shared by all, not because he's looking for ways to increase the size of government."

Thom Hartmann wants more things in the commons than moderates do. More than that, he wants the quantity to be greater.

But the real smoking gun is his associates on the DSA. If you want to say that only some of then are extremists, but others aren't, then you should show us where he disagrees with them. This isn't a case where it's a bunch of ordinary liberals working alongside a few who are on the edge. Medea Benjamin and Tom Hayden are radicals.

I know that libertarians are considered on the right. I just meant that they're not on the far right.

The bottom line, for all of this, is that the left wants more government control, and the right wants less.


"You keep bringing up torture as if the left revels in it. Where were you the last several election cycles. Republicans are the ones trying to outdo each other in their support of torture."

No, I was making observations and judgments about people like Medea Benjamin. Thom Hartmann is an associate.

I probably shouldn't have brought it up. It's just an interesting measure of political ideals.

We can see when the left claimed to opposed torture. And I think we have a pretty good idea when those same people chose to say nothing. It's all out there on the internet.

Those Republicans weren't supporting torture. They were supporting something they believe was less than torture. Can someone say they're wrong about where to draw the line, or that they want the U.S. to set a higher bar? Yes, certainly. But no one who supports Hugo Chavez can say that with any credibility.

As for me, I generally oppose torture no matter who does it, and no matter who it is done to -- even to prevent another 9/11. But something less than torture? Done to an unlawful combatant who doesn't fight in accordance with the laws of war? To possibly prevent another 9/11? When the rest of the world will find reasons to criticize us no matter what we do? That's different.

RandyB said...

Ian,

There are a few problems with that.

The Nazis sold themselves as socialists. Hitler said many times that's what he was.

I see that you did not say that Hitler was a laissez-faire capitalist. He wasn't.

It's true that he didn't install the same socialist plan that the Nazis campaigned on. They initially pursued something like a Keynesian model. That was considered sensible at the time. Keynesian policies are still loved by Democrats today. But underneath it all, Hitler was an authoritarian, which could make modern-day Keynesians feel better, but it doesn't help your point.

Crony capitalism is not capitalism. The GM bailout was not capitalism. Solyndra was not capitalism. I'm not criticizing those policies at this point, other than to say that if you want to compare Nazi policies to what's going on today, these are the closest parallels. They're not free market capitalism.

RandyB said...

Rewinn,

As I've said a number of times, the DSA has Medea Benjamin and Tom Hayden on their board, and they're not the only leftists there.

Let's not forget that this started out with David saying we shouldn't judge liberalism by those radicals on the left because they're not part of real liberalism.

If you want to say that they are part of it, then go right ahead.

BTW: JFK and Truman were firm anti-communists.

RandyB said...

infanttyrone,

I know Hannity would have contractual issues with Fox News, and probably on his radio show as well. But this is a hypothetical, and so it doesn't change the point. Hannity would not do this even if he could.

But if he did, we would judge him on it.

Ian Gould said...

"There are a few problems with that.

The Nazis sold themselves as socialists. Hitler said many times that's what he was."

He did?

Can you give examples?

In rise & Fall of the Third Reich there's a section based on Goebbels' diary account of his first meeting with Hitler.

Goebbels was initially one of the north German Strasserite faction, the group who ended up being wiped out during The Night of The Long Knives and which advocated stuff like the forced redistribution of wealth.

Goebbels came out of the meeting utterluy shattered as Hitler explained to him that Nazism had absolutely nothing to do with socialism and that he )Goebells) had to choose between Nazism and socialism. (Goebbels, of course, chose Nazism and a few years later helped lead the extermination of his former friends.)

(It seems strange to us now but given the state of communications and transport in Germany in the 1920's, there was relatively little face-to-face communication between the original Bavarian-based branch of the Nazi Party and the northern branches until about 1928/29.)

"I see that you did not say that Hitler was a laissez-faire capitalist. He wasn't.""

No, because he was a believer in a heavily corporatized form of capitalism where the state actively promoted the interests of big business. Much like Churchill.

To quote Hitler: "Capitalism is merely the application of the Fuhrerprinzip to economics."

Albert Speer, who is the soruce of that quote, expands on Hitler's meaning by saying that Hitler viewed corporations through the same pseudo-Darwinist worldview he applied to the human races.

Large, successful corporations had proven their fitness and were therefore entitled to rule over lesser corporations.

There's a reason Krupps. IG Farben and Thyssen poured millions into the Nazi Party treasury. Adn that the violently anti-socialist royal families of Bulgaria and Romania did so too.

Ian Gould said...

AS for the claim that Hitler campaigned as a socialist:

Here's the Nazi Party program:

http://www.google.com.au/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cts=1331160907720&ved=0CCgQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fusers.stlcc.edu%2Frkalfus%2FPDFs%2F026.pdf&ei=POZXT-ilGamjiAeE6K23DQ&usg=AFQjCNE21fpp2muTg5sH2LKhGbBwxi-kWw&sig2=4T9I0pTwYNdCqd9joPSHQQ

That was adopted in 1920 and was retained throguhout the Nazi era.

There is absolutely nothing in there about socialism.

But I take your basic point: anyone who disagrees with your about the appropriate role of government in society is just as bad as Hitler.

rewinn said...

@RandyB wrote:
"...JFK and Truman were firm anti-communists...."

... and progressives. Thanks!

Also: If you can't see a difference between socialists and communists, then I can't see a difference between Ron Paul and Mitt Romney.

"...this started out with David saying we shouldn't judge liberalism by those radicals on the left because they're not part of real liberalism..."

To repeat: labelling people is chiefly useful as a means of avoiding the discussion of issues. Why not pick an issue and talk about *that*?
For example, health care: Thom Hartmanns' views are far more mainstream than Rick Santorum's. So if Hartmann is "far-left" then America is "far-left".

rewinn said...

On the lighter side, Questionable Content's version of Scientists Partying on a Space Station ... I especially liked panel 3 ("NGC-2041A isn't worth fighting over!")

rewinn said...

@Randyb wrote:
"...As for me, I generally oppose torture no matter who does it, and no matter who it is done to -- even to prevent another 9/11. But something less than torture? Done to an unlawful combatant who doesn't fight in accordance with the laws of war? To possibly prevent another 9/11? When the rest of the world will find reasons to criticize us no matter what we do? That's different."

Briefly: you support torture.

Your qualifications are that support only torture that you can call not-torture, or is against someone you don't like, or will make you less afraid of bad men.

George Washington ordered severe punishment for mere maltreatment of prisoners. I think I'll stick with George.

P.S. I will be charitable and assume that is mere ignorance on your part that leads you to slander progressives on the subject of torture, and for that matter, the officers of our Armed Services who sacrificed their careers to preserve our Constitution against arguments such as yours. For the former, look up Amnesty International some time, and for the latter, Charlie Swift.

Ian said...

Time for another history lesson:

Democratic socialism/social democracy split from Communism in 1880's.

Eduard Bernstein, the founder of social democracy explicitly rejected violent revolution, "the dictatorship of the proletariat" and the expropriation of private property.

In doing so, he argued that he was, in fact, reflecting the true views of Marx and Engels as they evolved in the years after the publication of the Communist Manifesto in 1848.

From the 1890's onwards, the two movements were not only separate they were opposed.

After the November Revolution, the first group the Communists banned were the Social Democrats and hundreds of thousands of them ended up in the gulags or in front of firing squads.

This is hardly surprising since the Communists had spent the previous 20 years denouncign them as class traitors and revisionists.

In fact, the term "revisionist" was invented to describe the social democrats.

Conflating social democrats with communists or insisting the Nazis were socialists or left-wingers is simply wrong as a matter of historic fact.

Paul451 said...

RandyB
"Libertarians [...] do believe in the commons."

Not so, according to Stephan Kinsella, during the recent libertarian discussion/debates. There's only self-owned/owned/unowned.

Paul451 said...

Latest Kepler exo-planet numbers. Nice little graph of relative numbers of different size planets. Jupiters (and above) are rarer than Earth-size. Neptune/Uranus is the most common size. Super-Earth's are more common than Earths. However, the discovery rate of new Earths and Super-Earths is higher than Neptunes, and of course sub-Earths aren't detectable yet, so the final numbers may not have the same shape... Anyway, I find it interesting. A "this is where we live" moment.

http://kepler.nasa.gov/news/nasakeplernews/index.cfm?FuseAction=ShowNews&NewsID=190

Whirlwind on Mars, caught in action. (We gotta get video at these resolutions on the next Mars orbiter.)

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-03-08/a-whirlwind-rises-from-the-surface-of-mars/3875938

They've sequenced the DNA of a Gorilla (specifically a gorilla gorilla gorilla). Looks like there was three way interbreeding between the human line, chimp line and gorilla line after nominal speciation.

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21328553.700-gorilla-dna-unlocks-secrets-of-our-species.html

And finally, just so I can say: Snakes on a plane.

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21328554.400-snakes-on-an-inclined-plane-control-scales-to-climb.html

David Brin said...

-
RandyB, you were making a little sense... till you said: "The bottom line, for all of this, is that the left wants more government control, and the right wants less."

Um... no, that is NOT a "bottom line." It is an assertion incantation used to prevent thought and to stave off any consideration of evidence.

1) Republicans are notorious for wanting to control the bedroom, speech, public spaces, and meddle internationally on behalf of the corporatcy.

This has always been seen as at LEAST as "statist" as the liberals' frenetic desire to push health and welfare and such on people through regulations of food, medicine, public access and such.

For the record, I am miffed by some of the latter. I can see the arguments for loosening the FDA for example. On the other hand the rate at which govt secrecy, wiretaps, renditions, violations of habeous corpus, spying on Americans and every other expansion of truly scary shit... ALL expanded far more under Reagan, Bush ... and especially W... than under all dems combined.

2) It is an absolute canard to assert (like magic spell!) that dems only regulate. In fact, democrats have done far more DE-regulation that the GOP could ever dream of.

In fact, I have told you - RandyB - personally before about the abolition of the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) and Civil Aeronautics Board(CAB) and the greatest deregulation of all time.... simply handing the Internet over to the world.

* If you plan to continue making the standard magical incantation... know that we all know you've been told these things. So either STOP-it! Or disprove these facts. Or know that we know that you are simply lying.

Those are your three choices. Pick one, Randy! ;-)

=-==

Yes the Nazis called them selves socialists. So?

1) that was obsolete by 1934 when they kissed up to Krupp

2) Aryan trade unions under total Nazi control DID get seats on industrial boards. Big deal

3) The Belgians who genocided the Congo were monarchists and infinite crimes have been committed by oligarchs. Want to go through history decade by decade? Oligarchy wins the heinous prize, hands down.

Tim H. said...

Looks to me that the GOP talks a good game about small government, but it's just "Happy noises", rather, they wish to run the show.
Back to science, a large insect, not as extinct as previously thought:

http://www.dailytech.com/Giant+Tree+Lobsters+Rediscovered+on+Rocky+Volcanic+Island+Spire/article24130.htm

Tim H. said...

Something interesting at derfcity.com/blog/blahblahblah.html ,scroll to Feb. 23rd to see links. Some folks modded a rap song into something that might find some sympathy here.
"Film the Police. Run a tape for the underclass!
Get the face, name and number on the badge.
They flash, we flash back when they act disorderly.
React accordingly and capture all that we see…
Nightstick, Zip-ties, and Tasers.
Think they’re licensed for type vicious behavior.
Make a tight fist with a video trained toward the Pigs,
Like this. They trip & you make ‘em famous.
Explain to a Judge the bounds you oversteppin’.
2011 time to the change our method.
We aim lenses at the State’s weapon,
‘Til they remember whose goddamn streets they’re protecting."

David Brin said...

Shoulda said "fibbing!" ;-)

Randy's a big boy with thick skin... but sorry.

David Brin said...

onward

Connie Garrick said...

These are going to be good. Criminals will be easily caught by this, if camera will be able to read mind.
Surveillance Cameras Singapore