Sunday, May 08, 2016

Climate, Energy and ...oh... Trump vs the Rich!



First a quick political note: many of you will recall that long ago - before it even seemed plausible - I forecast a silver lining to Donald Trump becoming the GOP nominee. (There are several, actually.) Despite his maniacal unsuitability, Trump has one advantage, that of being completely detached from the standard and utterly failed "supply side" narrative that's been Holy Writ across the Bush-Murdoch era. He's the one Republican who has ever told Rupert to go chase himself.

And hence I foretold that The Donald would stun the nation, during the autumnal debates, by agreeing with his democratic opponent on some issues, thus wiping never-ever-true Supply Side off our national platter-of-insanities. Now it seems he is already preparing the ground: "Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said Sunday that he’s open to raising taxes on the wealthy."

Watch this silver lining unfold. Remember, I do not want him and will work to prevent a Trump presidency. But watch for these debate shockers? Do you want another likely one? When the Republican nominee for president openly avows that the climate is changing and that we must take action about it. Will this 180 reversal damage his credibility? What credibility?  Remember who you're talking about. No, with a blithe shrug he will simply "change his mind"... and cite as his reasons some of the following...


== Face it - we have to cope with a sci fi future ==

Major ice-sheet melting in Greenland is exceeding even the "warmist" expectations.

OTOH it seems that the Paris Climate Deal is running ahead of schedule, so sanity may be on the rebound. (See link.) 

Pure fact for your crazy uncle. The first eleven months of 2014 were the warmest on record. 

Then 2015 overtook it, with an average global temperature of 58.62 degrees (F). 

And the first three months of 2016 have already surpassed marks set in 2015. See more from PolitiFact...

...which does not mention accelerating ocean acidification - two words that even denialists on Fox veer away from ever mentioning. Because they have no distraction, no narrative, nothing except the tactic of pointing offstage and shouting "squirrel!"

== Disturbing changes ==


Ground-shaking... "Induced seismicity" is when earthquakes happen more often and much harder, because of human activities like fracking and deep fluids injection.  


In particular, Oklahoma has seen the number of quakes go up by several thousand percent and risk of damage proportionately.  See the map issued by USGS - showing a geologic hot spot in the middle of the country. 

To be clear, this does not make me oppose all fracking, all the time! In this matter, I infuriate leftist friends. Freeing the U.S. from its addiction to Middle East oil has been a huge accomplishment that will have major, wholesome geopolitical consequences, and for our wallets and economy...

... though we badly need far better supervision and site-effects analysis and urgent surveys of illegal methane release! And fracking must be replaced ASAP by rapidly improving sustainables, augmented by some smart-new options in nuclear.  

No, what is pertinent about all of the above is that this proves yet again how always-wrong are the fox-propelled wagers of atomic-level war on science and hijackers of American conservatism.  How many times must these bozos - who said "tobacco is good for you" and "cars don't cause smog" and "women shouldn't vote" and "abstinence education leads to moral behavior" and "prohibition leads to sobriety" and "let's dump waste into streams" -- be wrong before you'll admit that maybe there's a fault in the root code?


== Rethinking energy use  ==


"The annual growth rate of atmospheric carbon dioxide... jumped by 3.05 parts per million during 2015, the largest year-to-year increase in 56 years of research," said a NOAA statement. 

Purely to illustrate how rapidly sea levels are rising, some scientists calculated how much seawater would have to be lifted and sprayed over wintry Antarctica to remove enough to keep sea levels constant.  Every millimeter of sea level rise is equivalent to 360 billion tons of ocean water.  


Okay, want some good news? A Renewable Energy Boom: The average global cost of generating electricity from solar panels fell 61 percent between 2009 and 2015 and 14 percent for land-based wind turbines. Renewables accounted for a majority of new electricity-generating capacity added around the world, last year.  All of this is far better than even optimists predicted and it puts the utter lie to the cynics who tried desperately to thwart investments in sustainables, ever since Ronald Reagan tore solar cells off the White House and disbanded all but one small federal program in the field.

From that day to this, the American right has been associated with obstruction of R&D and advancement of TWODA… or Things We Ought to be Doing Anyway, even if global climate change turned out to be a myth.  Just the raw cash in consumers’ pockets - billions - from increased fuel efficiency has proved TWODA to be the right thing to do, even if (unlikely) it is found that 99% of scientists and smart folks are all 100% wrong.

In sunny parts of the world like India and Dubai, developers of solar farms have recently offered to sell electricity for less than half the global average price. In November, the accounting firm KPMG predicted that by 2020 solar energy in India could be 10 percent cheaper than electricity generated by burning coal.”

Let’s be clear.  We could have had this ten years ago, but for obstruction by a denialist cult whose underlying purpose was to keep us suckling coal and middle eastern oil as long as possible. But science and innovative tech entrepreneurs are delivering, despite that obstruction. Perhaps in time to save the planet! But not Florida. That ship has left port. 


So let's all promise, when half a billion climate refugees come knocking - many of them Americans - the first recourse will be to give them the houses (or at least guest bedrooms) of the cultists who made re-housing necessary.

== And finally... follow the money ==


The new Gilded Age: Close to half of all super-PAC money comes from 50 donors. “Thirty-six of those are Republican supporters who have invested millions in trying to shape the GOP nomination contest — accounting for more than 70 percent of the money from the top 50.Donors this cycle have given more than $607 million to 2,300 super PAC.” That’s so far.  And it is early, yet.


The good news. TV ad buys have proved worthless, this year. So where will all the money go? Initial signs point to Chinese style social media boiler room operations, paying thousands of shills to head online promoting an image of huge support for a candidate... or more thousands of trolls assigned to commit sabotage in the other side's ranks.  Watch it unfold and beware.

In this separate piece: “Meet the wealthy donors who are funneling millions into the 2016 elections -- with a list of the top fifty donors and "ghost corporations" (backed by individuals who can not be identified.)


What a climate.

135 comments:

Jumper said...

Isn't induced seismicity solely from disposal wells used to get rid of fracking fluids? In other words it's not the fracking, it's the disposal.

Wheels Go Round said...

All oil wells produce some (salty) water with the oil.

Back in the early Seventies, this was commonly just pumped off in a ditch, or in a containment pond for smaller wells.

Despite what we've all heard, the federal government does regulate US oil production and the environmental consequences therefrom. You can't just pump it off in a ditch any more, because if you do, it's not hard to back-track and find the source.

Gotta do something with it.

Commonly it's re-injected in adjacent wells in order to water-flood the pay -- since water is heavier than oil, injecting it into the same pay lower than the extraction well will drive the oil toward the top of the pay -- where (hopefully) you have your extraction well.

David Brin said...

Mr. Wheels, a ditch can be monitored. But I have in on good testimony that hundreds of fracking wells are venting off methane in vast quantities, a greenhouse gas far more powerful than CO2 and the GOP congress has blocked funds to investigate.

Jumper said...

I was in the business in the '70s and no one dumped brine in ditches. Disposal wells. Fracking takes a lot of fluids straining the capacity of disposal wells more than production brines ever have. Enhanced recovery wells are the most numerous type of Class II wells. They represent as much as 80 percent of the total number of Class II wells.

Tony Fisk said...

On a similar note, the long prepared script was read out yesterday (Sunday) and it's official: Australia is having a double dissolution election on July 2. Ostensibly to use the new voting rules to get rid of those pesky senate cross benchers who haven't been letting the government have its little ways with renewable energy curtailment, environmental group abolition, and supply side budgetry. (I also have a little suspicion that a PM who once publicly stated he had no wish to lead a party not committed to an emissions trading scheme has other motives, but we'll see how he handles his 'Keeper')

I noticed the local candidate had her placards up on Saturday (What is this, vote now before the rush?). Two months of joy to look forward to. I pity you Americans...

Paul SB said...

Tony, I pity us Americans, too. There's nothing like a little self-pity to wake you in the morning on a work day. Wah. Election year annoyance is nothing, though, compared to the continues hijacking of what was once a functional system by self-interested parties who feign civic responsibility - and the human costs of said system.

But now for something completely different:

I can across this just today, and though it is not related to the current thread, it relates to subjects we have discussed here before. I was wondering if Dr. Brin, or anyone else here, was familiar with a recent book called "Why We Snap" which goes into the instincts that tend to trigger over-the-top and out-of-control responses in people. Here's a link to a review on it. I heard it being discussed on the radio in the context of road rage on a show about cars.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/02/160207-brain-violence-rage-snap-science-booktalk/

As far as the Trumper is concerned, much of his support comes from people who feel disaffected by the political system, which includes people on both he left and the right. It shouldn't surprise anyone now that Cruz has dropped out of the race that he is walking back some of the more right-wing drivel he's been spouting. He has the nomination, but is unlikely to win the White House with ethnonationalist psychobabble. Now he has to walk the moderate line to quell the fears of those who remember Nuremberg. The question is, will the Party Faithful lose interest and stay home this coming November, or will the prospect of having some woman become president unite them - holding their noses as they cast their ballots for the Trump/McDuck ticket.

Zepp Jamieson said...

One of the more heart-stopping moments in the ongoing story of "The Beast", the wildfire that has enveloped Fort McMurray and is now moving into Saskatchewan was reports yesterday that it was making a direct run for the oil sands extraction area owned by Sunoco. Winds shifted and the fire perimeter remained at the edge of the facilities, but I can't help but wonder what sort of toxins will be unleashed if the winds shift again and the Beast invades.
I note that this is all happening in early May at 56 North, an area designated as continental sub arctic. May is usually the big warm-up month there, with day time highs in the 50s (10-12C)at the start of the month and near 70 (20-22C) by the end of the month. On May 1st in a normal year, there's usually patches of snow in the Boreal still, and the taiga is soaked. This year, it's been in the 80s and 90s (25-35C) for several weeks already, and the ground is bone dry. Thus the huge fires.
It's not new: it's been happening for the past five or six years throughout the extent of the Boreal; this is just the first time it's destroyed a sizeable town, something that is scarce in those latitudes.

Paul SB said...

Zeppo, that's really discouraging! I have been thinking about buying land further north and build a house - likely the Pacific Northwest where the rains might be more reliable. At some point the cost of water in California & the desert Southwest will get so high there will be an exodus out of those areas, and I want to get my family under cover before that happens. But if climate change is having such a pronounced effect there, I wonder if the Cascades will continue to catch enough orographic to sustain human habitation. Ft. McMurray looks like it's in the rain shadow zone, or is it north enough to catch the polar easterlies?

Paul SB said...

Autocorrect is really annoying, though how it came up with "Zeppo" I have no idea... : /

Zepp Jamieson said...

Paul SB: Re: 'Zeppo'; no worries, I get called that a lot. Your post made it clear you weren't trying to annoy.
McMurray is usually under the polar jet, at least in the winter, but the enhanced Rossby Waves, with their greater amplitude, has left the city with an Omega ridge either due west (the Ridiculously Resiliant Ridge of 2014-5) or now, directly overhead.
The climate models have wide disagreement over the fate of the PNW. Some postulate that rainfall may dramatically increase even as snowpack effectively vanishes, other suggest it may become dry and hot.
If the "SB" in your name is Santa Barbara, you may be in luck; some climatologists think southern California may get more of a summer monsoonal flow, resulting in summer rains, perhaps enough to make up for the expected deficit in winter storms out of the GoA.

Janus Daniels said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Janus Daniels said...

Does Trump seem likely to raise taxes on his fellow plutocrats, or to kill the minimum wage? He can say anything to get elected, and he does.
http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/trump-minimium-wage-hike-reversal

Paul SB said...

The SB are just initials - I'm in the Los Angeles Basin, though I would love to move more toward the center of the state. Santa Banana has Ridiculously Unreal Real Estate. I would have to knock off several banks to be able to afford to live there. The year I moved to California I did one of the most boring jobs an archaeologist can do, monitoring construction projects, which had me in that area for much of the year. Beautiful country, clean air and not too crowded. I'm not much of a beach person, having been raised in the Rockies, but the hilly country north of Goleta is quite nice. I probably can't go anywhere until my son gets through high school. Few school districts have good programs for children with ASD.

Right at the moment it looks like the monsoonal flow might be right, but I would not want to bet on it. Climate is predictable over periods of centuries, but the devil is in the details on the short term.

If you're into that sort of thing, after visiting Santa Barbara one summer my daughter and I concocted a desert we call the Santa Banana - basically banana sections in pastry cups with lime yogurt. Sprinkle a little nutmeg if you want to keep with the sweet taste, or you could go with some cayenne pepper if you prefer spicy. Bake for about 20 minutes at 375˚. Quick and easy.

Paul SB said...

"We concocted a desert" - I don't think I can keep blaming the autocorrect for these things. Probably not Freudian, just demyelination. My lobes are going...

Zepp Jamieson said...

Janus Daniels:
Trump has a "Humpty Dumpty" approach to his speeches.
""When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.'"

The Red Queen could teach Dumpty Trumpty a thing or two: "[W]hen you've once said a thing, that fixes it, and you must take the consequences."

Zepp Jamieson said...

Paul SB: I'll have to try my hand at making a Santa Banana. Sounds yummy.
I left SB 25 years ago when it became clear I would never, ever be able to afford a home there, and got tired of pissing my income away on rent. I'm back here now on family business, but my home (and house, now paid for) is in far northern California.
Right now it's ground zero for the California drought, now in its sixth year here. The local reservoir is at 15% capacity, at the end of what's jocularly known as "rainy season." It's jarring, especially since while the snows were MIA up north, we did get 125% of normal precip over the past two winters, and the reservoirs up there are brimming.

David Brin said...

Yes, of course the Alberta fire known as the Beast is another harbinger of climate change.

David Brin said...

Trump veers to suggesting more tax on the rich? Okay, open question: can you name anyone else who predicted this, as I did, repeatedly, going back to last year? Just askin'

http://www.newsweek.com/trump-raise-taxes-wealthy-457089

Michael Donahue said...

Florida?

Tony Fisk said...

@zepp, your account of 'The Beast' heading for exposed tarsand fields reminds me of what did happen in Victoria in 2014, when a wildfire got into the Hazelwood open cut coal mine. The power station had to close and it took 45 days to put out. The long-term health effects on nearby residents are still being determined (sub micron soot particles being of particular concern)

The up side was the irony on display when rooftop solar was able to cope with the 'baseload' power generation shortfall.

Anonymous said...

David, a few things:

1) Please stop pretending that you are anything other than a garden variety know-nothing American lefty. You're no more offensive and stupid and uniformed and parochial and lazy than any other average American lefty, but this pathetic pretense that you are a libertarian or anyone of any principle is ridiculous. You're in favor of trump because he's a national socialist and you like half of that equation.

2) "thus wiping never-ever-true Supply Side off our national platter-of-insanities. " You claim to be a scientist, or possibly to have been one at some point. Then you should know the fallacy of petitio principi, i.e., asserting that which has yet to be proved.

3) You do know that that signing yourself "David Brin, Ph.D" really does advertise intellectual inferiority, right?

Duncan Cairncross said...

Hi Dr Brin
Looks like you have offended somebody!
Shame they are too lily livered to use their own name

Jumper said...

A trifecta of wrongness.

Paul SB said...

Using big words without understanding their meaning is a sign of intellectual inferiority, or an inferiority complex, anyway. The petition principii is tautological reasoning, assuming the conclusion. This is not the same thing as making a prediction and analyzing down-the-road effects should the prediction come true. Grrrr ... ruff ruff!
(Actually, I'm not much of a dog fan, but don't tell Dr. Brin that. He would be disappointed.)

Paul SB said...

Zepp, I always liked the area around San Luis Obispo, Paso Robles, though the later might be a case of going from too many hominids to too few. If I could get some land I would build my own home, rather than buying, but I'm sure the cost of land there is pretty outrageous as well. I want to build one of those super efficient super adobe jobs. They look like they belong on Tatooine, but that kind of efficiency, combined with low-cost, low-tech simplicity, is just what the world needs right now. It definitely fits the TWODA bill.

Check out www.calearth.org if you are curious.

Robert said...

WRT another frequent Brin topic: "On the Media", on NPR yesterday asked four different political scientists about this year's election. Every one of them compared it to the 1860 election. Yikes!

Of course we concocted a desert... Now playing in Canada.


Bob Pfeiffer.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Robert:
Let's see: we had four major candidates, two representing relatively new parties. I don't see much similarity there.
I think it's more like the 1856 election, where both candidates stood for the status quo and were universally disliked.

David Brin said...



Zepp & Bob, we’ll see if a third party arises and torches the GOP. If so, then 1860 could be apt.

That anonymous coward is an example of trollery that is most amazing by its relative absence in this community. Look in almost any comments section anywhere online and you’ll see much more. I’m rather proud of the generally high level of discourse here.

As for my leftyness, well I cannot blame the coward for failing to grasp that I promote the reading of Adam Smith probably more than anyone else online. Having been invited to give keynotes at a Libertarian Party national convention and at several Freedom Fests kinda qualifies me to dismiss him with a blithe, lazy chuckl… and a snore.

Oooh, he used LATIN! How about something simpler and more many, coward. Come back under your true name and show us one example across 30 years of a single major Supply Side prediction that ever came true, re tax cuts for the rich resulting in lower deficits. One. Ever.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Doctor Brin said: "Zepp & Bob, we’ll see if a third party arises and torches the GOP. If so, then 1860 could be apt."

With less than six months until the general election? I don't think it's particularly feasible. Yes, someone like Cruz could "go rogue" and run as a third party candidate, but I can't imagine him finishing with more than 5% of the vote, and more likely 1%. And Bernie has already given his word he won't run as an independent.

At most, I could see the establishment GOP getting a Mitt Romney clone to run. That would take very few votes from the Democratic nominee, and leave Trump lucky to get 65 EVs in the general, while the Dems get well over 300.

David Brin said...

Zepp... keep all eyes in the coming Libertarian Party 2016 National Convention, May 26-30 in Florida. If the Kochs and their peers are going to make a third-party move, it could be there. With time short to get on the November ballot, the LP is uniquely suited - with ballot presence already in nearly all states - to carry forward half of the Never Trump faction of the GOP. Not just by providing an alternative that's not Hillary... but also to draw not-Trump Republican voters to the polls and thus save many GOP legislators. This would, of course, cement the Koch's and Steve Forbes' longstanding putsch to control the libertarian movement.

This would not please the other major faction - religious zealots -- a fervor not much liked by libertarians. Will the RZs go off their own way? Or will hypocrisy rule, as they adapt to supporting a many times divorced, admitted philandering adultering gambling lord who doesn't care what bathroom Caitlin Jenner uses? I'll put wagers on the latter.

Keep your eye also on Freedom fest in Vegas, happening DURING the GOP convention in Cleveland and a perfect time/place to spring LP surprises. http://freedomfest.com/

bigsteve said...

I just retired from a power and water company. The CEO has been working on plans to get off of fossil fuel power generation including Coal for the past decade. Fact is economics are killing coal not regulations. My former employer already has two solar farms. And I think off shore wind power is very viable. I read somewhere that off shore wind power could power the entire east coast of the United States. Much better wind gradient than on the shore and the wind never stops blowing.

On another note I live in the I-4 corridor of Florida which pretty much decides state wide elections. I think Florida will help make madam president happen. That area has gotten bluer since the last presidential election.

Alfred Differ said...

I'm skeptical of a LP take-over at the convention. It would certainly make life interesting to see them try, but Gary Johnson is on my sample ballot. I've met him. De is a former GOP Governor for New Mexico and generally charming as one would expect of a politician. I'm doubtful a full-blown social conservative up against him would do more than compete for attention. Bring GOP attention over here and they will find some of their former compatriots. You know... the people they essentially booted? We have a lot of social liberals in our midst who would LOVE to pull more out of the GOP if only they had the spotlight for a while. They've got their material ready to relay to those ostrich uncles and aunts and they SOUND like the older GOP.

I'd love to see the attempt, though my local store might not be able to keep popcorn stocked on the shelves.

Alfred Differ said...

@Ioan: (from last post)

It is always important to consider the possibility than an ally will not be motivated when the moment comes. That was the real point of a local alliance since it would involve nations most likely to be motivated who also happened to be the eastern-most bloc of NATO. As a just-in-case scenario, any dithering by NATO allies that slowed NATO responses could be countered by just one large NATO ally meeting a bilateral obligation with the smaller alliance. It's like having a frontage road parallel the main highway. The frontage road is handy on rare occasions.

For anyone who thinks Russia isn't capable of being a threat, I'll remind them of German history and what a basket case they were in 1930. Contrast that with 1940. Russia has had its ups and downs through history and they should not be treated as a knock-out until they lose the oil regions near the Caspian. *

*Sure. There is oil in their arctic territories, but they will need a lot of capital to develop it. They won't accomplish that without control stretching to the Caucuses AND higher oil prices. They have one right now, but US control over its energy fate combined with what is happening to renewables is making the other unlikely. Maybe Romania without strong allies won't be a proxy battleground if we keep this up. Wouldn't that be nice? 8)

Ioan said...

Apologies if this is a derail.

Since this blog tries to be speculative, I have a question. Suppose Trump wins. What happens between Nov. 8 and January 20 when he takes office?

Duncan Cairncross said...

I wonder how much it would take to simply pay Trump to withdraw?
If any man has his "price" it's the Donald

How would that work out?
The Donald gets a lot of money and suddenly discovers a good family reason why he should withdraw.

i_/0 said...

Murdoch already pulled the same bait and switch twenty years ago in the UK when Blair supposedly stood up to him. On another note ask yourselves why the Bush Dynasty failed to endorse Trump. Easy, bad cop worse cop. The brand is so toxic they only have to not endorse him to make him seem anti-establishment.

You guys should read some Machiavelli in between your Adam Smith.

Ioan said...

Short answer, I don't think it's going to happen.

I've noticed (from afar) that multi-millionaires and billionaires eventually get into (what I call) the pyramid-building mode. I only make this observation from afar since I don't have any contact with rich people, David could chip in better. Just like Elon Musk, Trump is now thinking about being remembered by posterity. It's not being Columbus, but being a US President would likely have him remembered by the US hundreds of years into the future. Furthermore, he is likely to be remembered by the historians of future civilizations, just as historians of our civilizations remember every Roman, Chinese, and Japanese Emperor.

Thus, I don't think that there's a price to get the Donald to withdraw.

Tony Fisk said...

"My name is Anonymandias, King of Trolls
Look upon my jerks, ye mighty, and despair (of trolldom in general)."

@loan, I'm not sure what you're driving at. Doesn't Obama continue on in caretaker mode over that period? Then again, not being in America, the finer points of your political procedures are not clear to me.

If the Trump at last sounds, the GOP might be reduced to a Palin/Fiorina ticket. Take *that*, feminism!

Robert said...

I agree that the Libertarians are better off with Gary Johnson. He's also a lot better for the Stop Trump Republicans than any of their own people; after all, he's a Republican himself -- a real one. Also, as Alfred pointed out, he's pleasant and intelligent. Needless to say, he'd do better with Independents than any recent Party Republican.

As for the Religious nuts, they can go where they want everyone else to go. They are an embarrassment to my religion, and to all religions. I don't think it was an accident that the number of atheists doubled under Bush II.

Tempting as the LP has always been for me, the Trump threat is too risky for me to do anything but hold my nose for my country and vote for H. Bernie would have been easier for me, but that's not going to happen. It's interesting though that his general election stats are much better than Hillary's.

The anonymous coward's dig at David's very well-earned degree reminds me of how I had to tell my partner never to call me "Dr. Pfeiffer" in airports or stadia, and especially not in hospitals or around accidents.

Bob Pfeiffer.
(Ph.D., Physics, UCSD, 12/81).

Tony Fisk said...

@loan, it's a question of 'satiability', which David touches on frequently.

Most people can decide when they have enough. A few can't. Unfortunately, the nature of the business world means they tend to be the ones who climb to the top and end up calling the shots.

Zepp Jamieson said...

David Brin said: "Zepp... keep all eyes in the coming Libertarian Party 2016 National Convention, May 26-30 in Florida."

That could underlie Ryan's offer to step down as chairman of the GOP convention. He would be (from LP perspective) the perfect candidate; well known and will drawing power among establishment Repubicans. He's an Objectivist Randroid, but that's considered a plus in LP circles.
I've been watch to see if Cruz makes a similar move in hopes of roping in the religious zanies. Most politicians would do the math and realize that it would be a disaster on wheels, but Cruz has a history of forging ahead anyway, as when he tried to shut down the government to force Obama to abolish Obamacare.

I'll keep an eye on the LPers, though. Still not 1860, but it would be fascinating to watch anyway.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Loan asked: "Suppose Trump wins. What happens between Nov. 8 and January 20 when he takes office?"

Canadians build a great wall from Nova Scotia to British Columbia to keep tens of millions of panicked American refugees from invading. The demand the American government pay for it.

matthew said...

I know Gary Johnson personally a bit from my time in NM. Decent fellow, social libertarian, but abysmally destructive on economics. Look up what he did to NM economy while governor. Like all libertarians* he worships the market while forgetting that markets are supposed to serve humanity and not vice versa.

Still, he is 1000% better than the 16 or 17 clowns that ran for the Republican nomination. If conservatism finds a home in the LP we will all be better for it.

*Yes, I know that there are plenty of LP members out there with differing interpretations of property and markets, etc. But the party as a whole has fallen down the propertarian / Randian rabbit hole and will not be nominating anyone with a sane economic plan. If they had a sane plan, they would be a liberal.

David Brin said...

Duncan, Ioan nailed it. I doubt DT would withdraw for any reason short of a harsh dose of Polonium. That is why we should pay care to watch his running mate. The best argument for Cruz is that he'll deter assassins from DT.

i_/0 tasty notion but at this point I doubt the Bushites deem Trump acceptable either winning or because he'll lose.

Hi Bob Pfeiffer! Cogent as usual.

Zepp, given that the Libertarians are already meeting in just a couple of weeks, my bet is that the Kochs, Forbes and the others will machinate for the LP to pick a mainstream republican as running mate, then put down oodles of cash so Johnson can get on the debates in Sept-Oct. That's the huge tripwire. If he polls double digits then he gets on-stage. And even if it helps HC win the White House, it could draw more no-Trump republicans to vote and thus save down-ticket goppers.

The clever alternative, if unlikely? Pour $ into the LP campaign, but slide in a Veep who resembles Bernie Sanders. A total social liberal. Could hurt Hillary... but drive the religious zealots insane.

Jumper said...

I did read The Prince but it was a long time ago. The thread here has me musing on the powerful and wealthy folks' desire to make long term plans, and Trump has made that difficult, I suspect.

Zepp Jamieson said...

David Brin wrote: "slide in a Veep who resembles Bernie Sanders. A total social liberal."

Right wing libertarians really, really hate their left-wing counterparts. (Yes, there is such a thing as 'left libertarian'--greatly resembles liberals, but less preachy.) That might be a bridge too far for most LPers, and I'm having trouble thinking of any progressive who might be tempted by such a strange ticket. Maybe someone who understands that Adam Smith was a humanitarian who understood the role of markets in building societies and seeing to the human needs of same.
Shall I make a suggestion that would utterly horrify you, Doctor? [BSEEG]

Alfred Differ said...

New Mexico has an economy? (Okay… I’ll play nice now.)

State legislatures really should be careful giving Governors a line item veto. The People might choose someone who will use it. Since Johnson got re-elected as Governor after setting veto records, it would seem NM citizens didn’t object too much.

As for worshipping the market, that’s not the sense I got. It’s not a blind faith. He struck me as a believer in the notion that most market participants are ethical players. Leave them be and no regulation is needed. Most certainly do NOT compete with them as government in the market.

The sanest market plan from government is not a plan at all. It is a meta-plan. Deal with the cheaters and leave the others be.

As for rabbit holes, there isn’t one LP any more than there is one GOP. Our parties are umbrellas and only one of the vocal portions of the LP is propertarian. There is a large bloc who advocate for a peace/freedom utopia who happen to be a little soft on property rights. How these two groups get along is beyond me. 8)

Alfred Differ said...

Last I checked, one of the Koch's would probably qualify as a Libertarian, thus his money would appeal to one of the factions within the LP.

The Donald won't have a price for backing down now. No Prudence calculation will trump the demand for Courage at this point. Even Faith (as Identity) comes into play here. He loses far more than money if he has a price.

David Brin said...

"The sanest market plan from government is not a plan at all. It is a meta-plan. Deal with the cheaters and leave the others be."

Well, as a general guideline, I could negotiate with this as a starting point. But I believe government's thumb on the scale is justified with interventions not only to quash natural human cheating, but also to uplift all children with opportunities (+health etc) to compete. And also interventions to sway market incentives to take into account major externalities like resource depletion, pollution, downstream waste disposal and other economic costs now being exported to our children.

Alfred Differ said...

I'm with you for uplifting children. Where I'm a little squishy is exactly how to do it. I have no doubt, though, we'd agree on small, incremental experiments from which we or our children could decide later.

As for resource issues, I'd support on approach and be highly skeptical of all others. There are no sources and sinks (a la Limits to Growth) if the production cycles are cyclic or part of an ecosystem. Lignin and oxygen were early pollutants, but life found a way to deal with them. If interventions are designed to create/support a market ecosystem, we can reasonably expect sunset clauses on the interventions. Please... no immortal rules. Interventions with a design theme meta-rule would have a life-span like other participants in the ecosystem. THAT I'd support.

Obviously, I'm a fan of guidelines for market interventions. I see them in the same class as the Rule of Law which at its core is a guide for avoiding Rule by Whim. Rule lifespans are useful.

Ioan said...

Let me clarify what I was asking. On November 9, Trump would face a hostile Republican Congress and a caretaker President Obama, neither of which is likely to play nice. Both would want to make Trump a "One Term President", especially if the more sane Republicans are primaried by Trump supporters. They have nothing to lose at this point.

Could we get an actual amnesty during that time period, to make sure that Trump doesn't win re-election, and to avoid the mess that would be a Trump executive order to begin rounding up illegals? What other such legislation could be passed during that time? I see very little discussion about this. That was what I was asking. Sorry for not being clear.

Duncan Cairncross said...

"The sanest market plan from government is not a plan at all. It is a meta-plan. Deal with the cheaters and leave the others be."

The problem with that is straight back to the old positive feedback

A perfect market with equal players and no cheating will unbalance itself and move towards the "one person has all of the wealth"
One of the things that Piketty did in his analysis is find that there is no "countervailing force"

One of the reasons I didn't like the medical system in the USA is that the doctor who decided my son needed an operation immediately benefited from that decision
Now I believe he was a good man and Thomas did need the operation - BUT I do not believe in putting unnecessary temptation in people way

Having a market system with more and more resources being concentrated into fewer hands puts unnecessary temptation into those hands - they will be tempted to "buy the levers of power"

Exposing mere mortals to such temptations and then "dealing with them" is cruel

Alfred Differ said...

@Duncan: A perfect market with equal players and no cheating will unbalance itself and move towards the "one person has all of the wealth"
One of the things that Piketty did in his analysis is find that there is no "countervailing force"


Then both of you are thinking that markets operate on Prudence Only. Hogwash. If it were so, I’d agree with you.

Yes, your son’s doctor stood to benefit financially from his decision. If he is the good man you imagine him to be, though, he was also acting out of Love and a form of Faith where he acts to preserve his self’s identity as a caring doctor. In a market where other virtues are in play, you don’t get Piketty’s analytical outcome. Mr Max U isn’t a real person, let alone someone you would trust as your son’s doctor.

Much of economics assumes Prudence is the only virtue in play. That’s part of why I think many economists are playing around with theories that are analogous to Ptolemy’s. Our markets aren’t necessarily limited this way. Prudence dominates over scales where it becomes difficult for us to relate to each other as more complete human beings, but we are finding ways to expand our horizons and be what we prefer to be.

David Brin said...

Ioan the biggest "caretaker period " action to expect even if HC and the dems win, will be for this Congress and Obama to rush ratification of TPP. It must happen and even the goppers know it. This would let HC yell about it and everyone preen and posture and get it out of the way, blaming Obama and the outgoing Congress equally.

Likewise Merrick Garland might be confirmed rather than "wait for the next president."

If Trump is elected there may be a rush to establish rules for the military that empower them to slow hasty actions they find rash. It's even conceivable the Senate might agree to confirm two more Supreme court justices of Obama's if they are moderates and Ginsberg and Breyer agree. I do not see a general immigration amnesty. The Republicans face primary challenges.

Alfred Differ said...

@Ioan: I sincerely doubt Obama would agree to the amnesty. My mother blamed Ford for pardoning Nixon for decades. Obama's legacy would suffer an analogous fate from those who would want the GOP to burn.

We will survive a Trump presidency if he should manage to win. If such a thing is possible, I think the smart strategy for Dems would be to wait for 2018 after the you-know-what has sprayed from every fan blade in the country.

(It is useful to remember even the great FDR wouldn't step into a decision making stance until after his inauguration. There was a kind of power vacuum for him to occupy, but he declined. He let the economy burn some more first. The situation was reversed, of course, but I don't think that matters. We survived it too.)

Duncan Cairncross said...

As you said
"Prudence dominates over scales where it becomes difficult for us to relate to each other as more complete human beings,"

Which is EXACTLY what the market is!!!!!
You can't sit and count to a billion - it would take 300 years!

The market is impossible for us to relate to as human beings - so as you said Prudence Dominates

Jumper said...

http://taxfoundation.org/article/estate-and-inheritance-taxes-around-world

Duncan Cairncross said...

Hi Jumper
That article was utter crap

"Repealing the estate tax in the United States would increase investment, add jobs, and expand the economy. The estate tax has a narrow base and a high rate, and it falls almost exclusively on the domestic capital stock. The capital stock (accumulated wealth) makes America more prosperous and productive as a whole, so taxes levied on the capital stock have unusually poor effects on economic growth."

This is bullshit!!

The problem is the incredibly high thresholds and the ease of avoidance

Saying that the easiest way to fix the whole thing is simple - treat all income the same
So when daddy kicks the bucket and you inherit $1M you pay income tax on it
Also when daddy gives you $400,000 - you pay income tax on it

Paul SB said...

"Prudence dominates over scales where it becomes difficult for us to relate to each other as more complete human beings,"

As is so often when people debate economics, we are using rational actor models, and failing to account for both scalar stress and the idiosyncrasies of a species that evolved most of its social animal instincts while living in tiny bands, but now live in a context of huge nation states.

Jerry Emanuelson said...

There is a way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from production of electricity by more than 80 percent (to less than 20 percent of its 1990 amount) while keeping electricity prices at or below current prices by the year 2030. Because most electrical supplies after 2030 would rely on solar and wind, this would also stabilize the price of electricity (because it would require very little of the fuels that can fluctuate wildly in price). This long-term price stabilization would, in turn, encourage the use of electric cars.

The plan is NOAA's not mine, but few people are giving it the attention it deserves.

NOAA points out 3 important facts:

(1) The "war of the currents" of the late 1800s (between AC and DC) has been completely inverted by new technology. High-voltage Direct Current (HVDC) is now immensely more efficient than the old AC system for the long-distance transmission of electricity.

(2) No matter how it is done, the necessity of energy storage doubles the cost of renewable energy.

(3) Energy storage is now necessary with renewable electrical energy because renewables currently have only local or regional electrical distribution. With a unified system roughly the size of the contiguous 48 states, somewhere the wind is blowing or the sun is shining sufficiently to supply nearly all of the electricity to the U.S. without the necessity of storage. This is according to NOAA data, and they should know.

NOAA has developed software using the National Electricity with Weather System (NEWS) model to verify their predictions. They have checked their software against recent real-world conditions to verify its accuracy. The available data is so detailed that a single run takes about a week on a supercomputer.


Jerry Emanuelson said...

The NOAA plan that I've described has the additional advantage (with a few simple modifications) of being highly resistant to both nuclear electromagnetic pulse and geomagnetic storms if the HVDC system is run underground using current coaxial technology. The current NOAA plan is run the underground HVDC cables along railroads and interstate highways.

The cables currently available are coaxial cables about a foot in diameter with a voltage rating of more than 500 thousand volts. Their power capacity is typically about 2.6 gigawatts per cable.

Although this system would be brutally expensive, the required capital equipment costs for the electrical system over the next 14 years or so will be about the same no matter what electrical generation and transmission systems are used, so we might as well do it right this time. The present electrical system has changed very little over the past century.

The basic plan for all of this was published in the January 25, 2016 issue of Nature Climate Change. The basic article will be behind a paywall until late July. The 71 pages of supporting information is already freely available, though, on the Nature Climate Change web site.

I'll put some links to some additional information in my next post if Blogger will let me. Blogger has been very stubborn about eating posts lately, especially if they contain one or more links.

Jerry Emanuelson




Deuxglass said...

Dr. Brin,

You said "Ioan the biggest "caretaker period " action to expect even if HC and the dems win, will be for this Congress and Obama to rush ratification of TPP. It must happen and even the goppers know it. This would let HC yell about it and everyone preen and posture and get it out of the way, blaming Obama and the outgoing Congress equally."

Can you imagine the backlash that would make if Congress goes against the will of the majority of the voters on the most important issue of the election? Can you imagine the anger against Washington it would create? What you propose is very dangerous to both parties and to democracy in the US in general. The elites of both the Democrats and the Republicans should think very carefully before going down that road because if they do they will lose what little trust the public has in them. TPP is only a treaty and treaties are denounced and revoked frequently in the international world. No treaty is written in stone and handed to Moses. Congress may pass it against the popular will but the next one, with new members, would denounce it. It would be an incredibly stupid, dishonest and dangerous move to push through TPP in that manner.

Jerry Emanuelson said...

Links regarding the electrical system proposed by NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory:

From the ESRL News Archive:

http://www.noaa.gov/wind-sun-could-eclipse-fossil-fuels-electric-power-2030

A short NOAA video about the proposal:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sAiOSsPzCow

The CIRES news release about the proposal:

http://cires.colorado.edu/news/rapid-affordable-energy-transformation-possible

A good comprehensive article about the proposal:

http://www.utilitydive.com/news/is-a-national-high-voltage-transmission-system-the-cheapest-way-to-cut-emis/413867/

A longer (35 minute) video about the proposal:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JHsCjdAgxJ8

Anonymous said...

Trump's rather unexpected veer to the center? More interesting are those who correctly predicted that Trump would win. While some degree of luck may be involved, one might look to historical analysis—in particular that of Spengler and Toynbee—as to what role Trump fits into. Or I guess one could lump all years past "fuedalism" and all present "progress", by which yardstick Trump must soon to be the best thing since the reinvention (in America) of the bicycle lane, because, like, y'know, progress. The Mirage of Immortality, anyone? Speaking of progress, a modest solar installation would cover my electrical budget for around abouts one hundred and sixty four years, and would certainly be of little to no help during various months discontent. And an inexpensive electric car would cover my transportation budget for at least five hundred to one thousand years, depending on accessories. Overshoot much? Well, I'm sure someone will find those six new unspoilt Earths necessary to topple all of Earth over to American levels of extravagance. Doubtless something to do with asteroids, or possibly nanobots, if I were to go out on a limb and make a prediction.

raito said...

Some of that libertarian market conversation reminds me of John Barnes's A Million Open Doors, where in one of the cultures had market-as-religion but business-as-politics. And the result? The religious government cheated because frequently the market did not follow dogma.

The price of solar may have dropped, but it's still darned expensive, given the quotes we've been getting. And the ROI is more like 17 years than 10. But what you you expect? The whole thing's politicized. We're doing it mostly because because we're nerds. And I'm reminded a bit uncomfortably of a friend who had a woodstove in the 70's. When the power went out, he said he went back to the 1800's. Everyone else went back to the stone age.

Robert said...

The Libertarians I follow online seem quite enraptured with McAfee. I kind of doubt Ryan would stand a chance of luring that base away from McAfee (that said, I'm decent friends with the ex-girlfriend (and still good friend with) of McAfee's running mate so my primary information source may be slanted toward McAfee as a result). Even with the Koch Brothers backing him.

The libertarians I've seen online seem quite dismissive of Ryan. They were far more friendly toward Rand Paul, but feel he lost his way and don't trust him to stay true to his father's message.

(I will say however I wasn't familiar with the divide between Left and Right Libertarians. I thought their hostility toward me was because I keep telling them anarchism is a failed delusion and because, well, let's face it. I'm an asshole. But it may also be because I'm left of their Libertarianism with my emphasis on more "minimizing the size of government" and "social libertarianism" than the "Kill government and deregulate everything" aspect.)

Jerry, thank you for all that information on the NOAA report and on how we could upgrade our power grid. I have to wonder if perhaps the best way to approach this is to offer the electrical industries significant tax breaks if and only if they start installing these underground DC power transmission systems. That way private industry is the one installing it, they are doing this to save money on taxes (which makes Republicans happy), and we help protect our power grid.

Rob H.

Jerry Emanuelson said...

Robert, tax credits would certainly help with the NOAA-proposed electrical system. Clearing the way for access to the routes for the underground cables (along railroads and interstate highways) would also be a big help. NOAA has said that access across multiple jurisdictions would be one of the biggest hurdles. Congress could certainly help with this.

If you want to see one of the underground cables that NOAA is looking at, see:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=je5INqMXN5Q

Although this is essentially a two-and-a-half minute commercial about the new HVDC cable, it is also fairly informative.

Robert said...

As a matter of fact, David Koch was the LP vice-presidential candidate in 1980, and poured in money. The party did relatively well, but probably because the presidential candidate, Ed Clark, had gotten over 5 percent in the 1978 California governor's election and was well known outside the party because of that. The Kochtopus managed to nominate a presidential candidate in 1984, who bombed, even by LP standards. An anti-Koch insurgency won in 1988, and nominated Ron Paul. He got five votes in the county in Kentucky where I lived, and we all knew each other.

As for railroading David into running, I was complaining to a friend about being stuck with Clinton and Bush I, and he said: "You're over 35 now. You know what to do." Nein danke! My friend's dissertation adviser had it right: "I'm having trouble deciding. Should I stay at home or vote Libertarian?"

Now that someone's mentioned The Prince, Chapter XI opens with one the best pieces of snark of all time:

Chapter XI: Concerning Ecclesiastical Principalities

It only remains now to speak of ecclesiastical principalities, touching which all difficulties are prior to getting possession, because they are acquired either by capacity or good fortune, and they can be held without either; for they are sustained by the ancient ordinances of religion, which are so all-powerful, and of such a character that the principalities may be held no matter how their princes behave and live. These princes alone have states and do not defend them; and they have subjects and do not rule them; and the states, although unguarded, are not taken from them, and the subjects, although not ruled, do not care, and they have neither the desire nor the ability to alienate themselves. Such principalities only are secure and happy. But being upheld by powers, to which the human mind cannot reach, I shall speak no more of them, because, being exalted and maintained by God, it would be the act of a presumptuous and rash man to discuss them.


Bob Pfeiffer

donzelion said...

@Dr. Brin - I like the "new Gilded Age" motif you closed with more than the "new 1932" you had used a few months ago. We're not in the midst of a Great Depression, even if we do have homeless encampments in Los Angeles and other major cities. We're not about to have a regulatory revolution, whether Bernie or Trump wins, neither will achieve power majorities capable of erecting such a change: but we are having tumult in the organized party structure that does have its parallels.

The signature power of modern oligarchy is to create fact-adverse cults - the Murdoch Cult, the Trump Cult - a power that is only paralleled by that era, in which the biggest of oligarchs came to control and monopolize entire economic sectors, dominating towns and cities, offering the "Western mythos" and a bevvy of bizarre 'threats' (Chinese, Catholics, Jews, and anyone else who didn't look like them) as persistent circus distractions while they expanded their absolute economic control through secretive trusts.

David Brin said...

Over on my G+ page Daniel Dillman commented on my riff about the Libertarian Party with what has to be joke of the day! It is not often that I laugh out loud and repeatedly.

In order to lure over Bernie supporters to the presumed LP candidate Gary Johnson they promote a hashtag:

#feelthejohnson

Alfred Differ said...

@Duncan: You are blind to what a market is apparently. I shouldn’t really use the singular version of the word as that implies there is just one. Reality is more complex. Both singular and plural apply at roughly the same time. Local and Global apply at about the same time.

It’s not difficult to demonstrate that Prudence doesn’t dominate at many levels. As Paul SB points out indirectly, all we have to do is look for irrational players. Economists tend to assume prudence dominates and that this virtue defines what counts as rational behavior. Look for where people are behaving otherwise, therefore, and we’ll find other virtues in play.

1. Where is the market in transplantable human organs? My mother needs a kidney and I’d be willing to pay out of my own pocket to get her one. I’d pay well. The market would make sense if Prudence were all that applied. I would offer to lift someone out of poverty who lived on the other side of the world, and at that scale, prudence should be all that matters, right? Well… apparently not. Most of my neighbors would come down on me like a ton of bricks and brand me as an immoral monster. That means they have other expectations of me. They respect other virtues (which ones?) and demand that I do so as well.

2. I’m about to step out and buy lunch. The size of the market from my perspective is a few miles worth of lunch shops that I can drive to and get back in a reasonable amount of time. There are roughly five dozen places I could go, but it is very unlikely I will choose the cheapest of them. Prudence does not dominate my decision. It is unlikely I will choose the most expensive either, so Prudence isn’t absent from the decision. Where I typically go, they aren’t dominated by Prudence, nor do they ignore it. I expect some respect for Love, Justice, and Temperance and I usually get it. How THEY do business in order to supply me is their concern, so I prudently avoid certain questions. The relationships in this little market are not reducible to Prudence, but they don’t avoid it either.

3. Prudence would seem to dominate the credit industry, right? During the last credit bubble, one could get a loan with no more creditworthiness than having a pulse. The people who originated such loans really were acting on Prudence, but only their own. The people entering into such loans were not. Can one do this today? Can we see the moral lesson here? There was a family who lived down the street from me in 2007. They got such a loan with no more income than what the father could earn with a broken down coffee cart. The lost the house shortly afterward, trashed it, ruined their credit score, and screwed sale prices for everyone on our block. Can we see the moral lesson yet? I suspect there are few who would not understand the need for other virtues to be in play when originating loans and my little story isn’t needed. It’s even mentioned in the Bible, right? Usury? Some in the credit industry behaved immorally, but not everyone. That’s why we need to teach that our markets are structures that depend on the other virtues too.

Alfred Differ said...

Heh. If you look at some of the political ad material they produced in 2012, it gets racy enough to notice. I'm glad they are 'keeping it up.' 8)

matthew said...

The Guardian has a nice article on how the "Patriot" movement is playing out in elections in the rural areas of Oregon.

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/may/10/patriot-movement-oregon-militias-donald-trump-election-2016

Note the close connection with the Oathkeepers movement, a movement based on the idea that military and police can decide which interpretation of the Constitution they want to enforce. Coupled with the Dominionist movement throughout the Air Force that just want the world to burn...

I honestly expect the shooting phase of this iteration of the US Civil War to start in Josephine County. Along the Rogue River. All we need is Nathan Holn. Doc, why did you have to set The Postman in my backyard, you damn author?

David Brin said...

Deuxglass it would be one thing if TPP were being opposed on merits or demerits... any facts at all. But it is (almost) all populist hoorow. The treaty may be flawed but it has immense strategic importance.


Re our snarling-anonymous lefty-version of locumranch… anyone who cites Spengler, for any but psychological diagnostic reasons, is disqualified from credibility outside an asylum. To use that name in conjunction with Toynbee reveals stunning ignorance.

RobH the inability of libertarians to notice that goppers only “deregulate” in favor of oligarchy while dems actually banished the CAB, ICC the ATT monopoly and unleashed GPS and the Internet… in stunning.

LarryHart said...

Robert:

Tempting as the LP has always been for me, the Trump threat is too risky for me to do anything but hold my nose for my country and vote for H.


I was going to say "You'll get an argument from Robert" until I looked up and saw who you were. :)


Bernie would have been easier for me, but that's not going to happen. It's interesting though that his general election stats are much better than Hillary's


I continue to agree with Norman Goldman (one of whose tag lines is "I continue to agree with myself...") when he says that Bernie's approval ratings are high, but have nowhere to go but down once the Republicans turn their guns on him in the general election. Whereas Hillary's approval ratings are as low as they're going to go, having already weathered whatever the GOP has thrown at her for the past 30 years. She'll look stronger as a candidate against Trump in November than she does now.

And it's a fallacy to interpret enthusiasm for one Democrat over another with enthusiasm for a Democrat over a Republican. They might overlap, but they are not the same thing.

And on a tangent, this from Paul Krugman's blog a day or so ago. He also continues to agree with me :)

http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/


conservatives are big on empirical denial, but so is some of the U.S. left.

This has become especially obvious in the waning days of the Democratic primary: you can watch data journalists like the two Nates (Cohn and Silver) growing increasingly exasperated with Sanders supporters who keep insisting that Hillary is stealing the nomination with superdelegates, when it’s actually the Sanders campaign talking about getting supers to overturn the pledged delegate count and the popular vote.

David Brin said...

Matthew the Rogue seemed a good choice at the time! Let me know if any of those guys actually know of the book!

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin:

I doubt DT would withdraw for any reason short of a harsh dose of Polonium. That is why we should pay care to watch his running mate.


Maybe he'll name Putin as his running mate. That would be interesting.

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin:

If [the Libertarian] polls double digits then he gets on-stage. And even if it helps HC win the White House, it could draw more no-Trump republicans to vote and thus save down-ticket goppers.

The clever alternative, if unlikely? Pour $ into the LP campaign, but slide in a Veep who resembles Bernie Sanders. A total social liberal. Could hurt Hillary... but drive the religious zealots insane.


The strategy to watch out for would be one who could pull Electoral Votes away from Hillary. If she dips below 270, then the gerrymandered House (aka Paul Ryan) gets to choose from the top three EV-getters.

The interesting thing, if the electoral-vote.com website was correct about this a few weeks back, is that they (actually the Senate) only get to choose from the top two candidates for vice president. So unless the Libertarian does really well, their vice-presidential candidate would not be eligible.

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin:

Duncan, Ioan nailed it. I doubt DT would withdraw for any reason short of a harsh dose of Polonium. That is why we should pay care to watch his running mate. The best argument for Cruz is that he'll deter assassins from DT.


Ok, I'm imagining a hilarious future in which this trend catches on--where every candidate for president outdoes the previous ones for outrageousness, and their picks for VEEP, to insure no one would dream of assassinating them, get ever more insane.

Tony Fisk said...

Ok, I'm imagining a hilarious future in which this trend catches on--where every candidate for president outdoes the previous ones for outrageousness, and their picks for VEEP, to insure no one would dream of assassinating them, get ever more insane.

Which leaves the Veep herself...

Robert said...

Trump already picked Putin as his running mate months ago, or at least the Kasich campaign did it for him. Trump-Putin2016.com

Bob Pfeiffer

David Brin said...

Larryhart if HC loses but the dems flip the Senate, then they might make HER vice President to the House's choice as president, which might NOT be Trump.

All the more reason to fight like heck to flip both houses. At this point, that is my priority.

Duncan Cairncross said...

Hi Alfred
"You are blind to what a market is apparently"

You are talking about negotiations between individuals
But the vast majority of transactions in "the market" are NOT negotiated between individuals
They are "negotiations" between individuals and large organizations or between organizations
As such my comments about "Prudence" are entirely correct

The vanishingly small number of negotiations between individuals do not effect the total movement of "markets"

The result is exactly as I said - the free enterprise system has positive feedback and there is no inbuilt mechanism to limit how far it goes

I like the free enterprise system - but like a diesel engine (which I also like) it needs a "governor" to make it usable

In this case it is mechanisms to prevent the concentration of wealth from going too far

It is not enough to simply punish people when they go beyond a point

If I left dollar bills all over the place I would not be morally justified in punishing people who put them in their pockets

Setting up a system that encourages cheating and then punishing the cheats is the same.

Jumper said...

Alfred, apparently you aren't targeting the right people for those organs. Imagine if drivers licenses were free to those who signed on as organ donors. Imagine if tissue typing kits and organ live-preservation equipment where unavailable now, got a tax write-off for hospitals. (or do they?)

Alfred Differ said...

@Duncan: No. Your error is understandable as many people make it. The vast majority of negotiations are between individuals and until we have AI’s, I’d argue all of them are. If I act on behalf of my employer when negotiating with an individual, I’m still a person thus every virtue I choose to involve in the transaction is involved.

There are a large number of economists who support a Prudence Only approach to their theories and measurements. They reduce our negotiations to prudence no matter which virtue we would involve. A mother’s happiness when her son graduates college may be cast as his contribution to her utility. It is a selfish view, but one can write such a theory and try to see if it explains human behaviors in our markets. At best, these theories approximate what we do and do that best when the negotiators don’t know each other, act from a distance, and are unlikely trading partners in the future. As such a happy mother, though, if her happiness is that selfish and she’s likely to say it isn’t. The virtue in play there is Love, but you won’t find that in a maximal utility theory.

The neat thing about utility theories is one creates a ‘state function’ on which one can search for inflection points much like physicists do when we do the same with an Action integral to find equations of motion. Economists are trying the same trick. If it works, then an engine analogy might make some sense. If it works one also gets as a freebie a meaning for ‘efficiency.’ Try them though. They don’t work. One can see this by running game theory predictions in reverse. If one knows the rules of a game and can find a solution for rational (Prudence Only) players, then non-ignorant players who do not adopt the solution aren’t rational. They aren’t Prudence Only players. Consider your dollar bills on the ground. If they are picked up, one could conclude Prudence is in play and dominates. If they are not, then some other virtue is in play. Try it in downtown Los Angeles and the dollars will vanish. Try it in a small town in Japan, though, and they might not. Culture matters and it should be obvious why.

You are making an assumption about our markets. You are assuming Mr Max U is involved in most everything. That simply isn’t true. Most of us are human beings respecting the other virtues, thus we can reasonably define what we consider to be cheating behavior and what the consequences should be. Market participation doesn’t turn us into Max U no matter how many economists approximate economies that way.

Alfred Differ said...

@Jumper: Heh. Incentives for donors is something I support, but donors don’t make it a market. Imagine this instead and ask yourself if people would show up with pitchforks and torches to burn the place to the ground.

A few wealthy individuals get together and start a company called KidneyExchange. They offer to act as a broker between live providers of kidneys and those who need them.
1. They charge a small broker fee, but agree to publish what it is so everyone can know that the vast majority of the money that changes hands goes to the person providing the kidney.

2. They offer a service paid for from the exchange price to fly the provider to the operation site and make all other arrangements so the provider (note that I’m not saying seller) has no out-of-pocket expenses. A smart provider will simply calculate these costs ahead and try to add them on to the asking price, right? Whether they can successfully depends on supply and demand, though.

3. They also offer a service to survivors who would offer kidneys donated by recently departed loved-ones where arrangement are made in advance for rapid transport and best available price. Contracts would be signed well in advance and Wills adjusted to reflect the wishes of the not-yet-departed.

Through prudence alone (rational play in the ‘game’), one can argue that such a company should exist. We have something like them in the black market today, but they aren’t legal anywhere I know. Why not? If no one plays rationally, maybe, just maybe, the people who describe the game don’t really understand the rules.

There are analogous company descriptions that focus on providing necessary items to people who have recently suffered a natural disaster. How much were Pop Tarts worth in New Orleans after Katrina washed through? Gasoline? Clothing? These business plans aren’t implemented either except in the black market because they run into ‘gouging’ laws obviously designed to prevent Prudence Only players from acting. Even if one believes they mean well, there are rules against selling stuff to people in dire need, thus other virtues are being enforced. THAT’s how we are defining who cheats.

Jumper said...

There is untapped potential harvesting organs from those killed by trauma. The system is far from fully exploited.

Jumper said...

38% is not that good.
http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/04/16/the-reluctant-organ-donor/

Alfred Differ said...

True, but it won't be easy. Every time I've been asked if I really am an organ donor (I am), the person asking was obviously ready for a religious response from me.

I'm supportive of subsidies that would expand the donor program and usefulness of these donations, but not because I oppose a market in transplantable organs. I would actually prefer a market solution, but I'm in such a tiny minority that I don't push it. Too many people would be wondering if I eat babies too. 8)

Jumper said...

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/10/opinion/using-tweets-and-posts-to-speed-up-organ-donation.html

Zepp Jamieson said...

Matthew wrote:
"All we need is Nathan Holn. Doc, why did you have to set The Postman in my backyard, you damn author?"

After reading "The Postman" I was convinced for a long time that Brin lived in the Cascades, since he seemed to know our area so well (I'm in Siskiyou County, home to Lemurians, UFOs, the Silver Shirts and the State of Jefferson movement. Nobody ever said it was boring here).

Alfred Differ said...

@Jumper: Thanks. Well worth the look. 8)

I'd be happy enough with a gift market for these things. Charity/Love counts big.

LarryHart said...

Alfred Differ:

Yes, your son’s doctor stood to benefit financially from his decision. If he is the good man you imagine him to be, though, he was also acting out of Love and a form of Faith where he acts to preserve his self’s identity as a caring doctor. In a market where other virtues are in play, you don’t get Piketty’s analytical outcome. Mr Max U isn’t a real person, let alone someone you would trust as your son’s doctor.


A conservative Ayn Rand fan I used to argue with online would have taken the position that you wouldn't trust a doctor who wasn't motivated by profit. His belief, straight out of "Atlas Shrugged" was that someone who claims to be motivated by altruism might change his mind or might be lying in the first place. If someone is only motivated by profit, you know where you stand with him and can trust him to do good work in order to profit by it.

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin:

Larryhart if HC loses but the dems flip the Senate, then they might make HER vice President to the House's choice as president, which might NOT be Trump.


Of course, the House's choice wouldn't be Trump. It would be the "real Reupblican" running under the Libertarian or some other label. That would be the whole point.

But the interesting part is that the "real Republican"'s VEEP would likely not be eligible, unless he actually beats Hillary or Trump in electoral votes.


All the more reason to fight like heck to flip both houses. At this point, that is my priority.


I keep forgetting that it would be the newly elected congress picking the president, not the old one.

LarryHart said...

Zepp Jamieson:

Right wing libertarians really, really hate their left-wing counterparts. (Yes, there is such a thing as 'left libertarian'--greatly resembles liberals, but less preachy.)


If you think of the authoritarianism inherent in the modern right, you'd think that libertarianism would be on the other side.

As a child of the 60s, to me, leftism always suggests "Do your own thing, man" more than "big government". I used to imagine myself to be a libertarian, until I caught on that libertarians advocate freedom for bullies and I wanted freedom from bullies.



L said...

Alfred Differ:

Your error is understandable as many people make it. The vast majority of negotiations are between individuals and until we have AI’s, I’d argue all of them are. If I act on behalf of my employer when negotiating with an individual, I’m still a person thus every virtue I choose to involve in the transaction is involved.


No, that doesn't explain the dynamic at work in "The Grapes of Wrath" where none of the local bankers, or even the actual bankers "back east" wanted to drive farmers off of their land, but somehow the will of "the banks" had to be done, even though no individual was happy about it.

And as the farmer had it explained to him, there was no one he could go to New York and shoot in order to stop what was happening to him.

LarryHart said...

L? That was me. Not sure what happened.

Paul SB said...

Larry,
"... someone who claims to be motivated by altruism might change his mind or might be lying in the first place. If someone is only motivated by profit, you know where you stand with him and can trust him to do good work in order to profit by it."

The problem with this idea is that if someone is motivated by profit, the instant they get potentially profitable information you are unaware of, you can no longer predict his/her behavior. You may find yourself stabbed in the back because of some deal you know nothing about. If a person is motivated by altruism (you have to assume that altruism really exists - and there is plenty of scientific evidence for it, in spite of what the cynical right have to say) they will not stab you in the back out of principle, unless you do something they perceive as dishonest. Thus the profit-motive perspective and the human decency motive are incompatible - and it tells you a lot about the people who subscribe to each - though blood tests would be instructive.

"As a child of the 60s, to me, leftism always suggests "Do your own thing, man" more than "big government". I used to imagine myself to be a libertarian, until I caught on that libertarians advocate freedom for bullies and I wanted freedom from bullies."

This is exactly why so many people can't tell the difference between a libertarian and a conservative - both espouse a belief system that promotes and protects the power of the rich to bully everyone else. It is only in the details of how they do it that they seem to be different. I see it differently, though. It seems to me that Randian libertarians really belief the drivel they spout right up to the level of their leadership, while conservative leaders are cynical enough to know it is all just propaganda to sway the ignorant masses to vote for their personal financial interests. But the propaganda is remarkably similar (sans the pandering to the Religious Right).

I was born at the end of the 60s, so I suppose I'm more of a child of the 70s. However, I don't remember the "big government" propaganda being part of the memescape before Reagan, but perhaps I was just too young to be aware.

Paul SB said...

I want to get back to Alfred, but I still have work to do and not many hours left to sleep. Sorry, it might be awhile...

David Brin said...

Zepp by coincidence today I was invited to speak in the winter at OSU Corvallis, which I made the center of restored human civilization.

Again all... a libertarianism that made its central tenet maximizing the number of skilled and joyfully assertive competitors in flat-open-fair-creative arenas would logically listen to Adam Smith and use government to counter the greatest enemy of fair markets, cheater oligarchy. They would avow that some consensus-funded or "government" uplift of opportunity for poor kids is essential, including schools, health and infrastructure. Their railing complaints would be over poor execution of those goals! And against all equalization of outcomes.

Alas, that is not today's libertarianism, which has been cozened and suborned into quasi religious fealty to propertarianism, which is a deadly ENEMY of flat-fair competition.

I find I can minister to many bright libertarians and they nod, understanding my point. But a week later they have completely forgotten it. Self-righteous indignation and simple trips "trump" even logic and facts that you (briefly) admit to be true.

Paul451 said...

Jerry,
Re: HVDC

Idea for a third party: The American Infrastructure Party. "Building A Better America."

Alfred,
"Your error is understandable as many people make it. The vast majority of negotiations are between individuals and until we have AI's, I'd argue all of them are. If I act on behalf of my employer when negotiating with an individual, I'm still a person thus every virtue I choose to involve in the transaction is involved."

This is why people don't trust libertarians. (Especially libertarians who insist they are merely "classical liberals".) If you can't see a difference between individual trading and business trading, how can you be trusted in any other matter?

Jumper,
Re: Organ trading.
Less controversially, and more in line with your thinking: Improving multi-donor swaps apparently makes a huge difference for donors. (You need a kidney, you have family who are willing to donate to you, but none are compatible. Two other people are in the same situation, but between you the three would-be donors are compatible with the three different recipients. Once identified, donor-boards can arrange a three-way swap.) But it means not only have national/regional-international recipient database, not only having a national/regional conventional donor database, but also having a paired donor/recipient database that allows automated multi-donor/multi-recipient trades.

Paul SB said...

"I find I can minister to many bright libertarians and they nod, understanding my point. But a week later they have completely forgotten it. Self-righteous indignation and simple trips "trump" even logic and facts that you (briefly) admit to be true."

So they have myelinated those propertarian memes, likely because that type of propaganda is so ubiquitous in this country it falls easily into ad nauseam. That's the problem with being the one, lonely voice of reason - reason isn't as easily repeated as slogan, so it doesn't make the same mental impact. "Four legs good, two legs bad" is so much easier to spread than a complex, thoughtful argument.

Robert said...

Have you ever noticed how names can alter how we use language?

For instance: ever since Donald Trump has become a dominant force in the Republican primaries, I shy away from the use of the word "trump" and instead find other words which may not match the term perfectly but haven't the same current potential connotation.

I guess Trump trumped effective use of the word trump. ;)

Rob H.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Dr. Brin wrote: "Self-righteous indignation and simple trips "trump" even logic and facts that you (briefly) admit to be true."

I would hope I kept the self-righteous indignation under control. I usually reserve it for CNN, Faux News, Sarah Palin and other low-hanging fruit. And I would be truly horrified if you somehow got the impression that I was an Ayn Rand acolyte.

Tim H. said...

Zepp, now a critique of Palin's lingerie? Thanks for the mental image ;( .

LarryHart said...

Robert:

Have you ever noticed how names can alter how we use language?

For instance: ever since Donald Trump has become a dominant force in the Republican primaries, I shy away from the use of the word "trump" and instead find other words which may not match the term perfectly but haven't the same current potential connotation.


Back around the 2004 election, some Major League baseball player (I don't remember who) was asked on a tv interview whether some particular behavior of another player seemed "bush league", and the player being interviewed responded "More like 'Kerry league.'" He was obviously a supporter of W, and not only was he getting a dig in at the Democratic opponent, he also seemed to be making it clear that he wasn't letting the reporter get in a sideways dig at Bush by using an expression that cast that particular name in a bad light.

locumranch said...



NOAA's HVDC electrification plan (as proposed by Jerry_E) is eminently logical, the problem being that the West's infatuation with (unidirectional; incremental; corrective) 'Progress' is both illogical & self-contradictory, despite it's growing sentimentality about 'climate change'.

It seems that Progress (in its current western Catch-22 incarnation) despises itself, being inherently conservative, cowardly & 'omelet-adverse'. preferring to 'build upon' an out-dated & crumbling technological infrastructure in an incremental (progressive) fashion rather than risk bold, destructive & catastrophic change.

As the saying goes, 'you can't make an omelet without breaking eggs', yet the modern progressive would tell you otherwise & categorically reject the idea of Creative Destruction, even though human historical progress is built upon destruction (rather than what came before) as evidenced by Japan & Germany's rise to technological prominence following the wartime destruction of their industries.

Isn't it ironic that, just 70 years later, the real losers of WW2 (and all such limited military conflicts) are those decaying temporal 'victors' who manage to preserve an archaic socio-technological infrastructure of 100 year-old lead water pipes & pseudo-democracy?

Assuming that you really desire innovation, technological advance & an 'End to Climate Change', what a Senescent West needs now is Creative Destruction followed Renewal & Rejuvenation.

Rather than False Progress -- which really means 'building upon an out-dated & crumbling technological infrastructure in an incremental fashion' -- we need to raze the slummified Western House We Live In (burn it to the ground) and replace it something better.

We either need CHANGE at any cost or we need to embrace climate change.


Best

Robert said...

Locu, you misidentify short-run cost control tendencies which rule publicly-owned corporations with an aversion to change and "progress."

It is cost effective to maintain existing infrastructure, especially as the electrical utilities are local area monopolies. There is no reason to upgrade to HVDC unless the government forces utilities to do so... either through legislation or by offering lots of carrots. Even then, some utilities will resist because allowing outside power sources to provide power in regions it otherwise wouldn't reach effectively destroys the local monopolies these utilities possess.

This isn't about climate change. It isn't "progress." It is economics.

Rob H.

Jon S. said...

"There is untapped potential harvesting organs from those killed by trauma. The system is far from fully exploited."

Even farther than you think. One of the concepts Larry Niven came up with, back in the earlier days of his career, was the notion that once tissue-typing became routine and easy, we'd start harvesting organs from people on Death Row. After all, how can you object to the ethical reasoning that the recovered organs from one serial killer could potentially save more lives than he took?

(Then The People, always looking to live longer and have better organs available when transplants are needed, started passing death-penalty laws for things like multiple counts of tax evasion, or flying a ducted-air car over a populated area on manual control, or having too many children, or... And of course the organ you need might not be available for a while - maybe you have an unusual rejection pattern, or maybe you're just not regarded as a good risk - so there then arose a criminal enterprise based in kidnapping people and selling their organs on the black market, or "organlegging". It, ah, had its problematic aspects, until cloning of organs could become routine.)

Robert said...

China did that. Then they stopped because of an outcry and "ethical" concerns.

The U.S. doesn't allow organ donation by death row convicts - but primarily because it uses lethal injection and that poisons the organs.

Rob H.

David Brin said...

At last, he declares (eloquently) a doctrine of his own and a recommendation that he's willing to support.

So.... It entails (1) the pain and death of tens or hundreds of millions and (2) a post destruction generation that is stunted by starvation and grinding toil to rebuild along new, more modern lines, plus (3) the assumption that rebuilding after destruction always goes the way it did from 1945 to 1975.

Let me say that I do see the romance of that image. It is best illustrated in the film version of THINGS TO COME, which brings tears to my eyes watching scenes of rebuilding... scenes that bored my kids to their own, different tears.

But putting aside all the death and pain, it is #3 that reveals profound historical ignorance and irony. The post 1945 rebuilding of Germany and Japan was accomplished under the guidance of the most liberal-progressive pax-regime ever seen on the planet, with dazzling speed, efficiency and accomplishment, after the worst destructive episode ever seen. Find another destruction that was followed in that way.

Nearly all other destruction aftermaths - across 6000 years - were different, indeed, vastly, vastly worse, because they were NOT administered by the most liberal-progressive pax-regime ever seen. Razed cities stayed that way. Show us the Trojans and Etruscans. Show us rebuilt Carthage and Tenochtitlan. Oh but Locum hates to ever look at those 6000 years.

Moreover the US also did great from 1945 to 1980 or so, under the most liberal-progressive pax-regime ever seen, despite horrendous mistakes like Vietnam. It was the cult of Supply Side and worship of oligarchy that reduced our agility to react to challenges. Locum knows this. And hence he no longer supports the oligarchs!

No, but rather than admit he was wrong about the most liberal-progressive pax-regime ever seen, he now recommends apocalypse as a tonic to get us all moving forward again. Well, at least he is up front about it, at last.


Robert said...

What of Stagflation, Dr. Brin?

You might want to push that timeline back to the early 1970s. ;)

Rob H.

Zepp Jamieson said...

LarryHart wrote: "As a child of the 60s, to me, leftism always suggests "Do your own thing, man" more than "big government". I used to imagine myself to be a libertarian, until I caught on that libertarians advocate freedom for bullies and I wanted freedom from bullies."

I had a brief flirtation with libertarianism in the early 70s, and that's pretty much the same conclusion I drew. They punch DOWN, rather than up.

Oddly enough, it was science fiction that sensitized me to that aspect. I read about various utopian ideals laid out by both liberal writers (Asimov) and not-so-liberal (Heinlein) and I would ask myself, "Well, what became of the other 90% of the population?" Even Heinlein, no sentimentalist, allowed that his quasi-libertarian utopias were possible only in frontier societies, and when a society got large enough to require IDs, it was time to get out.

Robert said...

That might explain the anarchists then. While they loved to claim "people would behave themselves" and "just because you need cops to prevent you from murdering people doesn't mean I do" when I started pointing out how street gangs disprove their theory of a well-armed populace being a polite one, they started admitting that there would be a lot of people dying.

It's basically the mindset of those who look forward to zombie apocalypses. They think that somehow they will not end up the victim. And given even the survival guides are now including stuff on "how to hide your survival garden" and the like... well, it's starting to get to the point that even the most diehard survivalist and anarchist realizes they can't rely on luck and just being "awesome" to survive.

That and they're armchair anarchists. If two street gangs started shooting it out in the street in front of their house, I very much expect most of these glory seekers would bunker down and hide while calling the cops they claim to hate so much rather than pull out their guns and "fight back." A lot of them probably don't know how to gut or skin a deer, or how to butcher meat from the bone. I've done the latter. It's not pleasant work and I'd much rather have someone at the supermarket handle that job and pay them for their effort.

Rob H.

Rob H.

Tim H. said...

Robert, consider that people with inflation indexed earnings didn't suffer much from inflation, and that was a lot of folks. Inflation remedies punished most Americans, beginning the process that's led us to the "Drumph!".

Robert said...

While those who were unemployed or unable to negotiate wage increases suffered.

Rob H.

Tim H. said...

Who numbered what, less than half?

A.F. Rey said...

Interesting (if not frightening) article on why Trump will win in a landslide, according to Scott Adams:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/comic-riffs/wp/2016/03/21/donald-trump-will-win-in-a-landslide-the-mind-behind-dilbert-explains-why/?tid=hybrid_experimentrandom_1_na

Basically, outlines how demagoguery works.

It also includes how it can be stopped. The last point is that it relies on identity politics. So, to counteract it, point out to everyone who isn't part of that "identity" that they will get screwed if the demagogue wins, and get them frightened and roused-up.

Robert said...

Unemployment during Stagflation reached its fourth-highest level, of 9 percent. The following recession during the Reagan Administration reached nearly 11%, 10% during the Great Recession, and 25% during the Great Depression.

It was not a period of high employment and high interest rates.

Rob H.

Tim H. said...

I remember stagflation as beginning before and extending after the '73 - '75 recession.

Robert said...

In economics, stagflation, a portmanteau of stagnation and inflation, is a situation in which the inflation rate is high, the economic growth rate slows, and unemployment remains steadily high It raises a dilemma for economic policy, since actions designed to lower inflation may exacerbate unemployment, and vice versa.

Rob H.

Tim H. said...

Do you feel the years since could be quantified as progress?

Tim H. said...

Thinking about the proposed HVDC electrical infrastructure, it's construction plus the upgrading of the grid to support all electric local transportation and enough bike lanes that all those up to pedaling can do so at less risk, even if it doesn't achieve the desired level of carbon neutrality, would be a wonderful economic stimulus. We should begin now.

matthew said...

Here is Slate talking about transparency and government hacking in the wake of the changes to Rule 41.

http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2016/05/11/the_rule_41_change_would_give_u_s_law_enforcement_power_to_hack_people_worldwide.html

Basically the US government now has authorization to hack into any node of a botnet without a warrant, regardless of the location or ownership of the individual computer. Program was implemented without (public) discussion. The Supremes have OKed it. Senator Ron Wyden has vowed to introduce a law forbidding the practice.

My thought is that given that the US government hoards known exploits in commercial software, does this then allow unwarranted government hacking into any computer that is running such a compromised piece of software? Or does the computer have to be a node of a botnet? Is the NSA allowed to infect a computer with a botnet in order to hack in and gain access under this rule change?

I do like how the article author seems to understand that this type of governmental activity *will* take place, regardless of legality, and is more concerned with the oversight of the program rather than the legality.

And, Doc, yes, I know some Free State of Jefferson-types that have read The Postman. Never heard any of them self-describe as a "Holnist" though. I suspect they all view themselves as Powhatan.

A.F. Rey said...

What is really needed to get the HVDC electrical infrastructure going is a nice, little EMP bomb to knock out part of our electrical infrastructure for a short while. Then all the funding that is needed would be allocated, in the name of national defense. :)

Unfortunately (to quote the movie Airplane, "That's exactly what they expect us to do..."

http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/conservative-founder-curves-gym-911-truther-who-wants-save-us-shadow-government

Tim H. said...

I don't think an EMP will be needed, if the American automotive fleet is converted largely to electric and they all need to be charged up sometime, even if it's only half the energy equivalent of gasoline, it's a lot of energy, and we may also wish to cook, watch TV, even perhaps have some industry, we'll need more capacity. Interesting details here:
www.mondaynote.com/vw-scandal-premature-evaluations-837ad8cee533#.hnfto49nh
It seems possible that building wind and solar capacity as fast as we can may only keep fossil fuel use from getting worse, absent unforeseen social change.

Alfred Differ said...

@LarryHart:I’ve heard Randian arguments like those supported by your online debate combatant. I’ve rolled them over in my mind and seen some partial value to them, yet I’ve never been personally tempted to seek health care from such a person. When the chips are down (an experimental test) I demand the other virtues be in play. Nowadays when I meet such an advocate, I ask them if they conduct their lives that way. If so, I leave them be. They will learn soon enough, but won’t be open to considering options until they do. If they don’t, I wink and thank them for being a real human being.

As for the bankers who don’t want to foreclose but do it anyway, don’t let them off the hook so easily. What they do is balance their social obligations to loan holders against their own and those who depend upon them. If I’m an employer stuck with a choice between laying a few people off during a recession and taking a moderate risk of default on my loans which risks the entire company, I’m probably going to lay people off. That sounds like Prudence, but it is also Love for the other employees I would prefer to protect. I’ve been in this situation where I was one of the people laid off. While I didn’t like it at the time, I could see later the executive involved made the right decision.

Beware of stories that paint a picture of our market virtues as being reducible to Prudence. The characters might be a little shallow. If you find real people like that, you’ll see the shallowness in them.

Alfred Differ said...

@Paul451: Dude. When businesses trade there are people doing the deed. A business is a group of people, so individual virtues are in play. I’ve sat through enough business meetings discussing core values to recognize indoctrination efforts when I see them. If the people in a business don’t agree at that level, the individual virtues (or lack thereof) are painfully obvious. If they DO agree, though, that doesn’t magically make the business a moral agent.

It is the PEOPLE who do the deed.

David Brin said...

My next blog is daring... it is about Satanic verses.

onward

onward

Duncan Cairncross said...

Hi Robert

Stagflation = high unemployment
That was related to the unemployment levels BEFORE the 70's

Stagflation is NOT high unemployment compared to the numbers after the 70's when we went all NeoLiberal

There is one change to be careful of - we used to talk about
"The percentage of the working population that was unemployed"

Thatcher's lot changed that to
"The percentage of the whole population that was unemployed"

Jumper said...

"I had the impression that nobody who was technically competent believed the scare stories about EMP" -- Freeman Dyson

I didn't know I was competent, but that's what I think. During fission electrons are released, and people can do the math... it is what it is, and it's not much compared to the blast and the radiation.

I wish we'd build the DC lines. They'd help all manner of things. Including storage of solar and wind.

I foresee a day when "the power company" is made up of the hydroelectric installations, the nuke plants, and a whole lot of batteries. (Maybe some compressed air in salt domes. And I take for granted everyone understands using power to pump water back uphill in places.) Look at the price of a brand new nuclear plant. Now convert that dollar figure into a large building full of batteries. I will do the math when I get off work.

Alfred Differ said...

@Paul SB: As I remember the 60’s (early 70’s better), it was both “Do your own thing” and “Don’t you dare do THAT thing”. My first physics instructor who I got to know used to starve himself to avoid the draft. He described sitting on a San Diego beach watching people eat while knowing he couldn’t safely. It was obvious to me what he didn’t want others to force him to do.

If one steps away from the crude left/right axis, there is a slightly less crude version that looks like a triangle. The three points are Progressive, Liberal, and Traditionalist. As usual, one can be somewhere in between, but the cute thing about this triangle is that someone near one of the points will think the other two are a lot alike. A Liberal will recognize Progressives and Traditionalists (Conservatives in the US) as Statists. A Traditionalist will lump the other two together by recognizing their desire to change our collective Faith/Identity. A Progressive is inclined to argue the other two are cold-hearted bastards who don’t want to fix social ills. This triangle IS crude, though, because one will find Libertarians near the Liberal vertex and half way up the sides toward the other two as well. Real life is more interesting. 8)

Alfred Differ said...

@Jumper: Every time I do that math, the result is discouraging. You need an awful lot of batteries to matter. You need to electrify the passenger fleet as a start and then rig many homes and businesses too. Energy density is the issue. Do that and you'll face infrastructure costs when these things have to be refurbed and replaced. It's not pretty.

A.F. Rey said...

Go Lucifer!

Onward!

Jumper said...

You can do with a lot less current density in outside transmission (and less centralized storage) if you do stuff like solar powered air conditioning, and hot water.