Thursday, January 18, 2018

Cheating and change... and clues about the Iran and NK wars.

==  Cheaters: Have we had enough? ==

I've inveighed elsewhere against the wide variety of ways that the Confederate lords and their devoted foot-soldiery slam their thumbs on the scales, shafting electoral fairness in order to defy the popular will. (The GOP won three of the last five presidential contests, but the popular vote just once.) 

Of course the biggest tension right now revolves around the vote of a single American, as the Supreme Court takes on not one, not two, but four different lawsuits about gerrymandering.

Those who have been here a long time know that I've been shouting about gerrymandering since way back in the last century. In fact, my "Minimal Overlap" solution was reviewed by a top U.S. federal judge and a major plaintiff in one of the cases. I hope it helps, a little.  Though how could it have come to this...? 

...That we must pray for the health of Justice Anthony Kennedy, because the destiny of our republic and the entire enlightenment experiment (and thus, possibly, the fate of the galaxy) revolves around one man? 

This should be a no-brainer. Justices Roberts and Alito, were they patriots and jurists -- not political hacks -- would demolish this systematic rape of democracy, with a blowtorch. Rest assured, they will be remembered. Only please, someone out there up Justice Kennedy's Secret Service protection! And test his food. 

== Investing in change ==

Paraphrasing (only slightly) Andrew Carnegie: “There are three things you can do with vast wealth: Spend it yourself on interesting or worthwhile things; leave it to the government; leave it to your children. Of these, number three is by far the worst.” 

Does this surprise you? Almost no one comments on the differing attitudes toward oligarchy and inherited aristocracy that tend to be expressed by those who made their fortunes by creating and selling real goods and services, vs. those who acquired immense wealth via Wall Street machinations, or lobbying, or through vices like gambling or organized crime, or cornering markets, or middle-man (‘golgafrincham’) parasitism, or subsidized resource extraction, or gilded cradle inheritance.

Today, most of the billionaires who got rich by working with engineers to invent or produce better goods and services are either Democrats or libertarians and most are sharply critical of the Republican policies like the 100% never-ever-worked “Supply Side” (voodoo) “economics.” 

Or the War on Science. Innovator billionaires show that competitive capitalism can be vital and generative! They already invest in R&D and jobs and production. They also denounce these tax cuts for a passive-income aristocracy that never, ever do any of those things.

== More cheats ==

Heck, while we're at it; here's one more cheat: The “Cross-Check” system to identify duplicate registrations has dumped thousands who simply had the same name and were verifiably different people.  Now we find that Cross-Check is easily hacked… and was probably designed from the beginning with that aim.

In fact, I've long said that I would have nothing against gradually rising voter ID requirements, even though almost no election day false voter fraud has been reported in 30 years. Many of you have heard me say this, but until someone out there in politics/punditry also points it out, I am behooved.

There is only one test to see if Voter ID is a "reform" or if it is blatantly partisan voter suppression:

"Has the state accompanied the new voter ID restrictions with substantial funding to help under-documented but legal US citizens to get the ID they need and to get registered?"

It is called compliance assistance, and corporations get it any time government imposes a new regulation. So, why cannot poor people get help with compliance for voter ID laws?  

If a state has sincerely done that, then I will admit that the demand for more voter ID might be honest and due to the rationalized declared reasons. (And you should admit it, too!)

Alas, not one red state that has passed restrictive voting laws has allocated a penny to help poor citizens of the state, or the elderly or the young, or divorced women, to comply with onerous new restrictions on their franchise. Not even fig-leaf funding. In fact, most of these gerrymandered GOP-cheat states have concertedly closed DMV offices in counties where many democrats live. Seriously? Can anything be more blatant?

In other words, they are exposed as lying-hypocritical, outright-cheating election thieves. And the same goes for anyone who defends this foul crime against democracy.

(Ah, Justices Roberts and Alito, is there any point at which you'll finally get fed up and realize that aiding cheaters will kill the Republic, as well as the Rule of Law?)

== The Coming War

You have to grab bits of insight where you can find them. Many can tell that some kind of war is coming. Out of all post-Eisenhower Republican presidents, only Gerald Ford didn't rush to throw our forces into major combat, on flimsy pretexts (some of them purely-concocted.) And Ford oversaw the final end-calamity in Vietnam. 

Is there a scintilla of chance that Donald Trump won't go there, ordering a distraction from his domestic troubles, overruling our faithful, devoted and wary military officer corps?

Reiterating: a U.S. - Iran "war" has always been openly yearned for by every anti-democratic faction on the planet, including the GOP, their overseas petro-boyar and oil-sheik and coal-baron masters, and even the Tehran mullahs, themselves.

Yet, most attention seems to warn against a tussle with North Korea. Read this. But in fact, I deem such a scenario unlikely!

1) Kim has what he wanted, a nuclear deterrent that is far, far cheaper than his immense and bankrupting standing conventional army.  Now he can offer arms reductions -- which he needs far more than anybody else! -- as a bargaining chip to get bribes from the South.

2) Anyone who thinks he got both H Bombs and ICBMs without direct and knowing aid from certain neighbors is a bona fide fool. Neighbors that have owned and operated NK since 1950, using that potemkin regime as a tool for Plausible-Deniability War against the West. 

There are a few simple statements we could make, that would cauterize such scenarios and threats, overnight. Alas, it won't happen.

== And... ==

This article misses the point. It used to be inconceivable that the Fox lie machine could be undermined by boycotting American patriots, angry at the Murdoch's hate-campaign against all US fact professions. But that's changed. There is blood in the water and we all can do our bit to deal with this pack of outright traitors, helping sell us out to foreign dictators. See: Fox News sponsors.

There's little you can do so easily that will be more effective.

Listen to this: Congressman Hakeem Jeffries dismantles Jeff Sessions in epic 5-minute cross-examination.


Jon S. said...

Carrying forward from last entry's discussion of time travel:

"But then a more competent Republican might be president."

So you're saying this is a win-win.

LarryHart said...

Jon S:

So you're saying this is a win-win.

No, I'm not saying that.

Zepp Jamieson from the previous post:

"Oceans everywhere!
Ice roof sheltered, life…
…may fill the cosmos."

in the haiku: you can legitimately say "sheltered" as three syllables. Thus, it meets the demands of form.

No it doesn't. That's still only six.

"Icy roof shelter-ed, life" might work, I suppose.

Maybe "Ice roof sheltered, sentient life..."


duncan cairncross said...

"Oceans everywhere!
Ice roof desert, so no life…
…may fill the cosmos."

There fixed it

TCB said...

We, the children, bask
In stelliferous morning
Ere the cosmic night

TCB said...

If space has no end,
Your identical copy
Lives, far, far away.

TCB said...

Like poems, like pollen,
Pioneer and Voyager
Drift out on the wind

TCB said...

Wait, poems might be two syllables...?

Poetic pollen,
Pioneer and Voyager
Drift upon the wind

Alfred Differ said...

@raito |local maximum

That is a reasonable concern. My comeback when people bring this up is that sane incrementalism always has to leave room for a power law distribution for the size of the increments and that the 'power' must not be too steep. Traditionalists might want to block all large increments, but we must allow them at least at a low frequency. If we win that argument, the next one is to defend against a distribution that is too steep.

[Not that I know how to measure increment sizes mind you. I just go by a gut feel. Do you want to amend the Constitution? Do you want to amend the meaning of marriage? Do you want to prevent people under 25 from driving their own cars?

some of those neat stories have been written

Yes. I agree. I enjoy them even if they make me grind my teeth. Sometimes good art makes one uncomfortable.

keep humans out of it

Please. Soon? I'm of the opinion that a good driver has to be focused in the Vinge-an sense. Humans shouldn't be doing it.

Alfred Differ said...

@winter7 | (carry over from last thread)

Regarding Krakatoa, that would be a reasonable approach. With enough looping, one could probably do that. Unfortunately, that feeds into Duncan’s concerns. If you can prevent it, you can cause it. 8)

Regarding cover art, I’ve heard the author doesn’t get much of a say in that unless they are VIP’s. The publisher is on the hook to sell a book. If you are selecting your own cover art, you are probably self-publishing which means you need to know how to market the thing too.

If I’m in a list of writers, that is news to me. If you could point me in that direction, I’d be curious to see what it says. I HAVE written a ‘How to use this software’ type of book, but it is the result of scratching an itch more than an attempt to write for the public. And yes... I did put a pretty face on it. I have another at the 2/3rd mark, but I bogged down. Some folks here poked holes in my favored, untested beliefs. [Thankfully.] I wasn’t planning a pretty face for that one, though. I have a specific imagine in mind that should annoy a particular person I have in mind. [Yes. This book was born of a vengeful mood.]

Winter7 said...

Alfred Differ.
Good thing we both know that knowledge does not imply guilt. Technology is not good or bad. If you have a hammer, that's not good or bad. If you use the hammer to hit someone innocent, that's bad. But, if you use the hammer to build houses for the poor, that's good.
It is our actions that define what we are, not our knowledge.

Regarding the subject of the books:
I have only published one book. So you have more experience as a writer than me.
The books of David Brin are the highest degree of perfection that a writer can aspire to, because they are amazing, and at the same time, they contain knowledge that is vital for the survival of humanity.
I do not have that much talent, so my strategy, if I get to write another book, will be trying to make the book have an amazing story; sexy girls, and a cover with sexy girls. (Obviously, what you put on the cover should be something that is inside the story)
The cover is vital, because as they say "from sight comes love". Thus, a cover can be vital to engage the attention of potential readers. But if you do not want to pay for a cover, you can create the cover yourself. Kindle has a cover creator:
And to make the drawing; first find out what size the image is, so that you have the correct image size.
I made the drawings on two sheets of machine cover and back cover, with an identical background color, instead of an image. I used a scanner to digitize the drawing and be able to paint it with Photoshop. But it is complicated to use. Likewise, there are drawing programs that are easier to use. (even free online programs.
You can also ask a novice (but talented) artist to draw a picture with the necessary elements, in black and white. Then, you copy the drawing on a scanner and paint the colors of the drawing on the computer. (make copies in case you make mistakes when painting the colors).
If you need to cut the final image to a correct size, you can use a free program called: IrfanView (wonderful program) With Photoshop, cropping images is a complete odyssey. But with this simple program, it is a matter of three simple steps that you can repeat in all the images of a folder, one after the other, which makes this program ideal for adjusting images of the web or your own for YouTube videos or PowerPoint presentations.
This other site tells you how to create the image clippings:
Then, use that image in the Kindle cover creator:
I hope the data is useful, but you probably already knew what the procedure is.

Zepp Jamieson said...

You're right, Larry. I can't count to seven without pulling off my other mitten...

A sense of drifting
Immense distances beckon
Dust clouds await us.

raito said...

Re: haiku

The 5-7-5 form is haikai. Haiku uses the haikai form but adds many stylistic elements. Just having 5-7-5 does not a haiku make. Tooting my own horn slightly, I once won a haiku contest by rendering the same poem on the given subject on both English and Japanese. And I've organized/overseen/judged contests where the entrants would write a haiku, then have to finish a tanka (5-7-5-7-7) using one of the other contestant's haiku. Most of those 'haiku' were really haikai, but most of the contestants weren't poets, either. Renga is more fun, but requires other people to play.

Alfred Differ,

Talking about both local maxima and traffic, I'm still a pod car guy. But it won't happen because of the perceived need for our current road system. Pod cars would be a lot more efficient and take a couple orders of magnitude less computing power. But it would require retrofitting all roads as rails. And ideally separating pedestrians from vehicles. So we're in a rut we probably won't get out of. As far as computerized intersections, as long as all the vehicles use the same algorithm, you don't even need stop lights. What I'm more worried about these days (given my current employer's business) is how much destruction will happen if someone is clever enough to hack autonomous vehicles, or even the ones we have today. That's another reason for using pod cars. Even if they get hacked, the destruction is probably limited to what's on the rails, more or less. You won't find a pod car jumping the rails and running Blues Brothers style through a shopping mall.

Dr. Brin,

As you've brought up (once again) what you consider to be a defining point in whether a particular state's voter identification system is valid, let me bring up (also again) Wisconsin's sorry state. Not only did the state NOT assist in getting people IDs, but cut hours and closed offices of the DMV, the only provider of such IDs. And I seem to recall that they also limited the hours of the state office that deals with birth certificates.

Winter7 said...

Alfred Differ:
I made a mistake. The flu and migraine yesterday caused me to be in a deep state of Nosferatu. (and distraction). I had many web pages open. I located the website of Zepp Jamieson by clicking on a link without thinking, but I did not read it, I only left the page open without closing it. and there were the three books that I saw. I was jumping from one page to another, quickly, and again I went back to those three books, which I mistakenly assumed were your books (I did not read the name written in the books).
So, in reality, the advice on the covers of the books was addressed to Zepp Jamieson. But since you plan to write again, maybe the information will be useful to you.
I offer my apologies to you and to Zepp Jamieson.
Regarding the issue of the car traffic problem. Ray Douglas Brádbury, said that cars are the killer pets of humans (and I agreed) so, I always thought it was necessary to build an underground level for cars, thus eliminating the possibility of a pedestrian I was run over. Of course, the corruption of politicians does not allow enough money to build underground streets for cars.
I guess the problem will continue until the day the cars become AIs. Then, all cars will be coordinated harmoniously, wirelessly. That may cause the disappearance of the traffic lights in the streets.

David Brin said...

raito thanks. Interesting.

Zepp Jamieson said...


Now I'm curious. I didn't see your post about covers (and couldn't locate them), and I'm always on the lookout for any constructive feedback. I would love to hear your thoughts on the covers.

Winter7 said...

So, I guess we should look for a lot of people to send protest letters to the companies that pay advertisements to the FOX company. So, the main letter can be:
"Dear executive director.
The FOX company caused enormous damage to our nation by launching the advertising campaign of lies that crushed democracy and placed a psychopathic tyrant in the white house. FOX has helped Donald Trump spread lies. For example, FOX denies the existence of global warming, which has allowed Donald Trump to advance unhindered in canceling all US efforts to stop global warming. The situation of climatic instability is currently devastating: The emergence of areas of very hot water in huge areas of the oceans caused the death of more than half of all coral reefs that serve as a refuge for the offspring of many fish species.
Thousands of species are becoming extinct because of the destruction of their habitats. Most pollinating insects are dying.
Before, class 5 hurricanes were a rarity, now, they are very common. Permanent droughts in some areas and devastating rains in others, kill millions of people. Over time, climate change will increase misery and hunger to such an extent that you and I will soon have thousands of climate refugees escaping to our country. And the weather will get worse, because if before, the containment measures were weak, now they are nonexistent in the United States. (and many will follow that example). FOX is helping to create hell for all of us. When your company places advertising in the FOX company, you are helping to create that hell that is already knocking on the door of our homes.
And worst of all: We all know that FOX is covering up the obvious electoral fraud. FOX and Donald Trump have taken away the right to elect our rulers, and that has a name: Tyranny. And you are supporting FOX by placing your advertising through that company. Which makes them guilty of what happens to us. We have lost the freedom that so much blood and suffering cost the heroes of our nation.
Consequently, I, and my family, have decided to stop buying their products and will never use their services again. "
(I do not know if the translation is correct.) The translator's worst mistake is to replace the word "the", or "they", with the word "You" when the structure of the sentence is not clear)

Winter7 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Winter7 said...

Zepp Jamieson:
Yes. As I said before, it is often not necessary that the covers of a book be striking if the writer becomes famous. But if you're not famous, it seems obvious to me that it is necessary to create covers that engage readers. Even science can help in that. According to a certain anthropologist who carried out some experiments, the face of a very beautiful woman awakens in men a very primitive brain site that is linked to the concept of "prize".
Another scientist discovered that observing the image of a baby animal (penguins, tigers, etc.) causes a sense of well-being and empathy in people. And like that there are other stronger tricks, which I do not mention because they could be used as forms of population control.
When I was young, I remember that the covers that attracted me most were the covers that showed a lot of action; spaceships, extraterrestrials and beautiful women in tight clothes. I still think that cover style is interesting.
The advantage you have is that you like poetry. And having a poetic style when describing places and emotions can be vital to spice up a novel. Poetry is only a condiment in novels. If you add too much seasoning to a dish, it will taste very bad.
There you have, for example, Brádbury. He does not create "hard" science fiction but it is nice to read because he has a certain poetic style. But as the personality of men matures, preferences change, and Brádbury's "science fiction" novels are set aside, to give way to giants, such as Arthur C. Clarke; David Brin; Isaac Asimov and Robert A. Heinlein.

Winter7 said...

I think the recent "error" of a missile attack alert was not an accident.
A message to cancel the alert was issued 38 minutes later. That is an illogical delay.
When the alert was given, it only took two minutes for everyone on the islands to panic, and when that happens, the first thing they do is communicate by phone, with their relatives on the island and in the United States. As a result, it is impossible for those in charge of the system not to realize the problem, and to verify with NORAD that everything was a false alarm, much more quickly. That is found in no more than five minutes. But the system managers waited 38 minutes to cancel the alert.
It is evident that a nation drenched in fear is easier to control, because a mass of people who are terrified does not reason clearly. I think Donald Trump ordered that false missile entry alert issued. Well, we all know that Donald Trump is a cheat. Already before, Donald Trump has used deception. And Donald is an animal of customs.

sociotard said...

Frequent Brin-ism: "Show me what red states do better"

The Census bureau released a new measure of poverty that takes into account more parameters (cost of housing, etc) on the obvious truth that $20000 goes further in Mississippi than California.

Least poor (colon separated, number is percent in poverty)
New Hampshire;8.8
(I'm back in Idaho and very proud of my State)

Most Poor (colon separated, number is percent in poverty)
New York;16
New Mexico;15.7
New Jersey;15.3

So both lists have some Red, Blue, and Purple. I gotta say, the least poor looks a lot more Red to me.

Winter7 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Zepp Jamieson said...

Thank you, Winter7. I like to think my writing is sometimes lyrical, but I don't think it rises to the level of "poetic". (Doctor Brin is something of a master in that regard).
On the covers: I was aiming for lurid on Ice Fall (a bit of false advertising, actually, as the book itself isn't particularly lurid). RS&S was done back around 2002, and the cover reflected the title story, which warned of the rise of a Dominionist-type church in America. Earth Fall is the one I'm proudest of, both because it is beautiful to look at and because it most accurately reflects the contents of the book.
Ironically, I had a character in RS&S who was an illustrator for an SF magazine, and he drew very lurid images of tentacled BEMs carrying off screaming Earth women, or sometimes Earth women carrying off screaming BEMs. Your remarks about women and puppies and kittens are perfectly valid, but didn't seem to fit the motifs I was after.

raito said...


You may want to look at that again. Using wikipedia's map of the 2016 US Presidential election results:

Least poor: 3 D, 7 R
Most poor: 4 D, 6 R

Of course, that's just by state, not by population or anything.


Not wireless. Never wireless. And certainly never, ever, ethernet. I've been in that field, and it's amazing just how often we've pounded our head against the wall of attempting to make reliable, timely protocols on top of inherently unreliable ones. (It's less amazing that boneheaded managers can't understand why) It cannot be done, period. The only reason ethernet won out is that in the MAP/TOP wars, throughput won out over reliability and timeliness. I'm not willing to knowingly cede my safety to current ethernet protocols.

Dr. Brin,

The interesting thing is that the cuts were made statewide, including in counties that voted Republican. I almost wonder if someone crunched the numbers and figured out that screwing with everyone would allow them to win, and make it harder to show bias. Extended voting hours were also curtailed, in the (false) name of 'fairness'.

Winter7 said...

If currently the level of poverty in the United States is not catastrophic, we owe that blessing to Barack Obama.
¡How easy it is for Republicans to claim responsibility for the achievements of others!
But the level of poverty will increase in the future, because Donald Trump and the Russians are working very hard to crush the economic advantages that the American people possessed. Donald Trump is giving all the wealth and power to the rich, and he is accumulating taxes on the backs of the American people.

Zepp Jamieson said...

@Winter7 On the Hawaii false alarm: I've wondered about that. It could have been set up so Trump could present himself as the resolute and fearless leader, calming the panicked masses and assuring them that he was there to keep everything sorted. Instead, he just ignored the whole thing, leaving Hawaiians and the rest of us to wonder what would have happened it it was a real event. Is there anyone running the show in Washington? Whether incompetence by a White House that has a problem making the phones work or just the terrible indifference of Trump's narcissism, it wound up backfiring, leaving him looking uncaring or incapable.
But the 38 minute delay in response is very weird (38 SECONDS would have been barely excusable) especially since the mobile system didn't overload (another mystery right there; didn't anyone call Uncle Fred to let him know he had ten minutes to live?).

Winter7 said...

? ... ¿Do you mean that cars should not be controlled by AIs, wirelessly? ¿Do you mean that the oligarchs could know through this system our location constantly? ¿Do you mean that Big Brother or hackers could use that total control of the vehicles to attack us? Humm If that's what you mean, I suppose it's possible.

LarryHart said...


I think the recent "error" of a missile attack alert was not an accident.
It is evident that a nation drenched in fear is easier to control, because a mass of people who are terrified does not reason clearly.

I don't doubt that the current administration is capable of what you suggest. But if it was really intentional for the reason you mention, I don't think they thought it through. The next time an alert happens, even if it is real, the public's tendency will be to think "Oh, just another false alarm again." Panic will have been reduced rather than increased.

Winter7 said...

Zepp Jamieson:
Perhaps the goal of Donald Trump was not to present himself at that time as the "savior". The purpose of the trick was only to sow fear in the hearts of the American people, to distract the people, preventing people from thinking about the evils of Donald. In addition, Donald Trump will probably continue to create situations that are fear in the hearts of the American people, in preparation for more terrible changes and robberies than the Russians and Donald are planning.

Winter7 said...

True. The warning system loses credibility and during a real attack, people will not run to the shelters until they have consulted in the news and with friends if they are in an emergency situation. Because of that, almost everyone will be in the streets or in the houses during a real attack and millions would die.
Donald Trump probably knows that. But we must remember that Donald Trump is a psychopath. Donald has no empathy for the American people. So Donald Trump does not include compassion in the plans that Donald weaves with the Russians.
The Trump family lacks the gene that provides empathy. ¿Have you seen those pictures of Donald Trump's children next to all those animals slaughtered in Africa? There is the track. They lack all compassion or empathy. For them, killing is such an act of pleasure that they even travel to the other side of the world to enjoy that depravity.
Yes. In ancient times, humans hunted many animals. But they did not do it for the pleasure of destroying a living being. The old hunters hunted to eat. The men of the jungles hunted to be able to feed their families and survive.
The Trump family hunts many animals, for the pleasure of killing; and that is a bad omen for the future of the nation.

Winter7 said...

Bye to all! I must go to work on something.

Ilithi Dragon said...

Hmm... A lot I can't comment on here, today. Not even because I necessarily know anything, but just subjects that I'm not allowed to talk about, or that are inappropriate for me to discuss publicly.

I can say that I am terrible at poetry. Prose I can do, but any kind of structured poetry? Yeah, no. You're better off lighting that shit on fire, if I don't do it first.

As for personal story writing, one of my long-term objectives/goals/dreams is to be a published sci-fi author. I have many stories that are in various stages of progress, or that I have base plot notes on (the one series, between the progress on the first book, and other plot notes, I have approximately 50 novels planned, with basic plot notes), but life keeps getting in the way, or when it doesn't, I fail to muster the drive to pick one and finish it. Maybe I'll be able to focus through that when the Navy tells me I can't stay in anymore.

On the subject of hunting, you appear to be equating hunting for sport as an evil or psychotic act. I don't really disagree with that.

Sure, people who go out poaching endangered exotic animals for the thrill of killing exotic animals, or because they think their money means they can do whatever the want, are probably psychotic or sadistic in some way or another.

However, hunting as a sport isn't inherently wrong or evil. Leaving aside the issues of population control, we are instinctual hunters and apex predators (we evolved to run prey to death), and acting in that role in a responsible manner isn't wrong or evil, no more than a pack of wolves hunting a deer, or a cheetah taking down a gazelle is. Just taking a trophy and leaving the carcass, or hunting endangered animals that are threatened with extinction, can certainly be argued as wrong, but the act of hunting itself is not inherently evil. If it was, we would be inherently evil as a species.

My little sister, for example, usually goes hunting every deer season. And most years, she bags a deer (she's done so more reliably than her husband, if I'm not mistaken), and has posed with the carcass for photos every time. She is by no means an evil person, and is in fact a registered nurse, whose day job is treating the sick and injured and saving people's lives.

Jon S. said...

Illithi - when she bags that deer, after posing for photos, does she then take her kill home to be processed into venison? Or does she simply leave the corpse to rot? That's the difference, you see - the Trump boys are frequently shown posed with animals that no one who's not starving would eat by choice. (Predator meat, for instance, tends to be stringy and gamy, which is why nobody raises cougars for food.)

As for the question of that alert in Hawaii, after seeing the interface on the news, it was inevitable. That was just poor design on someone's part. The choice is made from a dropdown menu, with only one very vague confirmation ("Are you sure?") following up. I'm amazed it hadn't happened before! As for not having the necessary app installed to notify people of the error, well, that's red tape for you.

"Sir, we need to add another app download to the department budget."

"Have we needed that app before?"

"No, sir, but--"

"Then we can get along without it. Get back to work!"

It's worth noting that Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii Dist 2) was tweeting in a matter of minutes, assuring her constituents that it was a false alarm.

Remember Hanlon's Razor - "Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity."

Winter7 said...

Ilithi Dragon:
If you are interested in writing books, I suggest you start by creating a science fiction storybook. That way, you can create history after story little by little.
Wawww. You work in a submarine. Evidently you do not suffer from claustrophobia. Me neither. (except for the occasion when I got stuck in a narrow cave corridor in the mountains)
I thought your submarine was in Japan ... ¿Are you on an SSN-774? (I know, you can not talk about that)
I would ask you if the admiral knows that hundreds of marine animals are dying because of the new super-sonar system. (But I know you can not talk about that)
I have an idea that could work to replace the current sonar system. That way we could avoid the death of more marine animals. But if we talk about it in this blog, the Russians could learn about the system and take countermeasures.
Anyway, perhaps it is no longer necessary to detect the Russian submarines since Donald Trump is currently president of the United States. Which means that ...
In my opinion, the current problem with Donald Trump indicates that the armed forces should not be under the president's control. The armed forces must be under the direct control of the congress. The president should not be able to give direct orders to the armed forces. Any decision should be in the hands of the congress. And the congress should always have, by law, an equal number of Republicans and Democrats. That would prevent follies.
It is sad that the naval high command is in such a difficult situation.
Turning to the issue of hunting animals. I assumed that my comment would cause the anger of many. In fact, I was about to delete my comment, but I did not.
I tend to generalize a lot in all aspects. Because that allows me to archive the data more efficiently in my brain. Because of that, I tend to be very drastic in my judgments about many things. But I should have specified that hunting at the training level for survival situations is acceptable (if it is not a species extermination hunt)
I should also have said that there is a certain kind of hunting in the style of pest control that is justified. (Excessive deer can wipe out all pastures, killing all deer) (In Australia, the growing population of cats is killing off species that have no way to defend themselves, because cats did not exist in Australia and New Zealand, before of the arrival of Europeans)
Of course. I understand your point of view. The conquest of the West implied the need to carry weapons to survive, and I know that many think that it is necessary to train to survive in an apocalyptic world. (And because of Donald Trump, maybe we have to live in an apocalyptic world)
In Mexico, the middle class and the poor class have almost no weapons, that is difficult. (But the criminals and the elite have many weapons) (which leaves the population helpless and disadvantaged)
I hope that the automatic translator of google translate all this text well.
All right. I must go to continue the repairs. ¡See you later!

Winter7 said...

Jon S:
And in the future, genetic manipulation will probably make many species intelligent, which will unleash a fight for the rights of transgenic animals ... ¿What to call the new species? ¿How could we consider deer animals, if they become intelligent because of the intervention of science? Hunting could be totally prohibited under those circumstances.
Of course, a quadruped or a bird could not create technology, but under certain circumstances ...
Fortunately, David Brin already touched on that subject in his books.

LarryHart said...

Jon S:

Remember Hanlon's Razor - "Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity."

That doesn't hold when there is plenty of evidence of malice already. If it's a coin flip, you might be better off betting on "stupidity" over "malice", but when the metaphorical dice are already loaded in favor of "malice", you ignore those odds at your peril.

Zepp Jamieson said...

In politics, at least, stupidity and malice often go hand-in-hand.

Ilithi Dragon said...

Jon S:

Yes, of course the meat is turned into venison, and I understand the distinction between people who hunt just to kill and leave the carcass to rot, vs people who actually use it. Winter's distinction, however, was not between people who hunted and used the meat vs people who didn't, but rather between people who NEEDED to hunt to provide food vs people who didn't. My family has never needed to hunt to provide food, and under Winter's self-admitted generalization, we all would have been lumped in with poachers, etc.

Winter: I've got a few different notebooks and word documents with notes and lore and rough-draft story writing scattered around, and my best friend and I are actually running a forum-based RPG centered in a story universe we're both working on, to help flesh out some details and backstory, etc. (I actually asked if anyone here was interested in participating, about a year ago, but most declined due to a lack of time).

I work on a 688i boat, a third-flight Los Angeles class. There are stark limits as to what I can talk about regarding the boat on social media, so that's about all I can tell you.

Most of what you said regarding sonar and your recommendations for ultimate command of the military falling to congress is wrong. There is no super-sonar that is particularly damaging to marine life. And there is no active sonar that would NOT be damaging to marine life. ALL active sonar of sufficient power is damaging to marine life. That's because active sonar is just a pulse of sound, and any sufficiently loud / powerful pulse of sound is a pressure wave. Any sufficiently powerful pressure wave, especially in a dense fluid like sea water, will cause trauma to soft tissue. Doesn't matter what kind of sonar it is, if it's loud enough, it will rupture eardrums, pop lungs, and smash or rupture hollow organs and other soft tissue. The effects are basically the same as throwing a stick of dynamite into the water, because the mechanism is exactly the same, just varying in intensity and duration.

Fortunately for the environment, this isn't nearly as big of a problem as it is made out to be, because for submarines, at least, the whole point of the game is to be undetected. Our job is to do our best impression of a silent hole in the water, so we almost never go active, because active sonar is loud, and noise gives away our position.

As for having the Commander-in-Chief be replaced by a Congress-in-Chief... No. That is a disastrous idea. Military chain-of-command exists for a reason, and they do not include any kind of committee. If a critical decision has to be made, we can't afford to wait for Congress to convene for a vote, debate the vote, make the vote, and then stalemate over partisan BS for a year-and-a-half.

Congress does have a lot of control over the military, as a number of high-level things require congressional approval, and Congress controls the budget (and the military uses committees of varying sorts for many non-chain-of-command things/group tasks/etc.), and ultimately the military is subject to Congress because, while the military falls under the command of the President as the Commander-in-Chief, the military is still ultimately subject to and governed by law, which is set by Congress, and we are not bound to follow unlawful orders (and in certain extreme cases, bound to disobey them).


I think the specific phrase/quote you're looking for is: "Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times? That's enemy action."

And now it is time for me to engage the super-advanced, hyper-sophisticated time machine the military has developed, called "Rack-to-the-Future." Here's how it works: You go to the rack. You lie down. You go to sleep. You wake up. It's the future! :D Magic! :D

Alfred Differ said...

@winter7 | A message to cancel the alert was issued 38 minutes later. That is an illogical delay.

Well.... not really. You'd have to do that kind of work to understand where the time goes. I've done some pretty stupid things as an IT worker and caused mayhem for others near me and not noticed until they were running around with their hair on fire AND screaming AND doing so close by. I could tell you a story about how I learned not to write poorly phrased SQL statements with joins in them, but I think the statute of limitations on that error is quite long.

Never underestimate the oblivious co-worker. The unintentional harm they can do with a few keystrokes is impressive. Those of us who write UI's are supposed to remember that, but it is a lesson learned over and over. Think of what an overly complex layout for a control panel at a nuclear power station can help precipitate and we will be right back to Duncan's time travel concerns. 8)

Alfred Differ said...

@Jon S | That was just poor design on someone's part

yah. LPTA work?
I should have been drowned for some of the early software I wrote. 8)

(lowest price, technically acceptable)

LarryHart said...

Ilithi Dragon:

And now it is time for me to engage the super-advanced, hyper-sophisticated time machine the military has developed, called "Rack-to-the-Future." Here's how it works: You go to the rack. You lie down. You go to sleep. You wake up. It's the future!

Heh. I've maintained for some time that sleep is indistinguishable from forward time travel. Even more so in the cases of Rip Van Winkle or Captain America.

Then again, we already know that forward time travel is possible when one achieves significant fractions of light speed.

Forward time travel presents no paradoxes that I can think of. It's backward time travel that gets messy (and interesting).

LarryHart said...

Looks like a government shutdown is inevitable now, at least for a short while. I hope the Democratic leadership accurately gauged the citizen response to this, and that blowback doesn't stymie the Democratic wave.

Interesting that 4 Republicans, including Lindsay Graham and Rand Paul voted against the measure (that is, for the shutdown), which means that even without a filibuster, the measure would have failed but for the five Democrats who voted for it (against the shutdown). To me, that makes it harder to blame Democrats for the failure, but of course, I'm not inside the FOX bubble.

More interesting, two Republicans haven't voted at all. One is McCain who is sick in a hospital in Arizona, but the other is Mitch McConnell himself. I forget why, but I know there's some procedural reason he might vote "no" to allow him to bring the matter up again. I'm not sure of the specifics, but I remember Harry Reid having to do that sometimes.

I wonder why the congress couldn't have just gone ahead with the Lindsay Graham/Dick Durbin deal, passed the thing, and dared Trump to veto it. I'm quite confused as to how Trump's "s###hole countries" tantrum was allowed to derail a bipartisan deal in congress.

Guess we'll know more in the future, because I'm about to use Ilithi's time-travel method to jump eight hours ahead.

Winter7 said...

Ilithi Dragon:
It is certainly convenient that only one person commands an army. (Under certain restrictions)
As for the sonar:
But boats, on the surface, do use active sonar continuously! ¿True? That is, when the submarine hunt begins. And it is those who have the new system, not the submarines.
In another matter: I imagine that the security procedures were modified after the K-141 accident.
I have always thought that it is absurd not to have escape pods in a war submarine, but, of course, that reduces space and adds weight. But if I designed a submarine, the submarine would have escape pods. (And a very different impulse system) (But I do not explain how it is, because the Russians could listen.) 8)
¿Do not you suspect that the Russians preferred to let the crew die rather than allow you to perform a rescue, because that would have compromised the secret of Kursk technology?
Do not allow you to have an oxygen tank in your room? (And thick neoprene suits)
If they allowed that (I doubt it) it would be good, because in case of an accident, they could take more time until they are rescued. And in all sections of the submarine should have an emergency transmitter connected outdoors) (with different options of communication systems). But I understand that it is impossible to reach a submarine and altering the discipline with innovations could cause problems with the bosses and with the rest of the team.

Winter7 said...

Alfred Differ:
¡People on fire! ¡By Quetzalcoatl !. You probably have nightmares because of that incident.
When trying something dangerous, it is difficult to know if everything will turn out well.
There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long range risks of comfortable inaction.
But if something goes terribly wrong; ¿Would not it be nice to have a time machine?

¡See you later!

David Brin said...

Ilithi Dragon, thanks for getting me to look up “688i” Fascinating! And thanks for your service and skill. Stay safe. God Bless the US Navy.

"Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times? That's enemy action." — Goldfinger. The finest of all Jewish villains.

LarryHart said...

@Dr Brin,

Bad enough that the fact that Pussy Galore is a lesbian went right over my head for many decades until I actually read the book. You're telling me I missed Goldfinger being Jewish too???

* * *

BTW, I had occasion to watch the very first Adam West "Batman" episode to feature Julie Newmar as Catwoman and saw a line I never noticed before. She says to her gang that, once they've found the treasure they're looking for, "We'll be in pussywillows galore." The episode would have first aired in 1966, just a few years after the movie Goldfinger, so I'm sure that line was neither happenstance nor coincidence.

LarryHart said...

Today being the anniversary and all, I feel obliged to point out that as of noon today, there are 1096 days remaining until Inauguration 2021.

Ilithi Dragon said...


In the planning/development/etc. phases, multiple heads are better than one, even then, the requirements of military actions/evolutions/etc. often require decision-making on fairly short timescales, too short for a committee to hammer out The Best or The Most Acceptable Solution (TM) to the committee/congress, and a single Man-in-Charge is required to coordinate and direct things, both locally on the small scale, and on the grand scale.

One of the key points of the US military is that the Commander-in-Chief is an [i]elected civilian[/i]. That was one of the key requirements and a moment of brilliant forethought the framers of the constitution put in. The President, the Commander-and-Chief of the entire US military, CANNOT be in the military.

Furthermore, while the President is the CiC, the President is not a dictator, and does not have supreme, unquestionable, unchallengeable power. The President, like everyone else, is subject to the set of laws that govern our country, just as the military, while under the command of the President, is subject to the set of laws that govern the military (specifically, the Uniform Code of Military Justice, or UCMJ). The captain of my ship has broad powers and authority in many things, but he is still subject to military and Navy regulations, and the UCMJ. We are not subject to the President, we are under the command of the President. We are subject to the Constitution of the United States, Federal laws, and the UCMJ (and sometimes state and local laws, but their applicability varies by circumstance).

On sonar:

Surface ships don't constantly run active sonar, because it gives away their position as much as it does for a submarine. They are less concerned about not being seen than we are, but going active increases their detection range, so unless they're hunting subs, they're not going to be pounding away constantly.

When hunting subs, there's not much that can be done to change the damage to marine life. There is no new "super sonar" that is particularly damaging to marine life (that is news media connecting two dots that aren't actually related). ANY sonar system, that is sufficiently loud, will cause damage to marine life. Hell, Dr. Brin's own books give examples of how MARINE LIFE uses its own natural sonar to damage/stun other marine life. Some sonars aren't very loud, but they have limited use and/or range. Any sonar that is going to give you noticeable range is going to be so loud that it will damage marine life that is in sufficient proximity (like an explosion, the severity of injury depends on your proximity to the source).

The sinking of the Kursk didn't affect our security procedures. The Kursk sank because of poor quality control on Russian dummy/exercise torpedoes, that allowed the high-test peroxide fuel to leak out and explode (triggering a fire that caused an even larger explosion, probably the warheads of her live torpedo loadout).

The Kursk was an Oscar-II class, built at the end of the Soviet Union. She wasn't bleeding edge, even at the time, though the leak of technical information to the US was probably a concern for the Russians. Personally, I think it was more a national pride/political appearance move. They didn't want to be seen going to the Brits or the Norwegians for help, but rather to solve it themselves.

Ilithi Dragon said...

As for escape and survivability, while the classic sci-fi escape pod is not a viable option for submarines (we're basically underwater zeppelins, so the added weight is a huge concern, plus the myriad of engineering challenges and other problems of having that many extra holes in the people tank), we do have escape and survival systems. We have numerous emergency systems to keep the crew alive in the event the ship sinks but the pressure hull remains intact (a disabled submarine, or dissub situation). In such situations, if conditions in the ship permit, the preferred course of action is to await rescue (there are various deep-water rescue systems that can dock with our escape trunks to rescue personnel from disabled submarines). If conditions aboard the ship do not permit us to stay and await rescue, we also have escape suits that we can don and use to evacuate the ship via the two escape trunks (which double as regular access hatches on the surface), though there are limits to the depth at which we can evacuate in that manner and have a reasonable expectation of surviving to the surface.

In all reality, though, unless we are fortunate enough to sink on a continental shelf, if the boat goes down, we're all going to die. There are only a handful of purpose-built, deep-submergence research and salvage submarines that can actually dive all the way to the bottom of the ocean, not even going into any of the trenches. If we sink to the bottom of the ocean, we'll go past crush depth, and the boat will collapse, and we'll all die. End of story.

Which is why there is such a huge emphasis on ensuring that doesn't happen, and why we have back-ups for the back-ups for the back-ups for any critical system, and why the Navy's nuclear and SubSafe QA system is the best Quality Assurance system in the world.

Dr. Brin:
I really like the boat I'm on. We're the "old school" class in the fleet these days, so we're not bleeding edge, but we're also thoroughly tested and proven. It's also fascinating to see what we were able to do with 1960s and 70s technology (when the first 688s/Los Angeles classes were launched), even with the 1980s revamp that the 688i-boats got. My torpedo tubes use a mechanical logic circuit to check and engage various interlocks and shoot the tube during the firing sequence.

rewinn said...

Monday I shall be working for you (if you're American) for free, if the #Trumpshutdown continues. No need to thank me. The fascists set this up by refusing even to vote on the bipartisan DREAM bill, and I don't mind a bit of sacrifice on behalf of 700,000 people who came here as children.

The Trump supporters among my immediate family unfriended me because they couldn't stand being contradicted, so I can't ask them at what point a 5-year-old child (now a DREAMER) becomes a criminal: when her mother approaches the border or immediately after?
Under what possible theory do they think that 5-year-old should say, "Mommy, I am leaving you because it's illegal to enter the United States."

That's what we're talking about. That 5-year-old grew up here and is now 25 and working somewhere, and my fascist friends and families want to send her back to a nation she never knew to be absorbed. How she would then live we can only imagine. On this basis alone I call Trump supporters cruel.

This is all on purpose. Trump cancelled DACA six months ago and the Republican leadership in Congress refuses to allow a vote on DREAMER reform - it would pass if they allowed a vote, but they are cruel people. They should have re-authorized CHIP four months ago, but they are cruel people. Now they are holding CHIP hostage to their DACA cruelty and demanding the Democrats (and a few Republican allies) to make a Sophie's choice: CHIP children or DACA children.

It is a fine distraction from them picking your pockets and deflecting from Russia's continuing attack on America. We are losing the information war with Russia because our current leadership are fellow travelers.

My sacrifice is small, and I'll probably end up being paid anyway. Don't worry about me. I am content never to be deliberately be a part of cruelty.

What is the excuse of Trump supporters for their cruelty?

LarryHart said...

Ah...I thought I remembered something like this (emphasis mine) ...

Forty-five Republicans and five Democrats backed the bill, while 44 Democrats and four Republicans opposed it in addition to McConnell, who cast a "no" vote for procedural reasons to preserve his right to bring the bill up again.

LarryHart said...

Randall Winn:

Monday I shall be working for you (if you're American) for free, if the #Trumpshutdown continues. No need to thank me.

If you don't mind my asking, I've wondered what would happen to you (or others in similar position) if you didn't show up to work for free. Can you be fired for that? Would you be fired for that?

What is the excuse of Trump supporters for their cruelty?

Do they need one? Seems to me they're not ashamed of it, but proud.

LarryHart said...

Why didn't the congress just pass the Graham/Durbin compromise bill regardless of Trump's tweets? I don't see how Trump was allowed to derail a bi-partisan agreement, unless the Republicans in congress really did want to shut down the government, and their only problem with it is avoiding the blame.

To the notion that Democrats are holding up the continuing resolution, the only credible blame Democrats can take is for a filibuster, because the only way they even got to a bare majority 50 votes is with a few Democrats helping to offset the four Republicans who voted nay. And if Republicans really wanted to overcome Democratic obstruction, they could have nuclear-optioned the filibuster for legislation just as they did for Neil Gorsuch. So again, the bill didn't pass because Republicans don't really want it to--they just don't want the blame for it failing.

Hey, Hal Sparks on his radio show just proposed (this very minute as I type) that maybe Trump wants a government shutdown because that might somehow stop the Mueller investigation. Makes as much sense as anything.

Jon S. said...

Turns out the shutdown won't affect the Mueller investigation, though. Special Investigations are considered among the "essential government services" that don't get shut down.

NoOne said...

The essential worry is that the Democrats are going to be blamed for this shutdown by linking DACA to the budget bill. Note that anti-Trumpers like National Review have joined Trump in blaming Schumer for this shutdown ( This could go badly for the Democrats and hurt them in the midterms (but thankfully fivethirtyeight disagrees saying that shutdowns don't seem to affect midterms).

Zepp Jamieson said...

Congress had an agreement to pass a CR with DACA (which both parties want) and CHIP, and Trump deliberately and maliciously scuttled it. He, and he alone, deserves the blame.

LarryHart said...

Jon S:

Turns out the shutdown won't affect the Mueller investigation, though. Special Investigations are considered among the "essential government services" that don't get shut down.

I never thought it would, but I could believe Trump thought it might.


The essential worry is that the Democrats are going to be blamed for this shutdown by linking DACA to the budget bill.
This could go badly for the Democrats and hurt them in the midterms

That's my essential worry too. There's been a blue wave building, and I hope this doesn't scuttle it. I hope Schumer and the other Democratic leaders had a good finger on the public pulse before they went this route, and weren't just hot to please the San Francisco base.

(but thankfully fivethirtyeight disagrees saying that shutdowns don't seem to affect midterms).

It certainly didn't hurt the Republicans in 2014. Everyone blamed the Repubs for the Ted Cruz-inspired shutdown, and yet they took the Senate in the next election. May history repeat itself in an equal and opposite manner.

Note that anti-Trumpers like National Review have joined Trump in blaming Schumer for this shutdown

It occurs to me that, for years now, the two parties have been acting less like fellow citizens and more like warring factions. I mean literally at war, not simply uninterested in the other's goals, but actually working to harm the other. I'm sure the FOX-bubble crowd finds some way to blame Democrats for that situation, but to me, the declaration of war came from Mitch McConnell and his stated goal of making President Obama a one-term president via obstruction. Democrats must engage in the war, as you don't stop a war by unilaterally refusing to fight it.

TCB said...

Ilithi Drago, upthread, said:

"As for having the Commander-in-Chief be replaced by a Congress-in-Chief... No. That is a disastrous idea. Military chain-of-command exists for a reason, and they do not include any kind of committee. If a critical decision has to be made, we can't afford to wait for Congress to convene for a vote, debate the vote, make the vote, and then stalemate over partisan BS for a year-and-a-half."

This is pretty much what we had under the Articles of Confederation: a nation run by Congress, with no President. It was, as we all learn in history class, so unwieldy and ineffective to run a central government this way, that it was replaced by the Constitution in less than a decade, with the first presidential election soon after.

David Brin said...


(And thanks Randy and Ilithi Dragon, for your service! God bless our "deep state" public servants.)