Saturday, March 10, 2018

The Wisdom of Crowds. Blockchain "coins" .... but first, those nukes...

Before getting into blockchain and BitCoin and all that, a brief aside regarding the inescapable news cycle.

Rule of thumb. If you ever find yourself envisioning that any Donald Trump action might actually benefit America and the West, look closer. Take the latest news from North Korea that DT is crowing about.

Kim is offering talks right now because it is logically exactly the right time for him. His aim, in seeking nukes, was always to replace an expensive deterrent - a gigantic, standing army - with a much cheaper one, H Bombs.

The trick? Get the US and SK to agree to "limit" NK to 20 or so warheads, enough to protect the regime. In exchange, we 'get' a ramp down in his conventional forces... which is exactly what Kim desperately needs, in order to feed his people and rescue his economy. And as part of the deal, South Korea must also disarm.

Think these things through. Regarding any action taken by this administration -- look for who gets a win-win-win. In this case, DT will get a symbolic-raving "diplomatic victory." Kim will get absolutely everything he, wants, in exactly the order that he wants them. And Kim's sponsor-owners - without whom he never would have made a single bomb or missile - continue to own a dagger that they can shoot at us any time, with an EMP warhead, while retaining "it wasn't us!" deniability.

None of this would have worked without a Siberian Candidate in the US presidency, demolishing all of our alliances. Is anyone... anyone?... thinking this through, out there?

Argh, enough. Let's now veer to something else that's almost-equally unbelievable, making aliens stare in stunned disbelief at Earth's lowbrow Reality Show.

== A Boom-Bust Gold Rush online: ICOs and the Wisdom of Crowds ==

I’ve lately learned more about blockchain, crypto-currencies and ICOs (Initial Coin Offerings) than I ever wanted to know. It started before I was invited onto several advisory boards, way back while editing my recent anthology Chasing Shadows. There, I present Karl Schroeder’s brilliant story “Eminence,” which is fast becoming a bible-verse for this entrepreneurial community… at least those who want to accomplish real goals that affect real world traits via virtual-world currency interactions.  

Alas, for reasons too complicated to describe here, (did I tell you I’ve had to explore this a fair bit?), most of the fellas doing this are deep in the “bubble” side of ICOs, because they aren’t delivering on the internal “community functionality” - or utility - part of their promise. The part that's meant to keep them out of jail.

Let's start with context...

Social scientists have long been interested in the wisdom of crowds—when large numbers of individuals, seemingly acting independently, can collectively "make surprisingly accurate decisions, sometimes even better than the smartest among them.” And hence we get FantasySCOTUS — an online fantasy league in which contestants compete by predicting decisions made by the U.S. Supreme Court. Players are ranked as in any fantasy league, and the best performers can win prizes such as a “Golden Gavel” and even $10,000 in cash.

This article reports not only on the result, but an in-depth analysis of the inner processes of this wise crowd and how teams of observers or sponsors might best use them.

Oh, note: long before blockchain and all that, I offered glimpses of "smart mob" or "crowd wisdom" citizen activity in both EARTH and EXISTENCE.

Okay, swinging back around, let's define a few terms re: the “ICO” craze.  Tens of billions spent just this year on “blockchain currencies” that would be illegal if the coins or tokens were offered as “investments” in promise of real world value increase. So most token issuers talk about building an "inner community" where the coins can build intrinsic value based upon utility... the magic swords in World of Warcraft, which are meant to be useful, inside the game, but get traded for real money outside of it. (Using regiments of poor Chinese guys to slave in WoW for magic swords is said to be how Steve Bannon made his first killing.)  

“Community building” is the fig leaf that nearly every ICO uses, to proclaim indifference to the token's Outer World value. And many of the purported communities have a purpose to crowd-source wisdom… in a prediction market, or a news-article verification community, or citizen science. There are scores of these things! And some of the goals are worthy, if done well at all. 

Only there’s a problem. Most ICO issuing groups never develop the promised inner utility community. 

“Alas we also know weaknesses of crowdsourcing wisdom. For example, the wisdom of crowds often breaks down when the opinions of individuals become correlated—when they influence each other too strongly. This can result in disastrous situations, as when large groups hold irrational or wrong opinions under the sway of groupthink.” 

In fact, that flaw destroyed crowd wisdom in nearly all human societies and strong efforts are underway to use propaganda and tribalism to wreck it today. 

Indeed? This flaw in the ICO model would seem to offer a business opportunity! And I am talking to some VC types. (And more would be welcome.) To explore a market niche and service to all these budding communities and help keep the organizers out of jail.

== Diving in a little closer - the matter of "utility" ==

Learn to recognize the signs — where the utility of a blockchain token or coin is just an excuse for the issuers to slyly hint their “coin” has the purpose of speculative real world resale appreciation.

As Jason Goldberg described, on HackernoonWhat was recently a handful of mostly well though-out blockchain infrastructure projects, has turned into thousands and thousands of potential ICO’s. Too many of the recent batch seem more motivated by greed and pursuit of a quick buck, rather than a bonafide cryptocurrency purpose and utility.” 

He goes on: “A sizable cottage industry of consultants and advisors has popped up to offer all sorts of pay-for-play programs. Want your ICO listed on an ICO listing site? That’ll cost you a sizable amount of ETH or BTC.

Tokens are not equity and should not represent the future value of the project or future cash flows. Rather, token prices should mirror the actual demand for the tokens.

There must be a real utility for the token. Minting the token and establishing a market-price for the token is required in order to make the underlying software protocol and the token economy model function. If the purpose of the token sale is solely to raise capital for the project, that is not enough. Capital can and should be raised via equity and debt instruments, not by selling token assets. The utility of the token must be proven, demonstrable, and replicable by others before holding the token sale.  If the only value ascribed to the token is as a payment rail, it’s a currency not a utility. A demo of the token utility in-action on a blockchain must been presented.

The project must present a clear case for why a blockchain is uniquely necessary for the solutioni.e., the “secret sauce.” In other words, what is it about blockchain that uniquely enables the solution?  Again, the token sale should not be an end-around to equity or debt financing, rather the token sale should be to establish the economy and the endowment for the ecosystem it intends to support. The token sale is designed to maximize benefits to the purchasers and users of the utility, not to speculators.”

Why did I quote so extensively from just one -- out of a myriad -- passionate essays about this Klondike Rush? Because it is one of the few that go to the essense of what worries me most. Other recent articles of some tutorial value: 

On the Bitcoin bubble?  

An informative review of Etherium and competitor pros/cons.

A Primer on How to Identify Fake ICOs.  

Here’s one that does deliver a “utility” use for their crypto-coin, though their claims of originality would really surprise folks at Second Life.  High Fidelity has just released Avatar Island, a commerce system built on the blockchain that enables users to buy and sell goods in virtual reality. Currently, users can purchase over 300 virtual goods for their avatars in High Fidelity, all created by digital artists who will earn a share of the revenue.  Thebest utility coin systems deal in tangible goods and service, like swapping access to computer memory and CPU cycles... though a huge fraction of that arbitrage is using those cycles to... mine more coins, oy!

Mind you(!) some of the promised utilities would be great to see! Like incentivizing Smart Mob vetting of news stories to separate truth from lies. Or exchanging tokens for reputation. Or for participation in amateur science. 

And yes (again), all of these and many others were hinted at or even explicitly discussed in my nonfiction book: The Transparent Society: Will Technology Make Us Choose Between Privacy and Freedom? And smart mobs in both EARTH and EXISTENCE. And several authors explored such possibilities in Chasing Shadows.

So, I hope some of the good stuff will grow and empower distributed, flat-fair-open arenas for citizen and entrepreneurial engagement!  Those that actually deliver on their promises. That aren't scams, or empty promises.

And finally, back in the "real" world...

== The lights are looking ==

Street lights are fast-becoming the central nervous system of either our new, smart cities or else an Orwellian nightmare.  Read about the experiment in San Diego’s East Village neighborhood, whose streetlights were looking—and listening—all around them, while also monitoring temperature, humidity, and other characteristics of the air. By sometime in May, about 3,200 of the sensing lights, will each monitor an oval area of roughly 36 by 54 meters (120 to 180 feet). They could easily be hooked into the city’s existing ShotSpotter network, which automatically locates the source of gunfire, increasing ShotSpotter coverage from just 10 square kilometers.

“Along with the sensing streetlights, San Diego will be replacing an additional 14,000 of the city’s more than 40,000 streetlights with energy-efficient LED lamps that can communicate with one another and operators and allow brightness adjustments to save energy.”  And none of this should surprise anyone who read The Transparent Society … or even EARTH.

Want the Sci-fi-ish extrapolation? "In late February 2018, The Verge revealed that Peter Thiel’s software company, Palantir, has been piloting a predictive policing technology in New Orleans for the past six years unknown even to city council members. A similar program in Chicago, pulls information from law enforcement databases and social media, listing people likely to be involved in violent crime. “Civil rights groups have raised a host of concerns about the discriminatory effects of such data-collection and algorithm-based programs.” 

Those who fear that this could help lead to Big Brother have reason for their worries! Elites will be tempted to make all of this surveillance information go in one direction – either for nefarious reasons or else, initially, “for our own good.” Some champions of civil liberties think we can prevent harmful disparities of power by hiding from these elites. 

And… that… is… stupid. Because every year, the cameras get smaller, faster, cheaper, better more mobile and vastly more numerous, faster than Moore’s Law. There is no scenario - of any kind - under which hiding or shadows will even conceivably help the little guy or average citizen.

The answer is for us all to share in these information tsunamis. Sousveillance. It won’t prevent being looked at. That tidal wave is coming. But looking back at power could teach us all to surf.


Tony Fisk said...

I haven't really looked into bitcoin/blockchain technologies, but it seems to me that the biggest show stopper is the sheer amount of power used to run the mining farms.* That's real energy consumed to create a virtual value.

The term "Mining farms" is another warning. Block chains are supposed to be social levellers, but bigger players can run bigger farms.

* all for doing what boils down to hunting for really big prime numbers to use in encryption keys. What bit size are they typically looking for now? Twenty years ago, 8K was being considered.

David Dorais said...

Regarding "smart" street a longer run it will be important to insist that all cities/utilities install LED street lights that are NOT early adoption too bright, too trespassing, too glary and cowl shielded to minimize/mitigate/end light pollution. All outdoor light should be in compliance with the International Dark Sky Association's Model Outdoor Lighting Ordinance (MOLO). Many cities early adopted this new tech in a bid to look as if they were saving money and energy. Surprise, light pollution has actually INCREASED in these cities causing citizen outcry and complaint. Right now the best studies indicate that good lights are 2-3000K in brightness, yellow heavy in spectrum and cowl shielded. Most early installs are 6-8000K, blue heavy in spectrum (bad for human sleep and flora/fauna biome circadian rhythms) and NOT cowl shielded to direct all light down to the ground. These design/current best install practices are available by going to the IDA's website at and searching for archived studies and the MOLO text itself. Many of these designs can detect the natural ambient light levels and turn themselves off/on as needed. If installed in your community you will see more of the Milky Way and night sky then you ever used to. Please consider lobbying your local elected officials to make these changes. See also The End of Night, a book by Paul Bogard.

LarryHart said...

@Dr Brin,

Since you're writing extensively about Bitcoin, do you mind if I ask my favorite question on the subject? From what I understand, the integrity of bitcoin requires the fact that every coin contains within it a record of every transaction that that coin has been involved in. Won't there be a threshold at which the size of the blockchain becomes too cumbersome to work with?

Anonymous said...

That sounds like a huge obstacle to the usefulness of Bitcoin.
In any case. I insist that potential customers of a virtual currency bank would prefer a currency that is backed by a certain amount of silver ore or gold stored in the asteroid belt. Hence, I say that Elon Musk could become the richest man in the universe. Elon can create a bank of virtual currencies and back all those coins with refined metals that would be stored in the asteroid belt, a totally safe place for at least another century.
Of course, any currency can be created with professionalism and will be successful. But a currency with real support will undoubtedly be the most successful currency in the future, because ordinary people will have more confidence in a currency backed by real valuable metals.


Anonymous said...

Vladimir Putin is accusing the Jews of being the ones who intervened in the elections. Now it turns out that Putin is becoming a damn Nazi. (By the way, I wonder if you know what it means in Spanish, the last name "Putin" 8)
This is the link:

Anonymous said...

By the way. I was watching that television series, "the man in the castle" by Philip K. Dick; but after some time, I began to feel disgusted. I thought that the television series would have clues as to how to deal with the problems caused by the fascists around the world, but the series seems to be centered on the glorification of Nazism. But the issues are repetitively, suffering of the oppressed and fascism ad nauseam. No more.
And speaking of science fiction series. I think Marta Higareda was abused when she had to film the pornographic chapter 5 of "altered coal". Acting is not an honorable profession for women, unless it is about series and films for the whole family.


David Brin said...

LarryHart, no, the coin itself does not have to keep the record, which is maintained by the distributed LEDGER of transactions. That ledger is the actual coinage itself. And all users check to see if anyone's ledger differs from the whole ensemble of identical ledgers. Yes, that ensemble records the transactions, but really, only the most recent ones matter.

Winter7 I didn't see the "Castle" series as glorifying Nazis. It did show Americans trying to normalize things, and how that can normalize the monstrous.

Anonymous said...

And, speaking of virtual currencies. The fate of Bitcoin was well explained in chapter 1 of Season 3 of Rick and Morty


David Brin said...

Another busy night at all the British henge sites as staff work all night to move the stones forward by an hour.

Anonymous said...

David Brin:
Are you in Britain? And is someone making plastic copies of Neolithic circles?
If the English had to build plastic rock monoliths, at least they had to make them with huge images of the fat headless goddess. That statuette-amulet so common in Europe during the Stone Age.
Incredible that since the stone age there were already "trickster priests" who forced people to do everything. And speaking of gods. At first I assumed that everyone here considered us men of science. But my comments about the gods seem to bother some. So, does God exist?
 Of course. I know it's best not to talk about religion because everyone ends up fighting.
If you run into Stephen Hawking, tell him I do not believe in Big Bang theory. (I think I already mentioned my optional theory about it, which is not incompatible with the fact that the universe expands (as if the universe could be contained in a small ball the size of a ping-pong ball or basketball, it does not matter.) And tell him that he could live many more years if he is connected to electrical stimulators for muscles for a couple of hours a day (when we stop exercising, it's when we start to die)
Bedtime. Goodnight.

Winter 7

Alfred Differ said...

We are in the early years of 'investments' in anything related to virtual currencies. I assume most people don't know what they are, what they can and can't do, and will wind up being taken to the cleaners by fraudsters. I'm not quite sure how to 'salt the mine', but the old equity and debt fraud methods are available once again to dazzle the ignorant.

There is a general rule of thumb I've seen good venture capital people using. If you don't know much about the field of investment, don't get into it no matter how attractive the opportunities sound. Take the time to learn first and then realize you are up against people who learned it earlier than you did. They likely have experience beyond yours even after you learn a lot.

In the long run, I suspect blockchain will be of more value to us than the coins being tracked. Establishing the distributed ledger requires some kind of motivation for those involved and eventually payments to compensate for the resources used, but I'd bet on that infrastructure looking like a utility some day where 'generation' is distributed and sold. As we move to an internet of things, it would help justify all that connectedness. Maybe my smart-slippers will earn me a few fractions of a penny while they sit under my bed during the day. 8)

Jerry Emanuelson said...

On Saturday night, SpaceX released a new music video of the Falcon Heavy test flight (using David Bowie's song "Life on Mars"). It is at:

Among many other things, it shows it center core rocket going into the ocean just off the drone ship. It also has some new views of the successful dual landing of the side booster rockets.

By noon on Sunday, it will probably have well over a million views.

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin:

LarryHart, no, the coin itself does not have to keep the record, which is maintained by the distributed LEDGER of transactions. That ledger is the actual coinage itself. And all users check to see if anyone's ledger differs from the whole ensemble of identical ledgers.

Ok, but the question still stands. Won't the ledger then get cumbersome and unwieldy at some point?

locumranch said...

It appears that David has become a tinfoil hat conspiracy theorist, believing as he does that Trump is a Siberian Candidate & the lap dog of a post-Soviet Putin while simultaneously having been bought & paid for by the North Korean toy-boy, his Red Chinese Overlords, the Global Oligarchy & populists like Matteo Salvini just because Trump is willing to initiate dialogue with our traditional Eastern Block enemies as Nixon did in the 1970s.

Of course, David appears to believe a number of impossible things before breakfast, like the above-mentioned whoppers about the so-called (1) Wisdom of Crowds (aka 'Populism') and (2) Inherent Value of Bitcoin, Blockchain & other financial Beanie Baby equivalents, not to mention his self-contradictory obsessions with Xenophilia (aka 'Otherness') & METI-phobia (aka 'Fear of the Other').

Self-Contradiction, thy name is Progressivism.

So David now SUPPORTS pitch-fork populism because crowds are WISE now? Or, are crowds stupid requiring an expert & protector caste as he has previously maintained?

LarryHart said... :

Trump lawyer Michael Cohen is looking more and more guilty of helping to facilitate an illegal campaign contribution.

I'm really missing something on this issue.

Supposedly, Trump's lawyer mortgaged his house to pay Stormy Daniels $130,000 , and he's complained that he didn't get re-imbursed by the Trump campaign. This is presented as a defense of the idea that he just facilitated a payment on his own, and that doing so did not constitute an illegal (unreported) campaign contribution. I gather then that if the campaign had reimbursed him, that would have proven a connection to the campaign.

To me, this is completely illogical. If the campaign had reimbursed him, then he would have been a mere catalyst in the transaction. The payment to Stormy Daniels would have come from the Trump campaign itself, and Cohen would have functioned merely as a conduit, not actually giving the campaign a penny that they didn't already have. Whereas, if the campaign never did reimburse him, then Cohen would have contributed $130G to the system, which would be a de-facto contribution for the benefit of the campaign.

So why is the fact that Cohen was supposedly not reimbursed by the Trump campaign being used as evidence that his $130G was not a campaign contribution rather than proof that it was one?

Anonymous said...

It seems that someone created an Indiegogo experiment, which imitates the way in which human society is drained of its resources by feudal lords, without people knowing what really happens.


Anonymous said...

Now, try to use google's automatic translator. That is why no tourist should go to Mexico:

André Golden.

David Brin said...

Ah, let’s see. Fellah thinks all women are personally out to get him…while I merely notice the reports pouring from every intelligence source and from Trump’s own mouth and actions showing foreign puppetry… But *I* am the paranoid one?

Guys, the terminology needs to be woke around here. Twits who could never fashion either technology or a decent sci fi story have hijacked memes about both, in order to wallow in solipsistic rage. Have you heard of the “red pill” frenzy among raving, under-achiever “macho” loons?

Now, there have always been losers who, unable to win what they deem to be their rightful-exalted status as lords and harem-owners, desperately seek someone or something to blame, other than their own inadequacies. Their failure is rooted in sociobiology — though not in the way they like to see it. In most of metazoan life, at least a third of males are rejected. Because each generation can afford that kind of attrition among males… not females.

The essence of maleness is not superiority, it is experiment! The species rolls dice in every male trait. In our case, this includes intelligence, stability and emotional self-control. And - yes - adaptability to succeed under whatever social norms your society imposes, at the time. And nothing advertises “my dice rolled badly” more that whimpering and whining.

But that doesn’t stop the noise. Because males who have found no other path to status (and acceptance by picky women) will turn to riskier gambles and dice throws! Exaggerated preening, Domestic violence. Extreme politics. Heck, even whining has worked, from time to time, else the irritating trait would have been winnowed out, by now. (And yes, I just did imply it’s all women’s fault!)

Now throw in our propensity to clasp self-indulgent delusion, and you can see the Red Pill metaphor has a purpose, to nurse a paranoid fantasy: “I am part of a small clade of woke brothers who can really SEE WHAT”S GOING ON! Let’s ignore the fact that I have no statistical evidence, just anecdotes spoon fed to me by manipulative, oligarchic media. These masturbatory incantations help me nurse voluptuous resentment while looking in a mirror and seeing a brave-brilliant freedom fighter!

Look up another term… “INCEL” or “Involuntary Celibate.” Good lord. What male with a scintilla of pride would join in such a whine? So, your lack of sex arose from some vast, female conspiracy? Funny thing, I look around and see plenty of men who aren’t incels. Did you consider looking at what worked for them?

Used to be, those men who slapped their wives around could hold onto them, and sneer at the nerds they bullied in school. Think the beginning of BACK TO THE FUTURE, if you must have a sci fi reference. Now, those wives leave! They get restraining orders. And the bullied nerds are creating, building, discovering, and getting rich. And procreating. And what kind of a world allows that kind of thing?

Saturday Night Live offered a classic sketch illustrating what the bullies have always done, and what they’d like to do, today. Suppress female choice and make sure the one-third who don’t breed will be the nerds.

Is it this simple? Probably so. In which case, I gotta ask. Now that nerds have genetic design and nuclear science and all that… and now that you’ve been stupid enough to make your hate war against them open, extending to every single knowledge and fact caste … how is this delusional-whining raging supposed to end out well for you?

Treebeard said...

This is where religion comes in. It moderates people's monkey behavior and adds an element of the sacred to mating. If you reduce everything to biology and Darwinism, you get the "red-pill" types who scheme to exploit female psychology, just as surely as you get nerds gloating about getting women because of nuclear science. They're both operating on the same level, and they're both a product of secular modernity and "progress". And you are going to get harems again, because biologically why shouldn't Elon Musk or some nuclear physicist have a harem? It's genetically progressive, right?

Anonymous said...

Treebeard is absolutely right. This is were religion comes in. Historically true more often than not.

But as the Doc says, "Dig it!" Religion may be an answer, but it is NOT THE ONLY ANSWER. or even the best answer.

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin:

Look up another term… “INCEL” or “Involuntary Celibate.”

Jeez, back in my day that was just called "being a teenage boy". All exceptions duly noted, of course (and the exceptions certainly were duly noted and admired), but those were literally exceptional cases whom the vast majority could envy but not hope to be.

What we hoped was to grow into acceptability. And if a nerd like me could do so...

Well, there's an old, offensive joke whose punchline is "How does it feel to be dumber than a P[ethnic slur]k?" In that vein, I'd ask "How does it feel to be more involuntarily celibate than a nerd?"

David Brin said...

Religion... any sort of preaching-at human foibles - did affect behavior in tribes of old. Alas, it primarily affected those who would listen and were at least somewhat inclined to accept advice to behave well. (And yes, "behave well" in at least half of past religions meant doing countless 'sacred' things we'd find loathsome.)

What preaching at people never accomplished was to slake the fierce appetites of the worst men, especially when those ban men had power. The stunning, willfully naive or even willfully evil agenda of those who would replace equality and accountability with an unfair and absolutely disproved promise to solve all problems with finger-wagged preaching, is beyond dispute.

Mind you, this is not zero sum. WITHIN a moderns system of rights and accountability and diversity and fact-based negotiation, the preaching of standards of behavior that go beyond mere law certainly does some good, and should not be tossed away.

Acacia H. said...

THAT is what that means! Thank you. I see it around and was wondering what the flying leap it meant. But not enough to do a Google Search.

You know something? I've not had sex in over a decade. But I considered that more personal preference - I'm not into one-night stands or the like, and when dating have turned down offers for a one-night stand instead of dating because I like companionship. (Though that would make me Volcel instead. ^^)

I swear, they should just effing legalize prostitution at this point. Then sex workers will have legal protection, people who can't get a girlfriend can instead hire someone to help them alleviate their stress, and religious people could stop persecuting people for being into sex. Oh wait, that explains it....

What's even crazier is that there is people who are critical and hateful toward asexuals and aromantics. If someone chooses not to have sex, then why is that a big deal? *sigh* I swear, whoever comes up with societal rules and social norms is fucked in the head.

Rob H.

LarryHart said...


What's even crazier is that there is people who are critical and hateful toward asexuals and aromantics. If someone chooses not to have sex, then why is that a big deal?

The line from Monty Python's Life of Brian comes to mind. "There's no pleasing some people."

LarryHart said...

I don't know how many people actually read the Guardian article Dr Brin posted about a few comments up, but it was actually more three-dimensional than what I was expecting from the description.

I especially found this bit enlightening:

It’s funny, because Jessica, my editor at the Guardian, had the same idea. Wasn’t The Red Pill just an updated version of locker-room talk? No, I said, it’s nothing like locker-room talk. Well, she asked, what’s locker-room talk like, then?

Locker-room talk goes like this: you say to your friend, my God, did you see the tits on that yoga instructor, and your friend says, it hurts you, doesn’t it, and you say it does, it does, and he says you know I’ve sucked tits like that before, and you say yeah right and he says really and you say who and he says in Brazil and you say of course it would be an unverifiable claim, and he shrugs and you laugh and he laughs.

The quantity of locker-room talk is inversely proportional to familiarity with women. So, as you fall in love, maybe even get married, it no longer becomes feasible to talk with friends about women’s bodies in such specific detail because, say, your friend works for your wife, and you don’t want him thinking about her cleavage when she’s firing him.

But very quickly – mid-30s, really – a new locker-room talk emerges. The new locker-room talk goes like this: you ask your friend what summer programming do you have your daughters in, and your friend says I’m trying to find something with science in it, and you say, yeah, you gotta fight those cultural assumptions about girls and STEM, and he says totally, and you say I’m just trying to do little things like nature walks and trips to the science center, and he says we should go together some time, and you say totally.

And then you’re taking your daughters to the science center and a gorgeous woman walks by, and you look at your friend, and your friend looks at you, and you don’t have to say a thing.

I’m not saying this is the way it should be. Frankly, it’s humiliating for everybody involved. But there is a truth there: if you have a working dick and a working soul, you’d better get used to living with contradictions.

It is exactly this capacity for contradiction that the boys of The Red Pill lack so utterly. Their humourlessness is impressive, given that they mostly post comments about the minutiae of sexual dynamics, which is the substance of almost all comedy.

Unknown said...

A good series of short videos discussing crypto currency and blockchain, or start at the 8th for a competing strategy that might fix some of the problems (long clearing time..power wasting mining etc).
Thank you for your excellent forum.. I was in UCSD Physics for my junior year about 1975..

Dave Smith

Andy said...

Are there multiple people posting as Winter7? Sometimes he sounds like he used google translate, other times he sounds like an English speaker. Is someone pretending to be him trying to troll us?

locumranch said...

It's nice to see David waking up to Reproductive Inequality, a state of being that the World Health Organisation now considers a DISABILITY, but he doesn't have to go Metazoan (?) to find either a time when or locale where in excess of a third of all males are routinely rejected as mates, breeders & sexual partners.

This is the sad state of affairs we call Islam, leaving upwards from 30% of all males (1) without any skin-in-the-game of civilisation, (2) quite easily radicalised, (3) quite willing to break any laws and (4) quite willing to blow themselves up in order to wipe the smug off someone else's sexually-satisfied face.

We see the same behavioral pattern reemerging in the Enlightened West, leading to the same result, as liberated women everywhere abandon enforced patriarchal monogamy in favour of the unstructured Sadie Hawkins Day free-for-all known as female hypergamy.

Of course, most progressives don't see a downside to this blatant form of male disposability UNTIL these deplorable & disposable males stop working, stop contributing to society, OD on the drug-du-jour, shoot-up a school or stop worrying about women, children, humanity's future or a climate change apocalypse.

So call it Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) when the disposed of & dispossessed return the favour upon the mainstream, but I prefer to call it reciprocity.

Never forget how ISIS destroyed most of Iraq, Libya & Syria with less than 10% of its male population under arms -- that's LESS THAN 10% -- and now multiply that number by 3.


It is much to late, IMO, to bring most dispossessed males back to the negotiating table as the Withholding Affection Threat is without merit once affection has been withheld, the funniest thing being that the Progressive Left has adopted the very same self-limiting non-threatening Withholding Affection Threat as their primary political weapon against deplorable conservatives everywhere.

What? You don't like me & you're threatening to like me less? Argh, you have cut me to the quick, Sirrah, NOT. And FU2.

David Brin said...

Dang, this is why I wonder about locumranch. This last, of his, sounded like a wounded soul, fixated and illogical, but nevertheless cogently spoken and almost-sincere.

Alas, it never lasts.

In this case, sorry chum. Doesn't wash. There have always been losers in the male dice roll. In your preferred societies, there were MORE of them, not less. And the disparity was enforced by cheaters with swords. And you'd have been a loser then, for sure.

Alfred Differ said...

Last time I checked, the percentage of men who fail to reproduce is somewhere between 15-20% and for women it is about one third of that. There is a lot of variation with location, but the averages leave the ratio between 3/1 and 4/1. Between 8K and 4K years ago the ratio peaked around 17/1, but our domesticated foods aren’t as piss-poor as they used to be. Second and third sons stand a better chance now of living long enough to matter and having their fathers live long enough to help them mature safely.

So, if I follow locumranch’s numbers, I can piss on about 50% of the population (the women) to ensure that less than 10% (the non-breeding men) have a chance to have children… by women who would not choose them given the option. Yah. That sounds @#$%ing brilliant. Let’s have them raise sons who know their mothers fear/despise their fathers and teach their daughters to replicate the whole arrangement.

The patriarchy was always better at enforcing SERIAL monogamy on women than on men. I don’t have to look far back on my family tree to find a woman who was that kind you could get pregnant without the community forcing they guy to marry her. She was from THAT side of the street, get it? My ancestor who did marry her almost got disowned by his family and for his trouble he got exactly one daughter, four grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. He also got to raise the step-son who probably never knew his biological father and face elder abuse from him later.

Our western cultures adhere more to serial monogamy than actual monogamy. That is enough to ensure some men have a whole lot more children than other men. That is enough to ensure being male means being experimental.

David Brin said...

Male-female size dimorphism appears to strongly correlate with "harem size... or how many females a successful male can expect to procreate with. Elephant seal males are gigantic monsters and may get fifty on a beach... charging back and forth, exhausting himself into an early death or dying of his combat wounds. Aside from such moments of glory, life is harsh for males in nature, even if you are the topmost bull!

The species -- and repro success - care not a whit about male suffering. And yowling that that's not fair doesn't change the logic of Darwin. Females are choosy. Whining about that is only an open admission of un-fitness.

Sure, feudal lords and slave masters and abusive husbands established systems under which female choice was over-ridden with swords and lashes. That was a cruel anomaly, evil under any conceivable moral system and contrary to all of nature.

But sure, I do have a gripe. If women are getting back their power to choose, they need to get better at their criteria and choice processes. There are some insanely dumb aspects nowadays... some of which might even be common ground between locum and me. But his overall rage is so disproportionate and wrongheaded, those commonalities are simply unimportant.

Anonymous said...

If you know how to program computers, how is it possible that you confuse me with a Troll?
I'm not the one you need to worry about. And, nevertheless, ¿could you recognize the evil when you have it before you? ...


Anonymous said...

I watched Steve Martin's video on saturday night live. Very funny. Definitely that's what Donald Trump is doing. Donald is an ignorant and racist bully who is taking everything by force. If that caveman has managed to get everything, that is proof that the American political system has more holes and flaws than a rusty drain. I remember that, to a certain Muslim genocidal, the word "reforms" inspired him to commit atrocities. I suppose that Donald Trump does not want reforms in the political and electoral system that prevent the republicans from continuing to crush democracy.
Then, we must reform the electoral laws so that Donald does not continue to crush the freedom of all.
I have been doing repairs in my house. Now I know why you Americans use copper pipes. In Mexico almost all use steel pipes and only last about a decade, but the water has so much calcium, that in six years they are almost completely blocked. I wonder if in the United States water is decalcified before being sent to homes. And this situation is the reason why the AI will always need us. Only humans can make complex repairs. (If you doubt the complexity of changing a pipe in Mexico, it is because you have not seen the pipes in Mexico) Not even a T-800 AI could repair the water pipes that we use in Mexico.

Alfred Differ said...

@winter7 | Some of our places still have the old pipes and they get just as clogged. What happened is we changed our building codes as we got richer. Want a building permit around here? Upgrade! $$$

Alfred Differ said...

ooh. I missed the part where Treebeard said it was okay for me to have a harem. Sign me up.
What? I have to take them from other guys? (Time to buy a gun.)


locumranch said...

David continues to treat human reproduction as more or less a game theory abstraction with inviolate rules & regs that require the so-called losers accept their reproductive failure with good-natured & gracious rational detachment, even though said reproductive failure represents their individual genetic extinction, a fate that David would rage against if it meant the selective elimination of his offspring & the extinction of his gene line.

Thus, it should come as no surprise to anyone that many of the so-called losers would be LESS than gracious & good-natured when it comes to the elimination of their gene lines and we can expect that some would be tempted to overturn & upend the entire process like a Monopoly board in favour of more fortuitous circumstances, much in the repugnant but fairly rational way that Boko Haram has changed the dating & mating game in Nigeria.

Do I approve of such brutal mating tactics? Absolutely not.

Do I find such tactics understandable? Absolutely.

Alfred expresses moral outrage at the very thought that women could be compelled to bear the offspring of the less desirable males, even though this exchange of male protection & provisioning for female-produced progeny has been the very meat & two veg of our now defunct Social Contract for thousands of years, Alfred's numbers are faulty too.

"According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey, in 2014, 47.6 percent of women between age 15 and 44 had never had children, up from 46.5 percent in 2012", and this suggests that at least an equivalent number (more than 47%) of men are also childless with Alfred mistaking the male & female 15% infertility rate for that of unsuccessful reproduction.

The end result of male marginalisation & a lack of reproductive options? I predict apathy rather than militarisation.

As in the case of the Japanese herbivore, most western men will simply disengage, increase personal grooming time, abandon their traditional protective role & disavow productive endeavours as their respective societies circle the behavioral sink, leaving an increasing number of over-choosy women childless once these undesirable males realise that they no longer have any skin-in-the-game called the future.

I agree that the universe does care not a whit about male suffering. yet men do. And, while females have the indisputable right to be choosy, they too must face the consequences of their choices which will include Darwinian Irrelevance & the extinction of their individual gene lines, and neither all their piety nor wit shall lure the moving finger back to cancel half a line, nor all their tears wash out a word of it.

Gender Equality will arrive when both Men & Women find themselves equally DISPOSABLE.

I think David just quoted the Futurama 'Beachmaster' episode. Who's a sneaky male? Yes, you are. Ever so sneaky.

Twominds said...

@Winter 7

Anyone can post anonymous with the word Winter7 beneath it. Or post as Twominds using the name/url option.

By not using a google account or openID, we are vulnerable to that. That' s how the comment section of this blog works. So yes, there could be a troll impersonating you. I can't know, but you would, from the posts that were not by your hand. You'd protest fiercely, I think, making it known to us.

Anonymous said...

Most early installs are 6-8000K, blue heavy in spectrum (bad for human sleep and flora/fauna biome circadian rhythms) and NOT cowl shielded to direct all light down to the ground.

It's also harder to focus when an object is illuminated with blue-heavy light (as opposed to yellow-heavy light).

LarryHart said...


I watched Steve Martin's video on saturday night live. Very funny.

The Steve Martin character had the foresight to envision thousands of years of advancement of civilization, but couldn't foresee the reaction of the alpha male?

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin: is harsh for males in nature, even if you are the topmost bull!

Sure, if life sucks for everyone but the topmost bull, and he has to spend his life defending his position from violent challengers, then life pretty much sucks full stop. And the feudalists and anti-Enlightenment characters among us want humanity to emulate that way of life?

But sure, I do have a gripe. If women are getting back their power to choose, they need to get better at their criteria and choice processes. There are some insanely dumb aspects nowadays...

That's been a part of your philosophy at least since "The Postman" made the point, and I was influenced by you back in the mid 1980s when I first read the book.

But in their defense, biology doesn't tend to work on a conscious level. People don't make decisions--including women's choices of male partners--based on a cold, reasoned evaluation of "Does this help or harm the human species?" It's more like a version of Adam Smith's invisible hand at work--the "bad" choices eliminating themselves over time in the breeding game, so that those likely to make the "good" choices survive over time.

So if women are making bad choices, we have to explore what motivates them to do so. Is the bad choice of man really benefiting them personally, even as it harms the species? Or are they being tricked somehow into perceiving the bad choice as good? Are they simply ignorant of the fact that a choice has long-ranging consequences at all? That's not an exhaustive list of possibilities, but my point is that the rules of society bear some responsibility for the reasons women make their choices in the first place. If we perversely incentivize bad choices, we can't pretend to be shocked and surprised over the result.

LarryHart said...

Speaking of women making bad choices. :)

I've heard many times that a big reason Trump won was that the Democrats ran such a flawed candidate against him, and that much of the Trump vote was simply anti-Hillary.

So why is it that we keep hearing from all quarters that it's not enough for Democratic candidates to be "not Trump", but You have to be for something? Is this another one of those rules that only applies to Democrats?

Bold emphasis below is my own:

Now having taken a look at the big picture, let's zoom in on a particular segment of the voting public that matters a lot to Trump's re-election chances: white evangelical women. His support there has dropped from 73% a year ago to 60% now, a statistically significant decline. This is even greater than the 8-point drop among all women. When Bill Clinton was president, many white evangelical women said that character mattered, and Clinton was lacking in that department. Now the shoe is on the other foot and many of these women have noticed it. Carmen Fowler LaBerge, who has a radio show focused on evangelicals, said of Donald Trump: "I don't know any evangelical woman who is going to defend the character of the president." The reason that so many evangelical women still support Trump is that they hate the Democrats and like Trump's right-wing politics more than they dislike his personality. There is also evidence that many of them didn't really vote for Trump in 2016; they voted against Hillary Clinton.

Acacia H. said...

Both of my parents voted against Hillary. My mother tries to shut me up whenever I start pointing out the many ways Trump is going to destroy their support systems (seeing they are in their 70s). They trot out the old platitude of "but Hillary would be worse!" and this is something I see over and over and over again with the other Trump voters I'm friends with. "Hillary would be worse." She would be a warmonger. She would raise taxes. She would destroy the economy. She would destroy society. She is evil.

Back a couple years ago I said something but no doubt I was paraphrasing someone else. It has been said multiple times since. The only person who could have lost against Donald Trump is Hillary Clinton.

The kicker is... she didn't lose against him. She won by 2.5 million votes. It's just where those votes were that caused this problem.

Rob H.

LarryHart said...


I don't think I'm arguing against you, but just to be clear. The point I was making above wasn't about whether there was a large anyone-but-Hillary vote (there self-evidently was). My rhetorical question was--and still is--if an election can be swung by a large anyone-but-Hillary vote, why is it beyond the pale that an election can be swung by a large anyone-but-Trump vote?

In other words, why is it insufficient for Democrats to be "not Trump", and Democrats have to be "for something" in order to have a chance, while Republicans can win on being "not Hillary"?

LarryHart said...


The only person who could have lost against Donald Trump is Hillary Clinton.

Nancy Pelosi, maybe?

I dunno, it seems conventional wisdom now that Joe Biden would have beaten Trump in his favorable demographic and therefore crushed him. But eight years ago, Biden was kind of a joke with the malapropisms he kept shooting off, and it felt to some extent as if Obama won by keeping Joe out of the limelight. I'm not convinced he wouldn't have been made to look like an idiot eight years later, especially with a complicit media who loved them some Donald Trump (not for policy reasons, but because he was great for ratings).

Bernie might have had a better shot, but then there's that complicit media again. How hard to make Bernie look like your crazy neighbor suffering from dementia? And it wouldn't have taken long to drum "Socialist!" into everyone's head for months, which you argue wouldn't have resonated with millennials, but it would have resonated with the demographic that gave Trump Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. People may like free college, but they don't want their hard-earned tax dollars going to pay for those people's college.

Trump's ascension in both the primary and the general was a backlash against the status quo, and only somewhat about Hillary herself.

Russell Osterlund said...

The crowd that voted against Hillary Clinton are copping out of their responsibility for voting for UnObama and creating our current mess. It is so convenient to blame the candidate and assign their poor judgement to anyone but themselves. Until the election process allows for casting a negative vote, they need to be reminded over and over again of the consequences of their decision until they own their vote.

sociotard said...

Reviewing Dr. Brin's prediction for the Trump/NK talks:

NK keeps (limited) Nukes and reduces its conventional forces
SK reduces its conventional forces, or closes some US bases

Yep, I'd be content with that scenario. Tack on "open a US embassy in NK, US and SK recognize NK legitimacy, NK recognize SK legitimacy" and I'll do a little dance, and embrace the pledge I made earlier.

Do you really think Hillary or Bernie could have rid North Korea of its nukes? Could a President Brin have done it without a catastrophic war? With what, the sanctions that have been in place for ages? "Hey, lets keep doing the same thing we've done for 60 years, only harder! Yeah, that'll work!"

No, there is no hope for getting rid of North Korean nukes. Don't complain that Trump won't deliver that. If that is a failure, it is Obama's failure too.

But Obama didn't get much from Cuba in exchange for normalizing relations. For generations, the US said it would only happen if Cuba released political prisoners, ended human rights abuses, and paid for the assets it seized. None of that happened. I still give Obama credit for improving relations with Cuba. I am willing to give Trump credit if he deescalates the peninsula, even a little.

David Smelser said...

There are a few reasons is it insufficient for Democrats to be "not Trump":

1) We are in primary season and being "not trump" isn't sufficient to narrow the field among multiple democrats that are all "not trump". This is especially true in California where we have top 2 primaries, with multiple democrat and multiple republicans running (like in CA-49) it is possible for there to be no democrats on the general ballot in November.

2) As has been pointed out on this site, the republicans are the party of NO and can fulfill their campaign promises by shutting down the government or sitting in office and doing nothing. This doesn't work for democrats who believe in the government doing things.

3) "Not Trump" isn't enough because ultimately Trump will be gone -- impeachment, loses the 2020 race, or terms out in 2024.

LarryHart said...

@David Smelser,

1) Yeah, I wasn't really talking about the primaries.

2) Probably your best point, but I'd personally vote for a Democrat who would keep the government from doing bad things over a Republican who would do bad things. Of course, I'd prefer a Democrat I could fall in love with over a blase Democrat, but any Democrat at all is better than someone who confirms the next Neil Gorsuch. I'm not trying to say that Democrats shouldn't stand for something good. I'm just saying that "not Trump" (or "not a Trump sycophant for the midterms) is already a good reason for me to vote for them.

3) In the long run, everyone is dead. That doesn't mean that what happens in the interim doesn't matter. I'm not willing to just wait six more years for this long national nightmare to end.

A.F. Rey said...

One more reason it is insufficient for Democrats to be "not Trump."

Republicans have a propaganda machine called Fox News, and for years now they have been teaching their viewers that everything Democrat is pure evil. So even before any Democrat announces she will run, she have to overcome the perception that she is "pure evil."

This is the main reason I voted for Hillary in the primaries. Because no matter who the candidate was (i.e. Bernie), the Fox machine would paint him as being "pure evil"--in Bernie's case, a Communist and pie-in-the-sky, bust-the-budget Extreme Liberal (two poison labels right there--or at least were before Trump was elected). And the Republican Faithful will go along with it.

Just check with Robert's parents at the next election. They will be talking about how the Democratic nominee "would be worse than Trump."

So the Democratic candidate has to have something those on the fence can latch onto, to say, "Yeah, but at least he won't be worse in [this respect], and I can live with the rest."

Hopefully, that won't take much...

LarryHart said...

Russel Osterlund:

It is so convenient to blame the candidate and assign their poor judgement to anyone but themselves.

As I understand it, the reason for a Bernie or Jill Stein voter not to vote for Hillary in November was to "send a message" to the Democratic Party establishment. The message seems to be something on the order of, "You can't count on my vote against a deplorable opponent for just any old Democrat. To get my vote, it better be a candidate I liked in the primary!"

So what's the DNC supposed to do with that information? Let's see, Bernie got about 45% of the primary vote, and Hillary got about 55%. So if the party doesn't nominate Bernie, 45% of its voters will stay home or otherwise help Trump win. If the party doesn't nominate Hillary, then 55% of its voters will stay home or otherwise help Trump win. How does kow-towing to the losing primary candidate help the DNC in this situation?

LarryHart said...

musing on responses to @A F Rey , @David Smelser , and @Russel Osterlund ...

Imagine that over the past 200 years, instead of a long, pompous, esoteric campaigning season, the candidates for office squared off against each other in some sort of sporting match. Let's say a tennis match, although any one-on-one sport will do for illustrative purposes. Since the time of Jefferson and Burr, it has just been accepted that the winner of a tennis match decides who gets the office. Not that the office has anything to do with tennis, but that's the game being played and all contenders know that going in.

Now, in the 21st Century, a professional tennis player (let's just call him James McEnroe) decides that he wants to be president. At any time in history, a professional tennis star could have whipped any politician in the game, but until now, no professional tennis player had any reason to want to be president or to think he understood enough of how to be president. McEnroe doesn't care. He just wants the glory of winning, so he "runs for office" and beats the pants-suit off of his opponent in the presidential tennis match. Yay, he won! He gets the notoriety and the perks of office. But he's woefully unprepared and unqualified to actually hold the office.

In real life, as long as voters treat elections as sporting events, game shows, or (especially) reality tv, then what I described above is really what we've got going on.

If the question is who is most fit for the highest office in the country (if not the world), then Trump should never have gotten near the nomination, let alone the office. But if the contest is about celebrity, then Trump has the advantage over everyone, in 2016 and again in 2020. The only ones who could take him on in his home arena are maybe Oprah Winfrey or Stormy Daniels.

Lorraine said...

Oprah Winfrey is a bit new-agey for my tastes, but I'll vote for any general election opponent of Donald Trump.

A.F. Rey said...

Be careful, Lorraine. "Anyone but..." is how we got Donny in the first place. :(

sociotard said...

The Celebrity issue is caused by the lack of strong parties in the US. We were uncomfortable with the un-democratic nature of the 'smoke filled back rooms' where parties picked candidates and aligned their policies. We passed laws to get rid of them, and we threw the babies out with the bathwater.

Anonymous said...

I think I read in a book that Pierson's puppeteers lived in a very overpopulated world, and consequently Pierson's puppeteers had to do something heroic or very useful as a prerequisite for gaining the right to reproduce.
I suppose that one day, the planet earth will be so crowded, that it may be necessary to win the right to reproduce in some way.
Thus, perhaps in the future, only people with a university degree and employment could obtain the right to have a partner and reproduce.
Not having these limitations yet, it is ironic that there are men who choose to marry other men. (I have nothing against homosexuals, but that kind of marriage has no logic, and women are the most perfect work of art created for men.) (Yes, I know, everyone is going to be furious about my comment. , but it is a fact that, if a Russian virus makes all men homosexual, the human species could become extinct) (unless I found an antidote for myself and I had to sacrifice myself for the good of humanity, giving the gift of motherhood to women from all countries of the world.


Anonymous said...

“The Steve Martin character had the foresight to envision thousands of years of advancement of civilization, but couldn't foresee the reaction of the alpha male?”
And because of that, it's vital that the Democrats acquire some malice. As I said before, the feudal lords broke the rules, so we are not obliged to obey the rules.


Russell Osterlund said...


My comment was mostly directed at people like Robert's parents (I have more than my fair share of relatives who believe the same as his and who also despised Obama). But it could be directed at anyone who used their vote in protest - they need to learn the consequences and own their choices.

What I don't understand about those who offer that Biden or Bernie or anyone else would have done better is how these alternatives would have stood up to the same kind of pounding HC took during both the primary and president campaigns, not to mention the two decades of so-called baggage she was saddled with as First Lady and Senator. I doubt that George Washington or Abraham Lincoln or FDR would have been electable today if one is worried about "flawed" candidates.

One reason why I will never vote for any candidate from the current Republican party is that it presented a weak field of candidates whose only platform seemed to be "Attack Clinton" and allowed a celebrity/tabloid persona to insult his way to the nomination. Were they really so devoid of ideas and imagination to allow 2016 to happen?

David Smelser said...

I find this analysis of the liberal vs. left divide to the best one I've found.
I think it explains the 2016 democratic divisions and the current divisions fairly well.

The main divisions are in: loyalty to party, questions of strategy (move to the center to win elections then implement ideals once in office vs. move to the left to win elections), and differences in opinion on how big the gap is between democrats and republicans (i.e., Any dem is better than #ThereAreNoGoodRepublicans vs. both parties are owned by the corporations).

A.F. Rey said...

As I said before, the feudal lords broke the rules, so we are not obliged to obey the rules.

But what if the feudal lords ultimate plan is to destroy all the rules, and us breaking the rules justifies them in eliminating them altogether?

As Stacy Keech said in the movie Airplane, when someone suggested they turn on the landing strip lights to help the distressed jet land:

"That is exactly what they expect us to do!"

Acacia H. said...

Winter7, your comment ignores the very real fact that a guy only needs to preserve a sperm sample in order to father a child. If everyone was gay, that doesn't stop sexual reproduction. It just turns it into a business venture. Even if said Gay Russian Virus also sterilized all the men, there is tons of sperm (just about) kept frozen for various people who wish to hold off in having children or who donate their sperm for various reasons.

For that matter there is considerable research into developing artificial sperm so that two women can share genetic material and have a child if they so chose... and artificial wombs so that a man's genetic material could be placed into an ovum, fertilized with another man's sperm, and have a child born of two men.


In the case of my two parents, they don't always vote Republican. My Dad would have gladly have voted for Bernie, and my mom gladly for Biden. They are anti-Clinton. You might recognize this seeing that I'm anti-Clinton - it's just that I can see past my biases and realize when a Clinton is the better person to lead than Trump. (My parents can't. My mom at least just calls me a Hillary-lover. But once Trump and Republicans eviscerate her benefits I can just shrug at her and say "you made your bed." Though to be honest, they live in a liberal state that went Hillary so their vote was more a protest vote than anything.)

The advantage that Biden or Sanders would have had over Hillary is this: they were old grey-haired white men. As such the Republican party is willing to work with them, just as they would have gladly have embraced Irish-American Barry O'Bama. I guarantee that if Oprah were to win the Democratic nomination for President they would have every last Republican, fascist, Libertarian, and racist out in force to vote against her. It's just that most of Black America would also be out in force along with most of Liberal America and they'd probably bury the fascists and like, and we'd get another Celebrity President - the only real difference being that Oprah would recruit legitimate intelligent people to be on her cabinet and assist her in effective policy-making. And the Republicans in Congress would then shut down government left and right to make sure she can't do a thing.

Rob H.

LarryHart said...

David Smelser:

...differences in opinion on how big the gap is between democrats and republicans (i.e., Any dem is better than #ThereAreNoGoodRepublicans vs. both parties are owned by the corporations).

I think the "both parties are owned..." folks miss the crucial difference, sometimes willfully, sometimes not.

Democrats are beholden to corporate money to the extent that "Citizens United" and other similar decisions force anyone running for office to amass huge piles of campaign cash, and also to keep huge piles of campaign cash from being marshaled against them.

Democrats (IMHO) are reluctantly beholden to corporations to the extent that corporate money is a necessary component of winning. Some embrace the game more readily than others do. But Republicans are fully complicit partners in the Electoral-Industrial Complex.

It's analogous to the Star Trek episode I've been quoting a lot lately, where the alien who pitted Kirk and Spock against Ghengis Khan and a Klingon admits after the contest that he (the alien) couldn't see any difference between the ways the "good" and "evil" sides fought. Kirk makes the point that the bad guys were fighting for a promise of power, whereas, "You offered me the lives of my crew." That's the difference in a nutshell. Republicans work with corporations to amass power. Democrats do what they have to do to win office so that they can work for the lives of their constituents.

I realize I'm oversimplfying, but only somewhat.

Anonymous said...

I forgot to say that in addition to the Gay Russian Virus, the Russians created and spread all over the world auto-replicable nanobots that seek and destroy all the sperm that is not of Russian origin.
The virus was supposedly designed in such a way that it would not affect Russian DNA. But the virus mutated unexpectedly and the Russians began to become homosexuals. So the only hope to save the destiny of humanity was my seed. (Of course, all this happened in another parallel universe.) Also, because of my religious beliefs, I can not accept the option of artificial insemination, so my other self from another dimension had to use the classical method of reproduction, in all the countries of the world, a situation that almost destroyed my main tool, but thanks to the nanobots, I could regenerate my natural tool every 20,500 women, thanks to the nanobots and a diet based on proteins and vitamins, humanity in that other universe she was saved. (In that other parallel universe, Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump lived happily ever after in a distant hut in Lithuania)


In Spanish:

Olvidé decir que además del Gay Russian Virus, los rusos crearon y esparcieron por todo el mundo nanobots auto-replicables que buscan y destruyen todo el esperma que no es de origen ruso.
El virus, supuestamente estaba diseñado de tal modo que no afectaría al ADN ruso. Pero el virus mutó sorpresivamente y los rusos comenzaron a convertirse en homosexuales. De modo que la única esperanza para salvar el destino de la humanidad era mi semilla. (desde luego, todo eso ocurrió en otro universo paralelo. Además, a causa de que mis creencias religiosas, no puedo aceptar la opción de la inseminación artificial, por lo que mi otro yo de otra dimensión tuvo que utilizar el método clásico de reproducción, en todos los países del mundo. Una situación que casi destruyó mi herramienta principal. Pero gracias a los nanobots, podía regenerar mi herramienta natural cada 20,500 mujeres. De ese modo, gracias a los nanobots y una dieta basada en proteínas y vitaminas, la humanidad en ese otro universo fue salvada. (En ese otro universo paralelo, Vladimir Putin y Donald Trump vivieron felices por siempre en una lejana cabaña de Lituania)

Anonymous said...

AF Rey:
“But what if the feudal lords ultimate plan is to destroy all the rules, and us breaking the rules justifies them in eliminating them altogether?

As Stacy Keech said in the movie Airplane, when someone suggested they turn on the landing strip lights to help the distressed jet land:

"That is exactly what they expect us to do!"
¡Ray Rey! It really seems that you prefer complicated solutions.
It's okay. "Maybe" we should not play dirty like villains. (After all, we are supposed to be the good guys in the movie) but, if we must have enough malice to know how to guess the dirty and tricky moves of the fascists. Also, I do not say that we respond in exactly the same way. But I think the level of malice we want to allow is a detail that is totally, a personal matter. Everyone knows where the limit of the admissible is and where the true dark side of the force begins. The trick is not to be seduced by the dark side, walking in balance, at the edge of the knife.

Anonymous said...

Wooowww. I bring good news regarding autism:


LarryHart said...


Not having these limitations yet, it is ironic that there are men who choose to marry other men. (I have nothing against homosexuals, but that kind of marriage has no logic,
if a Russian virus makes all men homosexual, the human species could become extinct

That's a common argument against homosexuality--that if everyone was that way, we'd go extinct. The argument ignores the fact that there are seven billion people on the planet right now, and that too many people for the available resources is a more immediate problem than too few people. At this point in history, anything that allows people their sexual release without necessarily creating progeny is part of the solution, not part of the problem.

and women are the most perfect work of art created for men.

Personally, I agree. :) But we can't force our personal appreciation on those who don't feel it.

Yes, I know, everyone is going to be furious about my comment. ,

There's room for honest criticism without making it about hate.

unless I found an antidote for myself and I had to sacrifice myself for the good of humanity, giving the gift of motherhood to women from all countries of the world.

Heh. Either you or your translator has a great sense of humor.

In the early 2000s, there was a comic series called "Y: The Last Man" about a plague that killed all of the men and male mammals on earth, except this one guy (and his monkey) strangely survive. It wasn't nearly as pornographic as that might sound.

LarryHart said...


Also, because of my religious beliefs, I can not accept the option of artificial insemination, so my other self from another dimension had to use the classical method of reproduction, in all the countries of the world, a situation that almost destroyed my main tool, but thanks to the nanobots, I could regenerate my natural tool every 20,500 women, thanks to the nanobots and a diet based on proteins and vitamins, humanity in that other universe she was saved. (In that other parallel universe, Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump lived happily ever after in a distant hut in Lithuania)


You should publish this story! Or else let your translator publish it on its own.

(I'm curious if the virus turns the girls gay too)

Anonymous said...

I've seen that series available at my cable television provider, but I did not know what the story was exactly about.
(By the way, and release the new movie Star Wars on cable TV) I will see the film little by little. I do not want to finish the movie all at once. It will be better to ration.
And speaking of cable television ... I tried to show my family the first chapter of Rick and Morty. My idea was to have at hand the remote control to censor certain scenes. Unfortunately, I did not know that the remote control batteries were almost exhausted. Ray!. I do not know why some people break down stories by adding unnecessary sex scenes. That television series could be very useful as a tool to educate children. (if we delete the sex scenes). Hopefully the series will be reissued to be suitable for the whole family.

Alfred Differ said...

@Winter7 | I think it very unlikely we will wind up with such an overpopulated planet as the puppeteers had. The population bomb feared a couple generations ago fizzled for a reason I don’t think anyone expected. It turns out that if you leave women with the impression that their children will survive to have children of their own, they CHOOSE to have fewer of them. Look where local violence rates are low and you will find practical fertility rates are also low. It’s not that we couldn’t have more, but when women say they don’t want more they at least partially get their way.

it is ironic that there are men who choose to marry other men

Heh. Spoken like a heterosexual male. The homosexual men I know feel about the same way about those of us who choose to try to breed. It really shouldn’t surprise any of us, though. If you live a life that tempts one person to love you, is it surprising when more than one does? It’s not like we MAKE people love us. We tempt them into it. It turns out our methods for doing so aren’t all that selective.

Your ‘Russian’ virus wouldn’t make humanity go extinct. It would just make it difficult for guys to get it up around women. Simple chemistry would fix that. You can buy the stuff pretty easily. Besides, the thing probably wouldn’t be a virus. It would be more like toxoplasma gondii that causes rats to turn on when they smell cat urine. Imagine what could be done with a home biolab and an intent to do something like that.

Alfred Differ said...

@sociotard | I sometimes imagine an old party boss back when we starting pushing primary elections upon them thinking to themselves "So... you all think you are better at this than I am?" The barbarian response is "Of course!"

When I try to explain what you describe to some of my friends, they just get depressed. They rarely think "What can I do about it?" The few who do get my already-prepared answer. Stop abdicating your duties as a citizen.

I haven't had much success with that message, though. Go figure. 8)

duncan cairncross said...

Hi Alfred
Your primary system is (I think) unique to the USA - we seem to get on OK with the "smoke filled rooms" - and it is a lot less costly!

I wonder why you ended up there?

Any thoughts - real advantages?

Alfred Differ said...

Our smoke filled rooms were where the spoils were planned and elections were purchased. Party bosses could be elected by very few people and dominate over vastly more. They DID act as a moderating force because hot-head candidates tend to disrupt their cashflow, but they also chose some of the more crooked people ever to serve us.

I think the primaries are kinda dumb the way we have them set up in most places. I'd rather have run-offs and other variants that have been tried in other nations. We got our primaries changed here in CA, but we have a people-driven initiative process many other states avoid... and with good reason. That same initiative process also gave us Prop 8 were we tried to amend our state constitution to discriminate against same-sex marriages. The proposition passed as a constitutional amendment and had to be fought. (There is nothing quite like a court case against the State where no elected official wants to defend the State.)

I'd rather not have a return of our old system of party bosses, but I AM inclined to consider options where party leadership can reject a candidate running under their name no matter how popular that candidate is with voters. That would mean we would need a loose structure for how people are represented in our 'primaries'. For example, Libertarians don't have primaries in this state. There would be no point since there are so few of us. Who gets to say whether a candidate is a Libertarian though? Not the Libertarian party, that's for sure. We can endorse someone, but we can't deny them the use of our party name when the run for office. Does that even make sense?

Alfred Differ said...

@winter7 | That IS good autism news. It's an animal model, though. Humans are much trickier. Soooo many gene/environment interactions.

duncan cairncross said...

Hi Alfred
So in the states a party leader cannot simply say - "He is not a member" ?

Here and in the UK a Party controls it's membership so that somebody who does not fit in with that parties requirements is simply expelled from the party

Alfred Differ said...

There are limits. In CA when you want to run for office as a Democrat or a Republican, the registration fees are different than for the third parties. If you say you are a member and the party officials disagree, you probably won't get far in the major parties, but they can't really say No. As long as you follow the rules at the Secretary of State's office, you get on a ballot.

In egregious cases, party officials might be able to file a lawsuit, but those take a while to resolve. In the mean time, a popular candidate will infiltrate their people into your leadership and go for a take-over. It doesn't happen often in the major parties, but it is quietly common in the minor ones. For example, if most Americans understood what the official 'American Independent Party' stood for, they'd probably have a cow. They got hijacked by a loony lot a while back.

People think we are a two party system, but with these kinds of rules it really isn't true. We are a 'two names' system, but what those names stand for varies as the party factions shift around. We do our 'negotiations' for governance alliances before an election instead of afterward and no one really owns any particular party.

duncan cairncross said...

Interesting activities on the "Political Orphans" site

Chris Ladd did a piece for Forbes that was a little too honest so they deleted it

Lorraine said...

Perhaps those millennials born into evangelical families will be the antidote.

LarryHart said...

I don't see an "Onward!" yet, but there is a new post on the main site.

Caveat emptor.

Lloyd Flack said...

Alfred, the problem with your Primaries is that they increase the need of candidates for campaign finance and hence increase the influence of money on the elections. Candidates become more vulnerable to targeted attacks by the wealthy. This has happened in the Republican Party, where candidates have to conform to the extreme right line on things like climate change. Primaries were an attempt to make things more democratic which had the opposite effect.

LarryHart said...

@Lloyd Flack and @Alfred Differ,

The problem I see with primaries--especially "open primaries" which has been more the trend lately--is the potential for mischief. There's a reason non-citizens (and foreigners living abroad) don't get to vote in US elections. The same reason should prevent non-Democrats from voting in a Democratic Primary (and likewise for the Rs). Yet, somehow, that notion has become viewed as un-democratic (small-d).

At greatest reduction, if everyone gets to select both the Democratic candidate and the Republican candidate for an election, then the same person should win both slots.

I have a little more respect for California's "jungle primary" system in which all candidates participate in a single election and then the top two run off against each other. That system has its own pitfalls, but at least it makes more sense that every voter participates in both steps. It makes no sense (to me) that I can vote in a Republican primary if I so choose and pick the weaker candidate.

I did that once, which is the moral equivalent of playing with the Designated Hitter rule even though I wish it didn't exist. Though in that case, I really wasn't voting for the weakest candidate in hopes of making a Democratic victory easier. I voted against the Republican who I really, REALLY didn't want to be our next governor. Of course, he won anyway.

Alfred Differ said...

That's the thing about voting in the primary for another party. Why would you pick a weak candidate? If you DON'T get to vote in the primary for your own party, you might all wind up pitting to weak candidates against each other. Dumb. 8)

I waffle a bit when it comes to whether parties should be able to exclude other voters. I'm not convinced parties should have the power to dictate who gets to vote when it comes to putting people on the general ballot. Once someone is on a general ballot, there is a real danger they might get elected, so I'm fairly sure I want a primary system to focus mostly on excluding candidates and not on parsing voters into power blocs. (I feel about the same way when it comes to our initiatives too after the Prop 8 debacle. I think some of our props should have to pass twice with the first being necessary for amendments to get onto a general ballot.)

Changing these things isn't easy, so I'm more interested in gerrymandering right now. Reducing the scope of government in that area might help more than campaign finance reform... which says a lot.

I'm moving onward now.

LarryHart said...

@Alfred Differ,

I'll respond under the new post.


Although Dr Brin hasn't said "Onward!" yet, there is a new posting.

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