Friday, April 20, 2018

What will - what won't happen?

"The ice caps were going to melt, they were going to be gone by now. But now they're setting records. They're at a record level." - Donald Trump, to Reuters, quoted on msn.com.

This will be a weekend catch-all that offers up a lot of interesting items - some worrisome and some hopeful - that share a common theme... the future that's barreling toward us.  It was start non-political... then get more so. Because that's where the battle for our children is taking place.

First... some links to how and where you can hear my best blather about the coming era.

== Brin-sights ==

Just posted from the Fire 2017 conference: What is AI Telling Us? An interview about the future with Google’s Joseph Smarr and David Brin.

Posted by GigaOm: Voices in AI: A conversation between David Brin and Byron Reese, discussing intelligence, consciousness, Moore's Law and the likelihood of a near-future crisis in AI - specifically the first AI empathy crisis.

And another, from The Planetary Society Radio: AI, Space and Humanity's Future: A Conversation with David Brin, Emily Lakdawalla, Bruce Betts and Mat Kaplan. 


And now some gosh-wow non political stuff...

== The world moves ahead ==

Dubai is planning to introduce self-driving octocopter taxis sooner than anyone anticipated, with  a maiden air taxi test flight with Volocopter back in Sept 2017 and a planned first commercial service launch with eHang this Summer. Futurist seer John Smart foresees mostly high-end customers, at first. “Using them will be expensive in the 2020’s, and it is my hope that we’ll see air deliveries for urgent goods first, but the most exciting application, multipassenger commuter drones, should start to get mass-affordable for daily use in the 2030s.”  John goes on to discuss noise abatement, flying ambulances, collision avoidance, safety airbogs/parachutes and many other aspects.

A very detailed and informative run-down of how our cities will soon utterly transform into an added dimension. (That is, till some terrorist uses these things to scare us into shutting it all down again, alas.)

One of our generation’s best SF writers – Brenda Cooper – is interviewed about “The Nexus of Digital, IT and Science Fiction in the Future of Work.”

But okay now. Ponder the fight for civilization.

== Will anyone stand up? ==

There are two possible paths for the wave of retiring GOP Congressfolk. Some are slinking in deserved ignominy. Others - moderates like this fellow - can't bring themselves to sink into Trumpist-Confederate swill enough to survive their coming primaries. Both kinds will cash in on rich K Street consultancies, of course. Ah, but can I dream that one would stand and fight for the dream of a sane, decent, fact-and-science-loving version of conservatism? Enduring fire from Fox for the sake of the nation?

These defectors could help save us by standing for one, core issue. Restoration of respect for facts. Helping establish a credible, nonpartisan fact-checking service. No other act would so effectively quell this madness. But I fantacize.There are glimmers that perhaps Mitt Romney's ceaseless efforts will pay off and sober, residually-sane Republicans might hold a Grand Conference, this summer. Perhaps aiming to achieve what Democrats did in their "Miracle of 1947." 

I'm on record as the first to predict this... though still at low odds, since all we've seen so far is callow cowardice.

== Back to the Will ==

Some have questioned my calling George F. Will “the worst American.” After all, isn’t this urbane, articulate Goldwater-Buckley disciple one of the leading voices on the U.S. right now denouncing Donald Trump and everything correlated with Trumpism? And haven’t I been asking for this very thing? For residually sane conservatives to get fed up - at long last - with the accelerating lobotomization and derangement of their movement? For such men and women to stand up, before there’s nothing left of adult American conservatism to save?

I have faith that there are several million such “ostrich republicans,” finally lifting their heads from the sand of denial. Conversations are fizzing across the nation, about holding a conclave of such adults - the way liberals once did, saving their movement in 1947. If it happens, the fragile confederate coalition will collapse and a new phoenix of sapient American conservatism might rise rapidly out of the smoldering sewer of Murdochism-Putinism, ready to sit at the grownups’ table, negotiating with both facts and goodwill about our future together.

Certainly, in his latest missive, Mr. Will calls for the Republican controlled Congress to pry control over nuclear weapons away from “the incontinent tweeting, rhetorical taunts and other evidence of the frivolity and instability of the 13th president of the nuclear era.” 

He has elsewhere tepidly called for an end to the Right’s open and all-out war on science, and every other fact-using profession. And tepid support is better than none, in our battle to stave off idiocracy.

So why my fury at the man?

Is it because he for decades aided and abetted the radicalization, the confederatization, the dumbing down of U.S. conservatism and paving the way for a return of feudalism? Sure, but Mr. Will wasn’t the only one making that satanic bargain, betraying the Founders, decency, truth and - yes - Adam Smith. So why single him out?

Because, out of all the rationalizers who helped re-ignite phase 8 of the American Civil War, George F. Will did it with fiercely acute intelligence, clear-eyed perception and eloquence. Any other rationalizer might claim: “I never realized!” But GFW cannot. He knew. He knew all along, and deliberately helped to make the hell about which he now whines.

Oh, do read his missive about control over missiles! I’m glad that George F. Will is now using his eloquence against this phase of insanity and treason, even if I refuse to embrace him as a prodigal son. Indeed, elsewhere I’ve proposed the best way that Congress could protect us from a mad-president spasm… a method that is far simpler and more inherently effective than Will’s vague arm wavings. A method that’s immune from presidential vetoes and Fox diatribes, that would give our military professionals a place to go, if they are ever given a terrifying order.

My proposal. That could save us. Seriously.  

But sure, if he can help stir some cojones into the blood of McCain, Flake, Corker and that lot, so they’ll finally rise to their duty, then I’ll sign George F. Will’s pardon papers. Like in that movie "Inglorious Basterds."

But I’ll not shake his hand.

== By his fruits you shall know him… ==

That biblical saying suggests that we should heed actual facts, actual evidence, and take note when a leader – or a movement or a culture – always does badly by its people. And what's clear after 150 years is that the Confederacy… that angry twin welded to America’s hip… has an absolutely wretched record of governance. For example: “Massachusetts, Hawaii, Vermont, Utah and Connecticut rank as the five healthiest states, while West Virginia, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi rank the least healthy in America's Health Rankings, according to the report by the United Health Foundation.

If we subtract outliers like Utah and Detroit & Chicago, name a metric of moral and healthy living that is not worse in Red America, from teen sex, STD and pregnancy rates to obesity, dropouts, divorce and domestic violence, gambling and so on. Name... one... exception. Other than abortion which is a disagreement over fundamentals.

Along similar lines… “Why Inequality Predicts Homicide Rates Better ThanAny Other Variable  The surprising factors driving murder rates: income inequality and respect.” Another thought provoking article in Evonomics.

It has now been seven and a half years since Sean Hannity said waterboarding was not torture, so much so that he'd be willing to be waterboarded for charity.  Because, ya know, it's like a dunking booth. Keith Olbermann pounced at that time and offered $1000 for each second Hannity could tolerate it.

And now, we are awaiting the other shoe to drop from Hannity's Cohen-connection.  Good lord. What will it take for the Fox News Boycott to take off?  

And finally...

Another deduction that is disappearing is one for fees paid to agents, other outside managers or headhunters, who take a commission on a salary directly from an individual. Are... you... kidding me?  Creative people must be shown their place.

And then....  Confound the science... One of the best pieces of musical political satire I’ve seen in years! Moreover, it does what no one else seems capable of... going to the heart of the real problem -- the open and all-out war against our civilization's sapience -- in a way that makes you simultaneously laugh... and cry.

89 comments:

Tim H. said...

From my un-exalted perspective, George Will is continuing the work of John C. Calhoun, which left the South ill-prepared for war. One must wonder, with that philosophy going nation wide, what sort of future are we building?

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Paul SB said...

If we are interested in the future we are building, we might want to look at the institutions that are raising our children. The school system is one of the most important of these, and it is truly screwed from top to bottom, in spite of a workforce that is mostly pretty dedicated to its success - but are completely powerless to change anything and end up being the scapegoats for everything that is wrong in society. Here's a little article that scratches the surface of the problems. If, after reading it, you are tempted to do to the schools what Reagan did to the mental institutions, you might want to pay attention to the potential fallout.

https://theeducatorsroom.com/10-things-teachers-did-not-have-to-deal-with-10-years-ago/

locumranch said...


David can dream all he likes about some "sane, decent, fact-and-science-loving version of conservatism", the sad fact being that Conservatism is DEAD. Progressivism killed it with an infinite number of incremental nicks & cuts. God the Father? Divorced. Beneficent Paternalism? Reviled. The Family Nuclear? Gone Fission. Majority Rule? Racist. Freedom of Speech? Verbotten. The Right to Bear Arms? Infringed. There is vanishing little to 'conserve' any more. Aside from modern conveniences built upon an obsolete infrastructure, that is.

The Empathy Crisis in not limited to AI, but to human beings as well, the crisis being that empathy is an immaterial psychological abstraction rather than a material object -- like Terry Pratchett's take on Mercy, Justice & Equality -- yet these non-empiric fantasies are accepted as reality by what David laughably labels as progressive "fact-users" -- such a funny joke to call them "fact-users" when self-deluded nincompoops would be a much more accurate designation.

When identity group politics & social welfare wealth redistribution schemas take precedence over individual merit & effort, there are vanishing few conservative traditions worth preserving, leaving spite & payback the sole conservative option aside from complete surrender. Hence the collapse of the conservative class & rise of the Alt-Right, moving the West willy-nilly ever closer to the ultimate in real world egalitarianism as known as the Great Equalizer.

Three Federal Appeals Court judges from Chicago have just ruled that the Federal Government cannot enforce the federal Supremacy Clause through the use of federal funding, allowing Blue Urban Sanctuary States to violate Federal Immigration Law with impunity, bringing us into the next Nullification phase of the new US Civil War (part deux).

Gloat quickly & remember this day because, most certainly, the Red Rural States will remember & invoke this very same legal precedent to tell the next Blue Urban federal administration to GO TO HELL when we create our own 'Sanctuary Cities' free from almost EVERY ASPECT of Federal Law & Legislation that we don't like.


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donzelion said...

re the FoxNews Boycott - take a look at the comments section on the page Dr. Brin linked to, and that'll tell you most of what you need to know. Articles date 2011, several haphazard efforts to organize and orchestrate a response - almost no money being spent to orchestrate a full-fledged boycott.

David Hogg reignited a piece of it with his listing of Laura Ingraham's sponsors, which seemd to get momentary response. But there's no coordinated action continuously sticking it to them. AT&T is busy trying to get FoxNews backers to back their own campaign to expand with a major acquisition of FoxNews' biggest rival. Others have long-term contracts...many different stories in play.

Hogg called recently for boycotts of BlackRock and Vanguard - while the former has deep Republican ties, the latter is the only major NONPROFIT investment player: would a boycott of them really make sense?

Still, coordinating this sort of thing requires constant vigilance, actually watching FoxNews and responding to ads and backlash, and skillfully managing a long-term campaign. Tactically, it may be better to target specific shows (Laura Ingraham is surely a nasty worth targeting) and specific 'all-Fox, all the time' broadcasters (e.g., many retirement complexes, bars, and others who perpetually air their material).

locumranch said...


https://theeducatorsroom.com/10-things-teachers-did-not-have-to-deal-with-10-years-ago/

Funny how Paul_SB's cited article about failing US Schools reads like a State's Rights secessionist tract:

#1. Wouldn't it be nice if teachers at local schools could ignore federally-mandated educational curricula, dispense with federally-mandated standardised tests, create their own local curriculum & still receive unlimited federal educational funding?

#2, Wouldn't it be nice if teachers could punish the student minority by banning their federally-protected right to free speech, their right to protest UNFAIR learning conditions, their ability to communicate via cellphones & social media, and the ignorant expression of their feeling-based minority opinion?

Personally, I resent the Anti-Federal Opinions expressed by the cited article & these traitorous, treacherous & teacherous (?) so-called educators!! They need to SHUT UP and obey federal law and teach what they are ordered to teach by the glorious federal gubbermint or we'll put on our Union Kepis & blow their frigging heads off.

James Gunn described the future of US higher education in 'Kampus' & it's not pretty.


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Paul SB said...

No, that's not what the article said, and the federal government isn't the problem. This is just more locumspew distortion, as everyone here knows.

#1: The Inability to Punish Students: This is not federally mandated, and there are several states (all red) that do still use corporal punishment, although corporal punishment is not the only kind of punishment available. The problem here is cultural. America is the most litigious society in the world, and huge numbers of people think that they are going to get rich by suing somebody. Education administrators are afraid of students and allow them to rum amok rather than risk law suits.

#2: Cell Phone Addiction: Once again, no Federal connection here whatsoever. This is largely a biological issue, but the inability of schools to do anything about it comes down to item #1.

#3: Online Bullying: see #2

#4: Pep Rallies for Standardized Testing: Now this actually is a case where the Federal government overstepped its authority - with the No Child Left Behind Act under the Bush Administration. The uninformed misuse of standardized tests led to quite a few major issues in the schools nationally, including an overall lowering of performance and the quality of education across the board. Strike One to the Reds.

#5: Constant Student Anxiety: This boils down to population and the diseases of civilization. Once again, no connection to either the Federal government or his much maligned Blue-state ideology.

#6: Fear of School Shootings and Lock-Downs: Well what can we say about this one? The NRA mantra that there is less violence when everyone has guns has been pretty well disproven in the past 20 years. Still no Federal policy, here.

#7: Heroin, Opioid Epidemics: These opioid addictions are largely a result of over-prescription of opioids by doctors, which has nothing whatsoever to do with any of locum's scapegoats.

#8: Politicized Schools: Here again, this has nothing to do with the government itself so much as it is the culture, which is overly influenced by competition between power brokers and the propaganda they generate.

#9: Era of “feelings” where students are never wrong: see #1 & #2 - also, if you want a more in-depth analysis, read Bronson and Merryman's "Nurture Shock" (2009). https://www.amazon.com/NurtureShock-New-Thinking-About-Children-ebook/dp/B002LHRLO8/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1524340304&sr=1-1&keywords=nurture+shock
There are many summaries out there.

#10: Naked Utilitarianism in Education: see #1 & #2, and also think about what happens in an environment of growing financial inequality. This should be pretty obvious. Once again, no connection to either the federal government or Blue-state ideologies. In fact, it has been Red state policies that have made or exacerbated most of these problems. Locum, as usual, is blowing it out his anal orifice in the faces of all.

locumranch said...


Actually, the failure of the US education system has everything to do with US Federal Law & Blue State Ideologies. The US has become insanely litigious just because US Federal Law forbids 'actual or perceived' discrimination on the basis of "race, color, sex, gender, gender identity, religion, national origin, age, handicap, disability, illness, mental incapacity, marital status, political affiliation, or on conduct".

Federal law (in the form of 'mandatory minimum sentencing standards') also stipulates that the initiation of any undesired physical contact between agents may constitute physical assault, sexual assault & possibly a 'hate crime', especially if said action may be associated with any of the 'real or perceived' qualities currently subject to federal protection. And, while alcoholism, drug abuse & addictive behaviours do not constitute an ADA-protected disability in & of themselves, many of the physical incapacities associated with alcoholism & addiction do qualify as ADA-protected disabilities.

So, basically, professional merit-based educational discriminators like Paul_SB (who remain complicit in the whole Blue State Blank-Slate Equalism ideology) are screwed both ways, being unable to educate while being held accountable for any 'real or perceived' prejudices that result in a failure to educate, which is why attention-deficit Johnny can't read but still graduated from Ballou High School with honours anyway.

https://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2017/11/28/564054556/what-really-happened-at-the-school-where-every-senior-got-into-college

The US Education System is the illiterate, innumerate & inarticulate 'My brain hurts' GUMBY of the Industrial World.


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MadLibrarian said...

Re: musical satires, does anyone remember JibJab's pokes at Bush?

Paul SB said...

Wrong again, but that is the usual thing with loci. Notice that all he is really doing is labeling? Mislabeling, really. Anyone who has waded through my verbosity for any time knows that I have argued strenuously against the Blank Slate idea, but since he stereotypes all the people who aren't him this way, then it has to apply to me, doesn't it? Sure.

Also notice that when he actually comes up with a real case of a failed federal policy, it's policy created by his Reds. Last time it was the NCLB of Bush, this time his Mandatory Minimum Sentencing was created by Reagan in his utterly failed War on Drugs.

His first point about non-discrimination at least has a grain of truth to it, but America was the most litigious nation in the world for over a century, long before the Civil Rights movement and legislation that came in its wake. I have seen stuck up kids and their parents try to accuse teachers of racism when their kids just didn't do the work. In 14 years of teaching you can bet I've had that one personally - and my Hispanic principal was smart enough to know not to take a straight F student seriously just because he was Hispanic.

I'm not exactly sure what he was trying to get at with his comments on alcoholism and drug abuse. It's quite common for people who have genuine mental disabilities to turn to alcohol and/or drugs as a way of self medicating before the are diagnosed. They refer to this as Dual Diagnosis, and treat the addiction along with the schizophrenia or MDD. Probably most dumb drunks and druggies are just fools who succumb to peer pressure at parties, but then, when you look at the WHO stats on mental disorders, maybe not. The rant still sounds like typical old fart pontificating about how everything was so much better when he was your age.

The reason huge numbers of kids are getting through the public school system barely literate has to do with item #1 from that article, and how money and administrative accountability are handled. This has also been true for decades. Administrators are judged on their school's graduation rate, so they water down the standards for graduation so low that the only people who fail are people don't speak enough English - kind of like driving tests. NCLB was supposed to address that problem, but did it in the worst way possible, and in spite of sharing the ideology that created it, the most Red states in the nation have been failing badly under that system, proving that their traditional remedies to social issues simply don't work.

So why can't Johnny read? Because school administrators are judged based on graduation rates and on how well the balance budgets, a system that utterly fails to incentivize actual learning. Loci can bobblehead to Hannity all he likes, but saying something is true does not make it true. I've been in the trenches myself, he hasn't.

David Brin said...

Welcome back, locumranch. But… ah… you are still some weird guy. Like “Conservatism is DEAD. Progressivism killed it with an infinite number of incremental nicks & cuts.”

Bah, completely ignoring the pure fact that their parents in the Greatest Generation were mostly Roosevelt-Union Democrats, there are as many raging white male conservatives as ever. What is dead is all credibility.

LIBERALS made the millions cuts? Hah! Those cuts to credibility happened from being repeatedly WRONG!

About Tobacco. About “Cars don’t cause smog.” Or - Blacks don’t mind crappy schools and being called “boy.” (And YOU dare complain about emasculation?) Toxins are good for you. What ozone hole? What climate change? WMDs! Putin can be trusted! Yippee a War on Drugs! Supply Side! Give the rich ALL the money and they’ll spend it!

Oh, women can’t be cops or fighter pilots. Athletics will neuter girls. Beating your sons will build character… and I could go on and on… and the devastating refutation that comes from being flat-out wrong so often is what underlies today’s right wing war against all fact professions. All of them. Every single last one of them.

All you’ve got is anecdotes, now. Statistics are a devil’s plot.
==
School independence became a right wing mantra only when No Child Left Behind wrought an unexpected result. Holding teachers and schools accountable (a previous conservative demand) started showing how utterly crappy schools were in red bastions. Suddenly… local control!

Duncan Cairncross said...

Re-Schools

There are several problems with US schools

(1) - Administrators - here these are people who provide an Admin function to the Teachers who are in charge - they are paid less than the actual professional teachers

(2) - Sport - sport in schools is not necessarily bad but professional level sport is not compatible with education - get it out of schools! (and colleges)

(3) - Choice - when I was helping the Columbus High School kids as young as 12 had "free study" and were selecting which courses to take - and surprise - avoiding the difficult ones
I was barely mature enough to make those decisions when I went to Uni at 18! - and a significant percentage of my peers were still not ready for it

I don't think education is optimised here either - when I was doing "training" it would take 20 hours of prep work for a two hour session
We simply don't give the actual teachers that level of support - I don't think anywhere does

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin in the main post:

And then.... Confound the science... One of the best pieces of musical political satire I’ve seen in years!


Ok, the line that went:

No limits on pollution now.
There's nothing that we don't allow


made me realize the antithesis of that canard about "Without God, all is allowed."

Because of course, with Republicans, all is allowed. Allowed to themselves, that is.

LarryHart said...

Mad Librarian:

Re: musical satires, does anyone remember JibJab's pokes at Bush?


Yes, although they were studiously non-political in that they poked at both Bush and Kerry. And four years later, at McCain and Obama (and Hillary too). The 2008 "Time For Some Campaigning" had its moments, but the earlier 2004 "This Land is Your Land" parody you refer to was truly a work of art.

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin:

Welcome back, locumranch.


Welcome as a recurring bout of athlete's foot.

But… ah… you are still some weird guy. Like “Conservatism is DEAD. Progressivism killed it with an infinite number of incremental nicks & cuts.”

...

LIBERALS made the millions cuts? Hah! Those cuts to credibility happened from being repeatedly WRONG!


Serendipitously enough, I was looking for a way to work in a comment on Bill Maher, and here it belongs. On last night's show, Maher had a guest complaining about free speech being assaulted by liberals, and as an example, he mentioned some academic who I guess said bad things about Barbara Bush after her death, and was now being threatened with firing because, as his employer put it, "This goes beyond free speech. It's offensive."

So wait...it's liberals who are so protective of Barbara Bush that they'll suppress free expression in order to defend her honor? Really? This is an example of how conservatives really do have their own version of political correctness--things you are not allowed to say out loud because they so grate on conservative sensibilities. But it's so ingrained in popular thought that "PC" is a liberal thing that an example gets laid at the feet of liberalism even when conservatives are the ones perpetuating it.

Later on, Maher and this same guest went off on rants about how badly this generation of children are being raised. It was such a mutual love-fest that another guest facetiously snarked that the two of them (both guys) should go off and have a baby together! But the thing is, Maher even proudly admits that he not only doesn't have children, but that he avoids them as much as possible. When he complains that kids today say "Fuck you, Mom!" and call social services at any dispute with parents, he's getting his information--admittedly--from tv and movies. From rom-coms and sitcoms. I usually love the guy politically, but maybe he should stick to subjects he...whatayacall...actually knows something about from experience?

LarryHart said...

locumranch:

Majority Rule? Racist.


For someone who insists on dictionary definitions, you exhibit quite the willful misunderstanding of what "majority rule" means. It does not mean that the racial or ethnic group who numbers more than other racial or ethnic groups gets to make all of the decisions in its own favor. It means that policies are enacted by majorities of individual voters.

Like a stopped clock, you are correct that majority rule is threatened in this country, but not by liberals. Virginia's House of Delegates is held by Republicans despite a blue wave in the last elections. Wisconsin and Pennsylvania both way overrepresent Republicans in their legislatures and electoral votes. And of course, a recent presidential election was won by negative-three million votes.

LarryHart said...

...and it was the Republicans on the US Supreme Court who were about to rule that "Whole number of persons" means "Likely-Republican voters". Only God saved us from that one by removing Scalia from the chessboard.

So, as Bogart said to Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca,


"I wouldn't mention election fraud if I were you. It's bad salesmanship."

Tony Fisk said...

From last post:
(me) “Another potential place to store CO2 is in the ocean depths.”

(DB) Um, someone didn’t read BRIGHTNESS REEF. Sub-ocean subduction zones. Your trash sinks to become magma.


Bristles with indignation (... did *TOO* read it!)

Actually, it's an interesting approach, it could work, and nothing has to get turned into magma* or anything.

In a series of laboratory experiments, Bahman Tohidi and his collaborators showed that, because of the enormous pressure of the water column, if CO2 is stored in marine sediments in waters 3000 meters or more deep, it remains in liquid form, although stored only a few hundred meters into the sediment. Over time, natural chemical processes in the water of the ocean sediments convert the liquid CO2 into a solid - in the form of stable hydrates. The great overlying pressure of the water prevents the CO2 rising toward the sediment surface, making the storage much more stable than when CO2 is stored in rocks on land. And when the CO2 becomes a hydrate, it is locked into the rock permanently.


- T. Flannery. "Atmosphere of Hope" p180-1. Text Publishing Melbourne, 2015. Citing a 2010 paper by B. Tohidi et al.

The real point to make here is that the average ocean depth is about 4000 meters. Subduction zones aren't needed and, with a few caveats about suitability of terrain, there is plenty of ocean floor that would be suitable.

* The trash dropped into a subduction zone would still have to be buried fairly deep into the sediment to ensure it *does* catch the conveyor.

Tony Fisk said...

Moving on to today's posting,

Conservatism today is better described as 'selfservatism', and it's increasingly looking like a cult that has been burning out the RINO moderates. It has the air of a city through which angels are walking, seeking just one righteous person. Sane Conservatives bailed some time ago.

Nevertheless, I have to cite Kate and point out that the set of data displaying VD doesn't quite show the Confederate states in isolation. The entire Eastern seaboard looks to have a high rate of incidence.

locumranch said...


David brags about belonging to a society that does AMAZING things but complains bitterly about its not so amazing accomplishments; Paul_SB the educator admits that the US Education system is crappy over-regulated & fourth rate but refuses to accept any personal responsibility for its failures; and Larry_H (plus all-of-the-above) blame their deplorable political opposition but never themselves for everything wrong in the world. Seems simultaneously 'convenient' and self-defeating, doesn't it?

Yet, there are at least 2 other ways of dealing with our problematic modernity besides their half-arsed one: First, they could just shut up, accept the bad with the good & eat the shit sandwich of their own complicit manufacture; or, second, they could act & segregate themselves (while hopefully shutting up) in order to rid themselves of the deplorable opposition that they blame for all their failures.

Personally, I favour option 2 -- Secession & Self-Segregation by another name -- which would liberate their progressive 'Go, Go Gadget' competency from their oft-blamed deplorable comrades, allowing them to construct the Progressive Utopia of their own device, while simultaneously allowing their deplorable comrades to fail or flourish own their own.

Yet, the very idea of Red Hen Secession fills the typical progressive with unspeakable terror for it is the the Little Red Hen that plants the seeds, cuts the wheat, grinds the wheat into flour & bakes the flour into the bread that the progressives intend to eat -- which is why the smartest progressives stay up late & dream up ways to replace various Little Red Hens with obediently slavish machines.

For without the Little Red States providing all the menial but necessary sustenance that the progressives consume, the progressive culture would quickly consume itself in a grand 'Battle Royale' of cannibalistic identity politics, much as it did in the last US presidential election when Hillary's DNC betrayed & back-stabbed the Bernie Bros, proving only that progressives eat their own.


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LarryHart said...

Tony Fisk:

Nevertheless, I have to cite Kate and point out that the set of data displaying VD doesn't quite show the Confederate states in isolation.


Also, I feel compelled to point out that it takes some chutzpah to list West Virginia as a confederate state.

LarryHart said...

locumranch:

and Larry_H (plus all-of-the-above) blame their deplorable political opposition but never themselves for everything wrong in the world. Seems simultaneously 'convenient' and self-defeating, doesn't it?


First of all, if you think that, you haven't been paying attention.

Secondly and more important, doesn't that characterization remind you of anyone?

LarryHart said...

locumranch:

For without the Little Red States providing all the menial but necessary sustenance that the progressives consume,


Remind me again what sustenance Illinois requires from you Little Red(neck) States?

David Brin said...

Oh fer pete's sake. The whiners are in two categories. I know several zillionaires whose yowling ideology led them to buy up ranches in Patagonia and/or New Zealand. Patagonia, in fact, is becoming a major enclave of Euro and American scrooges and it would be pathetic, if they weren't openly talking abouthow safe they are now and to hell with the lands they bled, to get there.

But hey locum, these are your heroes! They say all the same things you were trained to parrot... I mean say. Sure, they have giant ranches and live like medieval lords. But they need servants and factotums and that is the social order you extoll. So go! Secede! Heck, northern Mexico is filled with communities descended from fleeing confederates and Mormons. Gwan!

Idea #2. The one thing that white racists could push for, that's compatible with black racism is separation! W.E.B. DuBois called for it. Periodically there are calls for US blacks to move to Mississippi and tilt the balance in particular districts and freaking take over. SO start a campaign among white racists to declare "Sounds great!" Arrange a mass migration swap between Mississippi and Alabama, under which one state would become more white and the other more black. All voluntary! Costs subsidized by some of your Patagonian oligarchy pals.

locumranch said...

David says "So go! Secede! Gwan!" and, it will happen, sooner or later, but not before a traitorous California & the other blue-bellied Sanctuary States defy the Federal Supremacy Clause (already done), set Legal Precedent (as we speak) & give the US heartland the moral license to either 'go their own way too' or bring the full force of the US military to bear on dastardly diversity dogs of the illegitimate Bi-Coastal Confederacy.

Of course, when the schism does occur, both NY & LA will be uninhabitable within 3 days -- without a drop of water to drink or a toilet pot to piss in -- as all their water resources & infrastructure supply lines belong to US, while the so-called deplorable slack-jawed yokels of the Fly-Over States will most certainly offer up the same mercy, respect & moral tolerance that the mocking coastal elite has offered up to us (lo) these many years.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b7xUVldV07M

Then one night there's a scream in the night
And you'll wonder who could that have been
And you see me kinda grinnin' while I'm scrubbin'
And you say, "What's she got to grin?"
I'll tell you.

There's a ship
The Black Freighter
With a skull on its masthead
Will be coming in ...

That'll learn ya.


Best

donzelion said...

Locum PROBABLY doesn't want to protect the right to extort, rape, abuse, and rob illegal immigrants. Yet that's what 'sanctuary' is all about: California, unlike Texas, Arizona, and the other 'anti-sanctuary' states, believes that a rapist is a rapist, whether they happened to do that to a citizen, a non-citizen, an illegal resident: the rapist doesn't get to threaten the victim with deportation if they complain. In Texas (in at least 3 cases), men rape, abuse and batter women, women go to the police, husbands or boyfriends have the women deported on the courthouse steps.

That is what 'sanctuary' is all about: Locum sees stopping rape (and various other oppressions) as 'treason' - I see it as what our constitution always stood for.

In most of the country, when an illegal immigrant gets raped, robbed, cheated, or abused, they MAY report it to the police and get deported - or they may just suck it up and shut their mouths. We can either offer 'sanctuary' (prohibit police from triggering immigration proceedings except when the immigrants commit violent crimes, which is all the law in CA does) - or we can encourage citizens to prey upon these people with impunity, the way they've done in so much of the country.

Winter7 said...

It is a relief to know that the Russians did not capture Doctor brin. Maybe I could also travel to Russia and come back alive.
Definitely, David's comments in the matter of the new "surprise attack" of the United States to Syria are very true.
At this time, the candidates for the presidency of Mexico conduct a debate on television. I think I'll go see a movie.

Robert said...

According to Locum and those of his ilk (probably including a chap I'm friendly with despite the fact I'm going to Hell and am not a Trumpist (the latter being a graver sin I'm sure)) the illegals deserve it for entering our country illegally. Oh, sorry. For [i]being[/i] in our country illegally. That they entered legally and had a home and a job here when their visa ran out isn't our nation's fault, it's the immigrant's fault. At which point they can be murdered and it doesn't matter one bit. They can be raped and the only bad thing is if they got pregnant because we have to toss them over the border before they pop out an American Citizen who leeches our system because of the Natural Born Citizen thing.

And I'm sure that being LGBT+ that if Locum and his crew got their Constitutional Convention, my citizenship would be ripped away and I'd be an illegal despite having been born in this nation of parents who were born in this country whose parents likewise were born in this country. Because this is the sort of people Locum and crew are - they only know how to hate and destroy, and are only happy when they can make others more miserable than they are.

Rob H.

Winter7 said...

Moving on to another issue. Some time ago (months, I think) I mentioned that the violations carried out by the police during "intimate searches to look for marijuana" for teenagers, place the United States at the same level as Saudi Arabia in those matters.
Can a teenager carry a lot of marijuana in their cavities? What about the tons of drugs that pass in containers across the border thanks to bribes to border agents and police? I remember perfectly well the investigations that reveal many cases of corruption that have allowed drugs to flow by the ton.
Does it make sense to violate with vaginal and anal revisions adolescents and women with the unlikely purpose of finding a few grams of marijuana? Drugs that are already legal in many states! It is evident that the violations practiced as a legal routine by the police departments, are carried out more as a brutal act that evidently has been planned by the republican elements of the extreme right.
I'm sorry, but as long as they do not fix this brutal and terrible problem, we can not say that the United States is better than Saudi Arabia or the leaders of Boko Haram.
By the way, when I researched the problem on YouTube, at the beginning, I got data, but then, music videos with titles linked to the problem appeared. Evident is that someone is responsible for sabotaging very effectively the research conducted through the Internet. Before this, a couple of weeks ago, my computer suffered a virus attack that took me out of the network for a while. This time someone with computer skills saved my computer. (Wow!)
Hooo. It seems that I continue in my foolish tendency to make others angry. But. There are things that must be said.
Here is the link that proves that the problem of legal violations continues:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SzyrsfgpTv8

David Brin said...


“before a traitorous California & the other blue-bellied Sanctuary States defy the Federal Supremacy Clause…”

It gets ever-more hilarious! See how fast they drop their whole States Right thing? They were never for states’ rights. The Confederates owned the federal govt 1833 to 1861 and used it to blugeon their neighbors. Now they want to lobotomize the country and terrorize every fact profession.

I said Gwan to Patagonia! MAKE your paradise, as servants of the feudal caste you worship. You think the Officer Corps will go along with your dreamt-of schimsm? CA already feeds the nation, producing 20% of the food. 20%! We’re inventing efficient desalinization and urban tower farms.

But the biggest thing. We’d wait you out. Because the smartest 70% of your children… and 90% of your women… will come to us. We’ll offer them… sanctuary.

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

Tony Fisk:
"In a series of laboratory experiments, Bahman Tohidi and his collaborators showed that, because of the enormous pressure of the water column, if CO2 is stored in marine sediments in waters 3000 meters or more deep, it remains in liquid form, although stored only few hundred meters into the sediment. Over time, natural chemical processes in the water of the ocean sediments convert the liquid CO2 into a solid - in the form of stable hydrates. The great overlying pressure of the water prevents the CO2 rising to the sediment surface, making the storage much more stable than when CO2 is stored in rocks on land. And when the CO2 becomes hydrate, it is locked into the rock permanently."

Yes. That could work. But it's not enough. To capture CO2; to transport it and to inject the CO2 under the bottom of the sea, a lot of energy is required. How much energy are world leaders willing to use in the process? Because the machinery that produces immense amounts of CO2 day and night is enormous: hundreds of millions of cars; trucks; trains; planes; boats with monstrous engines; power plants that generate electricity with coal; plants that make cement; waste treatment plants by high temperature calcination; burning procedures in agriculture; burning of surplus gas in oil production, the massive use of coal and firewood for cooking and heating by millions of poor families around the world; etc.
To face the titanic global production of CO2 requires a solution that allows to process gigantic amounts of CO2.
The good news: I know how to solve the problem.
The bad news: Nobody cares. I even tried to speak by E-mail, with Elon Musk and never answered their subordinates to my proposals.
I have also tried to discuss the matter with other possible sponsors ... They never answer. They do not care about the problem. Perhaps the world elite wants to allow climate disaster to destroy us all? Maybe I should not also care about it.

Winter7 said...

The automatic translation does not seem correct ... Yes, I know. I must learn English.

Winter7 said...

It just occurred to me that the Confederate slavers never imagined that sooner or later, all the slaves they brought from Africa would mingle with the descendants of the Confederates. I gather that most people of color living in the United States are 50% descendants of the Confederates (genetically, because of the rapes and the taking of concubines) So it is ironic that the current Confederates are chasing and discriminating against people who are actually descendants of the Confederates.
Racism is something that does not make sense. What really makes someone superior is the ability to love others. Without distinction of races or religion. We must all have the same rights. And when AI come to life, I suppose we should recognize their rights. (If really said AI became aware)

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

As a security measure for my computer, I added an application called "MinerBlock". That is supposed to prevent my computer from being used to create cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin without my permission.
I have not had problems with the application (it is available for free in the chrome web store) The application tells me that there have been no problems. Of course, I wonder if this application is really a trojan horse ...

Tony Fisk said...

@winter7 Why ship the CO2 to an ocean sequestration site when you can pull it out of the air (or ocean) at the surface? We're talking massive scales here, so a square kilometer or so of artificial floating island shouldn't be hard to come at!

These ideas are good to contemplate, but let's not lose sight of the fact that the *best* use of resources currently is to not generate CO2 in the first place.

Anonymous said...

Tony Fisk:

Yes. The best thing is to stop generating CO2. But the greed of many world leaders goes beyond empathy towards humanity. A clear proof that many world leaders are really psychopaths. Something that I had already discovered by other matters.
Which leads us to rule out the possibility of not generating CO2. (Unless someone comes up with an infallible way to generate empathy for leaders who are fanatics of burning fuel)
But a psychopath will always be a psychopath. Trump and the "Arab" emirs; etc, they will not change psychologically.
Which only leaves my solution A and my solution B. Solutions that humanity will probably never apply.

Winter7

Alfred Differ said...

Not generating CO2 is mostly about us not generating it. What our leaders do is don't count for much as they don't actually DO much. It is we who DO things.

Paul SB said...

I just had a little conversation the other day where I brought up a sort of classic ethnographic tale you get in introductory anthropology classes. It's about an anthropologist named Richard B. Lee who was studying the Ju/huansi people in southern Africa back in the '50s. It's about the difference between how we do things and reciprocal exchange - which is never equal and people don't really keep score.

Lee was trying to understand how they valued items they traded with and got a bit of a surprise. He knew about Marcel Mauss's writings about reciprocity from the 19th Century, but having grown up in America with our assumptions about the nature of people and business, he was expecting a system of mostly fixed pricing like ours. One day he offered two strings of coral beads for a clay pot one of them had made, and the guy nodded and said that was okay. So the anthropologist thought he must be paying too much and said, "What if I gave you one string of beads?" The guy was okay with that, so the anthropologist tried again. "What if I give you 20 beads?" That was okay. He kept trying to bargain the price down, until he got to just one bead. Then the potter said to him, "Mr. Lee, you don't understand. We don't trade with pots, we trade with people."

These are among the poorest people anywhere in the world, and yet they care very little about wealth or even trade, what they care about is their relationships with people. In fact, with reciprocal exchange, when someone gives you a gift, you aren't supposed to "pay" for it right away. Someone does something good for you, and you do something for them some time later when you get the chance. No one really keeps score, unless someone almost never reciprocates. When that happens the leech gets boycotted until he learns his lesson, and humans don't live too long on their own in the desert.

We do much the same thing between family and friends, most obviously with birthdays and Christmas, but also with the occasional free lunches we treat one another to and similar favors. You only directly pay for something in the marketplace where you don't know the people you are buying from. Trading favors like the Ju/huansi is really the norm for humanity. Today's capitalism - where we care only about money and nothing about people - is the unnatural aberration from human instinct. We are made to give and receive kindnesses with a free hand, as St. Ambrose once said, not with a coupon. Sometimes I think America is much less the land of the free as it is the land of the buy one, get one free.

Paul SB said...

I think Luis is doing what a lot of people do and looking at the wrong leaders. (Not likely psychopaths - psychopaths are not very good at hiding what they are, but sociopaths learn the skill of figuring out what people want to hear and telling them exactly that so they can live their entire lives and never be discovered.) Greedy, lying politicians are only responding to the big-money capitalists, because since the end of the Renaissance money has become the standard by which all things are measured. We can bitch about corrupt politicians all we like, but it is the sociopathic business leaders who are corrupting our sociopathic political (and religious) leaders. Many of the most powerful (sociopathic) business leaders are deeply invested in old technologies that produce greenhouse gasses, and they don't want to spend money fixing the problem, so they deny the problem exists.

In a sense Alfred is right to some degree, depending on who you include in "we." Our political leaders could work harder to regulate CO2, but there are so many sociopaths at the top that the few who are trying are easily out-voted by the more typical politician. Then there's the business sociopaths. What do you expect from them? Then there's the ordinary hominid, who buys their products, uses their products, drives their products, etc. That "we" are the consumers, and we could make different choices - well, sort of. Good luck getting around, or even getting a job, without a car. And if you are fresh out of high school working minimum wage, or if you have in your 40s and still working for minimum wage because life and the impersonal market got in the way of your advancement plans, you can't go out and buy an electric car or put solar panels on your crumby apartment.

LarryHart said...

Winter7:

I'm sorry, but as long as they do not fix this brutal and terrible problem, we can not say that the United States is better than Saudi Arabia or the leaders of Boko Haram.


I was with you until "Boko Haram". They raise the level of cartoon supervillainy to a new level that I don't think anyone can credibly accuse the United States government of matching--even the current United States government.

locumranch said...


David appears to have an underdeveloped sense of irony because, hilarity upon hilarity, "See how fast the Blue States picked up the whole States Right thing after the Red States appeared to drop it?". This is what plodders like Donzelion & Rob_H will never understand, that either the Rule of Law applies to everyone or it applies to NO one.

The Br'er Rabbit Confederates have been laughing in their sleeves as they play 'Please don't throw us in the Briar Patch' with an increasingly reactionary Blue State majority, knowing that for every unpopular & non-sustainable federal law that they pretend to enforce upon their more 'enlightened' & increasingly non-compliant Blue State brethren, the more they weaken the rule of federal law in its totality.

Take the 'Sanctity of Immigration Law' and/or the 'Sanctuary State' canard:

Having argued it in this very blog multiple times, David knows that GOP Republicans absolutely LOVE illegal immigration because uncontrolled immigration suppresses wages & disrupts labour unionisation (giving big corporations disproportionate power over an increasingly disenfranchised worker), whereas Pro-Labour Democrats have always attempted to restrict illegal immigration.

Yet, with the threatened deportation of a few cute & cuddly token illegal migrants, the corporate oligarchs have an obliging California Governor Jerry Clown dancing to a merry pro-illegal immigrant jig as he inadvertently DESTROYS the all-powerful California Public Services Labour Union lobby while undermining that pesky anti-confederate Federal Authority.

Notice also how Trump's grandiose 'over-the-top' attempts at Pax Americana foreign adventurism tend to support to the growth of Isolationist sentiment?

Gosh, Br'er David, we'll be so ever displeased if you & your brethren attempt to curtail US foreign military adventurism. Or use #MeToo to circumvent the legal process. Or assume guilt until proven innocence. Or disrupt globalism with your new & improved Red Scare. Or invite the Big Brother FBI into your homes. Or renounce your 1st & 2nd amendments. Or, defy Federal Edict. O, the horror.

Please don't throw us in the Briar Patch.


Best

Anonymous said...

LarryHart:
The fact is that if the problem of legal violations reminds me a lot to the abuses of the English in the movie "Heart Brave" by Mel Gibson. The brave warriors of Scotland acted effectively to solve the problem. But in the United States, it seems that the problem is accepted as part of national folklore.
I understand that American customs are different from those of Mexico. (In Mexico "we are Catholics" the majority) And I do not mind that Americans walk naked in the streets if that makes them happy, but I think there is a point beyond what a man should not give up.
I remember that the Americans were furious because they raised their tea prices and seized some forests to hoard the wood for the English ships. Because of that, the Americans were enraged and launched into civil war.
I inform you that the problem of legal violations is an imminent danger for American families. And it is a problem infinitely more serious than the high prices of tea and the seizure of some forests. How different was the spirit of the founding fathers! Haaaa, if they knew what is happening! What a shame!
We can see this situation as an opportunity to accuse Trump of not doing anything about it, because Trump likes the current situation. Which would not be a lie, because Trump has not done anything to solve the problem.
In any case. It is a mystery why the American people live with this problem and with the problem of the free sale of weapons of high power 24 hours a day. It's like the game of Russian roulette in the movie "The Deer Hunter", with Christoper Walken and Robert de Niro. There's no difference.
But it's not your fault, Larry. It is the fault of your leaders (blue and red). On them falls responsibility and crime.

Winter7

Anonymous said...

Alfred Differ:
What leaders do counts more than what citizens do.
Citizens are forced to act according to the restrictions of the leaders.
Angela Merkel ordered the closure of nuclear plants throughout Germany after the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plants.
Hitler forced an entire nation to do what he ordered.
As you can see, participating in politics is certainly a very important issue.
Political leaders are the ones who can make the changes that can save the world. They could turn the planet into a paradise for all. But they do not. And everyone here knows the cause.

Winter7

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin in the main post:

"The ice caps were going to melt, they were going to be gone by now. But now they're setting records. They're at a record level." - Donald Trump, to Reuters, quoted on msn.com.


A few weeks back, Bill Maher's show had Billy Bush on as a guest. Remember that Billy's interaction with Trump was not limited to the infamous "Access Hollywood" tape. They were both NBC personalities for quite some time.

Billy Bush recounted a story to Bill Maher that I think gets to the heart of explaining Trump. He (Billy) recalled getting tired of Trump claiming that "The Apprentice" was number 1 in the ratings when it hadn't been so for many years. Billy called Trump on the lie during some interview, and Trump apparently blustered his way through by citing some obscure statistic on the spot, along the lines of, "If you looked at the demographic of 14-35 year olds last Thursday...".

Later, off the air and away from cameras, Billy recounts Trump man-splaining to him:

"Billy. You just tell them. And they'll believe you."


If Trump has a core philosophy at all, I think that's it right there.

And the biggest problem isn't Trump himself, but those among his followers who accept what he says, even knowing that he has little acquaintance with truth. Oh, there are undoubtedly some among them who haven't figured out yet that Trump lies, and so believe things because the #SoCalledPresident said so, so they must be true. But I think a fair number of them know Trump lies, but don't care. He gives them permission to act as if things are the case even though they probably know otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Larry hart:
“And the biggest problem isn't Trump himself, but those among his followers who accept what he says, even knowing that he has little acquaintance with truth. Oh, there are undoubtedly some among them who haven't figured out yet that Trump lies, and so believe things because the #SoCalledPresident said so, so they must be true. But I think a fair number of them know Trump lies, but don't care. He gives them permission to act as if things are the case even though they probably know otherwise”
I believe that, in the specific case of this problem, the option is to ridicule on a large advertising scale, the blind loyalty of the followers of Donald Trump. Let's try to make Donald's followers feel some shame about being foolish and irrational.
But I suspect that Donald Trump's followers do not have the capacity to feel shame. Trump supporters will do as they are told while they continue to receive money, or pat on the head.
Winter7

David Brin said...

Again mit de drivel. “Having argued it in this very blog multiple times, David knows that GOP Republicans absolutely LOVE illegal immigration…”

That’s republican MASTERS, fellah, who command actual behavior. Populist-xenophice paranoia against immigrants is what they feed their lackey, like you. A hypocrisy and contradiction that they long ago learned doesn’t matter an iota. Because confederates always fight and die for their feudal lord oppressors.

donzelion said...

Locum: looks to me like you're taking half doses of your 'rationality' pills.

"...David knows that GOP Republicans absolutely LOVE illegal immigration..."

CERTAIN Republicans love illegal immigration. Illegal immigrants make ideal tenants in a rent-control region (raise rent illegally, and if they refuse to pay, calling the police to have them deported is MUCH cheaper than eviction proceedings). In numerous industries, they're ideal employees - steal their wages, withhold statutory overtime, get injured on the workplace - they can't complain or receive job related injury benefits.

Most Republicans hate it. Thing is, the ones in the above category tend to be wealthy enough to manipulate the rank and file.

"Pro-Labour Democrats have always attempted to restrict illegal immigration."
This is partially accurate - labor unions have often splintered over this issue, which is another reason why certain Republicans love illegal immigrants and will do everything in their power to deny a path to citizenship.

Employers have always tried to use immigrants to break unions - and unions have always had a nuanced approach. On the one hand, unions tend to welcome new membership, and certain unions happily take member dues from anyone working in their site - and if immigrants get deported or are forced to flee due to their status, they leave behind a contribution to the union's books without drawing from the benefits. Illegal immigration is one of those issues that splinters unions (e.g., the Disney research recently funded by unions that found about 10% of the workforce is at risk of homelessness was the work product of 16 unions serving Disney-related properties - there were many others that refrained from participating). Situation mirrors one that existed in Cesar Chavez's ag union movement from many decades ago and why the ag unions splintered and shriveled. Democrats created much of the illegal immigration mess, starting in the 1950s with changes to the immigration rules that created a large workforce with 'irregular status.' And yes, Democrats have long had as many racists within their ranks as Republicans.

But that's history. The key beneficiary of illegal immigrants today are the Republican-owned property managers (who benefit from cheap labor maintaining, landscaping, and cleaning their properties). They LOVE the 'wall' because it focuses enforcement efforts away from their businesses, without affecting their bottom line. They WANT to use the police to bypass expensive legal proceedings other employees might raise - and do so extensively. They test their ranks with trial balloons to assess 'gullibility' (e.g., "Is Obama a Muslim?") - and after enough such tests, determine they can mobilize ranks through racism to maintain a system that makes them richer.

donzelion said...

LOL, Dr. Brin beat me to it, but my post accurately expands the point.

Up until Calhoun's era, many slave owners claimed to 'hate' slavery as an institution - but they were forced, just 'forced!' against their will - to maintain the institution to preserve their farmsteads. From 1816 - 1848, slaves offered one of the best investment vehicles for expanding wealth - a non-slave owner might become one after a few successful harvests, or rent them from a neighbor for projects outside harvest season - doing so was the only viable path toward prosperity (or even middle class existence) in much of the country.

After the 13th Amendment, they shifted toward slightly more sophisticated tools: rent control/predatory renting, lending schemes, contractor schemes, segregated education, Jim Crow, etc., to retain the same effect.

Today, immigration rules serve the same function. Predatory renting schemes, segregated education, payday loan schemes, subcontractor arrangements, etc. - all to exploit 'illegality' in status, all dependent on having protracted periods of 'irregularity' (the time during which a person has no valid visa, but has not been sentenced to be deported). Also makes illegal immigrants ideal wives for a certain kind of weak man who enjoys the benefits of a wive's labor while retaining the power to have her deported if she ever becomes disagreeable to him, then replaced with a new wife later on.

sociotard said...

Dr. Brin, if I acknowledge that Sean Hannity should have given full disclosure of his interactions with Cohen (even if Hannity is not a real journalist), will you acknowledge that Hannity's interactions with Cohen should not have been made public?

* Hannity is not under investigation for any crime
* We do not want our government involved in vetting journalistic ethics

sociotard said...

Oh, and as for your omnipresent "how is the old Confederacy ever better ever" challenge, here's a lighter-weight one:

The Most Polite And Potty-Mouthed States In The US

Least Cursing: WA, MA, AZ, TX, VA (So, two red, two blue, one purple)
Most Cursing: OH, MD, NJ, LA, IL (LA aside, very blue and purple)

Most "Please and Thank You": SC, NC, MD, LA, GA (Mostly Red, here)
Least "Please and Thank You": WI, MA, IN, TN, OH

sociotard said...

And since you wrote much of inequality in this post,

Most Unequal by Gini Coefficient
Florida 0.474 Red
Louisiana 0.475 Red
Massachusetts 0.475 Blue
Connecticut 0.486 Blue
New York 0.499 Blue
(three to two)

Least Unequal by Gini Coefficient
Utah 0.419 Red
Alaska 0.422 Red
Wyoming 0.423 Red
New Hampshire 0.425 Purple
Iowa 0.427 Purple

As histograms:
Gini Less Than: Red Purple Blue
0.435 7 3 1
0.451 5 3 6
0.467 7 6 4
0.483 7 0 3
0.499 0 0 2


This Feeds the narrative my right-wing friends push, that the Republicans serve the middle class, while the Democrats serve the Elite and the Poor that serve the Elite.

donzelion said...

Sociotard: Cohen was challenged during the investigation on actually being a lawyer. Judge Kimba Wood asked him to "prove to the court you are a lawyer."

Cohen replied, "I have three clients...including Hannity."

If you're angry about Cohen's representation of Hannity becoming public, then you're angry about Cohen being a bad lawyer. So far as I'm aware (and I'm following fairly closely, as I'm personally very concerned about raids on my own files - this is uncommon for good reasons), the investigators themselves have not disclosed any facts about Cohen's clientele so far.

A lawyer is required to keep his client's secrets confidential, but the existence of attorney-client privilege itself is only useful because it is a public statement as to why an attorney cannot disclose facts about that client (and it's crucial to representation and the rule of law as we know it). Lawyers cannot pretend that merely because they are licensed to practice, they may withhold anything and everything from law enforcement: the privilege is much more limited than that and for very good reasons.

Alfred Differ said...

@Paul SB | I have no doubt that gifting as you describe is the oldest form of trade and that it likely predates us being distinctly human. When I do it with my family and close friends, it feels as natural as one of those stone axes that fits in the hand. No higher thought is needed most of the time. Just do it.

I think of trade as coming in four types (with no real, hard boundaries between them) based on two roughly orthogonal expectations. One can make a two-by-two matrix based on them. The first expectation is whether reciprocation is required immediately or can be delayed. The second is whether trade occurs using an intermediary commodity. Market barter involves immediate exchange and no intermediate ‘currency’. Market purchase is barter with a currency. Gifting comes in enough varieties to show that ‘delay’ is not really adequate as a measure since some gifting is seen as a very competitive social signaling statement in some cultures. The odd one is the indirect reciprocation method where the delay is so long it doesn’t land on the matrix. Instead, we reciprocate to someone else.

What you describe as our natural method is truly ancient, but some of the other methods are pretty darn old too. We didn’t invent market barter yesterday. We didn’t invent coinage yesterday. Modern market exchange methods are better seen as part of a continuum of innovation in what it means to trade between humans. As usual, our old ideas co-exist with new ones. Also as is typical in other innovation arenas, the innovations are invented because they solve a problem. Your oldest natural method can’t move excess Polish wheat to England in the 16th century because the intermediary Dutch merchants had to be motivated to get involved. It could not produce bi-directional trade ranging from China to East Africa the century before it. Our markets go global when we relax a bit and let these innovations solve problems our family-sized methods cannot solve.

Every innovation is met with distrust in the early days. It ain’t natural. No one will take paper checks. No one will take paper money. No one will trust a futures contract. No one will be at the trading post to offer me anything for my excess sea shells. Each form of trade has its rules, but they all rely on trust. You might have it one day and not the next. We might engage in meta-trade in a political market to stabilize trade in a currency market.

We will always do one thing, though, if we remain human. We will innovate when problems create persistent itches. Someone will get rich if their idea soothes an itch. Someone else will get rich copying the innovator and might add an innovative twist of their own. Several people will get richer thinking about and acting upon what changes will occur due to an innovation. Some will get it wrong, though, and loose. After the dust raised by an innovation settles, the old and new ways will probably co-exist, some will be richer, some will be poorer, and everyone will be slightly better off on average. Each innovation plays a central role in a three act play. The one thing we will keep doing if we remain human is stage these plays. Our ancient trade methods will remain with us, but the ‘us’ that we are will change.

sociotard said...

That . . . is not my understanding of how things played out:

Apparently, Judge Wood was initially disposed to [issue a grand-jury subpoena demanding disclosure of the client identities to the grand jury, but not the public]. Then, however, the judge allowed Robert Balin, an attorney for the New York Times and CNN, to intervene. Balin, the Times reports, argued that potential embarrassment was not a sufficient reason to withhold the purported client’s name from the public. The judge was somehow persuaded by this frivolous contention. Without providing Hannity any notice and opportunity to be heard on the matter, she directed that his name be disclosed in open court.
https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/04/sean-hannity-outing-violates-legal-standards/

Alfred Differ said...

@Paul SB | The 'we' I meant is the 'common man'.

I was thinking about the effects that simple ideas like carpools have. The Common Man can do far more about CO2 than our leaders can because there are some VERY low hanging fruit and SO many of us.

That doesn't excuse leadership from acting and motivating, though. They have a role to play, but they can't do much without our willing support... in big numbers.

Alfred Differ said...

@Winter7 | What leaders do counts more than what citizens do.

No. What you are missing is that leaders are usually behind in finding out what their people want to do. They might catch up occasionally, but it is more likely that they never realize.

Your leaders can’t make you do squat if enough of you don’t want to do it. If many do, of course, things might get violent. At a fundamental level, though, they need your cooperation or willingness not to intervene against them to do much of anything.

Liberation of the heart and mind occurs when one realizes that helplessness is a learned behavior. Unlearning it is VERY challenging, but not near as much as the learned helpless think it is.

LarryHart said...

Alfred Differ:

I have no doubt that gifting as you describe is the oldest form of trade and that it likely predates us being distinctly human. When I do it with my family and close friends, it feels as natural as one of those stone axes that fits in the hand. No higher thought is needed most of the time. Just do it.

I think of trade as coming in four types (with no real, hard boundaries between them) based on two roughly orthogonal expectations. One can make a two-by-two matrix based on them. The first expectation is whether reciprocation is required immediately or can be delayed...


That was something I found monstrous about Ayn Rand the first time I read "Atlas Shrugged". The idea that every favor required immediate reciprocal payment. If Randian philosophy held sway, I'd be owing my mother some gold coins for Thanksgiving dinner.

While I see what she was getting at, human nature just doesn't work that way.

David Brin said...

Sociotard. So some red states have less potty-mouth? Typically obsessed with symbolism. Sure I’ll give cred for that. So? It’s been flauted at city folk for 50 years that “real” people don’t cuss… but beat their wives in private.

“This Feeds the narrative my right-wing friends push, that the Republicans serve the middle class, while the Democrats serve the Elite and the Poor that serve the Elite.”

What crap. The richest choose to live in blue states - despite high tax rates - because it is more interesting there.

Children make the same choice, leaving the confederacy in droves.

sociotard said...

Are you saying that blue states have higher inequality than red states because blue states are more interesting? And given what you said inequality correlates with . . . blue states have high murder rates because they are interesting states?

At any rate, rich people go to blue states in droves, and the middle class leave California and New York the same way. And you don't have a problem with that?

A.F. Rey said...

Without providing Hannity any notice and opportunity to be heard on the matter, she directed that his name be disclosed in open court.

So does attorney-client privilege extend to even admitting you have an attorney??

That seems to be stretching it a bit...

David Brin said...

"Are you saying that blue states have higher inequality than red states because blue states are more interesting?"

hell yes I am. Why would rich people flock to them despite high taxes? By the way, the poerest flock to them, too. California has the richest and the most homeless, for very similar reasons. The... come.

BTW... there's not one thing you get right. The middle class isn't fleeing, either.

"And given what you said inequality correlates with . . . blue states have high murder rates because they are interesting states?"

Bullshit again. Remove the outliers... Detroit, Chicago and Utah... and murder rates are HIGHER in average red areas thnan blue.

David Brin said...

"Red America and blue America depend on each other. That’s how it should be."
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/red-america-and-blue-america-depend-on-each-other-thats-how-it-should-be/2018/04/23/834021f8-470a-11e8-9072-f6d4bc32f223_story.html

Jon S. said...

Winter, perhaps you should have watched up to the end of Braveheart - when the rebellion against the Crown failed, and Sir William Wallace was publicly (and painfully!) executed for treason.

Of course, the only part of the real First War for Scottish Independence the movie portrayed with anything resembling accuracy was the execution - for all the rest of it, those names existed, but the people and events shown have only a coincidental relationship with the actual events. (And in fact if William Wallace had engaged in a tryst with Isabella of France, as shown in the movie, we would likely have lost all sympathy for him - in reality, she was twelve years old at the time.)

Alfred Differ said...

@LarryHart | Ayn Rand was about as good as describing real humans as were the Soviet Communists she despised.

However, you probably did give your mother 'gold coins' in exchange. Think about what you actually gave her in return and tell me it wasn't worth more... to her. 8)


Optimizing for prudence isn't what humans do.
Focusing on prudence IS what many economists do.
Lots of philosopher's too starting around Kant's time.

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin quotes the Washington Post:

"Red America and blue America depend on each other. That’s how it should be."


Yes, but that's not the same thing as Red states and Blue states. A lot of rural Red America is inside the borders of blue states. Illinois is almost all farmland, and some of the best farmland in the country at that. I seem to remember hearing something about food coming from California as well. :)



sociotard said...

Okay, lets start this over
Along similar lines… “Why Inequality Predicts Homicide Rates Better Than Any Other Variable The surprising factors driving murder rates: income inequality and respect.”

Brin just said more unequal places have higher homicide rates than less unequal places

I then showed that blue places have more inequality than red . . . and suddenly the unequal blue states have lower homicide rates and what the heck happened to your original argument?

And yes, people are leaving California. More poor than middle class, but net middle class too.
https://www.cnbc.com/2018/03/19/californians-fed-up-with-housing-costs-and-taxes-are-fleeing-state.html

donzelion said...

Sociotard: The McCarthy piece you linked to is disingenuous. Cohen might have requested that the hearing be conducted en camera; he filed his motion for a public hearing. Oops. He should have known what he said in court might come out.

Cohen may have expected that at his hearing, the judge would decide whether to permit him to name clients under seal. But he should have known that his attempt to do so would face an objection - either from the prosecutors, or the press.

When the NYT objected to keeping Hannity's name under seal, Cohen should have presented a brief on point to the judge about why the law prevented disclosure. He didn't.

Which means that either Cohen is the worst attorney in the country, OR he wanted Hannity's name to become public (against his protest), OR he simply couldn't find the law that would have ensured Hannity's name stayed private.

The latter is likely the case, since McCarthy - who is no stranger to naming uncharged third parties in investigations - couldn't find any such rule of law, and instead, he relied on the 'US Attorney Manual' (yes, it's been judicially endorsed, no, that doesn't make it a rule). McCarthy writes as if the prosecutors violated a sacred canon - 'outrageous!' - at worst, they violated the US Attorney Manual's polite suggestion to not name uncharged third parties.

My read of the manual is somewhat different from McCarthy's. The requirement that US Attorneys be 'sensitive to the privacy and reputation interests of uncharged third-parties' is treated quite differently from the imperative to protect witnesses (the reason why certain people are never named once placed under seal - the preservation of those secrets is indeed a 'sacred canon'). That policy interest gives way in the face of a strong public interest. But either way, it's a policy, not a 'judicial norm.' And the norm as written contemplates private citizens who can't easily defend themselves in public - Hannity isn't exactly lacking in means of accessing the media and defending his reputation, nor has he taken pains to distance himself from Trump or Trump's lawyer.

sociotard said...

Okay, I went and checked:

Plotting GINI and homicide rates, there's only a 0.14 R2 value. That is garbage. Brin's initial argument was garbage.

Checking the Median numbers

Red States have a homicide rate of 5.7 and a GINI of 0.4545
Purple States have a homicide rate of 5.2 and a GINI of 0.451
Blue States have a homicide rate of 2.8 and a GINI of 0.464

Good News for Brin: The blue states have a much better homicide rate, even though they have higher inequality.
Bad news for Brin: I don't think he looked into the "inequality brings homicide" argument much before linking.



sociotard said...

Oh that is interesting. If I break up Red-purple-Blue (on the theory that their governance styles would be in-group similar), then the R2 value for GINI to Homicide jumps.
Red 0.47 Purple 0.52 Blue 0.00072

So the trend is dominant in most states, but Blue state don't fit at all.

Anonymous said...


Alfred Differ:
Yes. I guess we do not agree on the allocation of blame on the issue of climate disaster. For me. I know that disaster is not my fault. And it's not your fault, Alfred.

Winter7

Anonymous said...

Jon S:
Yes. Sir William Wallace was executed. ¿But would not you have done the same if you had been in their place? ¿Do not? ¿Why? ¿Is the right of the feudal lord more important? Are not heroes necessary?
It is evident that we think in a different way. But that's good to be able to see all the prospects of a problem ......
¡Wallace! ¡Wallace! ¡Wallace! ¡Wallace! ¡Alba gu brĂ th!

Sir Winter7

donzelion said...

Sociotard: while I applaud taking a critical look to a claim and presenting evidence, there are a host of problems with taking GINI alone as a term to compare equality.

(1) if two states have equal GINI coefficients in 2010 but one admits a large number of poorer immigrants while the other does not, the GINI coefficient will show the more 'accepting' state had greater inequality, even if it had better policies to mitigate inequality (better health care, education, etc.). Indeed, immigration policies alone could account for high statistical inequality for both NY and CA.

(2) GINI captures income distribution, not asset accumulation. In certain 'high GINI' states, like Connecticut DC, and CA, asset accumulation (e.g. home property values) would, if counted, smooth out the raw GINI.

(3) income itself is easily and often gamed - a waitress earning $30k + tips and a software engineer earning $40k + options are probably not earning exactly comparable incomes.

will shi is that most income for most of the richest isn't captured as 'income' by any available data sets. I know of efforts to develop better measures of equality, but believe most are still being developed/accepted.

That said, your argument of a negative correlation in America is interesting. You might also improve it by comparing violent crime rates rather than homicides (most violent crimes can potentially become homicides, but it could be that blue states have better health systems).

Alfred Differ said...

@winter7 | It's NOT my fault? Heh. How would you know? 8)

Seriously, though, there are a lot of small things individuals can do that add up to an awful lot of saved carbon. I did my part by living close to work so I didn't have to drive very far. That's conserved carbon. I turn off lights, double up errands to save more fuel, and a few other things, but I don't carpool, I don't walk very often when driving is easier, and a few other things like that. I live close enough to work I could buy an electric vehicle and skip gasoline completely, but I haven't... yet.

I used to advocate strongly for putting a price on carbon exhausted into the atmosphere, but that fight is essentially unwinnable in the US right now. I've been looking at other fights worth supporting that might complete before I'm in the grave. 8)

US Leaders pick up on what people do occasionally. I'm quite certain of this as I've seen a lot of it. Marketers pick up that information first, though, and act on what they learn. For example, if my gasoline consumption goes down (along with a few million others around me) they adjust their projections and that moves where political lobbying money might get spent. Whether that gets through to politicians can be hit-or-miss, but when they do notice many of them like to pretend they are out in front of the movement. Don't be fooled, though. They aren't.

Alfred Differ said...

@winter7 | Real Scotsmen often have an issue with how their history is portrayed. Heroes are fun to watch in the movies and I'm sure there were some real ones now and then. Reality is much more embarrassing. Fortunately, every nation has betrayals, ineptness, and pig-headed stubbornness a-plenty in the stories of their people. 8)

What the Scots did for the world that made up for everything (in my not so humble opinion) was produce the finest version of the Enlightenment philosophy ever. They took Liberalism as an infant from the English, raised it into its early childhood, and then brought it to America. They produced what a few fine French thinkers could build upon and support, but the French people failed to understand in their bloodbath revolution. If you want heroes, look to the Scotsmen who came later who provided a less blood-curdling vision of the future.

Duncan Cairncross said...

"What the Scots did for the world that made up for everything"

That implies that we did something that needed to be "made up for"!

Darrell E said...

I beg to differ Alfred. The finest thing the Scots did for the world is Scotch whisky.

LarryHart said...

Alfred Differ:

Ayn Rand was about as good as describing real humans as were the Soviet Communists she despised.


I don't think she ever meant to describe human civilization as it really was, so much as what she considered an idealized version. Human civilization as it should be, or the way it would work much better than it does. The religious equivalent would be a treatise on the way civilization might have evolved had mankind not fallen from Grace.

On some points, I grant her view. But on that one--every favor must be immediately paid for in cash so that no one ever owes anyone anything beyond trading of value--I fault not only her writing skills, but her core idea itself. That would not be a better way of life. It would be a pathologically lonely one.

However, you probably did give your mother 'gold coins' in exchange. Think about what you actually gave her in return and tell me it wasn't worth more... to her. 8)


That's exactly my point. Cash would have been a poor substitute. Making the transaction all about cash--"Here's a ten-spot, Mom. Now we're even."--would have been insulting to the point of poisoning the entire thing. Rand presents that as the optimization of human interaction, whereas I see it instead as, to use a term I just made up now, a pessimization.

LarryHart said...

Alfred Differ:

I don't walk very often when driving is easier,...


Well, you live in California. I forget which movie it is in which Steve Martin (as a resident of Los Angeles) walks out his front door, gets into his car, drives 20 feet forward, gets out, and walks to the neighbor's front door. But it sure got a big laugh/applause reaction from the audience. It's funny because it's true.

occam's comic said...


"
Bullshit again. Remove the outliers... Detroit, Chicago and Utah... and murder rates are HIGHER in average red areas thnan blue."

Yeah sociotard, if the data doesn't fit your hypothesis start removing the data that doesn't fit until you reach the conclusion that you started with. that is how science is done.

Anonymous said...



Alfred Differ:

But before we talked at length about the responsibility of politicians in the matter ..... ¿Should I assume that American politicians are naive souls who do not know what is happening?
(Alfred, I doubt that American politicians are listening to us right now.) Do not worry (Donald Trump is probably busy chasing teen scholars in the halls of the White House)

Winter7

LarryHart said...

@Winter7,

If you think Alfred is saying nice things about politicians because he's afraid of being eavesdropped upon, I don't think you've been paying attention.

A.F. Rey said...

On some points, I grant her view. But on that one--every favor must be immediately paid for in cash so that no one ever owes anyone anything beyond trading of value--I fault not only her writing skills, but her core idea itself. That would not be a better way of life. It would be a pathologically lonely one.

Hmm...I didn't notice that point in the novel, but then I skipped to the end after a hundred pages or so (fearing that I would bash my head in with the book because I detested the characters so much--a reasonable fear at the 1000+ pages!).

But I do recall a "novel" that had such a society.

Barry Longyear's Circus World had these little round chits that were used to pay for small favors by the people of that world. They were basically worthless, but were used to show appreciation for things like sharing a fire. It seems to me to be more a social convention than a truly economic one.

So I wouldn't say it would be necessarily a more lonely life, if handled correctly.

Anonymous said...

LarryHart:

No. I do not imply that. I mean there's nothing wrong with pretending to agree with the established order. Remember the "El Zorro" television series? In that series, the hero feigned indifference in matters of politics and social justice. But the hero was actually "El Zorro", defender of the poor and oppressed.
In any case, the one that can be pointed out would be me, because I use a pseudonym. But like Alfred. I use common sense. Strategy is everything, and that causes some communication problems among those who visit this website. (Remember the reason why Spider-Man and Batman wear masks) (strategy) (only one aspect of the innumerable strategies that should never be left out)

Winter7

Alfred Differ said...

@LarryHart | It might be in English fluency thing. He IS trying. 8)

@winter7 | Our politicians are no more naive than yours. What I'm pointing out is that there are limits on what they CAN know and CAN do. They aren't all-knowing or all-powerful, but most importantly, they aren't as potent as they'd like us to believe they are. They aren't even as potent as THEY believe they are.

I'm not even remotely concerned about them knowing what I think about them. My opinions are fairly mixed most of the time and I'm quite willing to tell them any of it face-to-face. Many times, I'd prefer they DID know.

There is a fundamental limit on what they can know or do, though. They are human and have exactly one brain to use and no more than 24 hours in a day to use it. They simply cannot pay attention to everything that matters to the rest of us. Even with a large staff and some of the tasks delegated to them, they can't do it. What they can do with what they know is even more limited. This doesn't apply only to politicians, though. It applies to all of us.

When you want something big done, the only way it will ever get done is when a lot of human-sized hands and minds decide to do it. We don’t have to centralize what we want done and get our leaders to do it. All we have to do is persuade each other and then have the leaders help with the simpler tasks coordinating us.

Here’s a quick example. How many people were involved in putting Americans on the Moon between 1961 and 1972? What roles did our leadership play?

David Brin said...

Occam is hilarious! He didn't even follow the thread:

""Bullshit again. Remove the outliers... Detroit, Chicago and Utah... and murder rates are HIGHER in average red areas thnan blue."

"Yeah sociotard, if the data doesn't fit your hypothesis start removing the data that doesn't fit until you reach the conclusion that you started with. that is how science is done."

Except, Occam, I did not have to limit myself! Sociotard himself showed that there's no need to remove the extreme outliers. And they ARE *Extreme* outliers. Even with Utah hauling upward on red stats and Chicago dragging blue ones, the blue murder rate is fantastically lower.

Anonymous said...

Alfred Differ:
Are you trying to tell me that American politicians act in good faith?
I guess my mistake is to confuse the politicians of Latin America with the politicians of the United States. But if it happens that American politicians only own a fifth of the evil that politicians in Latin America possess, then you have very dangerous leaders. But maybe not all politicians are malignant ... Do you really have honest politicians? That would be something worth seeing!
I suppose the Kennedys were killed by mere chance. I'm so bad at accusing Republican politicians of that! And there are those matters of the ...... Houuu. I think I already said too much.
Whatever. Maybe I'm wrong. I've been wrong before ... In other very different matters. But yes. I was wrong before.
The evils of the world are not our fault. That is the important thing.

Winter7

David Brin said...

onward

onward