Saturday, January 12, 2019

The alluring dream of "Central Planning."

== Central Economic Planning ==

Central economic planners generally do it badly, and we know this since the Pharaohs. But Guided Allocation of Resources - or GAR - has improved somewhat, over the centuries. The Soviets used simple accounting tools and firing squads to build massive, primary infrastructure... dams, railroads and steel mills etc. But they were incompetent at the secondary economy... making a refrigerator anyone wanted. The Japanese took computerized skills and capitalist zaibatsu structures and planned their way to great success... that hit a wall in the tertiary economy. The brainy engineers in the Chinese politburo think their shiny AI models can evade any wall. They are probably wrong, but we'll see.

If you find yourself with some time and really want to dive into this, here's my older piece explaining the underlying difference between GAR or "Guided Allocation of Resources," which all but a very few kings engaged in, for 6000 years, commanding from atop... 

...vs. FIBM or "Faith in Blind Markets," which is a libertarian religious dogma in the west that never, ever was verified, because almost all FIBM preachers just want power transfered from the state into the hands of a few thousand corporate oligarchs. In other words... more GAR! Just a lot less diverse or accountable. Seriously, see the point made here

A third path, the one actually prescribed by Adam Smith (he never called for a completely "invisible hand") and used successfully in our recent renaissance, has been Maximized Open-Fair Competition. Only, in order for it to be open and fair, the state has to intervene, at-minimum to prevent inevitable cheating. Also, by investing heavily in education, health, infrastructure and the environment, we raise up the maximum number of poor children out of cauterized-possibility, and thus maximize the utility-availability of competition-ready talent! 

Read that again. Some kinds of socialist interventions -- those that reduce cheating or that raise up the children of the poor -- are competition friendly, according even to the values of Friedrich Hayek and especially Adam Smith. This supplies a pragmatic -- not just moralizing -- justification for at least half of liberalism.

(Any libertarian who questions specific methods of liberal MOFC intervention may be helpful; criticism is valuable and some liberal "programs" really sucked! On the other hand, any who disparages it in principle is not only heartless, but either a fool or a hypocrite, no market-lover, after all.)

And yes, these MOFC interventions to keep competition flat-open-fair, plus generous state investments in R&D, are definitely a form of state planning. Much looser than most forms of GAR and certainly better than the oligarch-loving prescriptions of FIBM. In fact it is the only way to keep the "half-blind" mass-creativity of modern markets alive and vibrant.

The crux: Our system is based on a belief - rooted in our success over 200 years - that you cannot define optimum conditions for an economy, but you can create general attractor states. Example: the existence of any flat-fair-open competition at all is an attractor state that results in vastly more creativity and production…


...but that condition is unstable and critically vulnerable to cheating. Our society achieved a semblance of flat-fair-open competition by intentionally - and with deliberate foresight - altering the boundary conditions of market forces so that fair competitors and not cheaters prosper.

Case in point: the breakup of toxic pools of economic power - like monopolies and duopolies. Anti-trust rules enacted by several generations (under several Roosevelts) were spectacularly effective at limiting cheating and opening up genuine competition. Take the auto industry. With 25+ major car-makers across the globe, competition is genuine and hence, we get better cars for less money, every year. Add in further regulations to incentive emission and efficiency improvements, and one result has been that consumers saved scores of billions at the pump, since the CAFE rules were enacted.
Of course, eliminating all such regulation, especially against toxic concentration of market share, has been among the top goals of cheater-oligarchies, who seek economy-warping power. Above all, the wisdom of the Greatest Generation -- using regulation as a means to keep markets vibrant -- has been relentlessly torn down by the supposed "friends" of competitive enterprise, with the result of skyrocketing wealth disparities and decline in every metric of economic health. 

See how Robert Reich explains the “Monopolization of America.” And be outraged that the Boomers let slide the wisdom of their parents and grandparents (who adored Roosevelts for good reasons.)

Yes, I am libertarian enough to want a light hand! I am also fiercely liberal about eliminating unfairnesses, cheater conspiracies, and the prejudices and poverties that waste talent. Liberal interventions that enable all children to shoot for their potential aren't just moral, they are pragmatic -- any society that wastes talent to poverty or oppression isn't just evil, it is stupid.


And clearly we need the boundary conditions to include incentives and deterrents that account for externalities, like planetary health.


On the other hand, how liberated and healthy-educated young people then sort themselves out to work for (or create) truly competitive companies should be up to them. This is a conversation that the two cousin philosophies - liberalism and libertarianism - could be having! And the top priority of the Murdoch-Putin-Mercer-Koch oligarchy is to prevent those cousins from ever recognizing what they share... a common enemy.

Hence, I feel behooved to veer toward a small but important faction on the American political landscape. One that has been suborned to side with aristocracy. But if they shift, they might make a crucial difference.

== Grab the lapels of those lapel=grabbers... ==

You LIBERTARIANS out there need to to stop imbibing Forbes/Koch-financed propaganda that Republicans are somehow “just enough less-bad” than Democrats in matters of liberty. 

The common aphorism is: “Democrats favor freedom in the bedroom and republicans like freedom in the board-room.” 

Well, yes, if by “freedom” you mean liberating 5000 golf buddies in the CEO-Wallstreet caste to connive in secret, ending free-market competition by creating market-stealing feudal zaibatsus. You must mean that “freedom.” Not the kind that Adam Smith and the Founders fought for and the real Tea Party was all about. (BTW, you Rand followers... ever notice that her novels always portrayed old-boy corporate lords as the real monsters, not pathetic socialists? Try actually paying attention to your patron saint!)

You  freedom-lovers should notice the color of the states who are ending the goddam Drug War. States where who-you-love is nobody’s darn business. States where the attorneys general let you record your police encounters, training cops to shrug it off and act professional. States with open meetings laws for councils and agencies. States where your freedom of information requests are (mostly) not stonewalled. 

Oh, and competitive enterprise always does better under Democrats. Yes, including in "pinko" California and New York. Are you scientifically rational and "objective" enough to look at actual outcomes? I will bet you my house. 

Step outside. Breathe the much cleaner air and tell me that polluters who wreak damage on our commons should not be told to incorporate those costs in their offered goods. Eat some fresh fish caught at piers in downtown Pittsburgh. Now go to the nearby college and test for pollutants you can't smell. Go to the beach with a Ph meter and measure ocean acidification. You nerdy libertarians are supposedly bookish, so which political party is waging open war, not just against science but against every fact-using profession, even the U.S. military officer corps?

Yeah, yeah, you hate campus lefties (I despise the worst SJWs, too.) And you nurse theories about a so-called “deep state.” Sure, five million officers, scientists, teachers, journalists are all in a conspiracy together, secretly agreeing on identical lies. Riiiiiight.  Yet somehow you never cast your eye on those 5000 lords who are working with foreign mafias to restore the feudalism that crushed freedom for 60 centuries… 

...while empowering their cops to smash your camera and maybe your head. Face it, the civil war is back and the same side that made America and ended slavery is now fighting for your very right to live.

== International ==

How to “win the present rivalry with China?” asks Fareed Zakaria. “Were Washington to be more strategic, it would have allied with Europe, Japan and Canada on trade and presented China with a united front, almost guaranteeing that Beijing would have to acquiesce. It would have embraced the Trans-Pacific Partnership as a way to provide Pacific countries an alternative to the Chinese economic system. But in place of a China strategy, we have a series of contradictory initiatives and rhetoric.”

The author continues: “History tells us that if China is indeed now the United States’ main rival for superpower status, the best way to handle such a challenge lies less in tariffs and military threats and more in revitalization at home. The United States prevailed over the Soviet Union not because it waged war in Vietnam or funded the contras in Nicaragua, but because it had a fundamentally more vibrant and productive political-economic model. The Soviet threat pushed the United States to build the interstate highway system, put a man on the moon, and lavishly fund science and technology.”

I agree on all points. But I have also pushed folks in DC to grasp the power and importance of polemics. The PRC cares supremely about the memes absorbed by its people. They rigorously control what may be viewed or browsed. And they counter simmering public resentments with deliberately stoked jingoism, justifying an aggressive international stance and predatory mercantilism with “getting even for colonialism.” 

As it happens, there is a simple polemical way to utterly neutralize that meme. Indeed, the survival of the world might depend on calming that incitement in the best way passible… with one pure and crystal fact.

== And finally... ==

An excellent and insightful essay looking back a century at 1919... as we head toward the next "double-number year"... 2020.

And a reminder of my own observation... that each of the last 4 centuries seemed to "find its theme" during the second decade. Let's hope to turn ours upward, while there's still time.

156 comments:

more weight said...

Criticism Is The Only Known Antidote To Error

Well, and Death.

Alan Caulkins said...

Dr Brin, I have to ask you - why do you hate Libertarians? You claim to share some libertarian views, but you seem to have a special source of vitriol just for us. In this piece, you rant at us as if we all supported Trump and voted Republican. Much of your blog seems aimed at convincing Libertarians to support the Democrats. I think you miss a fundamental point; we have a goal of building a legitimately viable third party, and we're not just a bloc of swing voters to be split between the two majors. You don't have to tell us that cheating is a problem and that some regulation is necessary - we're Libertarians after all, not anarchists. We already know very well that the GOP supports harmful, irrational policies. We know that they have become a corruption of what they once represented. That's why we didn't vote Republican - we voted Libertarian.

We don't necessarily reject evidence that the Democrats are better at supporting competitive enterprise - we already view the GOP as "crony capitalists". But, there are plenty of other things to dislike about the Democrats. That's why we bothered to spend decades, working uphill, to start a completely new party. Yet, you keep saying that we should just give up and vote Democrat. It comes as no surprise that such an argument doesn't convince many of us. You're smarter than that.

Larry Hart said...

@more weight,

I don't think death counts as an antidote.

Maybe more of a consequence.

Larry Hart said...

@Alan Caulkins,

I'm reading the comments before actually reading the main post, so caveat emptor, I don't know yet what Dr Brin actually said about Libertarians.

My guess is that if he was telling you to hold your nose and vote Democrat, he didn't mean forever and always, but as an emergency measure to counter a clear and present immediate danger. The only path toward keeping our country as we recognize it is to get Republicans out of the White House and the lickspittle Senate majority. The only actual way to have done that in 2016 or to do that in 2020 is to elect Democrats in their place. Even tens of thousands of votes for Gary Johnson wouldn't have garnered him a single electoral vote, but if those tens of thousands of votes went to Hillary Clinton in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, we'd be in much less danger than we are now.

There's nothing wrong with playing the long game for a viable new party in 30 or 40 years, but if the Republicans aren't voted out soon, we won't have a Republic for that long. OTOH, after the Republican Party is beheaded and buried at separate crossroads, a libertarian party would be just the thing to counterweight the more leftist tendencies of the Democrats. As long as you're being patient, you can be patient in a smart way.

And I doubt Dr Brin "hates" you so much as "is very disappointed in" you. The way a father might be.

David Brin said...

Alan Caulkins, I appreciate your willingness to engage. But your reflexes deceive you. Have you been asked to speak at major libertarian gatherings? I have, at least half a dozen times. In this very essay I praise libertarians because maybe a third of them are vigorously curious and seek challenge. I dream of a day when the LP recognizes its historic job, to lure ten million decent people away from the mad-treasonous undead Republican thing.

If when that happens, the dynamic between liberals and libertarians should be a productive-competitive one, both of them wanting scientifically measurable and accountable positive outcomes.

But you are the obdurate one, if you actually claim that there’s not currently a bend in the main portion of the LP etc toward being far more forgiving of Republicans than Democrats… deeming them to be the “hold my nose” lesser of evils. This despite the fact the you get SOME libertarian desiderata (actually quite a few) from liberals and absolutely zero from “conservatives.”

Right wingers like the Kochs and Forbes spend lavishly to flatter and cozen libertarians into diving down the Rand/Rothbard rabbit hole and abandoning all sight of Adam Smith, such that the “C-word”… “competition”… is almost absent from any libertarian vocabulary, even though it should be absolutely central. Instead, “property” is the sacred talisman.

Across 6000 years, liberty had one paramount enemy – oligarchic-inheritance feudalism. EVERY generation of Americans has had to slap down an attempted putsch by oligarchs, generally with legislation that enabled competitive markets to stay alive. Libertarians could be part of this conversation, seeking non- (or anti) oligarchy measures that are nevertheless low-government. Barry Goldwater proposed reforms that would pump up the insurance industry to take on some government-paternalistic tasks.

But look in a mirror. That is NOT your reflex. At a time when oligarchy is skyrocketing and unions are plummeting, I’ll bet you grouse about unions more often. After every single GOP tax cut poured trillions into the maws of the enemies of freedom, you likely want more.

Again, look at a mirror, instead of engaging ANY of the ideas or facts in my article, you instead whined (inaccurately) about a personal sense of insult. Sigh and alack.

Jerry Emanuelson said...

One problem with purely free markets with unlimited inheritance is Price's Law or the similar Pareto Distribution Principle. These principles say that a certain few competitors in the market will become hugely more successful than others. Those highly successful competitors do not present a problem as long as they are earning their wealth fairly in the marketplace, but their heirs can present an immense problem.

I've never understood why so many free-market advocates are fine with unlimited inheritance. Dead people have no rights. Once a person dies, his property should legally become unowned. This means that the state can claim the unowned property and dispose of it in some equitable fashion. For estates up to about $20 million, it would be best if the assets of the deceased were distributed according to the will of the deceased person. For amounts beyond this, the unowned assets should be used to give the relatively poorer children in the society a more equal starting point in their lives.

Ignoring these principles simply creates an unequal society, and conditions of envy that are often deserved.

Alan Caulkins said...

Dr. Brin, Thank you for your frank response. Your remark about a productive and competitive relationship with liberals is exactly the sort of clarification I was interested in. I think we both should maintain a healthy skepticism of our reflexes - my only objection to unions is the idea that I should be compelled to join one to get a job when I don't want to join. I didn't refute any of the ideas or facts that you presented because I have no reason to argue when I already agree. I wrote to ask only about the hostility that I perceived toward the LP. I think your point about property in opposition to competition is especially interesting, though - I've seen you make similar points before, and I need to spend more time thinking about them. I personally have a difficult time attributing a higher importance to one than the other, and that probably means that I haven't finished forming an opinion. Oligarchic inheritance deserves quite a bit more thought. As for the peculiar bends in the LP, I'm willing to take a critical look at my party - a tendency to tolerate Republicans is less damning than the outright hair-brained nonsense. As a technologist, I will close by saying that I don't think any incumbent power is safe, whether an enemy of freedom or not. Again, thanks for your response.

David Brin said...

Thank you for proving my belief -- Alan -- that 1/3 of libertarians aren't lapel-grabbers but among the smartest political minds around... yet so easily deceived by a set of incantations that has warped a promising movement into irrelevance.

Please remember that when you see "hair-brained nonsense" among lefties, it is ANECDOTAL!

consider: Yes, the FAR left CONTAINS troglodyte-screeching dogmatists who wage war on science and hate the American tradition of steady, pragmatic reform, and who would impose their prescribed morality on you.

But today’s mad ENTIRE right CONSISTS of troglodyte-screeching dogmatists who wage war on science and hate the American tradition of steady, pragmatic reform, and who would impose their prescribed morality on you.

There is all the world’s difference between FAR and ENTIRE. As there is between CONTAINS and CONSISTS. The large majority of American liberals are the only group in US political life that remain undogmatically devoted to positive sum pragmatism, as evidenced by the fact that OUTCOMES for enterprise capitalism are actually better under democrats. See http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2014/06/so-do-outcomes-matter-more-than-rhetoric.html

Look, remember your ATLAS SHRUGGED! What industry did Rand choose as the archetype of "captured" regulatory excess? Railroads. The Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) was a wretched horror, wholly owned by Southern Pacific and its tri-opoly pals. She was right! But it never occurred to her that democratic forces might reach the same conclusion!

Who banished the ICC and Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB)? Not reform, but banished? Democrats. Who also led the way to breaking up AT&T and allowing MCI and Sprint to make a new era. Dems are pro-government, sure. But they do want it to work. If she were writing today, the LAST industry Rand would choose would be rails or autos.

Republicans want government to fail so the only alternative will be feudalism. Hence, huge tax gifts to the rich, that are NOT spent on R&D and factories, but instead (as Adam Smith predicted) on rentier-passive investments and asset bubbles. No Supply Side endeavor ever came true, as predicted.

Opposing liberal over-reach is your proper political job. Your ENEMY, on the other hand, is the force that has destroyed American politics in favor of mafia oligarchism.

Alan Caulkins said...

Thank you for the additional examples - I will certainly spend time studying them. The "hair-brained nonsense" I referred to was actually the LP's own Vermin Supreme. One of the LP's greatest liabilities is the penchant for self-parody.

David Brin said...

Okay, well. My reaction was natural. The far-left does contain a lot of "hair-brained" stuff! The dems do have the lowest RATIO. But some of the top-prize individual winners.

Duncan Cairncross said...

Alan
Re-Unions
The problem is that wage and other negotiations are not between "Equals"
the employer is risking a tiny fraction of his disposable wealth
The employee is risking his home his family and in the USA his families health

This is NOT NOT NOT a negotiation between equals
At the moment a strong union is the ONLY way to try and get a modicum of balance

By not joining the Union you are breaking that strong Union -

I'm old school on this I think the old methods are best
Broken legs or arms for people who work as Scabs

There are other possibilities - a decent UBI could go a long way to helping to equalise the power - a decent UBI and a National Health service of some sort

porohobot said...

>> Alan Caulkins said...
\\Dr Brin, I have to ask you - why do you hate Libertarians?

If I understand it correctly, most nastiest pet peevies of dr.Brin is... feodals.
Libertarians trying hard (in current socialistic world) to protect properties right as they see it as the main people's right (right on their own body, e.g.).
And who... I ask, was greatest and most uncontroled masters of all and any properties in all times? ;)

Simple syllogism, isn't it?

\\But, there are plenty of other things to dislike about the Democrats.

Wah... you dislike dems... then you are, you are... enemy of the people! %P

\\You're smarter than that.

You betcha? %)

>>> Once a person dies, his property should legally become unowned.

And they do ask why libertarians with Reps after THAT??? %)))
People! THAT, EXACTLY THAT bolcheviks did... in 1917.
"otniat i podelit, no po-spravedlivosty"/take away and share, but fair/equally this time.
Been there, seen that.(tm)
If you wanna YOUR OWN 70 years of wandering in THAT desert SO MUCH. GO AHEAD!!! %))))




>>Larry Hart said...
\\I don't think death counts as an antidote.
\\Maybe more of a consequence.

Sorry Larry. As hard as it is to admit it, but Plato is my friend...

Death, and error-fixing via death -- is the main (single?) engine of Evolution.

And if one not PRO Evolution... then what is remains? Faith in beardy old fart on the cloud? %\ Or in 40-ty guries? %) That one looks like more pleasure, but still. %P

porohobot said...

>> David Brin said...
\\What the heck are you talking about?

It's your words "Stunning malarkey. Lucas repeatedly comments..."?

But there is this link too -- http://prequelsredeemed.blogspot.com/2014/11/a-long-time-ago.html
And I read it. And found it quite plausible.
Even pleasant one. Giving a good positive vibe and/to background to it.

So I just wondering... is it just "I didn't read that book, but it bad", or something more?

\\\\“Hmm... that sentence assumes that you believe that "role of a person in a history" is most important?
\\No, it indicates YOUR incomprehension. You look at the named Big Leaders and ignore the 2nd half of my sentence, about the mobs that empowered them.

1. It was a question. People tend to ask questions when they do not know something or want clarification.

2. I already answered to that 2nd half, there... I'll repeat it in short.
I cannot see blaming "the mobs that empowered them" as something else than victim blaming. And do have Strong Reason for that --> Our Maidan and Holy Hundred killed there. Period.

\\He blatantly and openly and relentlessly preaches that Yoda was and remains wise.

Yeap. It could be good fanfic with Moral Reversal theme... where Yoda and Obi-Wan are the main schemers. %P


\\and who would impose their prescribed morality on you.

Yep, yep. Eyesores. Logs. Glass house. Rock throwing. All that. %)
And just following...

\\Your ENEMY, on the other hand, is the force that has destroyed American politics in favor of mafia oligarchism.

"No-no-no... it's not imposing. How could you even think about it?" %)))

\\Okay, well. My reaction was natural. The far-left does contain a lot of "hair-brained" stuff! The dems do have the lowest RATIO. But some of the top-prize individual winners.

Dr.Brin,
let us see Your reaction on THAT "legally become unowned".
First hand.


\\"Faith in Blind Markets," which is a libertarian religious dogma in the west that never, ever was verified

It's the same talking points "smart" RFia's propaganda pressuring hard.
But you continue, continue... %)

\\because almost all FIBM preachers just want power transfered from the state into the hands of a few thousand corporate oligarchs.

No. It's elementary cybernetic thinking -- for the system to last for long time, one need to provide and to support working negative feedback loop(tm).
THERE NO OTHER OPTION! It's physics.


\\and thus maximize the utility-availability of competition-ready talent!

Yeap. Let's produce yet more people to be called "over-qualified". %)
Yet one time. Been there, seen that.(tm)
That exactly situation in late USSR... with lots of "competition-ready talents".
But ready to real competition occur not good boys rised on such "for the sake of poorer" soup, but young delinquents. Yeap, like Putin.

So. Yet ONE time. THAT_social_engineering_DOESN'T_WORK!!! Proved by USSR history.
And only idiots trying to do second time, something, that was proven not successfull FIRST TIME.(tm)

\\Any libertarian who questions specific methods of liberal MOFC intervention may be helpful; criticism is valuable...

We'll see it.
And quite fast. By your reaction on this comments (it would be wise to just ignore them, though %))

porohobot said...

Omnious %)

13th day. 13th comment %))

Let's see the outcome. ;)

porohobot said...

>> Duncan Cairncross said...
\\The problem is that wage and other negotiations are not between "Equals"
the employer is risking a tiny fraction of his disposable wealth
The employee is risking his home his family and in the USA his families health

It plays in reverse too.
It's employer who risking, with his capital, with his head,
with wellbeing and prosperity of his family, future of his children.

While workers selling their "labor resources" for a fixed price. Securely, isn't it?.
And doesn't matter(to them?) -- have their work some results or no.
They ever ready to stompe on the troat of "procliaty burgouy"... whining about their "blood and tears" earnings. And never cares about question "from where comes that profit?".
Also.
Showing thinking of a bitchy housewife "And what you say? That you are tired? Spending days long in your shiny office, in comfy chair, under conditioner. While I'm doing ALL THE HARD WORK in OUR house. You are working?!! What a lame excuse! I know what you are doing -- you are looking for pron on the Internet" often. %))) (that's for comic relif, maybe)
And.
While there whole lot of that, who are ever ready to share profits with capitalist.
And even have "Force Them to Share"(tm) credo.
I never seen ones who ready to share losses, have you?

That how this thing (named capitalism) works. Ce la vie(c) %\

But I already SEEN all ins and outs of its alternative. And don't like it.
No... it's wrong to say like/dislike here. I only happy that I(and my family, my nation) came of it alive... somehow (not by my(our) own choice, as it was with your niggers -- and it is not a coincidnce, for sure). %\
And as such... have STRONG incentive to not return there. Into "Russky Mir"/Russian Piece|World.

PS It's NOT for the sake of an argument. It's important question for MY country(Ukraine if someone asking). Here and Now.
And I'd be admired by this blog much, if I could dicuss THIS flaming question here. Seriously.
If not... what a blunder... but that too, would be ce la vie. %(

Jerry Emanuelson said...

porohobot:

I think that you very badly misunderstand me. I am only talking about what should be done very carefully under the rule of law, probably strictly limited by the constitution of a nation.

In the United States, such a limitation on inheritance would have to be written into a constitutional amendment so that re-distribution of wealth through inheritance laws did not become excessive.

The Bolsheviks did not leave heirs of the dead with 20 million U.S. dollars. I am talking about what should be done with the assets of those who die naturally or in real accidents.

I am not talking about murderers, like the Bolsheviks, taking the assets of the dead.

I am sure that you know, very well, that the USSR killed about 20 million Ukrainians alone (mostly through starvation). I am very much aware of the Holodomor and other USSR atrocities, including those that Russia inflicts upon Ukraine (on a very much smaller scale) today.

In all of human history, only the Maoists were worse murderers and thieves than the Bolsheviks.

I am talking about what adjustments can be made to free markets to prevent the accumulation of large amounts of unearned wealth.

porohobot said...

>> Jerry Emanuelson said...
\\I think that you very badly misunderstand me. I am only talking about what should be done very carefully under the rule of law, probably strictly limited by the constitution of a nation.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions

The saying is thought to have originated with Saint Bernard of Clairvaux who wrote (c. 1150), "L'enfer est plein de bonnes volontés ou désirs" (hell is full of good wishes or desires).[2] An earlier saying occurs in Virgil's Aeneid: "facilis descensus Averno (the descent to hell is easy)".


Only ONE pragmatical note from my side -- that'll only make THEM use more schemas, more hidden accounts in Switzerland.
And you'll have either one of two choices:
would be forced to stop this silly venture,
or
enlist your own "ohozabls"/Caretakers of Greater Good (Lem's word)/bolsheviks in dusty helmets.

Do I need to continue?

Jerry Emanuelson said...

My only assertion was that dead people do not have legal rights.

I certainly do not believe that this assertion will solve all of the world's problems. It is only a small part of a solution.

David Brin has, in the past, proposed possible solutions to other aspects of this same problem.

I do believe that much consideration and respect should be given to those who have recently died. For example, I made sure that my own parents got a funeral in a Christian Church when they died (since that was their wish), although I am an atheist.

Anonymous said...

Take the auto industry. With 25+ major car-makers across the globe, competition is genuine and hence, we get better cars for less money, every year.


According to Consumer reports:



Guide to Car Corporations
Here’s a list the major car corporations that sell in the U.S. and the brands they currently offer here.

Parent Company owns Brand

BMW Group owns BMW, Mini, and Rolls-Royce.
Daimler AG owns Mercedes-Benz and Smart.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles owns Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep, Maserati, and Ram.
Ford Motor Co. owns Ford and Lincoln.
General Motors owns Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, and GMC.
Honda Motor Co. owns Acura and Honda.
Hyundai Motor Group owns Genesis, Hyundai, and Kia.
Mazda Motor Corp. owns Mazda.
Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance owns Infiniti, Mitsubishi, and Nissan.
Subaru Corp. owns Subaru.
Tata Motors owns Jaguar and Land Rover.
Tesla owns Tesla.
Toyota Motor Corp. owns Lexus and Toyota. And has a stake in Subaru.
Volkswagen Group owns Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, and Volkswagen.
Zhejiang Geely Holding Group (ZGH) owns Lotus, Polestar, and Volvo.


Missing from the list is PSA which owns Peugeot, Citroen, DS and Opel.

That's 15 manufacturers from CR and one other than I can think of, there's bound to be a couple of Chinese, Russian & Indian Manufacturer that I am not familiar with, but I seriously doubt that there are nine more of them...
I have no idea where you are finding 25 Manufacturers...

Larry Hart said...

porohobot:

\\I don't think death counts as an antidote.
\\Maybe more of a consequence.

...

Death, and error-fixing via death -- is the main (single?) engine of Evolution.


Ok, I interpreted the original comment, "Death is the...antidote to error" in the other direction. I was thinking in terms of "Too many of the wrong kinds of errors causes your death." In that sense, death could be said to be an "antidote", preventing you from committing more errors, but only in a draconian way that hardly solves the problem. I mean, you could just as well say, "Getting run over by a bus is an antidote to poison" because the premature death prevents the poison from killing you, but that's not really helpful.

Your interpretation reverses the cause and effect from mine. "Your death keeps the species's gene pool clean of the tendencies to make the errors which caused your premature death." In that sense, your death is an antidote, not for you, but for the species. I can see that.

porohobot said...

\\In that sense, your death is an antidote, not for you, but for the species. I can see that.

I am philosopher from cybernetics.
I cannot see any option other then "death as antidote".
Maybe you see other and can enlight me, and free me from my burden of understanding? ;)

e/g/Memes in our heads live and die on the same rules.


\\preventing you from committing more errors, but only in a draconian way that hardly solves the problem.

There is Darwin prize for that. ;)


\\"Getting run over by a bus is an antidote to poison" because the premature death prevents the poison from killing you, but that's not really helpful.

There above is perfect example of "curing headache with guillotine".
I'm about "property should legally become unowned".

porohobot said...

>> Jerry Emanuelson said...

I think that we could find more interesting, and I'd said more important topic to discuss.

For example prospects of how to make "Engines of Creation" reality. Wink. (I do have some thoughts about, that it could be not so hopeless... even for our generation)

Because I do not believe in social engineering. More then so... I fear it.
Because of living experience in a country of Greatest Social Experiment Of All Times(though surely not first such experiment... and sadly, not last).

But techs. Technologies is different.
And while in social equation all is known and for long time already.
It's only new and new waves of newbies... doesn't know nothing and ready step on the same stumbling stone again and again.
Techs provide us with NEW variables, which we can add to equation and try to find better solutions...

Larry Hart said...

I don't think I agree with "Dead people have no rights." First of all, the law recognizes the legal validity of a last will and testement, so the assertion would seem to be self-evidently false. Maybe more importantly, I'm very uncomfortable with the state having a financial incentive to kill me. The poster here who uses the pseudonym "more weight" surely understands what I'm talking about, as he took his nym from the very scene in The Crucible in which the church authorities try to torture a man into confessing to a crime, which would allow those very authorities to seize his property. A society built with that sort of conflict of interest goes under Very Bad Ideas.

I understand there is also a problem when too much wealth is locked away in private hands forever. The correct response (to me) is not to pick one side or the other--public confiscation or private sequestration--but to recognize that individuals and society both have legitimate claims with conflicts in need of balance and resolution. That's why I do favor some level of inheritence tax. You get to keep it, but We The People get something back for the commons. Similar to the notion among the Fremen in Dune that the body belongs to the dead, but its water belongs to the tribe.

The details of which things and how much belong to the dead or to society are, of course, to be worked out.

locumranch said...


In what reality is Central Planning, the Guided Allocation of Resources (GAR) and Socialism compatible with American Libertarianism?

It is as I said in the comments of the last thread:

"The socialist-supporting idealist (invokes) the 'No True Scotsman' fallacy as they insist that all previous attempts at achieving said ideal were so imperfect as not to disprove the validity of the aforementioned belief system, leading to the faith-based conclusion that socialism 'should', 'ought' and 'is supposed' to work, assuming a less corrupt & a less imperfect humanity.

And, David does exactly this in this very thread:

First, David shifts the massive failure of Socialism's central planning to its failed "central economic planners" in order to rehabilitate Socialism as an economic philosophy.

Second, David talks up GAR as a new, improved & potentially useful form of Socialism's central planning which 'should', 'ought' and 'is supposed' to work, assuming a sufficiently 'enlightened' central planner.

And, third, David demands a large & intrusive government by declaring that "the state has to intervene, at-minimum to prevent inevitable cheating" in order to create the social utopia of enforced equality that maximizes 'equal-open-fair' competition'.

These are NOT Libertarian demands, but rather the demands of an unrepentant Socialist, and David owes us all an apology (post-haste) for the gaslighting of poor Alan_C.


Best
_____

The claim that "some kinds of socialist interventions (...) are competition-friendly" is perhaps the biggest lie of all.

Information about actual Libertarianism is available at https://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/key-concepts-libertarianism

David Brin said...

Hey locum, I know you are enjoying your strawman. But I am waaaaaaaay over here.

David Brin said...

porohobot, you are a lively, vigorous fellow! And welsome here, with interesting ideas. But it is really tiring slogging through your ... unusual syntax. Yes, your English is vastly better than my Ukrainian! (Though I spoke some Russian with SF fans in Moscow.)

Still, is there any way you can feed your postings through a grammar filter? You are worth the effort! But time is in short supply.

Jerry Emanuelson said...

Let me clarify: Dead people should have no legal rights. Dead people already have no moral rights.

Inheritance taxes already partially invalidate the current recognition of a last will and testament. I am only saying that, if it is done properly, such taxes are not a violation of anyone's rights.

I have been signed up for cryonic suspension with the Alcor Foundation for 30 years, so I hope that my wishes to be cryonically preserved through vitrification after my legal death will be observed, but I will be totally at the mercy of the living when that time comes. I will have no moral authority over the living after my legal death.

Regarding libertarianism: There is no central authority on what is "real libertarianism." Libertarianism is simply the opposite of authoritarianism. A libertarian is simply anyone who is substantially more anti-authoritarian than an average individual in any given society.

Most Americans have a considerable suspicion of authority, but only those who are substantially more anti-authoritarian than the average person are libertarian. There is no libertarian club to join, nor is there any central repository of the one and only set of libertarian principles. There are many different flavors of libertarianism.

For a few years in the 1990s, I was a member of the United States Libertarian Party. I was a libertarian before, during, and after the time that I was an LP member. I was an active libertarian before the Libertarian Party or the Cato Institute ever existed.

I have organized many libertarian gatherings. I have been strongly anti-authoritarian for as long as I can remember, but I am also a pragmatist. I believe that certain constraints should be placed on markets. These constraints can be modified from time to time; but they should not be modified hour by hour as they are now.

Larry Hart said...

Jerry Emanuelson:

Let me clarify: Dead people should have no legal rights. Dead people already have no moral rights.

Inheritance taxes already partially invalidate the current recognition of a last will and testament. I am only saying that, if it is done properly, such taxes are not a violation of anyone's rights.


Hmmm, I still can't agree. And if inheritance taxes "invalidate" (rather than simply "tax") a will, then doesn't the concept of a wrongful death suit invalidate the notion that a dead person has no legal rights?

And again, to use a sports metaphor, for the same reason a football game can't end on a defensive foul, I'd say a person's legal rights shouldn't be circumventible by the simple expedient of killing him.

Jerry Emanuelson said...

LarryHart:

Wrongful death lawsuits are always filed by living survivors. I don't know of any case where a dead (or formerly-dead) person has filed a wrongful death suit.

The living certainly have a legal and moral right not to be killed; but once they are dead, their rights are gone.

Advanced technology could provide some interesting new situations, though. Suppose that I am killed tomorrow by a drunk driver and placed into cryonic suspension.

If medical progress advances quite considerably faster than expected, I could conceivably be revived from cryonic suspension in about 20 years and personally file a lawsuit against that drunk driver for my own wrongful death.

David Brin said...

Dead people rights is a social contract thing. We enforce wills etc because we want the precedent set for an obligation between generations so that our own wishes will be followed.

I can accept that libertarians' anti-authority reflexes may more naturally tend toward bureaucrats and government. After all, government has a monopoly on force. At its very worst, it can be way worse than anything else.

In a normal political arena, they would be the liberals' natural friendly competitors. "We can see that problem you liberals are yelling about. You go ahead and use government and law and regs to deal with it short-term. But over a longer term, such measures tend to cloy or get captured. So we want to institute incentives for insurance or other market solutions to make that problem go away, organically, so your regulations and bureaucrats can wither away."

Alas, instead the movement's center of gravity has shifted to:

"Problem? What problem? YOU are the only problem! Forget competition. Forget history! It's OBVIOUS that the best solution is to let those with property do anything they want."


Larry Hart said...

Jerry Emanuelson:

Wrongful death lawsuits are always filed by living survivors. I don't know of any case where a dead (or formerly-dead) person has filed a wrongful death suit.


No, but aren't the cases filed on behalf of the dead person?


The living certainly have a legal and moral right not to be killed; but once they are dead, their rights are gone.


I wasn't just talking about the dead person's right to not be killed. I meant, for example, if someone is suing you for fraud, do you get to escape the consequences of your crime by having him killed? And maybe more of a libertarian perspective--can the government legally confiscate your property by killing you.


Advanced technology could provide some interesting new situations, though. Suppose that I am killed tomorrow by a drunk driver and placed into cryonic suspension.

If medical progress advances quite considerably faster than expected, I could conceivably be revived from cryonic suspension in about 20 years and personally file a lawsuit against that drunk driver for my own wrongful death.


The changes to law and society that would be precipitated by death ceasing to be a permanent condition would be profound, and there could probably be whole sci-fi novels devoted to them.

For one thing, in what sense have you suffered "wrongful death" if you're not dead?

On a tangential subject, I have to admit that I've never understood the concept that someone who is already dead can be frozen and then revived once a cure for their condition is found. If the disease has already killed them, what good does it do to cure the disease afterwards? The body has already deteriorated to the point where it failed. Isn't finding a cure a case of shutting the barn door after the horses have already escaped?

For example, if a person dies of drowning, the death is caused by the body suffering oxygen starvation to the point where it is no longer able to maintain itself. You wouldn't expect to bring them back to life at that point by administering oxygen. Why would you expect you could freeze the person and then revive them later when a "cure for drowning" is discovered? Cures for drowning already exist, but they don't work after the person has already died.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

"Problem? What problem? YOU are the only problem! Forget competition. Forget history! It's OBVIOUS that the best solution is to let those with property do anything they want."


To bend over backwards to be fair to the Randists (and I've conversed with plenty), they seem to believe that "anything they want" will be constrained by their desire for the property to appreciate in value, which in turn will cause them to act responsibly. It's the same as the argument that a company can be trusted to inspect its own food product because they won't want to kill or otherwise drive away their customers. The theory can be made to sound plausible, even though it's never borne out in reality (so much for A equals A). It's akin to "scientific proofs" that bees can't fly.

Duncan Cairncross said...

So we want to institute incentives for insurance or other market solutions to make that problem go away, organically, so your regulations and bureaucrats can wither away."

I wonder how they would approach ACC?
https://www.acc.co.nz/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accident_Compensation_Corporation

We have a Government Insurance Company that will "make whole" any accidental injury in NZ

So any accident is automatically covered - we pay for this with a small tax and employment amd motoring fees
Actually works very very well - not perfect but very well

Jerry Emanuelson said...

LarryHart:

I hope I'm not frozen. Straight freezing causes a huge amount of damage. Alcor has been using vitrification for nearly all cryonics cases for the past 18 years or so.

To paraphrase cryonics advocate Ralph Merkle, cryonics is a great medical experiment. You can be in the control group, or you can be in the experimental group. So far, the control group isn't doing very well.

I don't know if cryonics will actually work, but I prefer to be in the experimental group. It will be an amazing adventure if is does work.

Your DNA contains all of the information necessary to make a new undamaged body just like the original. People die when the human body can no longer make use of that DNA information in a sufficiently timely manner for adequate biological repair.

For a concise explanation of what needs to be done for the next major advance in technology, read the first page of the book Engines of Creation which is online at:

http://e-drexler.com/d/06/00/EOC/EOC_Chapter_1.html

The first page, starting with the words "COAL AND DIAMONDS" and ending with the words "still to come" is the most important single page about human technology ever written.

Anonymous said...

Larry Hart: It's the same as the argument that a company can be trusted to inspect its own food product because they won't want to kill or otherwise drive away their customers.

Um, given the corporate behaviour that brought in food & drug laws, how can anyone make that argument and expect to be treated seriously? Are people so unaware of history?

By the end of nineteenth century, food was dangerous. Lethal, even. “Milk” might contain formaldehyde, most often used to embalm corpses. Decaying meat was preserved with both salicylic acid, a pharmaceutical chemical, and borax, a compound first identified as a cleaning product. This was not by accident; food manufacturers had rushed to embrace the rise of industrial chemistry, and were knowingly selling harmful products. Unchecked by government regulation, basic safety, or even labelling requirements, they put profit before the health of their customers. By some estimates, in New York City alone, thousands of children were killed by “embalmed milk” every year. Citizens–activists, journalists, scientists, and women’s groups–began agitating for change. But even as protective measures were enacted in Europe, American corporations blocked even modest regulations. Then, in 1883, Dr. Harvey Washington Wiley, a chemistry professor from Purdue University, was named chief chemist of the agriculture department, and the agency began methodically investigating food and drink fraud, even conducting shocking human tests on groups of young men who came to be known as, “The Poison Squad.”

https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/312067/the-poison-squad-by-deborah-blum/9781594205149

David Brin said...

Latest cryonics news - told to me by a member. Alcor has a new freezer that stays just above the fracture point.

Larry Hart said...

Anonymous:

Um, given the corporate behaviour that brought in food & drug laws, how can anyone make that argument and expect to be treated seriously? Are people so unaware of history?


Yes, that was exactly my point. They're not so much "unaware" of history as dismissive of it. The Rand fans I used to converse with on the old Cerebus list considered their idealized version of the motivation of industrialists to be self-evident, and any evidence to the contrary was summarily dismissed on the grounds that A equals A.

TheMadLibrarian said...

Anonymous -- thank you for the book recommendation. That looks like a very interesting read, and I think it would be a good addition to the library collection.

Larry Hart -- the problem is when it's less expensive for a company to settle lawsuits for defective or injurious products, than it is to be proactive and institute safety measures, whether it's seat belts or testing for E. Coli.

porohobot said...

>> David Brin said...
\\porohobot, you are a lively, vigorous fellow! And welsome here...

Thank you for your kind words.

But still... couple of questions remain without answer. And I'm not ready to leave it as is, yet.

So... your answer to "property should _legally_become_unowned_" and other one "_prevent_the_accumulation_ of large amounts of _unearned_ wealth"?

Is it "far left" as you stated not once? Or just leftists?
Or maybe... ts-s-s, mainstream left and even centristic-socialistic? ;)

Do people have right to their own bodies, at least?
As part of the very basic and very essential, natural human rights?
As in UDHR -- (The Universal Declaration of Human Rights)?

And next one.
Do you (and how?) understand concept of "negative feedback loop"?
And it's crucial role in all and anything that could be called "a system"?



\\Still, is there any way you can feed your postings through a grammar filter? You are worth the effort! But time is in short supply.

1. Yeah. It's seems I need to dive into that boring stuff, to evolve further. %)

2. If something in short supply, isn't it, first idea that come to mind, to reconsider your priorities?

\\Dead people rights is a social contract thing.

So you believe in social contract? Just asking. :)


>> Larry Hart said...
\\For one thing, in what sense have you suffered "wrongful death" if you're not dead?

So... adversary that smashed your car are not obliged to pay for its repair?

\\On a tangential subject, I have to admit that I've never understood the concept that someone who is already dead can be frozen and then revived once a cure for their condition is found. If the disease has already killed them, what good does it do to cure the disease afterwards? The body has already deteriorated to the point where it failed.

So, why then we do operations with donor's organs? Even with arifical one. 3D printed one.

\\Isn't finding a cure a case of shutting the barn door after the horses have already escaped?

To not let other cattle out too? For wind to not swing and smash that door?
You are not from country side? ;)


>> Jerry Emanuelson said...
\\I have organized many libertarian gatherings. I have been strongly anti-authoritarian for as long as I can remember, but I am also a pragmatist. I believe that certain constraints should be placed on markets. These constraints can be modified from time to time; but they should not be modified hour by hour as they are now.

I see it now. You are engineer.
And so your views are that... if there is some problem -- let's fix it with some machinery.If it not working, well, let's try some other design.
I know this aproach. I myself look at it that way. But.
Social mechanisms MORE tender than that. And do not allow such brutality over itself.
So, one NEED to think ahead, about possible consequences.
NO ONE been allowed to treat possibly wrenched human lives as "collateral damage".%(


\\For a concise explanation of what needs to be done for the next major advance in technology, read the first page of the book Engines of Creation which is online at:

Yeah... that part where he talk about WHAT.
But I myself prefer that part(s) where he giving a little glimpse on HOW.

Its about his words... that one need AI to make it all work.

Because NITHER human NOR any ordinary computer... even super fast.
Cannot provide real time guidance for nanotech engineering.

But that limitation can be workarounded... ;)

yana said...


Sounds like a call for a fifth political party, the Libtarians. I'd like to think it's underway, but shy from burns. Predicted the collapse of Dems 15 years ago, foresaw Reps splintering apart three years ago. Neither happened, so looks like the USA is stuck with these same two parties for the foreseeables.

Watch 3 Conventions every four: Dem, Rep, and Libertarian. Watch the former and middle to spot the lies (don't try this as a drinking game), and to gauge how each party's supporting cast jitters over various planks. Watch the latter one, for humor value. Not to insult libertarians, but the range of planks argued there gets nice and wacky on the edges.

But i don't watch the Green Convention, it's boring. Think of G's being the farm league for the D's, and the libertarians as the feeder pipeline for the R-party, a lot of people see it that way. Suppose it should not astonish then, to see the Republicans getting so schizo and the Democrats getting sane and boring.

I liked libertarianism for the uplifting core idea: a majority of people, if left to their own devices, will use more freedom to turn their effort more directly into wealth, with a choice to turn it into either comfort or capital, as they wish.

A minority of people use freedom to cheat, and a smaller minority use freedom to hoard. Liberalism seemed like a way to issue sharp rebuke to cheaters and reprove to hoarders. Conservatism used to discourage hoarding by making investment more practical, and squashed cheating by favoring small businesses, because more economic choice naturally fosters the business with the better reputation. Ahh not so much anymore.

Who should be a Libtarian? Five easy planks:

All people are born equal, the job of civilization is they all die equal.

Copyrights should not be held by a trust or heir, every stock share traded should carry a tiny tax, and inheritances taxed at a certain rate with a windowsill.

Tariffs should be based on the length of credible democracy of the trade partner, no other reason will ever be needed.

Freedom of speech and videography at home or in public.

Rebuild the wall that worked great for 70 years, the wall between insurance and banking.

yana said...


Larry Hart thought: "but aren't the cases filed on behalf of the dead person?"

No, there is no outcome in court which can either benefit nor reduce the deceased. Wrongful death seeks are on behalf of the living who are affected by an avoidable death.

And looked up "sealioning" to see what you meant, and that's funny. WiPi says:

"The troll pretends ignorance and feigns politeness"

Promise to never pretend ignorance, i can do it naturally enough, and politeness just is as it does, you ever see me faking it, you let me know.

more weight said...

The first three Mad Max films, despite their patterns of lovely entertaining post-apocalyptic violence, actually had thoughtful moments reflecting upon what civilization might be. The latest one, also popular, had none of that. Its portrayal of evil, with the red glowing eyes and a clichéd facemask, didn’t rouse any thoughtfulness.

The mask, booming voice modulation and body armour are costume. Immortan Joe has carefully crafted the persona of the ultimate immortal warlord-emperor-alpha-male-dark god. It works on the War Boys because they are young, poor, constantly afraid, indoctrinated from childhood and, well, male. Even the War Boys have eyes, they could look behind the mask, but they don't really want to when it tells them so perfectly what they want to believe. (If they looked they would see that Joe is very sick: his mask hides breathing apparatus; his armour hides sores; his eyes are red from illness. But then who would be their Alpha Male?).

Immortan Joe is feudalism incarnate: a warlord with a harem.

Larry Hart said...

porohobot:

\\For one thing, in what sense have you suffered "wrongful death" if you're not dead?

So... adversary that smashed your car are not obliged to pay for its repair?


Heh. Ok, I'll give you that one.

My point, though, was that the whole concept of "wrongful death" becomes something different from what it is today when the death part isn't permanent. A subsequent point is that if someone can be brought back to life, then do their rights really disappear when they're dead? Only to be reinstated upon resurrection? For that matter, what does a death certificate signify when death is a temporary condition?

Larry Hart said...

porohobot:

\\On a tangential subject, I have to admit that I've never understood the concept that someone who is already dead can be frozen and then revived once a cure for their condition is found. If the disease has already killed them, what good does it do to cure the disease afterwards? The body has already deteriorated to the point where it failed.

So, why then we do operations with donor's organs? Even with arifical one. 3D printed one.


We do operations while the person's brain is still alive. The part I don't understand is the "freeze until a cure is found" for someone who has already died. It seems to me that it's too late to cure the disease at that point--the larger damage to the brain has already been done.

Larry Hart said...

yana:

And looked up "sealioning" to see what you meant, and that's funny. WiPi says:

"The troll pretends ignorance and feigns politeness"

Promise to never pretend ignorance, i can do it naturally enough, and politeness just is as it does, you ever see me faking it, you let me know.


I didn't accuse you of sealioning; I remember saying that a particular post of yours came across that way, and I couldn't tell whether you were doing it intentionally or not. More like "fair warning".

Larry Hart said...

The Wall St Journal's Peggy Noonan tries to blame both sides for the shutdown and admonishes them to "come to a deal"--specifically Dreamers for the wall--without acknowledging that Benedict Donald has already shot down that very particular deal. What exactly would she have Chuck and Nancy do other than give in to the tactic of hostage-taking, guaranteeing that Trump can now ask for any ridiculous thing he wants with the threat of a government shutdown?

Those who insist the Dems could end the shutdown seem to mean "by giving Trump everything he wants." Whereas Trump could end it today with a negotiated deal. Dems aren't refusing to fund the government--that's what Republicans are doing--Democrats are simply refusing to sweeten the pot for Trump, as if it's acceptable that Trump needs some special encouragement to do what should simply be a routine part of his job. That's on him.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/end-this-stupid-shutdown-11547164885


...

Mr. Schumer and Mrs. Pelosi should stop. They should end the drama.

Who cares if it’s a wall, a fence, a bulwark, a barrier, smart tech, increased personnel? Get it done. Climb down. Make a deal.

Who cares how both sides spin the outcome, claim bragging rights, issue the cleverest taunt?

Just solve it. It’s been 20 years.

They should trade better border security for a deal that protects the Dreamers, who were brought here illegally as children. This would actually be good for the country. Not to be irrelevant, just thought I’d note it.

...

Larry Hart said...

If my confusion about cryogenics isn't clear, someone please correct me where I'm deviating from reality.

It seems to me that the point of cryogenic freezing is to essentially halt the passage of time for the dead body so it doesn't deteriorate further. It does not reverse the deterioration; just stops it. From the point of view of the body, no time (or very little time) has passed between freezing and revival.

If a cure is found for what killed them in the meantime, then that cure can be applied after the body has been un-frozen. Say the person had died from tetanus poisoning before antibiotics had been discovered. So now, you could theoretically revive a dead body and give it a tetanus shot. How is this different from simply giving a tetanus shot to someone who had already died of tetanus now? That wouldn't work to revive the dead. Why would introducing cryogenics in between death and shot work any better?

Anonymous said...

Larry Hart:

Sounds like Peggy Noonan would at least partly blame the police for not meeting a hostage-taker part-way.

I was in a toxic relationship with someone who believed it "took two to make a fight", which meant that every time they didn't get their own way it was my fault for causing the fight. (And every compromise was opened up for 'renegotiation' in a couple of days or less.) Fortunately that toxic relationship only affected me, rather than the whole country.

Jerry Emanuelson said...

There are several possible ways of undoing the damage after revival from cryonic suspension. We can't do any of this yet. We only know that the information all seems to be intact, so future technology can perform the necessary repairs.

The most important thing is to prevent damage to the brain. If the brain is undamaged, then two things are necessary:

(1) The ability to clone a human body (identical to your original) without a brain. The basic ability to do this exists now. You either remove the higher-level brain cells from the new body at the early stages of development, or you modify the DNA so that a brain doesn't develop at all. So you have a human body identical to your original, but without a brain. Your original brain will be installed in the new body as soon as the new body is sufficiently developed.

(There are all sorts of questions here -- like how do you physically exercise a developing brainless cloned body while it is just lying there? However, there are hypothetical ways of producing a cloned brainless body very rapidly without traditional cloning techniques. The important thing is that a just a few of your original cells contain enough the DNA with enough information to produce a human body just like your original.)

Few cryonicists want their old human body. In most cases, it will be all worn out anyway.

(2) The splicing of central nervous system neurons must be developed. We can't do this yet, but we are getting close. We need to be able to splice spinal cords, optic nerves, auditory nerves, etc.

Then your original brain can be placed inside your newly cloned body and re-connected.

Of course, I'm leaving out a lot of details. The revival details are mostly things that we don't yet know how to do anyway, but there appears to be a direct path forward from the present to the necessary technologies.

The important thing is to preserve the necessary information for future revival.

If your brain gets blown to bits, you're just out of luck. For example, one Alcor member was lost forever in the 9-11 attack on the World Trade Center buildings.




Jerry Emanuelson said...

porohobot:

"Left" and "right" are just political tribes. I don't understanding anything about those tribes, so I cannot answer anything in "left" or "right" tribal terms.

I believe that pure free markets work best, but they must be carefully bounded by rules governing the nature of the permitted transactions.

I also believe that totally free markets allow certain talented people to acquire vast amounts of wealth. I do not see that as a problem, but when that wealth is passed on to heirs who did not earn it, huge problems can begin to arise.

There are several ways to solve this problem. I just think that the best way to begin solving this problem is by changing inheritance law.

********************

For porohobot and others for whom English is a second (or third) language, using Google Translate in unusual ways can be useful in making your writing clearer in another language.

For example, a Ukrainian who knows basic English may want to write in English, then use Google Translate to see how clear the re-translation is back into Ukrainian.

I have used this method of going back and forth with Google Translate to help make my statements much clearer in another language.

Google Translate is an imperfect system, but it is very good for identifying where your words are imprecise, or where phrases may be difficult to understand.

Google Translate is useful because it tends to misunderstand things in much the same ways that humans tend to misunderstand things.

Larry Hart said...

Jerry Emanuelson:


If your brain gets blown to bits, you're just out of luck.


My thought is that if the person is already brain-dead, then you've already passed that point of no return. "Blown to bits" is just more obvious.

The important point is that you're talking about something more than curing the disease that caused the death. You're talking about reversing the death of the brain itself. While that's not quite an opposite thing, it's a much different thing.

Tim H. said...

I wonder what worthwhile things "Herr Drumph!" might embrace to get his wall? Medicare for all? Higher education without crippling debt? Or is he only interested in the wall as a bludgeon?

more weight said...

Larry Hart

[...]much of the audience will choose option 2.

I don't remember who said that a filmmaker can say a little less what he wants to say to millions or a little more what he wants to say to thousands.

...the church authorities try to torture a man into confessing to a crime, which would allow those very authorities to seize his property.

Yes, my understanding is that witch-hunting was partly psychologically motivated and partly an expense account scam. There's a scene in I,Claudius were a character points out that, the State being nearly bankrupt, there must soon begin a terrible scandal of treason among very wealthy citizens.

Jerry Emanuelson said...

Larry Hart:

Today, brain death is declared when brain function stops, although brain structure may still be completely intact.

Today, we have defibrillators to re-start the heart when heart structure is intact although heart function has stopped.

We do not yet have analogous technology to re-start the brain. Such technology would generally be not very useful today because brain death generally has causes that are outside of the brain and that are not currently repairable at all.

If the brain's structure is pretty much intact, it can be restarted with future technology.

Much of the structure of the brain could even be replaced with future technology. We only need to preserve the parts of the brain containing individual memory and personality.

more weight said...

Meanwhile in modern America, it costs more to finally execute a man than it does to keep him in prison for life. Even supporters of the death penalty should want to keep it that way.

jim said...

from the end of the post

"And a reminder of my own observation... that each of the last 4 centuries seemed
to "find its theme" during the second decade. Let's hope to turn ours upward, while there's still time"

I would argue that the "theme" for the rest of the 21st century is the falling surplus energy per capita. Falling surplus energy per capita means the end of economic growth. ( a bigger economy needs more capacity to do work a.k.a. more surplus energy) We are currently adding massive amounts of debt (worldwide) in an attempt to hide this fact. Sooner or later the debts will start coming due and they will not be able to be paid back. Pension systems are likely to be one of the first victims.

So much of todays behavior is based on the idea that the economy will keep growing forever. All those behaviors will have to change.

Alfred Differ said...

@jim | Falling surplus energy per capita means the end of economic growth.

Not necessarily. If a certain absolute amount of energy is needed to acquire an absolute amount of innovation which is the actual fuel for growth (not energy), then you are probably right. I'm pretty sure that is NOT true, but there might be a limit to how far we can become more efficient innovators.

jim said...

I guess you have never heard of Eroom's law.

Eroom's law - the observation that the productivity of research and development in the pharmaceutical industry has been falling exponentially for decades.

But hey it turn out that Eroom's Law also works for computer chip manufacturing as well. (http://www.softmachines.org/wordpress/)

The more general problem is the diminishing returns to continually improving an already very complex and sophisticated technology.

Innovation gets more and more expensive as your technology develops.

matthew said...

I note with amusement the posters here that think the government shutdown is all about a wall. It is not. It is primarily a distraction from the news regarding the GOP and Russia. It is secondarily a chance to cause chaos in the US government, particularly the parts in charge of monitoring day to day events. Want to dump some toxic waste? No one is watching. Want to move some funds? No one is watching. Want to delay our opponent from filing that regulatory paperwork? It cannot be filed. Plus it encourages loss in faith in the government's credit, ability to be a good employer, and overall competence. It is only tertiary about shoring up Trump's base for the fights soon to come regarding overt treason.

Remember that weakening government is the default conservative / libertarian position and you'll understand why the shutdown is not ending. Also remember the c/l position when you ask why government works better under Democrats.

jim said...

And Alfred,
sense you love being pedantic ---
Energy is the actual physical fuel for growth.
Innovation is a change to how things are organized.

David Brin said...

Tim, welcome back.

Jerry: Peggy Noonan is …I’ll forebear.

Jerry & Tim: Trump’s standard tactic in business negotiations was to bring in previously separate matters, threaten to break something and hurt people. Then promise to stop if the other side gave him everything he wanted. It hasn’t worked yet for him in office and priority #1 should be not to ever, ever let it work even a little, or we’ll get a tsunami.

Hence, DACA will have to wait.


Jerry growing new clone bodies is the plot of The Island, an under-rated flick.


Interesting proposals, yana, some of them I never saw before, like basing tariffs on democracy.

locumranch said...


Perhaps I have over-stated or even 'strawmanned' our host's overt & unapologetic Bolshevism. Even so, I would love to see a Venn Diagram that explains how he can claim to be a 'libertarian' while he simultaneously promotes socialism, a global Pax Americana police state, collectivism, technocratic authoritarianism & income redistribution.

Exactly how & where do the above concepts overlap with the key libertarian concepts of Individualism, Individual Choice, Spontaneous Order, Limited Government and the Natural Harmony associated with Free & Unrestricted Self-Assortment??

The short answer is that they do NOT overlap.

Quite illogically, he declares that "the state has to intervene, at-minimum to prevent inevitable cheating" (his words), even though he admits that cheating is "inevitable", irregardless of state intervention, giving the state the unrestricted authority to grow, grow & declare 'war' on damn-near everything -- from drugs to cheating to masculinity to the threat du jour -- in order to prevent the "inevitable".

As exemplified by the whole 'transhuman' debacle, our host's progressive agenda amounts to a Declaration of War on the darker aspects of Human Nature, which will end with "inevitable" death, destruction & potential human extinction, despite a plethora of good intentions.

He will destroy humanity in order to save it.


Best

more weight said...

locumranch

He will destroy humanity in order to save it.

All's not lost! Flash will save us:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LfmrHTdXgK4

Lloyd Flack said...

Bolshevism? Back on your meds! Quickly!

Alfred Differ said...

jim,

You do know what a black swan is, right?

I've worked at producing innovations. It's unpredictable in some ways and quite predictable in others. Diminishing returns are chased and then someone trips over a black swan. Loads of fun.

Empirical laws have their place... until they don't.
I respect them, but know from personal experience they are vulnerable.

jim said...

I know what a black swan is, but it is not clear that you do.
Black swans are unpredictable events - events that are as likely to be harmful as they are to be beneficial. It seems that you think black swans are undiscovered treasures.

But I guess we will wait and see what happens, if I am right the declining surplus energy per capita will force a major crisis within the next 10 -15 years.

Duncan Cairncross said...

"I also believe that totally free markets allow certain talented people to acquire vast amounts of wealth. I do not see that as a problem, but when that wealth is passed on to heirs who did not earn it, huge problems can begin to arise"

The problem is that
Because the free market is a positive feedback system you DO NOT need to be "Talented" to acquire vast amounts of wealth
Also the "heirs" can (like old Bone Spurs) be given vast wealth BEFORE the initial owner dies

Jim
A measure like "surplus energy per capita" is useless as people like me spend our careers working out how to do MORE with LESS - and that is continuing

Eroom's law.
Is very well known - and is part of the technology growth curve
Every new technology does that - slow start - period of fast growth - and then it slows right down again

Then another new technology takes over and follows the same pattern

As far as Pharma is concerned we are now on the slow down part of the old technologies
The one where we test all sort of things looking for a useful drug

And on the slow initial growth part of it's replacement where we actually "Design" a drug to fix a specific "fault" in bodies chemistry


David Brin said...

I skimmed the 1st paragraph this time. It was enough. FIVE blithering hallucinatory strawmen in the same short para. A record! I don't believe you can get there without serious psychedelics.

Lloyd Flack said...

5 at least in pragraph 4 as well.

Larry Hart said...

@Alfred Differ,

I'm sure it's impolite to ask, but, what happened?

You look...different. :)

Alfred Differ said...

Heh. I'll put the blue kepi image back eventually. I had my Santa Claus one up for a while. While changing it around I tripped across an old image of a bit of artwork outside a coffee shop in Malibu.

Alfred Differ said...

jim,

I'll be betting against your gloom in the market because... why not, hmm?
What have I got to lose that I wouldn't lose if you are correct?

David Brin said...

Only skimmed para#1. Sufficed.

yana said...


David Brin thought:


"Interesting proposals, yana, some of them I never saw before, like basing tariffs on democracy."

Lots of those WWSD's, what would Solomon do? Most every issue can be paired with another, and together have a solution which is simple, subtle, elegant.

Want to build an oil pipeline hundreds of miles south out of Dakota? That's fine, but as long as you have a pipelaying crew all assembled and organized in the area, then the price of your permit is to lay another from Duluth to Colorado, a smaller and easier pipe, to carry water.

Keeps oil and fracking chems off the roads and railroads, and replenishes the Oglala Aquifer in a few decades, instead of centuries. Plus, with that pipe in place, if the fit ever hits the shan during a California drought, half the work is already done if we decide we need to get Lake Superior water to California's Central Valley. That valley is the most valuable piece of land humanity has ever occupied.

Alfred Differ said...

The Central Valley of California?

Hmm... Lived there for years. Not sure it is more valuable than the Mississippi basin. 8)
Besides, the second half of the pipeline is the hard part to build.
The mountains between here and there are impressive.

Alfred Differ said...

Eroom's law.... someone went and named it? Shows I'm out of touch. I learned it as an adoption S-curve with no ego owner attached. 8)

Some fields are predictable and unpredictable at the same time. Trace the transistor density curve back and you'll find it picks up neatly where vacuum tubes were tapering (S-ing) out. Before that it was those mechanical switch networks one found at telephone exchanges. Basically, switches are switches. Want more speed? Follow that S-curve for a while while investing in some other people who chase craziness in hopes of hitching a ride on a different S-curve. The next curve might follow noticeably different rules regarding energy efficiency. For example, there aren't many uses left inside modern computers for high voltage devices like one found in the back of vacuum tube televisions. Modern devices are also getting stingy with current where they can since that helps with heat dissipation.

The harmful black swans certainly do drop by to remind us of our limits. This is a resilient civilization, though, and even anti-fragile in many ways. I'm for taking the risk.

porohobot said...

Dr.Brin, I think I may have a surprise/present for you.

Would you like to watch a film/movie about uplifting of dolphins? ;)

There is USSR film "People and Dolphins"(1983). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hypNdw6bSvU

Hollywood hardly could ever made something like that.

porohobot said...

>> Larry Hart said...
\\My point, though, was that the whole concept of "wrongful death" becomes something different from what it is today when the death part isn't permanent.

I already commented on this in one of the previous posts.
Moral norms be changing. Like "do not kill" totally diminished even now... in 3D shooters. ;)

And out host could suggest yet one time... his Kiln People. ;)

And I even don't talk here about Lem's writings. ;)

So. You thoughts are totally viable... just, not new.

\\It seems to me that it's too late to cure the disease at that point--the larger damage to the brain has already been done.

Yeap. There is THE question. On which we still do not know answer -- what part of brain, what its particular functions... are about memory and personal traits... so-called "soul".

It's like with computers.
If it was broken. But damaged part was video card -- you can just fix it with spare... even of different type.
Or if it was CPU and/or motherboard.
But if only you damaged your hard disk... well, even this can be repaired with today techs. If its magnet plates are intact (or even broken... but still keep its magnet patterns).

So, yep. It's a BIG question. But I bet we'll find the answer to it. And. Soon. ;)

\\If a cure is found for what killed them in the meantime, then that cure can be applied after the body has been un-frozen.

No. It's not about "just throw it into a microwave for a minute".
Current freezing techs are NOT designed for such easy revival.
We. Homo Sapiens are not the specie that can hibernate (but it might be changed with CRISP eventualy ;) )... as some other mammals/animals.
So... what they really mean under "revival" is total deconstruction... as I showed couple posts ago -- with taking each separate neuron, make its clone, rewire all gray/white thing. ;)

And... fools that who say "it's impossible".
We already have atomic microscopes... so we ALREADY can disassemble it atom by atom with precise recording which atom was taken from which place. ;)

It'll just cost too much... with current money and techs. ;)

porohobot said...

>> Alfred Differ said...
\\The harmful black swans certainly do drop by to remind us of our limits. This is a resilient civilization, though, and even anti-fragile in many ways. I'm for taking the risk.

Do you know about goats on an island cases? (google it: "goats on an island")
That's it. Now WE ARE such goats... on the island called Earth. %(((

\\While changing it around I tripped across an old image of a bit of artwork outside a coffee shop in Malibu.

I just curious. How english speaking people cope with that "a" in sentences?
I bet you didn't pronounce it when speaking (or am I wrong?).
So how do you feel where to place it? Or it's just literacy habit? ;)
In this particular sentence I feel only "of a bit" rolling on my tongue, for example.


>> Duncan Cairncross said...
\\The problem is that... Because the free market is a positive feedback system you DO NOT need to be "Talented" to acquire vast amounts of wealth

And what's the problem? Jealousy? %)

\\Also the "heirs" can (like old Bone Spurs) be given vast wealth BEFORE the initial owner dies

What's the problem with a son taking ropes of a business of his father? ;)


>> matthew said...
\\I note with amusement the posters here that think the government shutdown is all about a wall.

I have memory longer then of that gold fish... so I do remember something like -- there was shutdown previous year too.
So, what was the reason that time? ;)


>> jim said...
\\So much of todays behavior is based on the idea that the economy will keep growing forever. All those behaviors will have to change.

That's for sure.
But that's "there is nothing new under the sun". %)


>> Jerry Emanuelson said...
\\"Left" and "right" are just political tribes. I don't understanding anything about those tribes, so I cannot answer anything in "left" or "right" tribal terms.

So do I. %) But. I:

1. Lived in a country... which ALREADY tried all ins and outs of ideas you propose.

2. Have a knack in cybernetics (and general physics... you know, Third Law: "every force have its counter" ;)).

3. And more so... I can say I am a pupil of Lem... who lost his head hair trying to warn people about pitfalls of that road of "simple but deeply wrong decisions".

\\For example, a Ukrainian who knows basic English may want to write in English, then use Google Translate to see how clear the re-translation is back into Ukrainian.

Good point. Thank you.

Duncan Cairncross said...

And what's the problem? Jealousy? %)

No - Efficiency
There is an optimum wealth distribution - if you go higher the system does not wok

You could run a higher ratio IF the "best got the most" - but as it is the wealth distribution is simply too unequal which means the whole system does not work as well

porohobot said...

>> Duncan Cairncross said...
\\No - Efficiency
There is an optimum wealth distribution

Show me your equations (and inputs).

And if I'll recalculate it and see same result... I'll have no other options as to agree with you (probably).

Before that... it's all moot discussion.

porohobot said...

Mike Will, where are you?

I need your opinion here.
About that part, where Asimov killed Earth with radiation poisoning.

Just to exile People of that Trap of Perfect Planning -- Caves of Steel.

Where everybody did knew equations of "fair distribution" of living necessities.

Larry Hart said...

porohobot:

\\My point, though, was that the whole concept of "wrongful death" becomes something different from what it is today when the death part isn't permanent.

I already commented on this in one of the previous posts.
Moral norms be changing. Like "do not kill" totally diminished even now... in 3D shooters. ;)


My daughter just learned to drive, and I was very aware that her previous "driving experience" had been with games like Mario Kart. When she was much younger, I used to say things to her like, "When you learn to really drive, remember that you're not supposed to hit people with the car."

Larry Hart said...

porohobot:

\\While changing it around I tripped across an old image of a bit of artwork outside a coffee shop in Malibu.

I just curious. How english speaking people cope with that "a" in sentences?
I bet you didn't pronounce it when speaking (or am I wrong?).


You're asking how we use the indefinite article "a" in sentences? Like above when Alfred says "a bit of artwork outside a coffee shop" ? We do pronounce it, but rarely (if ever) emphasize the syllable. It sounds like a soft "uh" (if that helps at all--I realize English isn't your first language).

Furthermore, earlier in the sentence, where he says "an old image...". The "an" is the exact same thing as "a". We just use "an" when the next word starts with a vowel.

If it helps to know, English is confusing even to native speakers.

porohobot said...

Oh, screw it! (to my patience and restraint) %)

>> David Brin said...

I think I did most polite, most calm and considerate contre-argument,
in all accordance with your maxima "Criticism Is The Only Known Antidote To Error",
above.
But I perceive it will be ignored any_way.
So, what the hack, all the same, and I can continue preaching to the birds, right away. %)


\\Alas, instead the movement's center of gravity has shifted to:

\\"Problem? What problem? YOU are the only problem! Forget competition. Forget history! It's OBVIOUS that the best solution is to let those with property do anything they want."

I am sure that you know it yourself damn well. That it's OVERLY COUNTERFACTUAL.
Property rights are social contra... err, well, agreemented views. %)

ONE cannot just take and put his car into his pocket -- it's physically impossible.

Same, ONE cannot prepare and sail on his big yacht to the ocean -- it's organizationally impossible.

Even simplest factory cannot be runned by ONE serving same time as worker, plumber, engineer, medaidy, accountant and director -- it's intellectually impossible. In the Old Gold Times maybe. But not today.

So, it's obvious "those with property CANNOT DO anything they want".

And... even commandiering... especially some vast business, like from captain cabin... directing "ship" into disaster... become more and more impossible.

So... I see no problems... no lack of restraints. And you?


>> yana said...

***some nasty trolling was here but, on the second thought, deleted... as wasted efforts %P***


>>locumranch said...
\\Perhaps I have over-stated or even 'strawmanned' our host's overt & unapologetic Bolshevism.

You haven't tiniest bit of understanding of what you are trying to speak about. %)))
What "bolshevism" was (and is, there still bolsheviks in RFia... national-bolcheviks %)).

Our host is bourgeois with liberal, maybe socialistic affinity.(in THAT TIME terms)
Menchvik-companion at VERY VERY MAXIMUM... from that who was embraced, at first,
and then ruthlessly exterminated.

Larry Hart said...

porohobot:

Mike Will, where are you?

I need your opinion here.
About that part, where Asimov killed Earth with radiation poisoning.


I'm not Mike, but it seems to me that when Asimov began revisiting his robot and Foundation worlds in the 1980s, he had to come up with a reason why Earth had been depicted as a radioactive wasteland in his earlier, 1950s stories.

Whereas when he wrote those stories in the 1950s, it was more or less taken for granted that at some point in the future, there would be a nuclear exchange between the USA and the USSR which would devastate the planet.

locumranch said...


The Establishment Narrative lives in terror of these potential outcomes:

(1) What if we shut down the government & nobody notices?

(2) What if we Brexit without a deal and there's no catastrophe?

(3) What if the climate changes but the world doesn't end?

(4) And, how are we gonna keep the plebs in control when they no longer fear the future?

Best

Larry Hart said...

Et tu, Chicago Tribune?

https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/editorials/ct-edit-shutdown-trump-pelosi-durbin-tsa-mcconnell-daca-dreamer-20190114-story.html

Tuesday brings Day 25 of the partial government shutdown, the longest such stoppage on record. Blame President Donald Trump and congressional Democrats for choosing stubbornness over compromise.


No, Democrats are not equally to blame. They've passed legislation to re-open the government. Trump won't sign it--and Republican Senators won't force him to veto it--unless he gets his way on a separate, contentious issue. This is not a case of "both sides are refusing to compromise." ONE side is very clearly the one doing so.


You know the politics behind this shutdown: Trump wants a wall on the southern border to prevent immigrants from entering the United States without permission. He’s defined his presidency as a quest to build the wall, without ever holding to specifics about what it would look like. Yet he demands $5.7 billion in wall financing or he’ll allow the government to stay partially shuttered. Democrats, newly in control of the House and sensing Trump’s political weakness, refuse to budge on their stance that the wall is immoral.


No, the Democrats refuse to budge on rewarding the tactic of hostage-taking. It's not so much that a wall is immoral, but that shutting the government down over the wall is immoral. If Democrats let that be a successful negotiating tactic, we'll never see the end of the demands in the future. What the Tribune is calling for is a recognition that whichever party doesn't care if the government shuts down (i.e., Republicans) can demand anything they choose, and if the other side resists, they're at fault.


It shouldn’t be this hard. There are solutions to craft, including one we endorsed last week that would see money for Trump’s wall (or “border security,” if you’re a Democrat), in exchange for an agreement to maintain the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program for the thousands of young immigrants known as Dreamers.


If Trump, Pelosi and other Democratic leaders, including Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, don’t like that compromise, they had better find another.


Dems would and did accept that compromise. Trump dismissed it out of hand and lickspittle McConnell defers to him. So how is it the Democrats fault that they're willing to do exactly as you (Tribune) demand, but the Republicans aren't? You sound like those who tell black men that they won't get hurt if they do exactly what the policeman who pulles them over orders, even though at least one black man was shot dead for doing just that (reaching for his license).


Elected officials go to Washington to run the government. Right now, the lot of them look incompetent.


No, one party looks incompentent, and one elected official is self-evidently incompetent.

I expect better.

porohobot said...

>> Larry Hart said...
//I'm not Mike, but it seems to me that when Asimov began revisiting his robot and Foundation worlds in the 1980s, he had to come up with a reason why Earth had been depicted as a radioactive wasteland in his earlier, 1950s stories.

Yeap. And all story with 0th Law is just for fun. Like in Matrix... %)))

\\You're asking how we use the indefinite article "a" in sentences?

No. How you KNOW where to place it.
More like, how do you FEEL where (and why) it right, and where not?

\\If it helps to know, English is confusing even to native speakers.

That exactly why I'm asking.

It's the same as with Romans and their complicated grammar rules. ;) I presume.


>> locumranch said...

Tin foil can. The best performance. %)))

Larry Hart said...

Paul Krugman pulls no punches. It doesn't even sound weird that he essentially riffs on "Phineas and Ferb" :

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/14/opinion/government-shutdown-trump.html

Still, no man is an island, although Trump comes closer than most. You can’t fully make sense of his policy pratfalls without acknowledging the extraordinary quality of the people with whom he has surrounded himself. And by “extraordinary,” of course, I mean extraordinarily low quality. Lincoln had a team of rivals; Trump has a team of morons.

Larry Hart said...

porohobot:

\\You're asking how we use the indefinite article "a" in sentences?

No. How you KNOW where to place it.
More like, how do you FEEL where (and why) it right, and where not?


It's one of those things we know, but is very hard to explain. :)

Ok, I'll give it a shot. If you're looking at a group of things (say, cookies), and one is a sugar cookie, one is an oatmeal cookie, and one is a chocolate chip cookie, you might say "I want the chocolate chip cookie, meaning that particular cookie as opposed to the others. If instead, you just say "I want a cookie," then you're not specifying which one--you just want one thing from the set.

When my daughter picked out a kitten from the local shelter, she said she wanted the kitten which jumped on top of some of the other kittens and licked them. In that case, we say "the kitten..." because she's talking about a particular one out of the set.

However, before we arrived at the shelter, she had indicated that "I want a kitten." Not a particular kitten, but just a general one out of a set.

I gather from your posts that, in your own language, you would say something more like "I want cookie" or "I want kitten". English really doesn't do that construction. You always have to have some kind of adjective setting off the noun.

I want a kitten.
I want the kitten.
I want that kitten.
I want one kitten.
I want fifteen kittens.
I want your kitten.

But never just "I want kitten".

Does that make it less confusing, or more? :)


Zepp Jamieson said...

This just in: The Chinese are growing cotton on the far side of the Moon.
https://www.theguardian.com/science/2019/jan/15/china-germinates-first-seed-on-moon-cotton-shoot-change-4

porohobot said...

>> Larry Hart said...

Thank you very much. It's more entertaining (and... instructive, google suggested that word, so dunno) then any handbook.

\\Does that make it less confusing, or more? :)

Kinda. %)


\\I gather from your posts that, in your own language, you would say something more like "I want cookie" or "I want kitten".

Yeap. But we have word declensions
cat, cat(fem), kittens, kitty...
кіт, кицька, кошенята, кішечка, киця
кота, кицьки, кошенят, кішечку, кішчин (дім)

And quick with adjectives
What kitten you want? That one.
Яке кошеня ти хочеш? Оце. or Чорненьке (blacky one)

\\Not a particular kitten, but just a general one out of a set.

Yeap. We have NO such differenciation.
Because "just a general", "one out of a set" for as is plural.
And particular one out of the set is defined by context, or defined by adjective,
as with your "chocolate chip cookie".


It's very interesting stuff.
Especially if to think about how it makes differencies for understanding.


PS funny quiz... Do you know how in russian sounds your word for "God"? ;)
It's "гад" -- reptile, or more often indirect meaning "nasty person".

And how for you could sound their "бог"/bog... isn't it like "bogus"? ;)


Yet one... Larry, thank you... our host maybe grumble on us for that.
But I need to say, I GREATLY enjoy our such conversations. :)

porohobot said...

\\The Chinese are growing cotton on the far side of the Moon.

If you wanna understand a man. Look at his PRIORITIES! Bang! %)

jim said...

Duncan said
"A measure like "surplus energy per capita" is useless as people like me spend our careers working out how to do MORE with LESS - and that is continuing"

That is really funny, it is like saying I don't care what the budget for the project is, people like me will work harder for less money.


But given a budget (the amount of surplus energy you have) good engineers are quite valuable in helping to maximize well being within that budget.


And as far as those overlapping S curves of technological development, they all have been occurring in an environment of increasing surplus energy. And there should be something like technological development "momentum" that should help continue some types of technological development for the near term. But the decline in surplus energy means technological development will be much more difficult over the long run.

Mike Will said...

Re: "Mike Will, where are you?"

I'm always here, I just prefer reading (strangely, a mild speech impediment translates into shyness on social media)

Isaac Asimov, Paul Krugman, and David Brin are 100 Watt bulbs compared to my 100mA blinking LED. Since the latter is actually our host, "Foundation" questions should be referred to him (or just read "Foundation's Triumph" - best book I've read in many years). I'm a systems designer and AI developer (for many decades!). The Central Planning theme can be discussed in terms of computer technology and history ad infinitas. I won't even begin, I'll just say that Dr. Brin continues to fascinate me with his Asimovian mindset. This is not facile flattery. It's hopefulness that psychohistory still lives as an idea but not an ideology, which was always my opinion of Asimov's intention. I like Darwin and Planck because they had to be dragged kicking and screaming along by their own theories, a clear indicator of scientific sincerity.

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it". - Aristotle? Harris Rackham?



porohobot said...

>> Mike Will said...
//The Central Planning theme can be discussed in terms of computer technology and history ad infinitas.

One need to distinguish intra-planning, inside separate firm, corporation, business endeavour. Where goals precise and extraverted, directed on competition with others...

And extra-planning, which are imposed onto smaller internal sub-structures, employees. Another word -- burocratic planning.
With fuzzy goals, introverted and directed on "keep it calm, that nothing disturb my afternoon nap".

Use of computer technology is orthogonal to this differentiation.

[PDF]SOCIALISM, ECONOMIC CALCULATION AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP
mises.pl/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/socialism.pdf

BY. Jesús Huerta de Soto ...
Socialism as an Intellectual Error.

Calculation as a Fundamentally Economic (and not Technical) Problem.



>> jim said...
\\That is really funny, it is like saying I don't care what the budget for the project is, people like me will work harder for less money.

No. It's like Steve Jobs asked "how do you calculate expence of resource",
and when was answerd "like usual... by make em in piles".
Was infuriated "we computer firm and cannot properly calculate our expenses"...
guess what was result. ;)


\\But the decline in surplus energy means technological development will be much more difficult over the long run.

No. It means that you need to be smarter.
But nobody want to be forced to be smarter.
For example, Internet brim from advertising of enlargement of penises,
but not with offer to extend someones mind. %P

TheMadLibrarian said...

So the Chinese are growing cotton (admittedly only 1 plant) on the Moon?
I wonder how many of them have read and taken to heart the bit in The Martian where Mark Watney says that by growing potatoes on Mars, he's effectively legally colonized it. "In your face, Neil Armstrong!"

Mike Will said...

porohobot: "Use of computer technology is orthogonal to this differentiation."

We might have a simple problem with definitions. I often talk about 'computation' as a fundamentally natural process. As I've said before, the universe is a vast realm of computation and evolution. An example is DNA->RNA->codons->ribosome->protein, but there are many others (stellar evolution, even sociology). I'm not really talking about actuarial tables crunching away in the back office.

porohobot said...

\\As I've said before, the universe is a vast realm of computation and evolution.

I have already agreed with you on this. Once.
Happy to do it yet one time.
That scientific mindset I like.

A.F. Rey said...

Just in case you missed it (and forgive me if I missed that you already had seen it), last year the White House National Security Council asked the Pentagon for plans to attack Iran, after an attack on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad by a militant group aligned with Iran. "The request was met with concern by both the Pentagon and the State Department, according to the Journal, with one former administration official telling the paper that people were "shocked" by the request."

https://www.cnn.com/2019/01/13/politics/white-house-iran-airstrikes-national-security-council/index.html

https://www.wsj.com/articles/white-house-sought-options-to-strike-iran-11547375404

Bob Neinast said...

Regarding porohobot and when to use "a/an" versus "the" in English, a look at their etymologies might help.

"A/an" comes from the word "one" (which is why "an" retained the letter "n"). "The" is pretty much the same as "this" and "that" (but less specific).

So, if you would consider saying something like "one kitten", then use "a". But if you could say "this kitten" or "that kitten", then use "the".

BTW, my brain keeps reading "porohobot" as "pohorobat". Too much Asimov as a kid, I guess. ;-)

Bob Neinast said...

PS. You can always trust me to make a stupid typo that ruins my point: pohorobot". (Even when I preview it!)

locumranch said...



https://www.npr.org/2019/01/08/683339628/federal-employees-sue-trump-administration-over-government-shutdown

'Federal Employees Sue Trump Administration Over Government Shutdown', reports NPR, the only problem being that it was a Bipartisan US Congress, NOT Trump & NOT the Executive Branch, that chose to 'shut down the government'.

Trump did say that he would consider using presidential veto power to 'shut down the government' IF & ONLY IF a Bipartisan Congress failed to include funding for Trump's Wall but, to be scrupulously fair, that particular opportunity has not yet presented itself to the current US Commander-in-Chief.

It's details like this that prove that the US Establishment & Media have gone stark-raving bonkers, as insane & gibbering as (1) Pelosi, Schumer & Obama who describe walls as 'immoral' while ensconced in their walled security compounds and (2) the jet-setting climate change cultists who squander fossil fuels while they try to blame climate change on those 'evil deniers' who have far tinier carbon footprints than those wunderbar believers.

It's like watching a PETA-supporting carnival geek bite the head off a live chicken.

Cheers!!

David Brin said...

Thanks Mike Will. Nice words of encouragement.

porohobot sorry, but I get busy and often skim across these lively conversations. Asimov decided he did not want to have a nuclear war in Earth's history, so he needed another explanation for why Earth became radioactive. I did not like his explanation, it created a weird plot device. But I respected his decision and incorporated it into Foundation's Triumph.

The notion of blaming the democrats for the shut down is pure, drooling insanity aimed only at the 33% of Americans who have gone Kremlin-puppet loco.

Why no border wall funding before the midterms, when the GOP controlled both houses of Congress? DT says: "We needed 10 Democrat senators!" Actually 8.

So?
(1) Applying leverage - or else bargaining in good faith (Trump?) - with 8 DP senators earlier should have been easier than bargaining now with 8 DP Senators AND armtwisting 220 DP reps in the new House of Representatives. His choice to do a confronation now, and not before, is proof that it's all for show.

(2) Unwilling to actually negotiate with those 8 DP senators, he asked McConnell to "go nuclear" before the midterms and use a simple, Senate majority to get the wall. McC refused. So blame McConnell.

(3) This is about the fundamental Trump-Mafia "art of the deal." Take something your opponent has already and needs. Break it. Hurt people. Offer to stop, if they give you everything you want. It worked all his life as a casino-slumlord-snakeoil salesman... and not once in politics. But why stop? America is harmed. That is the common thread of all actions.

David Brin said...

And now, word that he tried to withdraw from NATO? Only dissuaded by threat of mass-resignations. Face it. The synonym for Republican is now... commie.

David Brin said...

Thank you porohobot! I enjoyed "People and Dolphins" especially the dramatic ending, which was a lot like the "Day of the Dolphin." I even understood a little of the Russian!

Larry Hart said...

Bob Neinast:

So, if you would consider saying something like "one kitten", then use "a". But if you could say "this kitten" or "that kitten", then use "the".


"This" and "that" usually require the person to be pointing a finger at the object in question, or otherwise non-verbally indicating which one he means. "The" requires the sentence itself to fill in the specific indication.

So you might say you want "this piece of cake", or "that piece of cake", but "the piece of cake on the third shelf from the bottom".

A.F. Rey said...

BTW, my brain keeps reading "porohobot" as "pohorobat". Too much Asimov as a kid, I guess. ;-)

Don't feel bad. I keep reading it as "pornohobot," which just shows my filthy mind and need for better reading glasses. :(

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

The notion of blaming the democrats for the shut down is pure, drooling insanity aimed only at the 33% of Americans who have gone Kremlin-puppet loco.


I was particularly disappointed that the Chicago Tribune editorial board took that route. They're usually better than that. I suppose they're trying to get congress to solve the problem, not "bicker over who killed who", but really only one man can do that.

Two things I don't like about the pro-Republican framing attempts:

1) Un-shutting the government is their job, not a concession for which Democrats owe them a favor in return.

2) The problem to be solved is agreement on a budget and (possibly) how that budget best addresses border security. The problem to be solved is NOT how to save Donald Trump from the embarrassing mess he made for himself. Giving in to Benedict Donald's demands on the grounds that it's the only way the government will re-open is not the solution to the problem; it is the problem.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

And now, word that he tried to withdraw from NATO? Only dissuaded by threat of mass-resignations. Face it. The synonym for Republican is now... commie.


Nazi might be more appropriate.

There was an E.L. Doctorow book called (I think) The Plot Against America. Or something close to that. It was an alternate history in which Charles Lindbergh was elected president in 1940 and the US stayed neutral in WWII...until we finally entered the war on the Nazi side, against England and therefore Canada. It kinda feels like we're living that out now.

Bob Neinast said...

Larry:

"This" and "that" usually require the person to be pointing a finger at the object in question, or otherwise non-verbally indicating which one he means. "The" requires the sentence itself to fill in the specific indication.

I pretty much thought that was what I said, with the "less specific". The three make a triad with one for "over there" (and possible pointing), one for "here" (and possible pointing), and one for a non-specific non-pointing situation. As etymonline.com says about "that": "Generally more specific or emphatic than "the", but in some cases they are interchangeable."

So maybe I wasn't clear enough. In Russian (Ukrainian?), if you could reasonably say "зта" but without the pointing or need to point, use "the". If you could reasonably say "один", but without caring to specify the "oneness", use "a/an".

Larry Hart said...

@Bob N,

I wasn't arguing with you. Just adding more verbiage.

Mike Will said...

Today's vote in the U.K. shows that tides turn. Pendulums can become wrecking balls. The best SF TV shows are the ones about breaking out of time loops.
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana

"But Mike, how is this related to Asimov?"

I'm glad you asked. George Santayana -> Franz Boas -> Alfred L. Kroeber -> Ursula K. Le Guin, and she once referred to Asimov as "the old chieftain of the Cold Warriors". Hah.

Cari Burstein said...

Just a note, there is a situation in where you might say "I want kitten" but I don't recommend it for that particular example. This is when referring to it as something you would eat. For example, it's quite common for someone to say in a discussion about what to eat "I want chicken" or "I want cake". Saying "I want kitten" in that context would definitely horrify people. I am not sure how you would describe the grammatical reason for why we use it that way when referring to eating, and whether there are other cases I'm not thinking of right now that would be normal use.

Larry Hart said...

@Cari Burstein,

:)

But seriously...
I am not sure how you would describe the grammatical reason for why we use it that way when referring to eating,


It's not about eating. You can use a collective noun that way. "I want sand", for example. As long as (credit Bob Neinast above) you wouldn't talk about the food by saying "I want one chicken," then "I want chicken" works.

Alfred Differ said...

Porohobot,

‘A’ and ‘An’ are what educators in the US call ‘sight’ words. Children are taught to read them by memorization techniques because sight words often fail to follow standard rules of phonics. They are ancient in origin and often overloaded with meanings, so children are asked to learn them without rules.

‘A’ shows up on the sight word list for children before kindergarten school starts. That means by the time they are four years of age, they are expected to be able to read the word distinct from the letter that looks the same. Reading it by then means they’ve already learned how to use the word expressively (talking) and passively (hearing). There isn’t much time between an infant’s first vocalizations and their fourth birthday, so they learn the meaning VERY early. It’s quite likely they know it before they can speak it.

‘An’ shows up on the sight word list for kindergarten or first grade. Children should be able to distinguish between ‘A’ and ‘An’ in reading and use them correctly while speaking somewhere in that period. It seems likely the two concepts are a blur until enough trial and error occurs to spot how adults are using the terms. The most obvious one has already been pointed out. ‘An’ means ‘A’ when placed in front of a word that starts with a vowel. It’s tricky, though, because some consonants are rather silent at the beginning of words (depending on accent) and that might tempt a child to choose the wrong term.

There are some cute things children pick up later involving these two terms if they are bilingual.
“an orange” is “una naranja” in Spanish and “une orange” in French. See the ‘n’ slip to the right in Spanish? [апельсин]
“an honor” is used in English instead of “a honor” as in “It is an honor to work for you.” See the rule breach? That’s why ‘a’ and ‘an’ are sight words.

With a bit of linguistic history, one learns that English is a bastard language. Large parts of it are Germanic and large parts of it are Romantic (Roman->Latin). Which parts are which depends upon which parts got altered by various invaders of the Greater Britain. The Latin connection comes from French mostly. Just look at some history describing historical invasions & colonization of the islands and you’ll see why the language has to be an aggregate. Between the Normans, Saxons, and west-travelling Rus, it’s a wonder the language isn’t more of a mess. Then there are the native groups who arrived between the ice melt and the start of written history. Ugh. I think a future history will show, though, that it is the modern changes (post-1950) that really made a mess of it. We Americans are lazy and disrespectful of rules and history, but we’ve been adding words and usage patterns to English as if our lives depended on it.

The average American adult can tell you that you must shift from ‘a’ to ‘an’ when the next word has a vowel, but they probably don’t think much deeper than that because we learned the terms in our infancy. In my case, though, I’m married to an educator (see?) who deals with kids who have a special need. We have a son on the autism spectrum too, so I’ve had to learn as an adult (there again!) how we do things so I can help my son. He won’t remember the details any better than most of us, but he gets the ‘a’ and ‘an’ distinction right most of the time now.

Alfred Differ said...

'I want coffee' vs 'I want a coffee' [Second one makes portion size a bit more clear]

'I want kitten' as a child vs 'I want kitten' as an adult. Interpretations depend on what the reader knows of the speaker.

'I want coffee' said by my wife early in the morning vs 'Quiero un café' said why she works on learning Spanish. Interpretations depend on what the listener knows of the entire context.


My favorites come from the verbs, though.
One can peel a fruit and undress a human, but when a surfer at the beach partially removes their wet suit for a shower, are they undressing or peeling? How about a model at a runway show when she quickly changes from one outfit to the next?

Words aren't really defined. They are used in ways we might agree upon for various purposes.

Bob Neinast said...

Shall we now discuss "going to hospital"?

(That's British; American English uses "the".)

Duncan Cairncross said...

Hi Bob
I'm "British"
And I would say "going to the hospital"

going to the hospital - would be "going to t'hospital - in Durham - but the "the" is still there "just"

Alfred Differ said...

My mother was born and raised in London, so I got an un-American lesson in grammar, spelling, and pronunciation as a kid. Took a while for me to relearn cursive writing for certain letters and to distinguish between 'gray' and 'grey'. My grammar checker still smacks me occasionally.

I've heard 'going to hospital', but it isn't uniform.

I have to be careful when describing mathematics classes. I can't stand calling the subject 'maths'. I get why they do, but that is like saying 'englishs' when referring to the variations on how we speak the language. Mathematics is a language of many parts, but the more I learn it, the more I see that the partitions are illusions.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

My favorites come from the verbs, though.
One can peel a fruit and undress a human, but when a surfer at the beach partially removes their wet suit for a shower, are they undressing or peeling?


I had a professor who asserted that computers will never learn to speak a language in which you can form both of the sentences:

"Time flies like an arrow"
and
"Fruit flies like a banana."

Larry Hart said...

It just occurred to me to wonder whether jokes are more prevalent in English than in other languages because it's easier to sound like you're saying one thing and then turn out to be saying something very different.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

I can't stand calling the subject 'maths'.


I know what you mean. It makes perfect sense that "mathematics" with an s is shortened to "maths", and yet it sounds wrong to the American ear. As if you said "sands" to mean grains of sand. Math is a collective term.

But then why is "mathematics" ok?

David Brin said...

In English you can say the same thing with beer (germanic) or with wine (french/latin) and use almost none of the same words.

Larry Hart said...

I wonder how much of this passage from Vonnegut's God Bless You Mr. Rosewater describes what is going on in the minds of the collective national moods which brought us Brexit and Trump.

Except that, instead of "enlightened self-interest", something more along the lines of "industrialized disinterest appeared:


Samaritrophia, he read, is the suppression of an overactive conscience by the rest of the mind. “You must all take instructions from me!” the conscience shrieks, in effect, to all the other mental processes. The other processes try it for a while, note that the conscience is unappeased, that it continues to shriek, and they note, too, that the outside world has not been even microscopically improved by the unselfish acts the conscience has demanded.

They rebel at last. They pitch the tyrannous conscience down an oubliette, weld shut the manhole cover of that dark dungeon. They can hear the conscience no more. In the sweet silence, the mental processes look about for a new leader, and the leader most prompt to appear whenever the conscience is stilled, Enlightened Self-interest, does appear.

Alfred Differ said...

@Larry | I suspect your professor was wrong. One of the great things about this civilization, though, can be seen when a science related academic says a certain thing can't be done. Unless there is an ACTUAL experimental observable demonstrating it, they are almost always wrong.

Man will never fly... okay... man will never fly faster than sound... okay... man will never fly to the Moon... sigh... I'm going home now.

As for languages supporting statements that leave one thinking the speaker is saying one thing then discovering it is something else, I'm pretty sure every human language can do that. Even Mathematic does that.

Ugh. That 's' is needed, but I do see the silliness in my unwillingness to use 'maths'. It's one of the few English things my mother didn't instill within me. Prepositions at the end of sentences? No. Forbidden. Odd from a girl who grew up on the streets I think, but her desire to avoid math was easily understood. She made do. She knew that two negative numbers multiplied together produced a positive result, but didn't really get it. She admitted early that I was leaving her in the dust... exactly as she wanted.

8)

locumranch said...


Our fine host confuses past & future tense:

He equates a possible US withdrawal from NATO with being a "commie".

This is a hilarious equivocation, especially when the Old Soviet commies are long dead & gone, and our old NATO allies are the only actual commies left in Europe.

He describes the fundamental Trump-Mafia "art of the deal". Take something your opponent has already and needs. Break it. Hurt people. Offer to stop, if they give you everything you want.

This is also hilarious, mostly because it describes the old NATO Cold War policy to a victorious 'T' for Triumph.

And, now, for some cynical prophecy:

Following today's historic UK vote and faced with a Hard Brexit, the UK will soon request & receive 'Preferred Trading Partner' status from the USA, leading to tit-for-tat tariffs & trade barriers between the UK, USA & the EU, which will accelerate the collapse of the EU economic zone, as what's left of the EU must rely on either a merciful USA or a merciless Russian Federation for all its energy needs.

It is to laugh.

Best

porohobot said...

>> David Brin said...
\\porohobot sorry, but I get busy and often skim across these lively conversations.

Who am I to blame you for that.
I just want to reassure you, that I understand your situation more deeply now.

What's a point to push the wagon from FIBM, if all profit of it will fall in hand of GARnets?
What's a point to push it from GAR, if it'll be assigned to themselves by FIBMers?

It's the big problem with our language and communication practices. That people cannot understand your words, your struggle to stay over/under equilibrium and see it only as controversial. That you are pushing it in one side or another.
I made the same mistake here, providing countre-arguments for your seemingly proGAR position.
Sorry about that.
I hope, we'll be able to find points of intersection and continue with more deep and fruitful conversation.



\\Asimov decided he did not want to have a nuclear war in Earth's history, so he needed another explanation for why Earth became radioactive. I did not like his explanation, it created a weird plot device. But I respected his decision and incorporated it into Foundation's Triumph.

Yep. Et tu, dr.Brin?
R.Giskar and all that blabbering about Zeroth Law of Robotechnics was just for show, just for weird entertainment, and have NO and INTENDED to have NO deeper meaning???

Asimov later added the “Zeroth Law,” above all the others – “A robot may not harm humanity, or, by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.”

porohobot said...

>> Alfred Differ said...
\\‘A’ and ‘An’ are what educators in the US call ‘sight’ words. Children are taught to read them by memorization techniques because sight words often fail to follow standard rules of phonics. They are ancient in origin and often overloaded with meanings, so children are asked to learn them without rules.

Thank you. You are pretty concise and with historical/pragmatical ouvertures. The way I like it. Thank you.


\\With a bit of linguistic history, one learns that English is a bastard language.

So do Russian. But they do not know it. %) (It even twice or thripple as bastard)
And trying constantly to blame Ukrainian as "mudded, bastard language, poluted by Polish, Austia HQ, reptiles from Nibiru, with one and only GOAL to destroy Great Russia". %)))

\\large parts of it are Romantic

em... Romanic maybe


>> Larry Hart said...
\\until we finally entered the war on the Nazi side, against England and therefore Canada.

(my eyebrows going high)
Can you provide chain of circumstances that lead to such an end?
Or it's just stupid plot device? Like "WHATIF: Elly's home would be blown by tornado into fairytail land". %)



>> David Brin said...
\\Thank you porohobot! I enjoyed "People and Dolphins"

Actually, it's mini-serial. ;)
There are 4 series... here for example seasonvar.ru/serial-7221-Lyudi_i_del_finy.html

\\, which was a lot like the "Day of the Dolphin." I even understood a little of the Russian!

It's gross and sad to admit it. But it looks like the same old pattern.
"People and Dolphins" were able to be filmed ONLY because and as "nasha figa zapadu"/our fuck to the West... %((( as "re-make" of that "Day of the Dolphin" you mentioned.
To show "look... how cruel are THEM, and how human WE ARE... WE do not send our friends on sure death, THEY going on it from their free(?) will".
It's sad, its very very sad. %(((((((


\\(1) Applying leverage - or else bargaining in good faith (Trump?) - with 8 DP senators earlier should have been easier than bargaining now with 8 DP Senators AND armtwisting 220 DP reps in the new House of Representatives. His choice to do a confronation now, and not before, is proof that it's all for show.

He came to "drain the swamp"... what else you are waited for? Horse in the Senat? ;)


\\(3) This is about the fundamental Trump-Mafia "art of the deal." Take something your opponent has already and needs. Break it. Hurt people. Offer to stop, if they give you everything you want. It worked all his life as a casino-slumlord-snakeoil salesman... and not once in politics. But why stop? America is harmed. That is the common thread of all actions.

Now you understand something... John Snow. %\
Let's see how'd you cope with it...

Hm... that exact point, where Locum-like blabbering... could be actually the right thing... but he can't see it, so it cannot be treated as kudos for him. %P

Because... where do Trump SAW that modus operandi as possible and even fruitful???
Where, if not in RFia, where it works all the way down long... why else he admire shiny Putin as an icon to his brute ruling?


>> Bob Neinast said...
\\BTW, my brain keeps reading "porohobot" as "pohorobat". Too much Asimov as a kid, I guess. ;-)

That's expected reaction on foreign words.

yana said...


A fish fights hardest just after the hook, the orange guy knew he'd be facing a House passing a bunch of laws the majority likes. Thus, distract the right and middle with invented crisis. It's really his only trick left, watch, the next one will be war.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

@Larry | I suspect your professor was wrong. One of the great things about this civilization, though, can be seen when a science related academic says a certain thing can't be done.


Yeah, and I really think the "can't be done" part was intentional hyperbole. He was pointing out how complicated a task it is to parse the English language.


...Even Mathematic does that.

Ugh. That 's' is needed,


Maybe if you said "The Mathematic"? :)

Tangentially, I grew up on the 1960s Batman tv show, so the fact that his "name" was Batman never sounded weird to me. My dad, 30 years older, always thought they were dropping a definite article from "The Batman."


but I do see the silliness in my unwillingness to use 'maths'.


No, I'm in agreement with that unwillingness. Even though it makes logical sense to keep the plural from "mathematics", "math" just feels like a collective noun to me. If I had a week or so to think about it, I could probably explain why. :)


She admitted early that I was leaving her in the dust... exactly as she wanted.


My dad was a professional optometrist, so no slouch at math. But when my brother and I were in high school (mid 1970s), he caught a glimpse of the problems we were working on in matrix algebra, and had to admit, "It's like a foreign language to me."

He was as much in favor of that as your mother was.

Larry Hart said...

porohobot:

\\large parts of it are Romantic

em... Romanic maybe


English speakers actually do use the term "Romantic" to describe Latin-based languages. It wasn't a typo.

I understand your reluctance to use that term which carries separate connotations, but keep in mind a favored quote from Isaac Asimov talking about how the word vitamin was once thought to describe amine compounds, but no longer does. Paraphrasing from memory: "We've known for centuries that 'oxygen' is a misnomer, but what are you going to do?"

Larry Hart said...

porohobot:

\\until we finally entered the war on the Nazi side, against England and therefore Canada.

(my eyebrows going high)
Can you provide chain of circumstances that lead to such an end?
Or it's just stupid plot device?


I don't remember the plot in great detail, but the real life Charles Lindbergh was notorious for a certain level of anti-Semitism and Nazi sympathizing. His baby son was also very famously kidnapped and never seen again, and in the book, the kidnapping was a Nazi hostage-taking to insure that President Lindbergh would not cross Hitler too much.

As I write this, I'm noticing echoes of this plot happening in real time America.

Larry Hart said...

https://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2019/Pres/Maps/Jan16.html#item-1

Barr also had a few responses that made the Democrats none-too-happy:

...
+ That he sees "no reason" to revisit Justice Dept. policy against indicting sitting presidents
+ That, in view of the above, it may be necessary to keep some elements of Mueller's report a secret. "If you're not going to indict someone, then you don't stand up there and unload negative information about the person. That's not the way the Department of Justice does business," he explained.


He apparently didn't need to mention "...unless the person in question is named Hillary Clinton." I suppose that goes without saying.

Greg Byshenk said...

Just for info: "The Plot Against America" is by Philip Roth.

And (IIRC) it does not involve the USA joining the Axis, but signing a form of non-aggression pact with Germany. In the end it goes amiss, the bombing of Pearl Harbor occurs, and the USA enters the war as happened more or less in this reality.

Larry Hart said...

@Greg Byshenk,

You are correct about the author. I said the wrong one.

And you correctly spoil the end of the book. :) But just before history rights itself, the US either does or is just about to join the war on the Axis side. The protagonist who expected to escape to Canada was in danger of facing a militarily closed border. If I recall correctly, FDR pulled a kind of coup to prevent that course of history.

Larry Hart said...

BTW, I heard congressman Steven King on the radio this morning defending his remarks by "clarifying" what he said as (his own emphasis) "White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?".

What he seemed to be getting at was that he was rhetorically asking when "western civilization" became a bad term, lumped in with those other bad things--not asking when white supremacy became a bad thing.

If that's really his point, though, he made it so clumsily that I'm probably giving him more benefit of the doubt than he claims for himself.

locumranch said...


Now, that's a bridge too far, to suggest that conservative, white, christian, patriarchal Western Civilisation is a 'bad thing', just because of the ongoing progressive villainisation of all things conservative, white, christian & patriarchal.

No worries though, as those who come after the extinction of all things conservative, white, christian & patriarchal will most assuredly embrace the same values of Western Civilisation with identical zeal, I'm sure.

Like those Enlightened Islamists who will exalt & pedestalise the liberal, female, lesbian, bisexual, gay, transexual & non-muslim communities just enough to ensure that the fall from said pedestal will ensure certain death.

Enjoy the tolerance of Sharia Law.


Best

Alfred Differ said...

porohobot | em... Romanic maybe

See? That's a good application of rule-based thinking that students of English have to bring to start learning English. Unfortunately, the rule doesn't work here. Latin languages are referred to as 'romance' languages, though I never learned why. 'Roman' as a root word is present, but when I hear it spoken for some reason I think of a movie. [A Fish Called Wanda.] I think of one of the characters and how she liked the sound of Russian speech. To an English speaker, some of the older, European 'romance' languages sound more musical, lyrical, or poetic. I may be way off base, though.

As for bastard languages, any cultural group faced with frequent invasions is probably going to have one. Considering Ukraine's location on the map and the geopolitical importance of Crimea, it's no shock. The way I was taught history pointed out that the region is rarely independent of nearby empires and is often fought over if none of their neighbors can dominate. People in the US won't get that because we haven't faced that kind of conflict in almost two centuries, so we have to make a mess of our language all by ourselves. 8)

Alfred Differ said...

Barr's responses yesterday contained some important points whether or not they've been followed perfectly.
1. 'Confidential' is a security marking much like 'Secret'. One does not hand out reports willy-nilly when they have security markings on them. There IS a process for releasing material to the public, though.
2. Security markings should not prevent Congress from seeing the material if they are forceful enough. There IS a process for sharing secured material with cleared congress critters.
3. Evidence that doesn't come together to lead to indictments should not be shared openly, so a security marking makes sense. Sharing the material would lead to harm to the United States of America in that it would violate laws and norms regarding privacy of investigated individuals. The easiest way to ensure this doesn't happen, though, is to exclude the evidence from the secured report. If there are to be no indictments, perhaps the evidence could be left in the vaults where it was collected. They have rules for this.
4. DoJ shouldn't review that rule about indicting a sitting President. It would look partisan and arbitrary. However, Congress can make it's will known to DoJ.

Alfred Differ said...

Larry,

I would expect "the batman" or "Batman", but not "the Batman". Proper nouns and all that.

I do remember in the earlier movies when villains referred to him as 'the bat'. That could go either way, I suppose. 'The Bat' works for me.

He was as much in favor of that as your mother was.

Yah. Many moons ago our host posted something semi-religious about people not being sheep. As evidence, one could ask wither parents expected their children to surpass them. Even a secret desire for our children to improve upon themselves would be enough to demonstrate the failure of a pastoral metaphor.

When I first read that post, my inner response was 'No @#$@ing kidding!'. One of the things that always bugged me (as my mother dearly hoped it would) about blind faith is that it isn't really human. It is what oppressed humans might do in a pinch. It is what sheep might do. It is not what free humans do unless we are indoctrinated as children. My parents made damn sure I was ignorant of such things until I had learned some skepticism and a willingness to distrust even some of what they said. When I occasionally wondered aloud how my father knew certain things, he'd point at his head and say 'kidneys'. Obviously, I wasn't supposed to believe him, but I WAS expected to figure out the truth anyway.

Secret parental desires for their children can be hard to spot even when they create a burden for the child. When it comes to understanding American's, though, I think it is critical to look for the deepest ones among us. That we desire our children to surpass us is among those core needs.

For my mother, this included her desire that I not fear deep water. Learning to swim was a way to do that. For my father, this included college and grad school. In hindsight, I think I was well into my 30's before I was working on my own goals because it turned out that I HAD adopted a form of blind faith. I believed in some unnamed thing my parents believed deep down. Our host has described it, though. It's the transcendent thing called 'enlightenment civilization.'

locumranch said...


Bah! David talks about 'the alluring dream of central planning' even when history declares this dream repulsive.

I would apologise for my snark if any of you could recognise that words have actual meaning, but I will not apologise because you will not & cannot recognise the contradictions inherent in your word use:

(1) You wish to conserve the Rule of Law without being 'conservative';

(2) You wish the benefits of white culture in the absence of white culture;

(3) You wish the benefits of Christian Mercy & Tolerance without the drawbacks of either Christians or Christianity;

(4) You wish the protections of Patriarchy in the absence of Patriarchy; and

(5) You expect to be sheltered by the very social contract which you have deemed invalid & archaic.

Even now, you fail to understand the consequences of your so very progressive attempts to separate that which is inseparable, as in the case of Yin from Yang & Light from Dark.


Best

matthew said...

Hmm, more racist crap from loco. To be expected.

Point by point:
1) that is "preserve" not "conserve," you ignoramus.
2) show me where "white culture" is dying and I'll put orange lilies on the grave, right after I spit on it, you racist fuck.
3) Evangelical Christians in the US are shown to be hypocrites by their every utterance. "Christian Mercy & Tolerance" is an utter joke if you've read any history. I doubt loco reads though. He name-drops books without showing a scintilla of understanding of the contents.
4) We have yet to see an "absence of patriarchy" but I cannot wait for the day. I and mine will do just fine in the absence. I've spent my children's lives teaching them to respect no unearned authority and authority due to ownership of a penis is a laughable idiocy.
5) I *know* I'll be protected by my friends and neighbors. They know the same from me. This is tested quite often.

Now, I do know the consequence of having a loco malevolent ass in my circle or my neighborhood or in my government.I'm perfectly willing to act to remove one such as you, you racist asshole.

Goodbye and don't let the door hit you.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

I would expect "the batman" or "Batman", but not "the Batman". Proper nouns and all that.


Well, my dad was speaking at the time, not writing.

In the very early comics appearances (I mean back in the 1930s), he was "The Bat-Man", shortened to "Bat-Man". The hyphen makes it look more like a descriptor than a name.

I was introduced to the Batman character long before I knew about vampires, so it never occurred to me that the image of Dracula and company probably contributed to that character's inspiration.

Larry Hart said...

If I didn't know locum was being deliberately obtuse, I'd point out that the claim that white culture isn't the only important one is not the same as saying it should be eliminated.

Or that I was actually giving Steve King more credit than he gave himself.

But really, what would be the point?

A.F. Rey said...

One of the high points of The Tick animated series was the superhero who dressed up like a bat. His name was Die Fledermaus, which is German for "the bat," or more literally translated as "the flitter (fluttering) mouse."

A name that struck fear into the hearts of every criminal everywhere... :)

Zepp Jamieson said...

Hmm. Growing cotton on the Moon, and now steam-driven rockets. (https://www.livescience.com/64487-steam-powered-spaceship.html)
Reality, brought to you by Terry Pratchett.
The cotton plant died, by the way. Those heartless Chinese let it germinate, knowing it would drop to -170 (C or F? Does it matter?) in 48 hours, after the sun set. (Turns out the Moon has a sun, too!). That's surprising. In my Met class, we were taught that nighttime lows were alleviated in the presence of a low pressure system, and at 0.000001 millibars, this was quite a strong low.

Zepp Jamieson said...

"David talks about 'the alluring dream of central planning' even when history declares this dream repulsive."
Ignoring the rest of the crapola in that post, there is the fact that central planning is still a widely held dream, not just in governments, but in corporations as well. And the Corps have the same problems that Stalin and Mao encountered: centralization is supposed to bring the economics of scale into play, and standardization is supposed to enhance efficiency. The problem is that humans are neither standard nor efficient.

Larry Hart said...

Zepp Jamieson:

knowing it would drop to -170 (C or F? Does it matter?) in 48 hours, after the sun set. (Turns out the Moon has a sun, too!). That's surprising. In my Met class, we were taught that nighttime lows were alleviated in the presence of a low pressure system, and at 0.000001 millibars, this was quite a strong low.


I think you're kidding, but just in case...

I think earthly low-pressure systems are typically higher in moisture content and cloud cover, both of which keep lows from dropping too far. The moon has neither.

A.F. Rey said...

That would only be true, Larry, if you believe those greenhouse gases on Earth help keep the climate stabilized. But then you would also have to believe that increasing one of those gases would trap more heat in our atmosphere, causing a forcing that would almost certainly increase the average temperature. And as we all know, that's a Chinese conspiracy theory.

Just ask our President... :)

Alfred Differ said...

... just to show I DO read the posts and occasionally keep my comments relevant...

“Democrats favor freedom in the bedroom and republicans like freedom in the board-room.”

One thing we libertarians do is mistake theory for practice. Maps for terrain. That sort of thing. Freedom in the board-room is the theory and it's perfectly fine. Real board-rooms are another matter.

Serving on a Board helps drive home the distinctions that need to be recognized. Serving as a Chair helps one see all those details that go into the sausage making. It's not just legislators who make sausage after all.

I don't mind attempts to ensure the sausage won't kill people as long as they aren't attempts to close board-rooms or make their proper, theoretical function impossible. They serve a good purpose when well formed and well run. They serve an illusion of purpose otherwise.

Alfred Differ said...

climate stabilized

heh. Y'all are funny today. 8)

Any atmosphere at all stabilizes the climate.
Sit on the cloudless high desert and feel the transition from day to night.
You can feel the heat being sucked out of your body.
Of course... it actually isn't. It's just that you don't get to keep it without a blanket.

when history declares this dream repulsive

Locumranch isn't being so funny.

Dude... history says no such thing. The lure of central planning is inherently human.

We map our biological expectations learned by economizing at the family and band level to larger communities and nations. It doesn't matter if the central planner is your mother or a strongman. We KNOW IN OUR BONES that planning works for economizing scarce resources.

Turns out our bones are wrong for larger communities, though. Planners need too much information to be effective at scale. It's not possible to get that information without a time machine and even that might not be enough. People who think AI can solve this don't get it. It would have to be one of V Vinge's transcendent/transhuman beings to have even a ghost of a chance for communities of millions and in the attempt... it's quite possible they only succeed by making us something less than human.

EVERY ATTEMPT at central planning at scale dehumanizes the people being controlled... or fails.
Some of us know that, but history does not yet.

Duncan Cairncross said...

EVERY ATTEMPT at central planning at scale dehumanizes the people being controlled... or fails.
Some of us know that, but history does not yet.

Disagree COMPLETELY
Central planning works very well - at the macro level

The problems come when it is expected to work at too low a level AND when the "Plan" is not flexible enough

If you keep those two in mind then it works very well

An example would be the British economy during WW2

Central Planning works a lot better than the "market" for:
Electrical generation and supply
Health Services
Water supply, rainwater control and sewage treatment
Roads and railways
Postal Services
Education

Probably some others as well

David Brin said...

Imbeciles can't perceive their own traps. Example, the racist right not only weakens Western Civilization with their every Putin-licking action, destroying the alliances that helped America keep the Pax. They also ignore the only way that Western Civilization can survive all the trends, including population and the ever-present human allure of oligarchy.

That means is memes. I care about my kids and I hope some folks carrying my genes will be around to enjoy the world of 300 years from now. But it will only be an enjoyable world, healthy and spreading across space, if the MEMES of Western Civilization root and spread.

It doesn't matter squat if they are white or brown or even if they salute the US flag. If the coming era fills every child on Earth with impudent, individualist confidence and habits of grownup, respectful reciprocal accountability, then we win. Then we've conquered both history and the world. And that is a conquest to be proud of.

And imbecile racists like Steve King, who associate victory with a fight they cannot conceivably win -- keeping the future dominated by lily-white males -- are not allies toward that future. They are jibbering morons who seek to bring us to Idiocracy.

onward

onward

porohobot said...

>> Duncan Cairncross said...
\\Disagree COMPLETELY
Central planning works very well - at the macro level

Because it's not about PLANNING. %)

Its about queuing systems -- for mass-production/service.