Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Wonders of science

Those of you in the Bay Area, Lord Martin Rees, the Astronomer Royal and one of the most vivid minds on Earth will be giving talks in San Francisco (at the Long Now idea hutch) and in Palo Alto in mid January.

Have you been following the tale of the tiny Chinese spy chips that were inveigled into countless electronic devices then sold to the West?  Fascinating story. Great line: "Two of Elemental’s biggest early clients were the Mormon church, which used the technology to beam sermons to congregations around the world, and the adult film industry, which did not."  (LATE NOTE: Some have cast this story in doubt.)

Of course, aside from some areas in which they are not behaving helpfully to the human enlightenment, there are many more worth cheering! The successful Chang'e-4 mission to the far side/polar region of the moon is cause for celebration by all humankind, and I hope they will prove me wrong about the value of the lunar surface (compared to asteroids.) Alas, the Jade Rabbit rover is solar powered and hence cannot take its assay radar into the permanent shadows where deposits of ice may lurk!

Which leads us to... a science fictional future? China wants to launch satellites to reflect sunlight to Chinese cities at night.

One more reason why SF readers need to help launch TASAT, the memory project about sci fi concepts that might be pertinent to contemporary problems. 

Meanwhile - China won't share samples of its deadly flu virus: "Given that this (Chinese H7N9) flu virus is a potential threat to humanity, not sharing it immediately with the global network of WHO laboratories, like CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention], is scandalous."

== Good Stuff ==

 A long floating boom is being towed from San Francisco to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch — an island of trash twice the size of Texas. The Ocean Cleanup, which has raised $35 million in donations to fund the project, including from Salesforce.com chief executive Marc Benioff and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, will deploy 60 free-floating barriers in the Pacific Ocean by 2020. “One of our goals is to remove 50 percent of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in five years.” (Alas, more recent news suggests part of the system may have broken. The ocean is tough.)

Scientists have used CRISPR to reverse the gene defect causing Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) in dogs. DMD is the most common fatal genetic disease in children. 

SapientX makes conversational AI software for the auto industry. Their digital assistants can control primary functions in a car via a conversational voice interface. You can nag your car and become the worst front seat backseat driver!

The arrival of cheap, reliable zinc-air batteries for electrical storage could be a major game changer. 

The breach of coal ash ponds in the hurricane ravaged Carolinas has revived criticism of the Trump administration’s efforts to loosen restrictions on how power plants dispose of the toxic waste. 

A NASA balloon mission has revealed a band of clouds known as PMCs. These “polar meospheric clouds” are thin and wispy, but they might hold clues that could reveal the mechanisms that control turbulence in Earth’s atmosphere. The video offered by this site is truly incredible!  Both gorgeous and explanatory. And it’s not only far-off planetary missions that show how cool we are!

== A sci-roundup ==

“A new evaluation of data from the exoplanet-hunting Kepler Space Telescope and the Gaia mission indicates that many of the known planets may contain as much as 50% water. This is much more than the Earth's 0.02% (by weight) water content.”…. “Scientists have found that many of the 4000 confirmed or candidate exoplanets discovered so far fall into two size categories: those with the planetary radius averaging around 1.5 that of the Earth, and those averaging around 2.5 times the radius of the Earth.”

Now a new model indicates that those exoplanets which have of around 1.5 Earth radii tend to be rocky planets (of typically x5 the mass of the Earth), “while those with a radius of x2.5 Earth radius (with a mass around x10 that of the Earth) are probably water worlds…” …but with very hot, steamy atmospheres. It’s unclear whether organic chemistry would work well in such steamy hothouses.  Read more at Physics.org.

Huzzah for Japan’s Hyabusa 2 mission!  Carefully calibrated approach to the Ryugu asteroid, deployment of two small landers that have already hopped to new positions, gathering data. Let’s do this 100x more times!

Anyone seeking to understand the brilliant, early conceptualists who foresaw some of our era’s wonders should be familiar with names like J.D. Bernal and John Von Neumann and Alan Turing. And especially Vannevar Bush, whose essay “As we may think” shortly after WWII squinted at a future when all people might have access to most of the world’s information. Now a group has brought Bush’s proposed “Memex” system to life and the video is very interesting. Though it would have been good to have it explained that the sound effects were meant to mimic what Bush expected, which was remotely-physically accessing microfilms and mico-fiches.

Amazing BlackFly personal aircraft… though I had a hoax-tickle at the back of my scalp, there’s nothing on Snopes.  Yeah, amazing, though I expect drone grabbers to pick up pods as a more likely final thing. That's what Volkswagen is betting on.

Ion Drive. No, Scotty it’s already a workhorse, out in space. But for flight on Earth? Well, MIT researchers made a drone that manage - barely - to stay aloft using “ion wind”. Which means zero moving parts. 

== Evolution of life ==

Interesting! Dinosaurs evolved during, or immediately before the Late Triassic oxygen low (between 10 to 12%, equivalent to an altitude of 15,000 feet), a time when oxygen was at its lowest value of the last 500 million years. 

There appears to be strong evidence that parasites can sometimes turn “commensal” or beneficial to their victims, as discussed in Heart of the Comet many years ago.

My old Caltech classmate Joe Kirschvink, who has innovated and investigated more varied aspects of life on Earth than anyone I know, has teamed up with RARE EARTH author Peter Ward in A NEW HISTORY OF LIFE, a bold look at recent, radical discoveries that are rewriting some of the known chapters. Joe is the fellow who discovered that there were several “iceball Earth” episodes, just before the spectacular pre-Cambrian explosion of complex living species. He’s also an expert on magnetism in bird and other brains(!) And in one chapter he goes on about how crude mammals are, when it comes to lungs and breathing.  

The history of animal life on Earth repeatedly showed a correlation between atmospheric oxygen and animal diversity as well as body size: times of low oxygen saw, on average, lower diversity and smaller body sizes than times with higher oxygen. … Low oxygen times killed off species (while at the same time stimulating experimentation with new body plans to deal with the bad times.”  Also –  in mid-Cretaceous times the appearance of angiosperms caused a floral revolution, and by the end of the Cretaceous period the flowering plants had largely displaced the conifers that had been the Jurassic dominants.  The rise of angiosperms created more plants, and sparked an insect diversification.  More resources were available in all ecosystems, and this may have been a trigger for diversity as well.  Yet the relationship between oxygen and diversity, and oxygen and body size has played out over and over in many different groups of animals, from insects to fish to reptiles to mammals.  … With a bipedal stance the first dinosaurs overcame the respiratory limitations imposed by Carrier’s Constraint.  The Triassic oxygen low thus triggered the origin of dinosaurs through formation of this new body plan.”

Wow. He goes on to explain that birds supplement lungs with a “plenum” air-sac network that is rooted in their hollow bones (it’s not just for lightness!) allowing them to do efficient “flow-through” breathing. Which I referred to in a couple of my older stories. Now if only we could retrofit innovations from other species! Those dino-bird lungs. Camel kidneys. A bear’s ability to hibernate. Cancer-proofing in mole-rats. The muscle attachment points that make chimps so strong… and so on.  I’d be willing to pay them back with a little brain uplift. Well… except for bears.


== Horizons of Inclusion ==

In an earlier posting, I discussed how one of our society’s biggest projects has been to expand our “horizons of inclusion,” by not only giving full respect to previously excluded human groups, but also expanding this via “otherness” to higher animal species, or AIs, or even ecosystems.  Yet, there is argument within the community seeking such expansion/inclusion! I portray Earth’s councils expanded to include apes and cetaceans, but there are activists who despise this concept, because of the “meddling and pain” it would take, to get there. (I, in turn, assert that they may yet turn out to be seen as the selfish ones refusing to lend a hand, seeking to keep a paternalistic humanity on top, forever.)

These aren’t the only factions!  In a variant on my argument re: "horizons" inclusion of animal species in our concept of "us." Kevin Esvelt  of the MIT Media Lab has yet a third approach. Instead of just saving ecosystems and leaving other species to fight-flee-die in the natural Circle of Life, he observes that life for most wild animals is filled with paranoia, fear and pain, even in a healthy ecosystem. Moreover, millions of animals would not get to exist, if we stopped raising many myriads of them for our use (an argument also made by Temple Grandin.) 

Hence, what Esvelt wants is for us to intervene!  Not my approach -- to daintily uplift a few sub-species to join us as fellow sapients -- but rather, his would act across the whole range of animal life to reduce pain!  To replace death-fear and agony as much as possible. To maximize "hedonic value" across the whole animal kingdom.

Yipe!  What a hubristic ambition!  I've only seen it portrayed once in sci fi, in the very last story of Clifford Simak's compilation epic entitled CITY. 

And finally....

San Diego gallery was charged with selling over a million dollars worth of illicit ivory objects, reminiscent of that scene in EARTH.

If ice ages return, the Dogger Banks between England and Denmark will rise again. Doggerland!

The online science podcast “Smarter Every Day” is pretty terrific. 

102 comments:

Duncan Cairncross said...

The boom to collect ocean rubbish
Excellent idea - but only people who have not had much to do with the real world would expect it to work "right out of the box"

The Mk1 will break or sink or be eaten by sharks or something
But I bet the Mk5 will do am excellent job

Tim H. said...

I have thoughts on uplift, first, it won't begin respectably because our record in dealing with divergent varieties of our own species stinks. A brilliant team will do something interesting, in the hope of forgiveness being simpler than permission, faced with thinking and talking modded animals, continued uplift would be the lesser evil.
Now, would we be looking at brainier Bonobos and Chimps or Humans with a more diverse ancestry, as in "Lucy"?

Larry Hart said...

Donald J Trump last night:

"The border wall would very quickly pay for itself. The cost of illegal drugs exceeds $500 billion a year — vastly more than the $5.7 billion we have requested from Congress."


When Trump says Mexico will pay for the wall because of his wonderful trade deal, or that the wall will pay for itself as stated above, that he's privatizing the savings and socializing the cost. We The People are supposed to fund the wall through tax money, but "we" will get more than that money back in increased corporate profits and in money not spent on drugs.

Is it just me, or is it pretty obvious that the "we" who pays and the "we" who saves are not the same people?

Jon S. said...

Carried forward from last time:

Dr. Brin asks, "What book is the 1632 series up to?"

Sadly, I can't answer that, as I haven't actually read any of them. The post-apocalyptic WV I was in was that of Fallout 76, set about 25 years after the Great War destroyed worldwide civilization (and about ten years after something wiped out the entire surviving human population of the region - learning what happened, and how it can be avoided in the future, is part of the game's storyline, so I'll only spoil it by request).

I usually play with my wife, as this is the first game in the Fallout franchise to be multiplayer - it's a lot easier to defeat things like the Grafton Monster and the Mothman when two or more people are coordinating their attacks. She's also really big into building CAMPs, the semimobile bases available to the players (hers feature a "public area" where other players can come use the facilities, and a "private area" with a locked door where she's generally left alone by others). Last night we finished the Mistress of Mystery storyline (Shannon Rivers, the actress who played the comic-book heroine Mistress of Mystery on the "Silver Shroud" radio serial, and who underwent severe training in preparation for the upcoming Silver Shroud movie, found that after the war her training was useful in protecting innocents from raider gangs. She taught her daughter Olivia to use those skills as well, then proceeded to adopt and train other girls orphaned by the War. When you find Rivers Manor, it's long-abandoned, with signs of an old firefight having damaged the underground lair of the Mistresses of Mystery. What happened? Follow the training path of a Novice of Mystery, and find out).

locumranch said...


As one individual's 'progress' is another individual's poison, it's semantically suspect to utilise relativistic value-laden terminology like 'good', 'bad', 'better', 'worst', 'include' and 'improve' without referencing divergent perspective.

I fear Do-Gooders like David most of all, not because I suspect them of secret malice, but because they thoughtlessly devalue & invalidate any perspective that differs from their own.

As proposed by David, 'Uplift' smacks of Speciesism, as he would alter apes, cetaceans & other species into human imitators, much in the same way that white 19th Century Colonialists would attempt forcible indigenous & aboriginal assimilation via 'boarding schools' and 'reeducation centers'.

It's the same WEIRD process we currently use, really:

Every June, in the name of inclusivity, we take the savage hillbilly, red rural child, ape, aborigine or cetacean away from its native habitat, isolate it at an urban Mission School, and IMPROVE it in every way by teaching it how to act "white", "civilised" and "human".

Good luck with your all-inclusive civilisation.


Best

Larry Hart said...

locumranch:

it's semantically suspect to utilise relativistic value-laden terminology like 'good', 'bad', 'better', 'worst', 'include' and 'improve' without referencing divergent perspective.


That might be the most cogent thing you've said here in years.

'Course the door does swing both ways. It's semantically suspect to talk about Making America Great Again without defining how and for whom America is or isn't-but-could-be great. Or when exactly America was great previously.

Anonymous said...

Toddler mind Locum, again trying to pull his childish tricks. %)))

Like 5 years old who trying show he understands some grown up stuff in front of older ones. Hillarity ensues.


upd.
Larry... it's pointless. You cannot sway toddler mind with reducto ad absurdum. %)))
He'll be only happy to give it back to you. As little children do shauting "it's you stupid. No, it's you. No, YOU!!!" %)))

Alfred Differ said...

Larry | The cost of illegal drugs exceeds $500 billion a year

It's an apples and oranges comparison mostly. I've seen space advocates do something similar when they quote the price of a new aircraft carrier and point out how many space projects could be funded with that money. Turns out Americans are a bit more willing to buy aircraft carriers and don't see it as a competition. I see progressives making a similar error when they point out how much medical coverage that $5.7 billion could provide for those in need.

It's all technically true, but misses the point. American's are willing to buy illegal drugs and pay a huge sum to do it. The cost of a wall has nothing to do with that except that the current estimate is probably low BECAUSE Americans are willing to spend huge sums to buy illegal drugs.

If we want to stop the drugs, we have the recognize the similarities between today's efforts to prohibit them and yesterday's efforts to prohibit alcohol manufacture and distribution. Trump isn't going to mention that, though. I doubt he understands it, but if he does it doesn't serve him politically anyway.

What I saw last night was more of the campaign fear mongering, but done in a calmer style from the Oval Office. Some of my cousins have fallen for it. Not me.

Mike Will said...

One commentator noted last night:

Most Presidential addresses are meant to calm a frightened public. This one was meant to frighten a calm public.

Alfred Differ said...

Last I checked, it's 1637 and the Ottomans have overrun Vienna.

Larry Hart said...

@Duncan (I think), whoever it was who got me interested in Psychohistorical Crisis,

One of the themes that Kingsbury keeps having his character revisit in the book is a concept that an observer in the reverse direction of time (future to past) observes entropy increasing just as a forward-traveling observer does. This is mentioned many times in the book as a concept (the "time-reversibility" of something-or-other), not as a conclusion the character comes to, but as a kind of self-evident axiom that is used to explain why other phenomena act as they do.

Is there something to this in real science? To me, it seems self-evidently ridiculous. If I'm watching someone stir coffee, cream, and sugar into a cup, but I'm watching in reverse time, I'll be watching the mixture segregate itself into component parts. If I watch the heat from a grilled steak dissipate into the atmosphere in reverse time, the heat will flow from the air back into the single object. How can entropy increase equally in both directions? Or what am I missing?

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

American's are willing to buy illegal drugs and pay a huge sum to do it. The cost of a wall has nothing to do with that except that the current estimate is probably low BECAUSE Americans are willing to spend huge sums to buy illegal drugs.


That's entirely beside the point I was trying to make, which is to question how the money Americans keep in their pockets because they can't use that money to buy illegal drugs pays back the $5.7 billion spent on the wall in any way. I realize the concept of the wall stopping the drug trade is absurd, but even accepting that on Trump's own terms, I don't see how the money saved gets back to benefit those who paid the taxes to build the wall.

Do we impose a wall-surcharge on the savings of people who would have bought drugs but didn't?

Same with the explanation that the wonderful trade deal causes Mexico to pay for the wall. Again, even accepting the Trumpian world-view, if American companies reap more profits from the MNAGA* trade deal, how does that help the treasury or the taxpayers who were hit up for the initial investment?

* (Make North America Great Again)


What I saw last night was more of the campaign fear mongering, but done in a calmer style from the Oval Office. Some of my cousins have fallen for it. Not me.


Heh. What I saw last night was more like soft core porn, but suitable to watch alongside my wife on her tablet. :) Stormy's "goodbye" wave at the end was entertainment enough. Oh, was something else on tv at the same time?

Darrell E said...

Trump was a disgrace. I expect nothing less from him.

I do, however, expect more from my fellow citizens. Anyone who believes that we are currently experiencing crisis levels of immigration, illegal or otherwise, or crisis levels of crime by illegal immigrants, violent or otherwise, or that a significant amount of drugs comes over the border and a border wall would stop it, or that the Democrats haven't been willing to talk seriously about immigration policy reforms, . . . well, they are being either unconscionably gullible or their ethics are really low.

Larry Hart said...

@Darrell E,

I don't watch FOX News, but I gather that if that's where people get their information, then all of those things you list are self-evidently true.

Alfred Differ said...

Larry,

Okay. I'll give it a shot. 8)

how the money Americans keep in their pockets ... pays back the $5.7 billion spent on the wall

They money spent on illegal drugs moves to the black side of the economy where it can't be taxed easily. Keeping it in the white market would improve revenues... quite a bit.

If Americans stopped buying illegal drugs, SOME Mexicans would wind up paying for the wall... indirectly... because their revenue would drop and our tax revenue would increase.


Silly, of course.
1) Americans like their illegal drugs. Many of them are part of Trump's base.
2) Americans would be paying directly one way or the other.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

Silly, of course.
1) Americans like their illegal drugs. Many of them are part of Trump's base.
2) Americans would be paying directly one way or the other.


Yeah, the only way I see that working is:

"Now that there are no more illegal drugs available for you, look at all the extra money you have in your pocket. The government can take a windfall of 30% or so of that money in taxes, and you still have so much left over that it more than pays you back for your share of the tax money that was spent on the wall!"

However, if that's the dynamic, then there's a way for those people to pocket the same amount of cash even without their taxes paying for the wall. Do I have to name it? Just say no! If you (the Trump-supporting wall-lover who believes it pays for itself) want to be prevented from buying drugs, how about just...whatayacallit...not buying drugs?

Alfred Differ said...

I spent some time last night watching how some of the libertarians reacted to Trump's speech from the Oval Office. Amazing. Some of us get what he is doing. The others accuse us of being part of a leftist army bent on taking over. 8)

David Brin said...

Alfred, they are the ones supporting a mafia gang of lenin-raised Kremlin oligarchs who are all ex-KGB agents and who openly avow that the end of the USSR was "the greatest tragedy in human history." Every economic action taken by the GOP across 35 years has favored consolidation of economic power into fewer hands, while Democratic policies have always benefited competitive markets. In other words, your friends are the commies.

David Brin said...


LH is right. That’s probably the best and most vitamin-rich comment by locumrach in a long time. His assertions… well… most are just wrong and he is still a slandering/strawmanning grouch. But some of the assertions are at least aimed in the general direction of where I – and other believers in progress - actually stand and are questions we should ask that figure we see in the mirror.

Of course the fact that I just said that suggests that I am NOT the fool he calls me (we all know that I am not and it is strawmanning nonsense.) But then, it’s possible that my previous statement /sentence was a defense mechanism to evade true scrutiny, by giving it lip service.

But then, I didn’t have to point that out, so… and the circle goes on. With the upshot that I deserve orders of magnitude more credibility than a whining defender of failed feudalism who never, ever stands up with actual proposals of his own. Still, welcome back, son.

---

Re Trump. Shep Smith is singlehandedly peeling residually adult sane republican RASRs off by fact-rebutting Two Scoops right on Fox. Is he for real? Or underorders from Murdoch to salvage some credibility for the network?

Duncan Cairncross said...

Hi Larry

I will have to re-read the book (again)
I remember that as information that is permanently lost as time goes forwards which cannot even theoretically be retained so that both directions of "forecasting" had limits of the accuracy

We cannot predict the future accurately due to the variations inherent in the universe

AND - we also cannot use the present to accurately describe the past as some information is lost

Not that we can't tell which is which - just that both the future and the past are both inherently unknowable

Re - 1632
I have 21 books of that series on my Kindle - and that does not include the Grantville Gazette series
I don't think I am up to date!
I have just had a look on Wikipedia - there are 20 books so far (with another 4 on the way) plus a handful of other books - I think I have 19 of the "series" and two of the "other books"
Some are very good - some not so good!

Alfred Differ said...

Well... calling them my friends would be a stretch. 8)

I was checking out a FB group of libertarians who actually put up a post telling the truth of what Trump did last night. Whoever had the admin power to post it pointed out the lie that there is a crisis at the border and went on to say the lie served Trump's political goal. It was a very short post. Two lines tops and mixed in with other survey posts since January is the month for collecting opinions before party officers are chosen.

The response to this one post went on for hundreds of comments with righteous indignation running thick among those who felt this post represented the opinion of the invading leftist army. The folks who advocated for its truth were actually rather calm, but inflexible the way libertarians can be even in our sleep. The result was the typical finger-pointing-fest of 'YOU AREN'T LIBERTARIAN!' and 'I AM LEAVING!' shouts.

Obviously there are going to be some creme pies thrown at the next convention.


If I believed a lot of what I read last night, I'd have to conclude no one wants me in their political party. Too bad for them, though. I'm actually FOR the invasion. They feel they are under attack and I just nod in agreement. Yup. You are.

Larry Hart said...

Duncan Cairncross:

We cannot predict the future accurately due to the variations inherent in the universe

AND - we also cannot use the present to accurately describe the past as some information is lost

Not that we can't tell which is which - just that both the future and the past are both inherently unknowable


Ah, I see, I was taking the time-reversal thing too literally. As a fan of comics and sci-fi, I imagine actually observing time in reverse order like watching a film play backwards, and I couldn't imagine how entropy could increase in that direction.

What you describe is more like "reconstructing the past" as analogous to "forecasting the future". Accuracy decreases in either direction the further out you go. I can't tell whether it rained on this date in the year 19 AD any more than I can tell if it's going to rain on this date in 4019.

That makes a certain amount of sense.

Alfred Differ said...

Indeterminacy and Entropy aren't the same things.

The first is the result of not being able to possess all the boundary condition information needed to determine precise solutions to the equations of 'motion'. In our case, the universe is effectively indeterminate because you'd need all the information in it to figure out what's going to happen even if it behaved in a classical manner. The key point is that arbitrary improvements in precision can be achieved by improvements in knowledge of boundary conditions IF the universe works like a movie. Can't be done, though. Popper focused on that issue in one of his few single-theme books.

The second is the result of how we create macrostate information from microstate details. The molecules in a balloon can be doing a bazillion different things and still produce the same observed pressure and volume. Just how many possible ways there are to produce the macro observation is a measure of the entropy of the system. In a time-reversed observation of an explosion, the exploding system would have a decreasing amount of entropy as it's possible ways to exist the way it is observed shrank.

Entropy isn't really about randomness unless randomness is involved in mixing the the various microstates among each other. Randomness as a physical property is actually REAL HARD to define. We pretend we can when we talk about quantum theories, but I'm not convinced.

What we ARE pretty sure of, though, is that there is never enough information available to solve for motion if you are stuck obeying special relativity.

Even if you had all the information in the universe (backward time-travel used to get it), that might not be enough either but I think the jury might still be out on that. Get it? Wink, wink? We don't even know that and might never know that. Ever, ever. 8)

Anyway, the 'movie frame as a temporal instant' metaphor fails. Creation has emphatically said NO.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

Anyway, the 'movie frame as a temporal instant' metaphor fails.


Scott McCloud explored this in a book about the comics form, Understanding Comics. He discusses how we've been "trained by photography" to think of a single panel as a single moment in time. To counterargue, he showed some large comics panels with several dialogue balloons which follow from each other in ways that show time must be passing between one and the next, with visual images across the panel which obviously correspond to the various bits of dialogue. Everything in the panel can't possibly be happening at the same time.

Consider a large painting, like the kind that take up an entire wall at an art museum. As you the viewer pan across the image, who's to say that the things you observe on the left of the canvas happen at the same time as those you pan to on the right. If you were panning across a real life scene, time would flow between what you start looking at and what you end up looking at.

I think I've told this story before, but my young cousins demonstrated this in a practical joke they liked to play with the camera function that lets you slowly pan to one side and take a long, panoramic photograph. They'd take a family picture by panning from left to right around a dinner table. Well, one kid (I'll call him Matthew, since that's his name) starts on the very left side. Once the camera is off of him, he bolts around the back of the table (and the photographer) and gets to the right side before the camera gets to that part of the table. So the resulting picture is a long panorama of everyone around the table, with Matthew at both ends.

yana said...


Finally getting around to reading the Mars books (Red, Blue, Green), so was doing support reading alongside. One thing stuck in my mind a couple weeks ago, a quote from 1976. Harold "Hal" Masursky, NASA geologist for the Viking lander missions:

"Looking back over the earth's history, having glacial ice caps at our poles is very unusual, if we have such unusual situations, maybe Mars for brief periods is a very hospitable place."

Is this a deprecated idea science already discarded, or is our output of CO2 and CH4 simply hastening Earth's return to "normal"? I get that equatorial dropstones prove the Iceball theory, and know that Ice Ages are many times longer than interglacial stable periods like today. Greenland cores go back 800,000 years, and by definition that's polar glaciation, being "ice cores", right?

It seems like Masursky was saying that the majority of Ice Ages didn't sport much in the way of, you know, ice. Can that be true?

Duncan Cairncross said...

Hi yana
An "Ice Age" occurs when either there is a continent or a sea surrounded by land at one of the poles

If you don't have either then there is nowhere for the ice to build up - we are currently in an interglacial part of an ice age
For a lot of the earth history neither one of those has happened and the earth has not had ice poles

porohobot said...

>> Alfred Differ said...
\\I've seen space advocates do something similar when they quote the price of a new aircraft carrier and point out how many space projects could be funded with that money.

That is not "apples and oranges". As it dual usage tech.
To have ability to make "punishment from the skies"...
but not in late WW2 tech
more like XXI century tech...
but... Putin and master Xi will show you.
Yet one time.
What "preparing to previous battles" does really mean.

\\ Trump isn't going to mention that, though. I doubt he understands it, but if he does it doesn't serve him politically anyway.

Divide and conquer. Strategy of all times. Why not?

\\They money spent on illegal drugs moves to the black side of the economy where it can't be taxed easily. Keeping it in the white market would improve revenues... quite a bit.

I'd like to see theoretical proofs of this. %) As its deserve Nobel -- proofs that there is so simple ways to pull something out of black side of economy. ;)

\\2) Americans would be paying directly one way or the other.

They already paying... but whom they'll blame for their purses become lighter? ;)



>> Larry Hart said...
\\How can entropy increase equally in both directions?

Origin of entropy are still mistery of dark.
Though I myself like to think that its side effect of space expansion.



>> David Brin said...
\\...mafia gang of lenin-raised Kremlin oligarchs who are all ex-KGB agents

Yet one time. They are NOT from KGB. It's heavy romanticizing of this losers, whose only road in USSR was prison.

Know your enemy (C) Sun Tzu

\\and who openly avow that the end of the USSR was "the greatest tragedy in human history."

That's just propaganda. They don't believed it yourself. I bet it.
But what is real scary -- that next generation spoiled with it, could be perfect Putin-youth ready to jump under NATO tanks... or more like, be terrorist\bombers... with Novichok, Polonium, etc.

But... yet more scarier... that, if some other countries would become ensured that "it's good, effective tactics" against USA and all the West.
Contries like India. Like China.
That you can scary US presidente with H-bomb and have a sit with him around one table after that.

Do you want WW3 in a form of terroristic skirmishes?

\\But then, it’s possible that my previous statement /sentence was a defense mechanism to evade true scrutiny, by giving it lip service.

It is. If clean it from gibberish murmuring. There core of his speech is accusation that you are heavily ignoring that common observation -- that any progress have benefits... but also it have some drawbacks.
Yeah, it's truism.
But still important one to "nota bene" it. %)
So... we can start to name Locum K.O. for this one. Even though it's obviously unintentional from his part. %P


\\ I have very limited lifespan and many demands on what I have.

Isn't it more important issue, one think anybody would start from in his agenda?
Especially in current time, where something like this (can) become really possible?
Or you are look-backer yourself, who refuses to see latest possibility?
And think "what was good for our fathers might be good for us too"?
To throw everything -- and coming problems, and coming joy,
on next generations... "let's throw them in water, to teach am how to swim... or to drown". %\
Because... there could be really NEW GAME CHANGER tech, not like that VR molecule viewing you posted to me...
NEW TECH, that can change all perspectives and solve all(most) problems (but introduce bunch of new, of course)...
and that scare shit of you, so it's better to waste your precious time in stupid political brawls... as did our fathers all previous times...
because they see no and really have no, other choice.

But YOU do have this choice... but maybe don't see it??? I dunno.

porohobot said...

>> Darrell E said...
//Anyone who believes that we are currently experiencing crisis levels of immigration, illegal or otherwise, or crisis levels of crime by illegal immigrants, violent or otherwise, or that a significant amount of drugs comes over the border and a border wall would stop it, or that the Democrats haven't been willing to talk seriously about immigration policy reforms, . . . well, they are being either unconscionably gullible or their ethics are really low.


The Fiscal Burden of Illegal Immigration on United States Taxpayers

It's NGO. It's ready and spreaded over network (I saw it on Breitbart, but sure it'll be in FB and on Twitter too).
And they call it "fact-checking" to boot.


PS You cannot sway hypocrites and fools with swearing and damnation. And if you try to preach -- they'll laugh at you.

Darrell E said...

Alfred Differ said...
"The response to this one post went on for hundreds of comments with righteous indignation running thick among those who felt this post represented the opinion of the invading leftist army.

It's like ad hominem. Because they are leftist (or rightest, liberal, conservative, etc.) whatever they are saying is bad / wrong. Seems as if nearly all sides in the US these days are guilty of it. At least the vocal ones. Probably the norm throughout human history.

Jon S. said...

Guideline: If you saw it on Breitbart, you can safely ignore it. Breitbart is a "far-right-wing" (read: neo-Nazi) website, one founded to counter the "liberal bias" of the rest of the media and which rose to fame in large part because of one of its former directors, a fellow named Steve Bannon (of whom you might have heard). As a data source, they are... let's just say more than somewhat suspect.

Try a little independent research. Google terms "economic impact of immigration on US economy". You might be surprised at how few sources agree with that link you provided.

Larry Hart said...

Darrell E:

It's like ad hominem. Because they are leftist (or rightest, liberal, conservative, etc.) whatever they are saying is bad / wrong. Seems as if nearly all sides in the US these days are guilty of it. At least the vocal ones. Probably the norm throughout human history.


The radio host I most admire, Norman Goldman, has been on this rant since forever. He insists that we stop labeling ourselves as "liberals", "progressives", "conservatives", etc, as doing so immediately shuts down listeners who we might otherwise be able to find common ground with. His pet project seems to be convincing people to go (his term) "transpolitical".

Since he riffs on his name, Norm, as a kind of trademark ("The Norman Goldman show, where fierce independence is the norm!"), your final sentence above is ironically fitting. :)

Larry Hart said...

@Jon S,

I know it's sometimes hard to parse porohobot's English (not his fault), but I was under the impression he already knew the Breitbart link was fact-challenged, and that the point he was making was, "Look what you have to contend with out there."

Darrell E said...

Larry Hart,

As I was reading your comment the first "Norm" that came to mind, unbidden, was Norm from Cheers. I'm sure that says something about something but I can't figure out what or what.

Larry Hart said...

@Darrell E,

It says that we're old. :)

Larry Hart said...

expanding on: It says that we're old. :)

In my younger days, I used to be fairly good at consoling women who thought they looked fat. Lately, that has shifted to consoling women who think they are old. That actually works better. I never had anyone thank me for saying she didn't look fat (because they just assume I'm lying), but when a 47-year-old woman at work didn't get a reference to the title "Close Encounters of the Third Kind", and I mentioned that she must be too young to know that film, she thanked me profusely. You'd think I had asked to see her ID before serving a drink. :)

Larry Hart said...

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/09/opinion/trump-border-speech.html

The two sides disagreed on who caused the talks to collapse. Obviously, it was something about the you-know-what. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer claimed that when the wall came up, Trump “sort of slammed the table … and said we have nothing to discuss.” Republican leaders tried to pin all the blame on obdurate Democrats.


There are definitely two types of people here. The news media reporting on these meetings assume the point of negotiations is for Trump and the Democrats to agree on things they each want so that they can break the impasse and reopen the government. OTOH, Trump and his lickspittles talk as if the point of negotiation is that Trump will "give" Democrats the end to the shutdown in exchange for Dems giving him the wall. In other words, the hard-line Republican position is that the end to the shutdown itself is a concession that they're only willing to give Democrats in exchange for Democrats giving in to their demands. They themselves (presumably) have no interest in reopening the government.

Neither side understands what the other means when they describe the negotiation process because of this yawning chasm in terminology. Pence can say with a straight face that Democrats are holding out because Trump is willing to give them everything they asked for (i.e., the end to the shutdown), but they won't budge on the wall in return. Chuck and Nancy, OTOH, can pass a lie detector test while asserting that Trump wants them to cave entirely while giving them absolutely nothing in return. See, they see the end of the shutdown as a net-positive result of reaching an agreement, not a gift in itself.

I obviously tend to think the Democrats have the correct view of reality, but the point is that whichever side you're on, communication fails because of this semantic difference.

Jon S. said...

My point still stands, I think. Anyone who's getting their "data" from Breitbart at this point is pretty much beyond reaching; you might as well spend your time trying to convince a KKK chapter about the value of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

A.F. Rey said...

And just to throw this out there...

Someone found an episode of an old TV show about a guy named Trump who tries to con a town by promising to build a wall to protect them from the end of the world. Sound familiar?

Some of the quotes are way too on point. :)

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/01/10/startling-prescience/

(Hat tip to P.Z. Myers)

Snopes verifies: https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/trackdown-trump-character-wall/

locumranch said...



The very evasiveness of some of David's statements suggest a top-notch intellect, and I commend him for that, even as this evasiveness suggests that some of his statements are less than sincere.

For instance:

(1) He condemns the PRC Chinese for behaving 'non-white' by acting in a non-enlightened manner, 'non-christian' for placing their own interests before the interests of those other than themselves and 'uncivilised' for refusing to protect others by sharing samples of their deadly flue virus, while fallaciously assuming that these much valued western traits of whiteness, self-abnegation & sharing are somehow 'universal' in scope, even as he evades the fact that the PRC Chinese are neither white, nor christian, nor very civilised by his own very 'western' standards.

(2) He clings tightly to his narrow 'Climate Change is BAD' dogma even as he acknowledges the historical rarity of polar ice caps and CELEBRATES historical variations in the Earth's climate, oxygen & carbon dioxide levels as being indispensable to both evolution & biological diversity, so much so that one can only assume that he try to evade this irreconcilable conflict, too.

I will therefore reply to Yana's question for him:

Yes, indeed.

Earth history suggests that having glacial ice caps at our poles is very unusual, aberrant even, which means that all of the so-called NORMS assumed by current Climate Change theory (especially those that relate to long-term temperature, oxygen & carbon dioxide trends) are most likely erroneous & false, too.


Best

A.F. Rey said...

Hmmm...somehow 400,000 years of fairly consistent CO2 levels and temperatures seems a bit more of a norm that 30 years of climate denialism. :)

psteve said...

The Bloomberg spy chip story has pretty much been debunked. No pictures of chips, nobody but the author of this article and Bloomberg stands behind it.

https://siliconangle.com/2018/10/22/apple-amazon-super-micro-call-bloomberg-retract-china-spy-chip-story/

Lloyd Flack said...

Locum, mass extinctions coincide with very rapid climate changes. The climate is changing more rapidly than it ever has over a sustained period. We are in grave danger right now because of this.

Alfred Differ said...

Larry,

I think you've mentioned the time-flow thing for comic panels before. I couldn't quite remember who did (figured it was likely to be you) and haven't been able to NOT notice it now when I look at comics. I can't help but notice the Japanese follow different rules too and even had it pointed out to me when one co-worker lent me one of his graphic novels and started immediately by educating me about the right-to-left, back-to-front switch. I had to take some time while reading it to remember the alternate course my eyes were supposed to take.

In a real photographic picture it's even more fun. If you have your depth of field set so you can see deep, realize that the information in the back is older than the information from the front. That 1968 Earth-rise Apollo 8 image is at least 1 second deep. Put the sun in the image and it's over 8 minutes deep. Your focal plane simply catches the light that arrives just in time for the shutter opening, but the launch point of the photons could be from ages in the past if you do astronomy photography.

This even matters in high-speed computation equipment. The larger the hardware, the longer it takes for signals arriving from distant components. One nano-second is about 30 cm. The data arriving on a bus has to arrive together to be read together to be meaningful and light-speed is still the law of the land. 8)

If one bends the movie frame into a different shape, the metaphor works a little better. Still... there isn't enough information. The universe is indeterminate and I take some comfort in that.

Alfred Differ said...

Darrell E,

It's like ad hominem

It's like they were shouting "Blasphemer!"

I was so tempted to jump into the fray. I could feel the indignation rising and pulling me in, but I managed to resist. Barely.

I did respond to a couple of their polls to help them measure the degree of support they had for certain party plank positions. I agreed with one and disagreed with another. They wanted a verbal response for disagreements and THAT earned me a small spray of indignation from someone I'll probably never meet. Strawman stuff, though. I've got lots of practice seeing that stuff now after hanging out here. 8)

Ilithi Dragon said...

I suspect one of the big drivers of the rise in ad hominem attacks is a response to information overload.

There is so much data and info to work through, chunk through, process, and evaluate, and so few of us have the proper time/energy/know-how to do that. So we identify labels and categories for sources that are "trustworthy"/"reliable" and sources that are "untrustworthy"/"unreliable." When someone presents info, or puts out concepts associated with those untrustworthy or "known false" categories, the response is to attack the category, because picking through the actual information is too time- and energy-consuming.

Teaching critical thinking skills in school, to train people to spot this fallacy and avoid it, is essential to countering that. Solving the problem of info overload, or at least alleviating it, will be essential as well.

David Brin said...

This is what the denialist cultists are down to. No longer denying it's happening, or that we're doing it, or that their mad cult has exacerbated all runaway trends. It is now: "Relax! There have been warmer times in the past!

Imbeciles. We should let temperate zones with rich topsoil and two growing seasons turn to desert while "gaining" warmed taiga zones that will take thousands of years to grow topsoil and will max have one growing season.

And what do we do, during those thousands of years? With disruptions likely to cause nuclear war, but at minimum costing every denialist cultist his home, given over to climate refugees?

Stunning jibbering idiots.

Lloyd Flack said...

This is a cold addapted world right now. A rapid change to hot conditions would be disasterous. Evolution is not fast enough to addapt life to the change.

Alfred Differ said...

Blasphemy is a crime against faith in its form as Identity. Be unfaithful to your identity group by speaking against it and one demonstrates unclean thoughts harmful to the group AND the transcendent they all use to bond.

What I was seeing the other night wasn't so much an attack on people as an attack on an idea. The unclean thought. The attack on the Ideal. Harm to the macro-entity.

The individual responses looked somewhat like an immune response. I'm not there was much more thought in them than that.

porohobot said...

>> Larry Hart said...
\\I obviously tend to think the Democrats have the correct view of reality, but the point is that whichever side you're on, communication fails because of this semantic difference.

Wah... what a fancy way of saying that you are duped. %)

People! Maybe NOW you'd better understand Europe and what ropes using Putin on it.
Like with NS2 and INF Treaty.Because that missles that he testing and deploing NOW... are against Europe.
So... he not only duping, but more like pointing gun on his "partners".
And he doing it that exact time when his real partner across the ocean showing his shaking resolve toward NATO.
Like between racketeer and dirty cop scena. %)On global scale.

And glossing it with such sci words... its exactly what russian intelligentsia doing. Hopelessly.
Instead of fighting back Putin's "mafia" and developing democracy (shit-mocracy they name it... because fighting for it do not give you money, while licking Putin's shoe -- gives... not that much, though), you are waiting from them. Hopelessly.

\\porohobot's English (not his fault)

Thanks. But I do not need that courtesy. Because it's... mea culpa.
That I did not workout my english lessons like some korean workaholic.
And instead do my practicing here... %( shame on me.


>> Jon S. said...
\\My point still stands, I think.

You need it blatant?
Well.
It's NGO named FEDERATION FOR AMERICAN IMMIGRATION REFORM.
It produce seemingly plausible "reports".
THAT reports, looking like "fact-based", then spread around Inet.

I seen it before.And know that smell.
It's what RFia doing all this 5 year -- carpet bombing with fake info looking like "true thing".
So. When dr.Brin proposing to go in trenches with him... to fight future fights with idiocracy.
He heavily ignores that idiocracy already marched across your open borders.
Doing blitzkriegs and now are deep inside of your territory.

So it's more like time for guerilla rezistance... than trench-war. NOW.

Or you can just lick Trump's shoe... it's delicious. %)
Or hide yourself in a shit hole of "internal immigration"... as RFia's eggheads do.
Murmuring that it's not your war. Hoping it'll go around you. %)


>> Lloyd Flack said...
\\Locum, mass extinctions coincide with very rapid climate changes.
...We are in grave danger right now because of this.

That one hilarious. %)
Do you know that you trying preaching to one, who already clearly stated motto "die you today, so that I'll die tomorrow"?


>> Alfred Differ said...
//They wanted a verbal response for disagreements...

Spitting image of discussions with "vatniks". Thank you.

\\The individual responses looked somewhat like an immune response.

Yeap, yeap... that exact thing. It's same time very sad and very fascinating.
(someone here talked about psychohistory... well, it looks much like psychoPATOhistory to me)

\\ The universe is indeterminate and I take some comfort in that.

There is some strange correlation between theory of computation (that P != NP thing) and fundamental framework of Universe.


>> Ilithi Dragon said...
\\I suspect one of the big drivers of the rise in ad hominem attacks is a response to information overload.

All is more prosaic than that. I do studied it a lot on vatniks.
It's just reaction on rules change.When that change not favorible to you.
Like your south slave-masters liked the way it was going - when they masters, and other - slaves.
And when that picture changes - it makes them screaming in rage... why, why, WHYYY!!! Universe cannot give US the favours ALL THE TIME... I don't like ZAT Universe!


>> David Brin said...
\\And what do we do, during those thousands of years?

What to do? What to do? Be coming through bottlenecks (with lots of dead meat in it) and evolve (or be extinct).
That's what all creatures alive doing. Or you think about yourself, about Hummanity as exception?

Lloyd Flack said...

Porohobot, just letting him know that we know that he is spouting tribalist nonsense.

Jon S. said...

Poro, old buddy, old pal...

Don't make me regret unshrouding you. Dr. Brin's responses to you led me to believe you were capable of some degree of subtlety of thought, but that certainly doesn't lend you any credence.

Few people will be persuaded to something that is contrary to facts they know by releases from a corporation (folks with such low societal awareness seldom even know what an NGO even is, and to be honest that group is an "NGO" in the same sense that Tribune Media or Fox News is), particularly one with such an odd name. The only thing that group does is to reinforce the already-bigoted ideas of the sorts of people who, well, read Breitbart. One might as well concern oneself with the readers of supermarket tabloids like National Enquirer driving the national discourse.

I mean, if you take only one obviously-biased online source as gospel, you can soon find yourself falling down any of a number of rabbit holes, from Flat Earth to the Jade Helm conspiracy to Illuminati lizardmen to QAnon. Expose yourself to a more broad cross-section of American media discussions, however, and you'll soon find that outside of their own echo chambers, these people are widely regarded as amusingly deluded at best, potentially frightening at worst.

Oh, and accusing me of "licking Trumps shoe" is quite insulting, bordering on "fighting words". You might want to avoid that sort of rhetoric, if you want your words to be taken seriously around here.

Darrell E said...

Jon S.,

I may of course be mistaken but I think you are misinterpreting porohobot. I've no doubt you did earlier and I think you are now as well. You might want to take into account the language barrier between the two of you.

porohobot said...

>> Lloyd Flack said...
\\Porohobot, just letting him know that we know that he is spouting tribalist nonsense.

Or you.

Because, what he trying to talk about. In a nutshell.
Is just dull arguments, lame contradictions, and school boy level dichotomies.
He trying to impose on dr.Brin and on everybody else as collateral damage.

Truisms.

But what you saying here. That truisms itself is "tribalist nonsense". Of what tribe? I wonder to ask.
What tribe around there names truth... even in its most simplistic (to an insult) form. A nonsense?


>> Jon S. said...
//outside of their own echo chambers, these people are widely regarded as amusingly deluded at best, potentially frightening at worst.

Yeap, yeap. Just like "deplorables" voters for Trump.

I'm glad, dear Jon... that from your ivory tower is such beautiful view opens.

But I... to my regret... are damned to live in place where reality itself turns around with not that pleasant side...

with utter populists who pretend on presidency in my country, and where people under RFia's propaganda was ready to vote for stupid criminal fag as president, and where RFia continue its proxy wars and tryals of their fake-info-weaponry...

so, the well-fed can't understand the hungry.


\\you can soon find yourself falling down any of a number of rabbit holes, from Flat Earth to the Jade Helm conspiracy to Illuminati lizardmen to QAnon.

I know at least one country(RFia)... where such kind of conspiracy and other crap... are pumping inside heads of ordinary people from government channels(and there's no others). To make them YET MORE like zombies.


\\Oh, and accusing me of "licking Trumps shoe" is quite insulting, bordering on "fighting words"

Sorry. It was my "PTSD" from continuous brawls with "vatnicks"(I do not mean to use it as perfect excuse and/or indulgence -- just to show from where it comes) talking. %(
And lack of proficiency with precise meanings of words in English. %(
Can you forgive me and take my sincere assurances,
that "you" in that sentencies was NEVER intended to mean personally you.

I think maybe it was better to use form "one"... as in "one can tell, one can say"?
I just thought that it's possible to use "you" without meaning your opponent in english.
My bad. I was carried astray. %(

Larry Hart said...

The snark gets more ominous than funny. (Emphasis mine)

https://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2019/Pres/Maps/Jan11.html#item-1

He [Trump] also officially admitted that Mexico isn't going to pay for the wall, and insisted that he never said any such thing. That, of course, is a lie so egregious that it belongs in the pages of a George Orwell book. Presumably, Trump will soon be advising Americans that war is peace, freedom is slavery, and ignorance is strength. Actually, that last part is already something of a personal mantra for him.

Mike Will said...

Feeling very Asimovian these days (deep in "Foundation's Triumph" ruminations). It's ironic that Dr. Brin gets accused of not considering perspectives beyond his own skeptical optimism. FT is really a tome that wrestles with the myriad facets of psychology and sociology.

The climate is fragile. Humanity is fragile. Democracy is fragile. America is currently learning a painful lesson. Again, Asimov warned against, "the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is as good as your knowledge' "

Larry Hart said...

More snark, only a bit less gruesome...

https://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2019/Pres/Maps/Jan11.html#item-4

In anticipation of Ginsburg dying, or being compelled to step down, the administration has already reached out to various conservative groups—most obviously the Judicial Crisis Network and the Federalist Society—for help in developing a shortlist of potential candidates. At the same time, they are also working on a media strategy, recognizing that replacing the liberal Ginsburg with a Trump appointee, and giving the conservatives a 6-3 majority on the Court, will trigger a confirmation battle royale that will make the Kavanaugh hearings look like a Sunday picnic. It is improbable that Ginsburg will voluntarily step down while Trump is in office, and it's impossible that the GOP could find 67 votes in the Senate to impeach her, even if she is no longer able to show up for work. So, this largely becomes a grim question of whether or not she can keep kicking until 2021.

Actually, she doesn't have to keep kicking. She doesn't even have to move. All she has to do to keep her seat is to be technically alive, whatever that means. Consider this potential scenario. Ginsburg fully understands what her death would mean politically, so when she gets close to the end, she instructs her medical team to keep her "alive" on life support until Jan. 20, 2021 at noon. With modern technology, they might be able to pull that off. As long as she is "alive," albeit just lying in a hospital bed with a lot of machines attached to her, there is no vacancy on the court. Of course, the Supreme Court would no doubt be asked to make a judgment about what it means to be "alive," something it declined to do in the Terry Schiavo case. In theory at least, if such a case came before the court, Ginsburg would be entitled to vote on whether or not she was dead. Suppose she voted "Yes, I am dead." That paradox would be right up there with the burning theological question of whether God is powerful enough to make a rock so heavy that even He cannot lift it.

Larry Hart said...

Mike Will:

It's ironic that Dr. Brin gets accused of not considering perspectives beyond his own skeptical optimism.


It's only ironic in the passive voice.

locumranch said...


A nice Fox News trick that, AF Rey berry-picking "400,000 years of fairly consistent CO2 levels and temperatures" as his preferred NORM, even though that same 400,000 year "norm" would be a mere statistical blip (an anomaly) when referenced against the entire Mesozoic Period.

That's because David, Lloyd, Jon & Larry believe themselves party to 'revealed' teleological knowledge, which means that they just know the self-evident NORMS to which evolution, the climate, the universe & everything 'should', 'ought' and 'are supposed' to conform.

This is theology -- and a rather infantile & magical one at that -- to which they simultaneously profess & deny by calling themselves 'fact users'.

And, so I wait, with baited breath, for the next crisis to emerge:

Will it be another Mass Extinction, one similar to all the other prior mass extinctions, OR will it be a Polar Shift, one similar to all of the other prior polar shifts, that they declare to be both imminent and inconceivable?

Enquiring minds want to know.


Best

Lloyd Flack said...

Just know? Projecting a bit aren't you? Some of us look at what has happened. Some of us seek explanations consistent with the evidence.


Alfred Differ said...

Well... the mass extinction is already well underway. We aren't up to a Permian Extinction event yet (I'd become religious if I thought it would help avoid that), but we are up to the level of some of the smaller ones.

This is theology -- and a rather infantile & magical one at that -- to which they simultaneously profess & deny by calling themselves 'fact users'.

Well... if one doesn't pay close attention, it CAN be difficult to distinguish between science-informed educated statements and theological dogma. Some of us do pay attention, though.

As for CO2 trends, I admit to not caring much about the atmospheric levels present during the Eocene maximum. The continents have moved a lot since then cutting off a continuous equatorial current and creating a circum-polar current around Antarctica. Until the continents move further and change the context they provide for climate, I'd rather favor a moderately cool world hovering just outside the band that leads to a return to glaciation. Doing that should help prevent turning the Greater Mississippi River Basin into a desert.

jim said...

I have been really liking Ms Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez sense I first heard about her.
She defeats a lame corporate democrat in the primary.
Wins the election.
Pushes for a Green New Deal and Medicare for All
Wants a 70% top marginal tax rate.
Calls out lame elected democrats – wants to have primary challenges for all the crappy corporate democrats.
Drives the right wing nuts.

But now she is quoting Rorschach from the Watchmen.
“To quote Alan Moore: “None of you understand. I'm not locked up in here with YOU. You're locked up in here with ME.”

I don’t know if she can get any more awesome!

Alfred Differ said...

RBG will be back on the bench soon enough.

They SHOULD have plans for replacing any and all of the Justices, though. There are always car accidents and toon pianos that can fall on us. Succession planning is something grown-ups do.

matthew said...

I have no problem with the Federalist Society planning on whom they want to replace RBG. I'm sure they have no problem with me planning on whom to replace Gorsuch and Kavenaugh with when they are impeached as fruit from a poison tree of electoral cheating. ;) Oh, and all Trump's other appointees as well. Throw them all out. Traitorous swine.

Lloyd Flack said...

Alfred, the big difference between now and the PETM is that because ofbour activities there is much more habitat fragmentation now. This makes it much arder for life to addapt to temperature changes.

A.F. Rey said...

A nice Fox News trick that, AF Rey berry-picking "400,000 years of fairly consistent CO2 levels and temperatures" as his preferred NORM, even though that same 400,000 year "norm" would be a mere statistical blip (an anomaly) when referenced against the entire Mesozoic Period.

Except that homo sapiens weren't around during the Mesozoic Period, so it really doesn't matter for our survival what the climate was like around then. The norm that we evolved to is what matters, and we change it at our peril. Consider that before you blithely ignore the consequences of changing our climate to one we may not be suited to.

Larry Hart said...

A.F. Rey:

mere statistical blip (an anomaly)


Thanks for the answer to a crossword puzzle clue.

Really. :)

Larry Hart said...

matthew:

I'm sure they have no problem with me planning on whom to replace Gorsuch and Kavenaugh with when they are impeached as fruit from a poison tree of electoral cheating. ;)


President Warren or President O'Rourke is going to have a full-time job just deciding which National Emergencies to declare first. Americans are dying for lack of health care--summarily implement Medicare for All! America is suffering the effects of climate change--summarily impose drastic emissions restrictions! And yes, the loss of moral authority of the supreme court is a National Emergency--not sure what to do about it, but they'll think of something. :)

A.F. Rey said...

Interesting analysis of the shut-down by looking at it with game theory. They also touched on a problem with transparency when negotiating a deal.

Political bargaining is different: There’s an audience. Voters are watching.

That fact — the existence of observers — upends the incentive structure that was in place when we were bargaining alone on that car lot. Rather than try to appear intransigent, now the bargainers have an incentive to try to appear reasonable — because many voters like reasonable politicians.

The voters alter the bargainers’ incentives because the voters get to decide important things that the bargainers care about — approval ratings, whether the bargainers get re-elected, etc. The political scientists Tim Groseclose and Nolan McCarty, for example, captured this situation in a paper called “The Politics of Blame: Bargaining Before an Audience.” They write that certain otherwise puzzling political outcomes can be explained by “bargainers’ attempts to appeal to an outside audience...”

Consider government transparency, or so-called “sunshine laws.” These have benefits, but they may also have downsides: By introducing an audience to the dealmaking of government, we also introduce new possibilities for breakdown — by pandering to or performing for that audience, the bargainers may fail to reach a deal. Similar arguments were made for the secrecy of the proceedings of the 1787 Constitutional Convention; the public didn’t see anything of the Constitution until after the convention had concluded. If Trump and the Democratic leadership could be truly alone in a room, or even a car lot, perhaps the outcome would be quite different.


https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/were-all-to-blame-for-the-shutdown/

We may have more stalemates when there is full transparency in the future.

more weight said...

Dr Brin

Bambamramfan at Prequels Redeemed has a different take on the prequels. He thinks that the villainy of the Jedi and the uselessness of the Republic are deliberate, the point of the films. It is after all the saga of their corruption, decline and fall. He credits Lucas with more subtlety than you do.
http://prequelsredeemed.blogspot.com/2014/11/a-long-time-ago.html

Alfred Differ said...

Lloyd Flack,

Agreed. A few years ago I was working on a writing a book that was supposed to be about how we might reasonably go about colonizing space by looking back at how we colonized Earth and how life in general colonizes new regions. I had to learn about 'ecotones' and the fluidity of some of their boundaries and the fluidity of the species within them. That meant I got to learn lots of new names for things (biology is great for having a huge number of field related nouns) and I finally got to see how few of them we humans had for our ecological niche. It isn't that we can't live across many niches... it's that we change them to fit us and everyone else gets to adapt or die.

So.. yes... fragmentation. Especially along waterways and coasts. For some species, we erect formidable barriers simply by occupying a region. For others, we melt barriers and enable 'invasive' species. Where would rats be without us, hmmm? 8)

Larry Hart said...

more weight:

He thinks that the villainy of the Jedi and the uselessness of the Republic are deliberate, the point of the films. It is after all the saga of their corruption, decline and fall.


If I could even somehow converse with George Lucas, I expect we wouldn't understand each other any more than Republican and Democratic voters do. :)

The original Star Wars implied a back story in which one Jedi was corrupted, but the bulk were betrayed, defeated, and murdered. Three whole films devoted to the assertion that the entire corp was bad is not the solution to the problem, it is the problem.

Alfred Differ said...

@Larry | Don't forget the emergency associated with the next mass shooting at one of our K-12 schools. That would be time to finance all those programs for capturing metrics, doing background checks, and buying defensive systems for our schools. 8)


I DID notice, though, that some libertarians are currently self-organizing to clean up national parks in order to show it can be done without government running everything. Imagine what fun one of our guys could have with a loose definition for national emergencies.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

I DID notice, though, that some libertarians are currently self-organizing to clean up national parks in order to show it can be done without government running everything.


Yeah, I figured the libertarian position would be to see the shutdown as an opportunity. There might be some functions that end up working better that way.

I'd caution, though, that what volunteers are willing to do in order to surmount a temporary crisis is not necessarily what they're willing to do regularly and indefinitely. Will the national parks stay reliably tidy if it's not anyone's actual responsibility to keep it so?

I'd be willing to try the experiment with trash pickup. I'd be more reluctant to leave things like food inspection or metropolitan fire prevention entirely to volunteers. TSA airport inspections are probably right out.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

Don't forget the emergency associated with the next mass shooting at one of our K-12 schools. That would be time to finance all those programs for capturing metrics, doing background checks, and buying defensive systems for our schools. 8)


You're not thinking out of the box enough. "I'm hereby suspending the Second Amendment until we can figure out what's going on."

Larry Hart said...

I said:

I'd caution, though, that what volunteers are willing to do in order to surmount a temporary crisis is not necessarily what they're willing to do regularly and indefinitely.


I meant to elaborate. At several companies I've worked at, when an open position goes unfilled for a certain amount of time, the company decides "We obviously don't need that additional headcount, since we're doing fine without it." What they don't recognize (or pretend not to) is that they're only "doing fine" because other employees have either taken it upon themselves or been ordered to work longer and harder for no additional compensation in order to insure that the necessary tasks are accomplished. That's easier to pull off as a short-term emergency strategy, but when it becomes a permanent way of life, people tend to start looking for other jobs.

David Brin said...

“We may have more stalemates when there is full transparency in the future.”

I never argued against temporary confidentiality in negotiations, though the identity of the negotiators seems pretty damn important.

“ He thinks that the villainy of the Jedi and the uselessness of the Republic are deliberate, the point of the films.”

Stunning malarkey. Lucas repeatedly comments on how hopeless it is to imagine democracy or civil servants or anything other than noble blood can ever work… and noble blood winds up working even less. Bah! Bend yourself into a pretzel and you can rationalize anything in Pee Wee Herman assertions that “I meant to do that!”

Alfred of course the National Emergency thing re schools is a huge point!
LH: ouch! "I'm hereby suspending the Second Amendment until we can figure out what's going on."

Here's a riff I just posted to FB:

Give Trump "National Emergency" powers over... this? Americans killed by illegal immigrants number in the low tens - oh, crisis! More important: what do they imagine some Democratic President might do with that precedent, when school and mass shooting deaths mount into the thousands? Someone tell the Confederate mob: "If you give one president a dictator's power, you give it to all of them. Isn't that your favorite 2nd Amendment nightmare?" Caesar, Lenin, Napoleon and a myriad others started with your kind of mob.

Let's put aside the pure fact that a liberal president would NOT do that, and reds secretly-inwardly know it, count on it. What flares out of this is the hypocrisy of claiming they are the party of constitutional limitations. --- We all need to take the lesson of this, the most powerful scene from "A Man for All Seasons." Watch it. Grasp the wisdom of the Founders. And why Murdoch and the Putinists WANT us to tear down our own laws.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PDBiLT3LASk

yana said...


Duncan Cairncross thought:

"An "Ice Age" occurs when either there is a continent or a sea surrounded by land at one of the poles... If you don't have either then there is nowhere for the ice to build up... For a lot of the earth history neither one of those has happened and the earth has not had ice poles"

If i'm getting your gist, both Pangea and Gondwanaland were roughly equatorial landmasses, thus no icecap?

locumranch thought:

"Earth history suggests that having glacial ice caps at our poles is very unusual, aberrant even, which means that..."

After that quote, an awful lot of baby you proceed to throw out with the bathwater, but looking at our brethren solar planets and moons, it seems that spin axies [sic] tend perpendicular to the ecliptic, apart from one of the outer planets, Neptune or Uranus, i forget which. With our tilt thanks to heaving off Luna, seems like one or the other pole would accumulate an awful lot of ice, even in open-water periods, if aided by only a small dip of temperature.

Thank you both, and Alfred Differ added:

"continents have moved a lot since then cutting off a continuous equatorial current and creating a circum-polar current around Antarctica."

But Hal Masursky's assertion still seems odd.

We know Earth is not a sphere, but oblate. So the chances that land pokes above sea level is greater at the poles, lesser at the equator. And if that happens, then Duncan's process takes off: accelerating icing lowers sea levels, making more land all over the place, including at the poles. Which makes more icecap, decreases global albedo, voila! an icecap.

And we know that tectonics plays checkers with landmasses, but at a much slower pace than the Ice Age cycle. Before India zoomed north, we can tell that it was once covered in ice, there's geological evidence. But if an ice cap forms over open water then melts later, if there's nobody there to see it, how would we ever know it happened?

That's the spinach leaf i can't get out from behind that molar... how would we ever know? As we are seeing now, it only takes a couple degrees over some decades to halve polar ice. I know that Ice Ages are about wild fluctuations, some warm and some cold. But if it only takes a couple degrees, how can we know that icecaps have not formed over open water quite often?

How can Masursky know that icecaps are "very unusual"?

Alfred Differ said...

Keeping my 'friends' busy picking up trash should be seen as one of the few benefits of the shutdown. 8)

I actually have some experience with the mixed volunteer-paid staff approach to doing things. It's really tricky to get it right. The volunteers have to be given the more interesting work and have to believe the only way the other work gets done is for someone to be paid off to do it. Trash pickup probably won't cut it, so as soon as someone is paid for it again, the volunteers will melt away.

Besides, the point libertarians are supposed to be making isn't that volunteers will do it. It's supposed to be that there is another way besides having government do it. Volunteers and charity are just some of the ways. Take the road building example. There is no reason why a group of residents can't band together and have a road built connecting them or have lanes added to existing roads. These things happen if they control the use of the land under consideration. No one would think road building should be the proper function for charities. 8)


As for suspending my rights, that might take a bit more than a simple emergency. No doubt some of my rights can be set aside, but some have actually survived court battles. I'd be surprised if gun ownership couldn't survive since that is kinda what the 2nd amendment is about in both the narrow and broad interpretations.


As for reducing head count, I've seen the long term situation you describe happen quite often with no long term pain. We call it 're-engineering the work'. If management won't hire a body to do a particular task that needs doing, the rest of us will parse the work and keep up the parts that actually matter. It is a valid way for management to find out what really matters. Sure. It's painful for those involved and might inspire them to leave. That's useful to learn too. 8)

Alfred Differ said...

yana,

The way I learned it is that over the very long haul, the Earth has been frozen over more than once. The sun used to be cooler and a lot of our CO2 had to be in the atmosphere to give the sea a chance to thaw at the surface. The sun is warmer now so we need to lock away the CO2 if the plants are going to be healthy. Lock too much away, though, and they suffocate.

The Earth's obliquity DOES change over the ages. This planet isn't even remotely solid and Luna only helps to stabilize us. Our orbital eccentricity also changes. On top of that, I'm not sure I believe the notion that polar continents are a bit more stable, but I might be out of touch. What drives plates around are currents in the mantle. If there are equivalents for Hadley, Ferrel, and Polar cells in the mantle, then maybe the poles would be special.

how would we ever know?

Sediment layers if you can reach them. They record all sorts of history. 8)

Lloyd Flack said...

It's not just having land in high lattitudes that leads to ice ages. It iscutting off warm ocean currents from the poles. And, if I recall correctlt, one way this can happen is to hve nearlt all the Equator covered by land. I have seen the suggestion that thisbwas what led to iceball, or perhaps slushball Earth in the late Pre-Cambrian.

Alfred Differ said...

No doubt it is a collection of factors with some of them being astronomical too.





On another note, I'm seeing more funny descriptions of our President. That means I get to go to bed chuckling tonight.

Manchurian Cantaloupe
Mango Mussolini

I rather prefer the melon metaphor but alliteration gets extra credit.

Gotta find a restaurant tomorrow that will make my Eggs Benedict a bit more orange than yellow. I'm sure it can be done.

porohobot said...

>> David Brin said...

Thank you for your response.

\\I never argued against temporary confidentiality in negotiations, though the identity of the negotiators seems pretty damn important.

Huh. And what about auctions? ;)

//Bend yourself into a pretzel and you can rationalize anything in Pee Wee Herman assertions that “I meant to do that!”

So. Basically. All that thought work, all adventures of mind we tend to admire and count so precious about sci fi... are not important anymore?
The last and final Comandement is this -- Know the Canon(tm), shithead, and never allow to yourself to read out of it something Not Blatantly Written, Commented By Them, Who Know Better? %)


\\LH: ouch! "I'm hereby suspending the Second Amendment until we can figure out what's going on."

Big deal. "It's all for the Greater Good! To build The Wall(whisper:to start a dynasty). So that our child(ren) could be proud of Father(s)!" %))


\\Give Trump "National Emergency" powers over... this? Americans killed by illegal immigrants number in the low tens - oh, crisis!

It's interesting. Are this your strawman-shing deliberated?
Or you just closing eyes on that it's only excuses.
The Real fuel it powered on is blatant xenophobia. And "most anti-immigrant attitude are among recently naturalized immigrants". %P


\\ Someone tell the Confederate mob: "If you give one president a dictator's power, you give it to all of them.

It looks for me like... it doesn't work that way.
In Ukrainian history, as short as it is ... there was already several times, when democratic leader came to the presidency after that, when "dictatorship" constitutional powers was severely cut for him and he agreed with it.


\\Isn't that your favorite 2nd Amendment nightmare?" Caesar, Lenin, Napoleon and a myriad others started with your kind of mob.

Hmm... that sentence assumes that you believe that "role of a person in a history" is most important?
It's interesting... if true.
Or is it the same like with mafia/fascism dichotomy?

Duncan Cairncross said...

Alfred
Re-Reducing head count

What happens is that the essential work gets done and all improvement efforts grind to a halt

This is not visible as you can't see an improvement that has not happened - in my operation we ended up making three times as many engines with almost no capital input - slightly reduced labour and massively better quality over a seven year period

At my second to last position I had identified improvements that would save about $10Million per year when a market down fall meant they decided to pay me off instead! - to save reduce headcount as I was in charge of "improvements" and not therefore "essential"

yana said...


Alfred Differ thought:

"I'm sure it can be done."

Turmeric, that's the secret. Ask for it, at your finer diners.

Lloyd Flack thought:

"It's not just having land in high lattitudes that leads to ice ages... all the Equator covered by land."

That's what i saw, in hypotheticals of Pangea and Gondwanaland. So according to Duncan Cairncross, it's land or enclosed sea at the poles which leads to an icecap, but Lloyd says it's land away from the poles. Glad to see my uncertainty is not isolate.

A monkey wrench, from Alfred Differ:

"Sediment layers ... They record all sorts of history. 8)"

Ice cores, i understand. They fell as snow over hundreds of thousands of years. Not only pollens and spores, but seeds and dungs, and ash and micrometeorites. If such a mash reduces to sediment on underlying land, it's a treasure trove of info. But if trapped in an open-sea icecap which melts 60 years later, wouldn't these inclusions turn into seafloor sediment?

We might expect that currents underneath an open-sea icecap would distribute sediments liberally past the fringes, and when a warm shock melts each icecap, then it looks just the same to a researcher a million years later, exactly the same as sediment dropped on open water at an ice-free pole.

But our ice cores also have gas pockets, tiny bits of ancient atmosphere. Once they're gone, they're gone, but they tell us that CO2 levels affect polar icecaps. By virtue of the fact that ice cores are definitely made of ice, and the ones we have obviously survived a handful of Ice Ages and a half-dozen interglacial stable periods, seems difficult that seafloor sediments could argue against a persistent open-sea icecap at either pole.

Where does Masursky's claim of "very unusual" icecaps come from? Just seems odd, that Mars could have far less water than Earth but more stable icecaps. Convection, volcanism, fluid dynamics, yeah all of that. But when a couple degrees temperature can halve polar ice so fast, a couple degrees the other way should be able to double polar ice, no?

more weight said...

Larry Hart

The original Star Wars implied a back story in which oneJedi was corrupted, but the bulk were betrayed, defeated, and murdered.

The back story came from Obi-Wan and Yoda. We know this pair are liars. After The Empire Strikes Back we know they lie whenever it suits their interests. We Were Perfect In The Golden Age Until Tragically Betrayed In A Twist We Could Not Have Seen Coming is the kind of lie they would tell.

more weight said...

Three whole films devoted to the assertion that the entire corp was bad is not the solution to the problem, it is the problem.

Idk, it's a more adult story. The Jedi fell because of the kind of corruption/complacency that
really does happen to religious/political elites. They've stopped listening to the Force, except when it tells them what they want to hear. They've stopped opposing oppression: they accept slavery without missing a beat!?

That's not the story the fans wanted. The films definitely failed to please their audience, whatever else they did.

Mike Will said...

Star Wars is a great story for popcorn-munching escapism. Lucas himself said he took inspiration from Asimov's robots. He went for cute ones instead of the frightening ones like in the later "Terminator". Thinkers like Paul Krugman, Elon Musk, the Nolans, Dr. Brin, etc have been tinkering away on their Asimovian worlds all these years. Someday, the entire world will see a proper, authentic production of "Foundation". On that day, much progress will be made.

"That’s a set of books [Foundation] where the influence they have is just fucking massive; they have many imitators and many have been inspired by them, but go back and read those, and there are some ideas in those that’ll set your fucking hair on fire."
- Jonathan Nolan
https://www.indiewire.com/2014/11/interview-interstellar-co-writer-jonathan-nolan-on-close-encounters-rewrites-more-270656/

Larry Hart said...

more weight:

The back story came from Obi-Wan and Yoda. We know this pair are liars. After The Empire Strikes Back we know they lie whenever it suits their interests. We Were Perfect In The Golden Age Until Tragically Betrayed In A Twist We Could Not Have Seen Coming is the kind of lie they would tell.


I was going to say we were having two different conversations and talking past each other: You defending the prequels' plausibility and me complaining about tone and style.

Fortunately, I read ahead this time before responding...


Idk, it's a more adult story. The Jedi fell because of the kind of corruption/complacency that really does happen to religious/political elites. They've stopped listening to the Force, except when it tells them what they want to hear. They've stopped opposing oppression: they accept slavery without missing a beat!?


That's not the story the fans wanted. The films definitely failed to please their audience, whatever else they did.

It's possible to tell a story about the corruption and racism which underlay the idyllic time in which America Was Great (Again), but you probably wouldn't tell such a story in an episode of Schoolhouse Rock. The fans the films failed to please (myself among them) looked forward to a different kind of story than the one the prequels ended up telling. And it's not just that the reality was more nuanced and realistic than expected, but way too dark and ominous, with absolutely no likable characters to root for.

I find it ironic that Lucas's defenders used to counter arguments over Jar-Jar Binks with the assertion that the entire series was always really a kids' movie, and that the nerdy fans who were disgusted with Jar-Jar didn't respect the intended genre. Your argument (which makes perfect sense, though irrelevant to my own position) is a different thing, in fact the opposite thing.

As an old fan of Dave Sim's Cerebus comic in the 90s, I'm well aware that a writer can have his own vision of a narrative and not care to be influenced by what the readers want or expect. Like Dave, he's perfectly within his rights to say, "This is the story I want to tell, and you can be part of the audience or not as you wish, but you're not a co-writer." Like Dave also, that writer has to accept the other side of that proposition--that much of the audience will choose option 2.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

Give Trump "National Emergency" powers over... this? Americans killed by illegal immigrants number in the low tens - oh, crisis! More important: what do they imagine some Democratic President might do with that precedent, when school and mass shooting deaths mount into the thousands?


For every killing and/or mass shooting on US soil perpetrated by an illegal alien or a Muslim terrorist, there are hundreds committed by angry white men. Once we start demonizing subgroups of Americans as collectively responsible for atrocities, there's only one inevitable direction that can lead.


Someone tell the Confederate mob: "If you give one president a dictator's power, you give it to all of them. Isn't that your favorite 2nd Amendment nightmare?" Caesar, Lenin, Napoleon and a myriad others started with your kind of mob.

Let's put aside the pure fact that a liberal president would NOT do that, and reds secretly-inwardly know it, ...


A liberal president wouldn't start doing that. I'm not at all sure the next Democrat in the White House won't follow precedent. Remember your theory about Sputnik--that allowing the first orbiting satellite to be a Soviet one foreclosed their option of invoking sovereignty over our satellites' flight paths? A similar principle applies here.

School shootings are a national emergency. An argument could be made that the KKK, FOX News, or the Republican Party are clear and present dangers to democracy. Imagine the pent-up frustration on the liberal side now given the excuse of (deliberately misquoting Dick Cheney) "Trump showed us that checks and balances don't matter."

I'm not arguing in favor of starting us down that road, but I am saying that we're on the brink of doing so anyway, and if Trump pulls us over that brink, I'm going to be on the side of giving as good as we get. "You'll look back on the gentle days of the Sardaukar" indeed.

Larry Hart said...

porohobot:

\\ Someone tell the Confederate mob: "If you give one president a dictator's power, you give it to all of them.

It looks for me like... it doesn't work that way.
In Ukrainian history, as short as it is ... there was already several times, when democratic leader came to the presidency after that, when "dictatorship" constitutional powers was severely cut for him and he agreed with it.


I could see Democrats agreeing to scaling back executive power if the prevailing national attitude is something like, "Geez, we really fucked that up. Let's never do that again." But as long as the attitude is, "Dictator powers are fine for Republican presidents (or governors); but we have to rein them in for Democrats," I think there will be increased pushback.


\\Isn't that your favorite 2nd Amendment nightmare?" Caesar, Lenin, Napoleon and a myriad others started with your kind of mob.

Hmm... that sentence assumes that you believe that "role of a person in a history" is most important?


No, I'd say the "your kind of mob" is the important feature. The list of individual dictators is more to remind people what comes from such mobs.

porohobot said...

\\No, I'd say the "your kind of mob" is the important feature. The list of individual dictators is more to remind people what comes from such mobs

Yep-yep!
"Qu'ils mangent de la brioche"/"Let them eat cake"(tm)

Or it's newest incarnaton "Don't you dare to sway the boat. Our rat feel sick"(where rat means put in, of course)

And any and all such preaches to mob to stop... a-a, mobing. %\

Like it is not some urgen need enrage and drives them,
but some silly whim. (angry)

Sorry... for me it's quite recent history -- our Maidan, and Holy Hundred killed there,
as well as thousands others from 2014...
and that's all with laughing smirks and false empaty "and what gave to you your mobing against _legetimate_presidente_Yanukovich_" and sighing from the West with their "deeply disturbed" as answer to Put in "misschefs"ю

Larry Hart said...

https://electoral-vote.com/


Editorial note: Starting today, we are going on a new schedule for a while: We will publish only Monday through Friday, unless there is really big news. For example, a presidential resignation late Friday evening in the hope that nobody notices.


No big deal, but today marks the first time--I mean the very first time--since June or so of 2016 that this site didn't post a daily update. I mention that only because I've been following them since about 2004, and in the pre-Trump era, the site didn't even necessarily update on a daily basis during election season, and for the year-and-a-half between a congressional/presidential election and the next campaign season, it essentially shut down altogether. This is the first time they've ever kept going after a major election--I'm talking about 2016--and from then until today, they haven't missed a day.

locumranch said...


Masursky just knows that icecaps are 'very unusual' because he is an idealist who is guided by the revealed knowledge that is principle, hope & personal preference, insomuch as all idealists are crackpots who conflate faith with fact-using, much in the same way that the modern progressive just knows that progress equals more socialism, even though prior attempts at socialism always result in death, disaster & despair.

Of course, the socialist-supporting idealist will invariably disagree, usually by invoking 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, so it is with Climate Change theory, as our fine & faithful host just knows that the Ideal Earthian Climate Norm 'should', 'ought' and 'is supposed' to conform to the climate that he most prefers.


Best

David Brin said...

porohobot: “So. Basically. All that thought work, all adventures of mind we tend to admire and count so precious about sci fi... are not important anymore?”

What the heck are you talking about?

“Hmm... that sentence assumes that you believe that "role of a person in a history" is most important?
It's interesting... if true.”

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.

“ The Jedi fell because of the kind of corruption/complacency that
really does happen to religious/political elites. “

Bah. Sure, that’s how you and I see it, but Lucas had no such intent. Each of Yoda’s execrably bad decisions (and you can count dozens) could be attributed to an evil plan (e.g. collecting his shiny new clone army the very same hour he sends most of the Jedi to die in a suicide charge) or to stupidity (e.g. assigning the least experience Jedi master to teach the most dangerous apprentice.)

But Lucas does not pick either evil or stupidity. He blatantly and openly and relentlessly preaches that Yoda was and remains wise. The impression conveyed by the lectury films and held by almost all SW fans. Which means the evil or stupidity is actually embedded in… George Lucas.

David Brin said...

Climate: the calm and fairly steady climate of the last 10,000 years enabled us to rise up and become a civilization. Even small variations like the Little Ice Age knocked us back a bit. I am saying “don’t throw wrenches into these gears, till we understand it better.”

Poor dim locum howls “How do you KNOW that throwing wrenches into a stable system won’t make things even better?? You don’t KNOW it! Your ‘should’ and ‘ought’ goes beyond racism and speciesism… it’s “SAMEism‼!”

Again, the most insipidly cowardly aspect of today’s right is not their lickspittle sucking up to Putin-led Mafiosi who are nostalgic for the USSR. It’s not their wild-raving strawman screeches at “liberals” they’ve made up in their own weird heads. It’s not even the relentless war against every single fact-using profession.

It’s the stunningly cowardly and un-manly moving of goal posts without admitting they’ve been moved.

Denying there’s warming… then avowing it but denying it’s systematic AND NOT ADMITTING THE PREVIOUS POSITION WAS WRONG.

Avowing it’s systematic but not accepting humans are involved AND NOT ADMITTING THE PREVIOUS POSITION WAS WRONG.

Avowing humans are doing it but denying anything can be done AND NOT ADMITTING THE PREVIOUS POSITION WAS WRONG.

Avowing we could still act, but hating fact-people so much that they would rather send us all to hell than admit ever being mistaken, while chanting “Hey, what’s wrong with Hell???”

But then, watch any of these madmen rant and you'll see all of these howls, often in the same screed, without a nod to how they contradict each other. I'd call them mad, but what they truly are is whores.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

...AND NOT ADMITTING THE PREVIOUS POSITION WAS WRONG.


If Benedict Donald can maintain with a straight face that he "never said" Mexico would pay for the wall, then all else is possible.

Larry Hart said...

@Dr Brin,

Also, your rant above is like some twisted, dystopian version of a Passover recitation.

"...it would have been enough!"

David Brin said...

Hrrrrrm or a death threat to a Hokaido native... die-Ainu! Not that I mean that at all, of course.

David Brin said...

onward

onward

more weight said...

Yoda's execrably bad decisions are not endorsed by the story: the Jedi are almost completely destroyed and the former Grand Jedi Master ends up hiding alone in a shack in a swamp in an asteroid belt.

Strange how differently the same stories are read by different people. From my angle, Lucas appears obsessed, with two points: that the good/evil divide runs through every person, rather than between people, and that it's never too late to go in either direction. Vader is not beyond redemption, the Jedi are not beyond corruption, if one thinks one is Good one is not being nearly vigilant enough, the battle never ends while one lives. That seems to be what he wants to say to anyone, ever. Being relentlessly hammered with this message is not everyone's cup of tea.

more weight said...

Oops sorry

michaeljpastor said...

The idea of beaming sunlight or microwave radiation from a satellite to a receiving station on earth seems like a patently obvious ridiculous idea to me. First of all, I would think that it would create a permanent hotspot, like a volcano under hawaii, that would result in a permanent cyclone or something. If the science says otherwise, I'll accept it as possible, BUT...

It could so easily be turned into a weapon of offense that I can't imagine another country allowing it to function or exist for very long...