Wednesday, March 06, 2019

Oligarchy and aristocracy and power


Much discussion is erupting across the West about a rising demand to do something about wealth disparities and skyrocketing debt. At Davos (we are told) it's all they talked about, including “the likelihood that a 70 percent (high end marginal) tax rate becomes policy." Ray Dalio, one of the wealthiest investors in the world, also sees such ideas gaining serious tractionMohamed El-Erian, the long-time oracle of bond markets, writes in The World Post this week that what is most required to avoid a “synchronized” global slowdown “is a broad-based effort to bolster growth and address deep resentment about the inequality of income, wealth and, most importantly, opportunity.”

Essentially, we are seeing a split among billionaires over IQ and long range self-interest. Those who are smart enough to read up on past revolutions -- like Gates, Bezos and Buffett -- are saying "raise my taxes!"  Many others. Mark Cuban, Nick Hanauer, who warns "Beware, fellow plutocrats, the pitchforks are coming." 

Some are actually loyal to an enlightenment civilization that's been very good to them, and to the hundreds of engineers whose company they enjoy more than spoiled inheritance brats. Others are simply pragmatic, like old Joe Kennedy supporting FDR: "I'd rather lose half my wealth supporting reform than all of it and my head to revolution."

Evonomics has once again featured my assessment of Why Adam Smith and even Friedrich Hayek would be democrats today, given the almost 100% record of better outcomes for markets and competitive enterprise, versus the monopolistic and oligarchy-serving policies of the Republican Party.  Even conservatives now admit that conservatism has changed.  Take the Ronald Reagan who Republican activists idolize in abstract; in real life he raised taxes, increased regulations, signed environmental laws, and (worst of all) negotiated countless compromise give-and-take, pragmatic measures in tandem with a Congress run by the other party. As did Barry Goldwater and William F. Buckley, giants who argued with genteel courtesy and who revered both knowledge and intellect, especially science.  Even the most fervid Tea Party aficionado would avow that today’s GOP has little room for such thingsas Goldwater and Buckley themselves proclaimed, to their dismay, before they died.”

(See a more recent appraisal of the economist Hayek - who made major contributions - vs. the polemical Hayek whose "Road to Serfdom" has proved diametrically opposite to correct in every prediction, down to the last detail.)

Highly correlated: “They Don’t Just Hide Their Money. Economist Says Most of Billionaire Wealth is Unearned: The concentration of wealth from rent-seeking.” by Didier Jacobs in Evonomics. 

And this clear revelation that concentrated wealth and inequality crush economic growth... as Adam Smith and anyone in the Greatest Generation would have told you.

== What do skyrocketing trade and budget deficits mean? ==

Ol' Two Scoops brags about the "economy," but which parts? Look at economic trends -- deficits and GDP and trade -- and ask: which items would have been affected by major GOP /Trump actions? Also, which saw no affecting GOP/T actions, and therefore likely just continued Obama era trends? Um, look at the trend lines and tell me who deserves the credit?




Elsewhere I show charts revealing that the second derivative of federal deficit is always negative across democratic administrations and positive across GOP ones. Less obscurely stated: anyone calling for 'fiscal responsibility" who remains a Republican is an utter-fool hypocrite.

The only actual, actual major effective actions by the GOP/T since inauguration were (1) mammoth tax cuts for the rich and corporations, under standard voodoo (never-ever right) supply side predictions of lower deficits, (2) a chaotic, roller-coaster, uncontrolled trade war, (3) demolition of our alliances and a war against fact-using professions. None of these have directly (yet) affected US core domestic economic/commercial activity and thus all of the curves regarding unemployment etc. are simply carrying on momentum of the fantastic 2009-present recovery from the Bush super-recession.

What those listed GOP actions have directly affected are both budget and trade deficits, which have skyrocketed. And wealth disparity.

Confederate Syndrome: getting “anti-elite” prols to fight for aristocracy

We’re all raised on Suspicion of Authority (SoA) - which is  a healthy message delivered in every Hollywood film. Alas, we're also taught to murmur “I invented it! My elites can be trusted, but not the elites who my elites tell me to hate! I'll aim my SoA only at them!” The central mission of Fox News and Steve Bannon and Robert Mercer and all of that crowd has been to rile up a lumpenproletariat into raging against cities and professionals and universities and science and especially the very concept of government, all of which stand in the way of the real elites re-establishing feudalism. This is precisely the playbook used by
plantation-lords who got a million poor white southerners to fight and die for them, in the 1860s phase of our civil war. This article shows the how and why of the oligarchy’s all-out funding of anti-modernist propaganda:

When Steve Bannon - now fomenting populist revolution across Europe -called for “deconstruction of the administrative state”, he specifically targeted the systems of taxation, financial oversight, and public accountability that constrain the ultra-wealthy. The American hedge fund manager Robert Mercer, whose $60m offshore “war chest” bankrolled both Brexit and the Trump campaign, only began donating to political causes after the US Internal Revenue Service fined his firm $6.8bn for tax evasion. Arron Banks, the UK businessman with substantial offshore holdings, may have had a similar motivation: he became the largest financial backer of Brexit’s Leave.EU campaign following the imposition of costly international regulatory requirements on his insurance companies…. Populist ultra-nationalism is a project bought and paid for by global elites and their tax haven wealth.

Through the Paradise Papers we also learned that Donald Trump, who campaigned against the “corrupt globalism” of Hillary Clinton and proudly proclaims himself a “nationalist”, had surrounded himself with cabinet members whose vast fortunes are stashed in tax havens around the world. Some of these tax haven schemes link them to foreign adversaries of the United States.” writes Brooke Harrington in The Guardian

Not mentioned? The number of GOP officials and donors who have been buying up bolt-hole ranchita hideaways in Patagonia, New Zealand and so-called "seasteads." (Interesting: while Peter Thiel was enraged by this analysis of Seasteading I published, he went ahead (apparently) and followed every piece of my advice! The new plans - which I pre-illustrated in EXISTENCE - have a better chance of working... assuming the world goes to hell as much as these guys want.)

== WODI Time ==

WODI = "What if Obama Did It?" Like what if Clinton or Obama tried to force security clearances for unqualified and compromised relatives? Or coerced foreigners to buy up whole floors of hotel rooms as blatant emolument bribes? Or reported for debriefings with communist or "ex" communist dictators many times without any US professionals present? 

Or Donald Trump actually excusing the Soviet invasion of Afghanistanas having been "fighting terrorism." Seriously, or his giving Putin every single thing, always. WODI. Of course the list of hypocrisies is endless. But you may not know this one:

The Senate Leadership Fund (super PAC run by McConnell's former Chief of Staff) got $3.5m from Russian oligarch Blavatnik. "Possible conflict of interest"?? Good grief, the GOP is taking bribes from foreign agents in plain bloody sight.

Speaking of which, had any Clinton or Obama official been 1% so blatantly compromised as Steve Mnuchin - lifting sanctions on his Russian oligarch pals - there would have been riots. … yet they howl outrage over Kyrsten Sinema’s thigh-high boots. See other examples of distraction outrage. Hilarious!

Even more uproarious is this visual meme, which implies that the 'socialist-sounding' quotation came from the right's bête noirs Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, when in fact...

...the author was Adam Smith, in Wealth of Nations, Book V, Chapter I, Part II On the Expence of Justice. 

Um... gotcha.

== Your hopeless “decent” neighbors ==

There are so many moral turpitudes of today's gone-insane, treasonous right. (And most of you know I used to skewer lefty zealots too, till we needed to unite against a death cult.) But of all the go-to-hell travesties, nothing beats the maniacal Alex Jones hatred of the Parkland kids.

But set aside the mad, confederate uncles, racists and Kremlin-loving boors. They aren’t important, compared with one group that could save us all, if ostriches pulled their head out of a holed-of-denial. All of us know some RASRs (Residually Adult-Sane Republicans) – decent folks who know their party and movement have gone stark-jibbering insane, but who keep chanting “I must keep supporting this horror show, because…. Democrats!”

I know some of these guys, who must have giant shoulders by now, from hourly shrugging off the latest Fox/GOP/KGB monstrosity with "that's terrible and sure the entire leadership caste of the Republican Party is a pack of lying traitors but… but… but… here’s an anecdote about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez!."

Which brings up… “What Does Tucker Carlson Know That the Republican Party Doesn’t?" His populist "attacks on the priorities of the “ruling class” have set off a maelstrom.” Carlson’s recent rant against out of control capitalism has a lot of folks all over the spectrum scratching their heads.

Me? I think the explanation is simple. Positioning. He wants to have cred as an “independent” voice - when Trumpism collapses. More and more center-right Americans are clinging to one straw: “I know my side and my party have gone insane-evil-treasonous. But… but liberal socialists are as bad!” Carlson is only stating this aloud, with the net effect that “I can trust Tucker, when he says to vote GOP just one more time.”

Take the stunning, despot-serving moral turpitude of Roger Stone, Paul Manafort, Lee Atwater (at that same swamp-lobbying firm!) and all their clients, including Trump and other casino lords and Mafia dons. See below for details. But RASRs shrug that off.

Likewise the sexual perversion of so many of these guys. Stone famously "sold" his wife several times to other men, on the sex-swinger scene. It's a trend: from Larry Craig and Roy Moore and Dennis 'friend to boys' Hastert on down the line, to the normalization of high rates of gambling, drugs, pimpery, all the way to a divorce rate double that of Democrats. And paying off porn stars. And David Pecker. Family values. Huh.

Shrug. No, all that matters is "judges and tax cuts." Two Good(?) Fruits from a tree that’s proved 99.99% poisonous. RASRS will continue to hold their noses - ignoring the war on science and the Putin putsch, the destruction of our alliances and the ongoing assassination of our entire planet - saying it’s worthwhile, just to get those two things... 

...even though it's now proved that every single Supply Side largesse to the aristocracy had diametrically opposite-to-promised effects, pumping passive-parasitic rentier asset bubbles while dragging money velocity down to almost-zero while spurring NO added R&D or industrial investment... as Adam Smith would've warned you. As the Greatest Generation would have told you.

Any patriot would deem the Putin stuff alone – relentlessly-proved outright and open-glaring treason -- sufficient to get down into the streets with pitchforks and torches, chasing Rupert Murdoch and his shills out of the country. But not our poor RASRS, who clutch Fox sobbing, begging to suckle the latest rationalization incantation. “Tucker! Hannity! Rescue me with another anecdote about lefties!”

Careful guys. Even today’s TVs emit some radiation. Also, your desperate tears will soak into the LCD screen and give you a shock.

135 comments:

Daniel Duffy said...

You might be interested in this scary video about the uber rich and their private armies:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2A7Tt7wWHI

"Billionaire warlords: Why the future is medieval" by Sean McFate

P.S. Does anyone know of a recent SF novel where nations are no more and corporations rule (Shatterlands?) and a new sequel about climate change (Frozelands?)

Daniel Duffy said...

I would add Nick Hanauer to the list of smart billinaires:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2gO4DKVpa8

"Beware, fellow plutocrats, the pitchforks are coming"

David Brin said...

"Does anyone know of a recent SF novel where nations are no more and corporations rule (Shatterlands?) and a new sequel about climate change (Frozelands?)"

There are hundreds! Rollerball, Dark Matter, it is one of the great repeating trope for all whose SoA instrict aims rightward.

David Brin said...

Daniel, yeah. Added.

Tony Fisk said...

Some interesting parallels (and contrasts) between the US and Australian conservative side of politics. Trying not to be too ranty but, well, politics...

Some years prior to his death, ex PM Malcolm Fraser announced that he had resigned from the Liberal Party, saying it was no longer the "party of Menzies" but had become conservative. Not *quite* as bad the gop yet, but the symptoms have been advancing with alarming speed.

Since its election in 2013, the "party of economic responsibility" has managed to *double* the country's net debt. This trend was started immediately by Treasurer Joe Hockey, who changed spending, and blamed the ALP for the resulting blow-out. It gave him the excuse to regretfully raise the debt ceiling and tighten the purse strings for one of the most unpopular and unfair budgets ever (puffing cigars as he did so, for comic relief). People didn't buy it. He's now the Ambassador to the US.

The ALP's revolving PM farce was bad enough, but the Libs parodied it! An increasingly deranged Abbott was replaced by a well-trussed (and electable) Turnbull, who was, in turn, replaced by a stooge called Scott Morrison.

We will not have to endure them much longer. I think you're about to see what a non-gerrymandered electorate does to *really* unpopular governments. Public disapproval is usually expressed in terms of mere dislike rather than outright disgust. Morrison may be stuck in a bubble, but moderate MPs, even prominent ones, are stepping down in droves. My main concern is that the Liberals will be reduced to a rump of gibbering, coal-chewing ultra-hard right*, dolled up by the Murdoch press for next time.

Where things do diverge is in the rural 'lumpenproletariat'. Australian farmers actually have a fairly progressive and pragmatic approach, as can be seen from eg the group "Farmers for Climate Action". The twitter handle is @FarmingForever, and is well worth following. It's something city dwellers should bear in mind. I daresay the US has a few like-minded ranchers. Look 'em up.

* assuming their electorates can still stomach them. A number of the worst are facing strong challenges from independent conservatives, including Abbott.

Alfred Differ said...

Larry, (carry over from last time)

a distinction that makes no difference to others is no difference at all

Actually, I go a step further. Think in the Object Oriented programming sense. Any Alfred instance will pass a test of Al-ness because it is of the correct type. The information available to one instance might be different from another, but they are all behaviorally similar. So… am I an instance of Alfred or a class of Alfred? I usually argue for the class identification. Create another instance of me and I’m a little bigger in terms of my footprint on this world.

This dovetails with how I interpret the verb ‘to love’. Remember how I see it as creating partial copies of another person within yourself? The instance of your wife inhabiting your mind is moderately accurate in terms of behaviors and probably even has some of the same information. So… is she an instance of your wife? She wouldn’t pass all possible tests, but as the years go by I’ll bet she passes more and more of them. While she exists, your wife is a little bigger in terms of her footprint on this world.

I genuinely enjoy the company of my wife and family. If another complete instance of me exists and fills that roll while ‘I’ go off and explore the world, I’m still enjoying the company of my wife and family. As long as one instance is there, I’m there. See? An issue might be whether I would want to be anywhere else. If not, then my multiple instances would probably conflict. Another issue might be whether any instance was being coerced in any way. If so, all of me would probably be upset assuming ‘I’ knew.

(now to go read the new post)

Tony Fisk said...

@daniel I second David for the variety available. Go see Alita: Battleangel for the latest in corporate dystopias (except for it not being *that* dystopic*, apart from run-ins with swaggering dicks like Zapan).

*Somehow, there are oranges, and chocolate (and McTeague!)

Ed Seedhouse said...

I have to laugh at your country's demonization of the word "socialism". Up here in Canada we are a lot more relaxed about it and dog help any political party that tries to come and take away our socialized medicine!

Without it I could never in my wildest dreams have afforded the open heart surgery that gave me a new lease on life a year ago.

Also I'd likely have died of pottasium poisoning in 2013. Three days in hospital strapped to a bed while they drained the stuff out of my bloodstream and stabilized my kidney. Cost to me? Zero, zich, nada.

That's yer horrible terrible Socialism in action.

David Brin said...

Tony thanks for the Australia update. We may have to count on you blokes to maintain civilization.

David Brin said...

Ed S. Who do you think you are preaching to, down in this commentary community?

Civilization hangs in the balance. You'll be doing right if you pick ONE RASR in the US and make him your conversion mission. If we peel off one million, the confederacy fails.

Mike Will said...

Good talk by Nick Hanauer, I enjoyed it.

However, the fault is not in plutocrats but in ourselves that we are underlings. We exalt sociopaths. We even elect some to high office. Again, I think Huxley's world is scarier than Orwell's.

progressbot said...

>> Duncan Cairncross said...
\\The result was a series of incompetents trying to introduce "Super Weapons" - each of which REDUCED the German war effort - and the engineers who could see that were silent or silenced

Yep-yep-yep, Duncan. Exactly that, and *not* thousands miles of Eastern frontlines for logistics nightmares. And not Second front. *Only* their foolish weapon tech politics.


>> Daniel Duffy said...

What books you studied history was? Is it common POV for americans?

1. Why would Nazi ask for armistice when they already winning without possibility of retaliation? Why should proud nation agree on armistice(which de facto was) for? Isn't it how nower days americans would react?

2. What for? If he already winning. And if not Land-Lease, and not stupid operation in Africa. If Rommel's division would be before Moscow...

Well. To win WW2 Hiler would need only one thing -- do not agree under any circumstances -- on operation of bombing British Islands.
That way there'd be no Second Front and no hope for Stalin... and possibly many millions casualities less.
But well, jews could be extermianated even more. :(

But well, Hitler would never stop after defeating USSR... except if assassinated.

Tony Fisk said...

@David, We'll try. Don't forget New Zealand, either. Home of Anderson's Maurai Nation.

David Brin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David Brin said...

Everyone under-rates Churchill's absolute determination to kill Hitler and Nazism. Thousands of brits died getting Russia the aid she needed, to survive. And there's no under-rating that US-UK aid. Tens... hundreds of thousands of Russian troops marched almost barefoot to the wharves and left as mechanized divisions.

Alfred Differ said...

Regarding Hayek...

I don't see how anyone reading 'The Road to Serfdom' can fail to see it as a self-preventing prophecy. It was obviously intended as both a description of what happened and what could happen if we failed to learn from the pre-WWII experience. I know many people DO fail to see it that way, but I don't get it. It read as a description of Germany or Italy, many read it as a current description of the Soviet states, but the author obviously aimed it at the British who seemed fully prepared to keep all their wartime planning institutions operating after the war was over. Just think about where he taught. It was obviously intended to warn off the British people.

Monsters can be made of anyone and Hayek knew it was coming. He objected when people referred to themselves as Hayekian because he got to see what happened to Keynes after his death with the Keynesians spoke for him. Hayek argued that the followers of Keynes didn't get him at all. When Tatcher referred to Hayek, he was known to have remarked that she obviously didn't get what he'd said.

Monsters can be made of anyone, but it is the followers who fail to understand. At best they are zombies simplifying their ideal thinker into easy quotes. Anyone who has read more than one of Hayek's books, though, knows the quotes are usually pretty weak representations of this thinking. Even quoting paragraphs will usually fail. The guy wrote like an Austrian professor. His sentences are long and his text thick. They read like textbooks where you better parse each sentence carefully of you'll miss something vital. For example, at the end of the book Thatcher tried to hijack for her political purposes is an essay titled "Why I am not a Conservative". In my book it covers pages 397-411, has eight distinct sections that range from questions about what conservatives conserve to what happened to the Whigs to a link between liberalism (what we moderns call classical liberalism) and spontaneous order (what we moderns call emergent order). The footnotes for the essay run another three pages. Think you can compress that into a simple quotation? A quick soundbite? Pfft.


Spontaneous order and the evolution of that kind of order has an ideological pedigree that leads back to economics. People noticed when the idea was applied in biology later with Darwin and his followers, but the idea goes further back. Study what markets really are and one will be smacked in the face by what seems like a biological analogy. It's the other way around, though. We've been doing evolution since we became modern humans and learned how to trade outside our kin groups, but at a memetic level. Why does this matter? Because the shift Hayek made from economics to his later work with political economy and the philosophy of the law is about how he turned his attention outward when he saw all the various types of markets we created. Spontaneous/Emergent order is all around us. It's like the air we breath and don't notice that we do. It's how we are both human at an individual level and as cultures and civilizations. Our 'group mind' is a collection of markets.

The objection to socialism, therefore, is over the harm it does to our group mind. Every attempt to force a plan harms us a little as individuals (maybe a lot in some cases), but it stabs at the collective mind cutting off freely given contributions of knowledge turning us from rich catallaxies to weak economies led by a few of the elite. We believe in socialism for the same reason we believe resource planning planning is necessary for family and and tribe survival. It works. Unfortunately it does NOT work on a large scale. Fortunately humans invented something far, far better long ago.

Alfred Differ said...

Now that my defense of Hayek is in…

The monster being made today about socialism is the one that treats all flavors of socialism as equally bad. They ARE bad ideas, but some of them are fairly benign. Some of the benign ideas are more trouble to remove than they are to leave in place. For example, I don't see a way to win arguments favoring market solutions involving health care when people can't get past the notion that lives are on the line. My mother is gonna DIE! Okay. Have your socialist health care system if you must, but be careful. You need emergent order to innovate or your mother is gonna die of something else later that we might have been able to prevent if only we had ways to motivate people who actually have the local knowledge needed to do it.

The reason socialism ideas are bad has mostly to do with opportunity costs which are damn difficult to explain. It's like explaining positive sum games to people who simply don't believe in them. Innovation requires smart people to plan out what they do, right? Smart people are smart that way. I BELIEVE it. Pfft. What a bunch of crap. Much of innovation is done by the common man who is so close to the problem and so irritated by it that they put the effort into inventing a way around it. Small stuff usually, but it really adds up. There is a Hayek essay explaining EXACTLY how it works. It is also from the period close to the end of WWII. The Use of Knowledge in Society . Good luck reading and understanding it. It is a serious challenge. If you can manage it, though, it is a gem. It explains much about how Hayek saw things. It explains his primary concern with socialism of any flavor. It's not that government is bad. It's that we go about using knowledge stupidly. Really, really stupidly.

yana said...


Big ideas in big words, that's what the redfederates really don't like, seen as a personal attack on people who just want to kick back, crack open a cool Coors 16 ouncer and watch a little MMA on channel 358. Yes, this blogpost touches all the bases, the oligarchs and plutocrats and emoluments and diametricals. Most of your readers are right with you but... only because we actually think about these things.

Most people don't. Got a true shocker today. One of the smartest people i know, a guy in mid-20s. Here's a guy who holds his own against me watching Jeopardy, and i can blurt out 80% before the tv folks. Then today i brought up a recent episode of Nova, and this guy says "Oh that stuff's way past me, the show starts at 8 and by 8:05 they're way over my head."

Uh what? Nova is over his head? Nova is bubblegum science. If science is "Goldbug Variations" then Nova is "Sunshine And Lollipops". Still mulling that conversation over, as you can tell, and it makes me think that the message here is sound, but not quite simple enough. Refs here, now and then to Idiocracy, and maybe that's the way the story needs to be told?

Envision 'splaining to my RASR friend what a second derivative of the deficit means, and predict only 1.2 minutes before the eyes glaze, even if i use pictures.

Someone needs to take a paragraph and shrink it down to 8 or 9 words: "People who have wealth can't help but make more wealth and the more there is, the less they have to try. That's ok but the more they collect, the the fewer other people can collect. Nature has a natural answer: a good number of heirs raised in comfort can be counted on to squander. The example of America is that when you give the process a little goose, with an estate tax, you dramatically increase the churn among all wealth levels."

Condense that to a couple 4-word slogans, complementary and it'd help to rhyme, shun punctuation and apostrophes. Then, you still get idiocracy, but it's got a heart of gold.

Alfred Differ said...

Our host actually DID dumb down the second derivative measure. Use inscribed circles that kiss the curve. If the circles are small, the second derivative is large. If the circles are above the curve, the second derivative is positive. So... take the data curve and ask yourself whether a piece of the arc looks like a penny, nickel, or quarter.

Really dumbing it down would have someone actually do this in a video. Coins, curve, and all.

The meme version would be a static picture pointing out that when the penny fits above the curve, political villian X is in office and he's trying to make you poor.

Allan S said...

If you want to reach even a handful of MAGA's may I suggest a blog where you comment in nothing but meme's. Meme's is all they have the capacity to absorb these days. Trust me, even though me and my family are Canadian, a ridiculously high percentage of them are Trumpsters.

Make sure the meme's have the words "patriot" and "God" in it. A picture of an eagle, the American flag and a silhouette of a soldier would not be over doing it.

Just a thought.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

I genuinely enjoy the company of my wife and family. If another complete instance of me exists and fills that roll while ‘I’ go off and explore the world, I’m still enjoying the company of my wife and family. As long as one instance is there, I’m there. See?


I see why porohobot finds my insistence that "I know I exist" to be so frustrating if your view of these things is more common than mine.

Do you--the "you" who is reading these words--have so little sense of self that it doesn't matter whether the you who is reading these words is able to experience the company of your loved ones through your senses and memory? That as long as they can't tell the difference between the you who is reading these words and a perfect simulator, it therefore makes no difference to you?

I mean, I have life insurance to make sure that "I" provide for my family whether I'm alive or dead, but that doesn't prevent me from having a preference between the two states.

Larry Hart said...

Ed Seedhouse:

Three days in hospital strapped to a bed while they drained the stuff out of my bloodstream and stabilized my kidney. Cost to me? Zero, zich, nada.


But think of the poor billionaires whose money was forcibly confiscated in order to pay for that unearned benefit to you! :) Seriously, that's essentially the argument that the right pushes down here. And all those non-rich Republican voters buy the argument because they imagine that some day, they'll strike it rich, and then why should they have to pay for what other poor people want?

jim said...

I am interested to see what happens with the AIPAC meeting in a few weeks.

I wonder if they realize how much they have overplayed their hand?

Or will they just double down and do what some activist for AIPAC are saying and go after the new progressive women in congress? (AOC, Tlaib, and Omar)

If they go after those progressive women it will poison the well and turn much of the current generation of progressives into a group who hates Israel.

Larry Hart said...

Mike Will:

Again, I think Huxley's world is scarier than Orwell's.


Depends what you're talking about as "scary".

If I had to choose (with no other option) which world I had to live in, I'd prefer Huxley's to Orwell's. But if asked to choose which of the two is more likely to actually be sustainable in real life, I would also choose Huxley's. It's that second aspect in which Brave New World is truly scarier.

Tim Wolter said...

David you are using a novelist's touch with your account of nearly barefoot Russians marching to the wharves and driving off as modern divisions. The truth is less dramatic.

You don't march barefoot to the Arctic ports of Murmansk and Archangel. Just supplying the existing garrisons up there was difficult. That material got put on trains and brought south.

There were of course two other much less known Allied routes to help Russia. The Persian corridor, where supplies were offloaded in modern day Iran/Iraq and hauled north by train and truck. (Odd historical side light number one, there was actually a Luftwaffe force sent to Iraq to help the uprising that failed to dislodge the Brits).

And even odder, throughout the war, even after Pearl Harbor, Soviet flagged ships were allowed to load up at US West Coast ports and bring material to Vladivostok. The Japanese allowed this so long as it was officially non lethal. Raw materials for industry (much of which had be sent to the Urals anyway) and vehicles of all sorts.

TW/Tacitus

Jon S. said...

Larry, I doubt that his version is the more common. Rather, the majority of people who even seem to bother to consider the question appear, in my view, to become frightened of losing identity if there's another "them" somewhere else - clone, downloaded copy, what have you. (And yes, I'm well aware that a clone is merely a child with your DNA - but these people have been raised on Hollywood tales, where clones are complete copies of everything including your memories and thoughts only somehow become completely evil.)

"I", the being residing within this physical structure, am unique, a product of my particular background, experiences, and genetic and neurological structure. Make a backup copy of "me" and download it into another body, and from the moment of activation, we begin to differ, because our experiences from that point on will differ.

Now, should I make that backup, and subsequently die, the copy can at that point take over as "me", and that "me" will then for all intents and purposes be me - there'll be no other consciousness, no other "me" to claim the title. This falls under the heading of the adage, "A difference that makes no difference, is no difference." (This seems to be the bit where I tend to part company with most people's understanding of identity, though.)

Larry Hart said...

Not sure if this is a "Wow!" or just a "Hmmmmm"

https://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2019/Pres/Maps/Mar07.html#item-8

Bernie Sanders finally bit the bullet and joined the Democratic Party. On Tuesday, he signed and had notarized a statement that reads: "I am a member of the Democratic Party." Sanders, who ran for the Senate in 2018 as an independent has long been criticized for wanting to lead a party he is not even a member of. Now he finally is.

Or maybe not. He also filed to run for reelection to the Senate in 2024—as an independent. The whole matter is a bit murky, because Vermont is one of the few states that does not register voters by party. Consequently, Vermonters can vote in any primary they wish to vote in. Nevertheless, Sanders might have silenced his critics once and for all if he had also filed to run for reelection in 2024 as a Democrat. But he chose not to, so people are still going to question his allegiance to the Democratic Party.

Mike Will said...

Re: BNW

Overly simplified, Orwell described far too strong an authority. Huxley described far too weak a citizenry. The only way to defeat Big Brother is to out-dream him. There's no comfy political middle ground -- it's either soma or the stars.

Our early ancestors didn't sit around the fire discussing how and why the sabertooth should change its ways. They sharpened their spears, drew their plans, and then called, "Here, kitty kitty".

Calculemus!

Larry Hart said...

Allan S:

Make sure the meme's have the words "patriot" and "God" in it. A picture of an eagle, the American flag and a silhouette of a soldier would not be over doing it.


We could go one better on Trump's CPAC appearance, and actually hump the American flag to orgasm.

What...too much?

Larry Hart said...

jim:

Or will they just double down and do what some activist for AIPAC are saying and go after the new progressive women in congress?


Doubling down seems to be the only strategy the right has these days. It's the hammer they have, making all difficulties look like nails.


If they go after those progressive women it will poison the well and turn much of the current generation of progressives into a group who hates Israel.


So one party loves Israel and Nazis, while the other is poised to hate both.

What a world we live in.

Larry Hart said...

Jon S:

"I", the being residing within this physical structure, am unique, a product of my particular background, experiences, and genetic and neurological structure. Make a backup copy of "me" and download it into another body, and from the moment of activation, we begin to differ, because our experiences from that point on will differ.

Now, should I make that backup, and subsequently die, the copy can at that point take over as "me", and that "me" will then for all intents and purposes be me - there'll be no other consciousness, no other "me" to claim the title. This falls under the heading of the adage, "A difference that makes no difference, is no difference." (This seems to be the bit where I tend to part company with most people's understanding of identity, though.)


First of all, you sound as if you've also read the very early Star Trek novel by James Blish, Spock Must Die. Am I right?

I agree that once I am dead, a perfect simulation of me can be the "me" that interacts with and takes care of my loved ones and co-workers, and a case can be made that they shouldn't need to care which "me" is involved.

While I'm still alive, though, the "me" that is typing these words has a selfish desire to actually be the one experiencing and then remembering those interactions. Having copies take my place is better than nothing, but is not "just as good" as having the real me do the things that I'd want to do myself.

Now with Kiln People in mind, I'd find nothing objectionable about having an army of duplicates that can take care of mundane tasks or otherwise help out when the me who is typing these words can't be in two places at once. I'm not denying that there is any benefit to duplicates of myself who would do the same things that I would do in any given situation. Just that those duplicates are not the same thing as "me" in every sense.

jim said...

So one party loves Israel and Nazis, while the other is poised to hate both.


Yes Larry, that is a really shitty situation for liberal, Jewish Americans.

We are not there yet, maybe liberal American Jews can get the message though to right wing Israelis that they are close to loosing bipartisan support in the USA.

And I get the feeling that the support of Israel in the population of the US may be as strong as their support of free trade.

Larry Hart said...

jim

And I get the feeling that the support of Israel in the population of the US may be as strong as their support of free trade.


That carries its own danger, though. The requirement to show support for Israel is the only suppressant to out-and-out anti-Semitism on the right.

Larry Hart said...

I said:

Now with Kiln People in mind, I'd find nothing objectionable about having an army of duplicates that can take care of mundane tasks or otherwise help out when the me who is typing these words can't be in two places at once. I'm not denying that there is any benefit to duplicates of myself who would do the same things that I would do in any given situation. Just that those duplicates are not the same thing as "me" in every sense.


Let me make clear that there's a big difference between accomplishments and experiences.

If an exact duplicate of myself built houses for the homeless or cured cancer, I would be just as proud of that accomplishment as if it was the "real" me who had done so. And to the world who benefits from the actions, there is no difference as to which "me" actually did the work.

OTOH, if an exact duplicate of me climbs Mt Everest or enjoys a sumptuous meal, or has a great sexual experience, I don't see how that benefits the me who is typing these words.

The mirror of that second bit, of course, is that if an exact duplicate of myself falls down a well or gets paralyzed in an accident, or gets tortured to death, the me who is typing these words is not harmed either.

jim said...

Larry I have a totally different take on that.

It seems to me that right wing Israelis who think that the American right wing has deep seated loyalty to Israel and that they will have the Israelis back are fools.

All it will take is some Republican presidential candidate to realize that he or she can get a lot of free press and some bipartisan appeal by going after Israel. Then he or she can tie Democratic elites to corrupt foreign influence that got a lot of good Christian American men and women killed in the wars American has been fighting for Israel. (The rhetoric they spew doesn't have to be accurate it just has to motivate. So things could get really ugly.)

Larry Hart said...

The folks at electoral-vote.com tell us what we already know:

https://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2019/Pres/Maps/Mar07.html#item-9

I live in Georgia, and your item about voting machines was spot on. The Republicans want the machines with the bar code and the Democrats want paper ballots. My question is: Why is this a partisan issue? Is it because Georgia is a "red" state and because Republicans are in control of the electoral process, they think it would be easier to manipulate? It seems to me that if that's true, it's a short-sighted view. For example, Georgia and the South used to be Democratic-controlled (before the Voting Rights Act) and could switch again, as demographics change. Is there an example of a "blue" state where Democrats would want ballots with bar codes? M.S., Alpharetta, GA

Fundamentally, what most Republican politicians want is low taxes and correspondingly low government services, as well as little to no regulation of industries that pollute the air and water, put harmful chemicals in food and other products, etc. The majority of the voters don't want these policies, so the best strategy Republicans have to win elections is to spend vast amounts of money on negative ads, cooperate with willing propagandists (ahem, Fox News), engage in voter suppression, and, as a last resort, cheat (such as manipulating the ballots, like they did in NC-09). Most Democrats, for better or worse, would rather lose than cheat. That was not always true (LBJ was a cheater par excellence), but it is the basic culture of the Party today. Consequently, Democrats want to eliminate the bar codes because they know they would never use them to cheat and don't want to give the Republicans that option. In contrast, Republicans would like to keep that possibility as a last resort. They are not worried about it blowing up in their faces, because they also know that the Democrats just don't have a taste for that kind of Machiavellian behavior.

Anonymous said...

dog help any political party that tries to come and take away our socialized medicine

Watch Ford. I suspect the Ontario PCs are bent on creating a two-tier system where increasing amounts of public money go to private (and profitable) companies, while service for those with no private insurance gets worse and worse.

They are already using this playbook in education, and it's apparently working.

Larry Hart said...

jim

It seems to me that right wing Israelis who think that the American right wing has deep seated loyalty to Israel and that they will have the Israelis back are fools.


My perception may be outdated, but it used to be the case that right-wing Israelis weren't nearly as out there right-wing as right-wing Americans are, and that right-wing Americans were more willing to "Let's you and them fight" with Palestinians than Israelis themselves seemed to want.

Mike Will said...

A sample of latest voice synthesis:
https://www.geekwire.com/2019/ai2s-incubator-gives-birth-wellsaid-startup-synthesizes-amazingly-realistic-voices/

Of course, these voices could also be customized to specific geographic, ethnic, and even psychological targets. It's more difficult to be skeptical about what your neighbours and family say.

Jon S. said...

Larry:

I read all the Trek novels up until sometime in the '80s (even Marshak & Culbreath's Phoenix Duology, gods help me). I don't remember the plot of Spock Must Die! particularly, though, and haven't had the book on hand for many a moon. I think my views were affected mostly by consideration of the background in Varley's Eight Worlds stories, and probably some of Heinlein's stuff (Heinlein's stuff is woven with a lot of my childhood, after all).

I think the duplication idea I like best is Jamie Maddox, the Multiple Man in Marvel Comics. Physical impact causes him to "bud off" a duplicate, which is identical to him at that moment; the original can reabsorb dupes, and gain their memories as if they were his own. (Peter David's take on X-Factor had Jamie sending duplicates off to experience every possible variant on how to live, then bringing them back and absorbing them so he would have all that background data. There was one dupe who he left alone, though - he found out that "John" had gone to a seminary, become an ordained minister, then later married and had a child. "John" argued eloquently for his own right to survive.)

OTOH, Peter David also realized one of the possible complicating factors - when he formed his new team, X-Factor Investigations, he found himself attracted to two different female members, M and Siryn. One drunken night, he slapped himself, slept with both of them, then reabsorbed the dupe. One of the women wound up getting pregnant, giving us the existential question of whether Jamie was the father (if the dupe did the deed, then was reabsorbed, was he Jamie? And Jamie couldn't clearly recall which of them it was anyway).

Tony Fisk said...

Umm... can your friend drive, Yana?

The second derivative is like the accelerator and brake pedals on your car. Plus reverse gear. The road you are on is the deficit, with a convenient fire hydrant being the balance.

Guess who likes to put pedal to the metal?

Tony Fisk said...

Speaking of duality, the current situation in Gunnerkrigg Court has a few heads being scratched, both off and on the page.

Larry Hart said...

Jon S:

I don't remember the plot of Spock Must Die! particularly, though,


A transporter mishap creates two Spocks, each of which then insists (somewhat inexplicably as far as characterization) that Kirk kill the other one.

The book touched upon several specific points you made above, which is why I thought it might be your inspiration. The fact that exact duplicates would immediately start to diverge by virtue of observing the surroundings from different places was in there, as was the very specific wording (which I found a bit clumsy), "A difference which makes no difference is no difference."

Alfred Differ said...

Larry,

...if your view of these things is more common than mine.

I doubt it is. Most people would probably argue against my class/object distinction. Even if they had a programmer background, they'd probably be reluctant to apply OOP concepts to souls. 8)

...have so little sense of self that it doesn't matter...

Nah. I'd be upset. I suspect my wife might be better off with more than one of me around the house, but that might be my ego speaking. Any copy of me would know this about me, though, and wouldn't try to coerce any other copy. Ultimately, any copy of me deprived of my family life would feel severed. How exactly would he keep up his copy of my family members? Severed love is a form of death, so I'm sure I'd be upset.

...I have life insurance to make sure that "I" provide for my family whether I'm alive or dead, but that doesn't prevent me from having a preference between the two states.

Heh. Me too. We joke about it every so often. This instance of me has a preference for being alive, but it also recognizes that another instance of me could provide for my family if this instance can’t. Of course, if this instance dies, it doesn’t get much of a say in the affairs of the living. If it is still alive, though, I think I’d be inclined to double up on my providing duties to my family. I think my wife could get used to that, but she'd probably demand I do all the house work. All of it. 8)

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

Most people would probably argue against my class/object distinction. Even if they had a programmer background, they'd probably be reluctant to apply OOP concepts to souls. 8)


You're the second person here to tie my position to the religious concept of a soul. What I call "me" is whatever this particular set of personality and memory is. I don't pay much attention to the issue of what makes that entity exist, or whether it is immortal or created by God.


This instance of me has a preference for being alive,


Yes, exactly.


but it also recognizes that another instance of me could provide for my family if this instance can’t.


I agree that a copy of oneself can be useful. It might even be just as good as the real you to everybody else. I take issue with the notion that there is no difference to you whether certain experiences are had by you or by your copies.

David Brin said...

yana, it’s simple. Debt is a hole in the ground. The 1st derivative is the speed of the boring machine that’s digging you deeper into the ground. If the budget deficit is constant, then the hole gets deeper at a steady pace. The 2nd derivative is whether the pilot of the boring machine is pushing on the brakes or the accelerator, or even trying to go into reverse (as Bill Clinton did).

Republicans ALWAYS slam on the accelerator, digging us deeper, ever faster. Democrats ALWAYS put their feet on the brakes, slowing down our deepening hole and Dems sometimes go into reverse.

I show it very clearly on the chart at http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2014/06/so-do-outcomes-matter-more-than-rhetoric.html

Alan S, the meme is simple. Trump holds secret, conspiriing meetings with communist dictators or China, Vietnam and North Korea… and the KGB-trained, Lenin-educated supposedly “ex” communist who puppets them all. He’s pals with the Saudis and pours hate on every single fact-using profession, including especially the “deep state” men and women who saved us from Hitler, Stalin and bin Laden. Your friend is complicit in treason, absolutely nothing less. And screaming “USA!” won’t change it.

Yeah Tim. The Soviet freighter thing to Vladivostok is an amazing story.

Alfred Differ said...


Larry,

A difference which makes no difference is no difference.

One has to be careful with a sentence like that. A zero difference need not be the same as no difference. I can label a point on a plane with two labels. The labels reference points with a zero distance between them. They also reference the same point with no difference possible because the definition of distance requires two inputs. What is the difference between a duck? Hmm?

A difference is a map carrying two inputs from the domain to a result in the range. One must be careful to define the range. For example, if there are two instances of me, then at the time of the copy they’d be the same, right? No. That can’t be said unless one defines the range of the operation. Into what space is the difference being mapped? A physical space? The subjective space of one of the instances? It matters.

real you

You’ve used that in a few places. You should probably capitalize it since you are referring to yourself in the manner we normally reserve for proper nouns. Real You. See?

I tend to reject ‘real’ as a descriptor if someone is trying to suggest there is any objective reality to it. A copy of you would think it was the Real You, wouldn’t it? How about Original You? That might work. If there is a time-like distance between your origination and that of a copy, we could all agree which arrived first. As for what is real, you might want to read some of Dennett's material. He's pretty good at poking holes in things where people assume too much about the objectivity of their knowledge.

religious concept of a soul

I’m not treating it religiously, I assure you. There is a perfectly good secular definition for the term. I use the word mostly to point out that my view is very likely to be in a minority BECAUSE of religions.

Mike Will said...

Re: Object Oriented Programming

OOP doesn't work. It was beautiful dream that led to a smelly swamp. OOP looks like the real world, but it is far, far from it. People who rave about the beauty and elegance of mathematics are often making the very same mistake. Math is not physics. Math is not economics. Math is not nature. Math is a man-made tool (but a really powerful one).

I wrote a scathing letter to Byte magazine way back in 1991 about their incessant praise for OOP. They ripped out 75%, but what they did print captured the gist. I learned the bitter lesson that editors actually know what they're doing. It discouraged me from writing, perhaps saving both them and me a lot of suffering.

"The problem with object-oriented languages is they’ve got all this implicit environment that they carry around with them. You wanted a banana but what you got was a gorilla holding the banana and the entire jungle."
- Joe Armstrong (creator of Erlang)

Alfred Differ said...

I'm not advocating any objective reality for OOP concepts. I actually argue the opposite. WE are the abstractors, thus OOP is best reserved for subjective problem spaces. My definition of 'self' is such a space, though.

As with many things, it is best not to take things too far. OOP is a convenient framework with useful terms we can use to discuss other things. Taken too far, though, it would be the same map/terrain identification error.

[For many years now I've view mathematics as a language. I still run into people and books that try to cast it as a science, but I reject that because I have a tight definition of 'science'. ]

I do java programming on a library that scratches a person itch. I HAVE noticed the gorilla and jungle being instantiated when I get too lazy with my include statements. A lot of it is still there though even when I tighten things up. Class hierarchies are what they are after all. 8)

Anyway, I don't take any of this all that seriously. OOP has its place. Functional languages have theirs. They are just languages, though. Real problems map into a problem space where languages apply. Use the ones that are helpful and avoid making your life too hard.

Alfred Differ said...

As for Bernie, I think Democrats should cut him some slack. Vermont is an unusual state.

Bernie is OBVIOUSLY a progressive and a good fit as a Democrat. Can anyone imagine a party where he fits better? Greens maybe? Nah. He agrees with Democrats on most everything except the Blue Dog wing.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

I tend to reject ‘real’ as a descriptor if someone is trying to suggest there is any objective reality to it. A copy of you would think it was the Real You, wouldn’t it? How about Original You?


For my purposes, I'm not distinguishing based upon which came first or which was copied from whom. My point might be too simple to communicate--what I mean by the "real me" is the one who the person typing these words is conscious of. Prove beyond a doubt that that person is a clone, and that person would still prefer having positive experiences happen to him over having them happen to a separate instance of himself. Nothing against other copies having their own experiences, but those don't do me any good. "Another version of me had a delicious steak dinner last night," is not the same thing as "I had a delicious steak dinner last night."

If memories and experiences were downloadable and/or shareable (a la Kiln People)--if I could remember my 'rox's steak dinner as if I had actually tasted it, or if I could feel it when "he" kissed our wife--we could have a different conversation, but I don't think we're anywhere near there yet.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

For many years now I've view mathematics as a language. I still run into people and books that try to cast it as a science, but I reject that because I have a tight definition of 'science'.


Funny, but I still run into people and books that try to cast atheism as a religion, but I reject that because I have a tight definition of 'religion'.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

Bernie is OBVIOUSLY a progressive and a good fit as a Democrat. Can anyone imagine a party where he fits better? Greens maybe? Nah. He agrees with Democrats on most everything except the Blue Dog wing.


Some Democrats have trouble with Bernie's support for gun rights. On that, I'm willing to cut him the same slack that I cut Hillary for being close to Wall St. I would definitely argue that Vermont is not Chicago in that sense.

What I find more troubling about Bernie as a candidate is his seeming inability to connect with black and other minority voters. Whether deserved or not, that seems to be a fact of life, and a Democrat who doesn't involve those voters will have a hard time winning a national election.

BTW, I was just driving behind a van with a bumper sticker that said, "Deplorable, and proud of it!" I have enough self-control not to ram the guy's ass, but I imagined a conversation that began with explaining that Hillary only meant that while some Trump supporters were unapologetic racists, misogynists, and Nazis (and thus unreachable by mere dialogue), there were enough other (i.e., non-deplorable) Trump supporters who could be reasoned with. The second part of that was more her point than the first, meaning that she wasn't equating Trump support with deplorable, and that you (the reasonable driver of that van) shouldn't be so quick to appropriate the term for yourself.

Then I figured, "Naaaah, he probably is an unapologetic racist, misogynist Nazi."

yana said...


Tony Fisk thought:

"Umm... can your friend drive, Yana? The second derivative is like ..."

David Brin thought:

"yana, it’s simple. Debt is a hole in the ground. The 1st derivative is ..."

Arr, that's not it. I can do a triple integral on paper (some in pen, tougher ones would use a pencil). I know what the math means. That's why this blog corner is nice, because i don't have to start at square one with an idea here.

My question is not whether thwarting mafia plutocracy is a good thing or not, just how do we translate the urgency of the idea into something that defines America? Something that is simple and easy and does not use words that end in -archy or -cracy.

Tens of millions just want to kick back with a Busch sixer and bowl some frames on Wednesday. In every one of those little social knots, there is one person who is politically aware. Get a simple and easy definition of America on that person's phone, and you nudge a half dozen other minds.

Alfred Differ thought:

"meme version"

Allan S thought:

"nothing but meme's"

Suppose so, guess that's what i'm talking about. Most Americans have a vague idea that oligarchy is bad, but how do you encapsulate the idea (+ the reason why) (+ how to prevent it) into something that regular folks can look at, and say "Well duh."

progressbot said...

>> David Brin said...
\\Everyone under-rates Churchill's absolute determination to kill Hitler and Nazism.

I re-checked to not repeat that blunder with time. Churchill replaced Chamberlain in before Franch campaign... but who know, would he have enough incentive to prepare for war, if there'd be no Battle for Britain?
Or it habitually would be placed in building of couple other useless battleships.


>> Tim Wolter said...
\\Soviet flagged ships were allowed to load up at US West Coast ports and bring material to Vladivostok.

And that marshroute was biggest one ""Дальний Восток — 8 244 000 тонн (47,1%);""
And lots of aircrafts too. Excellent movie about it https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2N7ORMdnMtg


>> Mike Will said...
\\OOP doesn't work.

Saying Mike Will by sending his comment via browser which built on OOP principles, via web site built on OOP principles, which processed by web server built on OOP principles and from OS which also use OOP principles extensively.

But yeah... OOP doesn't work. So good as hipsters mumbo-jumbo functional programming? Or you are proponent of modular-procedural one? ;)

\\The problem with object-oriented languages is they’ve got all this implicit environment...

It's problem of people who want to make money on it. Like microSOFT, etc.
Because other way they could not assign satisfying them price to it.
Really, OS it's just the bootloader for other programs, but ones like Windows become load of crap of absolutely useless gimmicks... and rootkits/troians/keyloggers, imposed on stupid users.


>> Larry Hart said...
\\what I mean by the "real me" is the one who the person typing these words is conscious of.

And what if that person have split-brain? ;)

\\imagine that some day, they'll strike it rich, and then why should they have to pay for what other poor people want?

They already paying taxes. And for that poor immigrants from Peru too. ;)

\\It's that second aspect in which Brave New World is truly scarier.

What you are seemingly oblivious to. That Orwellian World already was, and still is... in Soviet Russia, and now in RFia. Well, now it more like BNW. But it only shows that there is *not* that much differences between this two.
Interiotrated Machiavellism.


>> Alfred Differ said...
\\The meme version would be a static picture pointing out that when the penny fits above the curve, political villian X is in office and he's trying to make you poor.

What is not exactly true. Like for example, taking loan to pay for surgery.
Or, constant pattern in USSR history -- war and "for industrialisation" bonds of different kind... which never was paid.


>> Anonymous yana said...
\\That's ok but the more they collect, the the fewer other people can collect.

Zero-sum thinking. Befitting of communist's "otniat i podelit". With heart of gold on it.

Alfred Differ said...

Larry,

Atheism ISN'T a religion... except as defended by a useful definition in the first amendment. Atheism IS a faith for some of us, but not a religion. Think of the old definition of faith that addresses one's identity and to what concepts one is loyal. A mobster's loyalty to their crime boss is faith because it defines a part of their identity. It's probably not a religion, though.

the "real me" is the one who the person typing these words is conscious of

Okay. I get the basic idea. If you are copied tomorrow, though, that copy will think he typed those words. Still... I get that you are using the self-referencing pronouns to refer to the instance of you issuing these statements.

Sharing memories is probably harder than sharing live sensory experiences, but memories don't mean much until they are recalled. It is in the recollection that they become sensory again (I'm inclined to think we have inward pointing senses too), so I'm not so sure they can't be shared that way. That juicy steak is enjoyed live and enjoyed again in recall, but it is only the ability to recall that we keep for any length of time. That ability can probably be established by sharing a recollection.

Over time with enough divergence, I also suspect sharing inward facing senses would become problematic. I think many of the inward ones rely on language structures, so divergence will cause a mapping failure. I can see a rough sketch of the mathematics for this, but that's about it. Anything more is inflated speculation. Fun but not testable yet. 8)

Alfred Differ said...

yana,

I suspect the analogy that would work on many Americans is a link between oligarchs and dominating fathers who try to run our lives well after we've reached adulthood. It wouldn't work on all of us, but it would make use of a bit of biology where sons feel a need to establish themselves AS themselves. Don't work so well in a less-weird culture, but America isn't one of those... yet.

I was a role player in college. In one game I had a character do a rather evil thing that involved predicting the actions of others if I arranged a dangerous situation. I nailed it and got what I wanted, but the referee pulled me aside later and we had a chat. The technique I used hit too close to home. Turns out his father was one of those dominating, patriarchal types. He had a hard time separating himself and myself from the game action. In other words, I found his biggest 'button.' We became friends over the next few years and a later character of mine encountered one of his NPC's that I decided was DEFINITELY modeled on his father. He could play that character perfectly and I got to see what originally upset him about my earlier character.

Many American men have strong responses to powerful father figures. Very strong. I'm fairly sure this can be used in the memetic sense.

yana said...


Alfred Differ thought:

"Very strong. I'm fairly sure this can be used in the memetic sense."

Yikes, that's what the foxy redfederates do all day long. How can the Enlightenment compete? I was thinking more along the lines of a foul-mouthed rabbit.

yana said...


And is it just me, or are the captchas here becoming more onerous, ever more obnoxious? Hey i get it, early internet captchas were us trying to correct optical character recognition of old books, and now captchas are using our collective human-ness to make driverless cars less likely to smash into things. All for the common good, sure thing, happy to help.

But if i have to endure four of these things to post a couple sentences, then i want my brief wetware chinups to be used for detecting near-earth objects, not helping Uber make their drivers obsolete.

Alfred Differ said...

that's what the foxy redfederates do all day long

... which might have something to do with why some of us react so badly to that stuff. 8)

I think the trick would be to personalize things a bit.
Seriously... I don't mind fighting fire with fire.

yana said...


Alfred D., ahhmm, learning to take some of your posts with a cc of saline, unsure what you mean by "fire" or by "fire". The idea of incremental revolution is that not as much has to actually burn down. My trouble is in imagining a domineering patriarch being an avoidance example for free-flat-fair proponence, without becoming an attractive icon for the opposite. Seems like we have that already, is that all people are made of?

A charming but foul-mouthed rabbit seems like a better vehicle.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

'the "real me" is the one who the person typing these words is conscious of'

Okay. I get the basic idea. If you are copied tomorrow, though, that copy will think he typed those words. Still... I get that you are using the self-referencing pronouns to refer to the instance of you issuing these statements.


We're getting closer, but I perceive that you (and porohobot) still think I'm trying to define which of several copies gets to be objectively superior to the others. I'm not. I'm saying that the self-aware consciousness that is "me" (or that just thinks it is "me") subjectively values itself differently than it values its doppelgangers.

Not that the other copies have no value, but the me typing these words can't pretend that any good experiences that the other copies have are just as good (to me) as if I had them.

progressbot:

\\what I mean by the "real me" is the one who the person typing these words is conscious of.

And what if that person have split-brain? ;)


I think we're still talking past each other, having two separate conversations. The self-aware consciousness which I call "me" doesn't care what physically creates or houses it. "I" can be stored on one brain, two brains, half a brain, or a computer simulation. The important thing is that whatever "it" is, it has my personality and memories and awareness of self. If there is a copy who thinks it is also me, even though I am not conscious of it, then it is free to go with God. I have nothing against it, and we'd probably work at complementary purposes--closer allies than brothers--but it's not "me".

Larry Hart said...

yana:

Suppose so, guess that's what i'm talking about. Most Americans have a vague idea that oligarchy is bad, but how do you encapsulate the idea (+ the reason why) (+ how to prevent it) into something that regular folks can look at, and say "Well duh."


Something from "Hamilton", maybe? Like the song King George sings equating America with a battered ex-lover?


...
Why so sad?
Remember we made an arrangement when you went away.
Now you’re making me mad.
Remember, despite our estrangement, I’m your man.

You’ll be back; soon you’ll see,
You’ll remember you belong to me.
You’ll be back; time will tell.
You’ll remember that I served you well.
Oceans rise, empires fall,
We have seen each other through it all,
And when push comes to shove
I will send a fully armed battalion to remind you of my love!

Larry Hart said...

yana:

And is it just me, or are the captchas here becoming more onerous, ever more obnoxious?


I only have that problem when I'm not logged into Google at the time I post. If I'm logged in, I hardly get any Captcha challenges at all.

Larry Hart said...

yana:

A charming but foul-mouthed rabbit seems like a better vehicle.


Are you looking for a liberal counterpart to Pepe The Frog?

You could probably make some use of Marvel's Rocket Raccoon, but I'm not sure he's the best role model. :)

jim said...

Mike will said
". OOP looks like the real world, but it is far, far from it. "

then quoted

"The problem with object-oriented languages is they’ve got all this implicit environment that they carry around with them. You wanted a banana but what you got was a gorilla holding the banana and the entire jungle."
- Joe Armstrong (creator of Erlang)


If Joe Armstrong is right then OOP is just like the real living world. The pervasive interconnectedness of the living world is mirrored in the interconnectedness of OOP systems.

Tim H. said...

Mike Konczal thinks neoliberalism has had it's chance:
http://rooseveltinstitute.org/the-failures-of-neoliberalism-are-bigger-than-politics/
I suspect that avoiding a compromise is going to be painful in the long run, and not just for the 1%.
Alfred, before you go off, consider that I believe capitalism works well enough to preserve, it's just in need of a little restraint*.
*Even better if capitalists had self-restraint, but they mostly don't.

raito said...

Commenting as I read,

Alfred Differ,

Which OO system do you mean. There's many, and some don't resemble others very much at all. Personally, I prefer duck-typing and generics, dislike Java's version, and figure that C++ static inheritance is good for the average coder.

As for the constructs of other people in my head, they're not instances at all. They're proxies. And proxies have varying fidelity.

The big problem with multiple 'me's are memories. The Barbie Murders were an example of an (imperfect) attempt to reconcile that.

And yes, I've read Spock Must Die.

I'm not surprised you're a Java guy. Personally, whatever I work in for money, at home it's all Lisp, all the time.

And my response to father figures is uniformly negative.

Mike Will,

No Silver Bullet - Fred Brooks

There's always someone selling snake oil that's supposed to make software development work no matter who's doing it. The plain fact is that language or methodology make little difference to productivity -- only the people involved do. That's why it's more like the Riddle of Steel and Silver Bullets.

Structured Programming didn't do it.
Object Oriented didn't do it.
Waterfall didn't do it.
Agile didn't do it (and gave management an excuse for doing little)
ISO 9000 series didn't do it.

Very, very amusing that the creator of Erlang thinks that when that's pretty much my opinion of Erlang.


Allan S:

Sounds like Kvein Mickerson's campaign here in WI. Except no one told him that the kids these days don't know who John Wayne is.

progressbot:

Functional programming pre-dates OO by decades. On the other hand, when Grace Hopper was interviewed about OO, she said it looked like what they were doing with compilers, except that the subroutines were bigger.

jim:

I think reality is most like this:
https://xkcd.com/224/

As for debt acceleration, there appear to be very few people to whom it can be explained. Car and hole analogies don't work, because they can't translate from that to numbers. And they don't understand graphs. The closest I've been able to do is to explain that debt can't turn on a dime (and why), and getting bigger slowly is better than getting bigger faster, and that trends can make getting bigger to getting smaller given time.

Mike Will said...

jim said
"The pervasive interconnectedness of the living world is mirrored in the interconnectedness of OOP systems"


True, but OOP forces this interconnectedness on you. Java is more of a doctrine than a tool. BTW, I'm neither a fan nor follower of Armstrong, but his quote is famous (as I'm sure you know). Erlang, meh. Smartphones killed the Palm Pilot, which is a transgression I can never forgive. Abstraction is taken out of the developer's hands and placed into myriad black boxes. If you want to see something truly frightening, follow the class and library references all the way down for even the simplest iOS app. Talk about herding cats. The living world is comprised of individual processes that scale down almost endlessly, but with no 'master control' active or present. Nature is emergent, not designed.

I've been a Forth programmer for 40+ years (with short professional gigs in Smalltalk, Java, C++, Haskell, ML/DL, etc). I often use my own FORTH. Try that with the others.

Why Forth? One word: FREEDOM (the real currency, not Confederate notes)
Want OOP/FP/parallel/declarative/DSL? Easy, and no church to attend or swear allegiance to. Just make your choices and start coding, very iteratively. No meetings and schedules about testing. You test your code for real many times per hour. You never stray far from the hardware. You can even write potential code in your head if there's no computer handy. Forth is more like clothes than cars (the #1 metaphor for other languages). There's a reason why Forth has been used in space probes for decades. The responsibility (and power) is entirely in the hands of the developer. It's like assembly language for grown-ups.

Many governments roll out silly coding curricula for schools. If kids learned Forth in school, we'd be on Mars by now. If their teachers had, we'd be on Titan by now. Doctrine is the mind-killer.

A.F. Rey said...

If kids learned Forth in school, we'd be on Mars by now. If their teachers had, we'd be on Titan by now.

Go Forth and conquer, eh? :)

Darrell E said...

Larry Hart,

Your talk of "humping" and Trump immediately brought to mind certain German carnival floats.

A giant float at this German carnival didn't hold back in mocking Trump's Russia problem

German Carnival floats show Trump no mercy

Probably not safe for work. Probably also want to make sure you don't have a mouthful of soda or coffee.

Larry Hart said...

@Darrell E,

So Germans finally acquired a sense of humor?

David Brin said...

progressbot thanks for referring me to film https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2N7ORMdnMtg

Very interesting. And for better behavior.

john fremont said...

Speaking of Steve Bannon, a You Tube video analyzing the narratives he uses in his popular documentary Generation Zero. This video is now on the first page of a Google video search on Steve Bannon

https://youtu.be/wO6uD3c2qMo

jim said...

Mike,
I have never heard the Armstrong quote before, I am not a programmer.

I haven't done any programming in 30 years. I did take a class in APL (a programming language ) but it never "clicked" for me. A good friend who became a systems engineer loved APL. He thought it was the best system for doing math on a computer and our professor agreed with him.

A.F. Rey said...

FYI, here's a Media Matters article about how the right-wing media is using tweets and jokes in order to fuel rage against liberals. (Hat tip to P.Z. Myers.)

https://www.mediamatters.org/blog/2019/03/04/how-right-wing-media-embrace-social-media-generated-rage-bait-drive-website-traffic/223038

locumranch said...


The so-called crisis that David describes is an irreducible conflict between meritocracy & equalism:

In the case of meritocracy, a system that emphasises 'exceptionalism', inequality is the rule rather than exception, as a minority of the fittest, most competitive & most intelligent accumulate a disproportionate majority of the available reward, which means that the rich (aka 'those most capable of accumulating riches') invariably get richer, especially if & when they avail themselves of the generation-spanning machinery of wealth accumulation known as corporatism.

In contrast, equalism is a system that emphasises the 'unexceptional' Golden Mean to such an extent as to make egalitarianism the rule rather than the exception, which means that a minority of the fittest, most competitive & most intelligent are invariably punished for setting themselves apart from the herd in the manner of Socialism which rewards the least capable & vilifies the most capable.

Quite rightfully, Larry & Jim are now horrified by the ramifications of this equalism which they once supported so enthusiastically, as they now conclude that this will end very badly for a certain meritocratic minority that is so fantastically over-represented in the professions, arts, sciences, entertainment & finance industries, even though this vanishingly tiny meritocratic minority represents less than 2% of the EU & US population total.

Even David intuits this, I suspect, as he dares to label a notorious anti-Semite, Nazi sympathizer & deplorable like "old Joe Kennedy" a pragmatist.

We are all kibble when the revolution comes.


Best
___

In the war against the oligarchic minority, it would behoove you all to understand that the successful & over-achieving meritocratic minority will be the first up against the wall when the revolution comes, and this means all of us Star_Fleet types, whether or not we try to call ourselves 99 Percenters, Friends of the Revolution or Germans First, for our minority will be judged as surely & harshly as we have judged other minorities.

jim said...

Jeepers Loco,
"Quite rightfully, Larry & Jim are now horrified by the ramifications of this equalism which they once supported so enthusiastically,"

That is what you think Larry and I were talking about?

Cause I am positive I was talking about the problem the pro-Israeli lobbing groups are having in the US, and I am pretty sure Larry was talking about that too.

If I was talking about equalism vs meritocracy my position would be
I am in favor of a floor below which no ones income falls below and a ceiling which no ones income exceeds and essentially a random distribution between the two that is related to merit, skill, effort and luck.

Larry Hart said...

@jim,

Everything locumranch says is a lie. Everything he says about me is essentially slander.

Accept that premise, and all makes sense.

locumranch said...


I believe that Jim's exact words to Larry were "So one party (the Right) loves Israel and Nazis, while the other (the Left) is poised to hate both", whereupon Jim concluded that "that is a really shitty situation for liberal, Jewish Americans".

All I did -- aside from agreeing & amplifying with Jim's argument -- was to address the why & wherefore of this rather shitty situational double-bind currently affecting liberal Jewish Americans, the WHY being the extraordinary success of the Jewish American minority under meritocracy & the wherefore being egalitarian equalism's ongoing vendetta against rich, powerful & meritorious outliers.

This is what the Asian Lawsuit against Harvard is all about, n'est pas?

By their own admission & in the name of 'equalism', a racist Harvard Admissions has been deliberately discriminating against more meritorious Asian applicants in order to prevent Harvard from become a merit-based Asian Only school.

Either way, the ending of this irreducible conflict between meritocracy & equalism will be very very bad for the over-performing Top 1% Jewish minority who stand to forfeit all of their freedoms, privileges, social standing & goods under Soviet-style egalitarian equalism UNLESS they support an oligarchic, racist, conservative & christian right.

It's tragicomedy at its best.


Best

David Brin said...

Pile of donkey doo. Notice the fundamental... his recurring and endless inability to even conceptualize the abstract notion of positive sum.

Nature refines us under the crucible of competition, the greatest creative force in the universe. But natural competition is fantastically inefficient, brutal, bloody, and culls away many potentially useful long term options that did not provide crucial advantage in the short term.

Purely goody-goody equalism - as in Rand's "Anthem" or Vonnegut's "Harrison Bergeron" - stifle all creativity and still wind up generating feudalism, the other great competitive-creativity destroyer.

Enlightenment-Smithian competition falls for neither failure mode. Successes at short, middle or long range endeavors get rewarded, but blood and death are minimized in favor of interventions that maximize each round's access to the greatest number of skilled/vigorous competitors. Only an idiot would not see how effective this has been.

The method requires endless acts to prevent cheating AND too much levelling. But it works spectacularly in positive sum ways, generating both freedom AND kindness, creative competition AND minimizing blood on the floor.

matthew said...

"Foul-Mouthed Rabbit?" Ahem, we got one o'those already. A cross-dresser, a wiseguy. Smart, very smart and he always made the guy with the gun look like a fool.

My very favorite, Doc.

Plus, the Greatest Generation loved him.

matthew said...

Locumranch, I'd like to leave you a compliment, if I may.

Your writing has gotten better. By a lot since you first showed up around here.

I still think you are mad and dangerous and a troll. Your ideas are anathema to pretty much everything I believe in. Your pretzel-logic is utterly faulty and I just don't understand why you hang out here (aside for a love of SciFi, that's obvious in you).

But you're doing a much better job describing your point of view. Better at attacking, too, unfortunately. You seem to have (mostly) abandoned the arrangement-by-dictionary-definition and that is a big bonus for me. Your ideas are much more clear.

Good job. Try to use it for good?

Alfred Differ said...

Yana

Saline is a good idea. Some of my ideas are half-baked at best. Some are crap that folks here demonstrate as such… and I learn. 8)

What I was contemplating is something like Uncle Sam but darker and overbearing... thus not Uncle Sam. Sam is usually portrayed as somewhat suffering what we do to him. Occasionally, he’s stern and demanding. Rarely is he happy with Santa’s jovial smile. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him portrayed as jubilant. I was also thinking about Mr Fat Cat. The overweight character portrayed with a top hat and monocle who represents the richest among us. Both are male characters that stand in for a character trait. Sam is rather stoic, but courageous, just, and willing to act, demand that others act, and take the risks that have to be take. The Fat Cat is greedy, amoral at best, and short-sighted unless it involves profit to be gained.

I agree that the icon we create might actually be liked by many, but the point is to make him disliked just enough that his fans can’t form voting majorities. Dictatorial fathers can piss off both sons and daughters for different reasons and since all their children might vote, I think there is an angle here for a new character and a bit of backstory to support his definition.

Maybe his opponent could be the rabbit. 8)

Alfred Differ said...

Larry,

I'm saying that the self-aware consciousness that is "me" (or that just thinks it is "me") subjectively values itself differently than it values its doppelgangers.
To which I would respond…
a) Of course it does. How could it be otherwise.
b) Can’t the ‘me’ valuing itself differently ALSO subjectively value the other doppelgangers at the class level? Isn’t it possible to do both without getting caught up in a belief in anything objective about this?

If another copy of me has a good experience it can’t actually share with the copy currently writing this sentence I think I can do both of these at the same time.
a) The good experience for him(instance) isn’t just as good as if I had it.
b) The good experience for Al(class) is just as good no matter which Al(instance) has it because one Al says so. I know myself well enough to say that, don’t I?

locumranch said...


David argues that pure 'natural competition' (meritocracy) & pure goody-goody equalism' (socialism) result in what he calls 'failure-mode feudalism' (or its near equivalent), the former (competition) by being needlessly exclusionary, brutal & wasteful and the latter (equalism) by being so inclusionary as to smother all creativity, competition & merit.

I agree.

He also argues that 'Enlightenment-Smithian' competition, an euphemism for Managed Competition, is both more efficient & effective since it can reward short, middle or long range endeavors while minimizing blood, death & forfeits amongst the various competitors.

Again, I agree.

Note, however, that David often glosses over the mechanisms of this management, even though he favours management by an unquestionable, unimpeachable & near aristocratic ruling ELITE, which by its very existence would qualify as failure-mode feudalism (or its near equivalent), whereas I favour competitive self-regulation based on mutually assured destruction (MAD).

On this, he & I can only disagree.

As stated in R. A. Lafferty's 'The Name of the Snake'(linked below), “There are the evil who are evil openly. There are the evil who hide their evil and deny that they are venomous (and) There are the ultimate in evil who keep the venom and change the Name of the Snake.”

The ultimate in sardonic hilarity is when Feudalism masquerades as 'Enlightenment-Smithian' competition but keeps its failure-laden venom.


Best

++++++

'The Name of the Snake', by R, A, Lafferty, available in its (short) entirety at
https://bigsleepj.livejournal.com/146925.html

Alfred Differ said...

Raito,

I’m not being picky about which particular OO system I mean. I’m staying pretty generic mostly because I recognize what you say about there being difference between them. My experience is with Java, but that’s because I wanted to stay really simple while I learned. Yes… it is less than ideal. If I were to start over, I’d probably start elsewhere. Turns out I’ve never made a dime with it, though. I write corporate-ware for a living in whatever the employer has. Doesn’t have to be all that good. Just has to work… mostly… at least well enough not to get fired. 8)

I have noticed OOP zealots and factions and all that and I try to stay out of the religious wars. I’m not competent enough at any of the systems to sound like more than a neophyte. I’ve been poking around in Java for 20 years and noticed a LOT of evolution of the system, but I expect that of any non-dead human language. Languages are tools, tools require training, and I’m still just an OOP learner. So, I defer to my experienced betters.

I’ll have to disagree with you about the inner constructs being proxies. They can function independent of proximity to the original. They do synchronize when possible, but don’t have to. Fidelity/Quality IS an issue, but effort can address it. I’ll bet if we dug into this distinction, though, we’d be talking about almost the same thing.

David Brin said...

"Note, however, that David often glosses over the mechanisms of this management, even though he favours management by an unquestionable, unimpeachable & near aristocratic ruling ELITE, '''"

You lie and have not a clue how the system works. Crippled and unable to even dimly discern positive sum, you assume these synergies can only happen via oppression and command, when that is exactly the "failure mode."

I would describe colors to you, but all it does in infuriate you.

progressbot said...

>> Larry Hart said...
\\I think we're still talking past each other, having two separate conversations.

That's because you ignore link https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Split-brain
Well, I'll re-phraze it here.
First, we have intact brain which speaks "I think, I am" and all is Ok. But then it dissected, and it seems it now one body with two identities, two "I"s. Which poses the question, of course only if you are not playing militant ignorance -- what is "I", if it can be so easily multiplied? Are you?


>> Blogger locumranch said...
\\our minority will be judged as surely & harshly as we have judged other minorities.

Only if you'd be stabborn and unflexible. ;)

\\The ultimate in sardonic hilarity is when Feudalism masquerades as 'Enlightenment-Smithian' competition but keeps its failure-laden venom.

So what locumranch? So what? :)
You again wasted lots of word to produce seemingly contradicting missive... but again showed that you unable to come to some decisive conclusions -- or, it never was your goal? :)))

\\I favour competitive self-regulation based on mutually assured destruction (MAD).

Read something about word(s) you are using, for God sake. :)))


>> Alfred Differ said...
\\I know myself well enough to say that, don’t I?

Really? ;)

Well. For it not to be empty locum-rant. How do you think? Who know himself better? Brainwise. Some regular person, with ordinary "common folk science" self-beliefs. Or neuro-scientists, with thorough education and experience of fMRI and self-fMRI?


>> jim said...
\\I am in favor of a floor below which no ones income falls below...

So UBI, isn't it?

\\ and a ceiling which no ones income exceeds...

Then say goodbye to any Apple\Google\SpaceX marvels of capitalism.
And say hi to rule of likes China and RFia... with their grandiose bone wretching hyper-projects. :) And wars. :/

\\ and essentially a random distribution between the two that is related to merit, skill, effort and luck.

Well. It is *not* random... as far as there is women and nudged by them men, eager to provide their progeny with all and any benefits of hereditary wealth.


>> David Brin said...
\\progressbot thanks for referring me to film

Well. As for me, it is best abridged introduction into what USSR was in look and feel. Feel free to ask me to comment any trouble with understanding. Though I think there is all too transparent.

If only I would know some such film about current RFia. Well, there is "Leviatan" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8li16lqdKBM
But it not easy to chew.

About Ukraine we have "Kiborgi" https://1plus1.ua/ru/1plus1video/film-kiborgi
About defenders of Donetsk Airport in mid-14/beg-15.

\\his recurring and endless inability to even conceptualize the abstract notion of positive sum.

"positive sum way" need some room, some excess of available resources... to not fizzle right away. Well, I see how it can be not an issue for PanAm society of fruitfull abundance(heh)... but it is nagging problem for all other world. Trust me in it.


>> raito said...
\\Personally, whatever I work in for money, at home it's all Lisp, all the time.

So you are (still?) exist. Lisp-programmers.
Well, can you give me some input then -- are you have some IDE/Toolset akin to that RIPed Lisp-Machines of the Past? Or you are still happy with Vim/EMACS and Lisp Curse still not lifted? ;)

\\progressbot:
\\Functional programming pre-dates OO by decades.

It was meant about current FP zelots. Monad/category hi-math need all soft be (re)written The Right Way... but not by them, by someone else. Where they are ready to be only lectors/critics of ziz stupid one, from high Tower of Hi-math Ivory. :)))

\\...when Grace Hopper was interviewed about OO...

Well. As for me. OOP is (all?) about some way to glue code and data in together. And that fact, that how we comprehand reality is basically object-based. That's all.

yana said...


Larry Hart thought:

"Are you looking for a liberal counterpart to Pepe The Frog?"

You may be onto something there! Last year, met up with a friend who's darned liberal, and we surfed some Twitch for a while. One of his fave twitchers used a Pepe avatar, so me says "you know who that frog is, right?" Friend did not, so explained. Caught up again a month later, and my friend informs me that the twitch caster had been dropped, banned, and lost her account, for blatantly racist content.

My friends says: "thanks Yana, after I knew who Pepe was, I started picking up on the racism," and "Now I see that damn frog everywhere, but now I know who I'm dealing with when I see it."

"You could probably make some use of Marvel's Rocket Raccoon, but I'm not sure he's the best role model. :)"

Haha, even if that varmint wasn't 98% about profit via crime, Marvsney would sue the snot out of any use. Speaking of profit via... oh nevermind.

Alfred Differ thought:

"something like Uncle Sam but darker ... also thinking about Mr Fat Cat."

Thanks for bouncing ideas around here guys, think i am understanding more, that if an image says more, a messenger can cut verbiage. Lyrics from Hamilton might not carry much from Broadway to Bubbatown.

Just spitballing, but perhaps a more orangey 'uncle' with tophat of black felt instead of stars/stripes, only the top few buttons still reach their holes on the still-patriotic waistcoat. Don't know how much a monocle resonates in 2019, and tough to draw one which is distinct yet not shouty. But how's this start-

Potbellied and weary-lined Uncle Scram in a cushy chair says "Since I got rich all my friends are rich so who cares about salad?"

On the arm of the overstuffed chair, adorable rabbit: "I'm sick to fucking fuck with carrots. Are we gonna bitchslap Venezuela or what?"

yana said...


Oh yes, call the rabbit Elliot. That's going to keep me laughing for 10 minutes.

Mike Will said...

Oh good, I won't get laughed at for Forth. There's a LISPer in here. The good kind of McCarthyism.

Anonymous said...

Mike Will, are you using micro-chips? Or you still soldering your schemas from discrete transistors? ;)

Mike Will said...

Lately, I've been using a lot of discrete components, in order to teach circuit theory to one of my adult sons (would have been much easier when both of us were younger). My own work these days is in distributed computation platform optimization using FPGAs and Forth (of course). Not very lucrative (mostly volunteer), but it's a great alternative to stewing over the FN/CNN wars. Watching young (and old) Asimovians sprout up is very, very encouraging (FIRST and Dean Kamen types are to be found in this wonderful group too).

I guess I'm a 'Star_Fleet' type. It would be ironic indeed if I wound up against the wall alongside cadet 'Space Force' !

Anonymous said...

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2018/11/fred-reed/lets-have-a-war-with-russia-id-rather-be-ruled-by-autistic-hamsters/

David Brin said...

progressbot, your postings are still too long to read comfortably. Pick a few topics.

But the film Peregov about the transfer of fighter planes to the Soviets in Siberia was very good, even with my very poor Russian. One question. The film implies that the USSR was paying for the planes with crates of gold. I don't think this was true. Is there any proof of this? Or did the heavy crates contain something else?

OMG "anonymous" I had to spray vinegar on my eyes after glancing at that link. Is this Rockwell character related to GL Rockwell, who led the US NAzi Party through the 50s and 60s? My father eviscerated the guy. This looks like an heir.

George Carty said...

No, Lew Rockwell is a propertarian with profound neo-Confederate sympathies, but he's no relation to the former American Nazi Party leader:

https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Lew_Rockwell

progressbot said...

>> David Brin said...
\\One question. The film implies that the USSR was paying for the planes with crates of gold. I don't think this was true. Is there any proof of this? Or did the heavy crates contain something else?

They was buying many other good stuff from USA, on regular basis. (It was shown in film too, but you with your american eyes could hardly see it yourself, am I right -- like, clothes of that foreign trade representative, they was buyed in USA, of course, and not by his own money, salary from government) Different luxury stuff. Etc. And needed to be payed with gold, as there was no possibility to get some bucks in fair trade(well, they tried to sell that furs achieved by local aborigens, yet one detail which hardly opaque to you). In needed amounts. By obvious reasons. That was in play most of the history of USSR.

But yes, they showed that in film. And leaved it without clarification.

Which are the same time historically correct -- NKVD have had *no* obligation to make their deals transparent to citizens... well, inhabitants of baraks if say more correctly.(how to your liking that scene with arriving of new cook? freshly freed from jail-camp intelligent? did you comprehend it? fully?) And same time lays down good in mainstream propaganda, that: "Lend-Lease was not so important as lib(ped)erasts trying to say. Trying to paint in black, to mud our Greatest Glorious Victory! And greedy USA stripped us of every possible ruble of our struggled in tears and blood peasants and workers, only honest proletariat... to pay for their 'generosity'. And. They *still* cannot forgive us and forget that debt we, as RFia now, still did not payed out fully. What a scum, a?". That exists and basically never ceased to exist from the very that times... that grudge of needy beggar toward his benefactor/creditor.

Kudos for you. For actually watching and seeing such detail.

Well. How is it to you? Can you say that you understand screenplay completely? ;)


>> George Carty said...
\\https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/...

Kudos to someone who know about Yudkowski Holy Crusade for the Rationality here. ;)
Or it was just first result of googling?

Treebeard said...

How funny that something calling itself "rationalwiki" is full of spin and snarky propaganda. Is it a self-parody site?

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

If another copy of me has a good experience it can’t actually share with the copy currently writing this sentence I think I can do both of these at the same time.
a) The good experience for him(instance) isn’t just as good as if I had it.
b) The good experience for Al(class) is just as good no matter which Al(instance) has it because one Al says so. I know myself well enough to say that, don’t I?


There's a part of me that wonders if I'm the freak in that I feel self-aware. Maybe, as in Kilgore Trout's fictional story inside of Breakfast of Champions, the Creator of the Universe really did populate the world with androids to test the reactions of the one person on earth who really does have free will, and those androids really don't consider Alfred-1 and Alfred-300 to be meaningfully different. I don't actually believe that, but nothing else quite explains why the concept--self-evident to me--that "I am not identical to my clones or AI duplicates" is controversial at all.

Or maybe we're disagreeing over the answer to a question that locumranch once posed in a much different context--"What are humans for?" If our importance begins and ends with our actual accomplishments--which processes we invented, which diseases we cured, which memes we spread to others--then it may be the case that my duplicates provide the same value to the universe that my own self does, and that there's no distinction between the good (or bad) that I bequeathed to the world and that which came from my duplicates.

I'm taking the position that life is about more than how we affect the external world. It's also about how the external world affects us. And in that sense, what happens to me is different in kind from what happens to my duplicate. A trivial example--if I'm hungry, it doesn't help at all that my duplicate has something to eat. I'm not talking about whether it matters if I die of starvation because my well-fed 'rox will carry on for me. I'm talking about the physical and mental experience of starving. That wouldn't be something happening to us. It would be something happening to me.

TCB said...

WILD PREDICTION TIME!

I predict that congressional investigators will find proof that the power outage in Venezuela is the result of a US cyber attack ordered by the Trump White House. If true this would be an unprovoked act of aggressive war and therefore a war crime.

The timing of this outage is just too too convenient.

Larry Hart said...

progressbot:

\\I think we're still talking past each other, having two separate conversations.

That's because you ignore link https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Split-brain


No, it's because you're saying you can't know whether I exist or not, whereas I'm not claiming that I can prove to you (or anyone else) that I exist. Only that I know that I exist by virtue of perceiving myself.


First, we have intact brain which speaks "I think, I am" and all is Ok. But then it dissected, and it seems it now one body with two identities, two "I"s. Which poses the question, of course only if you are not playing militant ignorance -- what is "I", if it can be so easily multiplied? Are you?


But that's not really two identities, just two distinct physical locations for the housing of different aspects of my personality. Ok, maybe an interesting question is whether "I" still exist if my brain is cut apart like Landon's in Planet of the Apes, and I no longer have access to my memories. That's not a proof that I don't exist now, though. It's more of a proof that it might be possible to make me not exist even if my physical body is still functioning. I'd say that as long as I am in the position to perceive that I exist, then I do exist.

This is a variation on an hours-long debate my college roommates and I had about what you can or cannot know for absolute certain. I argued that one thing you can know certainly (when it is true) is "I am feeling pain." Some of my roommates argued the opposite side, that pain can be psychosomatic, or that you can be hypnotized into feeling pain without there being a physical cause for the sensation. To me, that's beside the point. Whatever the source, even if you are somehow misled into thinking you are feeling pain, at that moment, you really are feeling a sensation called pain. The cause is irrelevant.

I get the sense we're reliving that conversation.

Larry Hart said...

progressbot to locumranch:

Read something about word(s) you are using, for God sake. :)))


Heh. You haven't been here long enough. He knows his dictionary definitions inside and out. In fact, he insists that words have a specific meaning and no other, no matter how other human beings actually use those words in conversations.

So, civilization can only ever mean cities.

Just as vitamins must all belong to the amine protein group.

And only women can be hysterical, as the root of that word refers to the womb.

Bob Neinast said...

Larry: Yes, because don't you know that words are defined by their etymologies?

That's why "awful" and "awesome" mean the same thing.

What? They don't? Oops.

Larry Hart said...

yana:

Thanks for bouncing ideas around here guys, think i am understanding more, that if an image says more, a messenger can cut verbiage. Lyrics from Hamilton might not carry much from Broadway to Bubbatown.


Maybe not, although "Hamilton" music might be more generally popular than you think, or at least may have been so a few years ago.

Still, the point is not the Broadway play so much as the fact that King George III is a recognized historical figure who is still known as a villain in history, at least here in the States. Making it clear that Trump equates to George, and that he's treating the country (including his supporters) as he would a battered ex-lover might evoke some fuel for resentment.

Remember how they briefly floated that T/P logo for the Trump/Pence campaign but had to withdraw it because it looked too much like the T was sodomizing the P? And I'm not convinced that the lewd interpretation wasn't intentional on the part of the Trump people--they just thought the secret meaning was more cleverly hidden than it turned out to be.

Duncan Cairncross said...

Trump does NOT Equate to George!

George was a figurehead - not a Tyrant - the last Tyrant had his head chopped off about a 100 years earlier

Duncan Cairncross said...

I have just re-read (for about the fourth time) Psychohistorical Crisis
Then I re-read the three Foundation Novels

Psychohistorical Crisis seemed so much deeper and richer
BUT
Foundation is 189 pages
Foundation and Empire is 172 pages
Second Foundation is 187 pages
Total 548 pages

Psychohistorical Crisis is 708 pages

The font and page size seem to be the same

The foundation series is actually about four short stories in each book - so about 45 pages per "story"

Psychohistorical Crisis is one story about 30 years long - with a similar number of actors to each of Asimov's "stories"

So it's not as surprising that Psychohistorical Crisis is so much denser!

"Trantor" - is 40 Billion people in Foundation and 400 Billion people in Second Foundation

"Splendid Wisdom" is 1 Trillion people

They are both earth like planets completely built into a City Planet "hundreds of layers deep

Earth has an area of 500 million square km
The well known hell hole of Monaco has a population of 19,000/Square km so that would be about 10 Trillion

Trantor/Splendid Wisdom should have been at least 100 Trillion people

David Brin said...

Yes, I noticed the gold payments. I suppose there might have been some token gold shipments at some level, perhaps for luxuries. But there was no way it was significant compared to the truly vast amount of materiel send over half of all Soviet locomotives and rail cars. Half of all their military trucks. Almost half of their planes. The director clearly wanted to IMPLY that it was capitalist exploitation fora gold. I can understand, but it was not honest.

I was able to follow the story and the characters - especially Vasily, the Siberian native - though some of the murder mystery at the end was too hard for me to follow. But thanks for showing us that film.

Larry Hart said...

Duncan Cairncross:

Trump does NOT Equate to George!

George was a figurehead - not a Tyrant -


You're talking about actual history. I was talking about equating to the King George character in the song.

Of course, I was the one who thought Hillary would have kicked Trump's ass in the debate if she had ad-libbed:

I know that Donald Trump is here and would rather not have this debate.
I remind you that he was not Secretary of State.

He knows nothing of loyalty,
Smells like new money, dresses like fake royalty,
Desperate to rise above his station.
Everything he does betrays the ideals of our nation!


locumranch said...


People who mistake musical theatre for reality should not be lecturing others about either language or truthiness.

The terms 'awful' and 'awesome' do mean exactly the same thing, insomuch as the root term 'awe' signifies reverence or dread and the modifying term 'fulsome' signifies a large or abundant quantity.

Like confusing 'Charlotte's Web' for an Internet Manual, our friend Bob_N makes an all-too common error when he uses the modern accretion of the term 'awesome' to connote "impressive, very good", even though this use was first recorded in 1961.

I cannot stress or repeat this enough, people!!

Words have very specific meanings. Language use determines our behaviours, actions & belief systems, mostly because human languages are programming languages that serve the very same purpose as LISP, FORTH, Linux & Basic.

Read Babel-17 & educate thyself, why not?


Best

David Brin said...

Unable to parse even the concept of color, he lectures us about shades of red & pink.

yana said...


David Brin thought:

"Unable to parse even ..."

Actually, this was a fairly sane statement:

lowsemenherder thought:

"human languages are programming languages"

I know, shocked, right? Last year, read "Through The Language Glass" by Guy Deutscher. He performed an experiment on his own daughter Alma, where he never mentioned the color of the sky. Then one day, they were traipsing about calling out the colors of things, he pointed up and asked "What color is that?" She said "white".

progressbot said...

>> Treebeard said...
\\How funny that something calling itself "rationalwiki" is full of spin and snarky propaganda. Is it a self-parody site?

Then, well, maybe you'd like https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Conservapedia more?
Well, then, I see no point in talking with you. :)


>> David Brin said...
//The director clearly wanted to IMPLY that it was capitalist exploitation fora gold. I can understand, but it was not honest.

As I said, they have plausible denial for that -- such info was regarded as "state secret" or even "war time secret" to share it even with officiers. So it's totally historically correct. Do you prefer film with historical background mangled with up to date political correctness? :) Like "Tuskegee group" members called "afroams" instead of N-word? ;)

Well, they still shy. And still, while in propaganda over for russians only news media, in words blurted by higher ups(and Put_in himself) and "free" blogosphera could rise that question to crescendo "It is *not* we ove them, it is they *ove us*!!!"... it is not that obvious in public media, not as blatant as NK anti-USA hysteria, clearly seen from abroad.

That is my core point -- you in USA, just have no access to complete information.

It's say, to compare it, like if you'd have no footages of raged mobbing muslims, or have one, but without translation. So you'd not know that they screaming condemnations and bragging about 9/11 per se.
And saw it only as "well... those russ... muslims, and their quirky behavior". :\


\\I was able to follow the story and the characters - especially Vasily

Well... he was clearly for comic relief. As in anecdotes about chukchas.
Do you have anecdotes about native ams?

Do you want spoilers\explanations? ;) Or better not?


>> Larry Hart said...

You just ignore his direct words.
"""Alfred Differ said...
Larry,

a) Of course it does. How could it be otherwise."""

We are *not* androids. We are totally with you on that matter. But subjective experience... it is still, subjective.


\\...he insists that words have a specific meaning and no other, no matter how other human beings actually use those words in conversations.

I commented that Hampty-Dumpty effect not that long ago. And not in conjunction with Locum. And with you too, actually. And was called "rude".
So I'll refrain from it. For now. :)


>>\\I think we're still talking past each other, having two separate conversations.

>>That's because you ignore link https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Split-brain

\\No, it's because you're saying you can't know whether I exist or not, whereas I'm not claiming that I can prove to you (or anyone else) that I exist. Only that I know that I exist by virtue of perceiving myself.

Thank you. For exact example of "talking past each other". :(


Problem is clearly seen -- hardly you can find objective standart of "being in pain".
So. Re-phrasing your claim -- you just now admitted that you are objective idealist. Another word, someone who assigns objective meaning to subjective experiences. ;)

I have no problem with it. People are free to choose any philosophical doctrine they like. ;)

I have issues only with ones who trying to pretend. Like. That core idealists, who try to argue that they are hardcore materialists, per se. :)))


>> locumranch said...

Well. You could start from simpler example. Like, from what time "cool" became cool? ;)
But it'll be double-edged sword. As it clearly shows that meaning of words are not given to us by gods... but constantly changing by the way we are, as humanity, using them.

Anonymous said...

Locum-baby. You just trying to explain words you know not so good, with words you know even less. And it is clearly seen. Linux is not programming language. And programming language is not a language. Because it do not carry semiotical meaning, e.g. you can't explain something with Lisp, Forth or BASIC. It's just convenience schema. Like garderobe hanger.

Mike Will said...

Russia throws shade on Crew Dragon
https://arstechnica.com/science/2019/03/with-dragon-russian-critic-says-roscosmos-acting-left-behind/

1969, we've missed you :)

Bob Neinast said...

Our poor locum is still in need of his vitamins. It's as if he thinks that by merely proclaiming something that makes it true.

Again, words are not defined by their etymologies. And they mean, not what he wants them to mean, but what people use them to mean. That is how languages change. Any linguist knows that. In fact, he implicitly acknowledges that by noting the use of "awesome"--he actually acknowledges that it has a different meaning from "awful", and has since at least 1961.

(PS. Read Babel-17 long ago and have reread it quite a few times. BTW, the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis that was woven into the book has generally not been supported, at least not very strongly, by scientific research.)

Our host refers to Guy Deutscher and Through the Language Glass. Let me also recommend his earlier book, The Unfolding of Language, which is a fascinating trek through how languages evolve. Another place to learn about a bit of linguistics is the Lexicon Valley podcast by Columbia University linguist John McWhorter on Slate: https://slate.com/human-interest/lexicon-valley

It's up to episode 156 now, so there is a lot to listen to.

In linguistics, there are the prescriptionists (those who think language can be prescribed) and the descriptionists (those who think about all you can do is describe it, since it changes mostly without manipulation by experts). These days most competent linguists are descriptionists, but they also recognize the the prescriptionists do manage to impose a few things (like all those people who won't end sentences with prepositions, a situation up with which I shall not put). McWhorter recently had a guest with a new book about it (sorry, don't remember the exact episode) that hits what I thought (and McWhorter, too) was a good balance on what is really going on between the two. But of course, we see that the locum thinks, as in so much, that he is the last word on everything, and the most cunning linguist.

Mike Will said...

One of the nicest things about growing up was escaping from the language police in school. Miss Hawkins warned us that starting a sentence with 'And' could lead us straight to Hades.

I'm big now. I'll do whatever I like. And you can't stop me.

Larry Hart said...

someone who can recite every line of Evita says:

People who mistake musical theatre for reality should not be lecturing others about either language or truthiness.


Heh.

Seriously, dude, heal thyself. No one is mistaking song lyrics or theater* plots for descriptive history or how-to manuals. We leave that sort of thing to religious folks. But the subject at hand was how to communicate in quick sound bites that even viewers of FOX News might manage to comprehend, and you can't beat analogies and metaphors for that sort of thing.

( * that's how we spell it in our country )


The terms 'awful' and 'awesome' do mean exactly the same thing, insomuch as the root term 'awe' signifies reverence or dread and the modifying term 'fulsome' signifies a large or abundant quantity.


No wonder no one can understand you if you insist on using words as they're (get this) supposed to be used instead of the way other people are actually using them.

You claim to be a medical doctor. Have you ever diagnosed or even discussed professionally a case of hysterical blindness? If so, did you insist that the cause must originate in the womb?


Like confusing 'Charlotte's Web' for an Internet Manual, our friend Bob_N makes an all-too common error when he uses the modern accretion of the term 'awesome' to connote "impressive, very good", even though this use was first recorded in 1961.


So you do know how to use metaphors? Ok, similes, but still, same concept. But Asimov's point about all wrongs not being equivalent goes right over your head. Using a word in a manner that the vast majority of English speakers have become accustomed to it for decades is "wrong" in the same sense that the earth is not spherical because it is in fact asymmetrically oblate. Mistaking "Charlotte's Web" for an internet manual would be "wrong" in the sense of thinking the earth could be a cube or a pyramid.

But for someone who insists that the world is as it is, not as it is "supposed to" be, you're taking an awfully (but not awesomely) opposite position in regards to language. Try using the word "awesome" as you think it's supposed to be used in a conversation with anyone who came of age after 1961 and see how well your point gets across.


I cannot stress or repeat this enough, people!!


"It's not that I don't understand what you're saying. I just don't believe it. And I'll keep on not believing it no matter how many times you say the same stupid thing."- Dave Sim

Read Babel-17 & educate thyself, why not?
"People who mistake science fiction for reality should not be lecturing others about either language or truthiness."

But then, whoever said that was probably lying.

Larry Hart said...

progressbot:

Problem is clearly seen -- hardly you can find objective standart of "being in pain".
So. Re-phrasing your claim -- you just now admitted that you are objective idealist. Another word, someone who assigns objective meaning to subjective experiences. ;)

I have no problem with it. People are free to choose any philosophical doctrine they like. ;)

I have issues only with ones who trying to pretend. Like. That core idealists, who try to argue that they are hardcore materialists, per se. :)))


It depends what concept we're talking about.

I would never contend for example that "I think I can levitate a car over my head without touching it, therefore I can." But "feeling pain" is a subjective experience. I see no point in forcing the assertion "I feel pain" to conform to some objective standard which others can use to refute it and insist that I don't actually feel pain when that's what I am feeling.

I think of self-awareness the same way. The consciousness which thinks that it exists must exist in order to think that. Nothing about the objective material world changes that fact.

When I was in college in the 1980s, the newly popularized "internet" used to have postings by history professors of funny sentences that students actually turned in on history test papers. Things like "Sir Francis Drake circumcised the earth with a fifty-foot clipper." Anyway, one of them that I liked was, "Homer was not written by Homer, but by someone else of the same name." That's what it feels like you are trying to suggest to me, that I might not really be me, but instead I might be someone else who just thinks he's me. To which I would respond that, in that case, "he" knows that "he" exists. A distinction without a difference (or if one must, *sigh*, "A difference which makes no difference is no difference.")

Larry Hart said...


Like confusing 'Charlotte's Web' for an Internet Manual, our friend Bob_N makes an all-too common error when he uses the modern accretion of the term 'awesome' to connote "impressive, very good", even though this use was first recorded in 1961.


Similar to the all-too common error of using the modern term "United States of America" to describe a collection of British colonies even though this use was first recorded in 1776.

Larry Hart said...

Mike Will:

One of the nicest things about growing up was escaping from the language police in school. Miss Hawkins warned us that starting a sentence with 'And' could lead us straight to Hades.


Back when such papers were typed on manual typewriters, I lost an entire letter grade on my term paper for accidentally spelling "through" as "thorough". Even when I pointed out later in the year that Andrew Marvell used the exact same spelling in his famous poem, "To His Coy Mistress", I wasn't able to claw back that grade.

Lucius Cornelius said...

What is the optimal top tax rate? I am a tax lawyer and I have spent most of my career working for the government. I know, from bitter experience, that the uber-wealthy game any system for collecting higher taxes. Their lawyers go on the offensive and attack the system. The government ends up playing defense and the courts let them do this. Oh the irony of trying to defend the director of internal revenue during a deposition where taxpayer's counsel was on a fishing expedition for dirt in the tax department...issues totally irrelevant to the amount of tax owed. And during these depositions, I see pictures of the taxpayer's lawyer shaking hands with President Obama and Secretary Clinton. 20 years ago the system was not nearly as bad. I am burned out from the fight.

Long time government tax staffers know that it is always hardest to collect money from the richest people or companies. The complexity of our current tax system makes matters worse. It is easier for the very wealthy to avoid (legal) or evade (illegal) taxation by making their transactions incoherent.

I see wisdom in David Brin's proposal that ownership of property must be transparent. However, I will disagree with Brin if he proposes confiscatory tax rates. We want a top rate that is high enough to generate the revenues we need but not so high that the uber-wealthy wage war against the tax collectors. Large tax cases are extremely difficult to litigate. Often times, the government has to hire outside law firms to handle the cases for us. The government ends up spending millions of dollars to collect taxes in these cases. And sometimes, the taxpayers will spend large amounts on attorneys and accountants to fight extremely small cases. I had one taxpayer who is litigating a case to the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals over an $7,500 tax refund claimed (one where the government was willing to pay $5,500 of the amount claimed).

Mike Will said...

Re: Cogito, ergo sum

Others in here ruminate over proof of their existence. I worry more about proof of my human-ness. A term that's currently making the rounds in AI/consciousness circles is 'philosophical zombie'. It refers to a robot that appears perfectly human to the outside world, but doesn't experience subjectivity. It could pass the Turing Test without possessing 'real' intelligence. Frightening. Neitzsche's Abyss.

George Carty said...

Isn't the main purpose of confiscatory top rates of taxation not to raise revenue, but to dissuade firms from paying extremely high executive salaries in the first place, in the hope that they will instead spend that money on R&D, or distribute it to ordinary workers (in higher wages) and/or consumers (in lower prices)?

Interfluidity: The opportunity cost of firm payouts

progressbot said...

>> Lucius Cornelius said...

Thank you for information about how it works in real world. Kudos.

Well, I just like/prefer "get the facts" style of talks. Guilty.


>> Larry Hart said...
\\The consciousness which thinks that it exists must exist in order to think that.

Did you saw how people on stadium starting wave thing? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wave_(audience)
From materialists POV supported by rich discoveries of science, consciousness is exactly such thing -- emergent effect of behavior of (very) complex system.

As such... your arguments looks for me like you trying to prove that that wave pattern is some separate entity... and not mere result of some process.

That's all. Well, not all... I just do not understand what merit you see in holding on that outdated view?

Larry Hart said...

Mike Will:

I worry more about proof of my human-ness. A term that's currently making the rounds in AI/consciousness circles is 'philosophical zombie'. It refers to a robot that appears perfectly human to the outside world, but doesn't experience subjectivity. It could pass the Turing Test without possessing 'real' intelligence. Frightening. Neitzsche's Abyss.


It seems to me that the significance of a proof (or lack thereof) of human-ness is in what derives from that characterization. Will philosophical zombie robots be allowed to vote? To own property? To marry?

Lucius Cornelius said...

Well, if we go with online voting, we might very well end up with virtual people casting actual votes. I look at the problems with spam email and phone calls that spoof caller ID; if we can't control that, how can we control similar tech and approaches spoofing our electoral process. The cure for that is to require actual people to cast actual votes - on paper either by mail (with some form of verification that the person actually exists) or in person at a polling place. But then, we get into the argument of whether these voter ID requirements are genuine or part of a voter suppression agenda.

As for owning property, I will refer to David Brin's proposal regarding proof of ownership. As for marriage....what is marriage these days? We have marriage as recognized by the state and we have marriage as recognized by religion. My wife and I had a civil marriage in 2010 and a religious wedding in 2011. Having all the civil stuff out of the way made our religious ceremony much easier; the rabbi did not need to fill out any of the documents required by the state.

So, did I pass your version of the Turing test?

Lucius Cornelius said...

George:

"George Carty said...
Isn't the main purpose of confiscatory top rates of taxation not to raise revenue, but to dissuade firms from paying extremely high executive salaries in the first place, in the hope that they will instead spend that money on R&D, or distribute it to ordinary workers (in higher wages) and/or consumers (in lower prices)?"

I believe you are right. That is an important (if not the primary) reason for high rates. Problem is, the very rich can afford the best accounting and legal planning, and can afford the best legal talent in litigating tax assessments or tax refund cases. Many of the problems with the current federal income tax system stem from the days when there was a top rate of around 90%. We end up litigating "what is income" and "when is the income to be taxed" questions. Many of these tax avoidance strategies are outrageous and infuriating.

David Brin said...

Lucious C, thanks for trying to make it work. I assert that it is likely that universal (and worldwide) transparency of ownership would result in (1) REDUCED tax rates for law-abiding taxpayers, both because of a spreading of the annual burden and because tectonic levels of abandoned property would allow erasure of most national debts, eliminating most debt-service costs. (2) If that happened then we could also get simplification.

Under those conditions, only one tax should remain very high - taxes on destructive habits and sins we seek to discourage: alcohol, gambling and inheritance. Yes, you read that right.

progressbot, you are doing much better, but you still leap to conclusions about what people mean in a foreign language. And your postings are too long and too many per day. Still, you are once again being interesting and a welcome participant.

David Brin said...

onward

onward

Larry Hart said...

progressbot:

As such... your arguments looks for me like you trying to prove that that wave pattern is some separate entity... and not mere result of some process.


I doubt that the wave pattern is conscious of its own being. If it is, then only "it" knows that for certain.

Now, are you claiming that the wave pattern doesn't exist, or just that it isn't its own independent being? Because I never said anything about what form I exist in. I never said I can prove to you that I exist, or that you must accept that I exist. I only said that I know I exist. And I do, irrespective of any theories or attempted proofs to the contrary.

Larry Hart said...

sorry, missed the onward!

onward

Lucius Cornelius said...

"Under those conditions, only one tax should remain very high - taxes on destructive habits and sins we seek to discourage: alcohol, gambling and inheritance. Yes, you read that right."

I think you meant to write "only one type of tax..." The jurisdiction I left last year enacted increased sin taxes in 2017 and I left before the litigation storm developed. I don't have a problem with sin taxes (easy for me to say since I don't smoke, don't gamble, and rarely drink).

I disagree with you regarding inheritance taxes. I agree with you that inherited wealth can be corrosive and destructive. I also believe that we need to make the wealthy pay more taxes. However, the effectiveness of these inheritance taxes is greatly reduced because they encourage the most aggressive forms of tax avoidance planning. Most people have little idea how these taxes work. Its easy to say you want to tax inheritances; it is very hard to actually tax them. You will note that many of the world's wealthiest people support inheritance taxes; that is because they have already invested enormous amounts of time and treasure making certain that their estates will never be taxes.

About 10 years ago, I had a chance encounter with a well-respected tax lawyer Bob Schottenstein who was running as a Democrat against John Kasich for a seat in Congress. Bob was friends with my parents we respected each other. He made a comment that doing away with the federal estate and gift tax would be a boon for people like Paris Hilton. My response to Bob was that the only reason why Ms. Hilton had any wealth was because the structure of the estate and gift tax encouraged her great grand parents and grand parents to make irrevocable gifts into trusts for yet unborn descendants in order to reduce the amount of such taxes payable. If there had been no estate and gift tax, any trust for Ms.Hilton would have been revocable and they would have eliminated her trust.

A greater problem is dealing with people who get rich leveraging other people's money. By that I mean corporate managers and executives who control large corporations these days. They get paid obscene salaries and receive wealth in a variety of other ways. Then, they serve on boards of directors of other companies that decide on the salaries for their compatriots at the helm of other large companies.

If you look at major companies today, you can see a divide between the senior executives (who receive enormous compensation packages) and the "plebes" who get paid nice salaries. I was recently interviewing at a multi-billion dollar company for a senior tax counsel position. I looked at the other people at that level (senior counsel) and one step up the corporate ladder. These people were paid in the $100K to $200K per year range and had a background similar to me. We were all hired out of the same pool. But then you go up 2 steps and you get people who are paid over $1 million per year. The people at that level were hired out of a different pool. These are the modern aristocrats. They have law degrees from Harvard, Yale, or Stanford rather than Ohio State, University of Florida, or Rutgers. They really aren't better than the rest of us...but they think they are.

Sorry for the venting; I am preparing for a job interview this week at a govt agency where I hope to continue the fight.

Anonymous said...

...These are the modern aristocrats...

Bingo!

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