Saturday, December 26, 2020

A few MAGAs actually had the guts (alas, no brains) to bet cash!

So, it turns out some MAGAs are willing to bet, after all! Many have staked their life savings on assurances by their cult’s leaders that massive “Democrat cheats that stole” 8 million+ votes will be exposed any day now!” Whereupon their Dear Leader will be re-installed for another four years. The scenario they are betting on? That a dozen Democratic *mayors* - with no power over election processes - overcame Republican executive, legislative, judicial, federal and state authorities perfectly, without a single leak or slip-up. But it will all collapse any day now.


 Read how Trump fans poured hundreds of thousands of dollars and pounds into bookie sites, based on Rudy Giuliani’s assurances.


Does this prove I’m wrong, and some of today’s confeds DO have the guts to bet? 


As many of you know, I’ve given up arguing with MAGAs. If you offer mountains of real evidence, they’ll sneer that it’s all faked and that their counter-meme jpegs are the real deal, supporting every conspiracy theory dating back to Benghazi and Obama’s “black UN helicopters.” Experts are denounced and scientific consensus derided. When something is decisively disproved, they just move the goalposts. 


And so for years I’ve used a tactic that works! It is the ONLY thing that ever works… and it works every time… causing members of the New-Confederate Cult to back off of any recent falsehood-spew. Sure, they mostly just run away! But with their macho pose — the only thing they care about — is left in tatters, exposed as cowards,


The method is to demand wagers! Turns out they care more about their money than their yammered loyalty to Trump and Putin and the rest. Year-in-year-out, not a single one of these jibbering, fact-hating, blowhard putzes has ever stepped up, escrowed large stakes with an attorney, and offered to back up their declarations of certainty with cash wagers, adjudicated by panels of retired senior military officers.


Not… once… 


Well, of course not, since their cult is all about waging open war against every fact-centered profession, from science, teaching journalism, medicine and law to the half a million dedicated, skilled men and women who won the Cold War and the War on Terror, who the Mad Right now condemn as “deep state” traitors. All of them. Like these guys should talk.


I’ve long despaired of any Democrat - even AOC or Pete B. - ever having the agility or brains to see how this exposes the carotid artery of the Treason-Confederacy - their macho bluster - or that making this whole culture war about FACT would help every other cause, like environmentalism or battling racism, since those causes have fact on their side!

Alas, no one listens.


Now read about how some MAGAs have had the guts to step up and bet! Guts, indeed… and absolutely zilch for brains. In fact, many fanatically loyal followers of MAGA madness have doubled down, since the election, taking the word of dizzy ravers like Rudy Giuliani that proof to nail the “steal” will be presented ‘any day now’.


And yes, it just proves again. Cowards, bullies and idiots have the power to wreck this great Union, this great experiment, as they nearly did several other times, since the 1770s. And against such obdurately treasonous impulses, we are still looking for better generals.



== Our side has dopes, too ==


One added reason to fight for those GA senate seats? If the Dems win, Stacey Abrams will get her choice of jobs and she will (I hope) become DNC Chair and make all those prancing dopes yowling "DNC Corporatists!" finally Shut TF Up. We cannot afford to split this coalition and those who are already ragging on Biden for this or that poseur reason are only serving Putin.


I mean that. Anything that seeks to break our coalition right now is Kremlin agitprop. Try actually knowing about the 111th Congress and how well left & moderate dems work together in blue states. Progress is not helped by ignoramuses.


...and finally...



== Again, PLEASE let Kamala... ==


           ...take her oath at the Lincoln Memorial!


This win-win-win would:


- hearken to MLK and give her a real moment in the sun...


- spread out the inevitable crowds (and they ARE coming!) along the entire mall, encouraging social distancing... (especially with big screens set up on the Washington Monument, midway between)...


- keep her and Joe apart instead of at the same, predictable locale!


As I explained before, in more detail, there are zero drawbacks! 


And after the Nashville bombing, can you truly not take this seriously? Spread word!





102 comments:

David said...

Yeek! Found out I was commenting on a dead thread; thanks for your patience, Mr. Brin.

We were having a conversation about what to do about the escalating threats, bluster and general craziness emanating not just from the "Fever Swamps" of the right-wing blogosphere, but from People Who Should Know Better.

For example, the chair of the Arizona GOP, and a two-time senatorial candidate actually publicly said "Cross the Rubicon" to Donald Trump.

This is Kelli Ward, and her tweet includes shots of crowds of screaming pro-Trump cultists:

Mr. President
@realDonaldTrump
- we are with you in #Arizona. We are working every avenue to stop this coup & to stop our Republic from crumbing. Patriots are united. Those who are against us are exposing themselves. #Liberty & #freedom are on the line. #CrossTheRubicon
@GenFlynn

Sorry for double-posting. But we're getting into dangerous territory, if elected politicians and party officials are openly calling for violent, armed gangs to throw out the results of an election that they don't like, to install their Dear Leader.

Der Oger said...

@Dr. Brin: "...skilled men and women who won the Cold War and the War on Terror..."

It really depends on the point of view, I assume, but ...

...while capitalism may have bested socialism, authoritarianism is the true winner. The US and former Eastern European states like Poland and Hungary trying to reincarnate the fascism of the thirties, I wont call that a clear win.Or: We might have won, but we squandered our victory.
...while the socialist systems might have crumbled, they had, at least in theory, working healthcare and social security systems. Something we all could need now.
...the War on Terror is not over. Afghanistan is still a hellhole of extremism, and while we enjoy a period of relative peace, the wars in Jemen, Mali, Lybia and Syria are still not over. And at which price? One could even say: If Osama bin Laden's goal was to lure the US into prolonged campaigns in the Middle East, to increase outrage and hatred, then he has won. Doubly so considering all personal liberties lost after 9/11. I assume we have still ten or twenty years of reciprocal terror and genocide ahead.
...the War on Drugs is still in full swing, and a victory is VERY doubtful.
... Iran?
... the "Praetorians" in our societies - the prison-military-industrial-mercenary-intelligence complex - are a political group themselves, trying to extend their power base each day; and while they might pretend to be defenders of democracy, one has to be wary lest they do not serve the people anymore one day, but the other way round. I would like to point out: like it was in the USSR or Warsaw Pact states.

No, the mission is not accomplished.

Larry Hart said...

David under the previous comments:

And yeah, I know - the whole "I am intolerant of intolerance" meme is one with which I am familiar. It has become a cliché, the type of thing the guitar-strumming hippie teacher in Beavis & Butthead would have airily declaimed, right before he got kicked in the harbls.


When we preach tolerance to Nazis, we mean that they are wrong in treating Jews as other than human. We don't mean that Jews are wrong to despise those who murder them in concentration camps. The notion that tolerance requires the victims of injustice and brutality to excuse the behavior of their tormentors--that that is equivalent to the requirement that all subgroups of humanity be treated equal--is absurd.

On the old "Cerebus" list, a conservative poster there accused liberals like me of compromising with "your murderers". He meant that I supported Democrats who "hate Israel", but I took his essential meaning to heart. When someone makes clear that his goal is to harm or kill me, there is no room for compromise. When locumranch calls that hypocrisy--essentially accusing me of trademark infringement--I can live with it.

Larry Hart said...

same earlier post by "David":

Where a generation of Very Smart People thought they could control the anger, fear & hate they whipped up into a frenzy ... only to discover that societal inertia does exist.


I honestly thought we as a civilization had learned the lesson invoked in the line from Cabaret:

"Do you still think you can control them?"

I was obviously premature.

David Brin said...

'David's" missive at the end of last post was very well-written and worthwhile. Glad some of you commented.

I answered that the Chinese politburo could kill us all by whipping up jingoism in their populations, and resentment that the USA - certainly - never earned.

Der Oger, in specifics, you raise important nitpicks... while ignoring the POLEMICAL POWER of the simple clarity of: "You pour 'deep state" hate on the men and women who won the CW and WoT."

Larry Hart said...

@David (not Brin),

That tweet from Kelli Ward is from Dec 19. While not ancient history, it is not new information. Not newer than Mike Pence schooling Benedict Donald on the fact that Pence can't just declare Trump the winner from his perch in the Senate, for example.

The comments under that tweet are...well, if Republicans want to punish their own politicians by letting Democrats win, I won't cross their picket line. I thought only Democrats engaged in that sort of self-destructive idiocy. We actually have a chance to win two Senate seats in Georgia and hence control of the Senate because of this sort of thing. Revel in it.

Robert said...

I answered that the Chinese politburo could kill us all by whipping up jingoism in their populations, and resentment that the USA - certainly - never earned.

Well, American supported the losing side in the Chinese Civil War. American and Chinese troops fought each other in Korea. American military leaders threatened to use atomic bombs on Chinese cities.

I know that the Chinese haven't forgotten that, even if Americans have.

Larry Hart said...

David:

But we're getting into dangerous territory, if elected politicians and party officials are openly calling for violent, armed gangs to throw out the results of an election that they don't like, to install their Dear Leader.


There is no way for them to "throw out the results of an election...and install their Dear Leader."

What they are doing is outing themselves as traitors. Although I don't expect this to happen either, Nancy Pelosi would have a legitimate argument toward not seating those Representatives who have declared treason against the United States of America. OTOH, if there was any feasible way for the Trump putch to succeed, don't you think Pence would be on board?

A tangnt--Republicans seem more anxious to cut off their own noses to spite their faces than I had previously noticed or believed. Ten or so years ago, they were threatening to boycott both the 2010 census and the flu vaccines. If only! So now they're going to punish ("destroy") the GOP by letting Democrats beat them in Georgia and Arizona? I'm wondering if I really will grow tired of winning. :)

David Brin said...

Robert, sorry but bah! So America might have been mistaken continuing to support the Nationalist regime that fought by our side in WWII. We THOUGHT we were standing by China against Soviet aggression. Friends can do that. Meanwhile we came to China's aid SEVEN times. Can you name them?

And how convenient fo the Politburo to forget more recent things than Korea. Like preventing the USSR from nuking them. And setting up trade relations that uplifted them 100 years in just 15.

scidata said...

You've seen "American Gigolo", "American Beauty", "American Psycho", and "American Hero"...
... Now comes an epic tale of entitlement and petulance set in the swampy Florida links...

AMERICAN NERO


- filmed in Orange-O-Vision

Alfred Differ said...

Robert,

Those Chinese Nationals were our allies.
We DID fight the PLA in Korea and they kicked us around for the trouble.
We also force-ably retired the General who wanted to nuke them.

Most importantly, though, we opened normal relations to them helping to bring on their long-70's period. We deserve some credit for that as it both helped them and pointed out that we understood a thing or two about our earlier mistake.

David Brin said...

Look up a fellow by name of Anson Burlingame.

Then look at where Sun Yatsen got all his support, trying again and again the oust the corrup Manch Chi'ings.

Then....

duncan cairncross said...

While I agree that the USA was more of a friend to China than any of the other nations a 100 years ago
Today and for the last 40 years the USA has been using China as an enemy

American forces are based to threaten - Iran, Russia and China

The American Press treats China as an enemy
The American Government treats China as an enemy

America uses its muscle to get other countries to treat China as an enemy

A Chinese government that did NOT classify the USA as an enemy would be insane!!

China will do business with the USA - and I do not believe that China will do anything aggressive - but in Chinese shoes I would ensure that my defensive forces were up to date and that my nuclear response to an American Nuclear attack was well oiled

Alfred Differ said...

Not really relevant to this particular post, but in recognition that 2020 is about to end, I wrote up my year end review.

https://adiffer.blogspot.com/2020/12/2020-will-be-remembered-for.html

I suspect Trump will be remembered by future generations about as well as we remember Harding with a dash of Hoover. Basically, we are blowing things out of proportion. Makes sense, of course. We ARE this civilization's immune system. Our children's children won't feel the same way, though.

One thing DID happen this year that WILL matter to them. A biggie.
No. Not the stack of body bags. Something related. 8)

David Brin said...

Sorry Duncan, but that is baloney. Look at China under Mao vs. today. Who financed the change. Generous US trade policies and American consumers. And predatory theft of all our crown jewels.

Alfred Differ said...

China is in no danger of being nuked by the US. None what so ever.

Our mistake in Korea was to believe we were necessary to stop Soviet aggression. We WERE, but only up to a point. Turns out China was quite willing to defend itself against us AND the Soviets.

Our mistake in Vietnam was to believe we were necessary to stop Communist expansion. We WERE, but only up to a point. Turns out the Vietnamese hate the Chinese more than they hated us. Turns out we could have avoided a lot of bloodshed if we had propped up either side AFTER they resolved their civil war.

Our typical mode of operations regarding powerful nations is to balance them off against each other. Turns out China already has natural opponents among its neighbors it acquired through centuries of conflict. Same applies to some of its powerful neighbors. Turns out we could have avoided a lot of heartache by stepping back a bit and working for balance.

The method works. Northern Europe hasn't slaughtered itself in a few generations now. That's likely to continue for a while. That's good for us and good for them as it gives everyone time to calm down and figure out some other way forward.

We should and CAN do the same for China.

The only debate is wither other powerful nations can do the same to us. The answer appears to be 'yes'. I have no issue with that... up to a point. 8)

David Brin said...

Actually, in Vietnam all we had to do was agree to actual elections that Ho would have won, then spent 10% as much supporting him while scaring him into giving local autonomy and rights to the Catholics and Buddhists.

It was a trap. We fell for it and have never recovered.

scidata said...

Alfred Differ's recent comments about underlying belief systems have been rattling around in my brain. I had a conversation recently with an anti-science type, which I do often, but this time I really listened more than lectured. She said that my type (ouch) lived in an echo chamber too, where jargon and trendy memes zombify us just as much (double ouch).

Came across this really short blurb from one of my heroes, Claude Shannon, the other day. He sounded a lot like that young lady did !

"The Bandwagon" from 1956
https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/stamp/stamp.jsp?arnumber=1056774

David Brin said...

scidata, Make it about credibility. Wagers don't have to be about money.
So, you believe humans can be delusional right? We all know that. We differ over which of us are following delusional incantations. Your assertion is that the deluded ones are nearly all fact-using "expert" professions. I assert that while individuals and groups of experts can be mistaken, generally knowing more translates into being at least a bit more-right.

"So? Are you content simply to repeat over and over that all expertts are fools? Is there some way we could use VERIFIABLE facts to check? Would you be willing to go to the ocean NOW and compare pH levels to what they were 30 years ago? Can you explain why the movement calling allmost all media "fake news" has never actually compiled a case to prove it? But a compilation exists of 40,000 Trump lies?

" Shall we test ten of them, chosen at random? Might that then sway you that maybe I'm not the deluded one?"

scidata said...

@ Dr. Brin
Thank you for the good advice. You are correct of course. I'm not an academician, which makes it presumptuous at best to lecture anyone on "knowing more". I have to tread lightly there. Also anytime a young person stops to talk to me for 10 minutes, I'm flattered and put back on my heels a bit. I get called "Spock" sometimes, not in a pleasant way. I used to be a professional PROLOG programmer, and every third word out of my mouth back then was 'assert', which didn't help :) It's a chasm you and a very few other scientists have managed to span successfully. Brainpower is gold, but true syntonicity is platinum.

That Shannon piece really made me introspective (temporarily at least). Also, my inner Presbyterian recoils at the slightest mention of wagers.

In years past, I often found myself surrounded by really, really nice confederates! I've long been a tireless planter of citizen science seeds, and the Pittsburgh Coal Seam was rich soil. And some first-rate amateur astronomers too. And the inventor of Forth (my one truly Differian belief system) came from there. If not for Asimov, I'm sure I would have worn gray instead of blue. It's why I can't label 74 million Trump voters as all evil.

Having said all that, there is simply no substitute for scientific literacy and numeracy.

Calculemus!

David Brin said...

Scidata I left a quotation mark off! I was reciting what I recommended you say to your red friend! So sorry!

David Brin said...

And I know 90% of those 74 million aren't evil. They ARE 1- romantics who think incantation can overcome so-called 'fact," and 2- steeped in nerd-resentment. And dem pols are insane in their delisional notion that the source is 'economic pain." It goes deeper.

Don Gisselbeck said...

This continued (one-sided) refusal to engage in reciprocal deference to expertise is infuriating. A climate scientist is expected to be sensitive to the delicate feefees of a climate change denying auto mechanic, but the scientist would rightly be laughed to scorn for suggesting that 50 inch-pounds was appropriate lug nut torque. People who know nothing about science should STFU and listen.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

And dem pols are insane in their delisional notion that the source is 'economic pain." It goes deeper.


Cultural pain, maybe? Essential pain? As in "Every value that makes them feel worthwhile is threatened"? Kurt Vonnegut explored this as far back as Player Piano.

Alfred Differ said...

scidata,

but this time I really listened more than lectured

That is the character trait named 'Temperance'.
Not the anti-alcohol version of the term, but the ancient virtue ethics version.

It IS a virtue. People recognize it as such and are moved by it when you do it well.

You'll learn a thing or two about them while listening, but YOU will appear more human to them than before. People who fit pre-established stereo-types ARE stereo-types to most of us. Just short of human. That particular virtue shatters the mold they would place you in when they notice you absorbing them as the persons they really are.


It's difficult for me to overstate just how much this trick has worked for me in my professional life, but it applies everywhere. Listen to them.

David Brin said...

Google have some sort of outage. Can't post thee comments, and spam filter malfunctioning. Must do by hand.

Zepp Jamieson said...

I think 10% is a somewhat optimistic assessment of their demographic, Especially since the white supremacy and racism have become much more blatant amongst the trumpenproletariat over the past four years. That said, I know a fair number of otherwise fine people who did vote for Trump, usually because they genuinely believe Biden will usher in a new Stalinist era.

David Brin said...

Some things I can only share here, since anywhere else might be construed as incitement. Here it's just guys sharing what-ifs. Okay so what happens if DT refuses to leave the White House 1/20? There are generalities like "the US government is perfectly capable of escorting off trespassers." But how? As an ex-prez DT will still have Secret Service protection charged with preventing 'harm,' which would include anything forcible. Congress could hurriedly amend the law, or they might get a court sanity ruling, but...

A passive aggressive approach? Simply block every path he might walk except ones going toward an exit. Including trips to the toilet and let the only food be in that direction. While on the other side of the barriers he hears his gold drapes and carpets getting ripped out to be sent to homeless shelters.

Want more drama, that hews to the letter of the law?

At 12:01 on 1/20 DT and JB SWTCH Secret Service details. Biden gets the Alpha Crew. Trump gets Omega.

Omega (Omegah'd!) crew still must prevent any HARM coming to Trump. But Joe will have priority. So picture as JOE BIDEN grabs Two Scoops by the belt and collar, in back, and frog marches the lame-oh whiner toward the door. The USSS detail must above all prevent harm to Potus-Joe! But Omega guys are pacing along too, crouching and peering like umpires, giving warnings.
But if Trump were to flail or try to hit Joe, even once, THEN it’s over, because he’s become a threat to POTUS and they all can leap in and remove him - thrashing - from the building.

His only option to avoid that is to go limp! And he's heavy.

So, while he's thrashing on the ground, cut out the carpet he's on -- (or pre-plan and lay down a tarp?) -- and drag him toward the exit. It will take him a while to stand up! When he does, and steps off that swatch of fabric, he'll be closer to an exit... so... REPEAT all of the above.

At some point he'll yowl a threat or try to hit POTUS and it will be over. Above all, get all of this on video. Once he's outside the building, follow his wanderings with barriers and manure spreading machines... for the lawn, you know... till he's lured by a limo-van wafting eu de BigMac.

duncan cairncross said...

I think the Orange Cockwoble will flee to Russia where Putin will give him a luxury Dacha and let him set up his "Government in Exile"

Putin knows he is never going to get his $400 Million back and will settle for the shits and giggles

Keith Halperin said...

@Dr. Brin: I respectfully disagree. I am willing to believe that some Trump supporters sincerely believed in 2016 that Trump could be a worthwhile candidate, but in 2020 THERE WAS NO EXCUSE- 74 million people voted for a corrupt, incompetent scoundrel who would destroy our way of life if he could and IMHO, no matter how kind, charitable, and giving you are in other areas of your life, if you consciously and willingly support an evil person, you ARE an evil person.

I have a couple of people like that in my life- they were high school friends who treated me kindly when few others did at the time, and for that I will always be grateful. However, when one of them came out a couple of months ago with praise for Trump, I realize that I have to let them go- not argue with them, not try to change their minds- just let them go.

Fundamentally, we need to realize that ~20% of the American population are willing to sacrifice our republic because (as my former friends said) gas (where they live in Texas) is $1.59 a gallon, the stock market is soaring, their two sons were able to buy houses, AND (apparently) Trump hates the same things they do. Some of our citizens have become a bit like Dorian Grey- much apparent attractiveness on the surface, but some very nasty things on the inside. #NOGOODTRUMPVOTERS


Ilithi Dragon said...

@Duncan on US tensions with China:

The US and our allies, particularly in the west pacific, do not have tense relations with China for no reason. China has been throwing their military and economic weight around for years, and at an increasing rate. From the Taiwan issue to border conflicts with India to building islands in the south China sea (attempting to build a barrier of "territorial waters" that turns all of the south China sea into their territory, while also pushing out the fishing industries of pacific Island nations throughout the region). The US is standoffish and belligerent towards China because China is being belligerent to all of its neighbors, many of whom are our allies.

Long term, China aims to be THE dominant power in the world, not just a regional power, and that puts them into direct conflict with the US, because we currently hold that spot. (this also gives them a frenemy relation ship with Russia, who is also working to take that spot from us.)

The US has a vested interest in maintaining our military and economic dominance in the world (and so does anyone who supports the western enlightenment!), and while we're of course not always perfect in our judgment, we don't go out of our way to be belligerent towards other powers without reason or cause (that shit gets expensive).

Also, HI guys! Still alive, just been super busy with work. I'm finally transferring to shore duty in October, and while that's still 10 months away, I am very much looking forward to the much easier work schedule that comes with it.

gregory byshenk said...

David Brin said...
And I know 90% of those 74 million aren't evil. They ARE 1- romantics who think incantation can overcome so-called 'fact," and 2- steeped in nerd-resentment. And dem pols are insane in their delisional notion that the source is 'economic pain." It goes deeper.

It is a bit more complicated than that, I think.

Something like 15-25% of the population (and this is not just in the USA) is, if not 'evil', then deplorable as Clinton said. They are bigoted and steeped in resentment.

I believe that the majority of Trump "supporters" are simply low-engagement and low-information citizens who just don't pay much attention to politics, but who swim in a sea of propaganda. They don't read newspapers, or even watch television news - except for what they might see in passing in the cafe or barber, but their community is suffused with "deplorables", so that is all they hear.

Daniel Duffy said...

Dr. Brin: "steeped in nerd-resentment"

How about simple racism, racial anxiety and racial resentment?

All Trump support stems from the fact that Whites will no longer be in the majority by 2040. Long before that, uneducated, conservative rural whites will become politically impotent as they get outnumbered by suburban women, educated whites and minorities of all kinds. Old age, poor health, "deaths of despair", outmigration to urban areas, etc. will inexorably reduce his base.

Demographically Trump and is base are dead men walking.

Trump's vote total in 2020 was the high water mark of his movement, like Pickett's charge was to the Confederacy.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

Okay so what happens if DT refuses to leave the White House 1/20? There are generalities like "the US government is perfectly capable of escorting off trespassers." But how? As an ex-prez DT will still have Secret Service protection charged with preventing 'harm,' which would include anything forcible.


Bill Maher has been saying "He's not going to leave" for four years, and is worried that no one ever seems to have a plan other than "Yes, he will."

But to me, the worry was not whether he would physically depart the building, but whether enough followers in significant positions would back up his continued claim to the presidency. And I don't get the sense that that is happening. The question of whether Benedict Donald will "leave the White House" or not on Jan 20 is somewhat metaphorical. When people like Maher talk about that, what they really mean is that he won't give up the levers and privileges of power. And for that, he'd need cooperation from people who don't appear to be giving it to him. Rudi Giuliani and Lin Wood aren't enough.

As far as I'm concerned, he's welcome to hole himself up in the building somewhere and appear at various times as a kind of "Phantom of the White House".

Larry Hart said...

I had never heard of this until I read Dr Brin's Glory Season, which included it as a pretty major plot device:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/28/science/math-conway-game-of-life.html

In March of 1970, Martin Gardner opened a letter jammed with ideas for his Mathematical Games column in Scientific American. Sent by John Horton Conway, then a mathematician at the University of Cambridge, the letter ran 12 pages, typed hunt-and-peck style.

Page 9 began with the heading “The game of life.” It described an elegant mathematical model of computation — a cellular automaton, a little machine, of sorts, with groups of cells that evolve from iteration to iteration, as a clock advances from one second to the next.

...

David Brin said...

Ilithi Dragon! Welcome back! I had feared we (or I) had offended you somehow. Your erudite, polite - sometimes dissenting but alway s interesting - views were highlights. Now to lure back Catfish n' Cod... and (when thing calm a bit) Tacitus/Tim, we'll be back to an interesting range.

Congrats on the new duty and thanks for your defense of the line.

DD yes, I know the racist thing and no doubt it contributes. But dig it. By far more of the Foxite propaganda is aimed at competing fact professions and MAGAs will rail at them far more often and openly. Even those who care more about race! Because (1) racism is in ill repute, but also because (2) racism is defeated by facts. Hence facts must be destroyed, to stay racist.



Larry Hart said...

Keith Halperin:

Fundamentally, we need to realize that ~20% of the American population are willing to sacrifice our republic because (as my former friends said) gas (where they live in Texas) is $1.59 a gallon, the stock market is soaring, their two sons were able to buy houses, AND (apparently) Trump hates the same things they do.


The "hate the same things they do" is paramount. If their support for Trump was honestly about those other things, they would have had to be very happy with President Obama's performance. I have a feeling that if you mention the Obama recovery, they would say without irony or shame that a good economy reflects little on the president.

The fact that the Obama recovery continued into the Trump years is an excuse they can give for supporting Trump without admitting that they support bigotry and despotism. It's not the reason they support Trump.

And the notion that "Even if you don't like me, you have to vote for me or the stock market will crash" has been utterly disproven by reality. The market breathed a noticeable sigh of relief when Biden was elected.

Larry Hart said...

gregory byshenk:

I believe that the majority of Trump "supporters" are simply low-engagement and low-information citizens who just don't pay much attention to politics, but who swim in a sea of propaganda. They don't read newspapers, or even watch television news - except for what they might see in passing in the cafe or barber, but their community is suffused with "deplorables", so that is all they hear.


Many are in areas where all they get on the radio is right-wing talk and most public tv sets (in restaurants, bars, hotel lobbies) are permanently turned to FOX. And if they are not personally watching/listening to it, they're surrounded by friends and relatives who are. My old conservative buddy on the "Cerebus" list swore up and down that he didn't watch FOX, but he spouted their talking points regularly. If he wasn't watching FOX, his conversational community was full of people who were. Tacitus often reminds me of that too.

scidata said...

Although I'm sorely tempted to talk about Turing, Conway, Shannon, JD Farmer, et al, (visions of QuiteBASIC snippets danced in my head), I'll instead do a quick defense of the '74 million are not all evil' proposition.

Did they cause great damage and nearly destroy the republic? Yes
Are they anti-science, anti-democracy, and anti-Englightenment? Yes
Are they romanticist in the very worst sense of the word? Yes
Are they cultists who prefer a nation of men over a nation of laws? Yes
Are they blinded by grievance with little empathy for the weakest among us? Yes
Were they diminished one scintilla by all the derision and deplorables talk? No
Should they be wholly abandoned as evil? No

In any bipolar struggle, the following arithmetic applies:
defeat one opponent = +1 for your side
'turn' one opponent = +1 +1 = +2 for your side

Someone (Shermer? Dawkins?) said that a clod (Donne's word, not theirs) becoming scientific was a bigger leap than a rich man getting into Heaven. It took several improbable events to enlighten this clod. Alas, not everyone gets those breaks. However, watching a person turn from grievance to wonder is joyous - it's like a dignified baptism (more nodding, less fainting :)

This morning, a Russian fishing boat with 17 crew went down in the Barents sea. How many lives could have been saved if they'd been rescued by Canadians or Americans? I'd estimate the number in the hundreds at least. If the ship of humanity sinks, it will undoubtedly be due to zero-sum thinking.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

Even those who care more about race! Because (1) racism is in ill repute, but also because (2) racism is defeated by facts. Hence facts must be destroyed, to stay racist.


That's what I've often tried to say about the dynamic. Dismissal of fact-based professions may be a key goal, but it's a means, not an end. The end is being able to revel in their particular deplorabilities, which are not the same for all of them. For some, it's more racism, for others more sexism, for still others American exceptionalist jingoism.

For those to succeed, facts and critical reasoning must be discredited, just as the invaders in the old V miniseries had to discredit scientists. That wasn't because they hated nerds. It was because scientists were the ones who had a chance of discovering and revealing their true nature. Eliminating scientists was a strategy of theirs, but the true goal had nothing to do with that. The goal was to steal earth's water and use humans as a food supply.

David Brin said...

Posting working fine again, as is the spam bot's tunable algorithm. So all's well. I thought there'd be a Google outage in the news but it must have been just a glitch.

Any opinions on which vaccine you'd prefer to take? The pfizer/Moderna types are a huge scientific breakthrough that'll allow very rapid response to future viruses... but their method -- RNA reprogramming our immune cells, kinda creeps me out. Astrozeneca looks like a more old fashioned kind. Present the immune system with a dummy threat that's just like the real one.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

Any opinions on which vaccine you'd prefer to take? The pfizer/Moderna types are a huge scientific breakthrough that'll allow very rapid response to future viruses...


Apparently, the pfizer vaccine uses cow gelatin as a stabilizer, while the Moderna one uses pig gelatin. My wife is allergic to cow protein, so the choice for her is clear. She suspects that the number of allergic reactions to the pfizer version has something to do with this.

Perhaps religious Jews and Muslims might need to avoid the pig gelatin?


but their method -- RNA reprogramming our immune cells, kinda creeps me out.


My daughter is a freshman in college, majoring in bio-chemistry. She was on campus until Thanksgiving, at which point the students were told to just finish the semeseter remotely. When she came home, she was absolutely gushing about the science behind the RNA vaccines, and how completely new they were. Part of what impressed her so was that the disease isn't actually injected into your body, so there's no chance of catching the disease from the vaccine.

My wife and I had to let her rave for many minutes, not because we could understand everything she was talking about, but because her enthusiasm was so contagious. So no, I'm not particularly scared of it.

matthew said...

TO go all the way back to the theme of the posting - many MAGA deplorables have made huge bets on the political futures markets backing Trump for another term (or three).

In some cases this seems to be deplorables going "all in" and demonstrating loyalty to their tribe. Look for the public crowing on their bets to identify these types. Ape-chest-beating behavior.

In other cases, these may be strategic bets. I gave Biden 5/6 to win the election, even after voting night. If the betting market odds gave a payout of ten times my perceived chance of Trump winning, even after the votes were counted, I would be tempted to put money on the outcome. Not mortgaging my house to pay for the bet, but if I had extra $$ and I calculated my payback at 10X my risk, I might be tempted to put down money on the outcome. This sort of gambler would not be identified by their public statements. They would be silent to preserve their odds.

There may also be institutional hedging going on. Similar to the strategic bets above, but closer in behavior to the way hedge funds operate. Silent as well, most likely, other than to large investors in the fund.

Larry Hart said...

@matthew,

Betting on a long shot is one thing. A year ago spring, when we had two multi-inch snowstorms in April, I was looking for someone to give me 100-to-1 odds on a bet that Chicago would have snow in July (which would have been the first time ever). Not that I'd really expect that to happen, but for high enough odds, I'd have placed the bet. Who knows what could happen in a time where everything is unprecedented?

But you know what I wouldn't have done? Complained that the bet was rigged and fixed after I lost. And that's what it looks like a lot of those Trump bettors are doing. Which tells me they're not just hedging or willing to lose a small amount of money on long odds. They think Trump won the election, and that they should be collecting winnings.

Keith Halperin said...

@Larry: Thanks.

@Scidata: I believe a small percentage of Trump supporters can come around, most (I fear) are "incorrigible".
None should be trusted (without verification)- you don't trust former Confederates, Nazis, Fascists, or Trumpists.

@Everybody: Let's make an analogy- let's not equivalent ("An adjective used as a verb- oh my!") Trump/Trump support with murder, even I don't believe he is a murderer (Multiple counts of unconvictable negligent homicide for COVID-19). Rather, let's say he's like a pedophile or (if that's too emotional) a bank robber. What should we do about the few thousand people who actively aided, abetted, or participated in the pedophilia/bank themselves, the several more thousands or tens of thousands who publicly praised the pedophile/bank robber and said that pedophilia or bank robbery is good, and the 74 million people who voted their support of the pedophile/bank robber and pedophilia/bank robbery? Should we now say (like the pedophile/bank robber) there are "very fine people on both sides" and move forward into the bright new day, without there being any consequences to the perpetrators and supporters or ways to prevent them (or some others like them) from acting the same again?

Alfred Differ said...

David,

Give me the mRNA version(s) any day.

My most recent blogpost is about the topic by the time one reaches the end. If one is NOT emotionally responding in some way to the tech behind these new vaccines, one is NOT paying attention.

I WANT the mRNA techniques funded and expanded.
I WANT influenza targeted next. The entire F!#$ing family of them.
I WANT them looking at autoimmune disorders next.

In HEART OF THE COMET you had the crew periodically exposed to stuff so their immune systems had something to do. That plot element made me grumble, but it made MUCH more sense to me after my own immune system turned on me in 2013 and almost killed me.

I WANT them developing small, relatively harmless things that give our immune systems something to do besides target our own necessary functions.

Creepy? Sure could be.
Worth a self-preventing prophecy? You betchya!

Don't convince them to put down the flaming sword, though.
It is time to behead a Horseman.

Larry Hart said...

Keith Halperin:

Rather, let's say he's like a pedophile or (if that's too emotional) a bank robber. What should we do about the few thousand people who actively aided, abetted, or participated in the pedophilia/bank themselves, the several more thousands or tens of thousands who publicly praised the pedophile/bank robber and said that pedophilia or bank robbery is good, and the 74 million people who voted their support of the pedophile/bank robber and pedophilia/bank robbery?


The thing is, what do we do about the howevermany millions of Trump voters who believe--sincerely believe--that Democrats are the pedophiles, that Hunter Biden represents an untenable level of corruption surrounding the entire "Biden criime [sic] family", and that socialist Democrats are such an existential threat to freedom and liberty that their only choice is to hold their nose and vote for Trump the same way many of us did for Hillary last time?

They're out there, and they think we're the villains.

Alfred Differ said...

Larry,

Your daughter has good reason to gush.
The world just changed and she knows it earlier than most.

This is f#$%ing huge.

duncan cairncross said...

Ilithi Dragon
Re China
look at it from a Chinese viewpoint - turned American

There was a civil war - the losers (Confederates) took part of America (an Island)- killed off most the people that lived there - and set themselves up as the "Real Government"

Call that Cuba

Meanwhile a foreign power that supported the "Confederacy" in the civil war used that to set up massive naval bases and to operate its fleets thousands of miles from its borders - and right next to yours -

The foreign power (Russia) has fleets based on Cuba and has effectively taken over all of the other islands - by buying the leadership if not by other means

Mexico and Canada are both controlled by "Russia" - the politicians bought and paid for and if they turn against "Russia" the CIA murders them

THAT is the situation that China is in

Yes the "foreign power" was among the best of China's friends before the civil war - but they supported the "Confederates" - and still do

In THAT situation do you think that America would build up its fleets and its Army???

And even with all of THAT China is spending a LOWER percentage of its (lower) GDP than America is

China is spending 1.9% of its smaller GDP
The USA is spending 3.4% of its larger GDP

Which country is more "Warlike"???

David Brin said...

Duncan there is so much wrong with your analogy I can't figure out where to start and lack the time.

But suffice it to say that Korea and Japan, despite their differences, desperately want us there. Taiwan (and the native population was NOT annihilated by KMT) wants us there. Indonesia wants us there only as balance, but the rest -- INCLUDING VIETNAM, who might have reason to hate us -- all desperately want us there.

Alfred Differ said...

...used that to set up massive naval bases and to operate its fleets thousands of miles from its borders...

Ha!

Ignoring WWII.
Ignoring US colonial past when we took part of Spain's empire.
Ignoring US gunboat diplomacy with Japan.

Sure. They CAN be taught to believe that nonsense. Totalitarian states can teach their propaganda with at least moderate success.

Doesn't make it true, though.



Their reasonable motivation for opposing us is that we are in their sphere of influence. The rest is nonsense rationalization.

duncan cairncross said...

Hi Dr Brin

Two things

(1) the USA "selected" the governments of all of those countries (except Vietnam)
Which does put the "they want" slightly into question - but overall you are probably correct

(2) I was trying to display the Chinese POV - not some "truth" but what it looks like from China
And what the American POV would be if the USA was in the same situation as China is in

The American view here and elsewhere appears to be
"We are the white hats - therefore we can behave really really badly and it's all OK"

We can build up our military and have lots of weapons thousands of miles from our home and right next door to yours - and that OK
But if you build up your military (even in your backyard) then you are "Warmongers"

Take off the "white hats" and think about how America looks to the rest of the world

There is a reason why in almost every country in the world the USA is thought to be "the greatest threat to peace"

https://brilliantmaps.com/threat-to-peace/

And that was before Trump!!

Looking forwards

China has over four times the US population - an (arguably) more efficient government and has nine times as many STEM graduates

At some point in the near future the Chinese economy WILL be larger than the US economy

What will the USA do???

THAT thought gives me sleepless nights

scidata said...

I don't advocate trusting fascists. I only advocate paving a road out of fascism, Marshall style. Looking forward to the on-demand, automated coding of wide-pathology vaccines and the construction of a viable interplanetary merchant fleet over the next ten years. Hard to be anti-science when it can save one's own child from the hooded claw. This is how you go from billions to trillions. Maybe this 3rd decade of the millennium will be known as the 'HoldMyBeer' years. Huh, I just now got the possible 'Millennium Falcon' hint in SpaceX's naming scheme.

Keith Halperin said...

@Larry:
I understand. However, there is no moral equivalency here- these are NOT "nice" country-club Republicans who really believe that marginal tax rates are too high and that there are too many business regulations but are willing to compromise- these are people willing to subvert democracy to maintain their own power for its own sake. As I put it, we are in a "Cold Civil War" where the Neo-Confederates were marginally beaten, remain well-armed, and control nearly half the country- think contemporary Afghanistan without massive bloodshed or millions of refugees and a non-corrupt government facing a strong Taliban. So, what does our side do? Bide our time, read Sun Tzu (and maybe Machiavelli), and (as Moorish friends said) "Kiss the hand you cannot sever."

@Everybody:
It will be interesting to see how much damage we can undo and good will re-create between now and the "*Roaring '40's" when I fear climate change will start to get rather nasty and some other events like massive automation-based unemployment may coincide. Who will fair best during this time- US, China, EU, somebody else?


"Yes, I know it refers to windy southern hemisphere latitudes.

Unknown said...

I belong to Democratic Underground, a political site for--remarkably enough--Democrats. I posted a thread about your Harris-at-the-Lincoln-Memorial idea. At best, it got a luke-warm reception. The general response was vaguely negative. The consensus was that they should be together at the Capitol, as a team--that the optics of a separation were negative. Some other people thought it looked as if Harris was being egocentric, a notion that some on the Right pushed during the primaries--"Hey there, look at me! I'm special!" Personally, I was intrigued by the idea, and thought it showed some imagination and flair at a time when we--the sane folk--could use some. I admit, I'm a little disappointed with my fellow DUers...

David Brin said...

Duncan, there is some overlap between your latest and actual reality... but alas, very, very little. Had I time, I would dive in, because I like you, and deem you worth it. But swamped as I am, until February, I must triage.

Unknown, the Unknown, the notion that Harris on the Lincoln steps would be anything but at Joe's bidding (Biden-ing?) - rather than a lovely, co-planned symbolic triumph - is stunningly absurd. But this level of obdurate dullard-headedness and refusal of imagination, among Democrats, seems typical.

David Brin said...

Duncan, name one TPP nation whose leaders we imposed or installed. One. I'd be interested. One.

duncan cairncross said...

Hi Dr Brin
Name one!

All of South Korea's leaders up until the 90's - with major influence afterwards

Japan's initial leaders after WW2 (not surprising and completely justifiable)

Here NZ we had a Labour PM die in mysterious circumstances - but that is only a suspicion

The almighty dollar definitely contributes to Australia's very strange Prime Minister

Indonesia was ruled by a military dictator for 31 years - supported by the USA

The USA had a "practise" of supporting right wing dictators just in case the nasty commies got in

I call that "imposed and installed"

Very like South America and the Middle East

Overall - possibly a net benefit - but the people in the countries where the USA supported the right wing dictators remember and are not happy


Remember that we started talking about the "Point Of View" - the fact that TODAY the USA is not imposing (or doing so in a very subtle manner) does not change the POV that the USA supported the dictator that "killed my dad/brother/uncle" a mere 30 years ago

Britain stopped stirring the pot in India 70 years ago - but we are still the nasty colonialists

Don Gisselbeck said...

Should the auto mechanic respectfully listen to the idiot telling him to torque the lugnuts to 50 inch-pounds?

David Brin said...

Now Duncan, not in the last century. You insult those modern people, who fought hard to create modern democracies.

David Brin said...

And bah. Let's have a bet over world rejoicing on January 20.

duncan cairncross said...

I agree "not in this century"
Unfortunately memories are longer than that


And I do want to celebrate with you guys on 20/1/2021 -
only it will be 9am on the 21st of January here!

Bit early for a dram - I will have to celebrate with a cup of tea!

David Brin said...

No matter. Be downtown around then. Let us know if folks are expressing themselves.

David Smelser said...

An explanation of the covid vaccine source code. A wonderful explanation for those who understand computers.
https://berthub.eu/articles/posts/reverse-engineering-source-code-of-the-biontech-pfizer-vaccine

duncan cairncross said...

Be "Downtown"!
Gore is not what you would call a metropolis!

But we will all be celebrating that you (and us) have survived the biggest risk to world peace that I can remember

Keith Halperin said...

@Dr. Brin: "Name one TPP nation whose leaders we imposed or installed."
Um, depending on who the "we" are: the USA in 2017...

A question: did Russia and other anti-democratic players sit this last one out, were out maneuvered, or what?

Keith Halperin said...

@Dr. Brin: "Name one TPP nation whose leaders we imposed or installed."
Um, depending on who the "we" are: the USA in 2017...

A question: did Russia and other anti-democratic players sit this last one out, were out maneuvered, or what?

Ilithi Dragon said...

@ Dr. Brin:

No insults at all, I love it here! I've just been super busy with work. Came out of shipyard, and all the work-ups for that and sea trials, then a change-of-home-port (did I tell you guys I'm in Hawaii now? I don't remember...), then pre-deployment work-ups, and a deployment coming up... I've spent more of the last year out to sea than I've spent in port. Plus, I'm not just some lowly E-nothing on the boat anymore, I'm an E6, the Leading Petty Officer (LPO) of my division (in charge of a gaggle of wild and crazy fucks who are weak on military bearing and proper professionalism and need a goddamn haircut, the lot of them, but they're damn good at their jobs and the best weapons handling team on the waterfront, and possibly the whole of the pac fleet).

Most of the time I'm in port, I'm either pulling my hair out trying to keep my guys in line and working (so we can get the work done and go home), or pulling my hair out, jumping through hoops to deal with last-minute BS due to schedule changes, poor planning, poor communication, or what-have-you that has me doing silly little things like getting 3 days to do a 5-day weapons load with >150,000 lbs of ordnance... And still getting it done.
} : = 8 D

There's also a lot of political discussions that I'm very limited on my ability to discuss, for a variety of reasons. I've only got so many spoons to stick in things, and I've been reserving some for just destressing time, and also continuing work on my book (I recently posted Episode 14, btw, if anyone is interested), so keeping up on discussions here often gets put on the back burner (unfortunately).


@Duncan:
I'm limited on time, and I'm also not entirely sure of what all I can actually talk about on the matter, but China's actions are much more than just local military build-up in their backyard to stand off against the aggressive foreign belligerent projecting power into their neighborhood.

They are bullying their neighbors around, and pushing their neighbors out of markets. Their island building campaign is an effort to block EVERYONE out of the South China Sea and the East China Sea. Their fishing fleets ravage the fisheries of their neighboring pacific island nations, and their armed fishing militia actively combats the fishing vessels of their neighbors.

There's a lot of other political, economic, and historical stuff in play, of course, but from a military-strategic standpoint, the US doesn't really have a problem with other nations maintaining a military, even a sizeable one. Our issue comes when they use that military to bully about their neighbors in a way that threatens international trade, and when they get belligerent with our allies.

Ilithi Dragon said...

Well, I had a post all typed up, and hit publish, then it went away....
} : = 8 /

And, of course, I forgot to hit ctrl-a, ctrl-c before hitting the publish button, so now it's gone for good... Unless I'm going extra crazy.

Don't really have time to recreate it, either.
} : = 8 (

Ilithi Dragon said...

Ha! Nevermind, missed the comment moderation bit! Disregard the derpy dragon.

Keith Halperin said...

@Dr. Brin: "Name one TPP nation whose leaders we imposed or installed."
Um, depending on who the "we" are: the USA in 2017...

A question: did Russia and other anti-democratic players sit this last one out, were out maneuvered, or what?

Robert said...

Now Duncan, not in the last century. You insult those modern people, who fought hard to create modern democracies.

It may be churlish, but I'll note that America is still coming to terms with the American Civil War, which took place before the last century yet can still inflame passions and provoke violence (not to mention government shutdowns).

David said...

@illithi dragon said: "I'm limited on time, and I'm also not entirely sure of what all I can actually talk about on the matter, but China's actions are much more than just local military build-up in their backyard to stand off against the aggressive foreign belligerent projecting power into their neighborhood."

Yeah, saw that in Myanmar. There was an absolutely CRIMINAL dereliction of duty on the part of the Trump administration in actually doing the hard grunt work of hammering out deals. The idiotic destruction of the US State Dep't (which Putin hated and feared because it was so damn effective at combatting criminal oligarchies) led to meetings where it would be me and one poor lone statie in a room and there would be 17 Chinese negotiators on the other.

Up for grabs? The rare earths and minerals that are the underpinning of the semiconductor industry, and the foundation of a 21st century economy.

And then there's China's whole "Belt and Road" initiative that I started seeing in Kazakhstan, where they are damn nervous, stuck between Moscow & Beijing, sitting on top of an ocean of oil, and the richest veins of uranium in the world. Nothing at stake there, in a country of ~18MM people, fewer than reside in Los Angeles county. No big deal that their neighbors in Pakistan & Afghanistan might want to get their hands on weapons-grade uranium, eh?

But back to Belt and Road. The tremors of which are being felt in East Africa as well, where you can't drive down a highway in Ethiopia without going over a bridge that has a big sign on it saying, "Courtesy of Your Chinese Friends".

Even Fox News tried to sound the alarm. But coming up with a strategy to counter this attempt at world domination ... hmmm .... maybe a Trans-Pacific Partnership? ... would have meant actual, you know, WORK by Trump, and he is far too stupid and lazy to take that on.

We will be cleaning up the damage from this for decades. If we even can.

The stupids have taken over our government, and used it to rob taxpayers and saddle us with trillions on debt.

Alfred Differ said...

Does anyone here have a sense for how far back the following idea goes?

"Use the interstellar medium as a source of drag to help slow a starship."

Modern descriptions and calculations aren't hard to find. I'm looking for anything form the 70's and earlier. Especially science fiction.

As a kid I recall reading more than one story involving Bussard Ramjets. I seem to recall that they weren't all the same. What I don't recall is who wrote the stories and how far back the idea goes.

Any help would be appreciated. 8)

Alfred Differ said...

Ilithi Dragon,

I just finished David Marquet's book "Turn the Ship Around!" the other day.

Now, before hitting the "Publish Your Comment" button, I tend to pause & say "I intend to... Publish My Comment." 8)

Congrats on demonstrating you aren't a lowly E-nothing. 8)

[My father made it to E-8 in the USAF and retired in the late 70's. His gaggle of wild and crazy fucks grew larger with each promotion and eventually provoked his 'father instinct' when some of them were THAT young.]

David Brin said...

Ilithi Dragon, so glad you are continuing your way-cool interdimensional combat story! Email me for a few advice tidbits.

And I smiled at your E6 tale. There are no greater proofs that human males are capable of some degree of sapient maturity than the fact that CPOs are able to prevent 19 year olds from blowing up naval ships right and left, in any given hour.

--
Again, we were clumsy and sometimes paranoid in fighting the Cold War, but the people of Eastern Europe VOTED UNANIMOUSLY that we were right to fear the Stalinist behemoth and they universally ran to embrace us and join NATO.

Likewise, our handling of matters in latin America and Iran (Mossadegh) and Korea and Phillippines and especially Vietnam was thuggish and vexing and overbearing... except compared to every other empire that ever existed, including especially Chinese ones. Our handling of that era was only evil by the NEW and better standards of behavior that WE have been teaching. Romans, French, Russian, Chinese, British empires had no such values of self-reproach.

Again, the TPP nations have made clear who they want as an ally and friend. They instinctively and pragmatically know, while remembering our thuggish faults, that we generally mean well and our protective umbrella is generally benign.

===

Videos to pass some time? Here are rough drafts of three episodes of a cool science show being put together by a Chinese producer: Science Fiction: A Conversation Between Artist and Scientist https://vimeo.com/411862575 Password: scifi001 https://vimeo.com/411827158 Password: scifi002 https://vimeo.com/411794974 password: scifi003 

Re our allies re China
https://news.google.com/articles/CAIiEKiRyurUMwK43in-YV2nYWkqGAgEKg8IACoHCAow1tzJATDnyxUww8rPBg?hl=en-US&gl=US&ceid=US%3Aen

scidata said...

Re: Rare Earths
We may have to go off world:
https://cen.acs.org/biological-chemistry/synthetic-biology/Microbes-mine-rare-earth-elements/98/web/2020/11

Fun fact: Charles Cockell gave me an A+ on my very first Coursera certificate several years ago. Pure dead brilliant :)

Tim H. said...

Upgrading electrical grid interconnects might be a "Shovel ready" infrastructure project for Biden-Harris, but there are political considerations:

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2020/08/how-trump-appointees-short-circuited-grid-modernization/615433/

If we can upgrade interconnects, it might be an opportune time to protect against a CME.

Keith Halperin said...

@ Everyone: Sorry about the triplicate-glitches before.

@ Alfred re: Interstellar medium as a drag, Bussard ships: http://www.projectrho.com/public_html/rocket/slowerlight3.php#id--Go_Fast--Bussard_Ramjet
(If you want realistic, comprehensive, and pleasant discussions of all issues space, go to "Atomic Rockets".
If you want a neutronium-hard SF site, go to http://toughsf.blogspot.com/
[I joke that this isn't a "science-fiction" site, it's an "engineering fiction" site!])
If you want a thoughtful, articulate, and often semi-technical discussion of space things, go to http://www.rocketpunk-manifesto.com/.
I particularly liked this: http://www.rocketpunk-manifesto.com/2009/10/time-scale-of-space.html, where Rick gives very plausible reasons why we're not likely to have zillions of folks IN SPA-A-ACE for quite awhile [example: 568 people in 2125,based on a compounding 4% annual growth rate.
He's in the "Space will be more like working on offshore oil platforms and Antarctic bases than settling the Old West Camp", as am I.]
Rick has rather exhausted what to say, but maybe he can be encouraged to discuss new relevant topics. He's a nice man, too.)

@ Dr. Brin: While not TPP countries, in this century we performed a couple of regime changes: Afghanistan and Iraq. After a few hundred k total casualties and a few $T spent, how much better are things? Afghanistan appears to be reversing some of the positive post-Taliban reforms to accommodate the Taliban, and the Iraqi government may be largely an Iranian puppet/client (outside of the Kurdish Region).

Larry Hart said...

This is getting more farcical by the moment. Apparently, Mike Pence refuses to join the lawsuit against Mike Pence. How would that even work if he did join it?

https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/532036-pence-refused-to-sign-on-to-plan-to-overturn-election-lawyers-say

In new court filings made public Tuesday, the plaintiffs disclosed that they had reached out to Pence before filing their suit in an attempt to join forces but that their talks did not reach any kind of agreement.


I'm just trying to imagine the outcry by these very same Republicans had Al Gore exercised the Vice President's so-called absolute power to choose which electors to count, thereby naming himself president in 2001. Or if Joe Biden had so declared Hillary the victor in 2016.

But I gather that to the authoritarians and fascists, this is not hypocrisy. The various steps at which the Founding Fathers presciently gave us ways to change the result of an election after the fact were meant to insure that the people could never vote against authoritarians and fascists. Democrats attempting to use such powers would be insurgents. The rules are there for the benefit and protection of Republicans.

Once you understand, it all makes sense.

A variation on a 1980s Yakov Smirnov joke:

Vice President Mike Pence is free to say "The Republican won the election."

Vice Presidents Al Gore and Joe Biden were also free to say "The Republican won the election."

They could also say "The Democrat won the election", but this, you only do once.

Robert said...

Just got an email from an American Republican congressman*, which I thought I'd share. It's phrased as a poll question (yes/no/don't know) but it looks to be a lot like push-polling to me. Thoughts?

As your representative in Washington, I have the privilege to make sure your voice is heard in the halls of Congress.

That’s why I want to ask you an urgent question about congressional action being taken on January 6.

Federal law requires the states to deliver certified electoral college results to the vice president, serving as president of the Senate, and other parties. Then a joint meeting of Congress is required by the 12th Amendment to count the electoral votes and declare the winners of the presidential election. The session on January 6, 2021, starts at 1 pm ET.

If a member of the House and a member of the Senate together issue a joint objection to any state’s vote—for any reason—the House and Senate go into separate sessions to consider and vote to sustain the objection. The last time there was an objection was in 2005 when a House Democrat and Senate Democrat objected to Ohio’s electoral votes claiming voting irregularities.

There is a question about the legality of some votes cast in the 2020 election. Article II, Section 1, clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution clearly states that Presidential Electors must be appointed according to rules established by each state’s legislature. But in the months before the 2020 election, those rules were deliberately changed in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, not by their legislatures, but by governors, secretaries of state, election officials, judges and/or private parties.

The Supreme Court has not yet ruled on this important, constitutional question.

Should the U.S. House of Representatives certify the electoral college vote in these four disputed states on January 6?



*I've guessing, judging by the Republican and NRA emails I get, that at least one American with my name hasn't figured out that he keeps using my email address rather than his own.

JPinOR said...

Re: Bussard Ramjets, Alfred wrote: As a kid I recall reading more than one story involving Bussard Ramjets. I seem to recall that they weren't all the same. What I don't recall is who wrote the stories and how far back the idea goes.

One example is probably Larry Niven's Known Space series, which started in the 60s.

David Brin said...

"They could also say "The Democrat won the election", but this, you only do once."

Well. Cheney said it for Obama, January 2009. But it had been a landslide.

Larry Hart said...

@Dr Brin,

The original Yakov Smirnov gag I was referencing went thusly. The name references date the routine as being from 1985:

In America, you are free to say 'I do not like Ronald Reagan'.

In Russia, you are also free to say, "I do not like Ronald Reagan."

In Russia, you can also say, "I do not like Yuri Andropov," but this, you only do once."


Larry Hart said...

Robert's Republican congressman:

There is a question about the legality of some votes cast in the 2020 election. Article II, Section 1, clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution clearly states that Presidential Electors must be appointed according to rules established by each state’s legislature. But in the months before the 2020 election, those rules were deliberately changed in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, not by their legislatures, but by governors, secretaries of state, election officials, judges and/or private parties.


State legislatures generally empower election officials to do the grunt work. That's how they establish the rules. This idea that the legislature can take it back any time it wants, even after the election was held, doesn't pass the "Can a Democratic legislature do that too?" test.

* * *

Dr Brin:

Well. Cheney said it for Obama, January 2009. But it had been a landslide.


I suppose there's no point throwing out Florida's and Pennsylvania's electoral votes when that would still have left Obama with over 300. It must suck to be a Republican who can't win North Carolina, Virginia, or Ohio. :)

What gets me is that four years ago, we here all had these same hopes--the Electoral College will save us; the joint session of congress will save us; Jill Stein's lawsuit in Wisconsin will save us--and each time, we had to get used to the fact that these are mere formalities, and that the results of the election were indeed final. Now, Republicans are on the losing side, and it's like they've just discovered this hitherto unknown fact--that the election is only a suggested result. And that Alexander Hamilton and company were smart enough to set it up that way, not to protect us from an authoritarian demagogue like Trump, but to protect an authoritarian demagogue.

duncan cairncross said...

Hi Guys
Did you see this?
https://www.inverse.com/science/first-images-of-asteroid-ryugu-rocks

There is a bit of what looks like tinfoil
It has GOT to be off the spaceship!!

But if it isn't........

David Brin said...

Duncan that piece of foil will be x-ray and pion and possibly mass spectrographed. There'll be no ambiguity.

duncan cairncross said...

Yep it will have every test we can think of done on it!

And I'm 99.99% sure that it will be part of the spaceship

But until they do the tests we can wonder

duncan cairncross said...

Happy New Year!

Tony Fisk said...

@JPinOR A Bussard ramjet also features in Poul Anderson's 'Tau Zero'. From memory, a problem with braking occurs. Fixing it would require lethal exposure to the ionic radiation of their fuel source. The crew decide their only hope is to speed up until they reach the hard vacuum of intergalactic space (it takes a few years of ship time). Then comes the problem of finding a suitable location to slow down before the Universe dies...

David Brin said...

Tony, they realize the universe is already near death by the time they fix the decelerator engines. So they charge ahead even faster to bypass the Big Crunch and the Next Big Bang and then slow down into a new universe to settle in a new galaxy. Zowee.

Larry Hart said...

duncan cairncross:

And I'm 99.99% sure that it will be part of the spaceship

But until they do the tests we can wonder


If we want, we can be like the Traeki, Asx. The wax hasn't congealed into memory yet, so it's still possible to hope that the thing that has happened already will somehow happen differently.

Alfred Differ said...

Keith & JPinOR,

Thank you both!
Looks like my reading of those kinds of stories halted a bit before people looked more at mag sails to slow down rather than turning the ramjet.

scidata said...

A review of some 2020 stuff including Peter Turchin (Cliodynamics). It supports many of our host's views, but from a more psychohistorical perspective. Especially the section "The age of discord". Looks like a tough decade coming up for Canada & US.
"the surplus elites make their own trouble. They exploit divisions and construct popular crusades against experts and science"
https://thetyee.ca/Analysis/2020/06/05/Where-Do-We-Go-From-Here/

Begun, the Transistor Wars have. (my own take, not the article author's)

TheMadLibrarian said...

Ilithi, if you're anywhere near Maui, let me know... DH and I have a habit of standing our friends for dinner, although it may have to be a socially-distanced picnic! We used to play paintball with some of the folks from K-Bay MCAS on Oahu; we may have disagreed politically, but they were good players and good joes otherwise.

Using drag in interstellar space to slow a spaceship smacks of the old 'ether' theory, where stars and planets were held up by the ether, like fruit salad in Jello :) I suppose even through interstellar matter is quite rarified, you might be able to get some slowing from it, after thousands of years.

TheMadLibrarian said...

...oh, and Happy New Year to all! May 2021 beat 2020 solidly on all counts, and 2020, don't let the screen door hit you in the bum on the way out!

Larry Hart said...

TheMadLibrarian:

Happy New Year to all! May 2021 beat 2020 solidly on all counts, and 2020, don't let the screen door hit you in the bum on the way out!


So say we all, on both counts!

Of course, if you're in Maui, you've still got a lot more 2020 than most of us left to go.

A little less than 7 hours to go in Chicago. Then, 19.5 more days!

Der Oger said...

Happy New Year!

Keith Halperin said...

@ Albert et al re: Ramships & Tau Zero (A much better title than "Gamma Gazillion"!):
I read T-0 when I was a kid and was blown away.
Looking back after nearly 50 years, I wondered about an alternate ending:
Through some handwavish technobabble, the crew of the good ship "Lenny C" learn that by doing what they actually did in the novel, there'd be an even chance that they'd change the parameters of the new universe ("newniverse") so that life couldn't evolve or that things would be just fine for them, the life, the universe, and everything, so they have to decide about whether or not to sacrifice themselves in order to save the newniverse.

I may have brought this up before, but I wanted to discuss with fellow Gentle Contributors and OGH about when a major (or minor) element of a SF work turns out to be counterfactual ("cyclical universe," people evolved from alien Homo habilis 'cause the yams wouldn't grow right, Venus is covered with swamps and seltzer oceans, etc.) does it become fantasy, and does it matter if it does?

@ Duncan: and "Tinfoil Aliens":
If it DOES turn out to be aliens (I really doubt it, but ya neva know...": we should send 'em this clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Jw7AX-3gmc

@ All of us: re: 2021:
May 2021 take us out of the Dickian timeline and into a much more Brinian one.
Stay well and stay safe.

David Brin said...

KH... interesting. Your notion about setting parameters for a new universe is much like the end of the THREE BODY TRILOGY.

David Brin said...

onward

onward

Alfred Differ said...

Keith,

When a plot element turns out to be counterfactual, I usually bump the story over into an alternate universe version of things. If the story was science fiction to begin, it likely remains so... to me.

I don't expect science fiction authors to get all the science right. I expect them to display speculation competence. For example, Tolkien's humans weren't humans like us. Herbert's humans in Dune were MUCH more like us. One writer wrote mythically intentionally. The other wrote science fiction.

Your alternate ending for Tau Zero sounds like a Trolley Problem. We learn something about ourselves in pondering it no matter what answers emerge. How much do YOU want to tweak the half-life of Be-8 in the next cycle? 8)