Saturday, August 28, 2021

Space & science! (starting with a wee bit of pertinent theology?)

Before getting to news from and about Space and the Universe(!)… how about a marginally-related overlap of biology, current events and… theology?  This from Leviticus 13:45 – 46:

 

 “Anyone with such a defiling disease must wear torn clothes, let their hair be unkempt, cover the lower part of their face and cry out, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’ As long as they have the disease they remain unclean. They must live alone; they must live outside the camp.”

 

Cover the lower part of their face and social distancing? Alas, Leviticus is only for citing the parts you like at the moment. 


More generally/cogently, here's my talk about dozens of biblical riffs you might use to ease your cousins out of the dark corners that their parasite preachers have painted them into, including the War on Science. So You Want to Make Gods... one of my best speeches. Entertaining, funny (if I do say so) and a classic of contrarianism!


== Starship’s ‘mundane’ or Earthly use interests the Air Force ==


Recent ‘justification’ documents suggest Air Force officials are intrigued by the possibility of launching 100 tons of cargo from the United States and having the ability to land it anywhere in the world about an hour later.  The described capability – of course – can only be approached by SpaceX. Accordingly, the Air Force science and technology investments will include "novel loadmaster designs to quickly load/unload a rocket, rapid launch capabilities from unusual sites, characterization of potential landing surfaces and approaches to rapidly improve those surfaces, adversary detectability, new novel trajectories, and an S&T investigation of the potential ability to air drop a payload after reentry," the document states.


Available for Kabul? One could dream.


Mysterious Venus was the first planet NASA explored, in the groundbreaking Mariner 2 mission that flew by in 1962, breaking our hearts with news that there were no jungles or oceans of SF fame. Now our hot twin world will get two NASA missions with some concepts we first funded at NIAC. As for those oceans? Well, might a million comet-falls remake them? See my novella "The Tumbledowns of Cleopatra Abyss" (now also a cool screenplay!) in my new Best-of-Brin collection! 


Says NASA space biology researcher Chris McKay, the clouds of Venus hold far too little water to support any kind of life we now imagine, but – "Jupiter looks much more optimistic," McKay said. "There is at least a layer in the clouds of Jupiter where the water requirements are met. It doesn't mean that there is life, it just means that with respect to water, it would be OK." High levels of ultraviolet radiation or lack of nutrients could, however, prevent that potential life from thriving, the researchers said, and completely new measurements would be needed to find whether it actually could be there or not. 


== Both totally tubular AND globular? ==


Globular clusters are often considered 'fossils' of the early Universe. They're very dense and spherical, typically containing roughly 100,000 to 1 million very old stars; some, like NGC 6397, are nearly as old as the Universe itself.

In any globular cluster, all its stars formed at the same time, from the same cloud of gas. The Milky Way has around 150 known globular clusters; these objects are excellent tools for studying, for example, the history of the Universe, or the dark matter content of the galaxies they orbit.

But there's another type of star group that is gaining more attention - tidal streams, long rivers of stars that stretch across the sky. Previously, these had been difficult to identify, but with the Gaia space observatory… "We do not know how these streams form, but one idea is that they are disrupted star clusters." The Palomar 5 stream appears unique in that it has both a very wide, loose distribution of stars and a long tidal stream, spanning more than 20 degrees of the sky… 


... populations of black holes could exist in the central regions of globular clusters, and since gravitational interactions with black holes are known to send stars careening away, the scientists included black holes in some of their simulations.  sims suggest  more than 20 percent of the total cluster mass is made up of black holes," 


"They each have a mass of about 20 times the mass of the Sun, and they formed in supernova explosions at the end of the lives of massive stars, when the cluster was still very young."  In around a billion years, the team's simulations showed, the cluster will dissolve completely. Just before this happens, what remains of the cluster will consist entirely of black holes, orbiting the galactic center. This suggests that Palomar 5 is not unique, after all - it will dissolve completely into a stellar stream, just like others that we have discovered."


Oh, and then...

Cosmic filaments are huge bridges of galaxies and dark matter that connect clusters of galaxies to each other. They funnel galaxies towards and into large clusters that sit at their ends.” Hundreds of millions of light years long, but just a few million light years in diameter, these fantastic tendrils of matter rotate, a degree of angular momentum never before seen, on a truly cosmic scale.  “On these scales the galaxies within them are themselves just specs of dust. They move on helixes or corkscrew like orbits, circling around the middle of the filament while traveling along it.”

 It’s been supposed that there is no primordial rotation in the early universe. As such any rotation must be generated as structures form.

== Getting competitive up there? ==


Apparently China is further along in developing reusable rockets than many of us thought.  “China conducted a clandestine first test flight of a reusable suborbital vehicle as a part of its development of a reusable space transportation system. The vehicle launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center and landed at an airport just over 800 kilometers away at Alxa League in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.”

 

A burgeoning boom in venture capital and SPAC investment in space-related startups.

 

Peering inside Mars - an excellent WIRED article updates what has been learned about the Martian interior by the Insight seismic lander.

 

Long-predicted as the source of type 1a supernovae, a teardrop-shaped star has been found, caused by a massive nearby white dwarf distorting the star with its intense gravity, which will also be the catalyst for an eventual supernova that will consume both.” As soon as the dwarf has stolen just enough to surpass the Chandrasekhar Limit.  And since all such events have exactly the same mass-trigger, supernovas from such star systems can be used as ‘standard candles’ to measure expansion of the universe. HD265435 is located roughly 1,500 light years away, so don’t lose sleep. Over this, at least. But close enough to put on quite a show.  (Alas, this article has a couple of boner paragraphs.) 

 

The alternative, a supernova created by a sudden stellar merger… is not quite as ‘standard” as a pure type 1a.

 

== More space! More space! ==

 

For the first time, a NASA grant has gone to a joint team of astronomers plus the Breakthrough Listen Project to sift data from the TESS planet hunting mission that might (maybe) indicate alien mega structures. Or else big, natural light-blockers like comets. ‘If alien megastructures exist in our galaxy, there’s a decent chance that they might be hiding in the TESS data. But there’s also the possibility that the Breakthrough Listen team will come up empty-handed just like every SETI search before them.’ 

 

The Vasimir electric propulsion engine, ready for prime time, at last?

 

Caltech is announcing that Donald Bren donated over $100 million to form the Space-based Solar Power Project (SSPP), capable of generating solar power in space and beaming it back to Earth. The donation was made anonymously in 2013, but nears a significant milestone: a test launch of multifunctional technology-demonstrator prototypes that collect sunlight and convert it to electrical energy, transfer energy wirelessly in free-space using radio frequency (RF) electrical power, and deploy ultralight structures that will be used to integrate them. SPP aims to ultimately produce a global supply of affordable, renewable, clean energy. 

 

SSPP aims to ultimately produce a global supply of affordable, renewable, clean energy. The project's first test, in 2023, will launch prototypes solar power generators and RF wireless power transfer, and includes a deployable structure measuring roughly 6 feet by 6 feet.

 

139 comments:

Larry Hart said...

Paradoctor from the previous post:

...
not T = F ; not I = I ; not F = T

Kleenean logic is deductively complete; that is there's a finite set of identities that derive all identities in Kleenean logic.


I'm speaking as a complete amateur in your field, but something rubs me wrong about "not I = I". What I mean is, the statement "This statement is false" can't be either T or F. Its being one or the other immediately determines that it can't be of that value. But if that statement is I, then "not I" is something like "This statement is NOT false" (or "This statement is True".) That can be either True or False, and its being one or the other becomes self-reinforcing. While "Can be either true or false--it doesn't matter which" is indeed indeterminate, it doesn't seem to be indeterminate in the same way that "Can't be either True or False" is. Almost the opposite thing (which I suppose is the defintion of "not I".

You mentioned in your earlier post some more complex versions of logic with four values. Is there some distinction in the science between those two versions of I?

I'm thinking along the lines of imaginary numbers, where once you define i as "the square root of negative 1", then that requires that -i also be a square root of negative 1. Since that is the only way i is defined, it would seem as if i = -i by definition. And yet, once you call one of them i, it is not the case that that same "number" is also -i. They're functionally indistinguishable from each other, but not equal. Not in the way that 0 indeed is the exact same thing as -0.

Larry Hart said...

Paradoctor again from the previous post:

My favorite is the Paradox of the Boundary. Is dawn day or night?


Why is the baseball "foul line" actually fair territory? :)

Jon S. said...

Following up on the VASIMR story (because frankly I no longer trust Politico to report the weather, never mind anything important):

http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=57827

Basically, they made it 88 hours into the testing, falling short of the 100-hour goal only due to a "spurious" temperature reading on the facility structure. The company believes they could have maintained that 82-kw thrust indefinitely in space.

A.F. Rey said...

I always wanted to ask one of those Biblical literalists who believes that, when the Bible refers to "a day," it is a 24 hour period (no more and no less), just how they square that belief with Christ saying he'd be "three days and three nights in the belly of the Earth" with the two nights and one day he spent between Good Friday and sunrise on Easter Sunday. Are they wrong, or was Christ a liar? :)

I'm sure they have some handwaving explanation, though. They always do. :(

Native American said...

Paradoctor

As for if paradox is lexical or relates to reality... Paradox has to do with logic, which is lexical by definition.

Bingo! But well, that's kinda not platonical.

But when I consider the world around me, I detect no transfinite cardinals...

Well. There is things like Nothingness.
It's undetectable. But it still exist.

My favorite is the Paradox of the Boundary. Is dawn day or night?

I guess that is question of Phisics, am I wrong?


L.Hart

I don't claim greatness, nor do I have to. I claim to be greater than Republicans because they are so awful.

Oh, Ok. Blame is mine.
I emphased it badly.
That is not your greatness that puzzling me. (you are right, you are not that great... as all we, people... well, still, claim that one is *inherently* better than other guy (who is worse than animal) - reminds me of something)
But your inability to admit it - I say all that bad things about Reps... because they my opponents as first reason, and only second, third? fifty-second reason are that they are bad.
Because?
Because there's no shortage of "bad" people in the World. That same talibs, for example. And they wastly worse, isn't it? I just checking your hierarchy of treats here.
My point exactly - your attitude "they are bad" correlate stronger NOT with their objective badness... but with other factors. And that is what bias are about. Skewed/tilted perception of Reality.
Well, nothing bad about being biased. That is natural, instinctive thing and important for our survival and understanding of the world.
What is really, really bad - inability to self-account oneself, admit own biases.
Ugly things growing from that inability.
But well, you know it yourself.


But implied, Larry. You implied it. All turtles way down. Your answer to each and every question this far are just that - "because they are liars".

Because they are. Which says nothing about how great (or not) I am.

Thank you for your honesty. This time.


While that absolutely anti-logical. Nobody can lie ALL the time.(imagine some Absolute Liar... type who will say "What a rainy day" on a clear sky Sunday - but that is rediculous,

Donald Trump.

And why you overlooked emphased by me ALL there?
That's important.
From standpoint of Logic.
Other way around, I understand your frustration of dealing with "liars". But what can we do, really? Kill all them? All liars? Even lawyers? Even standup comics? Even white-lie-liars? Even little unwise children? Even ones of us who stepped out and said something that someone of us deem as not true?


My point was that the value that they clearly show is that of elevating partisanship over journalistic integrity. It was the value itself that I was disparaging, not the fact that they showed it.

Well, let's check it?
Imagine, that some journalist, for whom you know his liberal alignment, giving report about some poor orphans and their shabby orphanage with pictures of their sad faces and their stories about how mistress abusing em.
What's you assessment of it would be?

(be continued)

Native American said...

(continuation)

As a freebe. I'll show some logic flaws in your words.

Make it "Most influential Republicans are liars." We observe their behavior and their specific lies every day. I'll cop to there being a handful of exceptions.

For example this "Most influential..."
Is it "Most OF influential Republicans are liars."
Or it "Most influential OF Republicans are liars."
That is clearly different sets of "liars". Not good.
Also, you using "influential" without definition here. So, go figure, who is and who is not one of "influential liars". Not good.
And clearly, you use "liars" not in strictly logical, but colloquial meaning. As "someone saying something I deem as wrong". That's all demonstrably is poor logic constructs.

But... if you'd be able to make your claims more grounded in firm logic - that could make your claims much more potent and undeniable.
That's all.



D.Brin

Blah blah de blah blah.

Oh, can I assume in Larry's way, that your TRUE attitude toward Logic and Science showing here?
Well, O.K.


Writhing and squirming to maintain adesperate stance that he is smarter and can see while all the smart people are blind.

In the same Larry's way. Why you assume that I claim being "smarter", while never did that? Isn't that manipulative? Repuglican-way "wat, ya sz u a smurter than us, dumbass?!!"
Well, using Logic is kinda counts like showing own smarts.
But... the same as with kung fu, only firm USING of it, with demonstration of quality inferences and proofs, counts.
Not empty claims "I'm of chinese bloodline, so my kung fu is better, because kung fu is from China", as it will be disproved with first punch.


Alas, your 'logic" is used only to neutralize the existence of facts which would demolish almost every stance you take. A blind person can certainly tell night from day, in countless ways.

Well. Not *my* logic. Blame Aristotel.
Yes. Same as daltonic can learn to destinguish colors.
Your point?
Are you proponent of "all Truth is immediately visible and self-evident"?
But that is vulgar and anti-scientific idea.
And very similar to religious creed "all Truth already revealed, and it is in Bible/Koran/Whatever... no futher exploraton,experimentation needed... burn that heretic!!!".


Any of us here can prove Republicans aren't 'harmless"

Of course. Because that was my OPINION.
Being hurtfull of harmless depend on the person.I would'nt bother to prove or disprove that to you, only would ask - and why you feel it that way?


I did like the Back To The Future referencer, though it actually means the opposite of what he thinks it means.

Oh, I think I get it. What's the difference.
In movie that is villians doing that taunts.
But you are not the villian, so your taunts - legitimate? Am I correct?

David Brin said...

Oh my, what a snooze fest. It's like Kremlin-Boy here is trying every meme they have up on the cork board this week. Only without the help of his KGB grammarian.

criminy! What an insult to all actual Native Americans, to suggest they'd be so bad at English. But that grammar deficit is NOT a grievance! We've had plenty of non-native English speakers here who had intelligence (so does N.A.), cogency (not), and honesty (hah!)

Again, all the writhing and squirming and verbal flood boils down to desperation to deny that facts exist. They are never perfect but cumulatively cleansing of bullshit, when used in a conscientiously applied regimen of reciprocal competitive criticism and professionalism and respect and mental hygiene.

Facts exist, fellah, and the fact-using professions are wisingup to every weapon used against them. And the blatant fact is that you HATE that fact. And every time you squirm you display that frantic hate. We notice...

... and we're growing bored. Quick skimming, only, from now on.

Native American said...

.


About that wager thing.

I understand that,
if that's for example some cowboy asked to kill an indian, as a way to show courage or for money, while taunted with "you are not one of us men if you'll not do that" - that is easy to comprehend.
Or... that is indian told to kill cowboy, to show courage or revenge of his tribe, and taunted with "you are not one of us if you'll not do that" -- that's also easy to grasp.

But proposal to some "indian" to kill his iconical fellow... with tickling him to death, for the grab of peanuts, while taunting him with "you are not true scothmen" - that's kinda rediculous.

Hey, guys, can anybody here give me a hand and help with understanding this puzzle?


.

duncan cairncross said...

I vote you cut the "Native American" off as a waste of space

Native American said...

D.Brin

Facts exist, fellah, and the fact-using professions are wisingup to every weapon used against them. And the blatant fact is that you HATE that fact. And every time you squirm you display that frantic hate. We notice...


Oh, I noticed it too.
That you only *claiming*/*chanting*/*praying* that "facts do exist".
The same way religious frenks claim "God do exist", I'll add.

But NEVER EVER, giving yourself an excercise to PRESENT even one.(while true fact-user must... what you are not)
NEVER demonstrating us how you extracting Truth from that facts.
Much less, you try to connect some facts with at least basic logic inference.
Testable, Proveble, Scientifically Falsifable. Oh, that words lost on you.

Because, most of the time - you just claim that anything you say is Truth Beyond Doubts.
Even without providing some circling arguments, as Larry do.

Now I know it, you are just religious/ideological zealot. Top notch. Heh.
That's why I'm vary of Dem-folks. Because they allow such zealots to rule over them. Mind-control them.

Well, Reps are not better. But their mind controllers and puppetiers are long last as established. And not that dangerously reactionary.
That's why I call em "harmless".

TCB said...

@ Paradoctor and Larry Hart, I like the fact that there are no fewer than three twilights. Six if you count morning and evening.

Civil twilight: you don't need artificial lighting. This is the time between sunset and the sun's center reaching 6 degrees below the horizon, or the opposite case before dawn.

Nautical twilight: 6 to 12 degrees, you need artificial light to see clearly. Bright stars and horizon are visible, hence sailors can use a sextant.

Astronomical twilight: not totally dark but faint stars are visible; the sun is 12 to 18 degrees below the horizon. Any lower and it's just plain night. But if there's a lot of light pollution, there's not much difference between astronomical twilight and midnight.

Larry Hart said...

duncan cairncross:

I vote you cut the "Native American" off as a waste of space


Definitely a sealion, and I've already responded way too often. I'm done.

I would not call for banning based on content (ignoring works just as well), but if he keeps filling up the blog with walls of text such that no one can find anyone else's posts, then I'd agree.

Larry Hart said...

The long lost answer to the question posed by the "black fuhrer of Harlem" in Kurt Vonnegut's Mother Night--that of "Whoever told you that a Chinaman was a colored man?"

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/26/opinion/Mississippi-chinese-labor.html

...
In 1924, Gong Lum, a grocer in the Delta town of Rosedale, tried to enroll his oldest daughter in a white school. She was rejected. Lum hired a lawyer and took the case to court. A district court found in Lum’s favor, but the Mississippi Supreme Court found that because the Chinese were not “white” they had to fall under the heading of “colored races.” This decision was upheld by the United States Supreme Court.

David Brin said...

Yes, Duncan, if other vote the same, I may re-adjust the spam filter to exclude a couple of other tunable parameters. But I am reluctant because

(1) this N.A. fellow is not a rug-shitter, yet, and I like the notion of broad standards.

(2) The simplest spam filter criterion to crank up would be grammar, but doing that in general would make me (ironically) a "nativist" and getting me to do that may actually be the tactical outcome sought by this blatant Kremlin agent provocateur.

(3) I am actually a little flattered I've been assigned one of these fellows... though insulted they did not send the A-team.

(4) Above all, I am still finding it a bit amusing to watch the writhe and squirm... well, slightly amusing to skim it. I don't have time to waste.

I will say this. I will not refer to someone who so blatantly and deeply insults members of First Nations with his chosen monicker. Even "N.A." takes too much typing work.

From now until enough of you vote for a ban... he is simply "Nah".

scidata said...

The Tower of Babel is perhaps the most dangerous topic of discussion there is, even more risky than evolution. It can quickly turn genteel church ladies into fire-breathing dragons.

David Brin said...

I've never encountered the Tower of Babel as a trigger issue. Sure, *I* use it to provoke, by pointing out that
1- There are no words of actual anger or reproach, just causal thwarting of an activity the wasn't even forbidden, implying it was simply premature...

2- Instead of a tantrum of vast murder-death from above that we see a page earlier and a page later, the weird 'punishment' that removed the immediate cause (the Tower) also led to vast diversity in human culture, exactly the grist for any comprehensive experiment...

...and only "humanity as an experiment" qualifies as an answer to the problem of individual human pain.

David Brin said...

Making the war on enlightenment and on Fact itself extremely clear: "Scientific theory is dismissed out of hand by the church because of a fear that somehow science will prove that God does not exist."

Of course this is another Kremlin-pushed piece of agitprop aimed at further incitement of Confederate treason. But even this is superficial. The hate-all-nerds and nerd professions cult has deeper roots. They simply hate the fact that the geeks they bullied in Jr. High are achieving success with God-given gifts.


https://www.salon.com/2021/08/28/evangelicals-science-and-the-vaccine-refusal-is-built-on-deep-seated-fear/

scidata said...

Re: Babel

Well, not a trigger issue, more of a grounds for ideo-war. I once expressed the 'human ingenuity scares heaven' view, and was lucky to escape the picnic alive!

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

"Scientific theory is dismissed out of hand by the church because of a fear that somehow science will prove that God does not exist."


I came so early to the belief that God does not exist--or more accurately, that if such a thing as God does exist, He is nothing like the stories--that it never occurred to me how traumatic it must be to come to awareness of that possibility later in life, after one has subordinated one's character and integrity to religion.

I don't know if such a term is used any more, but in the 70s and 80s, quite a few movies made references to what they called "homosexual panic", which was supposedly brought on when a teenager first realizes that he is gay, and that his life will involve all that that implies. I wonder if there is such a thing as "atheist panic", when an older person who has been religious all his life first glimpses the fact that he might not truly believe.

David Brin said...

Atheist panic is a very cvommonly documented thing.

frabjoustheelder said...

Re SSPP

Any inefficiency means scattering in the atmosphere. We would be microwaving (radiowaving) the atmosphere. Anything less than 100% efficiency is non-viable. Or am I wrong? Genuinely asking.

Daniel Duffy said...

Leviticus and Deuteronomy are health codes for a migratory marching camp - not moral codes.

duncan cairncross said...

Hi "frabjoustheelder"

Why would you be worried about microwaving the atmosphere?
A few percent lost doing that would not be a problem

If you start getting up to 70% losses then it may be a concern

scidata said...

Re: SSPP

Maybe instead of beaming the energy directly to Earth, it could be used to synthesize, extract, and/or purify pellets of valuable solids like Thorium or rare earths, and let gravity pay the transmission costs. Pennies from Heaven might be a good project name.

David Brin said...

Being able to end all coal/oil/gas electricity generation might be worth a little microwaving. Still SSPS has never been my favorite space ambition.

Larry Hart said...

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/27/opinion/alt-right-taliban.html

The tragic journey of the last two decades began with the loudest voices on the right braying for war with Islamism and ended with a right-wing vanguard envying it.


No duh.


“The humiliation of Afghanistan will have been worth it if it pries the old paradigm loose and lets new thoughts in,” Yoram Hazony, an influential nationalist intellectual whose conferences feature figures like Josh Hawley and Peter Thiel, tweeted earlier this month.

What old paradigm? Well, a few days later he tweeted, “What went wrong in Iraq and Afghanistan was, first and foremost, the ideas in the heads of the people running the show. Say its name: Liberalism.”


The people running the Bush/Cheney wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were liberals?

GMT -8 said...

One can be an atheist, and still be an observant Jew. One can follow the 613 commandments (or make a good faith effort to follow them; actual adherence to all of them is pretty much impossible) without believing in God. For example, you can follow the dietary rules; you can attend Shabbat services every week; you can say all the prayers and treat them as meditations rather than as pleas to an almighty spirit.

Being disconnected from the digital world 25 hours every week is not a bad thing. Sharing a weekly experience with a group of people is not a bad thing.

Paul451 said...

The problem with SSPS is that its only advantage is that it's in permanent sunlight. It gets a bit more than double the power per unit-area of panel.

But the cost of putting the hardware in space is so much more than the cost of the hardware, that you could afford to overbuild ground-based solar by an order-of-magnitude and still have money left over to modernise the grid to HVDC. (Or three times the scale of solar, plus HVDC, plus distributed grid-scale battery storage in the form of subsidised plug-in BEV's.)

Places where SSPS's would be useful is at remote, high latitude locations. Exactly where satellites are the least useful anyway. You'd need to combine SSPS with statites, which don't have a lot of mass margin.

(Similarly, SSPS's make sense for the moon, but the best early sites on the moon are polar...)

GMT -8 said...

The A-Team? My wife decided she wants to watch the entire series. She has fond memories of it from her childhood. We've been watching one or two episodes every day for the last few weeks.

I was in law school when the show originally aired and was not watching much TV. This is a rather dramatic change of viewing habits for us; my wife usually prefers David Attenborough documentaries, Japanese cultural TV, and more series viewing fare. Okay, MIDSOMER MURDERS is our comfort food TV. When we turn the TV on she will oftentimes say, "Let's see who is getting murdered."

Having the A-Team come after you shouldn't be so bad as long as you don't try to get away in a high speed chase...you are liable to have your car flipped over. But almost no one ever gets killed in that show.

Paul451 said...

Since I'm being negative:

The problem with using Leviticus-on-disease to preach about basic infection control, in the NT Jesus went and cured the socially-excluded sick. And while I know that was more a political/legal act than a medical miracle, in Christianity it's treated as the latter, and in evangelical Christianity, it's baked into their belief about their personal faith.

Paradoctor said...

scidata:
The trouble with purifying materials from space using solar energy is that out in orbit, short of the Moon, the only resources immediately available are sunlight, vaccuum, and radiation.

Paradoctor said...

Larry Hart:

You're overthinking this. That's normal: the usual process of mathematical creativity involves figuring out _how_ numbers are simpleminded, then making yourself simpleminded in the same way.

I = the intermediate value, so I=~I, so 'I' solves the liar-paradox equation L=~L.

You mention a syntactical issue; how to interpret "this". The least confusing way is to say that the "this" in "this sentence is false" is not the same "this" as in "this sentence is not false"; they're not the same sentence, or even opposite. So if L = "this sentence is false" then L = ~L; and its negation is " 'this sentence is false' is false " = "L is false" = "L".

You can interpret the square root of negative one as a paradox if you so choose. i^2 = -1, so i = -1/i; so |i|>1 if and only if |i|<1; and i=0 if and only if i=infinity; and i=+1 if and only if i=-1. But instead i is its own thing, a new number, the basis of an elegant and useful number system.

As for diamond logic: each value in it is of the form a/b, where a and b are boolean and '/' is "but". So true = T/T, false = F/F, I=T/F='true but false', J=F/T='false but true'. The operators "and" and "or" operate side-wise:
(a/b) and (c/d) = (a and c)/(b and d)
(a/b) or (c/d) = (a or c)/(b r d)
"Not" operates with a flip:
not(a/b) = (not b)/(not a)
Therefore I=~I, and J=~J; the paradox equation has two solutions instead of none. This replaces 'overdetermined' with 'underdetermined'.

With diamond logic's values and operators defined that way, this follows:
Complete deduction: There's a finite set of equational identities that imply all the identities of diamond logic.
Complete self-reference: any system of diamond values defined in terms of each other has at least one solution.

All of the paradoxes that baffled Russell, Cantor, Godel, etc. are here solved. Each paradox is unsolvable in boolean logic, and a degree of freedom in diamond logic.

David Brin said...

Kinda predictably, ol' "NAh" tipped into full frenzy troll mode. So much so (and with Slavic lilts) that I wondered if an old friend had wriggled past the spam filter. Best guess? His supervisor (possibly in a Kremlin basement) was miffed that we parsed all that out.

Ah well. Was kinda interesting till then.

==
Liberals caused Afghanistan's quagmire. Riiiiiight.

Treebeard said...

If you think of neoconservativism as a particularly militant, imperial brand of liberalism, then you can sort of blame liberalism for Afghanistan. Didn’t they turn the Afghan invasion into a nation-building program, a project to promote democracy, women’s rights and transform the society into something resembling the USA? That’s imperial liberalism, not conservatism. If the USA had stuck with the plan of punishing Al Qaeda and the Taliban, while continuing to hunt bin Laden, they could’ve been out of Afghanistan very quickly. But they changed the mission to liberal nation-building, which produced the 20 year quagmire and humiliating defeat. What real (non neo-) conservatives argue for is a more realistic, less hubristic approach to foreign policy that focuses on concrete national interests and doesn’t get involved in interventionist wars for the sake of pure abstractions. This is what China does, and it seems to work pretty well for them. But Americans have a hard time with this kind of realpolitik, due to their deeply messianic, moralistic streak, so I don’t expect them to learn much from Afghanistan. They’ll just find another country to wreck in the name of liberal abstractions. As Gore Vidal observed: "Americans never learn. It is part of our charm."

scidata said...

Paradoctor: the only resources immediately available are sunlight, vaccuum, and radiation

I was thinking of an asteroid capture operation running in parallel, which would send raw ore Earthward, thus getting matter & energy together which is when good cookin' really starts.

I'm sure SpaceX would be happy to begin the tender bidding. I just heard a thud - maybe Bezos collapsed :)

Robert said...

The people running the Bush/Cheney wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were liberals?

By current Republican standards, yes.

Robert said...

in evangelical Christianity, it's baked into their belief about their personal faith

Along with turning water into grape juice.

(Not wine, because Jesus apparently didn't approve of alcohol. Or tobacco. Or electric guitars…)

Larry Hart said...

Paradoctor:

You mention a syntactical issue; how to interpret "this". The least confusing way is to say that the "this" in "this sentence is false" is not the same "this" as in "this sentence is not false"; they're not the same sentence, or even opposite. So if L = "this sentence is false" then L = ~L; and its negation is " 'this sentence is false' is false " = "L is false" = "L".


Ah, yes. I suppose "This sentence is false" is equivalent to "The sentence 'This sentence is false' is true." So it's opposite would be "The sentence 'This sentence is false' is false."

Which doesn't address my point. "This sentence is true" is also indeterminate, but it is indeterminate in a different way. The previous example can't possibly be either true or false. The later example can equally be true OR false, depending on an initial assumption. I was looking for ways in which the logic might account for two distinct types of indeterminate and apply it to other contexts. For example, "The set of all sets which do not contain themselves" can't possibly fall into the set OR fall outside of it. "The set of all sets which DO contain themselves" can fall into the set OR outside the set--just not both at the same time.

The first is an impossibility--the second is turtles all the way down.

Alfred Differ said...

Larry,

after one has subordinated one's character and integrity to religion

Heh. My mother would have seen it that way. She was intentionally lazy regarding certain aspects of my education regarding religions. 'Enemy action' they would have called it. I agreed with her for a long time.

I no longer see it as subordination, though. It's much closer to 'core values' and the foundation upon which we build our character. If you are given building stones as a child that contain religious statements, you are likely to remain loyal to them for life because they are at the foundation of who you are. Ripping them out even if only to replace them risks toppling the structure.

My building analogy is no exaggeration. I've seen people topple in this sense. It's a tragic event when it happens and the pain goes on for ages.

"atheist panic"

I've seen it.

I've also seen the 'disease' variety where a person of faith realizes they are near an atheist and dread catching it. I saw literal panic in one co-workers eyes when I let slip that I had met Michael Newdow. She was dissing on him and I had had enough. Whether he was right or wrong wasn't of concern to me at that point, but her bigotry grated on my nerves. So… she actually ran away. No kidding. No walking. No attempt to make nice. Ran Away. Never talked to me again.

Pappenheimer said...

re: atheist panic

I never had this, but I do remember spending an afternoon around age 14 dealing with the fact that my consciousness would stop shortly after my heart ceased beating. My mother tried to console me with biblical verses, which were kindly meant but absolutely no use.

Re: Tower of Babel:

The old explanation for the multiplicity of languages, with no evidence that anyone every constructed a tower tall enough to threaten to break the tropopause, let alone reach Heaven. You'd think that much brick would leave quite a pile. It's another Just So story, and yes, the moral is "We can't have nice things because God doesn't like competition".

Re: Solar Power Sats

Japan has a space program, high technical skill and has almost no flat land unused AND no conventional energy reserves. The first operational satellite (if any) will probably have Kanji markings. However, it looks like JAXA is hoping for breakthroughs in ultralight materials and planning for the future rather than trying to launch one using current tech. Of course, they could start building the ground microwave receiver much sooner...but might be left with a completely useless structure if no satellite ever launches.

Alfred Differ said...

Larry,

I'm thinking along the lines of imaginary numbers…

Heh. Dangerous path my friend.

In mathematics, the unity imaginary was invented to solve polynomial equations in algebra. Dig into the history, though, and you'll find negative numbers were too. For a long time, many thought they were just as imaginary as 'i'.

Since inventing the unit imaginary, we've encountered lots of other reasons to have one. Then we encountered reasons to have two. Then more. The reasons aren't from Algebra, though. Not anymore.

1. Hamilton (William Rowan) added one more, allowed for the two to anti-commute under multiplication, discovered that implied a third, and the quaternions were born. Turns out you can do 2D spherical geometry with them.

2. Clifford (William Kingdon) played with two independent sets of quaterions (called them bi-quaterions) and found a total of six things that squared to -1. Died in 1879, but had he lived the mathematics we needed for Special Relativity would have already been in the books because a bi-quaterion system has a (-+++) metric for vectors.

There's lots more. Once a connection is made between 'squaring to +1 or -1' and geometric primitives (blades), Pandora's box springs open. Geometry and Algebra are bound in marriage and begin popping out kids of all sorts of shapes, sizes, and temperaments. The similarity between multiple addition and multiplication seen in natural numbers is skewed and left for the vultures. We can solve for polynomial equations, but discover that we can't always divide and not just by the additive unity.

Average Joe's have no idea what mathematicians play with today. Average Joe Physicist is often a century behind the mathematicians, but Average Joe Citizen is multiple centuries back. Euclid's parallel postulate is obvious, right? Aristotle's Logic is the only way, right?

We live in a fabulous world of grand imagination where Great Apes contemplate whether boundaries have boundaries* and what that can imply in mathematical models designed to predict motions of planets and stars.


* Bianchi identities

David Brin said...

Treebeard's spectacular writhe to call neocons 'liberals' is fantastic! He's outdone himself!

The Taliban in 2002 were brought down by the playbook already set up by the Clinton Admin which used the tactical systems preferred by Democrats... working closely with local forces and special forces and targeted air. Only AFTER the Taliban were toppled and we verged on setting up a traditional Afghan system of tribal councils, did Bush & the neocons instead dive into Republican style massive force plays, moving whole divisions like game pieces (yeehaw!) with the core aim of fostering trillions in grift through no-bid "emergency" logistics contracts for Cheney family companies...

...exactly as in BOTH Bushite Iraq Wars. See this difference between how the parties wage war, including flaws in the Democrats' approach) laid out precisely here.
http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2012/10/how-democrats-and-republicans-wage-war.html

AND all neocons were despised by all liberals, so... you lie? You desp[erately lie. You lie again with deliberate desperation borne of knowing you are a shill for the Kremlin and undermining everything America stands for. Only that. Try your sick meme elsewhere. Then tell us where. We'll follow with truth. If you have the guts.

You don't.


Alfred Differ said...

Paul451,

But the cost of putting the hardware in space is so much more than the cost of the hardware…

Yah. We are working on that.

It used to be expensive for Europeans to ship infrastructure to North America. That problem eventually got solved, but not before we followed standard ISRU practices that wound up motivating innovations in shipping.

It used to be cost prohibitive for Europeans to ship much of anything to North America's west coast. Not so much anymore, but only after ISRU, market expansion, and a lot of time.

I agree that SSPS is unlikely in the near future for easily understood reasons, but there is an exception case where it might happen after tons of money gets spent. If the US winds up in a land war against Russia in the Russian homeland, we will need space solar power stations to deal with supply line fragility. We would 'go electric' in a lot of our military hardware to avoid fuel supply constraints and cuts. We would spend like we did with the Manhattan or Moon projects. After the war, the world would be utterly different even if nukes never got used.

This century will see some of this even without a war like that. Musk wants to go to Mars, but he's building infrastructure and processes that are seriously altering the cost and frequency of access to space. There are many others chasing along after him especially in the 'small' launch space. Well… they wouldn't say they are following. Some of them were there first. Doesn't matter, though, because they are changing the access market.


I used to be a fan of SSPS, but I spent a couple years working for CAISO. After that I got a taste for how the electricity markets actually work. We used to think power storage was 'way out there', but it's arriving in the markets. Now.

You are right on target about ground-based methods making SSPS unlikely because that's how markets work. Water is wet. Market participants compete to substitute. SSPS isn't competitive, but storage wasn't either not that long ago. If the world erupts into that war, SSPS would get a huge boost by a customer/investor that doesn't care what it costs in terms of money. After that war… well… goodbye transmission grids. Distribution grids might survive, but they'd be smaller. Our infrastructure exposure to CME's would dramatically change.

Not that I want that war, though.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

Since inventing the unit imaginary, we've encountered lots of other reasons to have one. Then we encountered reasons to have two. Then more. The reasons aren't from Algebra, though. Not anymore.


When I was an engineer in college, I'm pretty sure I invented this joke all by myself. Ok, "joke".

Mathemetician: "i is the square root of negative 1."

English major: "No, i am the square root of negative 1."

Electrical Engineer: "No, j am the square root of negative 1."

TCB said...

Re: The Tower of Babel, I choose to believe Ted Chiang's account.

scidata said...

Some here have said that language is the secret sauce, others say throwing stones, others say modeling the future (imagination), and I think a good case can be made for levers. Oddly for someone who bashes mathematics at every opportunity, I'd say it's counting. Natural, zero, whole, ratios, reals, infinite/infinitesimal, imaginary-complex, quaternions, octonions, etc. It's a reasonable timeline of technological progress. And it becomes ever more obvious that math is invented, not discovered.

You know what I see whenever there's a Discovery or similar documentary about early hominins counting? I see Forth. Stacks and stacks of Forth :)

David Brin said...

Ted Chiang... brilliantly imaginative.

Larry Hart said...

Robert:

Along with turning water into grape juice.

(Not wine, because Jesus apparently didn't approve of alcohol. Or tobacco. Or electric guitars…)


Heh. The quad preachers at U of I used to preach exactly that. That when Jesus "turned water into wine", the wine was non-alcoholic. Their exact words were, "That was Welch's".

Pappenheimer:

re: atheist panic

I never had this, but I do remember spending an afternoon around age 14 dealing with the fact that my consciousness would stop shortly after my heart ceased beating. My mother tried to console me with biblical verses, which were kindly meant but absolutely no use.


That's not even what I was thinking about when I mentioned "atheist panic". I also went through a scary period contemplating my own eventual non-existence when I was 12 or so. But I had already ceased to believe in the supernatural God for two years or so, so I really didn't connect the one concept to the other.

No, what I was wondering was what happens if a lifelong believer at 60 or so comes to the nagging realization that I did at 10--that the stories might not be real, and that in fact, one has never in one's life seen an honest-to-goodness example of a supernatural intervention. I wasn't thinking so much of a realization that death might be final, or even that God wasn't there to watch over him, but rather an unshakable realization that he doesn't believe. That his whole life has been structured around the notion that he is of the faithful, and that maybe that isn't the case after all. And as much as he would try to keep convincing himself (and others) that nothing has changed, he can't fool himself.


Re: Tower of Babel:


When I was very young, my Dad told me that story, and he made it seem like an epic. I was totally enraptured and awestruck. When Dave Sim finally convinced me to read the Bible from cover to cover, I was astonished at how short the story actually is there. More like a reference to a longer story that the reader is supposed to already know.

Alfred Differ said...

Larry,

exp(i * theta) = cos(theta) + i * sin(theta)

First time I saw that I thought 'hmm'.

Later I worked out the polynomial expansion around theta=0 and did a double-take. Infinitely many commutations in infinite series are potentially problematic, but it works here.

Even later I got to see that 'i' could be replaced by a unit 2-blade (spatial only) making the exponential function a rotation operator. But wait, I said! What about boosts?!

exp(B * theta) = cosh(theta) + B * sinh(theta)

I threw the book at that point and wondered why the hell physicists taught special relativity in such an historically screwy manner!

Then I learned the operator was a mixed-grade beastie. So much for "vectors are things that transform like vectors" and "never add tensors of different rank."


It's Pandora. Open the box and the world is never the same.


…as for 'j'… some engineers are stuck way, way in the past, but at least they don't dodge the notational complexities of representing stresses and strains. Clifford's approach and what some of us did with it would help them immensely, but it might be another 50 years before it is picked up. Stress is a two algebra beastie and it can be written representation-free.

'j' ain't so bad. At least they didn't use a greek letter for it. 8)

Larry Hart said...

Paradoctor revisiting:

You can interpret the square root of negative one as a paradox if you so choose. i^2 = -1, so i = -1/i; so |i|>1 if and only if |i|<1; and i=0 if and only if i=infinity; and i=+1 if and only if i=-1. But instead i is its own thing, a new number, the basis of an elegant and useful number system.


Cute, but I don't think >1 and <1 applies, since i is not on the (real) number line. You might as well ask (rhetorically) whether i is odd or even. And as for i=0 if and only if i=infinity, the solution is that i is neither one of those.


As for diamond logic:
...
Therefore I=~I, and J=~J; the paradox equation has two solutions instead of none. This replaces 'overdetermined' with 'underdetermined'.


I'm still trying to express my sense of the difference between the indetermicy of "This sentence is false," vs that of "This sentence is true." The first one could be said to have a value of "If True then False" (or "If False then True"). The second has a value of "If True then True" (of "If False then False"). While both are correctly called indeterminate, they seem to be different flavors.

David Brin said...

Yeah it's stunning how short the Babel core story is. And while the Talmud, Koran and Book of Mormon portray the Big Guy as angry... he's NOT in the core story!

==
I FB posted about Treebeard's lusciously insane and dimwitted effort to bla, liberals for neoconservatism:

-->
The latest far-right excuse-making meme I’ve seen is to blame all of the stoopid middle eastern quagmires that the Bushites threw us into (at the eager invitation of Osama bin Laden) were acts of… liberalism! “If you think of neoconservativism as a particularly militant, imperial brand of liberalism, then you can sort of blame liberalism for Afghanistan.”

The Taliban in 2002 did have to be taken down! And they were brought down by the playbook already set up by the Clinton Admin, a plan on the shelf that applied the tactical approach preferred by Democrats... relying largely on special forces working closely with local factions and targeted air. And that plan worked to a spectacular degree of swift success, only matched by the spectacularly swift success of the Taliban in recent months and especially the last month. Think about those two events in parallel and what that means. *It is a huge clue that no one has commented-on!*

Bush Jr. could have utilized that incredible success to ‘nation-build’ in an organic way, leveraging on normal Afghani political/social habits and reflexes going back 3000 years… look up 'loya jirga' ... relying on regional tribes to mostly self-govern while using money and infrastructure aid and surgical force to sway each tribe gradually toward modernity. And hell-yeah, that should have included a Taliban-cousin Pashtunistan, so they’d have something to lose, instead of becoming nothin-to-lose cave dwellers.

Only typically, the Bushites did none of that. AFTER the Taliban were toppled and we verged on setting up a traditional Afghan system of tribal councils - (it was on the table and rejected!) - Bush/Cheney/Rummy & their neoconservative ‘intellects” instead dived into the same blustering/expensive and thunderous Republican style massive force plays they oversaw twice in Iraq, moving whole divisions like game pieces (yeehaw!) with the core aim NOT ‘nation building, but that of fostering trillions in grift through no-bid "emergency" logistics contracts for Cheney family companies... who are NOT ‘defense contractors” but mafia gangs…

...exactly as in BOTH Bushite Iraq Wars.

See this difference between how the parties wage war, (including flaws in the Democrats' approach) laid out precisely here. And the difference is staggering.
http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2012/10/how-democrats-and-republicans-wage-war.html

So this latest Mad Right ploy, declaring that LIBERALS bear responsibility for the insanely corrupt and expensive (in cash and blood) Bushite wars, is an opportunity to dissect the sickness that Moscow and casino moguls, mafiosi, murder princes and Murdoch-monsters have perfused into the veins of US conservatism, turning it 100% into a risen Confederacy that’s no less that American Naziism.

Oh, AND all neocons were despised by all liberals, so...

Jon S. said...

Space real estate may be more expensive than groundside based on cost of reaching it - but have you factored in the cost of the lawsuits from NIMBYs who will refuse to let the ground be "covered" with those "dangerous chemicals"? Hell, I remember when someone wanted to set a test project up in the Mojave a couple decades back, only to be stymied by the Endangered Species Act.

Paradoctor said...

Here are some open questions for this thread:

Vietnam war and Afghan war: how are they alike? How do they differ? Compare and contrast.

Differences: terrain, putative foe (Communism, 'terror'), and?

Similarities: 'nation-building', endless official lies, the masses get the memo before the elites, 'forever war' ( = inevitable defeat delayed until the next president), and?

Will there be an "Afghanistan Syndrome", making new forever wars hard to start? (But not, alas, impossible.) Will it too last a generation? When and where will the next forever war start?

(Side comment: kudos to Joe Haldeman for giving us the phrase 'forever war'.)

Paradoctor said...

Larry Hart:
I mentioned |i|, the absolute value of i, which is a real number, specifically 1.

'This sentence is false' is like the equation 0x=1, which is overdetermined; it has no real solutions. 'This sentence is true' is like the sentence 0x=0, which underdetermined; it has nothing but solutions.

Paradoctor said...

Brin: good point about the swiftness of both the Taliban's 2001 defeat and of its 2021 return. It's a clue, but of what? Then compare-and-contrast with the swift 1975 defeat in Vietnam. So many clues, such a mysterious national ailment. I feel like Dr. House. Differential diagnosis, anyone?

David Brin said...

Paradoctor the 2001 toppling happened with great swiftness. The 2001 happened because of surgically effective violence but also defections from the Taliban by warlords like Hekmatyar.

The 2021 happened because of some effective violence but mostly defections to the Taliban by warlords like Hekmatyar.

In both cases a major driver was the flow of money. Biden's big mistake was not offering tens of millions$ to warlords "If you hold out till we're gone."

---

Getting notices from the spam filter and I dropped down to look. Poor MAh is down there frothing and spewing hysterically and attempting to shit on the rug. I skimmed and saw some pathetic faux logic. So I'll just let the filter do its job. The greates sin if to be b-o-r-i-n-g....

Larry Hart said...

Paradoctor:

I mentioned |i|, the absolute value of i, which is a real number, specifically 1.


Believe it or not, I was a math major (ok, math and computer science), but that was many decades ago, and I've forgotten what the absolute value of an imaginary number means.


'This sentence is false' is like the equation 0x=1, which is overdetermined; it has no real solutions. 'This sentence is true' is like the sentence 0x=0, which underdetermined; it has nothing but solutions.


Yes, exactly. So is there some way in the logical terminology to distinguish those two very different versions of "Indeterminate"? Do they produce different results in various equations of truth values?

Larry Hart said...

Paradoctor:

I feel like Dr. House.


Credit Alan Sherman with...


...
And when Ben Casey meets Kildare,
That's called a pair-a-docs
...

Paradoctor said...

Dr. Brin:

Boredom is the Mindkiller.

So... money rules Afghan politics, just like everywhere else but without the illusion of interference by the State. Afghanistan is what anarchy-of-tiny-Archons looks like. As such it resembles Earth's anarchy-of-nations. I speculate that if aliens invade Earth, then they'll run into many of the same problems that Americans had after invading Afghanistan.

But I don't want to diagnose Afghanistan, I want to diagnose America. If your uncle Samuel got beaten in a bar fight in the Don't-Wage-A-Land-War-In-Asia Bar&Grill, well anyone can make a mistake; but if Samuel then gets beaten even worse in a bar fight in the Graveyard-Of-Empires Lounge, then it's clear that Sam has a problem. Why his compulsive self-destructive behavior? I recommend counseling.

scidata said...

Re: Tower of Babel
It's a quiet little story -- too quiet :)

Warning to colleagues: be careful if you're researching this topic on the interwebs. Copious trackers, cookies, reports to Google, shunts to religious whacko sites, and distressing discoveries - like the fact that the intro to Asimov's "Gold" collection is penned by Orson Scott Card. "Alexander the God" is a particularly tracked reference.

Daniel Duffy said...

Had to mention all of the truth that is finally coming out about Afghanistan and the story it tells about American corruption and incompetence.

Dr Brin, you should no longer consider the US military to be a cade of intelligent, honest and honorable people free of corruption an delusion.

Anyone who thinks we should have stayed forever in Afghanistan needs to listen to this guy as to why it was a failure at inception and why Biden was both right to get us out of that quagmire and do it the way he did (the evacuation - given the reality on the ground - went about as well as it could). Listen to everything this guy has to say.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7P63IvEvq8c

Money quote on how even in 2018 the US military could keep open the 2 mile road from Kabul Airport to the US embassy.

It was all a $2 trillion dollar scam that cost the lives of 2K Americans.

The only winners were the defense contractors.

Then listen to this Marine veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cG_wjwxK3nU

"We were lied to. This was inevitable."

Then listen to this Afghanistan vet:

https://www.npr.org/2021/08/28/1032065927/veteran-describes-futility-of-serving-in-americas-longest-war

Then read her article "Afghanistan Meant Nothing"

https://washingtonmonthly.com/2021/08/15/afghanistan-meant-nothing/

And finally, go out and buy "The Afghanistan Papers"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nACVBq7TR2c



Larry Hart said...

I hate that we're going into the six consecutive months with seven-or-more letters in their (English language) names with COVID back on the rise.

May we all be doing better by the time we are ready to re-emerge into the six consecutive months with less-than-seven letters.

David Brin said...

DD very often the US military gets caught in lies BECAUSE their core ethos is obedience to civilian authority and the civilians above them are lying.

LH I was just singing several Alan Sherman ditties to my son, this morning! “Oh the moon is shining bright above the car wash…”

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

I was just singing several Alan Sherman ditties to my son, this morning!


I was trying to come up with a suitable clip to come back with, but it's hard to pick one out from the crowd. This one seems suitable, though:


They came with a posse and took my six-gun away.
The crowd was too angry to leave me in jail.
The sheriff said, "Outlaw, I'm gonn' let you run away,
But don't never be seen south of Ft. Lauderdale.

So now, I can never go back to Miami,
And New York is so cold that a person could die.
I'd be better off dead like my late partner, Sammy,
'Cause he's in that big Fontainbleu in the sky.


Jon S. said...

Then listen to this Marine veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cG_wjwxK3nU

"We were lied to. This was inevitable."


Note what was said - "we were lied to." Not "we lied."

The oath is to obey the lawful orders of those appointed over you, not to obey the morally and ethically just orders. As long as your orders don't seem to violate the law, you as a military member have no options about obeying. (Well, technically you do, but unless you've got a really convincing justification for disobeying, you can expect an Article 15 at the very least, and more probably a court martial and some stockade time.)

David Brin said...

LH what was the melody to that one?

Treebeard said...

But I don't want to diagnose Afghanistan, I want to diagnose America. If your uncle Samuel got beaten in a bar fight in the Don't-Wage-A-Land-War-In-Asia Bar&Grill, well anyone can make a mistake; but if Samuel then gets beaten even worse in a bar fight in the Graveyard-Of-Empires Lounge, then it's clear that Sam has a problem. Why his compulsive self-destructive behavior? I recommend counseling.

Maybe because, as I’ve been saying for years, America is full of crazy people, from top to bottom? People whose heads are filled with propaganda from birth by an apparatus so powerful that even the smart people are taken in by it? People who believe they are the world’s exceptional beings and saviors, despite all the evidence to the contrary?

Take our host here for example. This is a guy with a PhD from a good school, who is on government advisory boards, gives lectures at futurist conferences, writes popular novels, etc., who thinks: Star Trek is a serious model for the human future, there are Kremlin agents under his bed, the solution to every problem created by science and technology is more science and technology, the world is nothing but a manichaean struggle between Feudalism and Progress, he does more for humanity in any given week than the rest of us will do in our lifetimes, and the only hope for life in this galaxy, if not the universe, is people like him. If these are the kinds of people we have in our credentialed expert class, do you see why we fail so often, and why they are increasingly scorned?

BTW, this is a brilliant piece on some of these topics: Farewell to Bourgeois Kings

Native American said...

"Had to mention all of the truth that is finally coming out about Afghanistan and the story it tells about American corruption and incompetence.

Dr Brin, you should no longer consider the US military to be a cade of intelligent, honest and honorable people free of corruption an delusion."

Bingo!

But they just fell in their la-la-land mode.


Paradoctor

"But I don't want to diagnose Afghanistan, I want to diagnose America."

You still think D.Brin will allow you?



D.Brin

"In both cases a major driver was the flow of money. Biden's big mistake was not offering tens of millions$ to warlords "If you hold out till we're gone.""


So? You mean Biden should behave like... like Trump. or Putin?

Rimbaud said...

John James Rambo,born July 6, 1946, in Bowie, Arizona, from Italian father and a Navajo mother...


So, in which sense he(I?) is N.A.? And what does it mean at all.
And does he care about some Dem-junky slur, as well as any Rep's talks about race and etc?

As a "former Vietnam veteran and highly skilled Green Beret."

So, better don't piss on his PTSD.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

LH what was the melody to that one?


"The Streets of Loredo"

Larry Hart said...

So Texas is allowed to ban an activity that is otherwise (by current precedent) legal by empowering anyone to sue anyone connected with such an activity for $10,000 plus legal fees. I would say this is coming close to the old Roman practice of making it a capital crime for a Senator to bring up the overturning of some law, thereby making repeal effectively impossible. Only I'm not sure "coming close" does it justice.

What I want to know is why we blue staters can't open the floodgates here. Can Illinois or New York or (while you've still got a Democratic governor) California empower citizens to sue anyone brandishing a gun or who aids and abets that person's acquisition of a gun? Or allow anyone to sue anyone who remains unvaccinated against COVID-19? Heck, why not go whole hog and allow anyone to sue anyone who supports the Republican Party?

I'm not even kidding. If they can do it, why can't we?


https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/01/us/supreme-court-texas-abortion.html

Supreme Court precedents forbid states from banning abortion before fetal viability, the point at which fetuses can sustain life outside the womb, or about 22 to 24 weeks.

But the Texas law was drafted to make it difficult to challenge in court. Usually, a lawsuit seeking to block a law because it is unconstitutional would name state officials as defendants. But the Texas law bars state officials from enforcing it and instead deputizes private individuals to sue anyone who performs the procedure or “aids and abets” it.

The patient may not be sued, but doctors, staff members at clinics, counselors, people who help pay for the procedure, even an Uber driver taking a patient to an abortion clinic are all potential defendants. Plaintiffs, who need not have any connection to the matter or show any injury from it, are entitled to $10,000 and their legal fees recovered if they win. Prevailing defendants are not entitled to legal fees.

Paul451 said...

Alfred,
"If the world erupts into that war, SSPS would get a huge boost"

In a war with Russia or similar, even if non-nuclear (somehow), SSPS would be the greatest target you could ever offer an enemy. "Here! This is my entire power infrastructure, a giant fragile bullseye in the sky."

Paul451 said...

Paradoctor,
"But I don't want to diagnose Afghanistan, I want to diagnose America. If your uncle Samuel got beaten in a bar fight in the Don't-Wage-A-Land-War-In-Asia Bar&Grill, well anyone can make a mistake; but if Samuel then gets beaten even worse in a bar fight in the Graveyard-Of-Empires Lounge, then it's clear that Sam has a problem. Why his compulsive self-destructive behavior? I recommend counseling."

Worse, even before the fight in the lounge ended, he was already threatening the Persian Cafe.

[Although he's weirdly fond of the Russian Bathhouse, in spite of their mob connections and how handsy they've been getting with his wife.]

Larry Hart said...

At least it's not just me...

https://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2021/Senate/Maps/Sep01.html#item-3

At such point that the regular case (not the request for injunction) gets before the Supreme Court, which it surely will, it's anyone's guess as to how they will rule. Yes, they clearly want to gut protections for abortion as much as is possible. But, as we wrote yesterday, allowing Texas to perform this sort of legal sleight-of-hand could open Pandora's Box. We used the example yesterday of a blue state allowing citizens to sue their fellow citizens who own guns for $10,000 if the gun owners cannot prove they are part of a "well-regulated militia." We had a few readers write in and point out that the Supreme Court has already ruled on that question, and that being part of a well-regulated militia is not required. That is true, but the Supreme Court has also ruled that abortions are legal up to 24 weeks, and yet here we are. Further, it's not too hard to come up with other liberal-state policy imperatives that SCOTUS has not ruled upon. Sue your neighbor for $10,000 for being a gross polluter and contributing to global warming? For not wearing a mask/not vaccinating without a good excuse? For not paying their employees a living wage? The possibilities are endless.

David Brin said...

I find fascinating how the Blogger spam filter works. Alerts said that ol' NAh had posted two... one was trashed but the other was offered for me to approve, which I did. The approved one is merely dumb, but WTF we have loose rules and some of you might disagree.
I dived into the swill bucket to see the other one and it was - sure enough - a self-pitying shriek attempting to get attention by shitting on the rug of our home here. In neither case did I have to do much. Way to go, Blogger! (I still may crank up the filter to eliminate this rude person altogether.

Blatantly he tried another monicker and I passed that one too. Mental health and bad parents are clearly a deep American problem.


David Brin said...

Treebeard, on the other hand, while just as hostile, always survives the spam filter!
Why?
Because (perhaps) while he hallucinates, at least he parses his hallucinations less as shrieks and howls and more as assertions that - while false and grist for wagers he'll never, ever have the guts to make - are nevertheless not attempts to shit on our rug.

Indeed, his denunciation of me (above) was not unworth scanning as a carricature... and carricatures, while often unfair, can be instructive!
Oh, he's nuts. But part of being more-sane than him involves looking and saying
"That criticism is not ENTIRELY false! An unfair exaggeration... but I need to be chastened now and then, or it might come true!"
CITOKATE.

Thanks ent.

Pappenheimer said...

"I see by my outfit that I am a cowboy,"

"I see by my outfit that I'm a cowboy too."

(chorus) "We see by our outfits that we are both cowboys; if you had an outfit you could be a cowboy too."

from Peter Beagle, commenting on Texas

Larry Hart said...

Stephanie Miller's radio show brought up an aspect of the Texas abortion law that even I hadn't considered. They're creating an industry of raping one's girlfriend with intent to impregnate, and then suing her for $10,000 if she gets an abortion.

Der Oger said...

@ Paradoctor, Treebeard & Dr. Brin: I just found a poem that, somehow, fits into the discussion about Afghanistan. It is by Berthold Brecht.


I hear you don’t want to learn anything

I hear you don’t want to learn anything.
I gather from that: you’re millionaires.
Your future is assured — it lies
bright and clear before you. Your parents
have fixed things so that your feet
won’t get bruised on any stones. So you don’t need
to learn anything. You can stay
the way you are.

Should some difficulties nevertheless arise — since the times,
so I hear, are uncertain —
you’ve got your Leaders, who’ll tell you exactly
what you’ve go to do so things will go well for you.
They’ve consulted the ones
who know the truths
that are valid for all time
and the prescriptions that always work.
With so many who are for you
you don’t need to lift a finger.
Of course, if things were different,
you’d have to learn.

Paradoctor said...

I see that several people here have seconded my motion that uncle Samuel should seek counseling for his repeated self-destructive behavior. But I have yet to hear any diagnoses of his condition, other than "he's stupid". That's a symptom, not the disease, and it suggests no cures. Why is he so stupid? What has stupified him?

I propose here, for your review and critique, these possible diagnoses:

* "All empires fall". But why? And is there a cure for being an empire?

* The SNAFU Principle: "Information cannot cross a power gap". The hippy-philosopher-SFwriter Robert Anton Wilson proposed this psychohistorical law, and derived these corollaries: the "burden of false omniscience" of the rulers, who ought to know everything but in fact know nothing; and the "burden of false nescience" of the ruled, who ought to know nothing but in fact know everything. Thus the plethora of Cassandras among us peasants, and the plague of elite cluelessness.

And most radical...

* The Fall of War. If you define 'real' war as slaying without mercy to achieve victory, then there has been no real great-power war since August 1945. The great powers, seduced by science, have not been able to afford real war ever since then, for slaying without mercy would slay all including themselves. Therefore they compromise and 'deter' (i.e. posture) instead of slaying. That is a decadent condition for any war-making machine. This hypothesis is disturbing, for it suggests that war, which has been foundational to all civilization since its start, no longer can serve its political function. Must we create something other than civilization? Or worse, become a different species?

Other diagnoses are welcome.

David Brin said...

Paradoctor there are other hypotheses... like than enlightenment civilization is utterly different and once it controlled the world for a while, war mostly stopped because it is silly and stupid and gross. But now the forces that crushed all previous Periclean experiments are desperately using democracy's instabilities against it. If they succeed, war will again be considered 'glorious.'

Larry Hart said...

@Der Oger,

This line of your poem stood out for me as a particular double-entendre.


Your future is assured — it lies

Paradoctor said...

Dr. Brin:
Even the most anti-Periclean commissars and mullahs must hesitate to gloriously rape and kill when the enemy has nukes. Instead they too must compromise and self-limit and posture, and that's not glorious.

This is an existential problem for the ancient institution of war. There is no glory in MAD, nor honor, nor even profit. Jonathan Schell compared war's dilemma in the nuclear epoch to an ancient battlefield that suffered an earthquake that opened a chasm, with the effect that every time armies charged each other on that plain, all the men and horses fall into the chasm. Every so often generals try to battle there again, only to find that the chasm is still there.

E=mc^2 is the Nerd's Revenge Against The Jocks. We're stuck with MAD from now on. 'Real war' is dead, and we killed it. How then are we to conduct politics by other means?

Paradoctor said...

Here's another diagnosis of Sam's neurotic compulsions:

The Sunk Cost Fallacy. "But we can't leave, we've lost so much there already!" It's enslavement to failure.

TCB said...

The other day I watched a good video lecture (most of an hour) on: Why our generals were more successful in World War II than in Korea, Vietnam or Iraq/Afghanistan

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AxZWxxZ2JGE

Synopsis:

The lecturer Thomas E. Ricks gives much of the credit to our host's hero George C. Marshall, made Army Chief of Staff the same day the Germans invaded Poland, and one of his most noteworthy policies was relieving generals of command, both immediately and throughout the war. Being relieved wasn't necessarily a sign that the officer was a bad one; maybe he was just a bad fit with his British colleagues, for example; some who were relieved went on to command other units. Starting with a "not even third-rate" Army, he left it the most powerful in the world.

Marshall had written a list of qualities a general needed: good common sense, professionally educated, physically strong, cheerful and optimistic, energetic, extreme loyalty, and determination. (Why optimistic and cheerful? Seems a Gloomy Gus can poison his whole command, and the US tended in those days to go into a war ill-prepared and suffer early setbacks. Happened in WW2, happened in the Civil War, even happened in the Revolution.) Above all, team players were needed. Eisenhower rose quickly because he was really good at this.

Ricks notes that this practice almost entirely ended after the war, and failures are no longer punished; "an officer corps built for stalemate and not for victory".

---------------------------------------------------------

I can think of at least a couple or three modern day US generals who should have been relieved long ago... they are nearly un-fire-able now, and they act that way.

Paradoctor said...

I have a truly nasty theory about covid vaccine resistance. I wish I could refute it.

You see, this isn't the first time in history that we've witnessed mass vaccine resistance, and also resistance to other public health measures. It goes way back, for instance killing cats during the Black Death, which was borne by rat fleas. But why this recurrent pro-plague mass irrationality?

My nasty theory is that parasites are known to manipulate the behavior of their host/victims, to the parasite's benefit and the host/victim's death. There's a cat intestinal symbiont, which gets into mice via cat-feces contamination, and makes the mice lose their fear of cats, and thus get eaten, which brings the parasite back into a cat's intestines. (It also makes humans like cats! That's why I call it a cat 'symbiont'.) There's a sheep intestinal bacillus, which gets into ants via sheep-feces contamination, and makes the dying ant climb to the tip of a grass-blade and clamp there in rigor mortis, to be eaten by a sheep, which completes the cycle. And there's a truly horrific ant fungus, which makes the dying ant climb to a high place above the other ants, then makes it clamp there in rigor mortis while (yike yike yike yike) the fungus sprouts out of the ant's head and _scatters spores over the rest of the colony..._

*Aieee!*

But though I am horrified, I respect such sophistication. Evidently those parasites know their prey better than the prey know themselves. My nasty theory is that some plague microbes practice these dark arts on *us.*

We're highly sophisticated ourselves, and we defend against plagues by cultural adaptations, created by our high intelligence. But then that's our weak point; intelligence. My theory is that some plague microbes invade some of their victim's brains, and there induce bad judgement, in the specific issue of public health. They reverse health-protection polarity in their human hosts, who then shun hygiene and practice negative hygiene. Therefore perverse behavior like cat-killing in a rat-flea-bourne plague, and compulsive anti-masking, and compulsive super-spreading, and antivax. And all of it is a result of viral manipulation.

Anti-vax = pro-covid. I speculate that the connection is literal. Note that pro-covid behavior has increased with covid itself. Note also the dozens of pundits and preachers who regret their antivax preaching while lying on their deathbeds. Qui bono?

Paradoctor said...

TCB:
Interesting diagnosis. But there's plenty of high-command optimism; it's just dysfunctional. "Nation building? Can do!" Hello there, sunk cost fallacy!

Unfireability supercharges the burden of false omniscience.

"An officer corps built for stalemate and not for victory"; that is a logical consequence of the nuclear MADness and the Fall of War.

Alfred Differ said...

Hmm... I don't think Samuel got beaten too badly in the Graveyard-of-Empires Lounge. We spent stupidly and lost a lot of soldiers. However, the US has money coming out of every orifice... and we've learned a lot about asymmetric warfare. I don't like the body count, but it's not for naught.

We are walking away not from a war we lost but from a nation-building exercise we decided we can't win. We over-reached. Not the first time. Won't be the last.


Paul451,

"Here! This is my entire power infrastructure, a giant fragile bullseye in the sky."

Exactly. That's why they won't be the only thing up there. Y'all think the sky is cluttered now? Hah!

The thing about hitting satellites is you've got two basic options. Energy VS Kinetic kills. Energy is fast, but ablative layers buy time for responsive missiles. Energy sources can be seen, thus targeted. As for kinetic methods, they are fighting uphill. They'll have no problem as long as there are no defenders on top of the hill... which won't be the case.

Larry Hart said...

Another musing on the Texas law allowing citizens to sue anyone involved with an abortion. Can the same individual be sued multiple times for the same action?

If so, that would lead to a ridiculous clogging of the court system, in which any defendant who is successfully sued by one vigilante can then be repeatedly sued by anyone who feels like piling on.

If not, then what is to prevent the abortion provider himself (or a trusted agent) from getting the first lawsuit filed against himself and then forgiving the payment? Why not just have part of the standard paperwork at the clinic be a lawsuit against the clinic for providing the abortion, with an additional charge of $10,000 for the procedure which offsets the judgement?

I do like the fact that I'm not the only one who sees the law as not only politically unpalatable, but logically ridiculous...

https://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2021/Senate/Maps/Sep02.html#item-1

Biden's problem is that due to the structure of the law, it is not clear what he can do, other than urge blue states to pass analogous laws, for example, allowing private citizens to sue gun owners for violating their states' laws about gun permits, concealed carry, and so on. This would result in [chaos] and might force the Supreme Court to ban all laws deputizing the entire population.
...
Maybe he could create a federal government program to airlift pregnant women out of Texas to take them to abortion clinics in other states. Then Texans would have to sue the federal government, which is not likely to be successful since the federal government has no obligation to obey state laws.

Larry Hart said...

Stating the obvious response to "What's wrong with requiring ID to vote? We require it for fill-in-the-blank."

https://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2021/Senate/Maps/Sep02.html#item-4

In any event, something like nationally uniform state IDs sent to drivers and nondrivers alike, would solve the ID problem. But Republicans would never agree to this since the purpose of requiring IDs is to disenfranchise Democratic voters. Sending every adult citizen and noncitizen driver a card with green ones for citizen drivers, blue ones for citizen nondrivers, and purple ones for noncitizen drivers would defeat the whole (Republican) purpose of requiring IDs for voting. Still, the idea is worth considering.

Larry Hart said...

Heh, it must be "Agree That Larry Is Right About Everything Day". Here's someone who is not me concluding that some anti-vaxxing is a sort of slow motion "death of despair" for people whose lives suck so much that inviting death without actually having to commit suicide is a kind of win-win (and owning the libs is icing on the cake).

In a gruesome way, this makes more sense than any other reason I've heard for the defiantly dying.

https://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2021/Senate/Maps/Sep02.html#item-6

Gov. Tate Reeves (R-MS) let the cat out of the bag. He said: "When you believe that living on this earth is but a blip on the screen, then you don't have to be so scared of things." In other words, if you have a crummy job and a crummy life then dying isn't a bad thing, it is a good thing, because then you get to go to heaven, where it is all rainbows and unicorns and mint juleps. Oh wait, maybe not rainbows because it is above the clouds. But you do get to meet Jesus in person then and maybe buy him a mint julep.

David Brin said...

Yeah Paradoc, that's Toxoplasma Gondii. Nasty stuff that has gotten into some humans.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

Toxoplasma Gondii. Nasty stuff that has gotten into some humans


Why nasty? My cat just told me that the stuff is awesome for humans. And I believe everything the cat says because he's so cute and lovable.

Paradoctor said...

Dr. Brin:

Thank you for introducing me to "CITOKATE". I looked it up. It means:

Criticism Is The Only Known Antidote To Error.

I like this acronym, and I intend to use it at least as much as crummy old TANSTAAFL. It's far superior, for these reasons:


CITOKATE sounds like a word from English, unlike TANSTAAFL, which sounds like it's from Afrikaans.

CITOKATE contains zero filler words, unlike 'such thing as a', a four-word desert of grammar without content. TANSTAAFL is 4/9ths fluff!

CITOKATE has correct grammar and vocabulary; no pseudo-folksy "ain't", and no double-negative. I don't like to hear "ain't no" from some Wall Street stockbroker, who's trying to sound like the kind of backwoodsman that he wouldn't give the time of day to.

CITOKATE praises a challenger; TANSTAAFL resists a challenger.

CITOKATE is about critical thought; TANSTAAFL is about economic ideology; and critical thought is more democratic than ideology, yet also nobler.

And speaking of nobility; that Wall Street stockbroker is likely to say TANSTAAFL... while eating on an expense account!


Paradoctor said...

Larry Hart:

I agree that death-by-covid is a sublimated death-of-despair. But they can't 'own the libs', because they don't even own themselves. If they owned themselves then they would take better care of themselves.

Governor Reeves shows us how afterlife-ism becomes explicitly evil.


Alfred Differ:
Look at all the nothing that we got for 7000 dollars per American man, woman, and child. (Three times that after interest and veteran care.) It taught us a lot about asymmetric war; namely, don't wage asymmetric war. But I thought we learned that in Vietnam. I'm already against the next pre-lost war; and I see that lots of folks agree that there will be one. When and where? If Sam keeps up his self-destructive ways, then it'll be against some tiny place with a bad-ass reputation. I nominate Switzerland.

Der Oger:
Thank you! Both the invincible ignorance of the rich, and the unfireability of generals, link to the SNAFU Principle.

Larry Hart said...

Paradoctor:

Thank you for introducing me to "CITOKATE". I looked it up. It means:

Criticism Is The Only Known Antidote To Error.


I made up a...well, not really a corollary, but more of an homage:

Boredom Is The Only Known Antidote To Procrastination.


I agree that death-by-covid is a sublimated death-of-despair. But they can't 'own the libs', because they don't even own themselves. If they owned themselves then they would take better care of themselves.


I can't tell if you're being sarcastic or not. "Own the libs" in that sense just means "Make the libs feel bad." And they seem to care more about that than about their own situation, possibly because they feel their own situation to be too hopeless to bother with.

Larry Hart said...

Well, I did my part to help Texas enforce their anti-abortion law.

https://prolifewhistleblower.com/

I let them know that several Republican legislators have made their mistresses get abortions.

Larry Hart said...

It's like something out of Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union:

https://prolifewhistleblower.com/

The Texas Heartbeat Act is unique because it calls upon private citizens to hold abortion providers and their enablers accountable. Any person can sue any abortion provider who kills an unborn child after six weeks of gestation—and any person can sue anyone who aids or abets these illegal abortions. All of these individuals must pay damages to the person who sued them of at least $10,000 for each illegal abortion that they perform or assist.

Texas Right to Life will ensure that these lawbreakers are held accountable for their actions. Use the links below to report anyone who is violating the Texas Heartbeat Act by aiding or abetting a post-heartbeat abortion. And report any person or entity that aids or abets (or that intends to aid or abet) [Emphasis mine] an illegal abortion in Texas.

scidata said...

Re: Star-Trekism

Many people admire the ST future, but I don't know of anyone who uses it as a model or blueprint - it's a scifi world. You know, made up. Speculative literature. It is interesting however, that some folks greatly fear the ST future. They're the ones who tend to reify it.

scidata said...

Not an exact equivalent of a fluke/parasite/toxoplasma/virus, but a similar process to biological ones. Black holes can invade and destroy a neighbouring star:
https://public.nrao.edu/news/stellar-collision-triggers-supernova/

Paradoctor said...

Larry Hart:

"I can't tell if you're being sarcastic or not."
How could I possibly have been sarcastic? I was taking them at their word! Besides, I think their choice of the word "own" is telling.

"I let them know that several Republican legislators have made their mistresses get abortions."
You probably told the truth there.

"It's like something out of Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union"
Let's face it, the libs, progs, and lefties are now the conservative faction, in the non-Orwellian definition of the word 'conservative'. They like to conserve things, like life, liberty, property, civil rights, rule of law, the planetary climate, and so on.

Once in my youth, while my Dad and I were arguing (for we loved to argue), he scoffed, "Ahhh, in your old age you'll become a conservative!" Stung to the quick, I retorted, "If so then it'll be on my own terms!" Looking back I see that we were both prophetic.

Robert said...

There's a cat intestinal symbiont

Toxoplasma gondii.

Changes behaviour in humans. Males become risk-takers, females more gregarious. (Which might well be another form of risk-taking.) Which makes sense as it's action in mice is to subvert the fear reflex by making them seek out the source.

Approximately 25% of the American population has it. The vast majority of single-vehicle motorcycle accident victims have it. Which makes sense, give the helmet-cam videos you find on YouTube of people doing truly amazingly-stupid things on a bike…

Der Oger said...

@Larry Hart:
It's like something out of Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union:

Indeed.

One historical tidbit is that, while successful at first, some Nazis actually tried to introduce edicts as early as 1934 against denunciation, because it was too successful and led to many false accusations, but only haphazardly and without much success.

There are 7 million High school and college students in Texas. Let's say only 1% of girls are informed upon, and we are at 35000 girls and young women sued, for 350 Million in damages per year minimum.(Some will try to make a living of it, I assume.) Not speaking of administrative costs for the actual trials, police, prisons, counter-sues for libel and perjury ... lots of tragedy.


Part of a poem by Max Kegel, socialist, 1884:

Do yo want to know, my dear christian,
who every human's scum is?
The answer is on hand:
it is the informer.

Dangerous is a rabid dog,
Dangerous is a lying mouth,
Dangerous is the arsonist,
More dangerous the informer.

Truly befouled is the air
where such a crook and rogue breathes;
befouled is the country
where an informer sneaks around.


[...]
(it rhymes in the original, but I found no translation.)

Larry Hart said...

Der Oger,

Way back when the earth was cooling in 1953, Kurt Vonnegut wrote this passage in his first published novel, Player Piano :


Here it was again, the most ancient of roadforks, one that Paul had glimpsed before, in Kroner's study, months ago. The choice of one course or the other had nothing to do with machines, hierarchies, economics, love, age. It was a purely internal matter. Every child older than six knew the fork, and knew what the good guys do here and what the bad guys do here. The fork was a familiar one in folk tales the world over, and the good guys and the bad guys, whether in chaps, breechcloths, serapes, leopardskins, or gray pinstripes, all separated here.

Bad guys turned informer. Good guys didn't--no matter when, no matter what.

Kroner cleared his throat. "Who's their leader, Paul?"

"I am," said Paul, "And I wish to God I were a better one."

The instant he said it, he knew it was true, and knew what his father had known--what it was to belong and believe.

Alfred Differ said...

Paradoctor,

You make it sound as if $7K/person was a lot of money.

I'm only half joking when I say this, but America can afford to be young and stupid with money. No one else can, but we have money coming out of… everywhere.

$7K/person x 330M persons is about $2.3T.
Ouch? Sure.
Could we have done something better with it? Sure.
Would we have done something better with it? Not so sure.

We learned a few things in Korea.
1. Air power destroys, but doesn't occupy.
2. We need better stand-off systems for dealing with well-equipped nation-states.
3. We need better intelligence on potential opponents.

We learned a few things in Vietnam.
1. We need to be able to fight in the dark.
2. We need better stand-off systems for dealing with insurgents.
3. We need a better approach to establishing support on the home front.
4. Leveling the countryside isn't occupation.

Many of these lessons bore fruit during the Cold War.
Many of them had impacts in Iraq I and against the Serbians in Kosovo.

Most victors of wars prepare for the next one as if it will be like the last one. We got our butts kicked in Korea doing that with lessons from WWII. We got our butts kicked in Vietnam too, but for different reasons. Both taught us. The lessons don't stick perfectly, but practice does make us better.

What will be the lessons of Afghanistan? We shall see, but I suspect one of them is that we've solved part of the air power problem by going small and drone-like. Fighting mountain forces is damn difficult, but if the skies are buzzing with our armed drones, opponents have to move underground… through rock. The Vietnamese could dig in easier terrain. Forces in Afghanistan (and Iran since it's the same kind of terrain) can't do that so easily. Those same drones ARE stand-off systems for dealing with insurgents. Two birds, one stone.

And we took out UBL in the dark using stealth tech in hostile territory.

Was it worth $2.3T?
Who cares. We are America. We can afford that.*


* My wallet doesn't agree. My code of ethics strongly disagrees with how the money got spent. However, the bleeding of that cash won't kill us. We need to stop it, though.

Larry Hart said...

On the Texas abortion law...

(emphasis mine)

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/01/opinion/texas-abortion.html

anyone who helps them, including clinic staff, friends and family, nonprofits that help fund abortions, and even taxi drivers can be held liable. If the people who file lawsuits win, they’re entitled to attorney’s fees and at least $10,000. If they lose, they’re out nothing but whatever it cost to bring the suits, because defendants can’t recoup their attorney’s fees.
...
“The law allows any individual citizen who lives in Texas to bring a suit in their own county, and the courts are blocked from actually transferring that case to a more appropriate venue. So you could have hundreds, thousands of cases, filed across the state, over the same abortion or a handful of abortions,” he said. Even if defendants win every case, said Hearron, the burden of having to defend themselves in multiple courts “threatens to stop the provision of abortion access across the state.”


One solution is as obvious as it is absurd. If someone sues me for abetting an abortion, I turn around and sue them for the same thing. Sure, there would be no basis for the suit, but let them defend against it and be unable to recoup attorney's fees.

Bob Neinast said...

Paradoctor wrote: "My nasty theory is that parasites are known to manipulate the behavior of their host/victims, to the parasite's benefit and the host/victim's death."

I think our esteemed host has shown remarkable restraint by not immediately pointing out "The Giving Plague". https://www.davidbrin.com/fiction/givingplague.html

Regarding Larry's hope that there could only be one lawsuit: While criminal law prevents one from being tried twice for the same crime, civil law (which is what this is), does not. Possible, multiple lawsuits could be combined into a single one, but that's it.

I like a suggestion I saw somewhere. We need a liberal state to immediately pass a law using this exact same mechanism to make the transfer (buy, sell, gift) of a firearm subject to the same fining structure. Then see how long it takes the Filthy Five on the Supreme Court to allow an injunction against it.

Larry Hart said...

Heard on Stephanie Miller's radio show. YMMV.


Joe Rogan is the Glen Greenwald of Kristen Sinemas.

Larry Hart said...

And I thought it couldn't get any worse than the Texas abortion law. Apparently, the right-wing is champing at the bit to ascribe full personhood to the unborn.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/02/opinion/texas-abortion-supreme-court-roe-v-wade.html

Some anti-abortion activists, emboldened by their new allies at the high court, are planning to go even further: Their goal is the full legal recognition of fetal personhood, which could ban abortions and threaten access to contraception everywhere in the United States — not just in Republican-led states. With a solid majority of justices now on their side, there’s no reason not to try.


Me again:
What I don't get is how the fetus's personhood is allowed to override the woman's personhood, stripping her of her rights and impressing her into service as an incubator.

It sounds as if the Confederacy is ready to impose slavery upon the country again, not by skin color this time, but by gender. And as in the 1850s, they're not content to rule in states they have power in, but to have the supreme court which they stole impose their will on the country as a whole.

Might it have done some good had we passed the Equal Rights Amendment, which would at least have codified into the Constitution that women are persons too? Because apparently that's not a given.

Bob Neinast said...

Larry wrote: "One solution is as obvious as it is absurd. If someone sues me for abetting an abortion, I turn around and sue them for the same thing. Sure, there would be no basis for the suit, but let them defend against it and be unable to recoup attorney's fees."

Oh, there's better! Sue them under 42 U.S.C. 1983 (for which there is a basis for the suit).

https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/42/1983

"Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress, . . ."

As for regular people, qualified immunity cannot be invoked, either.

(And I read somewhere that the DOJ is looking at similar actions along those lines that they can take, too.)

Zepp Jamieson said...

Bob Nelnast said: Paradoctor wrote: "My nasty theory is that parasites are known to manipulate the behavior of their host/victims, to the parasite's benefit and the host/victim's death."

There's a fair bit of evidence supporting that theory. Toxoplasmosis, a fungal cat infection, can spread to other species, including rodents and humans. One curious side effect widely reported / observed is that it makes the smell of cat urine attractive to the infected animals. The parasite appears to make men more introverted and wary of others, while women become more outgoing and trusting.

One bug called Ophiocordyceps creates "zombie ants" which exist only to spread the bacteria to other ants.

Zepp Jamieson said...

While the Court and the Texas abortion law are horrible enough just on the face of it, everyone seems to have missed the single most dangerous element of this week's (non) action: by refusing to provide injunctive relief on a egregiously unconstitutional law, the Court has upheld the zombie doctrine of Nullification, in which the federal law may not supercede state laws, regardless of Constitutional validity.

Zepp Jamieson said...

LH: "Joe Rogan is the Glen Greenwald of Kristen Sinemas."

Would that make Matt Gaetz the Madison Cawthorne of Louie Gohmerts?

I could see this turning into a party game...

Der Oger said...

I like a suggestion I saw somewhere. We need a liberal state to immediately pass a law using this exact same mechanism to make the transfer (buy, sell, gift) of a firearm subject to the same fining structure. Then see how long it takes the Filthy Five on the Supreme Court to allow an injunction against it.

Or use tax evasion/fraud.

I mention that because it was part of our electoral circus this week: The green state secretary of Baden-W├╝rtemberg got flak for opening an online portal on which tax evaders/fraudsters can be informed upon. (It can already be done in written form or even by telephone.)

BILD (think Fox news in tabloid form) immediately cried "Tax Stasi" (Stasi - the GDR Department for State Security). Problem is that Armin Laschet, governor of Northrine-Westphalia and conservative chancellor-candidate, already has such an informer portal running, and is completely silent on that matter.

Der Oger said...

What will be the lessons of Afghanistan?

1) Understand the country you are at war with or in. Don't be influenced by racial, cultural and political biases in your decision-making process.
2) One insurgent or innocent civilian killed creates ten new insurgents, no matter if they are killed by boots on the ground or drones. Also, try to keep your hands clean; no extrajudicial killings, no abductions based on crooked informers, no black prisons, and no torture. Close Guantanamo Bay.
3) Don't allow for mission creep. Keep up with the original goals, then move out if goals have been achieved or have become unachievable.
4) Reconsider the approach to nation-building. Don't shoulder it on the military, but on civilian organizations. A dollar spent wisely might prove more critical than a bullet shot.*
5) Stop lying to the public.
6) Turn back from fascism. Ponder on how the war abroad changed culture at home. Honor your veterans, but don't overglorify them (what could be seen as a trait of fascism). They did not fail you; your political leaders did.


*Think of a civilian corps of engineers, teachers, mediators, doctors, nurses, scientists and emergency management specialists. Give them uniforms and ranks, if needed. Give them the same funding as the Defense Department. Maybe there would be plenty of work for them in the US, too.

Other than that, we should Terror and Drugs congratulate of winning the war against them.

Der Oger said...

It is interesting however, that some folks greatly fear the ST future.

How would they react if Ian Banks' Culture series would enter Hollywood? Sheer panic, I'd assume. (Just finished Consider Phlebas.)

Zepp Jamieson said...

Der Oger: Also: Never occupy a country. It never works out well.

Daniel Duffy said...
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Daniel Duffy said...
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Larry Hart said...

Zepp Jamieson:

by refusing to provide injunctive relief on a egregiously unconstitutional law, the Court has upheld the zombie doctrine of Nullification, in which the federal law may not supercede state laws, regardless of Constitutional validity.


I'm not sure that's what they did. They didn't rule that the Texas law making abortions illegal passed Constitutional muster. Rather, they accepted the notion that since it will be enforced by private citizens rather than by government agents, the court couldn't stop them.

Which I find absurd. Private citizens can only sue in state courts and for offenses defined by the state. Normally, a citizen requires standing to sue and a demonstration of harm done to him. The state created an end run around those requirements. A rational court could enjoin the state from doing so.

I seriously can't wait for my Blue State with a Democratic supermajority in the legislature to pass similar laws allowing citizens to sue anti-maskers, possessors of firearms, and those who aid and abet the Republican Party. Of course, I don't really expect such a thing to happen because Democrats don't play smash-mouth like that, but I would be completely in favor of pushing the point that way. Sometimes, jumping on the bandwagon is the best way to demonstrate that the wheels have already fallen off.

Larry Hart said...

Der Oger:

BILD (think Fox news in tabloid form) immediately cried "Tax Stasi" (Stasi - the GDR Department for State Security).


Surprisingly enough, you didn't have to explain Stasi. We've seen the reference in movies. :)



I thought you were going to say that the problem is the right-wing paper would have been in favor of an informant site under most other circumstances.

David Brin said...

"Der Oger: Also: Never occupy a country. It never works out well."

Sorry Zepp. Tell; it to the Germans and especially the Japanese. US occupying forces stunned them with honorable and generous treatment. There are statues to MacArthur.

Zepp Jamieson said...

To LH: Yeah, that's a form of devolution, and is just an additional rung on the Nullification ladder.Tempting as your proposal is to have the blue states reciprocate tit-for-tat, I think it would result in utter chaos. Imagine getting a $10K bounty for finding people without vaccination cards. I'm in one of the worst counties in America for vaccinations. I would be rich! Rich! I tell you.
Until someone shot me, that is.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Re: Japan. OK, fair point. Japan was America at her finest. But it was remarkably non-invasive, and relatively brief. As for Germany, I think the main point that made occupation by the Western Allies acceptable to the Germans was a) genuine horror at what Hitler had wrought and b) fear of the Russians. And when the population did begin to be restive, the Marshall Plan went into effect--brilliant moves by the West. And again, it was brief: the occupation ended in 1952.

Alfred Differ said...

Zepp,

Never? Nah.
I'd say "Never occupy a country without a plan to get the hell out that has automatic triggers." Exit Strategy.

Der Oger,

Some of those lessons would be fantastic... but we are Americans. That makes them unlikely without some of you from the Old World holding our hands through tough experiences.

1) Our military and intelligence folks DO occasionally understand the cultural context. Works best when our institutions are culturally diverse. For example, we don't have to reach far to find Muslim opinions. They live among us. The problem is these organizations are led by civilian leaders who aren't necessarily elected for their understanding of cultural tolerance and details. We need civilians in charge of all this, but this is one of the drawbacks.

2) Yah. No debate. A lot of us are embarrassed over here.

3) Ha ha! Brilliance that no side will ever consider over here. We believe we can do anything! Young Barbarians!

4) That we get involved in nation building at all is really, really weird. Our Framers would have been disgusted at the idea. That's what the Old World empires did! Not us! Pfft. We are an empire now, though, and still learning what the British learned quite some time ago.

5) Ha ha!

6) I can't quite agree with you regarding how our political leaders failed us. Did they? Sure. The problem is we elected them. What actually happened is we failed ourselves. We failed our collective dream. We do this every so often, though. We shall pick ourselves up, dust off, and try again.



I don't want an agency dedicated to nation building. If we ever go in that direction I'll advocate for naming it the Annexation Department with full Secretary status in the executive branch. If the US seriously intends to get into nation building, we should be damn serious about annexing them and their lands. There's not much difference to me, so objecting to nation building is the same as objecting to conquests for the purpose of annexation.

I DO advocate for market building. We don't have to own your nation or even build it IF we can get you into the world markets. In fact, we are better off NOT owning your nation when you join the markets. We can negotiate trade agreements, regulatory alignments, and enforcement load sharing. We CAN'T negotiate cultural tolerance and moral/ethics alignments.

Knowing our limits is the lesson I'd like to see learned from all this, but I'm not holding my breath.

Larry Hart said...

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/02/us/supreme-court-texas-abortion-law.html

While many states have passed abortion bans, the law in Texas was drafted specifically to make it difficult to challenge in court. Lawsuits are the enforcement mechanism: No law enforcement officer or other government official is tasked with upholding the new law. In fact, they are explicitly barred from doing so — a legal maneuver meant to deny those that would challenge its constitutionality a government entity to file suit against.


The entities to file suit against are the state legislature and the state court system itself. What the fudge is so difficult about that??? All one has to do is imagine what Republican judges would do if a state passed the exact same law allowing citizens to sue gun owners (and letting plaintiffs recover court costs but preventing defendants from doing so). Figure out what they would do in that situation and then do the same thing.

* * *

How about we get a federal law passed allowing any private citizen to sue a Senator for filibustering? Or for aiding and abetting the Capitol terrorists of January 6? Or to sue a president for flagrantly violating the Constitution's emoluments clauses? I mean, if the structure is acceptable, then why not?

Zepp Jamieson said...

We didn't have that in Afghanistan. Our mission was "catch bin Laden" and within two weeks it became clear that wasn't going to happen, and from there on we had no clue why we were there or how the hell we were going to get out. The Doctor's point about Japan backs you up: we had a definite mission objective, and firm plans to get out as soon as those objectives were reached. It would be nice if the US learned ANYTHING from all this, but I'm sceptical.

Treebeard said...

Fear of death haunting you all.
That's why you are conservatives.
Because LIFE means CHANGES. Uncontrollable. Devastating.
And you fear changes. And you fear to live.
Because NOTHING good awaits you.
You'll neither became taller nor smarter.
That's why you trying to PRESCRIBE what Future should be, how other people should behave, and all.
All for nothing.
Because living is for the brave ones. And scared? Scared do not deserve even swift death. Only rotting.

Larry Hart said...

Zepp Jamieson:

Tempting as your proposal is to have the blue states reciprocate tit-for-tat, I think it would result in utter chaos.


That's the point. To demonstrate that what they've done leads to utter chaos. The federal courts and the justice department aren't inclined to stop them, but they will stop us in a nanosecond, and by doing so will lay the foundation for stopping them as well.

matthew said...

LH - "How about we get a federal law passed allowing any private citizen to sue for ...[o}r for aiding and abetting the Capitol terrorists of January 6?"

We have an enforcement method for this one already. It is a crime on the books called Sedition and it does not rely on private enforcement. The problem is that the Democratic Majority will not use it. Lack of political will, not lack of laws.

AG Garland expressly *does not want* to enforce the law against political figures, and is betraying his oath to protect the Constitution in the name of appearing to be non-partisan. Until the moderate Dems hear from a huge majority of their constituency in favor of charging seditionists, this will remain our largest problem in the US. One party is trying to end democracy in the US, and the other is worried about the optics of fighting them.

Larry Hart said...

@Zepp Jamieson,

This is what I'm getting at:

https://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2021/Senate/Maps/Sep04.html#item-1

As we all know, the Constitution contains many constraints on government behavior. By shifting responsibility for enforcement from the government to private citizens, Texas has effectively rendered much of the Bill of Rights (and other amendments, like the Fourteenth) moot. And by making every citizen a potential enforcer of whatever rule the state government chooses to come up with, then Texas is effectively creating a free-of-charge army of brownshirts for itself.

It's not going to be long before other red states follow Texas' lead. In fact, you could argue that they already have. Tennessee has a similar law wherein citizens can sue if they are compelled to share a bathroom with a transgender person. And the recent spate of "polling place monitor" laws are also in the same ballpark as the Texas abortion law.

Meanwhile, it won't take blue states long to adopt their own laws, either because they can, or to protest the Texas law. We have repeatedly brought up the example of allowing citizens to sue their neighbors for owning guns, and thus presenting a threat to public safety. The Second Amendment is a limit on the government's power to regulate firearms, not private citizens' power.

We did not go to a fancypants law school, the way the five justices who voted against an injunction did. But the implications of the new Texas law are painfully obvious to us. Do they not see it because they do not want to? Or do they see it, but have no problem with it? We honestly can't understand their thinking, although the dissent of Chief Justice John Roberts tells us we're not crazy to think this way.

David Brin said...

Treebeard was ALMOST honest with us when he came here to attribute to us the catechism that he personally recites in a mirror... about himself...

...twice the age his ancestors would have dreamed of reaching and a head taller, with aches and pains they would have shrugged as minor, he does things they might have called godlike daily, hourly, or every minute, summoning food and distant, unlimited knowledge at will, in a home that doesn't smell like shit & death, and travels in a metal steed faster than birds...

...but bitches and moans and spurns all those miracles because so many of his fellow tribesmen get all that too! And hence it's so unfair!

Yes death awaits. We struggle with it . And the grace with which we do so is the tone that fills the air around each of us that lingers when we're gone. It matters more than the size or fame of our works.

Your tone could ring with the smallest memorable act, like volunteering with a local agency to tutor children in math, over zoom. Or visiting the sick and listening to their stories.

Is that PRESCRIBING to you? No more than a thousand other generations in the myriad feudal quagmires you admire, who preached exactly the same thing! Our "prescriptions" are mere details on "try to be kind" and "do what you can to make things better for new generations."

Oh, but we added "argue fairly, with evidence and experiment" and "earn your way upward with character and deeds, rather than genealogy."

Clearly that bugs you. Are you descended from lords?
Make your own tone.

Treebeard said...

That wasn't the real Treebeard, it was the Kremlin agent posing as Treebeard. The broken English should've been the giveaway, or the bad poetry.

Larry Hart said...

Treebeard:

Fear of death haunting you all.
That's why you are conservatives.
Because LIFE means CHANGES. Uncontrollable. Devastating.
And you fear changes. And you fear to live.


Are you trying to be locumranch? Everything you just said is opposite to reality.

"We"--the ones you are admonishing--are not conservatives. But conservatives (real ones, not us) are the ones insisting that there is a Constitutional right to not have things change. Conservatives (real ones, not us) insist that forecasts of flooding in North Carolina may not take new data into account, but must rely on historic averages.

You--you personally--not us are afraid of all-white neighborhoods changing to more diversity, of the white vote being diluted by voters of other races, of formerly-disenfranchised people acquiring human rights and dignity.


Because living is for the brave ones. And scared? Scared do not deserve even swift death. Only rotting.


Dick Cheney? Donald Trump? Lindsey Graham? Cowards all.

Nancy Pelosi? Cool as ice.

You've picked the wrong side, dude.

Larry Hart said...

matthew:

We have an enforcement method for this one already. It is a crime on the books called Sedition and it does not rely on private enforcement. The problem is that the Democratic Majority will not use it. Lack of political will, not lack of laws.

AG Garland expressly *does not want* to enforce the law against political figures, and is betraying his oath to protect the Constitution in the name of appearing to be non-partisan.


Which is exactly why we need a Texas variant to empower citizens to bring the lawsuits. Because the government won't do it. Exactly the same reason Texas needs to do that with abortion.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Larry, I think for a lot of them, chaos is the objective. By further destabilizing from our side, we would just be feeding into it. The Trumps, McConnells and Kavanaughs feeding into this don't really care about abortion, and might just as cheerfully do it on behalf of "CRT" if it would inflame and outrage the population.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Yup. That's devolution. The Sovereign Citizen crowd embrace that, recognizing only county sheriffs as the only government authority.
The ultimate problem with this argument (and I fully recognize it isn't YOUR argument) is that I could go out and shoot someone and argue that it was permissable because I was not acting in any government capacity.

Jon S. said...

I will one day die. I've made my peace with this long since - at least I'll know what happens afterward. The only part I'm sad about is that available data suggest I won't be able to tell any of the still-living what the answer is.

I'm unclear on why I should fear death - in my view, it's a bit like fearing Wednesday, which I'm also not fond of. I would like to put off death as long as I can, just as I'd like it if I could avoid Wednesdays, not out of fear but because there are still things I want to do and see in this world (if nothing else, there are two new Star Trek series coming out that I really want to watch!). I would also like to help others who want to put off dying, because for one reason or another it's kind of a bummer for them and I like being kind to people. And if you believe you want to die now, I'd like to help you decide if that's what you really want, or if there's another solution that would work just as well without cutting out all other possibilities.

But fear? Why fear what cannot be avoided?

David Brin said...

"That wasn't the real Treebeard, it was the Kremlin agent posing as Treebeard."

Thanks Treebeard. It's because I've set the spam filter to accept your traits... misanthropy especially... that it didn't cull the fellow, who seems not to realize how desperate efforts to get in here and shit on our rug make him just look pathetic and silly. You got me to look in the swill bucket and gosh, he is truly pathetic.

Maybe I'll just let him in for a while. We'll all just skim on past with a slight grimace. Done it before.

ONWARD!

onward