Saturday, July 22, 2017

Moore's Law's demise and the crisis of expertise

A short one, this weekend... I'll have much more to say about the demise of Moore's Law... and the simultaneous sudden surge in software innovation, soon.

Here’s a deeply thoughtful and well supported missive on expertise, especially scientific, and the troubled way in which expert views are often over- or under-appreciated: The Crisis of Expertise by Tom Nichols, author of The Death of Expertise: The Campaign Against Established Knowledge and Why it Matters.

Tom Nichols doesn’t address vexatious issues like the War on Science, a politically propelled vendetta that has metastacized into a broad-front attack upon all fact-using professions. Nor does he explore the fascinating tradeoffs between two centuries — the 20th, which featured a Professionalization of Everything — and the 21st, whose amazing ‘Rise of the Amateur’ I document elsewhere.

No, this rumination zeroes in, thoughtfully, on the difficulty of truth-seeking and reliable verifiability in science, especially when it gives advice to policy.

== Beyond Moore's Law ==

The demise of Moore’s Law: “The computing industry is adjusting to the loss of two things it has relied on for 50 years to keep chips getting more powerful. One is Moore’s Law, which forecast that the number of transistors that could be fitted into a given area of a chip would double every two years. The other is a phenomenon called Dennard scaling, which describes how the amount of power that transistors use scales down as they shrink. Neither holds true today,” writes Tom Simonite in Technology Review. But this article asserts that it doesn’t matter, because while the pace of hardware improvement has slackened, coincidentally, the long-sluggish state of software has experienced some rapid surges with advances by Google and others in the field of Machine Learning.  

The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI: As Machine Learning takes off, it is important for humans to understand what’s going on under the hood, as we embark on an era when algorithm systems determine who makes parole, who’s approved for a loan, and who gets hired for a job? There’s already an argument that being able to interrogate an AI system about how it reached its conclusions is a fundamental legal right. Starting in the summer of 2018, the European Union may require that companies be able to give users an explanation for decisions that automated systems reach. This might be impossible, even for systems that seem relatively simple on the surface, such as the apps and websites that use deep learning to serve ads or recommend songs,” writes Wil Knight in Technology Review.

This raises mind-boggling questions. As the technology advances, we might soon cross some threshold beyond which using AI requires a leap of faith. Sure, we humans can’t always truly explain our thought processes either—but we find ways to intuitively trust and gauge people.” 

Hm, well, that intuition thing has always been iffy, even with each other.  No, what finally started with us was not understanding each other so much as gaining tools  to hold each other accountable. Which unleashed (in a few places) flat-fair competition.  Which unleashed creativity. But only where accountability could take root.

== Problems and solutions ==

Those of you who expected designed creatures any day now… “As CRISPR-Cas9 starts to move into clinical trials, a new study published in Nature Methods has found that the gene-editing technology can introduce hundreds of unintended mutations into the genome.  In other words… time for caution, children. Maybe even another Asilomar Conference.  

See this explored in more detail in: A Crack in Creation: Gene Editing and the Unthinkable Power to Control Evolution by Jennifer A. Doudna and Samuel H. Sternberg.

Steven Koonin (now at NYU/CUSP but previously Undersecretary for Science at the DOE) was a housemate of mine at Caltech. (We were all a wee bit in awe of Steve.) Steve has proposed an approach to resolving the (deliberately stirred) fog and murk around Climate Change in much the same way that I’ve proposed, for years — by creating an arena for full-frontal debate, dealing with every issue with a systematic, adversarial process. It’s natural that he should choose this path. Top scientists like Koonin and Roger Penrose (with whom I dined, last month) are among the most competitive humans our species ever produced. And with good reason, since that is how creative endeavors flourish. 

See Koonin's proposal outlined in A 'Red Team' Exercise would strengthen Climate Science.... which complements my own articles on reciprocal accountability. Our "arenas" of democracy,science, markets and courts all wither in darkness… and operate best in light.

Of course I have opinions as to which “side” would ultimately win such a healthy process, and today’s right has the same suspicion, illustrated by their desperate measures to avoid open fact-checking. Still, I am willing to be proved wrong and even fascinated, when that happens!  So bring on the “disputation arenas” that I’ve called-for, across 25 years!

 == Interesting snippets ==

Interesting study shows that dads are more attentive to their toddler daughters than sons and encourage more analytic thinking.  I would reckon this might be partially cultural and perhaps even a bit recent.A new kind of “flow battery” would let you replace the liquid electrolytes at a service station as fast as you fill now with a tank of gas, letting the old fluids get recharged by solar power.
A new kind of "flow battery" would let you replace the liquid electrolytes at a service station as fast as you fill now with a tank of gas, letting the old fluids get recharged by solar power.


This entertaining “Periodic Table of Irrational Nonsense” deliberately veers away from anything political – in other words the conspiracy theories and denialist cults that are harming us the worst. Still, it amusingly categorizes and arranges many of the silly fetishes that your neighbors (some of them, but never you!) indulge in.

Gangs of orcas and sperm whales are robbing halibut fishermen in the Bering Sea.The orcas will wait all day for a fisher to accumulate a catch of halibut, and then deftly rob them blind. They will relentlessly stalk individual fishing boats, sometimes forcing them back into port.” Oh, but elsewhere on the planet, pods of dolphins will herd schools of fish toward humans who share the catch. Should these halibut fellows study that trick? 

120 comments:

Alfred Differ said...

Depends on how fed-up and American Alito and Roberts decide to be.

Well... if Trump issues a pardon to himself and the SCOTUS allows it, I'll be calling the US a banana republic the next day. That kind of event would cause a huge crisis and there would be blood in the streets over it.

The last pardon given to a President had the effect of ending the possible trial before it got started. It was issued by the sitting President, thus can't be used as a precedent for a self-pardon. That pardon STILL caused a crisis felt by many. Ford waited a month after Nixon's resignation, so I was 12 when it happened. I remember very clearly how my immigrant mother went ballistic.

TheMadLibrarian said...

It's generally accepted that genetically modified organisms (mostly foods) pose no significant health risks, and the technology for producing the modifications is fairly well studied and controlled. What makes CRISPR different?

LarryHart said...

@Alfred Differ,

As long as the FOX/Brat-bart crowd believes that everything they hear on "lamestream" news is a lie, a self-pardon will be taken as a clever way around their persecution of Trump. I have very little confidence that anyone outside of the west coast, the northeast coast, or big cities will be angered by a Trump self-pardon. They would be by a Clinton self-pardon, of course, but that's a different thing, in fact the opposite thing.

I'll take my satisfaction when (not if) something happens that makes you (yes, you personally) admit he's an illegitimate president.

@greg byshenk,

Locumranch proves my point that there is a significant subset of people who "know" that staring at a woman is a felony. Therefore, a joke to that effect has some basis in humor without requiring that the person making the rueful quip has something more sinister in mind that they're trying to get away with in real life. Which is all I was really arguing.


Shane Mallatt said...

Locumranch. 'Equalism. A pro-democracy philosophy that argues that...'
From what I can tell you argue that all of those who talk of progress and equality are safe space seeking, communist snowflakes. So I thought I would give you a quote from a safe space seeking communist snowflake from a few years ago.
" Down the long lane of history yet to be written, America knows that this world of ours, ever growing smaller, must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and instead a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect. Such a confederation must be one of equals." - Dwight Eisenhower

Zepp Jamieson said...

The key phrase in the Futurist's story on flow batteries is this:
"This flow battery system is unique because, unlike other versions of the flow battery, this one lacks the membranes which are both costly and vulnerable to fouling. “Membrane fouling can limit the number of recharge cycles and is a known contributor to many battery fires,” Cushman said in a press release. “Ifbattery’s components are safe enough to be stored in a family home, are stable enough to meet major production and distribution requirements, and are cost effective.”'

If this pans out, the IC engine is dead. The article doesn't say how many recharges the fluid electrolytes can take, but I get the feeling it doesn't really matter.

Oh, and I subscribed to Futurist. It looks like a gold mine.

Carl M. said...

Regarding flow batteries: if the tech works, then it will succeed without central government help. (This is my version of lukewarmism: I think the odds are good that the combination of markets and government subsidized research will produce a solution before crisis hits. But being a cautious fellow, I'm game for a carbon tax to speed things up.)

Regarding the demise of Moore's Law: under reported. All the grandiose talk of computer speeds have been of potential throughput, not latency. This is all well and good for calculations/operations that can be conceptually parallelized. For inherently recursive problems, you need to factor in how long it takes to perform a single operation end-to-end. If I recall correctly, the old x486 processor had a pipeline that was only 4 steps deep. A vectorizable operation thus ran only four times faster than a recursive operation. Modern processors have much deeper pipelines -- or in the case of GPUs, much greater use of parallel processing.

There is also the issues of memory speed and latency. The amount of RAM has gone up spectacularly, but DRAM requires many cycles to access. Speed of access has not kept up with size of RAM; neither has bus speeds.

----

As for software, we have a yuge amount of headroom! Parkinson's Law has bogged down our computers immensely. An ancient Sparc-1 Sun workstation running SunOS 4, was more responsive than a modern machine running Windows 7. Yes, there are more pixels on the screen, and they are color pixels. But most of the lag is bad, bad, bad, software.

An Intel computer is actually an interpreter of x86 instuctions. Natively, it is running something lower level. Microsoft has moved to semi-interpreted code with .NET. The Mac has used Objective C for years -- which does all sorts of unnecessary things for each method call in order to avoid complete compiler headers. Then there is the JavaScript in your browser, an abomination if there ever was one. On the server side there is PHP -- an interpreted language with no type checking -- or the even worse Ruby on Rails.

There be lots of airspace that could be squeezed out simply by enlisting programmers over 50 years old, or younger programmers who realize that Extreme Programming is simply a euphemism for Rush to Code. Kudos to Google for funding some Old School programmers to create the Go language for the server side.

locumranch said...


In fascinating fashion, David admits to & implies the following:

(1) That 'Moore's Law' was a short-lived hyperbolic temporal trend rather than a 'law';

(2) That human technical, socioeconomic & philosophical progress may be spasmodic rather than continuous;

(3) That progressive teleology, aka 'The theory of continuous unidirectional improvement', is a flawed historical assumption; and

(4) That fallacious teleological assumptions lead to erroneous & nonsensical projections.


Furthermore, he also suggests the following:

(1) That the Decline of the Expert (elitist) & the Rise of the Amateur (populist) may represent different names for the same trend;

(2) That the "intellectual-yet-idiot" knowledge castes tend to confuse the possession of rote knowledge algorithms with the existence of actual intelligence;

(3) That those who confuse the possession of rote knowledge algorithms with intelligence also tend to mistake populism as ignorance & anti-elitism as a 'War on Science'; and

(4) That any attempt to (either) delegitimise the knowledge castes or popularise rote knowledge algorithms will be misinterpreted as a direct attack on knowledge itself.

And, by acknowledging the complexity of human & cetacean interactions, David more or less admits that these interactions are almost always 'lose-lose' negative sum propositions for the fish.


Best
____
@Shane_M: Eisenhower also warned us against the anti-democratic manipulations of the Expert Caste's military-industrial complex, insomuch as popular egalitarianism (popularism) acts as an antidote to elitist tyranny. He also spoke of a 'proud confederacy' composed of 'equals'; he condemned the tyrannical, hierarchical & scientific machinations of a peace-time military command structure; and he made no mention of 'equalism' as a religious precept.

Also, 'flow batteries' are just old school 'fuel cells', first invented in 1839.

Alfred Differ said...

@LarryHart | I'll throw you a bone then. When he pardons family members, he will have gone too far for me. It is a legitimate power of the President, but he had better not use it that way. I would consider that to be a de-legitimizing act.

greg byshenk said...

LarryHart, the question matters, it seems to me, because you originally responded as if the issue was a real one, about which we might not unreasonably be concerned. But upon being questioned, you seemed to retreat to the position that we have no good reason to think that this problem of "inocuous glances being interpreted as harassment" is anything other than imaginary.

I note that even your research ended up focusing on "staring" which is itself something quite different than "inocuous glances", and even then, as you point out, the consensus is that such would not be considered harassment -- even if some people, in some circumstances, might consider "staring" (again, something quite different than "glancing") to qualify.

In short, so far as we can tell, it is not "the case that sometimes an innocuous glance can be taken the wrong way and in this litigious age, yes, "construed as 'harassment'"." This supposed concern is about something that does not exist.

And, yes, no doubt "there is a significant subset of people who "know" that staring at a woman is a felony". This 'subset' seems to be comprised of the proudly sexist denizens of the "manosphere" and the like, which is not, it seems to me at least, any excuse. If only a group of proud sexists think that a sexist joke is funny, that is probably evidence for its being a sexist joke, not against it -- just as if your local white power clan finds a racist joke particularly amusing.

Duncan Cairncross said...

With all of the comments about staring and ogling I monitored myself at the supermarket this afternoon

I find that I don't stare - I will look away if somebody looks at me - I do look and admire but the aim seems to be to admire without getting caught doing so

I don't believe that sort of behavior could be considered offensive or harassment

Jumper said...

I expect members of both sexes are also generally clumsy at flirting, and the air of (often, but not always, thankfully!) uncertainty thus confusing. At times I have missed completely certain signs and displays almost surely flirtatious. Because I'm a dork. These range from an appealing woman walking up and telling me "You're a genius!" (Not that day, I wasn't) to women blocking my way in the grocery store aisle, to even women spanking their kids, which I suspect is somehow an act of distorted flirtation by someone pretty bad at flirtation...

LarryHart said...

greg byshenk:

If only a group of proud sexists think that a sexist joke is funny, that is probably evidence for its being a sexist joke, not against it -- just as if your local white power clan finds a racist joke particularly amusing.


Maybe I'm just too used to ceding the framing of jokes to right-wingers.

Just yesterday, my own father-in-law (who is a Democrat) had to repeat an internet joke whose punchline relied on the "fact" that a government employee would use millions of dollars in technology to answer a question that hadn't been asked, answer it incompetently, not have a clue how real Americans work, and not know the difference between a cow, a sheep, and a dog. He (my Democratic father-in-law) did not repeat the joke to show how stupid it is or how ridiculous the person was who posted it. He repeated it as if it was spot-on hilarious.

Add to that the daily exposure I get to (not all, but many) political cartoons in the Chicago Tribune which imply that Obamacare is killing people, or that the Trump/Russia investigation is a big witch hunt with no evidence of wrongdoing (as opposed to Benghazi), and perhaps you can understand my tendency to accept premises for humor that correspond to right-wing delusions.

LarryHart said...

Duncan Cairncross:

I find that I don't stare - I will look away if somebody looks at me - I do look and admire but the aim seems to be to admire without getting caught doing so


That's been my aim since I was about 12 years old.

Lately, it's been mixed in with just a touch of satisfaction at a returned smile. I'm learning skills I should have learned 40 years ago.


I don't believe that sort of behavior could be considered offensive or harassment


The key word there is "considered". That's in the eye of the beholder, and I think it's pretty clear that anything can be considered anything by particular subsets of humanity.

And way back now--this was when Phil Donohue still had a show broadcast out of Chicago--I remember some woman on the show lecturing guys about how if they receive any pleasure interacting with women without intention to date and/or marry them, then those guys were engaging in "social theft". I'm not saying I endorse that sentiment, but it is out there.

NoOne said...

I work in Machine Learning as an academic. Just wanted to point out that from an applied math perspective, deep learning is actually a step backward to 1974 (Paul Werbos' thesis). I very much doubt that software developments in deep learning (and its unsupervised learning variants) are going to do much more than create limited technological artifacts like Alexa which will plateau out by the end of the next decade.

The next scientific and technological revolution has to come from something more fundamental: physics perhaps or quantum chemistry/biology.

LarryHart said...

Jumper:

At times I have missed completely certain signs and displays almost surely flirtatious. Because I'm a dork. These range from an appealing woman walking up and telling me "You're a genius!" (Not that day, I wasn't)


Not sure what the context was, but that's a hard clue to miss. Are you afraid of being the Woody Allen character in "Play It Again, Sam" with the woman who tells him she's a nymphomaniac in a sultry voice, and then slaps his face when he leans in for a kiss ("How did I misinterpret those signs?")?


to women blocking my way in the grocery store aisle,


Grocery stores are such great places to flirt. I wish I had known that when I was single. I will go down an aisle I don't need anything in if there's a nice looking woman there. I can also arrange my course such that she appears to be continually crossing my path, thus allaying suspicion that it's the other way around. I can even give her my "Not you, again" expression so that she has to look all apologetic.

to even women spanking their kids, which I suspect is somehow an act of distorted flirtation by someone pretty bad at flirtation...


Heh. Ok, you're jumping the shark with that supposition.

Carl M. said...

Incidents like this might help explain the decline of respect for the expert caste:

https://www.jamesgmartin.center/2017/07/johns-hopkins-university-professor-treated-like-criminal/

Carl M. said...

Here is another reason some are reluctant to trust the Academy.

http://www.stephenhicks.org/2016/11/06/how-smart-and-well-read-was-adolf-hitler/

LarryHart said...

@Carl M

The "expert" in your link there is the one being fired. It's not the expert class at fault here so much as the quasi-legalistic middle-management bureaucracy class.

LarryHart said...

...and that's a different thing, in fact the opposite thing.

:)

locumranch said...


Offensiveness is arbitrary & perspective-based, resting in the eye of the beholder -- like beauty, wearing a hijab, the use of an inappropriate conversational gender pronoun, unwanted staring, flirting & approach, the use of the word 'niggardly', or the display of the confederate battle flag'-- and it has been repeatedly criminalised by various Patriot Acts & Hate Crime laws regardless of pre-existing constitutional protections.

But that doesn't explain the growing antipathy toward various Expert Classes. There are at least 3 reasons for this, the first being a loss of reciprocity, the second being the internet & the third being cognitive flexibility.

First, the Expert Classes have discarded reciprocity in favour of arrogance, disrespecting others while still expecting respect, loyalty & humility in return, as if their specific skill set makes them 'better people' than the unskilled population they serve;

Second, the Internet has leveled the playing field by (1) liberating knowledge from the knowledge castes and (2) destroying the mystique of the Expert Class only to reveal imperfect human failings under priestly robes; and

Third, the liberation of knowledge from the knowledge castes has created a sharp contrast between fluid intelligence & the possession of rote knowledge algorithms, intelligence being an innate ability while 'rote knowledge' can also be possessed by either a parrot or calculator.

The parrot has come home to roost.


Best

Tim H. said...

An old example of code optimization comes to mind, the 68K version of Graphics Environment Manager was written in C and there was three software accelerators written in 68K assembler that replaced the original display routines for the Atari ST (AKA "Jackintosh") which made them feel much snappier than an 8MHZ machine should have. Wouldn't be all that surprised if contemporary operating systems still had some fluff here and there. It may be a few years yet before the hardware stagnates to the point that Microsoft rewrites the entire codebase in a more compact fashion.

Paul SB said...

Our buddy loco persists in demonstrating that logic is a trap rather than a tool when it proceeds from false premises and wishful thinking. Dunning-Krueger needs a corollary. It has been known for some time that smart people are rarely better at making decisions and reaching conclusions than less intelligent folks, they are merely better at rationalizing their beliefs and decisions, making them sound smart. As far as I know, there is no specific name for this effect. Any suggestions? I greatly prefer descriptive names over eponyms like Dunning-Kreuger. With eponymous terms you have nothing to hook your memory to, so I would rather Dunning-Krueger were replaced with a descriptive, like Evaluative Blindness or such. That name could just as easily apply to the low-intelligence as the high-intelligence end. We have terms like positive feedback and negative feedback. Maybe High-End Evaluative Blindness and Low-End Evaluative Blindness? Of course, these are begging for acronyms - HEB & LEB, not to be confused with HDL & LDL ...

locumranch said...


An excellent display of rote knowledge algorithms masquerading as intelligence:

PSB want a cracker?

LarryHart said...

Initials...there's a right-wing version of the ACLU that calls itself the American Civil Rights Union and goes by the acronym ACRU. I heard one of their guys speak on the Thom Hartmann show. A few things came to mind immediately:

* The literal names of the groups seem backwards. The ACLU defends civil rights. The term "liberties" has been hijacked by the right, and is typically used now to mean liberty to coerce (as long as you're not "government"). So if it was a complete blank slate, I'd name the groups in opposite order.

* I couldn't help but read in that the L in ACLU was being (at least subliminally) associated with Leftist, and that the R in ACRU is meant specifically to be a "Rightist" version of the name.

* (In an observation that would get me fired and physically removed from a university, or maybe I'm just repeating stuff that doesn't really happen but Carl and locumranch think it does) ACRU sounds like a bad 1930s or 1940s interpretation of the way a Chinese or Japanese person would pronounce ACLU.

Carl M. said...

@Tim H. I had a Jackintosh back in the day -- with the original version of the OS. The text rendering on it was a bit slow. To finish up a scientific paper after I left grad school I ended up writing a terminate and state resident text editor that left enough RAM for TeX. TeX needed close to 900K. My machine had a megabyte. Fun.

In order to speed up the text rendering I used the OS functions to run down the ASCII table and print to a spot on the screen. For each, I grabbed the resulting bytes out of the video buffer. Rendering characters using said bytes was significantly faster than calling OS routines. (I may have used a smidgen of assembler. I don't remember and have no means to read my ST formatted floppies any more.)

---

That the world is moving to JavaScript to do computer graphics these days, offends my aesthetics greatly. All the efficiency of a 62 Cadillac without the elegance.

Paul SB said...

PSB has cut back on carbohydrates, and has lost 30 pounds in less than six months.

https://www.fastcompany.com/3033103/london-celebrates-the-monty-python-reunion-by-putting-a-50-foot-dead-parrot-in-potters-field

J.L.Mc said...

Locumranch- "intellectual yet idiot" . I see you have been reading some Nicholas taleb, he is probably one of the best philosophers I've read in a while. I wonder if David brin had read anything by him?

Flow batteries, though they will speed up charge time they probably will not let electric cars last longer than a IC car, at least in made in the modern style.

Jumper said...

On displays of spanking the kids, as a form of flirtation, I threw that joke in there to see if anyone was paying attention. I still suspect there's something true going on with that, though... ;>)

LarryHart said...

Jumper:

I threw that joke in there to see if anyone was paying attention.


I thought you might have. I responded to show you that someone was. :)

LarryHart said...

There's a line from the movie Camelot that goes something like "Man goes from love to ambition; never from ambition to love." That's been true in my case, even allowing for a very wide definition of "love" that includes showing off and flirting with attractive strangers.

The summer that I was 15, I was walking through the alley behind our local playground when I heard kids screaming. Turns out there was an injured-but-still-alive bat flapping around on the ground by a garbage bin. Standing around watching were several of the neighborhood kids (none older than seven or so) and one mom. The mom was not only one of the few moms in the neighborhood who was friendly to me and my brother (instead of being suspicious of us playing with their kids), but she was hot. It would be decades before I would learn the term MILF, but it applied.

Anyway, I sum up the situation in a few seconds: there's an injured bat with nothing to lose flapping around down there. Bats might have rabies. Kids are screaming, but not running away, and sooner or later might get bit. The hot mom is too terrified to do anything herself. As the only "man" present (15, remember) it's going to be up to me to fix this, and I have no weapons handy. With my best "I'll save you, ma'am" expression, I proceeded to stomp on the bat until it was safely dead. I was quite worried that it would either manage to bite me or go flapping into the crowd of kids and bite them. Had it just been me, I probably would have just left the scene, but helping save a bunch of kids in front of a damsel in distress was a situation that could not be met with cowardice.

Thus do deeds get accomplished in the real world.

David Brin said...

CarlM says: “if the tech works, then it will succeed without central government help.”

Alas, one of our many problems is that members of the CEO incest-caste have made their top priorities:
1) Offloading liabilities onto the public via capture of government -mostly via the GOP -- though yes, sometimes dems.)
2) grabbing profits from Govt investments like R&D
3) Shrugging off externality costs like pollution and resource depletion onto later generations.
4) Pursuing their own interests and not the company’s by monetizing via short term stock rises — with stock buy-backs etc -- in order to bleed value via CEO & Board compensation packages.
5) Short term Return on Investment horizons.

The last of these is most pertinent to Carl’s naive remark. Outside of the true-Tech and Biomed sectors, the MBA caste has no interest in looking beyond a one-year ROI. The old FIVE year corporate ROI was far too myopic and short, but the current one-year ROI is horrific proof that we are being parasitized by a wave of vampires.

The solution to our growth problems is not (except in some genuine cases) elimination of government. It is to be found in elimination of the MBA. The degree should be banned from anyone who has not spent ten years first delivering actual goods or services.

David Brin said...

Locum lists four items after: “David admits to & implies the following:”

Um, prepare to be shocked! I not only “admit” those 4 things, I have always avowed them openly (quibbles over wording) and you are hallucinatory to see otherwise, or any contradiction.

In fact, this is the first instance I have ever seen, of Locumranch successfully paraphrasing me,,.. well-done, son.

Having admitted where he was (rarely) on target, let me add that the rest of his list is more insane drivel. Slobbering drool.

“(1) That the Decline of the Expert (elitist) & the Rise of the Amateur (populist) may represent different names for the same trend;” And so on….

Bull. The Age of Amateurs was a necessary and is a brilliant augmentation of human expertise. The Decline of the Expert is a separate matter and completely unnecessary. It the mad right’s desperate raging venom toward every single group of people who can say “that’s not true” to the right ’s magical incantation lies.

Note, the reason he conflates these two matters here is most revealing! It’s that his brain cannot accept or even perceive the notion of positive sum. That a rise of amateur expertise ACCOMPANIES AND AUGMENTS continued respect and attention to the professionals who know the most about a subject. Indeed, the rise of both professional and amateur expertise are partners, not in opposition. The greatest of all experts – scientists – are vigorous supporters of amateur endeavors.

Ah, fellah, you do not hate all experts because they are “arrogant.” There are millions and millions of them and ghey are highly varied and a great many are wonderful, pleasant (and some of them arrogant) people.

The one and only reason for your cult’s raving volcano of hate toward all fact users is that they will all point at your cult incantations and say “Um… that’s not really true.” Your cult is one of actinic hysterical hallucination.

David Brin said...


CarlM: Do you recall the old song “Lollipop?” Look it up. My response to your desperate clutching of just so stories is : “Anecdotes Anecdotes An-an-anecdotes Anecdotes!”


Sure, you can point to isolated cases of lefty-idiocy. These do not reflect upon the vast majority or liberals, nor most liberal politicians. Whereas, the gibbering lunacy of the alt-right is directly reflective of the mass hysteria on that entire side of the spectrum.

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin:

Sure, you can point to isolated cases of lefty-idiocy. These do not reflect upon the vast majority or liberals, nor most liberal politicians


That statement is correct, but misses the point. Carl's examples are of university professors as victims of bureaucratic persecution. He uses that to justify loss of respect for professors--the victims, not the perpetrators of political correctness run amok.

Paul SB said...

Carl,

I have known plenty of people on both sides of the divide, and I have been disgusted by both. However, before Newt Gingrich took a contract out on America, there was at least some sense that both sides of that divide were occupied by human beings - fallible to be sure, but beings that could be reasoned with. I have known lefty loonies that made me roll my eyes and want to have nothing to do with them, but they were always a vocal minority. But the right has become a different animal altogether. Since Gingrich at least, they have thrived on paranoia and blind anger. They have sown ignorance to reap votes, and after decades I rarely see a conservative who rates as a reasonable human being. This has been a deliberate strategy of theirs. Being aligned with big business, it is no surprise that they pull for smaller government, because government is just about the only force that can stop them from cutting corners to the enslavement and/or death of the citizenry for the sake of their personal profits. So they capitalize on the anti-government fear unleashed by 20th Century Communism and its satirist, George Orwell. Look at the current cabinet - every one is vowed to destroy the very department they run. Their alliance with religious extremists is marriage of convenience, because they are people who are both easily lead and easily mobilized, but few in the leadership actually give a rat's ass about faith, they only spout it for the votes while lining their stock portfolios. Nothing but a gang of thieves. And sure, there are some on the other side who fit this description, too, but they are few and far between.

The right has largely become what they accuse the left of being. Be careful you don't find yourself in bed with zombie parrots like our faux rancher. I don't especially like the left, but given the choice ...

Paul SB said...

Alfred,

Referring back to a long time ago, in a thread far, far away ...

"SES Health Gradient

Okay. You want to reduce that in the US? I can live with that up to a point. I think it comes with being alive, though. There are lots of biological examples of critters not succeeding and dying young compared to other members of the same species succeeding and living longer. Our own nerve cells do it when they reach out to make connections to each other. Success = continued life. I'm up for reducing it, though. I suspect we CAN do that without killing the gold egg laying goose. One way that I think would work is to teach that the Bourgeois Deal actually DOES make the world a nicer place as it lifts the pyramid into a diamond shaped society."

Okay, but you are doing it again - acting as if H. sapiens were the same as every other species out there. There are certainly places where those rules would seem to apply, but the whole story of humanity is one of cooperation, which has raised the species to the level of becoming a geological force across its planet of origin. And before you start to jeer about that word /cooperation/ let me toss a quote out for you from my buddy Robert Sapolsky:

And, oh yeah, to reiterate an idea aired previously, "cooperation" is a value-free term. Sometimes it takes a village to ransack a neighboring village. (from "Behave" 2017 p.637 - I have to look these things up or else I forget them or get them wrong.)

Cooperation and competition are two sides of the same coin, which is the currency of accomplishment. That currency has dynamics humans are only just beginning to grasp, largely because humans are only just beginning to grasp their own nature through the fog of their ancient prejudices. Fetishizing either has its dangers, and all the noise I have been making about what the SES Health Gradient is doing is pointing to the consequences of fetishizing competition, not because that one os more dangerous, but because that is the tilt our nation - and much of the world - has come to, and society is listing badly because of it. When America becomes a theocracy, then I will bitch more about the consequences of the other. In the meantime, we all want the goose to keep laying those golden eggs, except that all the gold is going in one direction, massing in the vaults of a tiny few while the rest struggle to avoid ending up on the street corner holding "Will work for food" signs. By all means teach McCloskey, but let us not turn blind eyes to where fetishizing competition has led us, and watch those graphs. They are likely to lead to much bloodshed if we can't take back our livelihoods from the CEO caste.

Tim H. said...

CarlM, a Windows machine with a 3.5" floppy drive should be able to read those old ST disks if you didn't use one of the custom formats, it was PC compatible. Oddly enough, not legible on Apple's original superdisk, which would only read PC formatted disks written on a windows machine.

Anonymous said...

"Interesting study shows that dads are more attentive to their toddler daughters than sons and encourage more analytic thinking. I would reckon this might be partially cultural and perhaps even a bit recent.A new kind of “flow battery” would let you replace the liquid electrolytes at a service station as fast as you fill now with a tank of gas, letting the old fluids get recharged by solar power.

A new kind of "flow battery" would let you replace the liquid electrolytes at a service station as fast as you fill now with a tank of gas, letting the old fluids get recharged by solar power."

I guess this repetition error here overwrote text on the previous paragraph.

David Brin said...

CarlM I bring you greetings from Freedom Fest. And yes, maybe 20% of those I meet at such events seem willing to contemplate 6000 years and the core importance of Competition, instead of propertarianism. It's a seed.

Alfred Differ said...

jumper,

I threw that joke in there to see if anyone was paying attention

Yah. I immediately set my browser to mark ALL your contributions with "sarcasm?" and "possible joke?" tags. 8)

locumranch said...


"The greatest of all experts – scientists – are vigorous supporters of amateur endeavors (as long as the) rise of amateur expertise ACCOMPANIES AND AUGMENTS continued respect and attention to the professionals who know the most about a subject." [DB]

It so sad to hear David's admission in his own words as he describes, not a positive sum partnership between expert & amateur, but the hierarchical subjugation of the amateur to the "greatest of all experts" -- the scientist deified -- while the enslaved amateur dances around the throne of thrones crying 'Holy, holy, holy' like so many post box worshipping Stanley Moons.

For the self-anointed expert to demand the continued respect, attention, humility & loyalty of the amateur without reciprocating in kind:

This is the arrogance of which I speak, the hubris of an entrenched aristocracy or priestly caste, the feudal kind that justifies the employment of secession, the guillotine, the tumbrel & the killing field.

Never forget that your experts are "Our servants, not our masters!!" [Null-ABC]

And 'Good Luck at Freedom Fest'.


Best

Alfred Differ said...

@Paul SB | I rarely argue our species is the same as all the others. Recall my opinion of 'carrying capacity' with respect to us. However, I rarely argue our species isn't the same as the others in some ways. For example, I'm thinking of the 'depression' worker bees experience when returning to their hive empty-handed. No success. No stroking. Depression. Change of Mission. We are similar in some interesting ways.

I won't jeer 'cooperation' either. I agree that competition and cooperation are two sides of the same thing. We are social creatures, so they must be. Where I'll turn my nose up, though, is when either are treated as if they were not a natural selection force in an evolutionary process. Cooperation works wonderfully well to select among us. Some of us find skilled cooperating partners. Others don't. How much cooperation happens varies too. Does that sound like competition? Yah. To my ears at least. That's because we often do both at the same time. I can't jeer at one without jeering at the other, so I'll refrain.

except that all the gold is going in one direction

No. It really isn't. Most of it is winding up in the form of human capital in the heads of millions outside the CEO clade. Look at what you are doing with your 'savings', for example. Cooperation? No doubt. You are replicating it (imperfectly since we are human) to the minds of others. You, sir, are one of the geese. (Yah. I know I messed up the genders in that analogy.) 8)

Alfred Differ said...

@locumranch | I strongly encourage you to get out into the field and examine the relationship between amateur and professional astronomers for yourself. David's description of it is reasonable WHEN the amateurs care to receive the attention of the professionals. The amateurs have goals of their own and pursue them independently, but they also augment the professionals in ways they know the professionals need. It's a matter of choice and has little to do with worship. Respect? Sure. Mostly it is about having fun doing what they like to do, though.

I helped found an astronomical group in Las Vegas in the early 80's. There were two people in town who could be called professionals and we knew them both. Our interests partially overlapped with each. Where they did, we augmented them. Where they did not, we did our own thing. Most of us did not want careers in the field and that prevented a lot of overlap. I was one of the few who did, though I changed my mind later and stuck to the physics I learned along the way.

the scientist deified

Heh. Any fool who actually wants that will have a shortened science career. You are mixing up a popular myth and reality. However, I WOULD suspect you had a rough relationship with your pre-med physics/chemistry or other science teacher(s). My brother-in-law has a very low opinion of one of his teachers who just happened to be my roommate for a couple years, thus I know he wasn't as bad as the stories. I joke with my BIL occasionally. You mean he made you work your ass off? He made you write? How terrible! Did your pre-med physics teacher has a high opinion of himself? How horrible!

Alfred Differ said...

Okay. Unrelated to anything recent I want to point to an EconTalk podcast that might shed some light on some of the interesting ways we interact with each other here and in the broader sense. This episode is an interview with Michael Munger who was researching the ideas behind slavery in the American South and how those ideas changed over a couple of generations. Along the way, he and the host get deep into the differences between Adam Smith and David Hume regarding how smart people can rationalize their behaviors. What I found interesting, though, is I can see parallels in how we are interacting with Locumranch, Treebeard, and others here. When Munger describes the earlier, ineffective attempts by abolitionists to persuade, it all sounded VERY familiar. What is troubling is that their efforts produced an affect opposite of their intent.

http://www.econtalk.org/archives/2016/08/munger_on_slave.html

The host is a self-described classical liberal, so I don't expect many here to agree with him on many details. His knowledge of Smith is established, though. The guest self-describes as a bleeding heart libertarian and is inclined to support a UBI and recognition of 'social justice' not being a nonsense term like Hayek argued it was. Both are careful thinkers and there are worse ways to spend an hour. 8)

DavidTC said...

If Trump does pardon himself I expect one thing and want two more things:

1) The first thing is...well, Trump, you just abused a governmental power with no checks on it...let's subject you to a different one.

You pardoned yourself, that means you cannot take the fifth amendment. So you now have to testify to Congress. Like, literally, every day, you have to show up at a Congressional hearing (I.e., one Congressman, on a rotating schedule.), where you will be asked exactly one pointless question. And then sent home.

One question a day. Every day. The entire rest of your life. You don't show up, you're in contempt of Congress, and they lock you up.

You abuse the unchecked constitutional power you have, so I say we have Congress abuse _its_ unchecked constitutional power (And Congress really does have near uncheck power to depose people, limited only by fifth amendment claims...which, ha, you just waived any of those with your pardon.) against you.

2) I'd like everyone to remember we can still impeach a president that pardoned himself..._even after he resigns_. Yes, it is mostly pointless, but it will forbid him from holding any office of trust, profit, or honor, in the US government, and we can and should impeach a bunch of his hanger-ons also, because we keep forgetting to do that, and those criminal rats from Nixon somehow keep popping back up in politics, so let's make sure that we don't get Manafort running for Congress in ten years or some such bullshit.

In fact, we really should be almost automatically impeaching people who are convicted of criminal acts in office, not letting them resign and then come back later. The US Congress is explicitly given the power of impeachment, the power to say 'You betrayed the trust of this country, and you are, from now on, forbidden from serving in any sort of US government office and removed from any you hold', and they need to _use_ that power more often, and not just use it to _remove_ people from office but also after those people retired in scandal before it could be used.

3) And the best thing, of course, would be a constitutional amendment limiting pardon power. Probably by subjecting it to some sort of Congressional review, either just a political vote, or having some sort of formal things that are off-limits (like pardoning people who have done things on your orders) and having Congress judge those things.

And the fun thing about constitutional amendments...they can retroactively undo (Or subject to review) previous pardons. We can't have ex-post facto laws in this country...but we sure as hell can have ex-post facto constitutional amendments.

reason said...

David TC

If it was up to me, I wouldn't bother, I would just rid of the presidency. An elected King might have seemed like progress in the 18th Century. It looks pretty stupid today.

Carl M. said...

Regarding my lukewarmism: you are too pessimistic. The market is YUGE for a better battery, without a single additional mandate or subsidy. Even if you exclude active environmentalists, it is big. There are of plenty of conservatives who would love to get off of the grid. Just the other day I was listening to Glenn Beck talking about his solar panels (not ready for prime time, alas. Too unreliable). Being dependent on the grid rankles those with a survivalist mindset.

But well before a new battery becomes cheap enough for home power backup or even automotive use, there are plenty of applications for electronics and power tools. Plenty of high value initial market. Bring down the cost of battery powered riding mowers to something less outrageous, and golf course communities will start banning gasoline powered yard tools. Rich Republicans like quiet neighborhoods. (When my finances improve, I may get myself a battery powered push mower just to avoid the vibration of a one-lung gas engine.)

It may have changed by now, but for decades the biggest users of electric vehicles were country clubbers. Think golf carts.

And before batteries are cheap enough for general highway use, there is the potential for stackable mini-cars for core cities. (https://www.holisticpolitics.org/AlternativeEnergy/ElectricCars.php)

LarryHart said...

@DavidTC,

If congress showed any inclination to prevent Trump from engaging in corruption and they were merely awaiting some obvious excuse to proceed with impeachment, you'd have some excellent points. Unfortunately, that's not the world we live in. Republicans in congress are cowed at the thought of losing Trump's base. They will express a certain amount of distaste, but will ultimately make excuses for him rather than impeach.

And FOX/Bratbarteiner viewers think this is all a witch hunt by Democrats and their media allies. They don't think Trump has done anything wrong. The more actual reasoning people are upset at his doings, the better they like him. Making liberals feel bad is a feature, not a bug.

Ioan said...

I thought you guys might find this interesting

http://www.corgan.com/blog/
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-07-21/the-airports-of-the-future-are-here

Marino said...

Second, the Internet has leveled the playing field by (1) liberating knowledge from the knowledge castes and (2) destroying the mystique of the Expert Class only to reveal imperfect human failings under priestly robes;

Drivel. I'm a librarian and I know how hard is finding reliable knowledge on the internet.
At least I know which databases contain peer-reviewed stuff or how metrics (from citation indexes onward) for evaluate research work, knowledge you don't find among those who equate "the internet" with Facebbok and YouTube

First, the "knowledge caste" is the ones who create new knowledge, which in turn requires a lot of background knowledge and infrastructure. Think particle physics and the LHC.
Second, "caste" at least here in Italy has been the populist's dog whistle against politicians, parties still made of locals and grassroot and doing "adult compromise/bargaining". Google some good source on FiveStar Movemente, for one.

Third, debunking the "mystique of the expert class" has just opened the gates to rabble rousers and conspiracy theorists and self-styled "experts who side with The People against The Powers That Be..
So we've gotten chemtrail conspirationists, antivaxxers (who in turn now have even supported flat earth "theorists", if you can believe it), New Age mystics who tell that drinking your own piss in the morning cures all, or failed physicians explaining that cancer is a mushroom growing in the body, and you can heal it by using lemon juice and baking soda.

LarryHart said...

Marino:

Third, debunking the "mystique of the expert class" has just opened the gates to rabble rousers and conspiracy theorists and self-styled "experts who side with The People against The Powers That Be..


So instead of democracy degenerating into the people voting themselves largesse from the public treasury, it has become the people voting themselves a preferred version of reality?

Robert said...

I recall you've long advocated against returning to the Moon, calling it a dead end gravity well.

New research suggests the Moon may in fact contain significant stores of water locked in the mantle which can be mined for multiple uses. Though it also seems likely we're returning to the Moon rather than Mars or the asteroids for other economic reasons: we can't afford to go to Mars because governments are stingy.

Anyway, take care.

Rob H.

Ioan said...

Marino,

I know I asked this question a long time ago. I don't remember if you answered it, I know Laurent answered it for France.

How do the more racist elements within Italian society view Indians, East Asians, Mexicans, and Eastern Europeans?

The reason I'm asking this question is as follows: The alt-right is VERY uniform in its views globally when it involves Muslims and black people. However, when you get to the groups mentioned above, you get clear differences.

For instance, while the UK alt-right is against E. Europeans, the US alt-right views us as white allies. Likewise, I have acquaintances from high school who are alt-right and have E. Asian spouses.

Since I know an election is coming up in Italy, I want to get a mental picture of what the atmosphere would be there should the alt-right win or even do well?

Sorry guys if this is too off-topic.

EliRabett said...

You might be interested in submitting an abstract to this AGU Fall Meeting symposia

https://agu.confex.com/agu/fm17/preliminaryview.cgi/Session26335

PA024:
Science and Sci-Fi: Using Real Science to Explore Fictional Worlds

Session ID#: 26335
Session Description:
Science outreach remains a vital avenue for public engagement with, and appreciation/support for academic research. One successful model is using legitimate science to explain science fiction and fantasy (e.g., Star Wars and Game of Thrones blog carnivals). Rather than debunking or refuting characters, lands, and universes that were never meant to be scientifically accurate, these projects celebrate what fans of the genres already love about the stories, but with the infusion of sound science however silly and/or convoluted it may appear on the surface. In other words, rather than potentially push an audience away, these projects engage with an audience eager to dive deeper into their favorite stories. The point of exercises like these isn’t necessarily to legitimize the fictitious, but to use fiction as an entrée to exciting the general public about science, ultimately promoting scientific literacy as an enhancement of the things people already enjoy.

LarryHart said...

Apparently, William Shatner speaks at FreedomFest.

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/is-star-trek-icon-william-shatner-a-libertarian/


...
“Is there a free mind? Are our minds free? Are we programmed by something up there to follow our fate? Or are we programmed by Mom and Dad at a very early age? So is there free will? Do we make choices?”

So wondered William Shatner during his July 21 speech at the annual Las Vegas convention of libertarians and other free-marketeers called FreedomFest. He urged the audience to stick to its principles, not compromise as he says he did when he directed Star Trek V by giving up on his original vision of having the real God attack the crew with an army of lava men in the film’s climax.
...


Did he seriously want the entity in ST-5 to actually be God? And that's what God would do at the film's climax--attack the crew with an army of lava men? After which, the Enterprise would presumably...defeat God?

That would have been even worse than the actual movie was, and that's saying something.

Alfred Differ said...

Heh. Shatner still has a sense of humor.

Telling an audience of libertarians to stick to their principles is like feeding sweet stuff to babies. No chance of it being spit back in your face. 8)

LarryHart said...

On Shatner...

Maybe he was pulling a "Jumper". Y'know, telling the audience to stick to principles but using an example which would argue against it. To see if anyone is listening.

On flirting...

My daughter's generation healthily avoids the mysticism surrounding the opposite sex that I lived through growing up. But in some ways, this makes flirting harder. Back in my day (heh), if a girl initiated a conversation with you or gave you a clear opening to do so with her, that was a pretty strong flirting signal. Not so much today when boys and girls interact platonically all of the time.

Alfred Differ said...

Not so much today when boys and girls interact platonically all of the time.

Thank goodness. The old way made it difficult for men and women to talk to each other without sexual implications. It was really, really dumb in my not so humble opinion. 8)

LarryHart said...

@Alfred,

I wasn't complaining. Just pointing out that it makes flirting harder.

All in all, a net positive, I agree with you.

Viking said...

" I see you have been reading some Nicholas taleb, he is probably one of the best philosophers I've read in a while. I wonder if David brin had read anything by him?"

Based on reading Brin and Taleb, I can think of no more polar opposites, they would be up there with HRC versus Ted Cruz. Here is how I would imagine a conversation between Taleb and Brin unfolding:

Taleb and Brin meet in a bar,

Taleb: How are your royalties coming along? Did I mention I made triple digit millions in gains during the mortgage meltdown?

Brin: I hope you can show your manhood by joining Buffet and Gates in giving away your fortune after you pass away.

Taleb: No, I don't really trust anybody with intelligence inferior to me (anybody else than me) to grasp the optimal way of spending that money.

Brin: Admit it, for 99.99% of 6000 years (=5999.4 years) people like you have cheated, therefore, to restore cosmic balance, we need to collect all fortunes above $10 million (my net worth), and smart futurists like me need to be consulted in howto "invest" the proceeds.

Taleb: You would do well reading Maimonides.

Brin: Stop your puny lubricious weasel words, people like you are just dying for the confederacy to rise again.

Taleb: No, but I would gladly die for Jesus to rise again! But in the absence of such an offer, due to my power lifting, and nutritional purity, I expect to live a couple of hundred years. I am untainted by Monsanto, I only eat and drink what was available in old testament times, nothing can hurt me. While I am thinking about it, I probably will live 600 years, like Noah!

Brin: Bah, insanity! Admit it, you are only a libertarian on the surface, when you actually enter the ballot box, you pinch your nose and vote for the Grand cOnfederate Party.

Taleb: Are you aware of how valuable my time is? My vote being the deciding one has a probability less than one in a trillion! I live in freaking NYC!

At which point Brin punches out Taleb, despite his power lifting, today is a fasting day, and Taleb is weak like a child.

donzelion said...

Marino: "Second, the Internet has leveled the playing field by (1) liberating knowledge from the knowledge castes..."

I find it utterly fascinating: expert knowledge has long been available in book form to any who sought it - free of charge for the seeker! - yet so few felt the wave of power they now feel from being able to Google an answer and 'know' the mysteries of the world in seconds.

It's as if instead of training a military, all one had to do was put a gun in the hands of ordinary joes, and one would have all the national security one could possibly want. Or instead of training a doctor, all one needs to do is google the right database...

As a librarian, how are people using your library? I find law libraries and specialty niche libraries quite busy, typically with students and 'do-gooder' lawyers who don't have a budget for the super cheap/fast databases. I find community libraries to be 'busy' - but typically more of an after-school supervised safe zone, and a lot less reading occurring.

Duncan Cairncross said...

Donzelion
"expert knowledge has long been available in book form to any who sought it - free of charge for the seeker!"

"Free of charge" - except for the months of time looking for the information that you require!!
And 99% of the information that you want was simply NOT written down in a book that you could get hold of
It was either never written down - or published in such small numbers that hen's teeth come to mind

If you want expert knowledge of how to do something then we currently have many orders of magnitude more available

My son has just damaged his wrist - his doctor used the internet to find cases with exactly the same characteristics
A case of the expert using some of that huge database out there - far too much to keep reliably in a person's memory or even bookcase

David Brin said...

The Daily 202: Trump marginalizes experts, debases expertise

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/paloma/daily-202/2017/07/24/daily-202-trump-marginalizes-experts-debases-expertise/597548fc30fb043679543214/?utm_term=.4d50250846e3


DavidTC offers an interesting form of vengeance, should POTUS decide to pardon himself and everyone around him. Completely separate from the impeachment firestorm that would ensue, the fact is that such pardons would obviate any claim such people had to protection from self-incrimination under the 5th Amendment. Since they do not face criminal jeopardy for their actions, that means they can ironically be forced to testify about them. Refusal invites contempt of Congress and imprisonment for that!


Vengefully, Congress might invite such folks to testify every single day, and throw the book at them, if they fail to show up. If they lie about a single thing, that is a fresh perjury count, not covered by the pardon.

Tasty, though a bad precedent. Far better would be for Justices Alito and Roberts to wake up. To realize they are Americans first, especially when conservatism has been hijacked into treason and confederatism. It is supposedly “conservative” to pay heed to the Framers’ intent, and clearly the Framers did not mean for the Presidential Pardon to be used for obstruction of justice.

Much will depend, then next couple of years (e.g. the crucial decision on gerrymandering) on whether those two men want to go down in history as Americans, or like the wretched monsters who gave us the Dred Scott Decision.

David Brin said...

CarlM, notice that you addressed the anecdote - the likely market for better batteries, instead of my larger point about the parasitical way that the vampire CEO caste ha reduced the already-way-too-short traditional corporate ROI (return on investment) horizon from ten to five and now roughly one year, which can only be achieved by financial gambling.

The tech sector - including batteries - still plunges forward with the older 5-year ROI plus partnership with government R&D. But all the rest vividly illustrates why the libertarian movement is crazy to keep reciting its catechisms that business is run better than government. Not. Absolutely not. Verifiably not.

And... so long as MBA guys run our CEO caste... absolutely not.

David Brin said...

LH I missed Shatner at Freedom Fest. Did see my friends Penn & Teller!

Eli… cool looking panel at AGU!

Robert, The moon has loots of good stuff. But almost none of it is FRACTIONATED or separated into highly concentrated ores. On Earth this mostly happened from geo processes especially water streams above and below ground. In asteroids it happened because a proto planter broke up. Nothing like it happened on the moon. If there is mantle water, it is in parts per million and you’d need to crush and melt the rock. Good luck with that.

Viking. Heh. I think.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Dr. Brin wrote: "...whether those two men want to go down in history as Americans, or like the wretched monsters who gave us the Dred Scott Decision."

Hear hear!

I notice you didn't waste time speculating on Gorsuch, who is probably as venally corrupt as his mother was.

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin:

DavidTC offers an interesting form of vengeance, should POTUS decide to pardon himself and everyone around him. Completely separate from the impeachment firestorm that would ensue, the fact is that such pardons would obviate any claim such people had to protection from self-incrimination under the 5th Amendment. Since they do not face criminal jeopardy for their actions, that means they can ironically be forced to testify about them. Refusal invites contempt of Congress and imprisonment for that!


Vengefully, Congress might invite such folks to testify every single day, and throw the book at them, if they fail to show up. If they lie about a single thing, that is a fresh perjury count, not covered by the pardon.


Sweet, except that if Trump can pardon himself, then it doesn't matter who can testify against him. And if the new contempt charges aren't covered by the pardon, why wouldn't he just issue a new pardon?

No, the saving grace will be ironically a different conservative meme: States rights. If New York (for example) can bring him or his family up on state charges, he can't pardon those. Or New Jersey. It would be interesting to see him have to crawl for a pardon to Governor Chris Christie.

Tasty, though a bad precedent. Far better would be for Justices Alito and Roberts to wake up. To realize they are Americans first, especially when conservatism has been hijacked into treason and confederatism.


Roberts...just maybe cares enough about the reputation and integrity of the court. The other conservative justices are Republicans first--responsive to the donors who brung 'em--and everything else (including Americans) a distant second. Remember that they were about to rule that "whole number of persons" meant likely-Republican voters, before God stepped in and saved us from Scalia.

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin:

It is supposedly “conservative” to pay heed to the Framers’ intent, and clearly the Framers did not mean for the Presidential Pardon to be used for obstruction of justice.


Yes, it will be interesting to see what pretzels the "original intent" justices will find when the choice is between what the framers would have meant and Republican goals.

Still, even in a more rational world, I don't think the Supreme Court is in a position to rule on a pardon until after that pardon is granted. I don't believe there is any way they can pre-empt such a move. And once the pardon is granted, I don't think it can be un-granted. Any ruling would apply to future pardon attempts only.

Am I wrong?

David Brin said...

At an event for military men and women, the President of the United States ordered service personnel to engage in politically partisan activity, violating both law and custom going back two centuries. At a Boy Scout gathering, he segued from the Scout Oath to screaming that "Obamacare is death!" Earlier he declared his power to pardon to be unlimited. All in the last 24 shrill hours.

Tomorrow, the US Senate will be asked to vote on a bill that ONE senator - Mitch McConnell - wrote and that almost no others have seen, that went through no committee hearings, no negotiations, no deliberation or what used to be called politics. The GOP screamed in 2009, when dems held only 10 months of hearings in only three committees. Now the Republicans have completed their long transition to demanding that the greatest legislature in the world become a caudillo's rubber stamp.

The adults in this nation are noticing, and we shall see how many of them have the courage to stand up. There are 6 GOP senators who could - if they were American heroes and not sniveling cowards - help save the nation by bolting and forming a new party. There are two Supreme Court Justices -- Roberts and Alito -- who might truly save the nation by ending gerrymandering, decisively and forever. If they were Americans.

http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/24/politics/trump-boy-scouts-rally/index.html

David Brin said...

If enough Republicans went to negotiate with democrats, then there are two possibilities:

1) Simply raise - instead of eliminate - the Individual Mandate or IM. Millions of healthy people would then get insurance and Obamacare would work fine.

#1 wont' happen, even though the IM was the Heritage Foundation and GOP idea and plan.

2) States' Rights. Pass a bill letting states opt out of Obamacare completely. But letting other states control the Individual mandate and adjust it as they see fit. Obamacare would work well in Blue States (it already kinda does) and vanish in Red States... where the GOP would then soon see rumblings of revolution.

Jumper said...

Can the President issue pardons to those detained for contempt of Congress after already being pardoned once?

Carl M. said...

David, I did not say the completely libertarian solution was adequate. (It might be, but it's a bit more of a stretch, and requires other components.) I wrote that the combination of the current level of government pure research plus the markets will likely do the job.

The lithium batteries in Tesla cars are trickle down tech -- tech that tricked down from computers and cell phones. Once someone gets something in the lab using potassium, sodium, or magnesium that has similar performance specs for a potentially lower price, corporate labs will happily take it too the next level, and from there it shall go into other applications. Lots of precedent.

As for those rascally MBAs, how much is due to laws that demand that management maximize profits? I seem to recall that B corporations were on shaky legal ground. (This may have been fixed. I haven't researched this in a while.)

---

Speaking of rascally MBAs, anyone have an opinion on that straight to the fans offering by Rayton Solar? Part of me thinks "Cool!" and part of me thinks "Scam."

One of the things that intrigues me about the Rayton technology is the claim of crystalline solar efficiencies. To my thinking, solar gets REALLY interesting when you can get enough energy from your roof to completely replace being on the grid. Cheap, low efficiency, tech doesn't hack it even if the price/W is less.

locumranch said...

What does the Internet do for information that a library book cannot?

It can FRACTIONATE that information into highly concentrated lodes, much in the way that Earth's "geo processes" do to mineral ores, whereas the average non-fiction textbook is dry dusty lunar tome full of dispersed & unfractionated information in comparison.

The average librarian has already been reduced to an Amazon warehouse stock clerk by the elimination of the Dewey Decimal System and soon, very soon, the vaunted halls of Academia will topple under the savage educational onslaught of pre-recorded 'you're-a-boob' videos & pre-programmed AI tutorials.

The downsized librarians will then be followed by hordes of remaindered school teachers, administrators, sales clerks, tax preparers, social workers, consultants, bureaucrats & paper-pushers (all sorts), including any & every expert who is not actively engaged in pure or applied research.

Only a few skilled manual laborers & tradesmen will remain, ACCOMPANIED, AUGMENTED & EMPOWERED by a jack-booted BAMN brute squad authorised to 'keep the peace'.

Employment will drop so low that most social programs (including Medicaid, Medicare & Social Security) will become unsupportable; all habit-forming drugs will be legalised & encouraged; and the resulting chaos will force even the likes of Larry_H to realise that "people voting themselves largesse from the public treasury" & "people voting themselves a preferred version of reality" are engaging in functionally identical activities.

But, thankfully, our resident expert David will stand fast at the breach, ACCOMPANIED & AUGMENTED by a unified army of self-sacrificial libertarians who exist only support those experts who know the most about the current topic.

Enjoy Herding Cats @ Freedom Fest


Best

DavidTC said...

Sweet, except that if Trump can pardon himself, then it doesn't matter who can testify against him. And if the new contempt charges aren't covered by the pardon, why wouldn't he just issue a new pardon?

The premise of this requires Congress to cooperate, and thus sorta assume Congress has already impeached him, so he can't be issuing pardons anyway. Perhaps you're thinking Pence could pardon him?

But, weirdly, contempt of Congress isn't subject to pardons.

While where is _also_ a criminal charge with that name (Which can be pardoned.), what I am talking about 'inherent contempt of Congress', which is a weird constitutional power of Congress....or, actually, each chamber of congress. Each chamber of Congress can issue subpoenas, just just like the courts, requiring someone to show up and testify.

In 1934, in Jurney v. McCracken, the Surpreme Court dismissed a writ of habeas corpus to released a person who had been taken into custody by the _Senate sergeant-at-arms_ because he refused to testify. The Supreme Court said that was entirely legal.

Now, enforcing this against a president would be a bit odd and impractical, and probably not allowed. But against an ex-president it should work fine.

--

Here's how it plays out. Let's assume the sorta obvious situation: The House goes to the Democrats in 2018, and they start ripping Trump's finances apart. Impeachment starts, and Trump resigns. And either right before his resignation, he pardons himself, or Pence does it after.

The House then (Continuing their _entirely legitimate_ investigation) subpoenas Trump to demand he answer...one question, and then lets him go. And does it again and again.

Trump, fed up with this, quickly does not show up.

The House then direct the House Sergeant-at-Arms to detain Trump for Contempt of Congress.

Pence immediately pardons Trump for that.

Congress points out that they have not charged Trump with a crime. They have, instead, used their inherent power to imprison someone _until they testify_, which in the courts said, in Ex Parte Grossman, was _not_ subject to a pardon. (There, the courts said a criminal contempt charge could be pardoned, but explicitly said that imprisoning someone until they testify could _not_ be pardoned. While that was was about contempt of _court_, the principles should be identical with contempt of Congress, both of those are inherent powers that have additionally been encoded into criminal charges but the original power remains.)

Pence...does not have a response to that.

Trump, meanwhile, probably tries to direct the Secret Service to stop his arrest, but the Secret Service, wisely, would probably attempt to stay entirely out of this as long as the Sergeant-at-Arms allowed them to occupy Trump back to DC and followed their security recommendations. (Pence is probably smart enough to realize the Secret Service does not take orders from people it is protecting. Trump, I am sure, is not.)

Trump gets hauled back to DC, and put in front of the House...for one more question. And then released....and as soon as he leaves, they write another subpoenas for Trump, the next day, and have it served as he's getting into his car.

Trump, _eventually_, manages to get a court to rule this is clearly an abuse of power, which is really really really is. It's like the most obvious abuse of a constitutional power since, I dunno, PARDONING YOURSELF.

So let's do it.

--

Incidentally, unlike what Brin said, _technically_ you can't plead the fifth to Congress either. They can force you to testify and incriminate yourself regardless, as you are not in a criminal trial. They can even lock you up if they think you are refusing to answer. (It's just, if they force you, they cannot use that evidence, or anyone learned as a result of that, in a criminal trial against you...but, heh, you've been pardoned, so no loss there.

LarryHart said...

Jumper:

Can the President issue pardons to those detained for contempt of Congress after already being pardoned once?


Of course he can. What's stopping him?

Zepp Jamieson said...

Captain Pissmop said "Obamacare is death!"

I just did a gif in response, Gaiman's character Death saying "Je suis Obamacare!"

LarryHart said...

DavidTC:

But, weirdly, contempt of Congress isn't subject to pardons.

Never heard that before, but it's at least a piece of good news.

Only if Congress goes along, though.


Here's how it plays out. Let's assume the sorta obvious situation: The House goes to the Democrats in 2018, and they start ripping Trump's finances apart. Impeachment starts, and Trump resigns. And either right before his resignation, he pardons himself, or Pence does it after.
...


Why would he wait until the House changes hands to pardon himself? He'd do so on the day after Election Day. Maybe there's more of a conflict if he can't pardon himself, but if he's going to resign anyway, he could do that the day after Election Day, and Pence could pardon him then. Or he could say fuck the House unless Democrats pick up the 8 Republican seats up for election in 2018 and don't lose any of the 20-something of their seats up for election AND enough additional Republicans are willing to join the 67 votes necessary to convict.

And knowing they can't kill the king, which Republicans are going to risk taking a shot at him?

Zepp Jamieson said...

Jumper asked: "Can the President issue pardons to those detained for contempt of Congress after already being pardoned once?"

I would argue that would violate Separation of Powers (Congressional power to indict) and violate Constitutional intent. Profligate used of the power of pardon to escape criminal penalties flies in the fact of the purpose of the Constitution to put limits on the government. Limited pardon power would put the president above any law.

Chris Heinz said...

I found this somewhat chilling, but fascinating. 2 AIs talking in a language of their own devising ...

https://www.fastcodesign.com/90132632/ai-is-inventing-its-own-perfect-languages-should-we-let-it?utm_campaign=Abundance%20Insider

LarryHart said...

Zepp Jamieson:

Captain Pissmop said "Obamacare is death!"


And who are those families and children standing behind him as "victims of Obamacare"? What is he claiming happened to those people?

They're flying John McCain in for the vote? Decorum prevents me from revealing what I hope happens to that plane.

If Republican Senators are having their minds changed by Trump's threats or promises, then he really does have power over them. If they're not going to buck him on the most unpopular health care bill in history, then they're not going to remove him from office either. So we'll know tomorrow.

God save the United States of America.

Zepp Jamieson said...

The whole world will be watching the health care vote.

LarryHart said...

Chris Heinz:

ai-is-inventing-its-own-perfect-languages-should-we-let-it


Captain America: "It's not a question of letting, Mister!"*

(* Captain America and the Falcon #177, September 1974 )

LarryHart said...

Mitch McConnell and Cheetolini call Democrats "obstructionists" on health care.

Pot, meet kettle.



David Brin said...



David TC that’s brilliant stuff about the pardoning precedents! Is it posted anywhere, so we can link to it as things develop?
——
Carl M: “how much is due to laws that demand that management maximize profits?”

To whatever extent that’s law, it was passed by Republicans. It is Milton Friedman’s cult religion that corporate executives owe nothing to the future, only to their investors’ current stock value. “Everything else will take care of itself,” MF (a real MFer) assured!

Wrong. It led to raping of companies, evisceration of R&D and productive investment (even as a cash tsunami flowed to top investors via supply side tax cuts), the fobbing of costs onto the commons, wastrel stock buy-backs and the eating of seed corn, with ROI horizons shrunk to one year or less.

And no, it is propelled less by law than by cult incantation.

----

Now locum is just yattering word chains.

Viking said...

"To whatever extent that’s law, it was passed by Republicans. It is Milton Friedman’s cult religion that corporate executives owe nothing to the future, only to their investors’ current stock value. “Everything else will take care of itself,” MF (a real MFer) assured!"

Even the near term performance of shareholder value is uncorrelated with CEO pay, the ultimate example is Meyer@Yahoo, plus a bunch of other looters.

I would welcome an inventive use of existing racketeering statutes to bring justice to CEO buddies that vote each other undeserved pay raises. This is a looting where the victims (shareholders) are fully innocent, in contrast with other interactions with the financial industry (term life insurance anyone?), where the victims probably could avoid getting scammed if they were willing to do some research.

http://fortune.com/2015/02/03/berkshires-buffett-adds-to-his-lead-in-1-million-bet-with-hedge-fund/

https://www.mattcutts.com/blog/scott-adams-financial-advice/

J.L.Mc said...

Speaking of batteries, has anyone heard of those batteries powered by sugar? They are supposed to be better than lithium ones.

Also, where is treebeard?

Marino said...

Ioan, re forthcoming Italian elections:

How do the more racist elements within Italian society view Indians, East Asians, Mexicans, and Eastern Europeans?
first and foremost:according to opinion polls the Italians are overall extremely misinformed on immigration. They overestimate the numbers in general, and overestimate the numbers of Muslims and Blacks.
Here are the stats for imiigrants broken diown by nationality 2015:
http://www.comuni-italiani.it/statistiche/stranieri/
(in Italian, but country names are easy to recognize)
Most immigrants come from Eastern Europe, but there is an almost obsessive fear of Black Africans and Islamics, fanned by the far right. Mexicans are few, most Latin Americans here are from Peru, Brazil or Colombia; Asinas are first and foremost Chinese and from Indian peninsula (Indians, Bangaldeshis, Srilankans). They're very visible, as they run a lot of small shops.

For instance, while the UK alt-right is against E. Europeans, the US alt-right views us as white allies. Likewise, I have acquaintances from high school who are alt-right and have E. Asian spouses.
there is a low key xenophobia against almost all groups, on account of "they steal our jobs". The real fear is about the "invasion" from Lybia, with thousands of people crossing the Med. Which in turn isn't solvable as it comes from wars and famines (often due to climate change) in Africa and Lybia being a failed state. So, talk is cheap and the far right proposes a naval blockade of the Med. Not feasible, worse than Trump's wall, but it gets votes...

Since I know an election is coming up in Italy, I want to get a mental picture of what the atmosphere would be there should the alt-right win or even do well?

We haven't a true alt-right here. Populists who line up behind Trump and Putin, yes, and fringe unreconstructed Fascists, yes.

The great political issue we're going to face is that we have a parliamentary system with two houses, and the government needs a confidence vote from both houses. And the current voting law uses proportional representation.

So, all projections show that no single party will manage to get a majority, the populist FiveStars movement (who wouldn't ally with anyone else and proposes a referendom for exiting the euro) and the center-left Democratic party are toe to toe, the right is split between reactionaries of the Ms. Le Pen kind, and political heirs to Berlusconi (he himself can't run for office due to a criminal convinction he got, at least until 2019), and there is a sprinkling of far left parties and movements going from the very lunatic fringe ("We support North Korea in its valiant fight against US imperialism", kind of) whose voters may range into some thousand all over the country to people who could be like Sanders or Corbyn but hate the guts of the current Democratic leadership.

Now, imagine what will happen... I think we'll get political instability, skyrocketing interest rates on our debt, and eventually something like the end of the French Fourth Republic...I forgot: there is no De Gaulle available, too. So, maybe we'll end in a technocratic caretaker government led by mario Draghi when he'll leave the ECB
I'm going into investing in beer, popcorn, canned goods and ammo :-)

Marino said...

Donzelion,
my library is in fact a merger of three different formerly autonomous libraries with their own staff, and reading rooms. The one I run personally is devoted to library and book sciences, archival science and palaeography. In fact I've built it almost from scratch, from buying books to finding automation systems before we entered our national union catalog, and even finding a way to print spine labels. I got a collection of short than 5,000 books, a typed catalog, not complete, and handwritten spine labels, now I'm in the 15,000 books, fully automated, offering long service hours, a very liberal loan policy, and we even deliver scanned .pdf course material by file transfer.) The others cover language sciences and geography.

Carl M. said...

David, from Wikipedia [Benefit Corporation]:

Historically, United States corporate law has not been structured or tailored to address the situation of for-profit companies that wish to pursue a social or environmental mission.[11] While corporations generally have the ability to pursue a broad range of activities, corporate decision-making is usually justified in terms of creating long-term shareholder value. A commitment to pursuing a goal other than profit as an end for itself may be viewed in many states as inconsistent with the traditional perspective that a corporation’s purpose is to maximize profits for the benefit of its shareholders.

The idea that a corporation has as its purpose to maximize financial gain for its shareholders was first articulated in Dodge v. Ford Motor Company in 1919. Over time, through both law and custom, the concept of “shareholder primacy” has come to be widely accepted. This point was recently reaffirmed by the case eBay Domestic Holdings, Inc. v. Craig Newmark, et al., 3705-CC, 61 (Del. Ch. 2010). , in which the Delaware Chancery Court stated that a non-financial mission that “seeks not to maximize the economic value of a for-profit Delaware corporation for the benefit of its stockholders” is inconsistent with directors’ fiduciary duties.

Carl M. said...

And do recall that Milton Friedman was debating another libertarian when he argued that a corporation should only focus on profits. There is bandwidth in the movement. (And if the government did a perfect jobs of Pigovian taxes, and we have a negative income tax, Friedman's argument might hold true. In the real world, we all have some duties to avoid rent-seeking, externality generation, and provide public goods without direct pay.)

Ioan said...

https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-07-25/trump-is-winning-his-war-on-immigration

I think this view could really have been expanded by showing more numbers. However, with illegal immigration down by between 53-75% since he came into office, it seems that Trump has had massive effects on immigration without having to use much political capital (such as building a wall).

I have a question: why do you guys think that illegal immigration has declined since Trump entered office?

LarryHart said...

To the Ayn Rand literate here, any significance that the new White House communications director is named "Mooch"?

On health care, I guess we'll know in a few hours whether Trump has leverage to exert on the Senate Republicans. I still don't understand what he's threatening them with. My understanding is that Republicans would vote for the bill except for the pushback that they are getting from their own constituents insisting that they not do so. If that is the case, then what's the point of a threat to primary them with more pliable candidates in 2018? If their voters were inclined to vote for someone who repeals Obamacare over someone who doesn't repeal Obamacare, then they'd be voting for repeal in the first place.

matthew said...

Note that Presidential power to pardon is only for Federal crimes.

Trump can pardon all he wants - the AG of New York and the equivalent for Washington DC (I forget the title for the AG-equivalent) can still bring state-level charges against all the recipients of the pardons.

That's why the firing of Preet Bharara was such a big deal. He would have been the US Attorney that had jurisdiction over the meetings at Trump Tower.

LarryHart said...

@matthew,

DC isn't a state, but a federal district.

Does that matter?

Darrell E said...

Ioan said...

"I think this view could really have been expanded by showing more numbers. However, with illegal immigration down by between 53-75% since he came into office, it seems that Trump has had massive effects on immigration without having to use much political capital (such as building a wall).

I have a question: why do you guys think that illegal immigration has declined since Trump entered office?"


While those numbers are accurate keep in mind that illegal immigration over the US's southern boarder has been declining for nearly two decades and that the rate of decline steepened significantly in 2008-2009 when our big recession hit. In just a quick search I haven't found data to see if there was a significant change in rate corresponding with Trump's brief tenure, but I'm sure the data is available for anyone who cares to spend a few minutes on it.

While the Trump claim is accurate I think the intended implication is largely bullshit. I doubt Trump is responsible for a 75% drop in illegal immigration since he became president. At a minimum a significant part of that 75% is due to a declining rate that had been happening for a long time already due to many more factors than who occupies the White House. I would guess that any impact Trump has had on the rate falls into two basic categories. 1) Would be illegal immigrants are afraid of more stringent rules and enforcement due to Trump, and 2) with The Trump the US doesn't look any better for them than where they are.

LarryHart said...

@Darrel E,

I suspect your explanation 2) would also apply to legal immigration.

Darrell E said...

@LarryHart,

Oh heck yes. I should have expanded a bit on that. I'm thinking it isn't just Trump himself that makes the US look less attractive but the ass-showing that the voters who put Trump in the White House have been engaged in.

Ioan said...

@Darrell E,

http://www.theblaze.com/news/2017/06/10/new-illegal-immigration-numbers-reveal-trumps-incredible-impact-on-the-border/

These are year-on-year declines

Ioan said...

Oops. I meant to post this:

https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/stats/southwest-border-unaccompanied-children/fy-2016

Basically, it declined in 2008-2009 then remained steady between 2012 and 2016, dropping again at a very high rate in FY'17 (not shown).

http://www.theblaze.com/news/2017/06/10/new-illegal-immigration-numbers-reveal-trumps-incredible-impact-on-the-border/

Note that these are year-on-year declines

In short, I don't think it's simply a continuation of the declines in the previous administration. It's a new downward acceleration.

LarryHart said...

Larry's Summer Daydream (apologies to Gary Trudeau)...

By the time they've pumped John McCain full of preservatives and wheeled him onto the Senate floor, the other Senators have voted already. With Susan Collins and Shelley Capito as the only Republican holdouts, the vote stands at 49-50. McConnell gushes over McCain, and Trump in the gallery gives him a big smile and a thumbs-up. McCain holds Trump's gaze, and says, "I like democratic governments that don't get captured!" and then proceeds to cast the 51st "nay" vote.

America then proceeds to wake up from what seems like a particularly fevered dream.

Darrell E said...

Ioan,

The data in the article is less than clear and incomplete. We have written numbers for the same range of months from 2016 and 2017 for "captured or deemed inadmissible" which show a decline of 59% in 2017 compared to 2016. These numbers are for people caught at the border trying to cross. The article doesn't give the same numbers for the same range of months for any other years.

The numbers on the graph are not for the same thing as the written numbers for 2016 and 2017. Those numbers on the graph are for "Removals" and "Returns" defined as follows . . .

"Removals are the compulsory and confirmed departure of a noncitizen based on an order of removal. Returns are the confirmed departure of a removable noncitizen not based on an order of removal (e.g. a grant of voluntary departure)."

Also, the graph only goes up to the year 2015.

Either sloppy journalism or intentional obfuscation. As far as I can tell there are no numbers published yet for 2017 Removals and Returns, which makes sense since 2017 is not over.

The numbers necessary to compare apples to apples are issued by the DHS and the numbers for 2017 necessary to do a decent evaluation of changes in illegal immigration rates won't be out for some time after 2017 concludes. Also, negative spikes in illegal immigration have happened in the past when new policies have been implemented. These spikes have typically been short term and rates have returned or even exceeded the rates from before the spike.

The take home, this is all bullshit anyway. It is theater for Trump supporters to keep them supportive. The amount of Illegal immigration into the US is not even remotely the major problem that Trump proclaims and I guarantee The Trump doesn't give a shit about it one way or the other except as a means to an end. That end being him becoming the biggest boss.

Darrell E said...

Will Trump can Sessions? Then Mueller? What fun! Stay tuned! I'd say that the wheels are about to fly off, except that doesn't really seem to be a possibility given the willingness of the Republican Party to allow the US to accept any amount of damage as long as they have their chance to ravage the remains.

Alfred Differ said...

Milton Friedman gets pissed on for that quote often, but most people I know who use it don't realize it is a misquote. It is a shortened version of the full quote and the short version delivers a VERY different and VERY heartless message.

Alfred Differ said...

"I like democratic governments that don't get captured!"

Okay. That deserves a big smile... and a FB meme. 8)

matthew said...

Interesting article on the ultra-rich and the philanthropic dynasties they create for their children.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/commentisfree/2017/jul/25/philanthropic-dynasties-exerting-power-us-policy

tl;dr - the rich are creating foundations for their heirs to still be relevant and powerful even if not rich. Interesting note that many heirs tend to be more liberal than the progenitors of the wealth.

Reminds me of "Earth," and apropos of much discussion here as of late.

A.F. Rey said...

Also about The Blaze article...

They give the number of those who have been captured or deemed inadmissible. Are the numbers down because fewer people are trying to cross illegally, or because fewer people are being caught? ;)

The article doesn't go into that... :)

Zepp Jamieson said...

Unfortunately, McCain's political philosophy remains, "Why be a hero when it's so much easier to be a whore?"
He voted to advance the bill, and Pence cast the tie-breaker.

Ioan said...

@A.F. Rey

The article doesn't go into that, but my understanding is that the border apprehensions are used as a proxy for demand. According to my understanding, this has been true since the Clinton administration.

In other words, I can't guarantee that this isn't an artifact of fewer people being caught, but likewise you can't prove that this isn't due to fewer attempts. Unless one of us finds a different source to break the tie, neither interpretation can be dismissed ;)

A.F. Rey said...

In other words, I can't guarantee that this isn't an artifact of fewer people being caught, but likewise you can't prove that this isn't due to fewer attempts. Unless one of us finds a different source to break the tie, neither interpretation can be dismissed ;)

Very true. But it also means that, since neither interpretation can be dismissed, it is equally valid to speculate on the reasons why the Border Patrol may not be catching/counting as many illegal as before, as it is to speculate on why attempts have gone down since Trump came into office. :D

LarryHart said...

Zepp Jamieson:

He voted to advance the bill, and Pence cast the tie-breaker.


The Republican most opposed to torture voted to allow insurance companies and medical providers to have me and my family tortured until I give them all of our money and then left to die.

Words can't describe how much I despise the Republican Party at this point.

Michelle Obama was castigated by the right for saying that she had "never been as proud of [her] country" as the day her husband was elected. Well, I've never been as opposite-of-proud of my country as I have been since last November. To quote from memory Alan Moore from the intro to the graphic novel "V For Vendetta" (though he was speaking of Britain), "It's cold, and it's mean, and I don't like it here any more."

J.L.Mc said...

I'm australian, so I don't understand a lot of these comments anymore.

LarryHart said...

John McCain:

But moments later in a speech on the Senate floor, Mr. McCain turned what had been an applause-pecked moment for his colleagues — whom he saved from an embarrassing failure on the floor — into an ominous cloud for the bill. He said that although he had voted to begin debate on repealing the Affordable Care Act, he would definitely not vote for a Senate health care bill without major changes.


He's in no condition to stand up to the Republican leadership, and if he seems too much of an impediment, I'm sure it will look like an accident.

I think I figured out the threat #IllegitimatePresident had over the Senators, though. Obamacare requires members of congress to be on Obamacare. The various forms of Trump/Care exempt them.

LarryHart said...

J.L.Mc:

I'm australian, so I don't understand a lot of these comments anymore.


I coulda sworn they spoke English down there. :)

David Brin said...

CarlM again the nitpickery, instead of addressing the core problem. The reduction of corporate ROI from five to one years… plus the blatant raiding of corporate value by the CEO caste… are disasters to US capitalism and reflect blatant moves toward feudalism. If libertarians have suggested solutions, we’d love to hear them…

… but as usual, the answer is “Problem? What problem? If I admit there’s a problem, I might have to turn from my sanctimonious rants and actually concoct policy proposals. No way!”

So the defenders of market enterprise become among its worst enemies.

David Brin said...

onward

onward

Zepp Jamieson said...

@ Larry Hart: I figure if I open my browser tomorrow and read that someone has shot up a bunch of Republicans again, my response will be to just shrug and say, "Well, that's no surprise."

J.L.Mc said...

Larryhart, I was talking about the politics. We have different politics down under.

David Brin said...

onward guys

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koi seo said...

I would argue that would violate Separation of Powers (Congressional power to indict) and violate Constitutional intent. Profligate used of the power of pardon to escape criminal penalties flies in the fact of the purpose of the Constitution to put limits on the government. Limited pardon power would put the president above any law.

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