Saturday, December 09, 2023

Yet more science! A year-end update of amazements.

What drives leaps in technological innovation? Just posted on my secondary blog: I discuss how government-funded science plays a role in stimulating innovation. An ultimate refutation to the hypnotic incantation that all-government-is-useless-all-the-time.

And as a terrific example... The universe at your fingertips! This zoomable image from the James Webb Space Telescope lets you explore galaxies - and travel backward in time to see how these galaxies were long ago. 


== Marvels of our planet ==

In the secret world below Antarctic sea ice, salty frozen fingers descend. Called brinicles, they may be like hydrothermal vents. But creatures of the deep, beware: anything caught in the path of a brinicle will be frozen alive. So beware the Brinicles!


This drone video of whales is terrific!  As are the drone innovations by my friend Iain Kerr and Ocean Alliance, finding innovative ways to do non-invasive science on whales who might be key to reviving our oceans-in-peril. 


With only one-quarter of the sea floor mapped with sonar, it is impossible to know how many seamounts exist. But radar satellites that measure ocean height can also find them, by looking for subtle signs of seawater mounding above a hidden seamount, tugged by its gravity. A 2011 census using the method found more than 24,000. High-resolution radar data have now added more than 19,000 new ones.



== Environmental news ==


In my novel Existence I posited that we’ll face a severe crisis over Phosphorus. Illustrated by a plot point that men - yes, male human citizens - in 2040 will be called upon, by law, to pee in phos recovery urinals! Or else... onto the flower beds outside your house, in lieu of store-bought fertilizer – that’s okay too. 

Now a company (did they read the novel?) has pioneered a method to (perhaps) remove and recover phosphorus from solid municipal waste without adding chemicals, using ‘electromechanical devices.” And if we did this at high scale it would also help save small seas like the Med & Black and Caribbean from fertilizer death. 

This is the kind of thing that pops up almost monthly, where nerds may be saving the planet, and us all. Despite the mad cult-ingrates who have it in for ‘high IQ stoopidpeople.’

Only now this: Massive phosphate rock deposits discovered in NorwayWow, lucky Norway: First beautiful fjords, then vast oil reserves, and gorgeous people... and now - it seems - large amounts of the phosphate rock that I fretted about, in Existence. If true, then maybe (male) men won't have to all pee into phos-recovery urinals by 2035. And the King of Morocco won't own the world, after all. A case of I'd rather be wrong.


Seeking new strategies... testing is underway to determine if sprinkling volcanic rock dust on farmland can help remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.  


== Earth History == 


Researchers have discovered that Earth’s tectonic plate movements cause sea levels to rise and fall in 36-million-year cycles, indirectly triggering biodiversity bursts, at least re: ocean life. These cycles, altering shallow sea and shelf habitats, are found to significantly shape marine life diversity over millions of years, challenging previous notions of species evolution.  “The cycles are 36 million years long because of regular patterns in how tectonic plates are recycled into the convecting mantle, the mobile part of the deep Earth, similar to hot, thick soup in a pot, that moves slowly.”


fossil discovery shakes our traditional view of the Cretaceous Era as being all dinosaur domination and cowering mammal submission. It suggests a more complex ancient food web in which certain dinosaurs were prey and some mammals were predators.  


Finally, while we fret over the Anthropocene and humanity making this planet much less habitable… possibly leading to our own extinction… a recurring side topic is “are we leaving any lasting traces, that might be noticed by later – presumably wiser – archaeologists or paleontologists – either successors or visitors?"  


It’s a topic I weighed-into, when I was lead pundit for a popular History Channel show called “Life After People,” contemplating what might remain of our vaunted civilization, one minute, or a day, a year, century, millennium and eon after we – for some reason – vanished from the scene.


This article from Nautilus - Could an industrial civilization have predated humans on Earth? - just the latest in a long series of such speculations… rightly concludes that our isotopic residue, if nothing else, would certainly blare that humans were here on Earth.  And thin but pronounced sedimentary layers of plastics. Our cities (covering just 1% of surface area) might be missed, but likely not the extensive network of roadways. But have fun speculating!



178 comments:

Alfred Differ said...

The hills are alive… with the sounds of wildfires…

My regional turf is on fire again. It's California, though, so don't fret too much. It happens, the sky gets thick with ash, aircraft dropping water and retardant, and then we calm down again. Right now we see flames on the hills NE of us, but there is a lot of flat cropland between them and us. We might have to duck out tomorrow to find breathable air (like today), but the fire crews (bless them all) are out there.


CP, (responding to a post from previous thread)

I used to live in Iceland for a couple of years and then eastern North Dakota for a couple more. I lived in cold places for many more years than that. I remember how to do it, but have ABSOLUTELY no desire to do it again.

Antarctica may be fun to look at in the summer, but those of us who have faced the cold know damn well the joy would vanish when the sun set. There really is NO reason to live down there because there is NO way to make a living at it that doesn't involve government funded research. Even the fishing fleets get the heck out of Dodge when it isn't worth it.

Space IS a lot like Antarctica right now… except for one small thing that supports a multi-billion dollar industry. Pretty much anything in Earth orbit has a fantastic view of the ground and there are ways to make money using that.

What? You say they don't need people up there for that? Largely true… at the moment. However, most of what drives us to keep people down here is cost. There are a whole lot of things where it would be easier to send someone up to make a service call IF it didn't cost so much.

Well… those costs are changing rapidly.

———

I was listening to a co-worker on Friday relate a small story of "How crazy is the US military?" that involved keeping a few computers going in places that MUST use DOS. Why!?! Well… it turns out there are a few satellites up there that are still chugging along on stone age tech. But we could just emulate DOS on modern hardware, right? Sure, but you'd introduce a risk layer to an ancient system that no one knows (any longer) how to hack or crack. Wouldn't it be safer just to keep the ancient hardware that no kiddies grok anymore?

It was a funny story. The guy telling it acted out all the facial expressions including those of the "kids" now serving in the US military who gasp when they see a thing called "a computer" that doesn't look anything like a computer. I smiled along with the story teller, but understood that would ALL change if we could just get up there next to one of those birds and do a firmware update. Swap out a board while we are there too. Maybe even mount a new laser-comm peripheral before heading home.

There are a lot of things to do up there where a person doing it would be FAR faster. The problem is $$$. So… analogies with Antarctica don't cut it with me.

Tony Fisk said...

Hmm, well the view could be had with a few gigapixel cameras sending live images down for viewing on landscape led screens, and a few bots with manipulative extensions could do the 'swapping'.

Of course, this gets less useful as you move away from LEO and time delays start growing. Even so, something like that might be useful in keeping stuff like JWST ticking over.

Then again, the 'overview effect' is unlikely to be triggered by the comfort of your living room, especially in the way Will Shatner experienced it.

'The time may not be quite right' was a Sagan quote about moving out from about forty years ago. I think it's still holds true but, if we can get the current batch of monkeys off our backs, it'll come.

John Viril said...

JR

Well, can't say I have huge experience at all. But I have done SOME farm work. My mom regularly milked cows by hand and sort of got me to do a little of it as a kid.

Can't say I was truly good at that chore. However a lot of my uncles toward the younger end of my mom's massive family (11 children) would pretty much DEMAND I help out any time I showed up bc they considered me a spoiled city kid (my Dad is a retired gastroenterologist). They seemed to take a perverse satisfaction in demonstrating how I didn't know anything about "real work."

Though, to think about it, the bulk of the useful farm work (other than what amounted to childhood bullying) I ended up doing came after I went nuts in the gym and gained 5Olbs.

Since all of the males in my family are similarly small, I was unusually strong by comparison (I'm by no means huge. My family is pretty much composed of midgets on both sides).

That meant I was asked to do stuff that involved strength bc I certainly wasn't skilled at farm chores. Since about the only use I had as farm labor came after I got strong, that might make me overestimate it's value.

So yeah, if you grew up on an actual farm and did that work regularly, you'd be able to guess about productivity differences between males and female laborers in a early agriculture society just emerging from hunting/gathering stage better than I can.

Not sure you've been.following our discussion, bc the whole point was to try to understand the Y chromosome bottleneck that occurred roughly 12k years ago.

Dr. brin suggested that this came from a massive culling of males (like 80%) by violence and a male fertility hit caused by big consumption of beer.

I wondered if a near-subsistence society could withstand the productivity hit of losing the majority of the stronger male labor force, which I presumed had a significant productivity advantage.

I hope I didn't come across like I was pretending to be any kind of font of knowledge about farm labor, but among us "overeducated egghead's" (and, yes, i think Alfred, Larry, and I all qualify for that description) I've at least done a little.

Please don't mistake sharp discussion for disrespect. At least for my part, I think both Larry and Alfred have a lot of interesting stuff to say.

Tony Fisk said...

Re: the Y bottleneck and beer. It occurred to me that many drinking games boil down to how much alcohol can be consumed while remaining functional. I suppose this makes it an ongoing evolutionary competition.

As far as I can tell, the 2015 study refers to the 'Old World' or the Middle East, being the confluence of Europe Africa and Asia. This smaller territory makes theories such as warfare between patrilineal tribes a little more plausible.

gregory byshenk said...

In the previous, CP said...
"Expansion," as used in my original comments, means a continuous increase in population/resource extraction/energy use. If we're going to solve our environmental and related problems on earth, we need to move away from that (at least as a driving force) while continuing to expand technology, knowledge, cultural richness, etc. To succeed, we need to stabilize the population, then start it on a downward glide while directing most of the improvements in knowledge/technology into raising the average quality of life, resolving social/political issues, dealing with the environmental problems we've already created, etc.

So, by stopping "expansion", what you mean is "contraction" (based on your "start [population] on a downward glide")? I take it you are a "degrowth"er, then?

Obviously, if we are to solve our environmental (and distribution/equity) problems, we will need to make better use of our resources, especially involving stopping wasteful use.

But there are lots of questions, here. Why do we need to reduce "energy"? Obviously we need to produce energy intelligently, without consuming scarce resources (note, though that 'using' is not equivalent to 'consuming'), but that does not (inherently) mean decreasing usage.

As for population (leaving aside that the increase is already decreasing and the Earth's population is predicted to peak before the end of this century - for what such long-term predictions are worth...), why should it need to decrease? Some people like to talk about things like 'carrying capacity', but that is not a fixed number, but dependent upon how we use our resources.

Large scale expansion into the solar system is unlikely to be anything more than a distraction, in that regard, over the next 100-200 years. If we succeed, I suspect that there will be little motivation for a large scale human presence in space, going forward (even while research/exploration/limited tourism/etc will proceed). And, due to cost, everything that can be automated with be automated with regard to those continuing efforts.

As I noted earlier, "large scale expansion into the solar system" is just extremely unlikely within the next 100 years. It remains too difficult and too expensive, with little real reward. Of course, this could change, but it seems unlikely that it will do so in the near term. (More than 100 years out is something that I think is pointless to try to predict; there is too much we just cannot know.) Possibly in fifty years there will be permanent research facilities with significant population. Also possibly not.

The analogy is Antarctica. We have a variety of research stations and limited tourism. And, we have the technology to build more extensive infrastructure. But, the cost would be high and few people would be willing to sign up to live there permanently. The barriers to large-scale human expansion in space are much higher...

The analogy with Antarctica is a poor one. Yes, it is true that there is basically no "colonization". That is because there is little reason to do so. There is basically nothing that one can do there (apart from some specific research) that cannot be done better and easier elsewhere. That is not necessarily true in the case of space. It is also a poor analogy because the Antarctic Treaty basically prohibits any significant colonization.

(continued...)

gregory byshenk said...

(continuation...)

Basically, two points of conflict:
1. I am not arguing that space colonization will occur in the next X number of years (for whatever X one might choose), but only that claiming that it will not occur is silly. As I note above: we just don't know enough to make claims one way or the other.
2. The arguments for "degrowth" (or some variation thereof) are bad, and additionally have nothing significant to say about space colonization - one way or the other.

gregory byshenk said...

An additional comment on this post...

It seems to me that recovering resources from waste streams is a good idea, regardless of how scarce other sources might be. Reducing pollution seems a net positive.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin in the previous comments:

Thanks for sharing this idiots sanctimonious - 'holding my nose' bullshit.

>>So here’s how I see it: The results of Biden’s victory in 2020 have fallen well short of progressives’ dreams,


Sorry, but I don't think Paul Krugman is an idiot. Here's the full text I quoted earlier:

So here’s how I see it: The results of Biden’s victory in 2020 have fallen well short of progressives’ dreams, but a Biden defeat next year would be the stuff of progressive nightmares. Are left-leaning Americans able to hold both facts in their minds and act appropriately?


I don't think Krugman actually believes that Biden's record is anything but stellar. He's speaking to progressive voters who somehow feel that he hasn't done enough, or that he's too wrong on certain issues ( *cough* Palestine *cough* ) to be countenanced no matter what else is the case. If he were to rant at those voters that their perception is wrong, they would just tune him out as an institutionalist shill. What he's actually saying to them is a kind of judo move that I thought you'd appreciate more than you do. That even accepting their framing--that Biden has been a disappointment to progressives--allowing another Trump presidency would be much worse for them. He's not questioning their premise, but rather drawing a sane conclusion from their premise.

Not to mention that to some progressives, Biden has indeed "fallen well short of progressives’ dreams," only because their dreams are the stuff of unicorns and rainbows.

This reader's comment to electoral-vote.com maybe puts it better. Emphasis mine:

https://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2023/Items/Dec10-1.html

R.V. in Pittsburgh, PA, writes: While young voters may not be excited to vote for Uncle Joe, do they realize how truly AWFUL the likely GOP alternative is?

And why are young voters not on Team Biden? The Infrastructure bill, CHIPS bill, and Inflation Reduction Act will very likely help many of these young voters obtain a very good paying job upon graduation. The IRA also has one of, if not the largest, investments in ever in climate change initiatives, as many young voters view this as important issue.

Also, Joe Biden is trying to erase some student debt (Trump ain't going to do that for you). By the way, what is one thing that Trump would do for young voters other than to encourage hazing on campuses?

Biden is on the side of young voters on issues of abortion, gay marriage, minimum wage, climate. Vote for Trump and he'll put judges on the various courts who will rule the polar opposite of what young voters want on those four aforementioned issues.

And this benefits everybody, the Biden admin did terrific job with the COVID vaccine and subsequent booster rollouts. At this point, if you don't have the COVID vaccine, it's because you didn't want one.

So my message to young voters is: Don't be a bunch of ingrates. Old Uncle Joe has your back and is on your side on most major issues. Yeah, he stumbles and fumbles, and he is not very charismatic, but he is 3.14 million times better than the Orange Hitler.


JR said...

John - "can't say I have huge experience at all" - then you should have stopped while you were behind.

"Not sure you've been following our discussion" - you didn't see/read the article I linked to about the genetic bottleneck in Europe. Anatolian farmers replaced the hunter/gathers in Europe. The most successful in passing on their genes 1) had lighter skin (to manufacture vitamin D, 2) were lactose tolerant, and 3) better able to digest wheat.

"the bulk of the useful farm work" - again demonstrates that most of the farmwork IS NOT upper body strength. Picking up/stacking bales was one day-long job. Taking care of livestock was every day and done by KIDS as soon as we were old enough (chores). Yea, I've sat on a one-legged stool with a bucket (getting milking machines meant that we bought more Holsteins and maxed out the pasture. There's your productivity increase.). You pointed out that you did the hard labor jobs because you didn't know how to do anything else - true. Your relatives also probably sent you on a snipe hunt.

"productivity differences between males and female laborers" - that discussion about rice cultivation went over your head. Would it do any good to mention farming to support Teotihuacan and Tenochtitlan? Probably not.

Paradoctor said...

Warning to the younglings, re Palestine: Trump would be much worse than Biden.

About degrowth: that won't be policy, in fact policy worldwide will desperately try to correct for degrowth. Policy will fail, until it over-succeeds. I foresee population chaos: wild swings in global population, each swing lasting for generations, with laggard policy overcorrecting in both directions. Failed control will amplify the chaos, which will mostly be driven by economic and ecological forces.

That will last awhile, with the net effect of accelerating human evolution. The booms will boost variation, the busts will boost natural selection. Meanwhile the natural world will also experience population chaos; it'll boom when we bust, and bust when we boom; and it too will experience accelerated evolution. Or so I predict.

The good news is that the humans of the far future will inherit superhuman talents. They will exceed us in intelligence, resilience, immunity, and much more. The bad news is that they will need all of those superhuman talents to survive long enough to reproduce.

Paradoctor said...

About accelerated evolution of the natural world; you think that kudzu is prolific, now? And that raccoons have clever hands, now? Just you wait!

Paradoctor said...

Dear disillusioned progressives: use your phones to look up Aesop's fable of King Log and King Stork.

Then vote Log!

scidata said...

There's phosphate rock in Canada too. We've just been preoccupied with gold and silver for much of our history.

Alan Brooks said...

Also reassuring how Biden is a full person, and not a storybook character such as Trump.
But then, Trump’s appeal to
MAGAs is partly, rather obviously, that he is larger-than-life.

Larry Hart said...

Alan Brooks:

Trump’s appeal to MAGAs is partly, rather obviously, that he is larger-than-life.


I think his appeal to MAGAs is that their real lives suck so badly that they have no upside to insisting on reality. He provides then with a fantasy world that is so much more satisfying to live in than the real one.

scidata said...

Larry Hart: real lives suck so badly that they have no upside to insisting on reality

Pre-Enlightenment history 14 words.

Alan Brooks said...

Naturally. They are enthused by Trump on a horse with the terrible swift sword in his scabbard. Riding off into the dawn’s early light to fight the hordes.
Cinematic histrionics.

Larry Hart said...

DP in the previous comments:

Larry - "America is both a democracy and a nation devoted to justice, equality, and human dignity"

I think you will find that the MAGA folks are opposed to all of these.


Yes, I didn't mean that the MAGAts preferred one and the uninfected preferred the other. I meant that we true Americans* might have to choose between "democracy" and "better angels characteristics", because we can't have both if democracy votes for fascism.

* Yes, I'm being purposely arrogant in the same way Sarah Palin and company are with their "real Americans". I can live with that.

locumranch said...

The global phosphorous shortage is a lie & fiction.

Phosphorous supplies are plentiful. There is NO shortage, anymore there's a global shortage of excrement.

The US is the 4th largest phosphorous supplier worldwide with active mines in Florida, Idaho, Utah & North Carolina. Phosphorous & phosphates are plentiful in living organisms: They make up about 50% of the typical animal skeleton (by weight) and they're commonly excreted in urine & feces.

What is disappearing is the low-hanging fruit, as global industrialization has identified and then CONSUMED entire islands made of thousands of years worth of bird guano, and the greenies hate the idea of actively extracting minerals from our sacrosanct environment.

If we have any phosphorous-related crisis whatsoever, then it's because we have way TOO MUCH environmental phosphorous with over 8 billion human poopers with their farms & livestock excreting willy-nilly into our water supply and oceans, causing deoxygenated oceanic dead zones due to phosphorous-driven runaway algae blooms.

Le sigh.

Once was, my children, Science was all about 'truth-telling', but now it's all about creating propaganda designed to trick the global 'stoopids' into doing what their duplicitous consent-manufacturing betters want them to do.

Phosphorous Recovery & Recycling is a great idea that I support wholeheartedly, but it disgusts me to no end that our very smart people have embraced the Big Lie as their preferred modus operandi, leading all those of average intelligence to hate & distrust these wisenheimers for good reason.


Best
_____

Prepare yourselves accordingly: Lies & Falsehoods have become the Way_Of_Life in the Modern West and the 2024 Festival of Political Deceit is upon us.

David Brin said...

The mighty physics-YouTuber and host of Into the Impossible – my friend Brian Keating - says: “Here’s my exciting interview with @DavidBrin". We go into a lot more than "mere freedom and AI"! Like the fate of the universe and quirks in physical laws of nature! And sure... UFOs...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bGU3p6rv7SA

Alan Brooks said...

A definite improvement in this comment, over the fiction of half at CB thinking they aren’t going to die; and that we are absolutist egalitarians.
You are full of surprises.

CP said...

Alfred Differ:

> ...There are a lot of things to do up there where a person doing it
> would be FAR faster. The problem is $$$. So… analogies with
> Antarctica don't cut it with me. 10:48 PM

In suggesting the analogy, I was thinking solely about whether or not residents of a reasonably stable, post-expansionist society (in which pretty much everyone is fairly well off) would choose to live there permanently. That's what I'm skeptical about (within the context of "things big enough to see from a distance" and the Fermi paradox).

We probably will see "service calls" to satellites and research stations, continued expansion of communication & observation networks, perhaps some limited manufacturing, maybe even some resource extraction in the longer term... And, that will occur whenever it's justified economically. But, it will probably involve small numbers of people for limited durations.

CP said...

Gregory Byshenk:

> So, by stopping "expansion", what you mean is "contraction" (based
> on your "start [population] on a downward glide")? I take it you are
> a "degrowth"er, then?

I am most certainly NOT a "degrowth"er in the sense of someone who sees a drastic reduction in population as intrinsically good in order to restore some sort of "sylvan ideal." But, I don't think continually increasing the population is an intrinsic good, either. And, given the choice, I'd rather have half the population size with nearly everyone reasonable well off than twice the population size with nearly everyone living in abject poverty.

> But there are lots of questions, here. Why do we need to reduce
> "energy"?...

I'm not suggesting that we need to reduce energy production. In fact, it will have to increase substantially to "buffer" the transition from an expansionist to a post-expansionist culture.

> As for population (leaving aside that the increase is already
> decreasing and the Earth's population is predicted to peak before
> the end of this century - for what such long-term predictions are
> worth...), why should it need to decrease? Some people like to talk
> about things like 'carrying capacity', but that is not a fixed
> number, but dependent upon how we use our resources.

We've avoided a catastrophic crash, so far, because improving technology has kept us ahead of the consequences. However, we're approaching more intractable limits. And the closer we get to them the more difficult it will be to stay ahead of the consequences (or deal with something unexpected...).

...(More than 100 years out is something that I think is
> pointless to try to predict; there is too much we just cannot know.)
> Possibly in fifty years there will be permanent research facilities
> with significant population. Also possibly not.

Agreed--we aren't that far apart...

> The analogy with Antarctica is a poor one. Yes, it is true that
> there is basically no "colonization". That is because there is
> little reason to do so. There is basically nothing that one can do
> there (apart from some specific research) that cannot be done better
> and easier elsewhere. That is not necessarily true in the case of
> space. It is also a poor analogy because the Antarctic Treaty
> basically prohibits any significant colonization.

Again, I'm thinking of them as analogous only in the sense that few people would want to live there permanently. That would apply even if more commercial development was allowed in Antarctica. If more exploitation had been permitted, it would still have been peripheral--comparable to the current usage of space.

> Basically, two points of conflict: 1. I am not arguing that space
> colonization will occur in the next X number of years (for whatever
> X one might choose), but only that claiming that it will not occur
> is silly. As I note above: we just don't know enough to make claims
> one way or the other. 2. The arguments for "degrowth" (or some
> variation thereof) are bad, and additionally have nothing significant
> to say about space colonization - one way or the other.

Of course, I'm not certain about any of this but I'm skeptical regarding the "rare life/intelligence/technological civilization" solution to the Fermi paradox. Which, leaves "self-destruction" or "transition to a post-expansionist culture" as the leading candidates...

> It seems to me that recovering resources from waste streams is a
> good idea, regardless of how scarce other sources might be. Reducing
> pollution seems a net positive.

Agreed, regardless

CP said...

Paradoctor:

> The good news is that the humans of the far future will inherit
> superhuman talents. They will exceed us in intelligence, resilience,
> immunity, and much more. The bad news is that they will need all of
> those superhuman talents to survive long enough to reproduce.

As I said right at the beginning of the series, evolution isn't progressive. If we crash hard, returning to a hunter/gatherer culture (with a reduced carrying capacity), selection will be driven by the constraints of such cultures. It's unlikely to produce anything markedly different from what we've seen in our past. Repeated hard crashes aren't likely to improve things...

John Viril said...

OMG modern politicians (except a few dems) having a ‘long term strategy?” Of 20 years??? What planet are you from?

Dr. Brin,

I'm from the planet where Joe Biden promised, and tried to pass, a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

Even Obama called Joe Biden's immigration policy "open borders."

If I recall correctly, an undocumented immigrant needed to be here 7 years before they could apply. Exactly what would stop the millions who have been here for decades from applying immediately after the bill passed?

Biden's policy would have provided immediate and future voting roll dividends.

John Viril said...

which the GOP ALWAYS eviscerated [undocumented immigration policy ]in order to get cheap labor who could never complain OR vote. That’s the way it ALWAYS was, till MAGA changed it all for confusion and when enemies realized they could mess up western liberalism by flooding the West with refugees. (PLEASE, OH PLEASE BET ME $$$ ON THAT.)

Dr. Brin, this is an overly simplistic model.

Go back to 1996, and the RNC Congress was clamoring for tougher border policy. Bill Clinton went along (doing his triangulation thing) and passed a series of laws beefing up punishments and stricter border patrols.

Many analysts insisted this shift created an unintended consequence: with a stricter border, seasonal workers just stayed in the US instead of returning to Mexico.

Between 1996 and 2008, undocumented immigrants living in the US doubled from about 5 million to around 10 million.

RW pundits start screaming about this issue under Obama, but his record is more mixed than lax.

Although Obama did increase actual deportation actions from 2 million under Bush to 2.5 million, the total number of removals decreased. Before Obama, Border Patrol policy was to seek voluntary removals (to avoid court proceedings).

Obama introduced the Dreamer Act and DACA. He used executive orders to focus efforts away from undocumented immigrants who had not committed crimes and instead went after felons.

While this policy made a certain sort of sense, it did provide an incentive for undocumented immigrants to come here. If an illegal crashed the border then failed to commit a crime, Obama policy was to leave them alone.

Also during this time, the Obama White House and It's left wing cultural allies pushed to rebrand illegal immigrants to simply "immigrants." By lumping together legal and illegal immigrants, the left could then wax philosophic about the huge social benefits of immigrants. Seems to me, this shows DNC policy was at least somewhat influenced by the desire to import voters.

Overall, Obama was the first president since Johnson in which the undocumented population living in the US didn't increase. However, most analysts believe this result was more due to the 2008 economic crash and the unusually slow recovery than Obama's immigration policy. The Mexican economy improved relative to the US economy, which reduced incentives to come here.

John Viril said...

I think his appeal to MAGAs is that their real lives suck so badly that they have no upside to insisting on reality

Larry,

If this true and around 40% of the population lead utterly miserable lives, then Biden's economy can't be all that great

duncan cairncross said...

JV

50 years ago the USA was the best place to be a working (white male)

Since then about 30 other countries have overtaken the USA

FINALLY the American working man has realised that

Now all we need if for them to correctly identify the REASON why they have fallen behind

(The GOP)

Alfred Differ said...

John,

Please don't mistake sharp discussion for disrespect.

Took me a bit to gauge you, but I decided a few days ago that your sharpness was backed by a sharpening stone. So I'm up for going a few rounds. I might learn something. I might teach something. Either way is fine by me.

I can see how your earlier comment about not having much experience on farms could have been missed (maybe JR did) but your barb about me having none just got me to raise an eyebrow. My first girlfriend's father used to laugh at me a bit over that exact issue. He'd talk to her in Italian which everyone knew I didn't know. I'd just watch her expression to figure out when it was slinging the fertilizer, but the point that matters here is he was a partner in a very mechanized farm in Central California. He lost it to a shady partner which turned out to be in his best interest in the long run because he went into niche farming growing things for direct sale to nearby restaurants. He moved his family to Sonoma before land prices exploded and wound up doing much better with a whole lot less labor.

Modern farming is very unlikely to be anything like our ancestor's early attempts BEFORE the bronze age. No giant metal scythes. No iron plows. Probably no farming on ground that required the great physical labor you imagine because the tools weren't up to it anyway. Lots of drudge work. Stooping and Grinding. Wood, stone, and some copper in places.

Said to JR: So yeah, if you grew up on an actual farm and did that work regularly, you'd be able to guess about productivity differences between males and female laborers in a early agriculture society just emerging from hunting/gathering stage better than I can.

I doubt it for essentially all of us. We have modern metals and engines. JR might do a better job guessing that we can, but it probably takes someone actually trying to farm with old seed variants and ancient tools to go beyond guessing. Anthropologists do those kinds of experiments at times, so that's where we might find expertise. Short of that, we can probably still criticize and thus weed out our weaker guesses.

"overeducated egghead's"

Heh. Yep. Guilty as charged and proud of it. In fact, that's how I dealt with the father of my first girlfriend. I just smiled when he joked in Italian. I was in grad school at the time and was at least a 'decent prospect' for her choice, so I made sure he knew I knew it. It didn't work out between her and me, but I got along with her family just fine. She wound up doing much like her father did, so a bunch of people eat well near Sonoma and Napa because she makes the market for their dining experience work. Pretty cool I think.

Alfred Differ said...

Tony Fisk,

…and a few bots with manipulative extensions…

Agreed up to a point. I suspect the best option will be analogous to a centaur. A bit of each working together. Telepresence is one way to do it and will likely be the cheapest most of the time. As with the transportation industry, though, the price of lost time for whatever is being moved will have a lot to say in the price someone is willing to pay to avoid it. Overnight mail costs a lot, but customers decide whether it is worth the money. It usually is… for something… even if we can't predict in detail what that something will be.

…many drinking games boil down to how much alcohol can be consumed while remaining functional.

Yep. A good friend of mine got actual alcohol poisoned at my 21st birthday party. Completely changed my attitude about helping my friends get drunk. He survived it, but it wasn't clear he would for a few days. His Irish ancestors had to cope with a lot of alcohol so he was no pushover, but when we reach our limit things can go horribly wrong in an instant.

———

My suspicion about beer lines up with our host's view for a while and then diverges. I don't think one needs a lot of cultural violence to get human males who have yet to build up a lot of alcohol tolerance to not survive to have children of their own. Combine alcohol consumption with low tolerance and a poor diet and the average lifespan of our ancestors would plummet.

Sons are more likely to survive and have children of their own IF their father's survive to help make it happen. That wasn't happening often enough (I think) so second and third sons were at a stark disadvantage.

Alfred Differ said...

Science was all about 'truth-telling', but now it's all about creating propaganda designed to trick the global 'stoopids' into doing what their duplicitous consent-manufacturing betters want them to do.

Oh woe says the child who grew up with 'scientists' saying that smoking didn't kill people and tetra-ethyl lead in the gasoline didn't do any harm either. Oh… and don't worry about atomic energy because we make sure it's all safe.

Sorry. Science has always been used for political purposes. Back up a bit before my time and it was being pitched to support eugenics and 'right ways of thinking.' Back up some more and it helped some who propped up Jim Crowe and Slavery. Keep going back and you'll find people arguing about what qualifies as heresy.

Meh.

It's not the fault of Science when someone swallows the hype told about it hook, line, and sinker. Science is what it is, but you won't see it if you don't look past the hype or the corresponding cynicism.

(There are days when I wish we didn't force pre-med students through a few science classes. They come out of the system thinking they know what it is and they sure as sh*t don't. Even with my undergrad degree in physics, I STILL didn't know what it meant to be a physicist until I was into the research phase of my grad experience.)

Alfred Differ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Larry Hart said...

CP:

And, given the choice, I'd rather have half the population size with nearly everyone reasonable well off than twice the population size with nearly everyone living in abject poverty.


So would Thanos. Just sayin'.

Larry Hart said...

John Viril:

"I think his appeal to MAGAs is that their real lives suck so badly that they have no upside to insisting on reality"

If this true and around 40% of the population lead utterly miserable lives, then Biden's economy can't be all that great


If this is true, it was true in 2016, and probably long before that, even without Trump tapping into it. "Make America Great Again", implying that America had lost its greatness (something they slam liberals for ever implying) preceded Biden.

You could claim that Bidenomics hasn't fixed the problem, but that assumes that the problem itself is an economic one. I think it has more to do with cultural intangibles, such as that blacks and other minorities have equal rights to them, or that they're not allowed to have a good ol' fasioned gay-bashing any more.

Finally, from what I hear of their complaints, they think their life hopelessly sucks because they're being told that day in and day out on right-wing media rather than because of their own personal life experience.

Larry Hart said...

without further comment...

https://rudepundit.blogspot.com/2023/12/the-republican-strategy-make-everyone.html

There is one thing tying together a bunch of shit that Republicans are doing right now. They know that the GOP brand is tarnished with insurrection, hatefulness, and the stink of Trump. Rather than try to change or kick Donald Trump to the curb, which would be hard work involving convincing the idiot hordes of MAGA drones to stay on board without their orange idol or shifting policies to reflect what the majority of Americans actually believe on things like guns, abortion, and more, they are saying, "Fuck it. Let's just fuck shit up instead. It's what we're good at." Playing to their vile strengths, Republicans in Congress and their media lackeys have decided that the best way to win in 2024 is to do everything possible to drag the image of Democrats down to their level and then rub some more shit on it.
...

Larry Hart said...

As if on cue (several images that won't post here, but not paywalled)...

https://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2023/Items/Dec11-8.html


emember: "It's the economy, stupid." But that's not quite right. It is really: "It is how the economy is perceived, stupid." Or maybe even: "It's the narrative about the economy, stupid." It turns out what actually matters in most cases is not the facts, but who is spinning them.

Right now, Republicans are selling the story "The economy sucks and it's Joe Biden's fault." Leaving aside the issue of whether the economy is EVER the president's fault, Most of the actual economic data now is pretty good, but the stories Republicans are telling are way off and many Americans are buying into their stories.

Example 1: More people are getting food stamps (SNAP) now. Is this because people are poorer and hungrier? No. It is because more poor people have found jobs. You need a job to qualify for food stamps. Example 2: The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects slower job growth in the next 10 years. Is that a bad sign? No, it is because we are near full employment. Almost everyone who wants a job, has a job. You can't add new jobs if everyone is already working.

The New York Times ran this headline recently:
Unemployment Is Low. Inflation Is Falling. But What Comes Next?

The economic news is strong, but the Times is whining about it. When the media pitches the economy as sick, people think, "Oh, the economy is sick."
...
Are people just suffering from some mass delusion? Or maybe the rapid rise of inflation in 2021/2022 shocked them so much that it will take years before it wears off? If people think that the economy is terrible, when it really isn't, they may vote for Donald Trump. Then, during his administration, when they finally realize it is OK, he will take the credit and then maybe run for a "third term" using the Lurleen Wallace model. To do this, in the fall of 2027 he would get his veep to resign, nominate Ivanka as veep, get Congress to confirm her, and then resign himself. Then she could run in 2028 as the sitting president, with him pulling the strings behind the scenes. This is essentially what George Wallace did in 1966 and it worked—except that Lurleen died of cancer in May 1967 and the lieutenant governor took over and decided that he was actually the governor, not some kind of puppet. Wallace didn't like that, ran against him in 1970, and won.
...

GMT -5 8032 said...

Any thoughts on the University presidents' testimony in front of the Congressional hearing last week? I am a bit of a free speech extremist and while their statements/answers were correct from a 1st Amendment/free speech perspective, they were not consistent with the way the MIT, Harvard and U of PA speech policies have been enforced. That is the problem with these kinds of speech policies...they will always be enforced in a biased way.

I have a nephew who is a first year medical student at the Ohio State University College of Medicine. There have been very vocal pro-Palestinian/anti-Israel protests on campus. My sister-in-law is fearful for her son and how these protests will affect his mental well being. I am kind enough not to make 1st Amendment arguments to her. But I recognize that it is better to tolerate a little fear or discomfort listening to speech that is not criminal in the manner defined in US Supreme Court caselaw than it is to allow some unaccountable university bureaucracy to define permitted and not-permitted speech.

These are difficult issues and I know that I only have part of the information. It's important to talk about these issues so that we can get closer to the ever-elusive truth.

Larry Hart said...

GMT -5 8032:

Any thoughts on the University presidents' testimony in front of the Congressional hearing last week?


Opinions and political assertions should be allowed, not censored. Rebuttal and debate should also be allowed.

Threats of violence, murder, and genocide should not.

What I have a problem with is authorities--government or academic--"picking winners and losers", condemning speech that their "good guys" don't like and allowing it when their "bad guys" don't like it. This really is one failing that "both sides" do. Republicans are ok with any pro-Israel expression and happily censor sympathy for Palestinians as "anti-Semitic". Lefties apparently are ok with any pro-Palestinian expression, even when it becomes anti-Semitic threats, because we are the white colonial oppressors.

It is particularly galling (to me) when the arguments either side makes are not internally consistent. From the left: War on terrorists' strongholds is "genocide" while calling for an ethnic group to be eradicated from their homeland gets a pass on that particular charge. From the right: Sympathy for Palestinian suffering amounts to "anti-Semitism", but self-identified Nazis get a pass on that particular charge.

Larry Hart said...

As usual, professional writers put it better than I do...

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/12/10/opinion/antisemitism-university-presidents.html

...
That said, some of the responses to campus outrages have been just as distressing as the hypocrisy shown by the school presidents. With all due apology to Homer Simpson and his legendary theory of alcohol, it’s as if many campus critics view censorship as the “cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems.”

Universities have censored conservatives? Then censor progressives, too. Declare the extreme slogans of pro-Palestinian protesters to be harassment and pursue them vigorously. Give them the same treatment you’ve given other groups that hold offensive views. But that’s the wrong answer. It’s doubling down on the problem.

At the same time, however, it would be wrong to carry on as if there weren’t a need for fundamental change. The rule cannot be that Jews must endure free speech at its most painful while favored campus constituencies enjoy the warmth of college administrators and the protection of campus speech codes. The status quo is intolerable.
...

John Viril said...

I am a bit of a free speech extremist and while their statements/answers were correct from a 1st Amendment/free speech perspective, they were not consistent with the way the MIT, Harvard and U of PA speech policies have been enforced. That is the problem with these kinds of speech policies...they will always be enforced in a biased way

GMT-5,

You sound like an old-school, ACLU 1st amendment advocate. BTW, I very much agree with this position. The mantra used to be, "I don't agree with what you're saying, but I defend your right to say it."

That's not the position of today's campus social engineers.

Instead, they support what amounts to be social bullying as long as it favors the right "cause." The unspoken rule is if you're someone they perceived to be traditionally "oppressed," you get carte balance to bully your traditional oppressor. I think this is a toxic value that leads to abusive social interactions. Allow it to fester, and worthless, self-interested pieces of crap (of which there are an endless supply) will find a way to bend these concepts into a club they will use to help themselves.

Instead of promoting justice and equity, you end up enabling abuse.

John Viril said...

Picking up/stacking bales was one day-long job

Funny u mention that, bc that's exactly the job my uncles immediately decided needed to get done when I showed up with what they called "pretty muscles."

One of them had just finished ROTC and was on leave just before getting his commission. They had heard about me doing competitive Judo for years and dismissed it as "Hi-karate bullshit."

So they wanted to "wrassle," now that I wasn't a little kid. This was something they regularly did as teenagers.

Well, they were right. It was indeed a ridiculous mismatch---just not the way they expected.

Larry Hart said...

John Viril:

Instead, they support what amounts to be social bullying as long as it favors the right "cause." The unspoken rule is if you're someone they perceived to be traditionally "oppressed," you get carte balance to bully your traditional oppressor


And even that standard isn't practiced universally. If any group has been "traditionally oppressed" for millennia, it is the Jewish people. But I guess there's "oppressed" and there's "mostly oppressed".

It's also bizarre (to me) how this standard overlaps with Islam, which is as oppressive as heck to women, gays, and non-Muslims in general. Yet, because they are brown people, their own oppressive culture gets a pass and in fact must be defended.

@JV, the list of things we agree on is now more than we can count on one hand, and seems to be growing. Whoda thunk?

GMT -5 8032 said...

@Larry Hart - It can be hard to defend the people we want to oppose...that is why we have to do it. Of course, we need to prioritize our issues and that is why I don't condemn every inconsistency as hypocrisy. But rules for pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian arguments should be consistent. So you are fair in noting the "Republicans are ok with any pro-Israel expression and happily censor sympathy for Palestinians as 'anti-Semitic'."

I may consider myself right-wing, but I support the old school ACLU approach to free speech. You are probably bored of my statement that my favorite law school professor was David Goldberger, the Jewish ACLU lawyer who represented the neo-NAZIs at Skokie. Goldberger is unhappy with the ACLU's current positions on free speech. There is an excellent documentary, MIGHTY IRA about Ira Glasser, the ACLU National Executive Director who took office shortly after the Skokie march.

Alan Brooks said...

Why are rightists afraid of campus intalekshill protesters, anyway?
They’re creampuffs.

Larry Hart said...

GMT -5 8032:

my favorite law school professor was David Goldberger, the Jewish ACLU lawyer who represented the neo-NAZIs at Skokie


I was 16 years old and living in Evanston (a suburb adjacent to Skokie) at the time of that controversy. I was less than enthusiastic about the ACLU's position at the time, feeling that a NAZI march was something other than mere speech or expression. But the way the whole incident played out probably vindicated the free speech position. Basically, they marched while cowering behind police protection and showed themselves to be a laughing stock.

I consider the situation more fraught today because in 1977, I didn't expect that Republicans would rally behind the NAZIs and do harm just because they called for it. Now, I can't be so cocksure. Freedom of speech is meant to protect the right to air unpopular opinions from criminalization. I'm not sure the Constitution is designed to handle a Trump-level influencer whose spoken or hinted wish is taken as a command by millions. That's not to say that an absolutist first amendment position is wrong, but understand that it is a structural weakness that prevents our society from protecting its citizens. Just like the absolutist second amendment position that holds that a belligerent individual is within his rights to walk around in public with an AR-15, and we can't be protected from him until he actually begins firing.

Larry Hart said...

Alan Brooks:

Why are rightists afraid of campus intalekshill protesters, anyway?
They’re creampuffs.


Thanks to the vicissitudes of the English language, you just accidentally answered your own question.

Paradoctor said...

There are well-supported limits on free speech. No lies, no libels, no inducement of panic, no incitement to crime, no incitement to violence. If after a football game, a frat-boy says, "Let's trash some cars!" then even if no cars burn, still the Dean will give that lad a harsh talking-to. (The Townies will insist.)

The question now is, is "from the river to the sea" an incitement to ethnic cleansing?

Alan Brooks said...

Meant both, neither wish to soil their Guccis in combat. What’s a caricature of far-leftists? Draft dodging tree-huggers? Later, rightists will turn round and call them violent radicals.
Here’s more sobby-sob-sob:
https://www.nationalreview.com/2023/12/the-rot-at-universities-goes-deeper-than-elizabeth-magill/

Alfred Differ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Larry Hart said...

Paradoctor:

There are well-supported limits on free speech. No lies, no libels, no inducement of panic, no incitement to crime, no incitement to violence.


Trump's legal defense, as well as his rabid supporters' angry assertion, is that the first amendment gives Trump the right to do any and all of those very things.

There are also well-supported limits on ownership of "arms", from long knives to tactical nukes. But somehow anything with a trigger that fires bullets is above all that (as long as the weapon-holder is white).

Alan Brooks said...

Btw, police have said they don’t want citizens even carrying pepper spray. Asked a dozen policemen how far can one go in self-defense—they all replied you try to get away. What if you can’t get away?
“You use minimal force.” What is minimal force? Hitting the perp with a shoe? Maybe it’s better to lie down and be beaten up on the sidewalk, than be beaten up in court.

scidata said...

Today's Jack Smith emergency leapfrog maneuver will tell us immediately whose side SCOTUS is on, saving us months of prognostication.

locumranch said...

As formally acknowledged by Bertrand Russell in 1937, the Political Left has always been fixated on "The Superior Virtue of the Oppressed" fallacy, otherwise known as the belief that the moral high ground belongs to the social out-group, the disadvantaged classes, the so-called 'underdog', the minority, the oppressed or any other perennial victim.

Having only the most oblique relationship to painful, hurtful & hateful speech, this is the crux of the University presidents' testimony in front of the Congressional hearing last week, insomuch as this fallacy's continuing application to a once protected victim class is particularly jarring to those who have always exploited this particular fallacy to their near continuous benefit.

If you feel like you've been mugged & betrayed by this sudden & unforeseen reversal of your assumed moral superiority, then you are not alone, and I gladly welcome all 'once mugged' liberals to the beleaguered ranks of conservatives.

I will not elaborate further, only to refer all interested parties to one of my favorite Jewish-American bloggers, James Kunstler at 'Clusterfuck Nation', on the assumption that you may desire additional details on just how thoroughly you & your left-leaning friends have screwed yourselves:

https://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/what-just-happened/


Best
_____

Now that liberal jews everywhere have been redefined as 'an oppressor class' & hoisted on their own Marxist petards, I suggest you embrace constitutional literalism, buy guns & even more guns and prepare for what's coming by joining forces with your fellow christian, catholic, asian, cubano & all other multiracial 'white supremacists' before your windows break, yellow symbols adorn your garments and it's too late defend yourselves because it's far far later than you think.

John Viril said...

by joining forces with your fellow christian, catholic, asian, cubano & all other multiracial 'white supremacists' before your windows break,

Locum,

I do find it interesting to hear how, "Asians aren't a real minority" anymore.

I mean, seriously? Guess we need to start getting F's in school so we can "fit in."

Paradoctor said...

Viril:
Thomas Sowell was once asked what Jews can do to avoid attack. His answer, "Fail." That isn't quite true, but he does get to motive.

Alan Brooks said...

The old joke:
an Asian will break into your home, make a pot of rice—and do your math homework for you.

Paradoctor said...

Elite universities are elite in funding, grounds, and equipment, but they are not necessarily elite in the independence and integrity of administration and faculty.

The weasel-wording of the three university presidents before the House committee shows that they are not only anti-Semitic; they are also anti-semantic.

Alan Brooks said...

I was conservative, but conservatism is fading because the future doesn’t need us anymore.

Guns? Police told me not to carry mace: “it will only lead to trouble.”
Wouldn’t want trouble, as
trouble leads to more paperwork. If both victim and perp are injured (or worse), it presents twice as much work for police and detectives to do, than if there’s only the victim harmed.

Alan Brooks said...

Locum, what I want to ask you is why it is the GOP doesn’t want to run a man-in-full next year but, rather, a figure out of a fairy tale?
As a doc, would you surmise that they harbor some sort of death wish? Or perhaps they can’t stand having made a mistake in ‘16 and ‘20 and are tripling-down? Something else?

duncan cairncross said...

Carrying mace or pepper spray

Here (and the UK) its simple you cannot carry ANYTHING for "self defence" for the simple reason that a "self defence" weapon can always be used as an offensive weapon

You can carry knives and bats - for use in various tasks - but if you say they are for "self defence" - then you are nicked!

This actually works very well

Alan Brooks said...

Maybe so.
Anyway, it’d be better to turn the other cheek and have the zygomatic broken, than suffer a worse attack.

Larry Hart said...

scidata:

Today's Jack Smith emergency leapfrog maneuver will tell us immediately whose side SCOTUS is on, saving us months of prognostication.


We still have to put up with this kind of crap:

https://www.cnn.com/2023/12/11/politics/special-counsel-trump-jack-smith/index.html

Prosecutors also asked the court to decide whether Trump is protected by double jeopardy. Defense lawyers have asserted that because Trump was acquitted by the Senate during his impeachment trial that he cannot be criminally tried for the same alleged actions.


Isn't that a bit like saying that since OJ was acquitted for killing his ex-wife that he couldn't be held civilly responsible for the same alleged action? How'd that work out?

How many times during the impeachments did I have to listen to, "Impeachment is a political process, not a criminal proceeding." The Senate didn't assert that Trump didn't do the things he was impeached for. Several senators who voted nay actually admitted that he dd do those things. They just refused to remove him from office for it.

If the defense logic were to hold, then there'd be no further question as to whether a president can pardon himself. All he has to do is ask his fellow Republicans* in congress to impeach and then acquit him for each of his crimes.

* I'm assuming that only a Republican would try this, or actually get away with it.

Larry Hart said...

Alan Brooks:

Wouldn’t want trouble, as
trouble leads to more paperwork. If both victim and perp are injured (or worse), it presents twice as much work for police and detectives to do, than if there’s only the victim harmed.
...
Anyway, it’d be better to turn the other cheek and have the zygomatic broken, than suffer a worse attack.


I'm assuming a bit of sarcasm, although you deadpan it very well.

scidata said...

@Larry Hart
All true. I just want to know whether SCOTUS is in the tank or not. That way I can decide whether to watch the news or just wait for November.

Alan Brooks said...

Not the second paragraph. Someone attacks and the odds look bad? Perhaps it is better to have a bone broken, instead of multiple bones being broken in the process of being hopelessly heroic. Don’t know.
I’ve been attacked on several occasions, and only once fought back—after being abducted. Who won the fight?: a fellow who had hung out with Wisefellas.

Larry Hart said...

Alan Brooks:

Someone attacks and the odds look bad? Perhaps it is better to have a bone broken, instead of multiple bones being broken in the process of being hopelessly heroic


Heh. Ok, I didn't know what a "zygomatic" was, and what I figured it was a euphemism for isn't something you would voluntarily want broken.

Lena said...

I heard a story on the radio last week in which they examined some businesses that are trying to find ways to sequester carbon. One of them is doing exactly what I suggested here many years ago. At the time I was touting architecture that uses little or no wood, so everyone's houses won't burn down. Duncan, IIRC, suggested that we need to make houses with lots of wood to sequester the carbon, which would be a good idea if the planet weren't on fire, when it's not being flooded. My suggestion was to cut down trees and sink the wood into deep-sea trenches where the carbon would like stay for a good, long time. Of course, as with both our suggestions, the cut trees would have to be replaced to absorb more CO2. The funny thing is, one of the entrepreneurs in this discussion as doing exactly what I suggested - sinking wood into the ocean.

Paul SB

Lena said...

INFORMATION (channeling the Liberator's on-board computer): I'm currently listening to a series of recorded lectures on epigenetics that was just published this year. Although the science is in a very nascent state right now, they have been making some pretty interesting discoveries. And if I had half a hippocampus I would gladly tell you about them. One thing that did stand out in my mind, though, was something the lecturer said in the section on aging. They are finding that many of the problems of aging relate to people not having enough methyl groups in their diet. Methyl groups are used to silence genes. They fill in the spot on the tails of histones where an acetyl group would normally activate the histone, causing it to unwind and expose the adjacent genes to the cellular machinery of transcription. And of course, if you don't have enough methyl groups in your diet, you end up with cells making inappropriate proteins, or way too many of otherwise appropriate proteins. This is also an issue in cancer.

The point for those of us who aren't geneticists is that we should be making sure we are eating methyl-donating nutrients, like folate and the B vitamins, especially for those of us who are far from our spring chicken phases.

Paul SB

Lena said...

And of course I forgot to link the article...


https://www.wbur.org/hereandnow/2023/12/05/oceans-carbon-capture

Tony Fisk said...

Linking in with another part of the conversation, I don't recommend sourcing your methyl groups from alcohol.

Alan Brooks said...

‘Course, depends on how heroic someone wishes to be.

But threats on campus are lower-probability. Jews have been menaced, yes; but Jews are more in danger in a synagogue such as, oh, one in Pittsburgh.
Muslims on campus? They could be decked so fast, they wouldn’t see the ground coming. They’re bullies acting tough.

Lena said...

Tony,

Good thing to note. Methyl alcohol kills optic nerves.

Paul SB

Alfred Differ said...

Larry,

Defense lawyers have asserted that because Trump was acquitted by the Senate during his impeachment trial that he cannot be criminally tried for the same alleged actions.

Throwing spaghetti at the wall. That's what they are doing.

We all talked about it each time as you said. The Senate's job is to decide if they charges are proven well enough to justify ejecting the accused from office. They can't assign a criminal conviction for doing so. That takes a court, jury of peers, etc.

I'm assuming that only a Republican would try this, or actually get away with it.

Don't know about that. The last time a Democrat got impeached he was willing to twist language into a pretzel. When we debate what existence verbs mean, that's getting pretty weird. I'm thankful he was guilty of little more than lying about whether he'd kept his little friend zipped up in his pants. Flaunting it at the Capitol when the votes are counted might have brought the world to a fiery end. 8)

Alfred Differ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alfred Differ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alfred Differ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alfred Differ said...

David,

There is a post I've tried to insert about six different times so far and they are being eaten by Blogger. Not sure why. You might have a load of them being trapped to the side waiting for your attention, but all but one should be deleted.

I don't see anything that might trigger a spam filter, but maybe I did. 8)

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

being eaten by Blogger


There have been a few times I've tried to post something and it just disappeared. In those cases, when I've tried to repost the same thing, or even a variation on the topic, the subsequent posts also disappeared. I've never understood what made those particular posts different from all others.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

The last time a Democrat got impeached he was willing to twist language into a pretzel


Clinton tried to use weasel words in order to technically avoid perjury while also avoiding embarrassment. I'll admit the look wasn't good, but he didn't pardon himself, or even threaten to do so. It seems to me, biased as I admittedly am, that it is a characteristic of present-day Republicans that they believe the rules don't constrain them.

I can't imagine a Democrat boasting that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose a single voter. Well, maybe if the recipient was one particular former resident of Fifth Avenue.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ redux:

being eaten by Blogger


Another thing you might try is check back after some time has passed and see if your posts magically re-appear up above where they would have appeared the first time. That has happened to me a few times too.

Larry Hart said...

scidata:

I just want to know whether SCOTUS is in the tank or not.


https://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2023/Items/Dec12-1.html

...
Then, when it comes to the actual ruling, we know that the three liberals will vote against Trump's position, and that Associate Justices Neil Gorsuch, Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas—all of them "unitary executive" guys who believe the president can do no wrong—will vote with his position. So, Smith will need two of the three among Roberts, Kavanaugh and Barrett. Past experience suggests he will get two, or very possibly all three. That trio, despite two-thirds of them having been appointed by Trump, has consistently ruled against his most outlandish legal arguments (particularly those from the "stop the steal" saga). On top of that, if SCOTUS sides with Trump, we'd end up with a bizarro legal world in which a president can be sued for civil offenses against individual citizens, but not for criminal offenses against the U.S. and its people.


So (God help us), Roberts, Kavanaugh, and Barett are the swing votes.

mcsandberg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Larry Hart said...

Heard on Stephanie Miller's radio show:

"If the supreme court rules that a sitting president is immune from prosecution no matter what he does, then how about Biden throwing Trump in jail and declaring himself the winner of the 2024 election?"

Larry Hart said...

@mcsandberg,

Sounds like you're desperate to convince us of something. Along the lines of memes like "Workers Tired of Remote Work, Demanding Return To The Office".

mcsandberg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Darrell E said...

"Throwing spaghetti at the wall," is how I was taught to check it for doneness when I was a kid. Pull a strand out of the boiling water, throw against the wall, if it falls off, not done, if it sticks, done.

Darrell E said...

On free speech, I've yet to come across a better exhortation on why free speech is important than this speech by Christopher Hitchens, Christopher Hitchens - Free Speech

Larry Hart said...

mcsandberg:

"To what extent do you agree or disagree with the statement: The Democratic Party is using the law to try to prevent Trump from running in the 2024 election.”

49% of democrats agree strongly or somewhat with it.


You make that sound like a bad thing. The law is supposed to prevent an insurrectionist from running for president. I'd expect most of those Democrats who agree with the statement are in favor of it. If prosecuting insurrectionists is partisan, then that says more about the parties than it does about the prosecutor.

Trump is obviously guilty of the things he's accused of, whether or not a court of law has ruled so. Even his supporters wink-nod acknowledge that. They like his obnoxiousness, but they don't deny it. What they're saying is that it is bad form to apply the law to one's political opponents. In effect, that Trump is owed immunity because his supporters want him back in office.

More to the point, though, polls this far out are more about whining about one's pet issue than an indication of how the vote will go next year. How'd that 2022 red wave work for you? Or Youngkin getting the trifecta in Virginia?

John Viril said...

The point for those of us who aren't geneticists is that we should be making sure we are eating methyl-donating nutrients, like folate and the B vitamins, especially for those of us who are far from our spring chicken phases.

Anti-aging expert David Sinclair recommends taking NMN (a B vitamin variant) and stimulating tour genetic repair mechanisms through something he calls "hormesis," subjecting the body to mild stresses such as regular exercise, exposure to heat and cold such as sauna or ice baths, and taking metformin (which lowers blood sugar).

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&opi=89978449&url=https://m.youtube.com/watch%3Fv%3Do6hEHPjIHOI&ved=2ahUKEwju6rbQtoqDAxUwNEQIHZfvDcUQsPgBegQIIBAB&usg=AOvVaw1gGCw9TfSdrWfiYgCwS9YM

mcsandberg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alfred Differ said...

Larry,

being eaten by Blogger

Damn. That's exactly what happened.
I deleted all the duplicates just now.

Sorry about the trash folks. 8)

A.F. Rey said...

First off, the headline is misleading. "The FBI" did not "confirm" it. According to the piece, there was "scant evidence that the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol was the result of an organized plot to overturn the presidential election result, according to four current and former law enforcement officials." Scant evidence is hardly a confirmation. And four current and former law enforcement officials is hardly the FBI.

Second, the piece is dated August 20, 2021. If you haven't notice, more evidence has emerged since then, so that it far less "scant" than it was then, including a effort by Trump officials to coordinate the protestors.

Third, this is an opinion piece, which means it is not subject to the standards of a regular news article. It can be much more slanted, like perhaps giving more credence to these law enforcement officials (were they part of the FBI? The opinion piece does not say) than might normally be warranted.

Is this supposed to prove there was no insurrection? :D

locumranch said...

Paradoctor doesn't get it:

Like the white majority before them, most jews & asians have forfeited their claim to the moral high ground by 'doing well', and they can no longer claim the SUPERIOR VIRTUE of being marginalized, handicapped, disadvantaged, oppressed & victimized as they compete with newer, poorer & more disadvantaged migrants.

They have become 'The Establishment': Their status & past achievements makes them vulnerable to cancellation, social pogroms & wealth redistribution schemes, much like any other establishment figure; and their undeniable successes have forced SCOTUS to rule that all types of previously accepted special protections & affirmative actions violate of US federal anti-discrimination statutes.

Alan_B doesn't get it either:

He notes that law enforcement doesn't want him to protect himself with even a non-lethal deterrent, and this after SCOTUS has long since ruled that "police agencies are not obligated to provide protection to individual citizens", leading to the following conclusions:

(1) The law-abiding citizen is now without protection;

(2) The Age of Anarcho-Tyranny is upon us; and,

(3) We must either succeed or fail on our own.


Best
_______

Quite unwittingly, Alan_B has supplied Balaji Srinivasan's definition for 'Anarcho-Tyranny', a circumstance wherein "the law is powerless to help you, but it can still hinder & harm you".

Also, the term 'zygomatic' refers to the cheekbone.

Alfred Differ said...

no insurrection on Jan. 6


Ha ha!

The ol' dictionary defense!

Now show us where 'insurrection' is defined in law because Cambridge doesn't get a say in what can and can't be prosecuted.

------

I watched it on TV.
I swapped around from channel to channel to make some attempt to avoid biased pundits. (I even watched CSPAN a while.)
I saw a deliberate attempt to scuttle the vote counting procedure. Many in Congress were in on it too.
I saw a President motivate a mob to do exactly that.

I shall not tolerate him being President again.

Larry Hart said...

mcsandberg:

I see the problem, there was no insurrection on Jan 6, 2021


I see the problem. I forget that you live in an alternate universe from mine. On my planet, I witnessed the insurrection in real time, and I trust my lying eyes more than any right-wing sources you care to quote.


Now do you understand that Jack Smith and the other rogue prosecutors are simply trying to interfere with the election? It's all the dems have left, since Slo' Joe so obviously can't win.


If you guys really believed that drivel, why would you be trying so hard to convince us to run someone else in Biden's place? Why the desperation at undermining our confidence? Your best strategy would be to convince us that Biden is our guy who can't lose, and then sit back chuckling knowingly to yourself.

I sense a bit of the briar patch.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

The ol' dictionary defense!


Probably has to do with the fact that there was no successful insurrection on Jan 6. That an insurrection which fails doesn't make the cut is a Clintonesque defense.

Or Sideshow Bob on The Simpsons:

Imprisoned for a crime I did not commit!

I mean attempted murder? Really, do we give Nobel Prizes for attempted chemistry now?

Alfred Differ said...

Darrell E,


Exactly. Their spaghetti is falling off the wall a lot. I suspect they're going to wind up with nothing left in the pot, but as defense lawyers they SHOULD be trying everything. Appeals to God are likely in the plan too... and I must admit I'd appreciate it if a bush burst into flame and said "GUILTY!"

Alfred Differ said...

Larry,

Heh. Okay. Attempted Insurrection.

That an insurrection which fails doesn't make the cut is a Clintonesque defense.

That's exactly how those abetting congress critters HAVE to see it to avoid their guilty reflections in the mirror each morning.


Just for the record... I'm just as angry at the abettors in Congress. That's exactly why I can find it in my heart to forgive Pence his earlier failures... as long as he doesn't hold another elected office again.

John Viril said...

Took me a bit to gauge you, but I decided a few days ago that your sharpness was backed by a sharpening stone

Alfred,

Law school made me a bit conflict oriented. One advantage of being a bit sharp when you challenge someone's ideas is you cut past the diplomacy and get to the useful exchanges much quicker.

And, dealing with a cross-discipline concept like the Y bottleneck and its possible link to behaviors that underlie warfare, well everyone is going to have concepts that get shot down bc you're dealing with too many specialized fields to grasp their intersection out of your own head. We're looking at something that crosses economics, poly-sci, history, evolutionary biology, evolutionary psych, farming, anthropology, and animal behavior.

One of the reasons I threw "sperm combat" into the mix is i think female choice and female promiscuity (shorn of the moral judgments) have at least some bearing on this behavior.

It also provides an interesting model of how cognitive awareness that a woman has the opportunity to "cheat" creates a subconscious physiological response. Thus, it show a link between cognition and more evolutionary-driven selected behaviors.

One anecdote that sticks in my head is about how the Chinese ended up defeating their Mongol conquerors: Chinese concubines fucked them to death.

I put it that way bc most anyone who hears it framed this way will never forget the story. The Mongol rulers took over the imperial palace and, very quickly, the Chinese court concubines are making nice with the Mongol princes. Think about, who are you gonna pick? A Mongol woman who grew up in a yurt, or a powdered woman who wears perfume, a silk kimono, and has an elaborate hairdo?

And, oh yeah, is CONDITIONED to be good at sex.

Well, after a few generations of getting them pregnant and being raised by Chinese moms, those Mongol princes are going to be Chinese no matter what the 23 and Me results show.

Hell, at one point, the Emperor built a traditional yurt town in the middle of the palace courtyard and required the imperial princes to be raised there in an attempt to maintain their Mongol identity.

Of course it failed. You can imagine the Mongol princes being pissed about the whole thing and sneaking out to hook up with concubines.

David Brin said...

You guys have an active -- the best! - online discussion community and I can't -- with that clod-crud that's going around - keep up. But here's some replies from a day or two ago!


Alfred has such amazing stories to tell!! I hope he’ll set up an autobiographical blog. JV looks to be competing and the same applies to hi… giant in afamily of little people.
JV re the the ~8000 ya Y gap… you (somewhat) exaggerate my position.

1. Been doesn’t kill so much in its own right but a na├»ve population of males might’ve got boisterous enough to move the proto King to order death. This was seen in Hawaii by Capt Cook.)

2. Still, one needn’t KILL all the disenfranchised males. Just set things up so that their wives would deem is natural for the big, strong lords to be the gene father.


LH: “I think his appeal to MAGAs is that their real lives suck so badly that they have no upside to insisting on reality.”

Nothing of the sort. If that were the issue they’d be Union men. The issue driving MAGA… THE issue… is hatred of nerds. Not all – but many, I’d bet – of MAGAs were the playground bullies in Junior high and HS and seeing nerds do well galls them. But that’s inadequate to explain the vanishing of college forlks from the MAGA coalition… and their current hate campaign against cities, universities, and all-out war vs ALL fact using professions, from science and teaching, medicine and law and civil service to the heroes of the FBI/Intel/Military officer corps who won the Cold War and the War on terror.

I have spoken before of the Hundred Year Trauma in which rural America has seen their best and brightest HS grads ‘stolen’ by the bright lights and when they come home – if at all – they are changed. That’s gotta hurt! Even though it is no one’s fault.

Larry Hart said...

John Viril:

Well, after a few generations of getting them pregnant and being raised by Chinese moms, those Mongol princes are going to be Chinese no matter what the 23 and Me results show.


Which reminds me of "The Czar's Soliloquy" by Mark Twain...


...
There are twenty-five million families in Russia. There is a man-child at every mother's knee. If these were twenty-five million patriotic mothers, they would teach these man-children daily, saying : "Remember this, take it to heart, live by it, die for it if necessary: that our patriotism is medieval, outworn, obsolete; that the modern patriotism, the true patriotism, the only rational patriotism, is loyalty to the Nation all the time, loyalty to the Government when it deserves it."

With twenty-five million taught and trained patriots in the land a generation from now, my successor would think twice before he would butcher a thousand helpless poor petitioners humbly begging for his kindness and justice, as I did the other day.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

I have spoken before of the Hundred Year Trauma in which rural America has seen their best and brightest HS grads ‘stolen’ by the bright lights and when they come home – if at all – they are changed. That’s gotta hurt!


That's not incompatible with "their real lives suck so badly that they have no upside to insisting on reality.” It's a contributing factor to the suckitude.

duncan cairncross said...

"their real lives suck so badly that they have no upside to insisting on reality.”

Their lives don't suck THAT much

What "sucks" is that they can see that they are worse off (in some ways) than their parents AND most importantly they can see people who are not "Real Americans" who are doing BETTER than they are

Alan Brooks said...

In the context of ‘turn the other cheek’, my illustration being the other zygomatic bone is struck by the perpetrator. You only fight if the odds are fair- good or if you are exceptionally brave.
(Or self-sacrificing: saving a little old grandma from a mugger.)
At any rate, you take your lumps and are glad the outcome isn’t worse. Police are more interested in the result of a fight, not who had been the instigator. Reliable witnesses are needed, and reliable attorneys.
—-
Why be afraid of campus protesters? Crime on campuses is usually the bicycle-theft kind.

Alfred Differ said...

Alan Brooks,

Crime on campuses is usually the bicycle-theft kind.

urgh.

My sister would disagree, but I shan't be discussing details.

I was unpleasantly close to a murder too. One of my soon-to-be-advisor's just-graduated grad students. Angry student with poor grade and a hammer because all problems look like nails.

------

I get your point about powderpuff protestors, but crime on campus generally fits with the nature of the students and the region where the campus sits. For example, I wouldn't expect crime stats to match between UCLA and UC Berkeley. Campus context matters.

I twitch a bit when this subject comes around. Gotta pay attention to very angry students.

Alfred Differ said...

Their lives don't suck THAT much.

The way I like to describe it is they can see where the next set of ghost towns will be. They live in them and they aren't happy about that.

Drive around a bit in the western US states and you'll find former boom towns that have fully collapsed (abandoned mines and all the associated risks) or turned into withered husks of their former glory. The world moved on. The coal ran out. The water dried up. The war ended. We've got a lot of them, but time hasn't stopped. There will be more.*

In honor of TASAT, Eric Flint's "1632" covers this topic along with what happens when the contextual drivers suddenly change.

* I'm okay with that. Cities are a kind of organism. They are born. They eventually die.

Alfred Differ said...

David,

I hope he’ll set up an autobiographical blog.

I tried that briefly. I found that it was too much like talking to myself and my inspiration vanished.

When I relate a story here, I'm hoping others will join in on the fun. Our stories tell a meta-story of who we are. From my experience, that is the only way to persuade someone to see the world in a different way than their own. They have to see it through our stories. Works in all directions when others get in on the fun.

You know this, though.
You do it.

Alan Brooks said...

True that we wouldn’t want to be women walking through a campus street at night—unless in a large group. Yet campuses are practically a haven compared to inner cities.

Pro-Palestine protests appear to be a fad, don’t know, but next year the students might move on to the Next Big Deal. Am not sympathetic to the Palestine-cause: if Palestinians got back the lands, they’d probably organize into factions and clobber each other. Don’t know, but DO know that I would not want to live in a Muslim area. It would be a very exciting and interesting life there—but will wager you it would be a very short life.

Alan Brooks said...

The Maxwell Silver Hammer campus story would be worth reading, and then forgetting.

Alan Brooks said...


(and yes, naturally the student was hitting metaphorical nails. The brief outline you wrote is sickening.)
What I was attempting to say, Loc, about police is that they have to deal with all sorts of people. They have to try to be objective; they have to thoroughly investigate—with manpower and resources available—who a perp is, and who a victim is.
I’m afraid of police more than thugs, as anyone fit enough can probably practice self-defense and defend others. But afterwards comes the difficult role: because at times one may find oneself in a position wherein one is considered guilty until proven innocent.
Not unprecedented.
If judge or jury is biased against you, you’re toast. If the perp has Really Good Connections, you’re toast.

Larry Hart said...

Alan Brooks:

The Maxwell Silver Hammer campus story...


I always thought that song was bizarre, but never put it together that it was specifically about the expression, "When your only tool is a hammer..."

Larry Hart said...

Alan Brooks:

if Palestinians got back the lands, they’d probably organize into factions and clobber each other.


That's my take as well on "From the river to the sea". Making the territory free of Jews wouldn't mean that the remaining residents are "free" in the sense that young liberals tend to use the term.

Larry Hart said...

The obvious...

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/12/12/opinion/red-blue-states-politics.html

...
Americans are often taught to think of the differences between Republicans and Democrats as a set of reasonable disagreements over how to tackle agreed-upon problems. But what we can see, in the divergent agendas of Republican-led states and Democrat-led states, is how the differences have far more to do with the actual purpose of government. For Democrats, that purpose is usually the public good. For Republicans, that purpose is harsh social regulation, with little apparent regard for the lives of those who have to endure these policies.

Lena said...

Alfred,

Anthropology pretty well confirms this. The human mind is a narrative mind. That's why stories that are full of flashbacks tend to lose audiences. Some once suggested I write a memoir, and I told her that my life is so boring it wouldn't more than just me spouting off facts and opinions, and explaining how I came to them. I would much rather dazzle readers with post and character, and sneak the themes in less didactically.

Oh, on the subject of facts and opinions, I just remembered a detail from the epigenetics lectures: apparently marijuana strips your body of methylation markers. There's another good reason to stay away from the whacky weed.

Paul SB

JR said...

"Law school made me" gods and little kittens. Another lawyer, who, because they have a law degree, think that they are experts at everything. I am so glad that I am retired and don't have to deal with that BS on a daily basis anymore. Shakespeare wasn't entirely wrong.

According to Kenneth Hart in "Empires of the Steppes", the Chinese paid off the steppe tribes with "rice, silk, and Chinese princesses" for hundreds of years before the Mongols took center stage. And it worked...mostly (a few tribes decided not to take the bribes and continued to raid). The steppe rulers would then distribute the 'goods' to their followers to ensure their loyalty. On the other hand, the Chinese were desperate for the high-quality horses that only the steppe people could provide.

Another thing is a sentiment from one of the earlier conquerors from along the Silk Road and restated by Kubli Khan - "You can conquer an empire from horse back, but you can't govern it" (Silk Roads by Peter Frankopan). The wise leaders kept the administration intact when they took over a section of the Road to make sure trade flowed smoothly, to collect taxes, etc. That was a very successful model that was copied by numerous - but not all - later chiefs.
JR

Darrell E said...

JR,

A wise method used in places and times, at least as far back as Alexander III. He usually would allow the local government to carry on, as long as they swore their loyalty to him and paid a tithe, usually quite reasonable. All polite and friendly, unless they reneged. That happened on occasion when the local leaders figured his army was too far away to come back and do anything about it. Unfortunately for them he had learned from his father, Philip II, how to effectively discourage that.

locumranch said...

Larry_H "sees the problem" and educates Mcsandberg about the unquestionable nature of Larry_H's perceptions:

Was there an ++armed++ ++deadly++ insurrection on January 6?

It's a certainty because Larry_H believes he witnessed one, even though Larry_H saw said insurrectionists ++armed++ only with zipties & pointy sticks, the ++deadly++ aspect affecting only insurrectionists & the media curating the minutes of what Larry_H actually witnessed down from 44,000 'mostly peaceful' recorded hours.

Were the BLM protests ++riots++? Or, are ++illegals++ pouring across open borders?

Larry_H does not see what he does not want to see, which is why he saw only a few 'Fiery But Mostly Peaceful' protesters who were not SEEN to attack US federal buildings, murder dozens of civilians, burn our city centers (including kristalnactt-ing LH's beloved 'Magnificent Mile') or looting thousands of stores.

Neither will he ever see what others describe as ++illegals++ crossing anyone's international border because 'no one', in his personal narrative, is 'illegal' except for each & every conservative.

What we have here is willful blindness & self-induced pig ignorance, along with the selective use of politically-biased nomenclature.


Best
_____

Careful there, Alfred:

Your 'campus context matters' comments veer awful close to the increasingly popular conservative observation that 'demographics matter'.

Do you wish to recant? Or, are you implying that diverse human beings may not be absolutely 'equal & interchangeable' across all demographic divisions, including the racial, religious & political?

How terribly racist & unenlightened!!

Paradoctor said...

Locum:
Dead cops. Pipe bombs found. "Hang Mike Pence", complete with noose ready.
Thanks for playing!

John Viril said...

You can conquer an empire from horse back, but you can't govern it"

JR,

I remember reading a historian who claimed that many merchants were fine with Mongol rule bc they would patrol the hell out of roads and wipe out bandits. Caravans were supposedly very safe under the Mongols.

I have read multiple books about how Temuchin unified the Mongol tribes, and did hear about how the Chinese paid off Mongol leaders (including with Chinese princesses for tribal leaders).

Of course, those Chinese princesses probably weren't going to be enough to turn the cultural tide when they were immersed in a steppe tribe.

Transplant Mongol leaders into the imperial palace with its attendant bloated imperial bureaucracy, well that's an entirely different thing.

Another odd fact I have stuck in my head about China is about the Philippines.

Many of the elite wealthy class in the Philippines are Chinese-descended Filipinos. Ask them about their family history, and they will tell you they are descended from Chinese traders.

They tend to form a somewhat insulated class in the Philippines and pressure their children to marry other chinese-descended Filipinos. My inner cynic looks at a map and realize trade has been flowing in the south China Sea for thousands of years. The Philippines have 7,000 islands.

I wonder how many of those families descended from "Chinese traders" were in fact Chinese pirates. Heck, if there are pirate kingdoms in the Caribbean, wouldn't there be even more opportunity for a setup like that when your have seven freak'n thousand islands?

David Brin said...

Okaaaaay: “Now do you understand that Jack Smith and the other rogue prosecutors are simply trying to interfere with the election? It's all the dems have left, since Slo' Joe so obviously can't win.”

MAGA folks desperately fear confronting a pure fact - almost 100x as many high republicans as high dems have been indicted by diverse grand juries (GJ) of random citizens (mostly white retirees) all across the nation. Many of these GJs were in red-run states where Republicans hold every lever of power and controlled elections, yet yammered then about a ‘steal’ (with zero evidence. Three possibilities

1- a CONSPIRACY executed with superhuman timing & skill without a single leak or mistake that includes all those average folk, plus all election workers, civil servants plus all the FBI/Intel heroes who won the Cold War & the War on Terror…or else…

2- that today's GOP is a criminal gang run by Kremlin "ex" commissars, casino mafiosi, murder sheiks, hedge parasites, inheritance brats etc.

Alas. They always choose #1, rather than face the obviously true #2.

Nor do the cowards ever accept cash wagers – the way actual men would – over their counterfactual claims re: climate crises, appraising any RANDOM 10 of Trump's 150,000 registered lies. Or evidence of any election 'steal.' Or name 1 fact-profession NOT hated-on by Fox?

* Or which party is ALWAYS more fiscally responsible? Or whether Red-run States (except Utah) score higher on EVERY turpitude!

No MAGA/Putinist EVER shows manly guts to back up their blab, as grampa would've. Blowhards flee, amid the ruins of their macho.

“Drive around a bit in the western US states and you'll find former boom towns that have fully collapsed (abandoned mines and all the associated risks) or turned into withered husks of their former glory. The world moved on. “

Which is why I favor a program to find pairs of dying towns buy out those in A to move to B. Then transform A into Immigrant refugee centers or super low security prisons or refuges for the homeless, where they would take on the farms and businesses under subsidy – which would still be WAY lower than today’s costs.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

Then transform A into Immigrant refugee centers or super low security prisons or refuges for the homeless


A certain poster here will doubtless interpret that as "Dr Brin wants to put the homeless and immigrants into concentration camps."

John Viril said...

MAGA folks desperately fear confronting a pure fact - almost 100x as many high republicans as high dems have been indicted by diverse grand juries (GJ) of random citizens (mostly white retirees) all across the nation

There must be some kind of word splitting trick here (I suspect "diverse GJ"). However, if the count is convicted members of Congress by party, it's more Dems than Republicans since the founding of the Republic.

Alan Brooks said...

BLM riots occurred during Trump’s administration, not Obama’s or Biden’s.

Alan Brooks said...

Loc’s comment the other day re phosphorus was worth reading. But naturally he continually insists on
The Decline & Fall Of Our Empire...
I’ve got a dozen or so Christians telling me everything is hopeless, and we can all receive *going to hell in a handbasket* from many sources, we don’t need it from Loc—think too much about it, you wouldn’t want to exist. Someone in Amsterdam solemnly told me:
“Everything is breaking
down and fallink apart.”

Well, Hello! Then what? Cry a river?

duncan cairncross said...

There must be some kind of word splitting trick here (I suspect "diverse GJ"). However, if the count is convicted members of Congress by party, it's more Dems than Republicans since the founding of the Republic.

A Civil war will do that!!

And its notable that today the GOP is the one flying the Confederate flags - and proposing to ignore the constitution

locumranch said...

Alan_B warns that "we wouldn’t want to be women walking through a campus street at night — unless in a large group", and then adds that "campuses are practically a haven compared to inner cities".

What? What? Is he contradicting Dr. Brin's narrative about how Democrat-controlled urban centers are so much safer, better & more moral than rural Red States by every conceivable criteria? Anyone for a wager?

At least that's better than the falsehoods spewed by Paradoctor, as there were absolutely NO "dead cops" on January 6 -- although 1 officer stroked at home & 2 suicided immediately afterward -- while said "pipe bomb" was planted the night before Jan 6 by a still unidentified individual wearing full Antifa regalia.

I believe it was a former chief justice of New York's Supreme Court who once declared that “Any good prosecutor can get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich", making a 'grand jury indictment' of NO moral significance whatsoever, anymore than a false allegation by a second rate actor proves that downtown Chicago is 'MAGA country'.


Best
______

https://www.policemag.com/patrol/news/15311242/more-than-2000-officers-injured-in-summers-protests-and-riots

More than 2,000 law enforcement officers were injured in the first weeks of BLM protests; there were 8,700 protests nationwide; 574 were declared riots with violence and other criminal acts.

https://apnews.com/article/83b1ecab54f039bbd30346a218a4c994

4 St. Louis officers shot, ex-captain killed during unrest

David Brin said...

JV anyone who tries that statistical trick, smooshing together the Dem Party of pre- and post The Big Party Flip is just being a disingenuous liar.

--

While I have not claimed that urban America is without immense problems and dangers, I will happily take that wager, locum! Have a reputable atty verify you escrowed $10k stakes. We'll put evidence to a nonpartisan panel of retired Sr military officers. (Most former lifelong Republicans.) Pool with fellow MAGAs. Take MY $$!

*Grand juries across USA (mostly white retirees in mostly-red-run states) indicted almost a HUNDRED x as many top Repubs as dems! Your cult is a criminal gang. Bets?

*Pick RANDOM 10 of Trump's 150,000 registered lies. Or evidence of any election 'steal.' Or name 1 fact-profession NOT hated-on by Fox?

*Ask those heroes (who won the Cold War &War on Terror) to weigh Hunter's"whole life vs any random WEEK of the Trump boys. Let's tally NDAs & hush payments!

*Come to sea with me and a Ph meter! Bet whether acid is killing the oceans. Or start caring.

*Check Fox anti-science 'campus indoctrination' rants. Knock on 20 RANDOM doors at a nearby university!

*Compare DEATH rates of those who refused vaccines!

*Bet which party is ALWAYS more fiscally responsible? Or whether Red-run States (except Utah) score higher on EVERY turpitude!

No MAGA/Putinist EVER shows manly guts to back up their blab, as grampa would've. Blowhards flee, amid the ruins of their macho.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

Come to sea with me and a Ph meter! Bet whether acid is killing the oceans.


We've had this conversation before. He doesn't acknowledge that "less alkaline" is the same thing as "acidification". He and his ilk think that we're claiming the scary thing is that swimming in the ocean is becoming like swimming in a vat of acid, and since that isn't what's happening, the whole "acidification" thing is a hoax.

Alan Brooks said...

Loc, women DO compensate for their vulnerability on campuses—and they do ‘alright’.
On farms and ranches, leave something in an obvious place, it can be stolen, easy. “People like to steal”, a farmer said the first day. Bales of hay left out in the open, other possessions. Moral rural dwellers? Did meet moral Assembly Of God members in villages. “Important thing is to work hard,” they all advised. “Even though we are close to the End Times, we must work hard.”
They were the only old-time Moral folks in the area; the rest did their Thing. Drunken fighting, Peyton Place...

On whose watch did the 2020 riots occur? Dubya’s? Obama’s? Biden’s?

Paradoctor said...

Loc:
Those cops would likely be alive today, if Trump had followed two centuries of precedent.

You said nothing about the attempt on Pence's life.

Alan Brooks said...

Entirely coincidental rioting occurred during his last year, over three yrs into Trump’s administration?

Paradoctor said...

Hey locum, here's a blast from the past:

https://www.mercurynews.com/2023/12/08/ex-la-habra-police-chief-gets-11-year-sentence-for-role-in-jan-6-capitol-riot/
<<
Alan Hostetter, a former La Habra police chief-turned yoga instructor and conservative Orange County activist who called for the execution of his political enemies after the 2020 elections, was sentenced Thursday to 11 years and three months in federal prison for joining a mob of rioters during the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

The former law enforcement officer planned for weeks in the leadup to Jan. 6, transported weapons across the country and while armed with a hatchet joined the group of rioters that overran the U.S. Capitol.
>>
<<
Hostetter, who was driving rather than flying, brought weapons and tactical gear, including hatchets, a knife, pepper spray, stun batons, a collapsible baton, an armored plate carrier, a gas mask and a bulletproof helmet.
>>

Not peaceful.

Alfred Differ said...

Locumranch,

Your 'campus context matters' comments veer awful close to the increasingly popular conservative observation that 'demographics matter'.

Do you wish to recant?



Only in your ears, but thank you for asking.

The folks muttering on about demographics are (in my ears and eyes) closeted racists. What I'm going on about is how the existence of a socio-economic ladder impacts decisions we make wrt breaking the law. I'm remembering my mother's mother who was at least a thief* when she was young and lost no sleep at night after stealing from people who were likely on a little better off than she was. I'm remembering how some of my brother's friends changed** as they got older and finally had something to lose. What a person has left to lose is hugely important in what they choose to do next.

…are you implying that diverse human beings may not be absolutely 'equal & interchangeable'…

I think it obvious we are NOT absolutely equal. My beef is with people who think they know enough to hazard a guess at what someone 'obviously' CAN'T do. It's hard enough to use well what gifts we have without someone pulling their pants down and pissing on the person next to them who is still learning they have any gifts at all.

———

* My little granny had two kids (that I know of) by two different fathers. I never met my mother's half-brother because she hated his guts. She actually told me one day she'd cheerfully stab him to death. My brother met him and had a somewhat less-lethal opinion. I got to ponder all that and try to figure out what they weren't saying when one day it hit me. My mother had a father (the guy I'm named after) in her life because he married the kind of woman you can get pregnant without facing any social pressure to marry her. Ta da! Makes for absolutely chaotic family relationships later. Fun conversations at the holiday dinner table.

** One got a young woman pregnant. Turned out to be twins. Turned out the mother cracked and left them with him. He turned on a dime and became a candidate for Father-Of-The-Year award. EVERYONE was amazed… and impressed.

Alfred Differ said...

JR,

Another lawyer, who, because they have a law degree, think that they are experts at everything.

Ha! That's not my read of him, but strong egos don't bother me. Some of us have to pull ours in to fit through a door when entering a room, but if they are backed by any evidence of having accomplished something I don't mind much.

Lots of people think they are an expert at something. Those of us with strong egos just argue for more of those 'somethings'. In this case, though, the fellow you find somewhat annoying didn't claim to be an expert. In fact, he said he wasn't. What he claimed was to know more about it than I do… which I believe is likely true wrt modern farms. That YOU know more than both of us combined on that topic is likely something we'd both accept at this point.

I suspect a more complete history of the Steepes will get written as the genetic evidence gets folded in. I've no doubt of the wise tactic of burying young emperors in young women so cooler, older, already corrupted heads can continue governing, but there are dozens of other pleasures that saved conquered regions by distracted ruling descendants that I think will prove to matter. Simple things too like not living in mud and horseshit. Access to a bath and clean, hot water would have been enough to get ME to turn on my ancestors. 8)

Alfred Differ said...

John,

That entire side of Asia is a giant archipelago! Bazillions of islands!

Tracing the people who settled Formosa back and forward in time is a task worth considering for those of us who advocate for space colonies. 8)

—————

PSB,

methylation markers

My reading on this topic isn't recent, but the way I recall it is we want to remove some of the markers and put others back. Events in our lives flip those switches in ways we come to regret.

In terms of fiction that struck me as plausible, V.Vinge mentioned this topic as humanities path toward MUCH longer lifespans. The story included some direct genetic surgery to deal with very specific weaknesses and then long terms management of epigenetic switch states. Obviously the people in the story had detailed engineering information about how human bodies worked, so getting a check-up would involve more than sticking your tongue out. 8)

Larry Hart said...

All about the grievance...

https://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2023/Items/Dec14-2.html

...
The [new Ipsos] poll made clear that the issues aren't paramount, which is why people can agree with Biden on the issues but still disapprove of him. Rage and grievance is the core of Trump's campaign. Unless Biden can penetrate the cloud of anger, listing all the laws he signed and how they will create good jobs, improve the infrastructure, save the planet, etc. won't matter. One Democratic strategist, Michael Ceraso, who has worked for Barack Obama and Bernie Sanders, said: "There is no way you can reach people when they are frustrated. You have to wait for them to dial it down. Then you hope you can find the thing that moves the voter back into your column." Of course dialing it down will be hard when Trump's whole campaign is about dialing it up.

On the issues, Biden is doing fine. Large majorities want a federal law legalizing abortion nationwide, want the government to force the price of insulin down, want a minimum tax on billionaires, and want to ban assault rifles. However, 90% are worried about the economy, despite the fact that it is actually doing well. People just don't believe it.

Some of the things Trump wants are highly unpopular, including the death penalty for drug dealers and leaving NATO. But when voters are in a blind rage about how bad the country is, the details of the issues are just pushed into the background. When people are angry, they either don't vote (young and minority Democrats) or vote to throw the bums out (Republicans). This is the situation Biden finds himself in and he has to figure out how to deal with it.

Tim H. said...

LH, the economy is not doing bad, the issue is the precarity of the economy, in the United States one's employment status can change rapidly and there's not much of a safety net left*. Speculators have driven housing prices outrageously and AFAIK, the tax changes made forty years ago that made it more expensive to keep US manufacturing up to date are still there.

*AFAICT, lest someone unworthy of Mammon eat.

scidata said...

There was plenty of grumbling about the economy in the years before the German Catastrophe. Or the delegations of malcontents that assailed Salvor Hardin's office before the crisis.

Larry Hart said...

Tim H:

the economy is not doing bad, the issue is the precarity of the economy,

I agree with your assessment. I could comfortably retire right now if I wasn't concerned about potential medical expenses for my family.

But it's a public relations coup of extraordinary magnitude that the voting public considers that as a reason to vote for the party who causes that precarity (or is that precariousness?).

Paradoctor said...

Dr. Brin 12/13, 10:17 AM:

You mentioned three possibilities, but you listed only two: 1) a superhuman conspiracy to feign R corruption, and 2) actual R corruption. Have you a possibility 3 in mind, or was that a typo? Please clarify.

In a related issue: many blogs have a comments section that you can go back to correct typos. Alas, not this one. Could that be changed?

Tim H. said...

LH, that's the perverse genius of "The Vast Right Wing Conspiracy", the Democrats know two things for sure, 1: there's value in continuity of policy, 2: they'll be branded as radical lefties if they do no more than fix the most egregious (Formerly) GOP errors. They've yet to internalize that they're also blamed for the mistakes they don't fix.

Larry Hart said...

Tim H:

They've [Democrats] yet to internalize that they're also blamed for the mistakes they don't fix.


They're blamed for the problems they can't fix because voters don't understand the realities of the filibuster, the electoral college, and the right-wing federal courts. Republicans have weaponized obstructionism in a way that Democrats get blamed for it.

And yet, Republicans don't get blamed for the problems that they don't fix even when they could.

locumranch said...

Assuming that we first establish a common language with fixed & immutable definitions, I'm perfectly willing to engage in friendly wagering about facts, truthiness & objective reality.

Evidence of any election steal?

https://apnews.com/article/pennsylvania-election-voting-machines-votes-flipping-1aede0966e0c418b4efbbb36b513acef

DEATH rates of those who refused vaccines?

https://insurancenewsnet.com/innarticle/excess-mortality-continuing-surge-causes-concerns

Larry_H finally admits (after years of denial & argument) that when he & his Humpty Dumpty political partisans use a word "it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less", regardless of what words actually mean, leading to no end of technical disputes that allow a wagerer to dispute an outcome, as in the two recent cases mentioned above wherein Democrat-controlled news sources confirm 'election steal' by corrupted voting machines & excess 'DEATH rates' unrelated to vaccine refusal.

Equality either exists or it does not, yet any denial of equality always entails accusations of bigotry. As illustrated above, I get called 'a bigot' when I dismiss 'equality', but when Alfred dismisses & denies equality (as he does, most assuredly) then I still get called 'a bigot'. Terms like 'equality' (and, there are many of them in the PC lexicon) are WOPR words -- they are semantic minefields -- having been weaponized to such an extent that the only way to win this word game is not to play.

This 'divergence of language' is a global issue & THE primary cause of political polarization worldwide, leading to all sorts of phrasal absurdities about only celebrating certain lives, as in the case of 'black lives' (but not 'Irish') and all-of-us being 'immigrants' (but not natives).

Professional wordsmiths therefore make dubious adversaries, not because of low proficiency, but because of the opposite, as they possess such a high degree of linguistic ability that words can twist & writhe in their accomplished mouths like so many venomous snakes, allowing them to stack the deck & deal dirty if they so wish, leaving the odds 'ever in their favour', until the time for words are past.

Because all of us here love words, you & I are more alike than we are different, but many people DO NOT love words and, at a deep & visceral level, they despise & distrust both words and those who use words well, and you err 'bigly' if & when you assume that those who have been humbled & humiliated by words will restrict their rebuttals & rebukes to words alone: They will not.

Consider yourselves warned.


Best

Alan Brooks said...

This is a weensy bit better than before.

Although you don’t go into it here, you have a quaint notion of rural morality. Yes the number of Moral (high-case ‘M’) residents of rural areas is larger than the number in metro areas—but still a very small total.
The Moral are American Gothics, whose rulebook is extremely boring & strict, to keep people on a short leash; traveling the straight ‘n narrow path.

Don Gisselbeck said...

For what it's worth, I tried a Facebook experiment, posting a selfie with a quote and with a link to your War on Expertise essay in the comments. It's getting decent response whilst most direct links I post get almost no response.

David Brin said...

Paradoctor asks: “You mentioned three possibilities, but you listed only two: 1) a superhuman conspiracy to feign R corruption, and 2) actual R corruption. Have you a possibility 3 in mind, or was that a typo?”

Yeah? Wouldn’t YOU like to know?

“You mentioned three possibilities, but you listed only two: 1) a superhuman conspiracy to feign R corruption, and 2) actual R corruption. Have you a possibility 3 in mind, or was that a typo? Please clarify. “

In 92-93 I worked with JPL head Bruce Murray on an experimental “hyperforum’ whose discussion method of nested and linked topics would put to deserved shame any discussion system I’ve seen from Reddit to comment sections like this one. Alas.

Tim H. said...
LH, that's the perverse genius of "The Vast Right Wing Conspiracy", the Democrats know two things for sure, 1: there's value in continuity of policy, 2: they'll be branded as radical lefties if they do no more than fix the most egregious (Formerly) GOP errors. They've yet to internalize that they're also blamed for the mistakes they don't fix.

Yeah, yeah, whatever. If your very life depended on it – right now – you could not describe – or even perceive – the wonderful accomplishments of the 2021-22 Pelosi Congress, which Bernie, Liz, AOC, Stacey and Jaime all called a miracle year and major victories on a long road. And if you dismiss THEM as “DNC types”… well, yeah, since Jamie freaking Harrison now heads the DNC. If folks like you stood up, there’d be a lot more done.

Locum, I have made it clear. When ONE of you blowhard cowards escrows ACTUAL $$$ wager stakes with a reputable atty, who informs me … and that atty begins the process of helping recruit a panel of retired, not especially political senior military officers to rule on the specific wagers and wordings and all that…. when ONE of you cultist traitor blowhards steps up, the way that an actual man would… then by all means let’s do this!

Your ”professional wordsmith” bullshit is ironic, coming from an addict who suckles professional hypnotists online and on the tube.

I have listed a very long list of very explicit matters. You actually, actually actually want to bet over THE “STEAL”???? Or covid death rates? Or any of your cult incantations with facts… actual facts… on the line?

Oh, my.

David Brin said...

Oops... somehow I pasted in Paradoc's1st query twice and my 2nd response may have confused.

The following: "In 92-93 I worked with JPL head Bruce Murray on an experimental “hyperforum’ whose discussion method of nested and linked topics would put to deserved shame any discussion system I’ve seen from Reddit to comment sections like this one. Alas."

...was in response to "In a related issue: many blogs have a comments section that you can go back to correct typos. Alas, not this one. Could that be changed?"

John Viril said...

Access to a bath and clean, hot water would have been enough to get ME to turn on my ancestors. 8)

Read general accounts of Chinese history (like say an encyclopedia-type analysis or a Chinese history survey course), and you'll. find that the Mongol emperors did suffer military defeat. One of the big reasons is the late Mongol emperors lost the ability to hold all the Mongol tribes together.

I'm thinking this is because they had become "too Chinese" and no longer had the political skills to understand Mongol society like Temuchin (Gengis Khan) did.

Without the unified might of all the Steppe tribes, the Mongol emperors couldn't hold the throne.

John Viril said...

Still, one needn’t KILL all the disenfranchised males. Just set things up so that their wives would deem is natural for the big, strong lords to be the gene father.

Dr. brin,

Then "sperm combat" is part of that mix. Basically, biology tends to make women seek to cheat when they are near peak fertility. Presuming that women are more likely to have orgasms when hiking up with a guy their cheating with rather than the same old guy, evidence that female orgasm increases pregnancy rates creates a model that a women is more likely to get pregnant by a lover than a significant other.

Regular drunkenness could suppress fertility rates, but why would this affect exclude subordinate males more often than dominant males?

Part of the answer why early agrarian societies have a Y bottleneck might be that the tribe lived in closer proximity, which made infidelity much more convenient logistically.

As crop yields increased, the families lived farther apart which would reduce contacts with potential cheating partners. I'm thinking early farmers would live in closer proximity bc crop yields were lower, yet produce the surplus necessary to create large class differences.

Alfred Differ said...

I would think the correlation would be reversed. Higher crop yields means less land has to be worked to feed the family. IF a family keeps plowed acreage constant, they'd grow in size... which is consistent with population estimates for agriculture adopters.

Higher yields MEANS surplus. The only question is whether the surplus grows faster than women can have babies... which for most of our history had to be answered with a resounding NO.

Larry Hart said...

Popularity, grievance, and why "least hated" matters more than "most loved"...

https://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2023/Items/Dec15-4.html

Anyhow, the obvious lesson here, which we wrote about yesterday, and which we've talked about many times, is that "popular politician" is a relic of the past. The five men in question [Jimmy Carter (58% popularity); Bill Clinton (48%); Barack Obama (59%); Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) (51%);Arnold Schwarzenegger (58%)] one are the top five in YouGov's rankings. That means there are a grand total of four political figures in America above 50%, and only one of them is still in office. And when Jimmy Carter goes to the big peanut farm in the sky, the grand total will be down to three.

Meanwhile, the numbers for key modern-day political figures are ghastly. Joe Biden at 44%, Kamala Harris at 43%, Donald Trump at 42%. But you know whose numbers are worse? Everyone else. You could make a pretty good argument that these people have risen to the top because they are, if not the most beloved political figures in America, the least hated. And it should be clear that it's a fantasy that tossing Biden, Harris or Trump overboard in favor of a different candidate will lead their respective party to rally around the replacement and to sing a round of "kumbaya."
...

Larry Hart said...

Reason for optimism?

https://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2023/Items/Dec15-8.html

For the last 8 years, Poland has been led by the right-wing populist Law and Justice party (PiS). PiS banned abortions, stacked the Polish judiciary with hyperpartisan judges, cracked down on LGBTQ people, restricted voting rights and pursued an isolationist foreign policy, among other things. Perhaps this sounds familiar.

The Polish people grew weary with this approach, and so in the recent (complicated) elections, they handed a majority of the seats to non-PiS parties. PiS remains the largest party in the Polish parliament, but nobody was willing to work with Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki to form a government. And so, he failed, paving the way for Donald Tusk, of the Civic Coalition (KO), to reclaim the job he held from 2007-14.

The freudenfreude element here is this: Not only did the Polish people decide they wanted a change, they became deeply invested in making sure it happened. As the maneuvering that confirmed Morawiecki's downfall was in process, the Polish parliament, a.k.a. the Sejm, began live-streaming its meetings. And the streams were wildly popular, attracting more than 1 million people a day. In fact, it is such a phenomenon that the Polish media has dubbed it Sejmflix. Movie theaters have even taken to showing the livestreams, and selling popcorn to those who want to watch.

There is something very uplifting in seeing that a country whose democracy was seriously threatened responded not by giving up, but by rallying the troops, and by engaging in the political process with enthusiasm and optimism. In particular, the return of Tusk was driven by women and young people. One can only hope that any other nations who happen to be faced with the specter of an undemocratic regime respond in a similar fashion.

Larry Hart said...

Heh.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/columnist/2023/12/07/taylor-swift-time-person-of-the-year-trump-maga/71840257007/?utm_source=substack&utm_medium=email

MAGA folks calling anything a cult is like water calling someone wet.

scidata said...

Larry Hart: Reason for optimism?

Oligarchs know that this is their last chance. That's why they're pulling out all the stops. Pax Americana is a rope-a-dope, that looks weakest right before it strikes.

Darrell E said...

Larry,

I do indeed think that what has happened in Poland recently gives good reason for hope.

scidata,

I think that's exactly right and have said as much myself before. But, they have caused some pretty devastating damage while pulling out all the stops. The worst is the thoroughly detached from reality bubble they've created and managed to trap a significant percentage of the population inside of. They make their own facts, no lie is too big and too many people believe it despite being handed evidence of the lies on a silver platter. I think the following quote says it best.

"History shows that there is nothing so easy to enslave and nothing so hard to emancipate as ignorance, hence it becomes the double enemy of civilization. By its servility it is the prey of tyranny, and by its credulity it is the foe of enlightenment."

[Lemuel K. Washburn, 1911]

Larry Hart said...

Darrell E:

I do indeed think that what has happened in Poland recently gives good reason for hope.


That's why I didn't degrade the issue by asking "How many P****ks does it take to throw off an oligarch?"

But if we re-elect Trump, I will be asking my fellow Americans how it feels to be dumber than a P****k.

Lena said...

Hi Alfred,

The lecturer affirmed what you wrote here. Genes need to be switched on as well as off. However, if you don't have enough of the switches (BTW: the on switches are acetyl groups), you run into the problem of not being able to switch a gene off. There are some cases where the effects are worse if they can't be switched on, but by far the majority of cases known to date have the opposite problem - not enough off switches. It's possible that future research will change the balance as we know it, of course.

If anyone subscribes to Audible you can get it free (w/ the TANSTAAFL caveat).

Paul SB

Tim H. said...

scidata, I wonder how long xian nationalism will align with the desires of plutocrats, a marriage of convenience, soon to dissolve in acrimony.

Paradoctor said...

Dr. Brin:

Aha: three-valued logic. True, false, and "wouldn't you like to know?"

2023 minus 1993 equals 30 years. That's a long time for hyperforum to lay fallow, if it's superior. I guess that the overhead was too high.

David Brin said...


JV:“Regular drunkenness could suppress fertility rates, but why would this affect exclude subordinate males more often than dominant males?”

Because, as Capt Cook and others observed and reported in Polynesian kingdoms, a low class drunk who was not immense in size could be ordered killed, on the spot. Which may be one reason Polynesians are LARGE.

“2023 minus 1993 equals 30 years. That's a long time for hyperforum to lay fallow, if it's superior. I guess that the overhead was too high.”

Nope I have long learned that great ideas get shrugged-off. By those with the power of both $$ and dullard obstinacy and a cult of Not Invented Here. My patents would include all of Augmented Reality! They expire in 6 months.

reason said...

David,
I have long suspected that the size of Polynesians can readily be explained by them having rowed vast distances on the open ocean. Only the biggest guys were sent on exploratory expeditions and a good fat reserve would help survival on the new island.

Paradoctor said...

Technology is path-dependent, and therefore contingent. I speculate that there are undiscovered low tech solutions superior to present high-tech solutions.

Paradoctor said...

If your patent expires in six months, then expect the augmented reality companies to publish their own hyperforums in seven months.

That's okay, if they do it right. The difference between a disciple and an appropriator is that the disciple is good at idea-theft.

John Viril said...

JV anyone who tries that statistical trick, smooshing together the Dem Party of pre- and post The Big Party Flip is just being a disingenuous liar

So how far do you want to go back? FDR, to when blacks became a DNC constituency I/o RNC? Or Nixon, when the supposed southern strategy was put in play?

If we're looking at Congressional convictions, there's nothing close to 100x or even 10x. In fact, it's probably closer to a horserace than even a 2x difference.

I don't put much stock in indictments, bc getting a federal indictment is pretty easy. The old saw goes, "A federal prosecutor can endict a ham sandwich."

So, what do you mean by "high politicians." Are you including misconduct by executive branch appointed officials?

Lena said...

Come to think of it, this problem could just as well turn out to be a result of a Western diet. Do we get plenty of acetyl groups in our food but not enough methyl? Inquiring minds want to know ...

Paul SB

David Brin said...

JV I ask you to put up wager stakes. Seriously, please? You claim the number of convictions is vastly different from indictments. BET NOW! Seriously I have facts and figures and will welcome your cash.

"A federal prosecutor can endict a ham sandwich."

Then why have the lynch mob eager beager rebub prosecutors FAILED almost every time going after dems?

GW Bush betrayed America by yanking scores of agents off counter-terrorism duty to search filing cabinets for dirt on the Clinton Administration. The result was zero. The Clinton and Obama admins were by any measure by far the cleanest in the history of the Republic! But there was ONE result of that GWB-ordered shift in agent priorities...

... something called 9/11.

Carumba. All that I said, just now, it doesn't raise even a glimmer of curiosity in you, does it? Just discomfort and a need to squirm out of the simple fact that Democarts appoint skilled civil servants to offices and Republicans appoint crooks.

STEP UP and let's wager on that assertion. I can prove it, twenty different ways.

Alan Brooks said...

Better even to vote for Hunter Biden, than any GOP candidate.

Larry Hart said...

John Viril:

Or Nixon, when the supposed southern strategy was put in play?


"Supposed"?

What exactly is in question?

locumranch said...

Then why have the lynch mob eager bea(v)er re(p)ub prosecutors FAILED almost every time going after dems?

Because 76 out of the top 100 US cities have been controlled by the Democratic Party machine for generations.

https://ballotpedia.org/Party_affiliation_of_the_mayors_of_the_100_largest_cities#Who_runs_the_cities?

_____
_____


I apologize for implying that some people may be less than truthful & I admit that I got somewhat carried away by my Tolkenesque 'wormtongue' analogy, yet there's a hard won sliver of truth here to be shared, one gleaned from my 30+ years of medical experience.

The wise individual distrusts the glib.

Sociability, Entertainment, Information Conveyance & Lie Promulgation are the only justifiable reasons for any one human being to communicate with any other human being.

This explains my inherent distrust of politics & politicians, my loss of confidence in almost all women and my across-the-board rejection of the popular narrative, as empiric observation proves that 'the more people talk, the more they lie'.

It could also explain the Fermi Paradox.


Best

Alan Brooks said...

The Right doesn’t have
a. the negative unity forged by the Warsaw Pact.
b. the Gipper.

It is tempting to live a Little House on the Prairie life, yet such doesn’t exist anymore.

Alan Brooks said...

Mystery is why you became a physician,
but if now you are a rancher—as your handle implies—we tip our Stetsons to you.

Tony Fisk said...

One wonders which is the 'justifiable reason' for commenting here.

gregory byshenk said...

CP said...
I am most certainly NOT a "degrowth"er in the sense of someone who sees a drastic reduction in population as intrinsically good in order to restore some sort of "sylvan ideal." But, I don't think continually increasing the population is an intrinsic good, either. And, given the choice, I'd rather have half the population size with nearly everyone reasonable well off than twice the population size with nearly everyone living in abject poverty.

But you said you want a population decrease. This is not 'anti-expansion', but 'contraction'.

I would suggest that increasing population is indeed a "good" - other things being equal. With more people we can learn more, discover more, and accomplish more, all things that are intrinsically good, in my view. Part of that "other things being equal" is that the people live good lives, of course. But as we can see from our current sociopolitical situation (and that of the last centuries), the quality of life is largely orthogonal to the size of the population. Because of this, your "choice" seems to be an imaginary one.

I'm not suggesting that we need to reduce energy production. In fact, it will have to increase substantially to "buffer" the transition from an expansionist to a post-expansionist culture.

But earlier you wrote:
"Expansion," as used in my original comments, means a continuous increase in population/resource extraction/energy use

Are you now saying that you support "expansion" in energy production and use?

We've avoided a catastrophic crash, so far, because improving technology has kept us ahead of the consequences. However, we're approaching more intractable limits. And the closer we get to them the more difficult it will be to stay ahead of the consequences (or deal with something unexpected...).

What "intractable limits" are these? People have been claiming limits for a very long time, and (at least so far) have always been proven wrong. This does not mean that we should not use our resources more intelligently and efficiently, of course, but experience suggests what "limits" there are depend on how we choose to do things.

Again, I'm thinking of them as analogous only in the sense that few people would want to live there permanently. That would apply even if more commercial development was allowed in Antarctica. If more exploitation had been permitted, it would still have been peripheral--comparable to the current usage of space.

"Compared to the current usage of space" - which says very little about the future usage of space. As I already noted, there is very little reason to be in Antarctica. We can already see at least some reason for space, and that could also change.

Of course, I'm not certain about any of this but I'm skeptical regarding the "rare life/intelligence/technological civilization" solution to the Fermi paradox. Which, leaves "self-destruction" or "transition to a post-expansionist culture" as the leading candidates...

Those three answers of which you are skeptical are actually very different ones. I can't see that we have no good reasons for choosing any answer, given the lack of data - certainly not sufficiently good that we should use them to guide our decision making.

David Brin said...

Locum: “Because 76 out of the top 100 US cities have been controlled by the Democratic Party machine for generations.”

Har! He is so absurd. Dig it, man. MAYORS don’t control the justice system! That is a STATE power and 30 out of fifty states are red-run.

In fact, MOST of the wave of indictments and convictions of corrupt Goppers took place in red states, by grand juries and then trial juries under GOP attorneys general, who sometimes tried to obstruct but those juries did their duty…

....and it never seems to occur to Foxites that most of the states they proclaim were election ‘stolen” had Republican Governors and Secretaries of State and legislatures and GOP appointed law enforcement and election commissions. What they did NOT have was a scintialla of actual evidence of any... any... any kind of 'steal.'

Only the SQUEAL of playground bully whiners and wheeeeny sore losers. "I l-l-lots? To nerds? Impossible! No way! Sumbuddy cheeeeted!"


AB: “The Right doesn’t have
a. the negative unity forged by the Warsaw Pact.
b. the Gipper….”

It’s worse than that. Today’s Right *IS* the New Warsaw Pact. Moscow is run by 1000 “ex” commissars who grew up reciting Leninist Catechisms and using the KBG to attack the West while dominating Poland and the rest of Eastern Europe.

Now – liberated from commie rule by George Soros (that is exactly what Glenn Beck & Hannity say!) – those nations all oppose Moscow…

…but those same “ex” commissars now control new, more dangerous allies. Like the US Republican Party. The New Warsaw Pact.

Oh, instead of the Gipper they have the Orange Jesus.

Alan Brooks said...

When I try to communicate with Republicans, I use the a. & b. short version. They don’t comprehend the longer version.

If Loc lives on a ranch or farm, I’d say he is at least consistent in that respect, by his abandonment of modernity. More likely, he doesn’t know what he wants and is casting about—which is very common.

locumranch said...

Dig it, man. MAYORS don’t control the justice system! That is a STATE power and 30 out of fifty states are red-run. In fact, MOST of the wave of indictments and convictions of corrupt Goppers took place in red states...

Good points all, excepting that (1) 'justice system' judges & juries are controlled by local elections & local political party dominance, (2) a higher incidence of indictments & convictions in predominantly red communities does not necessarily correlate with a higher rate of criminality, as each & every leftist race apologist will tell you about the sky-high conviction rates in black community, and (3) the latest accusation of 'election steal' & voting machine fraud comes from Democrat Party wonks in Pennsylvania in response to a democrat election loss.


One wonders which is the 'justifiable reason' for commenting here.

As Tony Fisk indicates, the spread of cynicism suggests 'Information Conveyance' as my primary justification for posting here but, of the 4 possible reasons for human-to-human communication, all-of-the-above remains a distinct possibility.


Best

David Brin said...

All of these are utter, utter drivel:

"Good points all, excepting that (1) 'justice system' judges & juries are controlled by local elections & local political party dominance, (2) a higher incidence of indictments & convictions in predominantly red communities does not necessarily correlate with a higher rate of criminality, as each & every leftist race apologist will tell you about the sky-high conviction rates in black community, and (3) the latest accusation of 'election steal' & voting machine fraud comes from Democrat Party wonks in Pennsylvania in response to a democrat election loss."

#1 is untrue except for very local low-level judgeships. It is simply and totally untrue.

#2 is true but meaningless when the Grand Juries and Juries indicting and convicting almost 100x as many republicans HAVE NO REASON FOR THAT TO BE DOING IT DUE TO BIAS. They are mostly white retiress and many in suburban or red areas. And the elephant not in the room is the frantic, desperate attempts by redder officials and pols to turn the tables and indict/convict dems of corruption... with almost in every case being thrown out because their 'evidence' against dems is almost always shown to be vapor.

Like the 'steal" utter fart gas.

(BET NOW whether the Obama and Clinton admins aren't proved - utterly - to have been the cleanest in the history of the republic.)

This correlates of course with another purely blatant statistical fact. If we set aside Utah and Illinois as outliers (or even if we don’t) average rates of almost every turpitude are far higher across Red-run states than Blue-led ones: from gambling, addiction, STDs, domestic violence and murder to teen sex, divorce and net tax parasitism on the rest of the nation. That is a huge, undeniable fact! It should discredit all ‘conservative’ claims of good governance...

...especially when you add in the fact that national Republican administrations are always spendthrift wastrels, sending deficits skyrocketing, while Democratic ones are always fiscally responsible. Always. And I welcome $$$ wagers on any of that.

#3... so? We do know that Republicans DO cheat! They cheat like crazy! Gerrymandering and intimidation of electioon workers and a tsunami of depredations. In fact they accuse dems of cheating because it is basic nature to MAGAs and they cannot imagine their opponents NOT cheating. Because cheating is rife in their own souls.

David Brin said...

onward

onward