Saturday, April 13, 2024

Accelerationism and the recurring flaw in human civilizations

Youtuber Joe Scott runs a series of entertaining commentaries that mix a bit of gonzo with big picture perspectives on science or history or culture.  Not quite as big-picture as I’d like, but still, better than most impatient digital citizens are used to. In this above-average episode, he discusses ‘accelerationism,’ which used to stand for efforts to accelerate the pace of human progress… 

… only now its more frequent use is among cults of rightwing zillionaires and their sycophants (and there is a version on the far left!) who actively aim to tip our current civilization into upheaval and crisis. 


Why would anyone want to do such a thing?  


Well, I’ve been pointing at this trend toward elitist solipsism ever since writing The Postman, way back in the eighties, a tale that featured devastating wars provoked by ‘the Mystic of Leningrad’ and by a homegrown, all-American fascist movement led by ‘Nathan Holn.’ And yes, both forecasts struck way close to today’s marks! 


...though I confess I was partly inspired by Robert Heinlein’s projection of a USA that toppled into fundamentalist theocracy under “Nehemiah Scudder.” 


Seriously, see what Heinlein had to say about the nasty current that seeps erosively through one aspect of our national character; his perspective might surprise you.


As Joe Scott explains: under this current, perversely sick New Accelerationism, some current ‘prepper’ zillionaire-romantics figure ‘it’s all gonna blow inevitably anyway, so let’s force it sooner, get it over with, while there’s still some control.’  *

Sure. Control by you guys, of course, expecting to emerge from your secret castle-enclaves to cheers and rapturous obeisance by the desperate survivors, who will obediently revert to proper peasantry, while helping you crush all the remaining nerds. Nerds and fact-people who will – naturally - get all the blame, as in Walter Miller's SF classic A Canticle for Leibowitz. 

ElsewhereI show how much likelier it is that survivors will side with the nerds, joining us to crack open every luscious, luxurious prepper castle, like a fresh nut…


… because the prepper lords deliberately incited and accelerated a crisis that never had to happen, in the first place.



== Things are only 'bad' because villains want them to be ==


Seriously. Our current ‘crisis’ is almost completely made up!  If weighed according to actual facts and capabilities, we are right now in pretty good shape. And not just by superficialities, like the best economy in 25+ years.  


By almost any statistical metric, we’re making fantastic progress against world poverty, for example, and getting a helluva lot done (if not yet enough!) toward saving the planet.  While crime and other turpitudes are rising in red-run America (except Utah) they are declining in most blue areas (excluding sores like Illinois). 


In fact, nearly all of the social war taking place right now in the USA is about made-up stuff – like woke-ist symbol bullying and fact-averse Foxite diatribes. What it boils down to is deliberate incitement of an old psychological sickness that has simmered at the heart of America since its founding. 


I refer to a cultural rift between diametrically opposed elements of our national character… a majority who approve generally of modernity... vs. a large, persistent and vocal minority who are always (sometimes violently) nostalgic for one form or another of feudalism...


... leading to my own diagnosis that we are in Phase Eight of the ever-recurring, 240 year American Civil War.


Hm… I just said recurring. Does that mean I credit cyclical history?

 

Bite your tongue for suggesting it!



== A holy writ of MAGA ==


During the cited video, Joe Scott holds up a book that has become a quasi-religious tome, clutched desperately by so many modern confederates.  The Fourth Turning and its sequel The Fourth Turning is Here. While soft-pedaling politics, Scott telegraphs his own skepticism and dislike of this maniacally insane cult. 


I’m more open (less subtle) than Scott, in despising these cult tomes of deeply-sick pareidolia. Elsewhere I weigh in, showing how romantics of “the Right” almost always clutch memes of cyclical historyas mystics and feudalists have for 6000 years. 


This noxious allure was especially strong among both Confederates and Nazis It seems as if that kind of character draws comfort from shrugs that actual, actual human progress inevitably failsThey desperately cling to a notion that “what goes around, comes around…” 


…despite the fact that none of it - at any level, in any way - is supportable by actual facts. 


I reiterate that! And offer major wager stakes. There are no elements of the Fourth Turning cult that aren’t at-best delusional and at worst outright propaganda aimed at demoralizing the one human civilization that ever truly broke away from 6000 years of brutally stoopid feudalism. The first to not only make Progress very real, but give our children a real chance at survival.


Giving them a very real chance at the stars.


And so -- and especially in light of the Civil War flick that's right now in theaters -- do we stand a chance of preventing spoiled-rich ‘accelerationists’ and their sycophant toadies and blackmailed politicals from deliberately inciting (accelerating) a bloody Ninth Phase of the American Civil War?  


(You can help in small ways, like preventing any of your friends from joining yet another hemorrhage of frippy sanctimony-preeners, running off to the next Nader-Stein-Cornel distraction treason. (And yes, we now know these lefty masturbatory distractions are often Kremlin-based.)


 But know what’s seriously needed? YOU can help by...


… becoming avolunteer poll worker during the 2024 election year. Recruit one. Be one. You’ll be doing your share.


And now... to make some of you furious with me...!



== Please Bill, Use This Word! == ==


Yeah yeah, I know some of you will be triggered by this name I am about to type here. You shouldn't be.


I assert that one word would help Bill Maher immensely. 


"Tactics." 


If he said even more clearly: "We share the same general goals of tolerance, diversity, justice, a level-playing field, compassion, rights, peace... and we share an overall strategy of seeking all those good things through continuously-improving, open/transparent and calmly-debated democracy!


"Where we differ is over pragmatic methods. I assert that these fine goals and our shared strategy are NOT helped by some of the left's tactics. Especially those that bully and drive away allies! Tactics that make our coalition smaller rather than bigger and overwhelming, as blue waves needed to be in the 1770s, in the 1860s. In the 1940s and 1960s... 


"...leading to victories at Yorktown, at Appomattox and Berlin. In Selma and in the dreams that came largely - if never completely true - that were preached on the Lincoln steps by Martin Luther King.


"Another such blue wave is desperately-needed right now!  But it is hindered, rather than helped, by tactics that promote a cult of fragility - a cult of personal outrage over symbolic purities! A cult that offers sanctimony-addicts a luscious rush, but that doesn't at all help to achieve the pragmatic, incremental progress sought by Gandhi and MLK. 


"Worst of all? Refusal ever to admit that any particular, favorite tactic might be wrongheaded, counterproductive or in need of critical adjustment...


"...and that includes demonizing allies like me, who point out possible tactical errors."


Okay, I admit it's futile. Maher is too caught up in the smarmy, smartass side of his schtick ever to say that.  


But let me ask this: are YOU qualified to judge, when you can't tell the difference between an ally who's an irksome smartass...


...and a revived confederacy that's biliously allied with Nazis and the Kremlin and Putin and his slightly-relabeled, fascist+neo-commie KGB, aiming for our downfall and the end of everything that actually made America great?


Want a litmus for this phase of civil war? Anyone prioritizing sanctimony over that broad, overwhelmingly victorious blue wave is at best a sucker and useless. 


And at-worst...



====================================




AFTER-THOUGHTS:


*  Triggering a crisis early, in order to minimize the overall effects, was the theme of Donald Bensen's 1979 Campbell Award nominated novel And Having Writ....


And yes, I openly declare again that EVERY ASPECT of the Fourth Turning cult is a lie. There are zero validities whatsoever. And anyone citing that pile of steaming donkey-doo must be confronted with... wagers.

144 comments:

Larry Hart said...

The main post:

I know some of you will be triggered by this name I am about to type here.


This post is directed at me, huh?


If he said even more clearly:...


And if your grandmother had wheels, she'd be a wagon. So?


Okay, I admit it's futile.


Ok, then.

I thought about elucidating further, but don't want to reignite an old flame war.

scidata said...

Last night, Maher really went off on Canada, saying this is what happens when wokeness goes crazy. Does he ever go off on oligarch countries? Just asking.

Seemed doubly odd because his main guest was William Shatner.

GMT -5 8032 said...

Talking about prepper castles, Mae and I have been watching FALLOUT on Amazon. The vault residents in their vaults/bunkers ride out the nuclear war...a war that was probably instigated by Vault-Tech, the company that built the vaults. I don't know what the show is trying to do. It got the look of the game right, but isn't working for me. Mae seems to like it more.

We took our mutt for a long walk in a park this afternoon and had a nice talk about politics. She and I are usually diametrically opposed when it comes to politics: I am to the right and she is to the left. I love her more than I value politics so there it is.

One thing we talked about was the story about Uri Berliner and NPR. Mae listens to NPR every day; me...not so much anymore. She thought that Berliner's essay was fair. We agreed that Berliner's observations may explain why NPR has become so boring during the last few years. Another thing we agreed on was that it is harder to find reliable information. We've both read and heard news stories where important details were left out.

We need journalists that report the facts that they find no matter who those facts help or hurt. NPR used to be very good at that. Not so much recently. If a reporter gets a story wrong, they need to acknowledge this to their audience.

Unknown said...

OK...Don't usually get out of boat but I watched the YT on Accelerationism and the Fourth Turning.
So these guys (assuming mostly guys) theorize up a cyclic history of upheaval, war and social recovery...leaving out WWI because it doesn't fit their timelines? What kind of rectocranial inversionism is this? And then stealing the "A" word from Zelazny, who meant something entirely different? Zelazny should go hunt up Darwin in the (assumed) afterlife and complain about appropriation. Maybe that Jeshua guy who shows up in Riverworld but is very quiet about his prior life could stop by and commiserate.
Dr. Brin, I see why you included the link to that video. I wouldn't put it past the techbro billionaires who questioned you about setting up their fortress/palaces to deliberately spark a catastrophe because (?) - I guess because they are just tired of waiting, like the prepper lady in Spokane who's been stocked, locked and loaded since the 00's but civilization just refuses to fall...yet. So give it a push, yank the bandaid, make that omelet.

If Civ does fall, and I happen to survive (not likely) and get one of those clowns* in my sights...well, tell 'em in Galt's Gulch that Pappenheimer sent ya.

Pappenheimer, back to reading 3 Body Problem

*no insult intended to actual clowns, and I would never shoot any, even post-apocalyptically.

Alfred Differ said...

(from last thread)

Pappenheimer,

The 3 player version of Scrabble is a party game at best. Whether you win or lose depends way too much on the skill level of the player immediately before you while the player after you has a diluted impact on you. The 4 player version is okay if played as competing pairs… a bit like bridge… with the usual marital risks of you partner with your partner. When you want to see someone's actual language skills, stick to 2 players where your screw-ups benefit only the one you are observing.

I've only been married this one time. Came kinda close before, but that courtship was very different.

My peacock feather was my PhD. I didn't mention it, but the shop owner did tell her without telling me he did so. Yah. It mattered.

——

I think if people really kept track of things, we'd discover a lot of marriages are at least partially arranged by those who want to see certain pairings happen. It's not just parents and family patriarchs/matriarchs.


Larry,

There's a philosophical question as to whether you perceive the same thing that I see when we see the color "green" (for example). It's interesting that there's really no good way to answer the question.

There is now. Our scanning equipment for what happens within the brain works well enough to notice that most every human who sees 'green' has essentially the same nervous system response. Your green is my green… and we just stick a label on the experience called 'green'.

It's still a work in progress, but the subjective experiences we think are entirely personal are turning out not to be. Some of them. I suspect the ones most strongly tied to external stimuli will turn out to be objectively detectable while highly abstracted ones might resist for much longer.

Larry Hart said...

GMT:

We took our mutt for a long walk in a park this afternoon and had a nice talk about politics. She and I are usually diametrically opposed when it comes to politics: I am to the right and she is to the left. I love her more than I value politics so there it is.


I had to double-take before I realized that "she" wasn't the dog.

David Brin said...

LH and Scidata, I admit Maher is 55% deliberately a provoca-showman, okay? But he has a valuable role and he is the ONLY one doing it! ALL of the other late -nighters… and we watch them and enjoy them… take the orthodox line and don’t dare challenge our side’s self-destructive tendencies.

If you don’t know that BM goes after the mad right’s general goal-and-strategy treason TEN TIMES as hard as the tactical-stoopidities on our side that HURT our chances of victory, then you are WAY too sensitive to subjective observational bias.

Geez man, the underlying narrative of his Canada riff was “Buck up and realize America ain’t doing so bad, and moderate liberalism is the reason!” The “We’re so awful!” shit spewed by our own sanctimony junkies undermines the very confidence we need, in order to defeat confederat/MAGA insanity.

GMT, you may be Goldwater Republican. I doubt Mae would stay with you, if you were MAGA/Kremlin/Trumpian.

“We've both read and heard news stories where important details were left out.”

I mutter when I see that on our side. Sifting my mind for a recent example. It’ll come to me.

Pappenheimer YES! Zelazny’s LORD OF LIGHT. I miss locum’s sci fi erudition, too… though little else.

The 4th Turning asses try extending the 80 year cycle back from 1776 to the English “Glorious Revolution” and NO ONE calls them on that wretched drivel! The GR was a palace coup by one set of elites vs another set of elites and had NOTHING to do with ‘generations!’ And… as you say… WWI was vastly more a transformative crisis than the much more deadly WWII that cleaned up the mess.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

Came kinda close before, but that courtship was very different.


My courtship skills were never the greatest, and I was an incel for much of my teens and twenties, but I did manage to have a few girlfriends before my wife. Like The Three Bears story, there were two I wanted to marry (but who didn't want me) and two who wanted to marry me but whom I didn't want. My wife was "just right" in the Goldilocks sense.

* * *


Our scanning equipment for what happens within the brain works well enough to notice that most every human who sees 'green' has essentially the same nervous system response. Your green is my green


Maybe, but that just moves us down to the next turtle. So everyone activates the same part of the brain when they see "green", but is your subjective experience of that brain activity the same as mine?

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

Maher is 55% deliberately a provoca-showman, okay? But he has a valuable role and he is the ONLY one doing it!


If the effect--regardless of intent--of his hazing is to get our side to take notice of failings and change tactics accordingly, then I'm all for it. If it is to convince listeners that our side fails to be worthy of their support, then I worry.

GMT-5 said...

An example of a story where details are missing is the Israeli attack on the World Central Kitchen convoy (and this does not involve NPR). Some reports frame the story as if the attack was intentional because the vehicles had roof markings and they were on a route approved by the IDF. These reports leave out details that the attack happened at night and the attack was made by drones which may not have been able to see the roof markings on the vehicles. Another story like this is the attack on the Annex to the Iranian Consulate in Damascus. Was that building actually part of the embassy and protected by international law? Don’t know. And the reports I read don’t give me the details I need. I may be a pro-Israel partisan, but I am very willing to criticize my side if they do wrong.

As for our mutt, she does not have any strong opinions other than “Hey squirrels! Get outta my yard!.” Pardon my poor use of language. I saw that bad wording after I published the comment but by then it was too late to fix it.

And more war news in the Middle East. Yesterday Iran seized a civilian ship near the Straits of Hormuz and right now there are dozens of drones heading from Iran towards Israel.

David Brin said...

"If the effect--regardless of intent--of his hazing is to get our side to take notice of failings and change tactics accordingly, then I'm all for it. If it is to convince listeners that our side fails to be worthy of their support, then I worry."

I remain complete boggled by anyone interpreting it is #2 instead of blatantly #1.

---

Our smart mutt dumbly bothered a skunk last night. 2nd time in two months. Hadda shower with him. Hey Neutron wise up!

Catfish 'n Cod said...

Another crisis surmounted, another pause leaving me brain-space to post!

I took our host's challenge and watched the Joe Scott video, which was a decent summation of my own intellectual journey into, and out of, the 4T concept. It seems quite akin to Marxism in my mind. The initial hypothesis had a degree of viability and coherence, backed by some (selected) evidence. Most importantly, it made empirical, testable predictions...

...which, just as with the original Marxist theory, failed by the prescribed criteria. A frequently encountered phrase on 4T boards was "the Phony Fourth", an epicyclic attempt to describe how some predicted changes occurred, others did not, and some indicators moved opposite to predictions. The error bars on the predictions were wide, so there was a period of doubt in which variability might explain the divergences. But eventually, there was only one intellectually honest conclusion: the theory failed.

As everyone can tell, that's not something the proponents were willing to admit (as opposed to their early works, which did acknowledge that neither the Confederate Rebellion nor the First World War perfectly fit their pretty little scheme.) That's when dogma, cant, and astrology agglutinate onto the original concept and turn it into yet another tool fit for mystics, mumbo-jumbo mumblers, and manipulative malefactors.

And just as Joe Scott suggests, there's probably some actual patterns buried in the insanely high-dimensional data sets of human behavior. Like the observation that social conventions fade as living memory of their origins become mere records and myths. Or that kids tend to build social movements to correct their parents' and grandparents' institutions -- usually with a component directly opposing, in part or in full, the original social movement's action.

Indeed, that's a clue of how 4T as formulated can't be correct! There's no provision for three of the largest changes to human society in living memory: the extension of human lifetimes due to revolutions in sanitation and evidence-based medicine; the end of exponential population growth as freedom, feminism, and fertility alteration refute the predictions of Malthus; and the divergence of agriculture from social structure as technology eliminates the need for population to be geographically, socially, and economically tied down to the low-productivity processes that feed them.

The most honest assessment from those trends has to be that any patterns from prior history should be destabilized as the forces that drove them shift.

locumranch said...

Accelerationism has its origins in the Cloward-Piven Strategy, a progressive leftwing 1966 hippy era tactic that suggested the utilization of "militant anti poverty groups" in order to facilitate a "political crisis" by overloading the welfare system via an increase in welfare claims, forcing the creation of a system of guaranteed minimum income, "redistributing income through the federal government" & the adoption of socialism.

Also known as "der lange marsch durch die institutionen", this socially disruptive EU & US leftwing tactic is still in common use today, as evidenced by a state-sponsored liberal democratic 'immigrant invasion' that has been deliberately designed to overload & collapse the first-world's socioeconomic safety net with an insatiable, endless & unrelenting horde of newcomers.

From the liberal democratic perspective, it therefore follows that the term 'Accelerationism' serves a dual purpose, first by redefining the leftwing Cloward-Piven Strategy as a 'rightwing (somehow unreal) conspiracy theory' and second by blame-shifting the tactical & moral responsibility for this approach from the political left to the right, but here's the unanticipated funny part:

As part of an 'Agree & Amplify' strategy, the political right has actually adopted Accelerationism & Cloward-Piven Strategy as its own with the intent to accelerate both the premature rise & the subsequent fall of socialism by GOING GALT, as real socialism always fails once it's have-nots have squandered the stolen monies & resources of its haves.

That both left & right parties now desire a Cloward-Piven driven collapse in order to BUILD BACK BETTER, how hilarious is that?


Best
_____

Zelazny's Lord of Light only used the term 'accelerationism' in a purely technological sense; it didn't enter the rightwing political lexicon until about 2010; and it never ever appeared in the Farmer's Riverworld series.

Catfish_nC errs when he believes these 3 changes are either unique or irreversible, as (1) western lifespans are currently declining, (2) a population implosion almost always coincides with end-of-empire feminism -- hence the Julian Laws & (3) declining agricultural production often coincides with the reversal of 1 & 2.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

I remain complete boggled by anyone interpreting it is #2 instead of blatantly #1.


I'm not denigrating Maher's motives. I worry about actual results of the effect on listeners. My concern may be overblown, in which case I will be very happy.

Larry Hart said...

GMT-5:

Some reports frame the story as if the attack was intentional because the vehicles had roof markings and they were on a route approved by the IDF. These reports leave out details that the attack happened at night and the attack was made by drones which may not have been able to see the roof markings on the vehicles.


Hal Sparks made the very point on last week's radio show. And Malcolm Nance claims that aid groups know better than to drive into a war zone at night. I have to admit, even I who am usually outraged at the "river to the sea" crowd thought Netanyahu was being deliberately provocative by hitting an aid truck. But now I'm feeling like I was taken in.

Larry Hart said...

GMT-5:

I saw that bad wording after I published the comment but by then it was too late to fix it.


Don't apologize for something with humor value. And I did understand what you really meant after a few seconds.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

Our smart mutt dumbly bothered a skunk last night. 2nd time in two months. Hadda shower with him


If you think that's bad, try giving a skunked cat a bath.

However, cats seem to learn their lesson the first time. Our previous neighbor's dogs kept getting skunked every few months.

GMT-5 said...

Always glad to make people laugh.

Not much to laugh about watching the news in the Middle East. I've watched a YouTube channel called Grim Reapers that uses DCS to simulate attacks like this. A swarm attack by swarms of drones can overwhelm defenses. Lucky for Israel, their weapons have to fly hundreds of miles which gives the defenses plenty of time to respond.

Larry Hart said...

@GMT-5,

I said earlier that I had thought Netanyahu was being deliberately provocative in a "What are you gonna do about it?" manner with the killing of the aid workers. Now, it looks like Iran is doing the same thing, turning Israel into the sympathetic party.

Could the extremists on both sides be doing this on purpose?

Diaspar said...

Why do you ignore Human-Induced Global Warming?

GMT-5 said...

@Larry Hart, you may be right.

Our mutt, Gracie, is part rat terrier. She caught a small shrew last year. She grabbed it with her mouth but did not kill it. Mae and I got it away from her and I relocated it a few blocks away.

A few nights ago I saw Gracie paying a lot of attention to one of our open top compost bins. She was not barking or being aggressive. I went over to take a look and there was an ROUS in there. That was one big rodent! It was rather chill. I distracted the dog and the rat jumped out of the bin and ran off. I have not seen any rats in our neighborhood before this. Hopefully it will tell its friends to stay away from our yard.

Alfred Differ said...

I used to wave my hands and get all agitated when I noticed some epicyclic theory to which many would cling like it meant something dear to them.

I remember thinking they were novel until I learned the mathematics in college and realized they had to be ubiquitous. I've still got my notes on a financial model I was going to write as software to make price predictions. I keep those notes as an object lesson in the seductiveness of these things.

I don't get agitated (much) anymore when others fall for them. I tend to offer a YT video instead because the guy behind 3Blue1Brown did an EXCELLENT job of showing how the math works.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r6sGWTCMz2k

I don't care if the theory has few epicycles and fails quickly (like the 4T crap) or many more epicycles with millions of devoted fans who still don't get it (like some of the blind followers of Keynes).

The lesson is the same. With enough epicycles you can fit any history and still know diddly-squat about the future. You'll think you do because the model makes predictions, but you don't because very high dimensional spaces have a little problem with statements like "this is close to that". How good are your predictions when 'close enough' is damn difficult to describe?

If you want to see how the mathematics of these things ARE useful, you can check out some of 3Blue1Brown's most recent videos. He's currently describing bits of math behind GPT and the whole LLM thing that's got people thinking we've turned sand into intelligence. (Hint: We haven't.)

Unknown said...

Larry,

"Could the extremists on both sides be doing this on purpose?"

Why yes. Yes they can. They need each other to cause fear and hatred in their respective populaces. I thought this was covered in '1984', though I guess it might be hard to apply that lesson to actual groups you might have some affinity towards. Netanyahu needs Hamas. Iran's ruling clerics need the Great Satan (that's us, if anyone needs a refresher). The GOP needed International Communism and still hasn't given up on it for the older, Fox-addled set of their voters. The GQP doesn't care about external enemies, because it's anti-internal trans/gays/liberals now*. Do US liberals need them? NO. As a rule, I suspect we'd rather have compromisable rivals than bitter enemies; since 2000 I think there's been less and less of that.

Pappenheimer

*Now, if they do gain "It Can't Happen Here" power, then I would expect invasion of Mexico at the very least

Unknown said...

Alfred,

It becomes obvious to any college freshman that history - well, it doesn't repeat itself and doesn't quite rhyme, but there are plenty of assonances. It's just too chaotic a system to model. I can imagine some future AI saying to itself, "Well, I'm just going to have to cut down the variables." Thus, Skynet.

Is there a way to add that three-dot pyramid that means "ergo"?

∴ oh, cool.

Pappenheimer

Unknown said...

To develop an actual psychohistory, you might need access to crosstime* AND time travel, so you can make changes over and over again on your experimental and control universes...which may generate some minor ethical issues. (There's an SF novel named Cowboy Angels that delves into at least the crosstime aspect - if you find a US dominated by Nazis, what do you do?

Pappenheimer

*paying the Piper here, as it were

Unknown said...

Diaspar,

I'm overposting, but we don't ignore AGW. At least I don't, as a old weatherman, and our host regularly mentions it. There are definite disagreements over what to do about it, though.

Mahalo!

Pappenheimer

Alfred Differ said...

Pappenheimer,

"Well, I'm just going to have to cut down the variables."

Even the most angelic central controller would have to cut down that number unless we want to assume something like one of V.Vinge's Transcendents was possible. Seriously. Someone trying to predict us faces such a huge search space they'd need NP=P... short of murdering most of us or stripping us somehow of our options for independent thought and action.

That's the truest tragedy of feudalism. We strip away (willingly!) most of ability for independent actions. When The West (mostly) turned away, we unleashed something not quite on the scale of a Transcendent, but still something much bigger than we imagined ourselves to be. SO big many still struggle to believe it happened at all.

Larry Hart said...

The link below is paywalled (I think), but Malcolm Nance thinks, among other things, that Iran's attack on Israel threatens the entire region's sunni powers as much as it does Israel, and that the lines of the ensuing conflict might well be a sunni/Western bloc vs a Iranian/Russian one.

https://malcolmnance.substack.com/p/warning-the-israel-iran-war-has-started

...
What is most significant is that Iran is declaring itself a regional power with \support from some Arabs, no matter what the result. Israel-based analyst Emily Schrader made some highly salient points that outside observers need to understand: “Iranians are not Arab people. The language of Iran is Farsi, not Arabic. Iran did not launch a war on Israel. The Islamic Republic did. The majority of the Iranian people hate the regime. Many have died fighting against it.”

Although there were many cheers for Iranian attacks on Israel, most notably amongst the free Palestine movement in Europe and the United States, many Arab states are viewing this with alarm. Iran flexing its muscles, no matter how unsuccessful, is sure to set off a wave of anti-ballistic missile purchases by the Gulf states and other regional allies. A powerful Iran is a direct threat to Saudi Arabia’s dominance of oil … and Islam. Iranians and their proxies in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen are Shia Muslims. They make up less than 15% of the Islamic world. But they have just demonstrated their military strength to 85% of the 1.6 billion people who are Sunnah Muslims.

Israel could have been devastated by ballistic missiles fired directly from Iran had its defenses not been so robust. Gone are the days when Iran planned on using commandos to blow up oil fields. Now, they can launch hundreds, if not thousands, of missiles and drones to devastate any Gulf state that defies the Mullahs.

Not to be missed from this operation was that the United States was directly involved in defending Israel, Jordan, and the Red Sea from Iran’s missiles. American fighter aircraft and air defense systems in Iraq engaged and shot down drones and cruise missiles. U.S. Navy warships shot down three ballistic missiles. It is unknown how many cruise missiles, drones, and ballistic missiles Jordan and Saudi Arabia shot down, but it is believed they engaged targets in their airspace.
...

scidata said...

A bit of contrarianism, scidata style

Alfred Differ: With enough epicycles you can fit any history and still know diddly-squat about the future.
In a nutshell, that is my major complaint about computation (although I may sound like one, I'm not a computer fan-boy, at least not shiny modern computers). Fantastic loads of work are done, yet precious little real progress is made. Some (like you) recognize this and run back to mathematics. Others (like me) recognize this and run back to 'computation from first principles' (my social media tagline).

Re: Bill Maher hates Canada (I'm just funnin' w'ya)
I do get what he was doing. However we're still traumatized up here by the orange years, that peaked when Peter Navarro said there's a special place in hell for our Prime Minister (whom I've never voted for BTW). And consider who is laughing their asses off with such fraternal rough housing. You should always leave the dance with the one who brought you.

Alan Brooks said...

One casualty reported so far:
an Arab injured by shrapnel.

locumranch said...

With enough epicycles you can fit any history and still know diddly-squat about the future. You'll think you do because the model makes predictions, but you don't because very high dimensional spaces have a little problem with statements like "this is close to that" [AD]

And, thus, Alfred_D refutes the both the mathematical basis & the projective nature of Climate Change Theory, as anecdotal claims of "2023 was the warmest year since global records began in 1850" signifies nothing at all UNLESS one assumes that CCT reached back in time & created the warmer-than-now Medieval Warm Period with its incipient crosstime & time traveling abilities.

Nostradumbass still lives!!!


Best

David Brin said...

Scidata, traumatized by our civil war down here? There’s a solution. Surrender. The US would gain eight blue states and two red. The war would end, politically. What, no? Okay, I can dig it.

scidata said...

With the opening of the Northwest Passage looming, our adversaries would like nothing better than to drive a wedge between Canada and the US. Sell us a few modern subs and train our crews. We'll pay with a lifetime supply of the best tree sauce.

Alan Brooks said...

If someone could predict the future, they’d be able to make a killing in the stock market.

Alfred Differ said...

And, thus, locumranch proves he knows diddly-squat about general circulation models and the ensemble approach for dealing with differences. (One can see ensemble outputs if one looks into details behind hurricane track predictions.)

Epicyclic models are mathematical, but mathematical models aren't necessarily epicyclic.


locumranch,

It's okay, dude. You're a doctor. You are NOT taught these things when you pass through our hands in the pre-med classes. Many of US aren't taught them either.

Alfred Differ said...

Can we just give Canada our Dakota's? Maybe Wyoming?

Send us more Moose and Squirrel along with that lovely tree sauce.

David Brin said...

Alfred geez, you are still reading those screech-howls? I've stopped even 1sec skims. Swooping past, I spend one neuron on "I am SO tolerant I can shrug off gnats."

Alfred Differ said...

I have my impulsive behavior down to about once a week now.­čśĆ

duncan cairncross said...

Re- Iran attack on Israel

After Israel attacked the Iranian embassy and killed a senior Iranian commander Iran "Had to" respond.

The "response" was considering the defences a fairly feeble effort - and appears to have mainly been about saving face.

Tony Fisk said...

Ben Elton's "Stark" (1989) was a satirical novel from the eighties concerning preppers bringing on the apocalypse.

A lot of modern story telling (which includes games like "Last of Us", "Fallout", and "Horizon") involve post-apocalyptic scenarios. The emphasis tends to be on how grim it is just surviving these aftermaths. While the intention might be to show how good we've got it now, that doesn't appear to be the effect. Being the triumphant hero of your adventure has something to do with this.

Still, a couple of images (IMHO) have an impact:
- Terminator: ragged band of humans taking shelter in ruins around the flickering light from a TV... cabinet that is revealed to contain a guttering candle.
- Terminator 2: one of the most graphic depictions of a nuclear explosion you are likely to see outside a Presidential briefing.
- Mad Max: Enjoy the ride! Oh, what a glorious day... before the final night falls.

While set in the ruins of our civilisation, Horizon is a little more upbeat. It is framed as a mystery rather than a survival fest (although I have sub-titled my experience 'The Many Deaths of Aloy'!) The society that has come to replace ours is revealed as you explore the world. Through various side quests, you find it has its share of problems, achievements, and goofier elements. You come to care for it. The game's impact then lies in the slow revelation that this society is also at dire risk. 'Zero Dawn' depicts Aloy as being uniquely placed to ward off the threat. 'Forbidden West' presents her with another lesson.

Tony Fisk said...

Coming back to the pre-apocalypse world for a sec, these could just be bacteria size ice fragments, but the possibilities are intriguing.

Alfred Differ said...

Yah. Pretty feeble. Kinda makes them look like a wanna-bee regional power. I suppose... we should treat them like one.

------

Well... tax season is over for me again. I am properly fleeced to the tune of about $1 in $5.

If I had a choice about it, I'd rather more of that fraction went to my state than the feds... but I don't. It's about a 30/70 split.

David Brin said...

Using up 300 shaheds will please Ukraine. But each shoot-down probably cost plenty more than the drone did.

Alan Brooks said...

Friday is M & N Day; don’t go in a federal building, or too near outside.
Good thing the 20th is on the weekend.

Alfred Differ said...

Avoiding federal buildings is a good general rule on any day. If you don't need to be near one, find something else to do because we are supposed to pay attention for people who appear to be lingering about with nothing special to do. 8)

Seriously, though, just use airport security rules. Pay attention. See something, say something. Be the extra eyes their security staff needs while you are there... and then clear out.

Alan Brooks said...

Exactly, due diligence, not paranoia. If you need to visit a prime target, do your business quickly while keeping one eye on the street.
There’s confusion re here and there; as with storms. A storm is expected to be ‘there’. But there can become here in a matter of minutes/seconds.

Der Oger said...

A lot of modern story telling (which includes games like "Last of Us", "Fallout", and "Horizon") involve post-apocalyptic scenarios. The emphasis tends to be on how grim it is just surviving these aftermaths.

Fallout always had at least one ending showing a restart of civilization, and lots of satirical elements and commentaries other games lacked, e.g. Enclave Vice President Daniel Bird.

Der Oger said...

Using up 300 shaheds will please Ukraine. But each shoot-down probably cost plenty more than the drone did.

We all know the answer why that does not happen, but Ukraine would be far more pleased if it's airspace would be defended as well as Israels.

Der Oger said...

Good thing the 20th is on the weekend.

Y'all know whose birthday that is?

duncan cairncross said...

Listen to yourselves!

I can't imagine living in a country where I would be nervous about visiting Government offices!

Alan Brooks said...

Everyone knows whose 135th birthday it is this Saturday. Herr Teppichfresser.

DC, it’s been like this for a half-century; since Nixon resigned. Previous to fifty yrs ago, there was a feeling of tabula rasa—however that’s nothing but hindsight.

Tony Fisk said...

Have to admit I share Duncan's parochial outlook. What US bogeyman is out and about at the moment (apart from Trump's day in court)?

Larry Hart said...

Tony Fisk:

What US bogeyman is out and about at the moment


April 19 is the anniversary of the 1995 bombing of a federal building in Oklahoma City, which itself was (I think) an anniversary of a federal raid fetishized by American right-wingers (who typically have no problem with police shooting armed opponents, as long as those opponents are black).

Urban Americans are typically cautious, not incapacitated, around such events. That must be why anti-terrorism money allocated by Congress after 9/11 went to protect things like silos in Nebraska rather than buildings in New York or Chicago.

Alfred Differ said...

The Oklahoma City bombing was motivated by the Waco event. The fellow who did it had considerable military training with respect to devices and planning operations.

He and his plans are mentioned in a course* I take every damn year so those of us who DO work around federal facilities don't zone out. We aren't tasked to be paranoid, but the bosses really would prefer we not tune out to the risks.



* It is a condition of employment for Navy contractors. I used to think they should teach (broadly) situational awareness methods, but the longer I work for them the more I understand why it won't work. When training almost never gets used, students optimize what they've learned to the measures of the class. We fail to abstract and generalize the lessons.

locumranch said...

Why wait to M & N Day?

At this very moment, Pro-Palestinian protestors have shut down the San Francisco Bay Area with a highway sit-in, as the police-on-scene bear silent witness, choosing to acquiesce rather than risk political incorrectness.

CP Cavafy called it many years ago:

– What are we waiting for, assembled in the Forum?

The barbarians are to arrive today.

– Why then such inactivity in the Senate?
Why do the Senators sit back and do not legislate?
Because the barbarians will arrive today.
What sort of laws now can Senators enact?
When the barbarians come, they’ll do the legislating.


In much the same way that Alfred chooses to repudiate his own above argument in order to placate those who love them some model-based predictions, this is how the West ends...

Not with a bang but with simpering appeasement.


Best

Larry Hart said...

https://www.nytimes.com/2024/04/11/opinion/2024-1892-cleveland-harrison.html

One other attribute makes poor old 1892 matter today: It was the fifth presidential election in a row won by a candidate who failed to win a popular vote majority, the longest streak in American history. This November — owing to a rising tide of third party challenges, in particular the campaign of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. — it seems very likely that this race will end without a majority’s mandate as well.


WTF is this guy talking about? Whether RFK Jr acts as a spoiler for either Trump or Biden, is there any chance that he even wins one electoral vote?

scidata said...

Enjoying AppleTV's "Franklin" series. Steers away from the classic Congress and redcoat battle scenes, with an odd yet refreshing 'rogue in Paris' vibe. Good focus on the printing press (core of Franklin's story). Sort of a Tale of Four Countries (America, England, France, and... Canada! (they put the whole Canadian fur hat side story in - very cool).

GMT -5 8032 said...

My insight into the Arab Muslim POV on the Israel/Gaza struggle comes from our friend, an Egyptian PhD/medical researcher) whom we met when his car collided with a tree in our front yard in December 2022. He sees HAMAS more as a religious group than as a terrorist group. He also thinks that the territory of Israel belongs to Egypt because some time in the historic past (between the destruction of the Second Temple and the rise of the Ottoman Empire) the territory was owned by Egypt.

THAT was an interesting conversation. It got even more interesting when he talked about how the lead researcher on his program (the person who will write his evaluation that he needs to get his VISA continued and keep his job) is trying to get him to "tweak" his results so that they match the lead's desired outcome. The lead is too savvy to put his requests in writing; and our friend has to struggle with the fact that English is not his first language. Still, this story of possible academic fraud is outrageous.

Even though I strongly disagree with our friend's POV on HAMAS, he has insight and understanding that I can never have because I don't speak or read Arabic. I suppose I could put him in contact with my cousin's husband who is a Palestinian Christian and an anti-Netanyahu activist.

Life would be so much easier if my friends and family were less diverse.

GMT -5 8032 said...

And Grim Reapers have already modelled the Saturday attack:

https://youtu.be/EnFUjtacbaU?si=-J065JZgWXt4crm8

Alan Brooks said...

I think much like you, accentuating the negative.(Example: a cargo ship hitting a bridge, vehicles falling into the water.)
But we navigate between the Scylla of fear, and the Charybdis of complacency. The odds of being harmed on M & N Day are extremely low; however someone visiting a federal building would be advised to be on the lookout for a van or panel truck approaching the parking lot.

Unknown said...

GMT-5,

"Life would be so much easier if my friends and family were less diverse."

Maybe true, but less interesting. Back in college one evening I mentioned I was going out to hear a recording of (I think) Uighur music, having been clued in by a Malaysian acquaintance, and was asked, "How do YOU hear about these things, and we don't?"

I thought and replied, "You have to have weirder friends."

Pappenheimer

David Brin said...

The Institute for the Study of War is hardly a peacenik bunch. They strive for a somewhat detached - though not neutral - and analytical approach. But even they are caustic about the inexcusable, GOP-led campaign to get the US to abandon Ukraine.

I am less restrained than ISW. There are no excuses for this blatantly Kremlin-orchestrated betrayal, in service to Putin and his 1000 "ex" commissars and "ex" KGB agents who changed a few lapel pins while keeping the same operatives, using he same tactics toward the same goal - downfall of the West.

A core essence of the "communist" USSR was the same as under the czars and same as today's Putinism -- Russian zero-sum imperialism. And the (relabeled) KGB's top method remains the same as it was in the 1800s - subornation through kompromat & blackmail. (See below for links to the 1987 US Moscow Embassy Marine guards scandal. And I can cite others, all day long. And no other theory explains the behaviot of LGraham, TCruz and many others.)

As we approach McVeigh Day, and Hitler's birthday, let's make clear that one term best describes our mad uncles far better than MAGA/Confederate/neo-Nazi.

Commies.

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

A link to the 1987 (under Reagan) US Marine Guard scandal at the Moscow Embassy. See how it's done, still!

https://www.chicagotribune.com/1987/05/03/scapegoat-sought-in-embassy-spy-scandal/

Alan Brooks said...

McVeigh-Nichols Day.
McVeigh needed Nichols to steal explosives, and for other tasks.

ozajh said...

David Brin @ 9:20,

Using up 300 shaheds will please Ukraine. But each shoot-down probably cost plenty more than the drone did.

A genuinely media-savvy Iran would have sent 300 unarmed Shaheds, and announced this fact once they were all shot down.

Then note that they are mass-manufacturing them for use by Russia, leaving everybody to draw the inference that they can divert sufficient to waste-out Iron Dome any time they choose.

Larry Hart said...

ozajh:

A genuinely media-savvy Iran would have sent 300 unarmed Shaheds, and announced this fact once they were all shot down.


No, if they did that, the headlines would have been along the lines of "Impotent Iran Shooting Blanks"


Then note that they are mass-manufacturing them for use by Russia...


Putin's strategy of manipulating congressional Republicans into refusing Ukraine defense funding depends on low-information voters believing that Ukraine has nothing to do with American interests. Explicitly and directly associating Ukraine defense with Israel defense would undermine that argument.

Alan Brooks said...

This latest piece by OGH is good albeit if we wish to reach those outside our circles, we have to communicate by using more of their language. Most people aren’t intellectuals; thus soundbites work better for them. If you were to write,
‘Putin is fighting for Putin
not for Russia’,
they’ll get it. But a long explanation will frequently lose them—unless you sit with them in person and carefully explain the details.

Alfred Differ said...

One looks for the approaching van or panel truck when one suspect suicide bombers. One looks for the unattended parked vehicle for all others. (Think about what they ask you to report at airports and you'll have the gist of it.)

McVeigh walked away to a pre-staged get-away car. He also surveilled the place and performed rehearsals.


Most of the folks who are caught nowadays are nabbed during their surveillance effort. People familiar with what commonly happens around the place who maintain situational awareness notice uncommon activities. It's usually as simple as that. If YOU think something weird is happening, you just have to tell them.

David Brin said...

"Putin's strategy of manipulating congressional Republicans into refusing Ukraine defense funding depends on low-information voters believing that Ukraine has nothing to do with American interests."

Nah. They see that their lord-supremo is a Putin-lackey and hence are desperate to portray Putin-lackeydom as "smart, oh so smart!"

Alan Brooks said...

Perhaps. But a citizen who visits a federal building is not going to want to stick around too long. So they can glance out a window, without looking for cars—only larger vehicles.
That is to say, routine precaution, nothing more.

Alfred Differ said...

Heh. People who WANT to stick around federal buildings either work there, want to make a protest statement, or want to blow it up.

Well... I suppose a few of the buildings are famous enough for tourists, but most aren't. In fact, most of them are pretty ugly and even the people who work there don't want to stick around. 8)

In all seriousness, though, routine precautions should suffice. Just don't tune out.

Tony Fisk said...

If anyone wants a sound bite to use on the consumptive goplings, I found one from the Vietnam war era which is readily reworked:

"Shill a commie for Christ."

(Yes, it may be a verb.)

Alan Brooks said...

If thermal imaging binoculars which can image explosives are available, that’d be a way to briefly scan the area around a building. Maybe inside. But the price would have to be lower for civilians to want them.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

desperate to portray Putin-lackeydom as "smart, oh so smart!"


Yes, and they oppose Ukraine aid for that very reason. But they still have to be pro-Israel and anti-Iran. So directly associating the Iranian missiles striking Israel with Russian missiles striking Ukraine is bad strategy (from their point of view).

David Brin said...

While he is (or was once) definitely a genius, Noam Chomsky is a veritable litmus paper for mistruth and fecal nonsense. I cannot recall a single time - across the last three decades or so - when Chomsky said a thing that was either right or wise. In so many ways like that vile gnome Yoda -- and Donald Trump -- he growls and grumps nonsense while fans hang on every word, citing him in book quotes and mind-poison virals. A trio of troglodytic trolls who hyp-mo-tize gullible masses, each in unique ways.

https://news.berkeley.edu/2022/05/19/open-letter-to-noam-chomsky-and-other-like-minded-intellectuals-on-the-russia-ukraine-war

David Brin said...

Thanls, Alan, for sending me that dissection of a tiresome monster.

David Brin said...

Heh. AI does some things eerily well and others ...? Carumba, I am not yet "Turing'd."
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jvJwMCnJ3W4

Der Oger said...

@ Dr. Brin
While he is (or was once) definitely a genius, Noam Chomsky is a veritable litmus paper for mistruth and fecal nonsense.


One strength of the KGB of yore always was the HUMINT field - and academics are especially targeted to create dissidence in their respective home nation, even without their consent and knowledge. I will not say that Chomsky is a willing and knowing asset of the Russian services - maybe he isn't a target at all - but the number of well-respected and renowned academics and journalists suddenly conducting agitprop is remarkable.

And even if he were - unless you do not actively watch for recruitment and know the signs, you might not even see them until it is too late. No one is totally immune, not even OGH.

locumranch said...

Even though it seems vaguely antisemitic to do so, I agree with Dr. Brin that Avram Noam Chomsky is quite literally "a monster" who pretends to defend the very things that he seeks to destroy.

He claims to speak for western liberal democracy while self-identifying as a libertarian socialist & marxist; his deconstructionist approach to linguistic analysis serves only to strip intrinsic meaning away from language as a prerequisite to repurposing it; his seminal work on manufacturing consent merely expands upon & agrees with the works of Bernays & Skinner, although he strenuously denies their relevance; and his frequent condemnations of an intellectual elite are designed to belie the fact that he is a member of the very same condemnation-worthy intellectual elite.

If one is to grasp the full extent of the astute linguistic manipulations that make Chomsky a literal 'monster', then one must read a selection of Chomsky with special attention paid to the incredible degree of self-contradiction.

In an intellectual exercise that I like to refer to as 'Schr├Âdinger's Propaganda', click on the Chomsky link below to read all about the simultaneous importance AND unimportance of media propaganda, especially when he invokes the 'No True Scotsman' fallacy to dismiss anything bad you may have heard about socialism as a prelude to arguing that socialism actually EQUALS the libertarian ideal.

https://chomsky.info/19890315/


Best

Alan Brooks said...

Met Chomsky a long time ago. Our aunt arranged a lecture for him, and gave him a ride to the lecture hall. I asked him if people disliked him—he replied no, “ they like me because my family is from old money.”
Today it’s a case of his being long in the tooth, short in the brain; look how long it took him to collect his thoughts.

Larry Hart said...

Out of the mouths of babes. A comment under the linked article...

https://www.nytimes.com/2024/04/16/us/politics/house-ukraine-israel-johnson.html#commentsContainer

“'We’re steering toward everything Chuck Schumer wants,' Mr. Massie said [derisively] of the aid package"

Sometimes, even though they're Democrats, what "they want" is in the best interest of the country. One's goal in Congress shouldn't be to block the other side's attempt to get what they want - especially when its what a lot of Republicans want as well.

David Brin said...

Re the stunning lack of professionalism on SNL on Saturday. Clearly "Ken" spiked the water cooler with giggle-juice. They were all stoned. Unacceptable!

Paradoctor said...

Once I emailed Noam Chomsky the following Underfable, with moral and commentary:

Saint Dragon and the George

Once upon a time, a Dragon awoke to the sound of holiday celebration from a nearby Human town. It rumbled, “Agitation must be suppressed.” The Dragon scuttled out of its den, unfolded its enormous wings and lifted into the sky with a cry of “LAW AND ORDER!”
Halfway to town the Dragon landed, fried a flock of sheep with one breath, and devoured them in one gulp. It belched a fireball and said, “I am the victim here.” Then it resumed flight.
Once above town it howled and blazed. Humans scattered before it like ants, and they withered under its fire-blasts. The Dragon roared, “Acceptable collateral damage!” It tore down the Bank, shoveled gold and jewels through its mouth into its crop, then said, “Criminal loot confiscated!” The Dragon lifted off, setting fires everywhere. It flew away from the fire-storm, and it bellowed, “I have destroyed the town in order to save it!”
Once back in its den the Dragon coughed gold and gems out of its crop onto its hoard. It curled around its hoard, closed its eyes and rumbled, “Doing well by doing good.”
The next day, a Knight entered the Dragon’s den. He had fireproof armor and a sharp sword. The Dragon roared, “Unprovoked aggression shall not stand!” They battled, and the Dragon suffered a mortal wound. With its dying breath it said, “History will vindicate me.”

Moral: Even a monster can claim virtue.

Commentary: Noam Chomsky said, “Benign intentions are virtually always professed, even by the worst monsters, and hence carry no information, even in the technical sense of that term.” The last eight words display Chomsky’s characteristic rigor and wit. I read this, then asked myself, “Even the worst monsters? All right then, why not a dragon?” Thus this fable was conceived.

*************

Chomsky wrote back to me. He said that he was glad to make a cameo appearance.

Emboldened by his attention, I sent him another Underfable, with moral and commentary. Alas, he never replied. Perhaps he thought it not apropos. Or perhaps he thought it too apropos.

*************

Relativity of Cynicism

Once upon a time, a Demon appeared before a Prophet, out of a blast of sulfurous smoke. The Demon intoned, “You are a trouble-making, disloyal, seditious hater of the Nation.”
The Prophet said, “The King sent you. What does he want?”
The Demon said, “Give me one good reason why I should not burn your books, level your home, and slay you and your family.”
The Prophet said, “I shall give you two good reasons; one cynical and one idealistic.”
The Demon said, “Proceed.”
The Prophet said, “The King must tolerate a rabble of dissident intellectuals, so that when the King’s false prophets fail, the Nation will still have alternative visions.”
The Demon said, “I am not impressed by your cynicism.”
The Prophet said, “But that is my idealism.”
“Then what do you call cynicism?”
“The King must tolerate a rabble of dissident intellectuals, so that when the King’s rash commands offend, the People will still have the illusion of free speech.”
The Demon said, “But I call that idealism,” and he disappeared in a blast of sulfurous smoke.
The Prophet lived many more decades, prosperous and honored, even though he published many more works of excoriating prophesy.

Moral: The view from on high is upside-down.

Commentary: To a Prophet, alternative visions are a beautiful ideal to seek, and the illusion of free speech is an unfortunate reality to endure; but to a King, it is the other way around.

Alan Brooks said...

Hot off the press:
https://spectator.org/techno-religion-will-snare-the-unbeliever/

David Brin said...

Paradoc, I was worried that your tale of CHomsky would counter-example my claim of never seeing him wise.

Your missive did not change my opinion. His statement was - in a strict sense and in common sense - untrue. As usual.

David Brin said...

Trump re Gettysburg. Another case of "Why doesn't this - all by itself - lose him ten million at least marginally sane voters?" The rant was satirized and mocked by every late night comic... because it seems blatantly cribbed from a 5th grader's report on a book he never read. And the Leprechau/pirate "me boys." Oy.

But as a scratch historian, I'm offended no one talks about historical boners. Like Picket's Charge was BARELY 'uphill'! The slope was gentle and meaningless. LOOK at Ted Turner's movie which was set on the same - exact - site.

And DT rails "Lee lost his best general!" Seriously? Two months earlier Lee did lose Stonewall Jackson at Chancelorsville. There was NO such loss at Gettysburg, just 50,000 soldiers.

https://youtu.be/F5jbpJQ-Cbk?si=WcxleualwS8FPC05
watch (roughly) 5:30 to 8:30

I do not expect such pedantry to penetrate. But it still shows... a total moron followed by morons.

Paradoctor said...

Dr. Brin, I would very much like to hear from you a detailed critique of Chomsky's statement, for it seems cogent to me. Benign statements are almost always expressed, even by the worst monsters. This is in order to deceive and to self-deceive. My critique is that official egotism does convey information, not about the things they lie about, but about the liars.

I have other critiques of Chomsky. Some of his science has been challenged. Sometimes his political judgement erred. Bad actors have taken advantage of him.

But I think he's not all wrong. I followed locumranch's link; it's a transcription of a speech by Chomsky about the propaganda model of the media. Chomsky asks: is the role of the media to inform a self-ruling democratic public, or to manipulate the ignorant masses by their betters? Chomsky cites much official support of the latter view.

I think he has a point, enough of one to justify media skepticism. Or, as you call it, Suspicion of Authority.

Unknown said...

Dr Brin,

Re: Lee losing his 'best general'; as you say, he's probably referring to Jackson, incorrectly. Lee did almost lose John Bell Hood, whose survival at Gettysburg might have been worse for 'the cause' in general. And Atlanta in specific.

Maybe rumpt had recently watched 'Gods and Generals*' and gotten confused? I doubt he ever finished a book or textbook on the subject...

The US Army did lose at least 2 excellent corps commanders, Reynolds and (temporarily) Hancock, which probably helped Lee escape after the battle with his leftovers.

A lot of people who put rebel flags on their cars (or hope to get their votes) don't know much about their favorite war/political entity besides a little hagiography.

Pappenheimer

*that movie. Ye gods and little fishes, that movie...

Unknown said...

Little note that I didn't realize before - Lee had had a reserve artillery formation prior to the Gettysburg campaign, but decided to split that up among his corps. That meant that on the third day, fewer coordinated cannon were brought to bear on the center of the US line. Hunt, the US artillery commander, was able to place his reserve artillery and its ammunition ammunition stock directly on that center. And as I did know, Hunt directed his artillery battalions to cease fire raggedly, battery by battery, to suggest that they were either knocked out or out of ammo.

Admiral Ackbar, that's your cue.

Pappenheimer

scidata said...

The Orange Gettysburg Address

Neil deGrasse Tyson's main line these days is: it's dangerous to know enough about a subject to think you are right, but not enough to know you are wrong. Or as my granny used to put it: God gave us one mouth and two ears.

Pareidolia, thy name is human. (I do love me some high English)

David Brin said...

Paradoc, seriously? You take the following as a discursive statement with rigorous value?

"“Benign intentions are virtually always professed, even by the worst monsters, and hence carry no information, even in the technical sense of that term.”

It is flat out wrong, stupid and unuseful. As much so as almost anything said by Yoda.

Are you telling me there was no information carried when Eisenhower broadcast to the German people "We come as conquerors but not as oppressors." And explained that the aim would be to rebuild a prosperous Germany - if non militaristic and democratic? No information? That broadcast - credible because of past reliable information - led to surrender of the Ruhr pocket containing 200,000 German troops.

Similar assuranced of benign intentions tipped the balance in the meeting where Hirohito decided to surrender.

Chomsky seeks to undermine any notion that benign intentions expressed by credibly believable adversaries have no 'information value.' No. what almost never has any information value is anything ever muttered by that nasty, cynical gnome.

Or ever by poor pathetic-jibbering locumranch... is anyone still skimming him? I scrolled past the last one - spotted two words and even my vow of tolerance is pretty much used up.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

"Why doesn't this - all by itself - lose him ten million at least marginally sane voters?"
... because it seems blatantly cribbed from a 5th grader's report on a book he never read.


Because to his voters, ignorance of book-learning is admired, not derided.

Larry Hart said...


is anyone still skimming him?


Over six months sober now. One day at a time.

Paradoctor said...

Dr. Brin 8:24:

I agree that Eisenhower professed benign intent yet he was not a monster - or at least, no more monstrous than any winning general must be, for war itself is monstrous. Subsequent behavior by the Americans showed that Eisenhower spoke with honor.

But that does not contradict Chomsky's statement. He did not say that only monsters can claim benign intent; he said that even monsters can claim benign intent. I call that plain common sense.

Ask a liar and an honest man if they are honest: both will say that they are honest, and thus give you no information, even in the technical sense of that term. That's Logic.

The solution is suspicion of authority. Judge them not by their words but by their deeds. That too is plain common sense.

I leave it to you to decide if Chomsky showed wisdom by agreeing with you on the need for SoA. Has he wisdom? Well, has anyone wisdom? Socrates doubted it!

Is there intelligent life in the Universe? Is there intelligent life on planet Earth? Is there intelligent life on this thread? My reply: I don't know. One's own intelligence is a Goedelian undecidable. It is above my pay-grade.

I submit that skepticism about the existence of intelligence on planet Earth, or in oneself, is the basis of Enlightenment philosophy. Test your beliefs, lest you fool yourself.

Larry Hart said...

Paradoctor:

Ask a liar and an honest man if they are honest: both will say that they are honest, and thus give you no information, even in the technical sense of that term. That's Logic.


Yes, but ask a liar and an honest man if he'll respect your territory in exchange for you giving up your nukes. They'll both say they will, but then one of them will invade you later and that information is useful--to others if not to yourself.

Darrell E said...

Paradoctor said...
"Dr. Brin 8:24:

I agree that Eisenhower professed benign intent yet he was not a monster - or at least, no more monstrous than any winning general must be, for war itself is monstrous. Subsequent behavior by the Americans showed that Eisenhower spoke with honor.

But that does not contradict Chomsky's statement. He did not say that only monsters can claim benign intent; he said that even monsters can claim benign intent. I call that plain common sense."


That's right, Chomsky said that even monsters can claim benign intent. And that supports Dr. Brin's view, not yours, IMO. To clarify what Chomsky said, let's just remove the aside between the commas . . .

"Benign intentions are virtually always professed and hence carry no information, even in the technical sense of that term.”

That certainly demonstrates Chomsky's cynicism cred, but it is grade A bullshit. Maintaining an awareness of the bad aspects of human nature is smart, but denying the positive aspects is stupid and defeatist. It's a fairly tiresome schtick after awhile too. (Please note I am referring to Chomsky, not to you!)

I don't think I am quite as negative about Chomsky as Dr. Brin, but I largely agree with his assessment of him.

Paradoctor said...

Larry Hart, Darrell E:

We all agree that for someone to claim virtue proves nothing. Talk is cheap. Therefore one must judge people by their deeds, not their words. Positivity has the burden of proof: that doesn't deny it, but it does ground it. You say that you're good? Prove it.

I'm sure that OGH agrees with this, and Chomsky too. Suspicion of authority is also a consensus here and with Chomsky. Whatever you disagree with Chomsky about is not this.

It is possible for someone to claim to be dishonest. "This sentence is false." But that's paradox logic, not boolean logic. Paradoxes are intolerable to idiots, ideologues, and robots; but I repeat myself.




Paradoctor said...

Okay, folks, I've found a counter-example to Chomsky's truism. When Captain Kirk tells an evil computer, "I am lying", then from the computer's point of view, that's the Captain denying his benign intent. Kirk's paradox does confer information; namely, it's an order to shut down in a shower of sparks.

Tim H. said...

In the South KC suburb where I live, we had school board elections and I saw something I didn't care for, a blue banner for a (Formerly) GOP candidate. Do not count on banner color alone.

locumranch said...

It's educational to see where the Monster Chomsky stands on Adam Smith, the short answer being that Chomsky absolutely loves on the socialist Adam Smith who 'despises capitalism', but hates on the Smith who supports free trade, self-regulating markets & capitalism in general.

https://dandelionsalad.wordpress.com/2009/05/05/chomsky-on-adam-smith-1995/

Does this sound like anyone else that you may have read recently?

Someone else who may qualify as (1) an intellectual elitist who condemns other intellectual elitists, (2) a self-identified 'libertarian socialist and/or marxist', (3) a huge proponent of the socialist Adam Smith, (4) a defender of liberal democracy who supports technocratic rule by a Smart Minority of experts, (5) a master of the self-contradiction and (6) an accomplished wordsmith capable of 'repurposing language' to his own advantage?

This is quite the conundrum.


Best
_____

P.S.

I'm loving on Paradoc's extended metaphors btw, but I'm unsure if I identify best with cynic, optimist, demon, prophet, loyalist or gadfly. Could I choose all-of-the-above plz?

David Brin said...

Paradoc again, seriously?. Your interpretation of NC's statement is utterly bizarre. He dismisses that value of ALL declarations of good intent BECAUSE some are insincere, without any recourse to the credibility of the speaker (e.g. Eisenhower.) It is one of the stupidest statements by an execrably stupid - if brilliantly polysylabic - Yoda-like gnome.

I give ZERO cred to him for raving Suspicion of Authority yammers. It is the religion of our times, a virtue signal claimed by ALL parties from far right to far-left. It is thus significant for a supposed 'guru' only if he contributes something sagacious ABOUT SoA.. which NC never, ever, ever does.

Please. George Lakoff is vastly, vastly better an interpreter of human linguistics.

Since no one else steps up to say they are still reading our resident fecal spewer, I guess we can all just scroll past unwelcome noise.

Alan Brooks said...

Apologies for bringing up NC, let’s forget him. Today my family is in a quasi-hysterical state regarding current events—let’s, please, tone it down. Please?
Thankyou all.

David Brin said...

A related item sent to me by Mike Gannis: https://theconversation.com/ukraine-war-vranyo-russian-for-when-you-lie-and-everyone-knows-it-but-you-dont-care-181100

> "A Russian friend explained vranyo this way: ‘You know I’m lying, and I know that you know, and you know that I know that you know, but I go ahead with a straight face, and you nod seriously and take notes."

(Also this, not in the article:

"In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, not to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is ... in some small way to become evil oneself. One's standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control.
— Theodore Dalrymple)

Very consistent of course with Orwell's 1984

Paradoctor said...

Alan Brooks:
I too apologize. I meant to jest, not to push buttons.
My condolences on your family's mood. But just which current event distresses them?

Loc:
"I'm loving on Paradoc's extended metaphors btw, but I'm unsure if I identify best with cynic, optimist, demon, prophet, loyalist or gadfly. Could I choose all-of-the-above plz?"

Thank you for commenting on "Relativity of Cynicism". The answer to your question is in the title. Demon and prophet are cynical and idealistic about complementary things. So to change your view, change your frame of reference. Many a would-be prophet flatters himself as a purveyor of alternate visions, but frets that he may be giving the Man the illusion of free speech. Conversely, many a would-be Demon soothes his inflamed soul with the thought of achieving the illusion of free speech, but frets that he may be spreading alternate visions.

David Brin said...

Paradoc please do not feed a toxic sewer troll.

David Brin said...

Noam Chomsky did more to undermine the impression of his genius than anybody. Look for his name in this Wikipedia article about the Cambodian genocide.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cambodian_genocide_denial

Alfred Differ said...

Tim H,

Around here they use a lot of red, white, and blue and rarely primary each other which keeps costs down.

Are your school boards actually partisan positions? Making them so would certainly be a point of concern for me.

David,

A society of emasculated liars is easy to control.

Damn. That makes too much sense.

locumranch said...

Trump re Gettysburg. Another case of "Why doesn't this - all by itself - lose him ten million at least marginally sane voters?" The rant was satirized and mocked by every late night comic... because it seems blatantly cribbed from a 5th grader's report on a book he never read. And the Leprechau/pirate "me boys." Oy.

For those not in the know, this an obvious reference to Jon Stewart's recent monologue which aired Monday, April 15, 2024, on The_Daily_Show, Comedy Central, link provided below:

https://www.cc.com/episodes/54hy35/the-daily-show-april-15-2024-david-e-sanger-season-29-ep-33

In addition to MOT membership, millionaire Jon Stewart is a self-effacing merit-based 'man of the people' propagandist with excellent comedic timing & impeccable leftist urban progressive sensibilities.

He initially retired in 2015, shortly before Trump's 2016 presidential victory, and Stewart's recent return to the telly represents a desperate attempt to forestall a possible conservative victory in 2024.

He's also a very funny man who stands head & shoulders above all of the other unfunny diversity-hires who failed to replace him.


Best
_____

The sewer troll offers valuable info to Paradoc:

Why so much hatred & animosity towards NC?

Because NC is an anti-Israel & anti-Zionist tribal contrarian and this one detail nullifies the veritable laundry list of personality traits that NC shares with he-who-must-not-be-named, as we hate in others what we see in ourselves, a truism which also goes double for me.

https://www.bu.edu/articles/2010/noam-chomsky-rails-against-israel-again/

Alan Brooks said...

The family are merely flighty. After their aggravating me today, the thought occurred that instigating discussion of the 95 yr old rabble-rouser yesterday was probably also aggravating.
Met him long ago—he was brusque. After 9-11, he might well have become a more arrogant dork than before.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

Are your school boards actually partisan positions? Making them so would certainly be a point of concern for me.


De Facto partisan or not, it is important and useful to know which candidates want to ban books, or teach history sanitized for white people's feelings, or force students to pray to Jesus.

Alan Brooks said...

No purpose in being in a dither about someone born c. a century ago.

Alfred Differ said...

Larry,

Agreed. I wish people paid more attention to local politics. I say that in the sense of an ex-smoker being upset at smokers. I was a clueless fool about local politics for a LONG time. Never took up smoking, but I'm sure I paid no attention when re-electing local incumbents.

Corruption is acidic at all levels, but local corruption does far more damage to democracy and markets than federal corruption does.* The local variety teaches our children what we REALLY mean because they can see and touch it.


* There are lots of examples in our history. Consider an early Mormon one. The feds were a problem, but it was the locals who wanted to lynch them. Any child experiencing that era would know we didn't really mean it when we said we favored religious freedom.

Are we better at it now? I think so. I don't know of any lynch mobs chasing them around anymore, but I still doubt they can get elected President. 8)

Alan Brooks said...

Forget Chomsky, please. No reason to think about him anymore. Reason I sent you the letter was: the authors are Ukrainian expats who concisely listed how Putin set the invasion up.
Chomsky is on his way Out.

David Brin said...

AB: "Forget Chomsky, please. No reason to think about him anymore."

I would, gladly, except for the cult (one of way too many) who kvell on his every Yoda-like grump propoundings! Of such is not wisdom made.

Alan Brooks said...

In a few years he will go the
way of all the rest: to the Great Radical Chic seminar up yonder.

Larry Hart said...

Both sides don't do this, only one does. Recalling George W Bush with his September 11 convention less than 60 days before the election. Multiple states could have kept him off the ballot, but no one actually did. And if one did, I'm sure we would have heard, "What will you do when Republicans do the same thing to your candidate?" Well, now we know it doesn't matter what we done or didn't done done, because they'll do it anyway.

https://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2024/Items/Apr18-3.html

Ohio law states that parties must file the names of their candidates 90 days before the election. This year that is Aug. 7. However, the Democratic National Convention doesn't begin until Aug. 19, so Joe Biden can't be the official nominee until then at the earliest. This situation happens all the time for the party with the August convention, but normally the state legislature grants that party a waiver.

This year, however, the Republicans are playing hardball and want to keep Biden off the ballot. Ohio AG Dave Yost (R) said that provisional approval is not allowed, nor does Secretary of State Frank LaRose (R) have the authority to do anything about this. An attorney on Yost's staff, Julie Pfeiffer, said: "No alternative process is permitted."

This is where the parties differ. The Republicans will use every trick in the book to pick up votes by suddenly enforcing a long-dormant rule or changing the rules during the campaign season, as they tried (and failed) in Nebraska, where they tried to make the state winner-take-all. Democrats don't do that, which puts them at a disadvantage.

Biden will probably lose Ohio even if he is on the ballot, but his absence could hurt Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and this is probably what the Republicans are gunning for: defeat Brown. It is virtually certain that Democrats will sue Ohio. They will make the case that Ohio didn't seem to have a problem in 2020 putting Donald Trump on the ballot, even though he didn't formally accept the nomination until Aug. 27, 2020. We don't know what the Ohio Supreme Court will do when if it gets the case, but Yost is going to have to explain why the law can be violated when it is a Republican who is threatened with being left off the ballot but not when it is a Democrat.

Larry Hart said...

Alan Brooks:
Forget Chomsky, please...


I'm not as versed in Chomsky lore as a good liberal probably should be. My sense though is that he's still expecting a Vietnam-era audience where "War is bad, full stop" is a given. No distinction at all between invading another country and protecting yourself from invaders--just whoever is in a fight merits withering criticism. More than that, whichever side is more associated with the global West is the bad guy. Russia, HAMAS, and Iran can wage war and get a pass because they're besieged by the imperialist white West.

Meh.

Alan Brooks said...

When I saw him, he was innocuous... the majority of the audience were sedate elderly women dressed like Emma Goldman. His lecture concerned Peace,
and Noam Chomsky
Freedom,
and Noam Chomsky
Justice,
and Noam Chomsky.

Cari Burstein said...

I'm sure the Republican excuse will be that the Democrats did it first, by trying to keep Trump off the ballot for insurrection. Nevermind that it was actually Republicans that filed suit to keep him off initially (and that it's a far more serious offense than the timing of a convention).

When I first heard about this issue I thought the Democrats were pretty stupid for not checking the deadlines, but having read more and seeing that this ignoring of deadlines has been going on consistently for ages by both parties without a problem, I can understand why it happened.

I still don't quite understand how the state can refuse to put a name on the ballot because they haven't held the convention yet. I could see how they could legally refuse to change the name after their deadline, but is there anything in law that says a party must even hold a convention for nomination? Couldn't they just submit the name before the date of the convention? Why does a state get to refuse that at all?

Larry Hart said...

Cari Burstein:

I still don't quite understand how the state can refuse to put a name on the ballot because they haven't held the convention yet. I could see how they could legally refuse to change the name after their deadline, but is there anything in law that says a party must even hold a convention for nomination?


That was exactly my thought, and I wonder if the Democrats will do something like just declare Biden the nominee ahead of time, and the convention merely an opportunity to change nominees should they desire.

David Brin said...

Hoping McV Day passes without incident and all are safe.

scidata said...

Interesting that the Speaker is sounding like an old timey Republican. Even more interesting is that this awakening appears to have happened after his Mar-a-Lago trip. I find Americans to be so inscrutable.

Larry Hart said...

Gotta love the snark

https://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2024/Items/Apr19-2.html

Further, it is very probable that Kerry Kennedy, daughter of RFK Sr. and thus sister of Junior, who spoke immediately prior to Biden yesterday, will be given a prime speaking spot at the Democratic National Convention. Incidentally, it is probable that Donald Trump's campaign events will also feature regular attendance by members of the clan, but not the Kennedys, and not spelled that way.

Darrell E said...

Dan Dennett died today.

I’ll miss Dan’s contributions, and he has made many. I’ve considered him one of the better thinkers of my time. Reading him was always enjoyable, but better yet was watching and listening to him. I’ll be sure to mundify my epigastrium with a suitable elixir in his honor this evening.

gmknobl said...

Thank you Dr. Brin.

I don't think you wrote a single thought to which I'd disagree. Finally got around to reading your post on the second amendment from 2014 (years after you pushed me to look it up) and found I agree with that entirely too. And yes, I agree with your thoughts on the continuing civil war. History doesn't go in cycles but it does have a tendency to repeat. Take down bulwarks against propaganda and you end up with very biased media with no retort. And like someone (unclear who) said, you can fool some of the people all of the time, and that is a big problem right now, especially when they aren't open to loving criticism (thinking of personal relations).

Alfred Differ said...

Larry,

...just declare Biden the nominee...

I suspect the OH State Democratic Party CAN just declare it and let the national organization continue on with their event.


People tend to forget that our parties consist of a set of state parties and a national organization. Most of what gets done in a national election is done by state party people.

The rabbit hole is deeper than that in a lot of places because state parties are aggregates of county parties and a state organization.

It's worth getting involved just to see this complexity. It's eye-opening and explains a LOT about internal US politics.

Alfred Differ said...

scidata,

Every person in power over here generally wants it and wants to keep it. He needs House Democrats right now to do that... thus...

The only question in these situations is "What's in it for me?"

scidata said...

Sorry to hear about the passing of Daniel Dennett. Until 1992, I had hoped to have a few minutes with Isaac Asimov to discuss computational psychohistory. Until today, I had hoped to do the same with Daniel Dennett about computation and the human mind. Alas, I've now managed to outlive both.

Dennett was always keen to point out our capacity for magical, wishful, and delusional thinking, often built around memes like cyclical history, cultism, and manifest destiny. He will be missed. "What was in it for me" is a tough opening line in a heart-to-heart with grandchildren. You are an interesting people, capable of such beautiful dreams and such horrible nightmares.

Larry Hart said...

Presented without comment

https://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2024/Items/Apr19-6.html

As part of the trial coverage, it was also reported this week (first by The New York Times' Maggie Haberman) that Trump has an aide named Natalie Harp, and her job is to boost the former president's spirits and ego on a regular basis. How does she do it? She carries around a laptop and a wireless printer and prints out positive stories about Trump from the Internet for him to see. It's truly amazing to have an ego that is both that big and that fragile.

Larry Hart said...

scidata:

Until 1992, I had hoped to have a few minutes with Isaac Asimov to discuss computational psychohistory.


Before I corresponded with Dave Sim, and then here on this blog, it never occurred to me to imagine that it was possible to have a conversation with an admired author. In hindsight, I wish I could have at least once spoken with Kurt Vonnegut, if only to let him know how much his books affected me. But the moving finger writes and moves on, as they say. Enough people I know are gone that I'm beginning to feel like the 630-year-old Sandman character, Hob Gadling.

"I used to think you were gay."

"Why, because I'm English?"

"No, because you know so many people who are dead."

Unknown said...

For years I lived within driving distance of Roger Zelazny, but was loath to just show up on his doorstep and say "Hi, like your work."

Pappenheimer

Alfred Differ said...

scidata,

...a tough opening line...

Heh. Most of us won't do that to you.
Y'all are essentially our cousins.*

What you will see is congress critters doing it to each other.
Power matters.


* This might not be sufficient, though.
Some of best historical feuds involved cousins.

Unknown said...

Stephen and Matilda were a married couple who had...issues. Between them they pretty much took England apart. Surprising no-one who has read up on European royalty, they were also first cousins...

Pappenheimer

Unknown said...

I think that, as Stalin did, rumpt loves to have more intelligent and accomplished people bowing to, scraping for, fearing and brown-nosing him.

Pappenheimer

Tony Fisk said...

I had hoped to have a few minutes with ...

You clearly need to get out more, Sci! ;-)

I tend to think that celebrities are as entitled to their privacy as anybody else. As it happens, the actor Geoffrey Rush lives not so far away. I've even encountered him on the train once or twice. His expression conveyed no interest in conversation as only a master thespian can, and I wasn't inclined to try. Then again, we were talking philosophers.

The bizarre US game of tacking any old cruft onto important bills seems to have reached new heights, with MTG proposing that anyone supporting the Ukraine supply bill should be required to volunteer for service in the Ukraine Army. It prompted someone to lodge an additional proposal that MTG be declared Advisor to the Russian Consulate.

scidata said...

Tony Fisk: You clearly need to get out more, Sci! ;-) I tend to think that celebrities are as entitled to their privacy as anybody else.

For me, it's not about chasing celebrities or being a fan-boy. I don't collect autographs. Of course I'm not qualified to even wash Asimov's or Dennett's socks. Strangely though, that's kind of the point. My life experience is so dramatically different from theirs that it's actually possible that I know a few tiny nuggets that they and their colleagues don't.

In my early post-stroke years, I had an almost impossible time just ordering a coffee or snack due to a crushing stutter. Frustration and humiliation can be good teachers if you don't let them embitter you. Grievance and wonder are two lifelong paths that are at first separated by the slightest breeze.

Alan Brooks said...

Bad for BUSINESS:
https://thehill.com/homenews/house/4606860-comer-denounces-greene-motion-to-vacate-speaker/amp/

Larry Hart said...

The House just passed the Ukraine aid bill with over 300 Yes votes.

As President Biden might once have said, this is a Big Fucking Deal.

Tony Fisk said...

Does that mean MTG has managed to raise a company of UA volunteers?

Her Russian liaison won't like that!

Bizarre weekend news from downunder: two women are seeking to nominate as a single 'shared job' MP at the next Federal election. It's already been pointed out that anyone who didn't call out Morrison's holding of five ministerial portfolios can hardly complain now.

Hmm, it's for my electorate, too. This *will* be interesting.

Larry Hart said...

Tony Fisk:

Does that mean MTG has managed to raise a company of UA volunteers?


Literally? No, her amendment was defeated. Pretty much laughed off the floor.

But metaphorically? Yes, that's a good description for what happened. :)

Larry Hart said...

Hmmmmm...

https://www.nytimes.com/2024/04/14/opinion/israel-iran-attack.html

Early this month, Haaretz reported that “Iranian soccer fans in Tehran’s Aryamehr Stadium were asked to observe a minute of silence in honor of the seven members of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards, including top general Mohammad Reza Zahedi, who were killed in [the Israeli] airstrike on its consulate in Damascus. Instead, spectators began booing and blowing air horns in an apparent act of protest. In a video circulating on social media, fans can be seen loudly interrupting the moment of silence. … In one video that made the rounds on X, fans can be seen shouting, ‘Take that Palestinian flag and shove it up your ass!’” And this is not the first time it’s happened at football matches.

Larry Hart said...

Heard on Stephanie Miller's radio show:

When you're running against 'Sleepy Joe', you have one job. DON'T FALL ASLEEP.

Paradoctor said...

That was stress sleep. He couldn't handle what he was seeing, so his eyelids grew heavy.

Once at U.C.Berkeley, I was at the weekly Logic Department lecture. The lecturer was talking about - I don't know, large cardinals? measurability? forcing? I'll never remember - and I felt my eyelids grow heavy. I rested them awhile, then jolted awake, then they grew heavy again. Repeat, repeat. Desperate to retain consciousness, I looked to my side, and saw a whole row of people all nodding off in unison.

Der Oger said...

@ Larry:
That soccer fan video is one of the many incidents that could (if one bothers to look at it) prove that the Iran and it's population is not the same as it's regime. They might have nationalistic pride (and a 2000 year long history of surviving empires that wanted to conquer them to back that up), but not especially theocratic or imperialist.

And there is some pressure that is not going to go away soon: Sanctions, inflation (47.1 last year) and corruption led to a economy in shambles, and a high youth unemployment rate (20.6 %).
Yet, birth rates trend downward, and thus the chance for a general uprising could go away in the next decades. Also, the regime imports Chinese surveillance tech, so that could hamper a revolution even more.

David Brin said...

onward

onward