Sunday, February 28, 2010
  Censorship on the march

From TVW:

The [Wash state] Senate just unanimously passed a House bill that bans the term “mentally retarded” in state laws and replaces it with “intellectual disability.”

Sen. Dale Brandland said he’s always hated the term “retarded” and that in testimony on the bill, people with intellectual disabilities told lawmakers the word feels disrespectful. He said there’s a man in his district who has been working on this bill for a long time.

= = = = =

Yes, loooong time. Long time. Roof! Roof! Oh Roof!

Not quite a Self-Explanatory Sentence, but close.
 
Friday, February 26, 2010
  Where's the boiling ocean?

The Carbon Cult criminals are telling us that the current northeast SuperSnows are caused by warming, supposedly because unusually warm ocean water is evaporating more.

I screen-capped this chart of North Atlantic ocean surface temps from NOAA.

The left column is today's surface temps at each location. I've highlighted in yellow the historical averages for February. The locations above this screen had no current data, so this screen represents all the currently available measurements for North Atlantic coastal points.



Do you see any unusual warmth? I don't. Three of these locations are above Feb average by a fraction, one is below. Considering that today's date is near the end of Feb, the average for this date would likely be higher than the full-month Feb average anyway.
 
Thursday, February 25, 2010
  Boehner

What a fucking asshole. What an unforgivable monstrosity. Other Republicans in today's "Health Summit" meeting are offering serious contributions and serious complaints. When Boehner gets his chance to speak, he blares overmodulated pre-recorded standard repetitive talking points like a defective robot.

WE'RE NUMBER ONE! WE'RE NUMBER ONE! USA! USA! USA! BEST HEALTH CARE IN THE WORLD! BEST EDUCATION IN THE WORLD! BEST NUMBER ONE IN THE USA! WE'RE NUMBER HEALTH! WE'RE USA MEDICARE! KEEP YOUR FILTHY GOVERNMENT HANDS OFF MY FREE-MARKET MEDICARE! BEST MEDICARE IN ONE! WE'RE NUMBER FILTHY! GOVERNMENT ONE USA WE'RE CARE HEALTH! BEST! FILTHY! ONE! US1! USA! ONE HEALTH NUMBER! GLAKMO! PAAALTEEEEE! NXTHNWP!


The only thing in the room that sounds more mindless and mechanical is the wooden chairs skrawking on the floor.
 
  Beating a dead sigmoid



One of Polistra's favorite points ... In living nature and well-designed systems, you typically get 'sigmoid' responses like the one on the left. Inputs that attempt to go beyond a certain limit will be countered by negative feedback, and the molecule or neuron or critter or atmosphere will stabilize at a new value.

You can't get an exponential graph like the one on the right unless something goes wrong. Positive feedback (runaway response, increase potentiated by increase) is exceedingly rare in nature. Think avalanche, eruption, fever. But you can do it on a graph or a computer model quite easily.

= = = = =

Mostly valid generalization:

When you see a sigmoid response, you know you're looking at a living phenomenon, either natural or designed to be functional.

When you see an exponential, you're looking at an abstraction. A math model that either can't be applied to reality at all, or will cause explosive destruction when you try to force nature to follow along.

= = = = =

As mentioned many times before, the fraudulence of "Global Warming" is revealed by this distinction. The real response of temperature to CO2 looks like the sigmoid. When CO2 increases, temperature first goes up fast then gradually flattens out toward a top limit. [ In math talk, ΔT = 5.7 ln(CO2Proportion/388) ] And this is what we actually see in actual temperature records. Even if you falsely assume that CO2 is an important influence on climate, we are already up on the plateau of the graph. Further increases of CO2 would have very little influence on temperature. Needless to say, the Carbon Cult terrorists want to terrorize us into thinking the response is exponential, so they build computer models that go exponential, disregarding their own formulas.

= = = = =

Also mentioned before: Living businesses follow a sigmoid pattern. Start a business or introduce a new product, and (if lucky) you'll get a rise in sales followed by a plateau of market saturation. If you see an exponential rise in "valuation", you're not looking at a living business. You're either dealing with an abstract derivative based on pure math, or a plain unvarnished fraud.

(One notable exception is compound interest. Most of the honest ways to earn compound interest have a time limit so the amounts won't approach infinity, but during the 10-year CD or the 30-year Treasury bond, your total does grow exponentially.)

= = = = =

New thought: Well-designed cars have a sigmoid response. When you stomp on the gas, you get a fine pedestrian-squashing surge of acceleration at first, then the speed flattens out as the engine reaches the equilibrium of combustion volume versus friction and gravity. You can only get a runaway response, a sudden unexpected acceleration, when a computer model is in charge.

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010
  Who's the adult and who's the kid?



Yesterday Wash Gov Gregoire signed an emergency law suspending an Initiative passed two years ago. Initiative 960 required a 2/3 super-majority for every tax increase. The responsible part of the legislature, along with the excellent governor, understands that the current situation is serious enough to need flexibility, and also knows that you sometimes have to repeal or suspend laws.

The irresponsible part of the legislature (Republicans) are Superglued On Stupid, incapable of thinking or doing anything besides ZERO ZIP NADA TAXES! ZERO ZIP NADA TAXES! ZERO ZIP NADA TAXES!




The author of the Initiative, reputed to be an adult, was present at the signing. I'm sure he'd want me to give his name














And every political event needs a bit of decoration, so a cute kid was also present at the signing. Apparently the kid is writing a paper about the gov, and some press agent decided to bring her in. She certainly knew how to use her 15 seconds of fame!
 
  That's more like it.

The Lower Nuthouse is showing momentary signs of sanity. With near unanimity (after some pointless rhetorical fireworks) they've passed HR 4626 repealing the anti-trust exemption for health insurance companies.

Notable in two ways:

(1) In recent years the gov't has been totally unable to repeal anything. Each law or regulation has become Eternal Word, Engraved In Stone By The Lord, no matter how much damage it creates. HR 4626 is a real reversal of a long-standing law that has done considerable damage to consumers.

Can we hope for a precedent? Now that they know it's actually possible to repeal an existing law, will they try it again? Probably not.

(2) It's a single step, more like the way sane legislative bodies make laws.

The Feds have acquired the evil habit of writing everything into monstrous once-a-year omnibus bills, thus removing all accountability or feedback. Either you vote for the ten thousand sneaky poison pills along with the dozen good provisions, or your opponent will accuse you of voting against the good stuff. Today marks a small return to normal parliamentary practice.
 
  33 MPH?

Listening to Rhonda Smith's story, first on C-Span and this morning on CNN: She's undoubtedly right that it's an electronic problem. Every single piece of the story screams Software Error, not Sticky Pivot.

One thing that the interviewers failed to catch: She was using her Bluetooth system the whole time. I've never used any form of portable or cellular telephone, so could be wrong ... but I think Bluetooth includes a local transmitter. The signal from this transmitter could have triggered a miscalculation in the chips that apparently control every single aspect of the car. Most of the other Toyota horror stories also mention using a cell phone. (Of course this is a constant, not a variable, since 100.000% of American drivers are talking on cell phones 100.000% of the time.)

As Polistra noted before, it's murderously stupid to let software run everything without a mechanical fail-safe on important systems like steering, transmission, and brakes. Any competent engineer would advise against this. Apparently there aren't any competent engineers in the auto industry, or more likely their advice is ignored in the rush to satisfy the genocidal terrorist organization EPA while supplying the gut-blasting pedestrian-flattening 6000 HP performance that American fuckheads demand.
 
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
  Finally.

Listening to the House hearing on Toyota. At last a firm indication that People Who Count recognize the difference between "unintended steady speed" and "unintended acceleration."

Oddly, the clarity didn't come from Joe Barton of Texas, who was an engineer before he entered politics. It came first from Betty Sutton of Ohio, who is a lot easier on the eyes than most politicians. I hadn't heard of Sutton before, but after checking out her web page I'm going to watch her more closely. Seems to be a real Hot Honey, I mean a real populist. Yes, populist, that's what I mean.

= = = = =

Later: Now Barton is showing that he understands the problem logically, systematically and mathematically. I'm reassured to find some real intelligence in DC. (Unfortunately he pronounces the name Toyodo for some reason, which will give the Commies a nice handle to parody him ... but then the committee chairman pronounces it Tah-Yota and Dingell pronounces it To-hota. This is just weird.)
 
  Now we resume our regularly...



Mentioning Info Please yesterday reminded Polistra that it's long past time to feature an episode.

This one from May 1941 doesn't have any special political or cultural significance.

It's just a wonderful combination of high-quality questions, high-quality badinage, and a bit of high-quality music from the studio pianist Mr Kahn and the studio soprano Miss Hastings, both of whom deserved better billing. The repartee was especially good because Oscar Levant was absent this week. Mr Levant had a remarkably wide range of knowledge which made him a valuable participant, but he usually popped in with a wrong guess when he didn't know something which clearly annoyed the host. When Mr Levant was gone (replaced this time by music critic Deems Taylor) things ran more smoothly.

Halfway through this episode, one unexpectedly perfect and risqué answer switched the audience on, and they stayed on for the rest of the show.
 
Sunday, February 21, 2010
  Darnton on books

Watched this lecture by Robert Darnton on C-Span. Darnton is an engaging sort, rather rare in today's academia. He's one of the few moderns who would do well on Information Please.

Books last a hell of a lot longer than digital media. This isn't an original observation, but Darnton hits it hard. Most CDs and DVDs will degrade in less than 10 years, no matter how carefully you keep them. A book will hold up for several centuries, practically forever, if you protect it from water and insects.

Personal comparison: In my own little bookshelf I've got about 150 books, most older than 20 years, a few older than 100. None are high-quality editions, and I do nothing to preserve them. Despite this, none of them have spontaneously gone blank; the oldest ones are still completely readable.

And in my CD safe I've got about 300 CDs and DVDs, half archiving my graphics and programming work, half old-time radio. None are older than 10 years, but many of them are already unusable. When I pull out a CD to find a good Fibber episode or a Python program I wrote in 2001, there's a fair chance (maybe 1 out of 30?) that the disk will be kaput.

At some point in the future, all important digital information will have to be archived in good old paper form. This will be wildly inefficient but always possible. Thinking about this, I remembered that my publisher required a paper record of my first courseware edition for copyright purposes. (I think they were misreading copyright law, but nevertheless they did require it!) The program part wasn't hard because C++ code is nicely printable, but the hundreds of binary image files had to be printed out as a hexadecimal 'dump'. The result was about 50 pounds of paper for a project that fitted nicely on a 3.5 inch floppy in digital form.

= = = = =

Later thought: This parallels the Toyota problem. Mechanical systems, analog electronics, and paper records tend to degrade gradually and visibly. You have a chance to adjust, fix or reprint before it's too late. Digital systems and digital storage are far more likely to go blooey all at once without warning.
 
Saturday, February 20, 2010
  Osage wisdom



= = = = =




From a fascinating 1927 book on older forms of ethics and philosophy by Paul Radin, readable or downloadable here.

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  Well, isn't that special.

Huckabee interviewing Michelle Obama:

"It must be hard for you in this fiercely partisan climate. Lots of bloggers are anonymously saying nasty things about your husband, just as they did about Bush. Frankly, I think it's cowardly."

Anonymous? Seems to me the nastiest comments about Obama are said by perfectly well-known and highly-paid celebrities working for the same Fox network as you, Mike. And the nastiest comments about Bush are said by perfectly well-known and well-paid celebrities working for NBC and CNN and ABC and CBS. The bloggers who cruise in the respective slipstreams of Fox and NBC/CNN/ABC/CBS may be anonymous, but they're not really leading the nastiness convoy; they're just copying and pasting the talking-points of the celebrities.

Blogs that run outside the slipstreams (like this one) tend to find both parties indistinguishably idiotic.
 
Friday, February 19, 2010
  It's Buddha Day!

This morning on TV we have the Dalai Lama himself meeting with Obama, and we have a Mr. Tigerwood, who appears to be some kind of high-ranking employee in the Sport Industry, issuing an apology for something or other.

What makes Mr. Tigerwood's apology notable: all previous Sport Industry Workers apologized for something or other in the name of Jesus. Mr. Tigerwood apologized in the name of Buddha.


= = = = =

[And I apologize to the late great Paul Harvey for misusing one of his rhetorical tricks here.]
 
  The Stack manifesto

Aside from the parts about his personal tax troubles, everything Stack wrote was valid, true and correct. A perfect diagnosis of our current troubles.

Unfortunately he chose a bad solution, under pressure from other factors (debt, marital problems, etc).

Small-scale violence doesn't bother a tyranny. In fact it often makes things worse, leads to tighter clampdowns.

Unless you can destroy most of the country (as we did with the Krauts and Japs) the only way to bring down a tyranny is to encourage internal collapse.

The Soviet tyranny was strengthened by our stupid wars in Korea and Vietnam. It finally collapsed after Reagan yanked out its internal supports and broke the confidence of its leaders.

I'm a lot more patient than Stack. (Partly because I long ago arranged my life to avoid debt and marital problems; long ago figured out that credit cards and women give a moment of heaven followed by years of hell.)

Now that large pieces of our tyranny are collapsing from within, now that the Goddess of Wall Street and Government is melting! melting! melting!, I want to be around to watch the conclusion of this miserable and monstrous tragedy.
 
Thursday, February 18, 2010
  RIP John Babcock, WW1 vet

The last surviving Canadian WW1 veteran died today at age 109 in Spokane, where he has lived since 1932. Most people who were born in 1932 are already dead.




Babcock was born July 23, 1900, on an Ontario farm and enlisted with the Royal Canadian Regiment when he was just 15, lying about his age. Babcock trained with nearly 1,300 other underage soldiers in anticipation of crossing the English Channel and facing enemy fire, but the war ended before he could set foot in France.

Soon after the war, he moved to the United States, where he served in the U.S. Army and became a naturalized citizen.

Babcock attributed his longevity to the physical training he received from serving in two armies in his youth. He didn’t drink much and stopped smoking a long time ago.


The last surviving American WW1 vet, Frank Buckles, is also 109 and still going strong.

I seriously doubt that any of today's youngsters, strapped down and kept indoors to "protect" them from sun and carbon and other imagined or minimal threats, will reach 109. Cell phones, prescribed psychedelics, and vitamin D deficiency are going to kill them much faster and more surely than cigarettes, whiskey and tuberculosis killed Babcock's generation.
 
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
  More backoff from the Carbon Cult...

Avista, the Spokane-based electric company, announces that it will "put off" construction of a windmill farm.

Avista had planned to have the farm operating in 2013 so it could qualify for federal and state tax credits, but officials now say the electricity won’t be needed for several more years. This is the second delay for the Lincoln County project, which was first announced in 2008.

"It really doesn't pencil out at this time," said Hugh Imhof, a spokesman for the Spokane-based utility. "We thought it would be more prudent to wait until we need the electricity, or the renewable energy credits, and do it then."


In other words, they always knew that wind was only a trick to generate credits, not a valid way to generate electricity. Now that the whole fraud is collapsing, there's no reason to build a subsidy-generator that won't generate any subsidies.
 
  Eliminate seniors!

No, not euthanasia....

There's renewed discussion of eliminating the senior year of high school. This has always been a good idea, because very few students get any real benefit from the last year or two of HS.

If you're truly college material, you're smart enough to start college at 16, and if you're not truly college material, you're ready for work or technical training at age 16.

The idea has popped up this time through a Utah state legislator:
While Sen. Chris Buttars, R-West Jordan, wants to ax the 12th grade to save a buck, state education leaders say keep the senior year but make it better. ... Buttars's proposed legislation would allow students the option of skipping the 12th grade to save the state money. He has opened up a bill file titled "High School Accelerated Graduation."

In this era of budget cuts, Buttars's proposal would save public education $60 million. The senator emphasizes the program would be optional for high school students and there would be incentives. "We've got to find ways to cut back," he said.

Good but lame. Just chop it.

Needless to say, school administrators (who were Stuck On Stupid long before anyone else) are responding in typical form:
Amid discussions over Buttars's bill, school district superintendents will comprise a task force to study how they can strengthen a student's senior year.

The task force will recommend a policy to the State Board of Education and look at "making certain every student makes the best of their high school years," said state Superintendent Larry Shumway.


Ack!

Here's one way to do the job, from the long-gone days when schools and governments had enough intelligence to try different approaches:
BARTLESVILLE Senior High-Junior College, with a 1940 enrollment of 492 in Senior High and 104 in Junior College, is one of the newest and most modern and complete small-city school plants in the country. The two buildings are strikingly modern in plan and fenestration. ... Here can be seen in operation in classroom and shops the "6-4-4" city plan of education. That is, six years in elementary school, four years in junior high (7th to 10th) and four years in senior high and junior college (11 to 14 inclusive).

Variants on this plan were common in the '30s; Wichita had a similar arrangement. The 6-4-4 plan recognized the natural dividing point at 16, which has been lost in the modern inflation (and devaluation) of childhood. You could stop after 10 and go to work, or you could proceed into the higher grades, stopping at 12 or proceeding seamlessly to a vocational or academic college degree.

Google gives 5 definite references to the 6-4-4 plan, all from the 30s, all indicating that it was successful.

Perfect Stuck-On-Stupid logic: The plan succeeded, so we must GET RID OF IT AS FAST AS POSSIBLE!
 
  Serious

Obama may be unserious about nuclear power, but he is finally and wonderfully serious about railroads. Lots of genuine action on this front. Bravo!

In 1910 (A HUNDRED GODDAMN YEARS AGO!!!) America had a dense network of electric and steam interurban railroads. In every settled part of the country, not just the metropolitan areas, you could travel from city to city easily and speedily. The interurbans typically ran at 70 MPH, often up to 100 MPH in open areas. Commuting from Chicago to Detroit was practical.

Now intercity travel is slow and painful unless you're rich enough to have a private Gulfstream jet.

Obama properly shames us by comparing with Europe and Japan. He could more powerfully shame us by comparing with 1910 America.




= = = = =

Meanwhile, here in Spokane a new chunk of Stimulus money was authorized today to continue building a wildly expensive and totally purposeless highway. The "North-South Corridor" [NSC] was planned in the early 1950s, at a time when Kaiser Aluminum and Boeing were running full force in the suburb of Mead. Thousands of workers drove each day along a couple of narrow two-lane roads from Spokane to Mead, so a north-south highway made good sense in 1955. When the government-sponsored terrorist organization EPA slaughtered America's metal industries, Kaiser's Mead plant was closed and Boeing later downsized as well. So the highway was completely unnecessary by 1990. THEREFORE it was finally started in the 1990's, using proper Federal logic.

Part of it was finished last year, and it's already carrying a massive load of traffic, as seen here:


Fucking fools.
 
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
  Businesses catching on

Via GlobalWarming.org:

Several big companies have abandoned the cap-n-trade business today.

BP America, Conoco Phillips, and Caterpillar have dropped out of the U. S. Climate Action Partnership. This is the first recognition by the many major corporations pushing energy-rationing legislation that cap-and-trade legislation is dead in the Congress and that the scientific case for global warming alarmism is collapsing rapidly.


Since the real driver of the Carbon Cult is the Wall Street Mafia, this breakout means more than any expressions of doubt by politicians. Now that the potential for a new bubble has evaporated, the Cult is losing its real backers.



Polistra's hero E.W. Marland, founder of Conoco, is happy today. (Maybe that's why he "channeled" Polistra earlier this morning!)


= = = = =

[Grammatical note: Yes, I know I'm using "channeled" backwards, but I can't think of a better way to say it.]
 
  Unserious

A senator, or maybe a private citizen, named Obama is suggesting that perhaps it would be wise to build more nuclear plants. This senator or private citizen is proposing an increase in federal loan guarantees to spur the construction, which is a good thing.

Unfortunately, the plants won't even be approved for construction for another 2 years, and then will probably take 20 years to build.

Not because of any technical limitations: actual construction takes about 3 years.

So what's the idiotic delay? Federal regulations.

It's too bad this Obama fellow, this senator or private citizen, doesn't have any influence on the President. After all, the President is head of the executive branch, and could immediately order the NRC to cease interfering with the national interest. If this Obama dude really wanted to make nukes happen, he'd be asking the President for emergency executive orders instead of just talking about loans.

Wonder who the President is?

= = = = =

Satire aside, here's how a COMPETENT executive does it:

Dateline: Oklahoma City, 1930s.

As drilling operations pushed on toward the north and west, there arose a controversy over drilling within the city limits. ... In July 1930, the city council enacted ordinances to establish safety regulations and to allow drilling in the SE part of town. Shortly the derricks were towering over the homes in this residential district. ... Demands for extending the drilling zone forced the city council to hold special elections in 1935 and 1936, extending the drilling toward the state Capitol. Governor E.W. Marland [one of Polistra's guiding lights] demanded that production be allowed on state-owned land around the Capitol so that the state would receive a share of the revenue. When the city council refused to include it in the permitted area, Marland put the lands under martial law and issued drilling permits in defiance of the city government. Twenty-four wells went down immediately, some within a few yards of the Capitol and governor's mansion.

 
Monday, February 15, 2010
  Bishop

Tenure is one of my favorite dead horses, so when the Amy Bishop story first popped up, I watched closely, looking for connections to rant about.

But something about the story seemed incomplete, so I held back. Well, incomplete is putting it mildly. Turns out Bishop has a long record of murder and violence, and it also turns out that the meeting where she shot 6 colleagues wasn't the event where she was denied tenure.

TV news is doing a surprisingly good job on this, given that the perp is both female and Commie, thus definitely one of their own family.

The real problem here has nothing to do with academia and everything to do with local gov't corruption. Apparently her family was well-connected in Braintree, so the local police decided not to notice when Amy killed her brother, and later decided not to notice when she sent a bomb to a Harvard prof who had dared to disagree with her.

What a mess.

= = = = =

After more stories: Yikes! Amy Bishop is clearly a Joseph Duncan-style psychopath who has spent her entire life intimidating and killing everyone who dared to offend her galactic ego. Maybe the cops weren't corrupt after all; more likely the entire town was deathly afraid to report or testify.

Reminds me of a similar saga with a different ending in Skidmore, Missouri. A town bully named Kenneth McElroy prospered by stealing everything that wasn't nailed down, and shooting anything that got in his way. The cops didn't try very hard to prosecute McElroy, and on the one or two occasions when they did try, McElroy intimidated all the witnesses. McElroy finally received justice from an unofficial source in 1981. Since the law had never helped the people get rid of Kenneth, the people didn't see any reason to help the law, and the death sentence, which the police call "murder", remains "unsolved".

Missouri is saner than Massachusetts.
 
Sunday, February 14, 2010
  Urgent breaking news!!!!!!!! Bulletin!!!!!! Special Report!!!!!!!



Today's London Times finally gets around to noticing the facts, 20 years late.

And in other urgent breaking news bulletins from today's Times:

Sunday Feb 14, 2010, BERLIN: A leader named Mr Hitler appears to be gaining power in Germany. British authorities believe he needs to be watched carefully.

Sunday Feb 14, 2010, JERUSALEM: Herod, the Roman governor of Palestine, is reported to be searching for a competing King who may have been born recently.

Sunday Feb 14, 2010, LAND OF OG: Gak make round thing. Gak call round thing "wheel". Big Man Bok say round thing no go. Big Man Bok kill Gak.
 
Saturday, February 13, 2010
  Populist science, first thoughts.

I've been noticing something lately while re-reading those wonderful WPA Writers Project books.

Example from Oklahoma, p 388:
WYNONA is at the approximate center of the old Osage culture, and for a long time ancient customs and rites could best be studied there. One of these, "Sending away the Spirit", was held the fourth day after the death of a warrior at a selected tree, the bark of which was cut away by the master of ceremonies and the surviving warriors. When the tree trunk stood bare it was stained red, and as a symbol of the spirit of the dead man, was bidden to travel with the God of Day on its endless journey.

Another ceremony for the dead warrior took place on the return of the war party to the town. Within sight and sound of the tepees, they sat down in a circle and began to wail for their lost companion. Then from the town came the master of ceremonies and the people; and in the smoke of fragrant cedar boughs the warriors, their cast-aside clothes, weapons, saddles -- even their horses -- were purified. All their discarded property was then distributed to those of the three clans of the Osages who took part in the rites.

As a final precaution, the returning warriors marched in procession around the encampment in order to establish a line across which the spirit of death could not pass.




The ceremony is moving and thought-provoking, but I'm really focusing here on the descriptive style.

Consistently in those WPA books, local beliefs are reported in the same objective and journalistic tone as local events. The God of Day exists for the Osage, so he's in the story just as the dead warrior is in the story.

Or putting it differently, events recorded in human minds are treated with the same respect as events recorded in court documents. Hillbillies and Osages and Bankers, all tribes deserve the same respect, all deserve the same judgment of good and evil.

Modern "journalists" have lost this unity.

The God of Abraham is absent and the God of Day is absent. Only Gaia, the Goddess of the Bankers, is present.

For moderns, human beliefs and human observations do not exist. They are unfacts.

Processed facts exist. Processed facts fall into two categories: (1) The demented gaga ravings of black-robed enemy agents with "law" degrees; (2) The outputs of intentionally defective computer programs using intentionally corrupted data. These products are the only facts.

= = = = =

How do we return to the unity of the past? How do we merge internal human observations, including those commonly regarded as religious, back into the realm of objectivity without losing the purpose of science?

= = = = =

Later: I carried on this line of thinking, but without the phrase 'Populist Science' ... most notably here.
 
  Significant and good

Via NRO's "Planet Gore": Arizona's governor Jan Brewer has reversed a previous decision to push Kyoto-style regulations even faster than the government-sponsored terrorist organization EPA.

"Arizona needs a green-and-grow approach rather than a cap-and-trade approach," ADEQ Director Benjamin Grumbles said. "We can make environmental and economic progress, and we can do it by staying engaged and creating green-job opportunities."

Brewer ordered the state to continue converting its vehicle fleet so that by January 2012, all vehicles used by the state are hybrids, meet low greenhouse-gas emission standards or use some form of alternative fuel.

"It's very important for the state to stay engaged, to be at the table, but it's also important to convey clearly our position on how to make progress," Grumbles said. "Right now, given the economic downturn, given the complexity of the cap-and-trade scheme being developed, we're not going to be supportive of it."

Arizona joined the effort under its previous governor, Comrade Bulldyke Napolitano. The states involved agreed to the cap-and-trade idea, but each would have to implement the rules at its own state level.


= = = = =

When a state politician shows real guts and sense, I stand up and salute. Common sense is nearly extinct, and resisting the EPA terrorists is literally unthinkable.

Hadn't heard of Jan Brewer before. She took over as governor automatically when Comrade Bulldyke Napolitano was appointed to the Heimatssicherheitsdienst by Obama. Brewer has considerable experience in legislative and administrative positions. If national Republicans are looking for new Presidential material, they'd do well to consider her. Of course they won't; by rejecting cap-n-trade, Brewer has now pissed off The People Who Count.
 
Thursday, February 11, 2010
  Agreed-on Lie #1

At least in terms of media coverage, the most obnoxious of all the agreed-on lies is this one: "Fox News is a right-wing network."

Conservatives believe this and like it, lefties believe this and want to bomb Fox down to bedrock to eliminate its "right-wing" voice.

It just ain't so.

On the Carbon Cult, Fox is consistently the greenest of the green.

This morning Fox ran a little feature on the claim being made by every other media outlet, that the current blizzard in NY and DC is caused by Evil Doctor Carbon.

If Fox were truly an opposition network, they could have called on a hundred different authorities to debunk this nonsense.

They could have debunked the "spongy warm air" argument by showing this graph:



This shows departures from normal temps for the last 30 days. Only the northernmost states have been warmer than normal; everywhere else has been normal or unusually cold for a month. So where is all this Magical Global-Warmed Super-Hot Moisture-Holding Air coming from? Is it jumping from Spokane to DC through a time warp?

Or they could have used Joe Bastardi of AccuWeather, who shows in this clip that the decade-scale ocean variations (el Niño and its Atlantic counterpart) are completely sufficient to account for the event. AccuWeather had predicted an extremely snowy season in advance, verifying as usual that real science works.

[Real Science = Find patterns from actual measurements, calculate a curve from those trends, use the curve to predict future measurements based on previous experience.

Cult Science = Develop a theory that gives you money and power. Find separate equations for each new event, to show in hindsight how every single event and phenomenon was caused by your pet theory.]

Or they could have listened to their own "news" reports and used facts and elementary logic. According to "news", the last time DC had a blizzard like this was 1899. By these maps the eastern half of North America is VERY SLIGHTLY COOLER now than in 1899, not enough to make a real difference. NOT WARMER. NOT WARMER. NOT WARMER. Just a little bit cooler. Most of the intervening years were much warmer. So it shouldn't be surprising that we are returning to the snow amounts of 1899, given appropriate storm patterns, because we have returned to the same temperature.

Nope, Fox didn't do any of that. No scientists, no maps, no facts, no logic. Instead, their "fair and balanced debate" featured five different Carbon Cultists. Four of them said Yup, this event proves Global Warming, just like we've been saying. (Except of course that they hadn't been saying Global Warming would produce blizzards; they had been saying that Global Warming would produce droughts and heat.) The last one, the atrocious and slimy Bjorn Lomborg, said that this particular event probably doesn't quite 100% prove Global Warming but we still need to destroy the Western world to eliminate CO2.
 
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
  If this had been a real thought...

The previous two posts (This is a test and This is only a test) are just calibration devices. I'm curious to see how many hits I'll get for Correct Verbatim Recitations of deep and thoughtful Conservative and Liberal political philosophies.

The truth, in similar bumper-sticker form:

Obama is Goldman Sachs.
Palin is Goldman Sachs.
 
  This is only a test

Obama is Satan! Palin is God!
Obama is Satan! Palin is God!
Obama is Satan! Palin is God!
Obama is Satan! Palin is God!
Obama is Satan! Palin is God!
Obama is Satan! Palin is God!
Obama is Satan! Palin is God!
Obama is Satan! Palin is God!
Obama is Satan! Palin is God!
Obama is Satan! Palin is God!
Obama is Satan! Palin is God!
Obama is Satan! Palin is God!
Obama is Satan! Palin is God!
Obama is Satan! Palin is God!
So there!
 
  This is a test

Obama is God! Palin is Satan!
Obama is God! Palin is Satan!
Obama is God! Palin is Satan!
Obama is God! Palin is Satan!
Obama is God! Palin is Satan!
Obama is God! Palin is Satan!
Obama is God! Palin is Satan!
Obama is God! Palin is Satan!
Obama is God! Palin is Satan!
Obama is God! Palin is Satan!
Obama is God! Palin is Satan!
Obama is God! Palin is Satan!
Obama is God! Palin is Satan!
Obama is God! Palin is Satan!
So there!
 
Tuesday, February 09, 2010
  Well said

Joe Scarborough says that he's tired of the constant Republican hammering on Obama's "socialism":

"I guarantee you that no matter how hard Obama tries to redistribute wealth from the rich to the poor, he won't come anywhere near balancing out the redistribution from the poor to the rich that we've had in the last two years, with Wall Street bailouts."
 
Monday, February 08, 2010
  Brakes will get you through times of no software...

...better than software will get you through times of no brakes.

Stopping is the most important thing a car does. If your car doesn't go, you can find other ways to get around. If your car doesn't stop, you're dead.

Henry Ford, one of Polistra's guiding lights, understood this. When other car makers were switching from mechanical to hydraulic systems, old Henry stuck with mechanical.



And the Hudson that Polistra is driving here had a hydraulic system for flexibility, backed up by a mechanical cable that took over when the fluid failed. Again it was one stubborn man who made the choice: engineer Stuart Baits developed and personally tested a hydraulic setup in the early '30s, and was badly injured when it failed. He vowed that nobody else would be hurt by such a failure, and added the mechanical backup system. Hudson kept faith until the end of the brand in 1957.

In today's industrial arrangement, one stubborn man doesn't count. Engineers are limited by lawyers and EPA on one side, and by the need to set up assembly for Chinese semi-slaves on the other.

Software solutions are tempting, with truly infinite flexibility and the capacity to navigate constraints. And our overall culture of business, government, education and science is totally engulfed by our insistence on trusting theories and software models rather than physical or mechanical reality. Toyota succumbed to that culture and is now paying the price.

Life is too important to trust multi-layered systems with multi-layered bugs.

= = = = =

Later: it appears that the Highway Safety Admin (NHTSA) may understand the difference between acceleration and steady speed even if nobody else does. They don't buy the "sticky pivot" explanation for Toyota's accelerator problem, and have been looking into electronic problems, perhaps interference from cell phones. (It's bad enough that the drivers are distracted by cell phones ... now the cars are distracted as well!)
 
Sunday, February 07, 2010
  Kleen and Saif!

Yessir, natural gas is the way to go. TBoone tells us so. Natural gas is Kleen and Saif, unlike mean old dirty Nuclear. Why just think how much worse today's power plant accident would have been in a Nuclear plant. Nuclear kills and kills and kills.

Nuclear plants in America kill (are you ready for this?) 00,000 people per year! That amounts to almost 0,000 people per month, 000 people per week, and 00 people per day!

And in the 60-year history of nuclear power in America, nuke plants have killed a grand total of 0,000,000 people!!!!! Horrible, compared to the mere 5 fatalities in this one natural gas plant, or the tiny minuscule 200 who die each year in the coal industry.
 
  Agreed-on lie #9709090

Candy Crowley, interviewing Hillary this morning: "We can't pull our troops out of Afghanistan until the government there is stable. When is that going to happen?"

Hillary responded with some typical meaningless diplomatic crap, but the automatic assumption in the question is the interesting part.

Why is that the only way we can pull our troops out? Are they being held in place, transfixed by a voodoo spell that will only be released when Hamid Karzai has developed an American-style democracy? Karzai currently has a government elected by fraud, obeying the orders of criminal syndicates, and spending non-existent money on projects that accomplish nothing except to spend money. In other words, he already has an American-style democracy. So why are we still there?

Satire aside, why the hell can't we simply pull out because the whole job is pointless? Why must we all agree on the weird delusion that "failed states are the sole source of terrorism?" When will we figure out that the Army of Allah is training more soldiers in Britain and America than in those other failed states?
 
Thursday, February 04, 2010
  Steeped in corruption

Now that Dick Armey is considered to be the leader of the Tea Party movement, we know for sure that the TP is just another front business for the Wall Street Mafia. This was already fairly obvious from the smell, but it's nice to have it verified.

The TP cleverly steers genuine popular outrage toward symbolic targets that can't be hurt, and away from the people who actually caused the current situation. Classic trick, and it's unfortunately working.



= = = = =

Update 2/6 after hearing Palin's speech: Yup, pure Rush, ie pure Wall Street. The exact opposite of Populist.
 
Wednesday, February 03, 2010
  Too late for Terry, but......

In Britain a very clever use of brain scans has shown without any doubt that (at least some) patients in persistent vegetative states have full consciousness and full communicative ability.

[Dr. Adrian Owen was] studying a 29-year-old man brain damaged in a car crash in 2003.

The man was in a coma for two years before slipping into a persistent vegetative state. He was seemingly awake, occasionally blinked, but showed no other sign of being aware of the outside world.

They used a hi-tech functional magnetic resonance scanner (fMRI) to measure brain response while the patient was asked questions.

Because the actual brain signals associated with Yes and No are complicated and too similar to distinguish, they came up with a usable code.

The team asked the patient to think of playing tennis for Yes and moving around his home for No.

While the movement in tennis sparks spatial areas at the top of the brain, the navigational task of moving around your home sparks the motion areas at the base of the brain.

The patient was then asked six simple biographical questions including the name of his father and whether he had any sisters. In each case, his thoughts were picked up by the scans within five minutes. In each case he was 100 per cent accurate.


Polistra focused on the Terry Schiavo case for the first few months of this blog back in '05, and hoped someone would use such a technique on Terry. It never happened in that case. Now this refined technique will make it possible to separate patients who have latent abilities worth developing, from those who are truly "blank".
 
  No surprise # 53457904394

Via WUWT:

Penn State has "investigated" Michael Mann, criminal posing falsely as "scientist", and finds him faultless.

This will not end well. Most Americans now correctly perceive that crimes have been committed, and an institution that continues to harbor and defend a criminal will lose the support of parents and alumni.

American "media" and the government in DC are still blindly worshiping at Gaia's altar, but the British and Australian press have picked up the smell of corruption in a big way, tearing down the IPCC wall of shame filthy brick by filthy brick.
 
  New attack by eco-terrorists

The government-funded terrorist organization EPA has just committed a new act of war. Using absurdly bad pseudoscience as always, EPA has required all professional home painters and remodelers to take the same kind of precautions with lead that they have been taking with asbestos.

When working on any house built before 1978 (which isn't exactly old!) painters must follow the full Hazmat routine:
A certified renovator who has taken an eight-hour class in dust management must be present at each work site to teach workers how to safely contain and clean up lead dust. Work areas must be screened off with sheets of heavy-duty plastic or other impervious materials. The cleanup includes wiping down walls or vacuuming them with a machine equipped with special filters.

First result: Vastly more expensive remodeling and painting services, which means with dead certainty that older houses will never be repaired at all. Landlords will simply wait for houses to collapse, or will get out of the business.

Final solution: Poor people will then be unable to afford any housing at all, and will be forced onto the streets. Atmungsführerin Lisa Jackson believes that living on the streets is vastly safer than being exposed to a few micrograms of lead. And this does make sense from her Nazi viewpoint. On the streets you receive lead in convenient 9-millimeter capsules, which immunize you against "poisoning" by a few micrograms of dust. Better dead than impure.

= = = = =

Of course this act of murder is ultimately motivated by a different and much broader piece of genocidal "science": the bizarre delusion that all humans are precisely identical. If black kids and white kids show different IQs, the cause cannot be genetic, it must be external. Thus we waste trillions on school programs guaranteed not to work, and we kill poor people with environmental rules. Meanwhile, the same environmental rules have closed the industries that formerly provided a good middle-class income to people with lower IQs, thus closing the one real path out of poverty. A perfect flanking strategy to destroy a nation.
 
Monday, February 01, 2010
  Luna Libre!

Obama may finally be showing some independence, starting to move in a direction that isn't pure Bush/McCain.

Today he cancelled the fantastically idiotic Bush folly of returning to the fucking moon.

Polistra has been shouting against this idiocy from the start, and is thoroughly happy to see it stopped!


 
  Toyota

Polistra, who neither forgives nor forgets, is happy to see a Jap company suffering, and even happier to see American automakers taking full advantage of the situation.



But there's something about the story that doesn't ring true. The accidents are reportedly caused by sudden jumps in speed, sudden accelerations.

The diagnosed cause is supposedly either a floormat getting stuck, or the throttle pivot mechanism getting stuck.

Neither of those problems can cause a sudden acceleration. Both would cause an unexpected failure to decelerate, in other words an unexpected steady speed.

Now it's true that human perception is based on [departure from past conditions] plus [departure from expected conditions]. If you're cruising along at 60 and you take your foot off the gas, you expect to feel deceleration in your inner ear and you expect to see the landscape slowing down. If you feel no deceleration, the immediate reading of your feature detectors will be similar to an acceleration.

However! Unless I'm missing something, the problem is objectively measurable speedups, not merely perceived speedups.


= = = = =

2/3 update: It's scary to hear so much confused and bad advice about this, and also scary to think that Polistra is the only writer who understands the difference between steady speed and acceleration. (I say "writer" instead of "human" because surely there must be some other humans who catch the distinction but aren't bothering to write or talk about it.) All the media and officials are still talking about "stuck pedals causing sudden acceleration", without noticing the blatant illogicality. And about half of the newsies are advising people to hit the brakes first. Some idiot on Bloomberg just said "Brakes will always overcome the engine." Possibly true with an automatic transmission, but NOT true with a stick, and bad advice in either case.
 
  KSM and all that

Surprisingly, brand-R commentators are making a valid logical refutation of the idiotic decision to try an enemy combatant in NY. The leftist point is absurd as always: "Military trials are a recruitment tool for al-Qaeda." This idiotic argument is also being made by some top Army people, which tells you exactly which side the Army is on. Not that we didn't already know.

The counter-logic is easy: Sheikh Osama was attacking us before we had tried any of his soldiers; he continued attacking us after we had convicted some of his soldiers in civil courts, and he continued attacking us after we had tried some of his soldiers in military tribunals. He doesn't give a shit where or how we try his soldiers.

I'm truly amazed that the brand-R folks were able to make this argument. It's not contained in the phrase ZERO TAXES ON BILLIONAIRES so it should be well beyond their range of "thought", using that word loosely.

But both sides are missing a deeper argument.

As soon as we started showing confusion in 2001, as soon as DOJ (Department of Jesse Jackson) began throwing its treasonous weight around, randomly yanking prisoners out of military custody with no justification except the AG's bloated ego, we effectively surrendered.

What really counts in defense is not the form of trial you use with enemy prisoners. What really counts is showing the enemy that you know what the fuck you're doing, and that you know the goddamn difference between enemies and friends. Instead, we have shown constant weakness and confusion; we have allowed the subversives in DOJ and the Army to take control.
 

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Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.

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